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Is Engagement the Most Important Social Media Metric?

This article was originally posted on and can be found here.

Likes, shares, comments, and now hearts. Engagement is an important social media metric, but is it all you should be watching?

Social Media Engagement Meme with Dog on Computer

Social media engagement reminds me of the Skinner Box. Except instead of pushing the lever myself and getting the reward, I’m relying on users’ affirmations to give me that weird, endorphin-like high. Engagement means my content resonated, it entertained, and it effectively solicited the kind of reaction I wanted.

But while engagement is certainly a valuable social media metric – and one of the most commonly measured – it isn’t the only one. And in some cases, it isn’t the most important one either.

Engagement vs. Other Social Media Metrics

Let’s say your company is brand-new or just about to launch. You have very different needs on social media than a business with huge market presence. You must make yourself known (brand awareness), whereas the other business may be more focused on increasing sales.

Because you have different goals, your organization must measure your performance differently, too.

Your goal needs to correspond to a specific social media metric that tells you how well you’re doing – or not doing.

For a campaign focused on brand awareness, engagement is certainly an important metric. The goal is to get in front of as many social media users as possible, and to increase likes, shares, etc. in order to gain even more exposure. The more users who engage with your brand, the better for building your brand.

But for the company that is building a sales campaign, measuring conversions is a better fit. The business needs to see which social content is getting users to click and then buy the product or service. The goal is to sell more, so the business must be able to see whether or not their social media is aiding this initiative.

Some campaigns may even combine metrics. But that’s a whole other post. For now, just know that while engagement is a very good social metric, it may not be the most effective one to help you reach the goals that are important right now.

Should You Publish Blog Content on LinkedIn and Medium?

This article was originally posted on and can be found here.

If you publish blog content as part of your online marketing strategy, then you may be wondering if some of them are destined for content superstardom in places like LinkedIn and Medium.

LinkedIn Pulse is a great way to get your blog in front of your network because it notifies your connections when you publish content on the site (posting status updates just shows up in the regular ol’ newsfeed).

If you want to reach an even wider audience, then you might consider publishing content on Medium, which typically serves up longer, more in-depth articles.

No doubt about it, if you are looking to build your brand, then publishing to LinkedIn and Medium is a great way to start.

However, if you are like some of our clients, then you also wonder how this might affect your SEO.

How Republishing Blog Content Can Affect SEO

Anytime you take content from your own site and put it on another site without making any changes, you create duplicate content. Now you have your blog post on your website, and you have the exact same copy on LinkedIn and Medium.

How will Google decide which one to rank higher in its search engine results pages?

That depends on your site. LinkedIn and Medium may or may not have more authority. That means Google could rank the blog post from your site higher, or they could prioritize the content from one of the other two sites.

Whether or not this bothers you depends on your goal.

If you want to drive more traffic to your own website, then you may not want to republish your blog content to third-party sites. However, if you want to get more eyes on your work – to establish credibility or thought leadership, for example – then perhaps a site with a higher profile is more important this time around.

Some people also worry about their site being penalized by Google if they have duplicate content. While Google does discourage duplicate content, they do not necessarily penalize you for it. It depends on the circumstances, and KISSMetrics does a great job of explaining these.

Here are Some Options to Consider

Some clients want to work those SEO investments and get the benefit of LinkedIn and Medium, and nothing says you can’t do both. Try one or a combination of these approaches as you go forward:

  • Use canonical tags – If you want to repurpose your blog content on third-party sites for more exposure, then you can always ask those sites to use a canonical tag to give your site credit for the content. You won’t always get your way, but it’s worth a try. Note that LinkedIn and Medium don’t offer this type of functionality, but some others might.
  • Write the opposite point of view – Instead of using the same content on another site, try writing another blog from the opposite perspective. Example: Put “5 Best Practices for Being Awesome” on your own site, and “5 Biggest Mistakes When Trying to be Awesome” on another site. Your site gets some of the SEO benefits and you increase your audience at the same time.
  • Post differently on each platform – Consider writing some blog posts intended only for LinkedIn and Medium, and host the rest of your content on your own site. Sure, you don’t get the credit for the third-party pieces, but you eliminate the duplicate content issue and broadcast your work to people who may not see it when it’s only published on your own site.

How to Ace a Panel Interview

So you are excited that you got called back for an interview, but your excitement quickly turns to dread when you find out that you will be interviewed by multiple people at once. It’s okay. Just take a deep breath. It’s true that panel interviews are a different beast than the typical one-on-one interview, but there are a few things you can do before, during, and after the interview that will ensure that you ace your panel interview.

Before the Interview

Tip #1: Research your interviewers in advance.

