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What you must do before spending a cent on Facebook ads

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Whether you are spending small, or big, on your digital advertising, it’s got to see a return.

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Whether you are spending small, or big, on your digital advertising, it’s got to see a return.

OPINION: There is a lot of satisfaction to be found in cutting unnecessary spend from people’s marketing budgets. Equally, helping people ramp up their marketing spend, when we can quantify that it’s going to give them a great return, is also a huge thrill.

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Ad spend is amazing if it’s giving you a return. However, for many businesses, one of the common areas of “spillage” – wasted budget – is on digital advertising.

Paying money for ads is very easy to do, and it feels like you are doing something proactive for your business. Sometimes it’s doing the exact opposite.

A few weeks ago I was working with a client who wanted to check if her ads were worth continuing. She was spending a few thousand a month on advertising costs, as well as a management fee to an agency.

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* Not seeing the benefits of taking your business online? These might be the reasons why

We worked out her return of ad spend (without even taking the fee into consideration) was returning her a loss of around $1500 a month. It wasn’t necessarily the fault of the agency. Ad spend leakage can be because the ads are poor, but often it’s due to other factors.

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We’ve now stopped all ads and are working on improving her organic marketing so the ads will work better in a few months’ time.

She’d fallen for the hope that eventually everything would turn a corner, but six months into it she was just poorer and quieter.

Whether you are spending small, or big, on your digital advertising, it’s got to see a return. Every dollar you spend is coming out of your profit.

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Marketing strategist Rachel Klaver.

Identify Marketing

Marketing strategist Rachel Klaver.

We’ve talked about Facebook ads before, and the importance of small businesses using them in different ways to how big businesses can afford to.

In my recent episode of MAP IT Marketing, I talked to Jo Murphy, The Ad Nomad, who is an expert in Facebook advertising, and online community building. Jo is in high demand, working only with brands with a strong sustainable ethos.

Here are Jo’s tips:

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Make sure the offer is compelling

If you aren’t getting sales without spending any money on ads, you may find it hard to get sales with ad spend. Ads amplify the results you are already getting, so it’s a good idea to get some sales on the board first.

If people are coming to your site and no one is buying, you might need to work on your website, the message, the images, the feel.

While people are on the website, you need to make buying from you as easy as possible. People will bounce off if it’s hard to make a purchase.

Create content people want to interact with

Imagine your social media posts were all compiled into a magazine all about your business. If I opened up that magazine, would it be filled with interesting articles or advertisements?

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It’s so easy to fall into the trap of pushing products, but what we really want to do is entertain, education and capture attention.

Murphy explains it this way: “Facebook wants people to have a good experience on their platform. If Facebook knows you are delivering great content, they’ll push it out further so more people can enjoy it. People get really angry with Facebook for not delivering the goods, but often they’re not using Facebook in a way people like to consume the content. The ultimate goal of the algorithm is to show people content that they will like, that starts conversations and they actively seek out.”

It’s incredibly important to get engaged responses on your content before trying to add Facebook ads into the plan.

Interact with people when they do comment

Once you’ve got people commenting and relating to your posts, you want to spend time replying to them. Murphy suggests you try to reply with a question so they reply back to you. We want people to be engaging with you back and forth over a period of time. Facebook uses these interactions to learn the best types of people to promote your advertising to.

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“Make sure you show you are excited to be there. If you show up with frustration, a negative mindset impacts your creating and your tone,” Jo says.

I know from a user experience, I love brands that spark my desire to play. I want to be entertained, or have you feed my curiosity. As Jo puts it: “Think of it like your own town square, where people are coming to hang out and have fun.”

Email marketing is a lower-cost and highly effective way to get those returning customers.

Stephen Phillips/Unsplash

Email marketing is a lower-cost and highly effective way to get those returning customers.

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Use email and marketing automation to build relationships

Paid ads are great for both finding new people and getting past customers to come back. However, email marketing is a lower-cost and highly effective way to get those returning customers. It’s a good idea to invest your time into setting up your email marketing before adding in advertising.

As Jo says: “According to Shopify, the biggest source of sales last year during Black Friday was email.

“If you want to scale, you need to be investing in your loyalty pillar and investing in people who have already bought from you. Loving on your existing customers is something that people often don’t do enough. Email marketing is such a great way to show that love.”

Understand how Facebook ads are meant to work

If you don’t have a basic understanding of how advertising works for e-commerce businesses, you will either set them up wrong yourself or have them set up in a way that doesn’t best suit your business.

The way ads are set up for e-commerce businesses is completely different to service-based businesses. “Sponsored” posts or boosts should not be a key part of your advertising strategy, and if you are selling products, you should have a data feed between your website and Facebook, so your catalogue of products can show in Facebook ads.

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The way ads are set up for e-commerce businesses is completely different to service-based businesses.

Mike Scott/Stuff

The way ads are set up for e-commerce businesses is completely different to service-based businesses.

If you feel ready to find a freelancer or an agency to help you with Facebook ads, Jo has some important suggestions for finding the right fit.

  1. Make sure you understand them before you outsource them. Come from a place of “I’m not wanting to invest my own time into these anymore because I need time to drive the business forward” as opposed to “I’