If you are provided your interviewers’ names, looking at their online presences can give you major insight on their work experience, their interests, and their personalities. Arming yourself with this information can help you prepare questions and give you an idea of how the interview will be conducted.  LinkedIn pages are the first place you should look. And if they have them, viewing their Twitter and Facebook pages are also excellent ways to get to know your interviewers.

Tip #2: Prepare yourself for a conversation… and weird questions.

Most often, panel-style interviews are conducted to see how the candidate interacts in a team environment, or even with the team they’ll be working with. So try to keep it conversational and allow your personality and individuality to shine through a bit. Also be aware that weird, off-the-wall questions are common in interviews today, and this is especially true for panel interviews. These types of questions are popular because they test creativity, logical thinking, and your ability to think on your feet.  When you are asked one of these curveball questions, remember that there is likely no right answer. Knowing that there is no right answer takes the pressure out of answering question. You should also Google some common curve-ball questions and prepare responses just in case.

Tip #3: Bring a notepad.

Even though your interview will likely have a conversational tone, you will still be told a lot of important information about the company, and the position that you applied for. Taking notes shows that you’re engaged, you’re taking the interview seriously, and that you’re truly interested in the position. I don’t recommend writing a whole dissertation; just write quick notes about anything related to dates or anything else that jumps out as important. And make sure the notepad you bring is appropriate for the positions. Having sparkly unicorns on you notepad might look pretty sweet, but it could keep you from being taken seriously.

Tip #4: Come with a different set of questions from the first interview.

If you were asked to come in for a panel interview, you likely already had an initial one-on-one interview. During the first interview, you learned about the company and hopefully asked a lot of good questions. Now that you are in a panel interview, it is important to have new questions, because it shows that you are interested in learning more about the company. More than likely, your one-on-one interview was with the individual you would report to directly, and your panel-style interview is with a team you will work alongside of. So formulating your questions based on the role of your interviewers will foster a much more productive conversation. Also, researching your interviewers beforehand should help you develop specific questions for each member of the panel.

During the Interview

Tip #5: Introduce yourself to each interviewer.

Start the interview off right by firmly shaking the hands of each panel member while you introduce yourself.  It’s extremely important that you address your interviewers by their proper names during the interview, so make sure you match their face with their name during the introductions.

Tip #6: Don’t be afraid to ask for someone’s name again.

If you find yourself unsure of one of the interviewer’s names, instead of just guessing their name and hoping for the best, it is completely okay to ask for their name again.  All you have to do is say is “Sorry, can you repeat your name again, please.” Asking this simple question beats calling your possible future employer by the wrong name.

Tip #7: Divide your attention evenly. Don’t ignore a panel member!

Not giving enough attention or respect to one of the panel members is one of the worst offenses you can do during a panel interview. Remember, you want EVERY panel member to leave the interview with a positive impression on you.

To avoid this cardinal sin, when you are asked a question by one of your interviewers, make sure you take a moment and look at each panel member while talking. Eye contact is key here. Moreover, treat every interviewer with the same level of respect regardless of their position in the company.

Tip #8: Think out loud!

Your interviewers are looking at your body language, but they can’t read your mind. That is why it is so important that when you are asked a question, you think out loud. Thinking out loud is the best way to showcase your personality, skills, and intelligence. This tip also comes in handy when you are asked curveball questions.

Tip #9: Be Humble/ Be Honest/ Be Yourself

I know this one sounds a bit cheesy, but humility, honesty and authenticity will take you along way during an interview, and through life. Okay, that last part was definitely cheesy, but my point still stands. Especially for an entry-level position, your interviewers will be able to see right through the act of pretending to know more than you do. Be honest about your experience and knowledge, or lack thereof, but reiterate your hunger for learning and your ability to be trained.

After the Interview

Tip #10: Write thank you notes for each person

After you (hopefully) aced your panel interview, you should send hand written thank you notes to each member of the panel.  It’s important that these notes be personalized for each panel member. Address them by their names and mention something that they spoke about during the interview. After you have written the thank you notes, you should mail them within 24 hours.


Hopefully these 10 tips have made panel interviews seem less intimidating. If you do put in the prep-work and go into the interview with the right mindset, that new job will be yours!

Getting Started with Attribution Models in AdWords

With Attribution Models in AdWords, you decide how to assign credit to keywords, ad groups, and campaigns that influenced a conversion. For this to be meaningful, you need to first start recording conversions in AdWords.  If you are unsure if conversions are recording, go to Tools > Conversions from your AdWords account. If you do not see any, you can set up conversion tracking in Google AdWords or import goals from your Google Analytics account.

If you do see conversions recording, you can then choose “Attribution” in Conversions (or by going back to the Tools menu in AdWords).  Once you are in that sub menu, you will see options for Conversions, Cross-Device Activity, Paths, Click Analysis, and Attribution Modeling.

Attribution Overview

The overview shows the average period of time it took for people to convert. In the example below, you can see that it was within a day, so a strong-call-to-action for an immediate purchase works well for this account.



An Assisted Conversion demonstrates the impacts of your AdWords account in cases where someone did not purchase immediately.  Clicks and impressions may have influenced someone’s decision to convert at another time. The table below shows metrics for impression-assisted conversions and click conversions.


To use a specific example, let’s imagine a customer clicked on two ads for the keyword “clothing” before clicking on an ad for the keyword “shirts” and making a purchase. In this situation, it would count as two assisted clicks which is the number of times the keyword “clothing” appeared in the conversion path and one assisted conversion.


Cross-Device Activity

The Cross-Device Activity shows how customers use their devices before converting. In the example below, this account has primarily same day purchases, so it is not a surprise that no cross-device activity is available.



This next screen (from a different account) shows last click and click-assisted conversions for each device used in the searcher’s journey. Even in this account, most of the conversions happened on a single device.



“Paths” looks very familiar to Google Analytics users because it shows the route people took before converting.  With the campaign, ad group, or keywords, you can see the path a user took on the way to a conversion. Below is a very small sample size but shows some things you may see in your account.



Although the details  are blurred out, you can see that some searchers clicked on the same campaign more than once on line 2 and 3. On line 1 and 4, the searcher had the same last-click campaign before conversion. With this account, it’s possible that words or groups in the earlier campaigns could be paused if the trend leans towards a specific one that influences conversions. More data should be collected, however, before account changes are made.

With next report, Path Length, you can see that it only took one click for most visitors to convert.



Click Analysis

With the Click Analysis reports, you can see which keywords introduced people to your site (first clicked) and which ones sealed the deal – meaning led to a conversion (last clicked). This is available for campaign, ad group, keyword, and match type.

The match type report is especially helpful in demonstrating the importance of targeted keywords. Although a broad match will bring in a lot of keywords, in the screen below, you can see it was the phrase match that led to more conversions.


Attribution Model

Next select “Attribution Modeling” to compare two different models next to each other. Your options are first click, last click, linear, position based, and time decay.

Attribution is not an easy concept in Google AdWords, but is important in understanding what your ad dollars are really doing for you.  Using the above as a reference, walk through each of these steps in your account to see details about your ad performance. And remember, it all starts with conversions. If you do not have any in your AdWords account, set that up first by following the links referenced at the beginning, so you’ll have meaningful Attribution data to work from in your reporting.

Options for Device Bidding in AdWords

When Enhanced Campaigns were rolled out by Google several years ago, advertisers had less control in AdWords since they could not separate bids for mobile, tablet, and desktop. Although the intention was to make campaign creation and maintenance easier in Google AdWords, it was frustrating for advertisers who had a very different strategy for mobile versus desktop.  In the three years since Enhanced Campaigns were introduced, mobile clicks have increased significantly and some advertisers want to take advantage of that.  Fortunately, with the recent updates in Google AdWords, the ability to set bid adjustments by device is available again (to the joy of many advertisers).

Options for device1


However, even though this feature is available, Google’s recommendation is to not separate campaigns by device. This means advertisers need to consider what these changes mean before implementing them in an account. Going the route of separate campaigns for each device also means managing multiple campaigns with the same messaging. This increases the amount of work required to maintain an AdWords account.  If a separate campaign is created for each device, it requires additional time to monitor keywords, ads, ad extensions, negative keywords and more work when testing ads.

Many of the things that appeal to advertisers about device specific bid adjustments are actually available by utilizing existing features in AdWords.  Instead of a separate campaign for each device in Google AdWords, bid adjustments can instead be used with tightly themed ad groups, which results in a much more manageable account. And bid modifiers now provide more options with a range of -100% to +900% for the bid amount. (With Enhanced Campaigns, the max bid adjustment was 300%). Even if ads do not perform as well on mobile devices as they do on desktops, mobile ads should not be completely removed. Instead, an adjustment can be used to decrease the amount of budget put into them.

And with AdWords Smart Bidding (previous known as automated bidding), a number of signals are considered utilizing machine learning with the optimal bid being set for each auction based on those signals. For example, a signal may differentiate behavior based on someone in New York searching during the lunch hour on his or her phone compared to someone in Los Angeles searching after 6:00pm from a desktop. As a result, device is a bidding signal in the AdWords auction. This may be enough for many advertisers who do not know how to best approach bidding for different devices. Google’s Smart Bidding does override manual bids, so there should be at least 50 conversions over the past month for meaningful results.

If you’re not sure what to do with this update on device bidding, you can do nothing! Or if you’re not clear on what makes sense for your business and like the idea of setting device bids separately for campaigns, start testing. With drafts and experiments, you can test these device level campaigns side by side with campaigns that are that are already running with bid adjustments to determine the best bid methodology.

The simplest route may be to start by segmenting performance by device in your AdWords account. The data there is based on your actual data and is probably the best route for determining how you want to address device bidding. (You can view device performance in an AdWords campaign from Settings tab > Devices.)

One final feature that can help make that decision is the cross-device attribution report. This enables you to examine the full value of a click by seeing conversions beyond the one initial conversion listed in standard AdWords reporting.  You can see how much activity happens in your account, how devices assist each other in a conversion, and the top paths for users utilizing more than one device in their search. Reported conversions and full value conversions should both be considered before deciding what to adjust in your account.

Options for device2

Like many features in Google AdWords, the fact that something exists does not automatically mean you should implement. Spend time reviewing these account options, your data, and your overall business model before making changes to your account.

How to Increase Social Media Engagement with Facebook 360 Photos

This article was originally posted on and can be found here.

If your social media engagement on Facebook has taken a nosedive recently, you can thank the platform’s newest algorithm change. Since placing the posts of friends and family above those from publishers, it appears that many brands are experiencing extremely low engagement – some less than 1 percent.

If this resonates with you, then you are probably wondering what you can do to increase your social media engagement. Rather than resort to memes about political speeches or blatant promotional posts, how about creating unique content people actually care about. You can start with the new Facebook 360 Photos. (more…)

How to Manage Your Google AdWords Account

Whether you are getting started with Google AdWords or are ready to bring your account management in-house instead of outsourcing it, follow these best practices to ensure that you are getting the most for your AdWords dollars. 

Create a negative keyword list 

Negative keywords are words you do not want to pay for with  AdWords. For example, if you offer a resume class for $200 with no free options, you do not want your ad to show up for a search on “free resume class”.  With that example, your negative word is free. Creating a solid negative keyword list at the very beginning of your campaigns will save you money spent on irrelevant clicks

Continue checking for negative keywords 

Even if you start out with a solid negative keyword list, you may still find negative words in your account that you did not think about when you set the account up.  Staying with the example above, let’s assume your classes are only offered in person.  Over time, you may discover a search for “online resume class” that triggered your ad. You would know to add online to your negative keyword list in order to prevent that from happening in the future. To check for negative keywords once your account is running, use the Search Terms report. (more…)

How to Get Started with Expanded Text Ads

Google’s announcement about Expanded Text Ads was a huge day for marketers. Their new format provides an opportunity for better messaging on the AdWords platform.  There are now two headlines rather than one, with a character count increase from 25 to 30 characters. The ad description is 80 characters which provides more space for an offer, and the URL can be customized, allowing up to 15 characters. This Expanded Text Ad announcement is one of those changes that advertisers must pay attention to since standard text ads cannot be created or edited after October 26th. For now though, you will see both expanded and standard text ads on Google.  However, since Expanded Text Ads will likely perform better than the standard text ads, do not wait until October to make this change. Here are some considerations for making the most of this new format. (more…)

Analytics and AdWords – Not Always Perfect Together


If you are advertising on Google AdWords, connecting it to Google Analytics is a must so you can view what happens after someone clicks on your paid ad. Getting to your site is nice, but seeing an action that may result in revenue is more important.

What can be a bit confusing initially when using the products is seeing different data in Analytics compared to AdWords for the same day. If searchers clicked on your ad 100 times on Monday, you would expect to see 100 visits to your site from AdWords on that date in Google Analytics, but that is not always the case. Most of the time, those numbers will vary. Although a small difference may not seem that important, you still want to know what your marketing budget is doing for you so you allocate it to the right channels and/or make necessary adjustments to your landing page.  Let’s take a closer look on how those two products work together so you understand what these different metrics really mean.

First ensure you understand how metrics are defined in Google Analytics. A click in Google AdWords is when someone clicks on an ad. This action is recorded immediately and invalid clicks are removed.  Google Analytics has all the activity that happens after this ad click.


Performance (Active View) Metrics in AdWords

google-adwords-featuredIn the available columns option on the Ads tabs in Google AdWords, you will see Performance metrics and Performance (Active View) metrics. The Performance metrics were discussed in an earlier post and refer to the numbers every advertiser reviews, such as clicks, impression, cost, and click-through-rate.  Performance (Active View) metrics are available for YouTube ads as well as select ads on some Display Network websites. With Active View, advertisers can see if an ad is viewable by potential customers, which is measured when 50% of your ad can be seen on a user’s screen for a second or more.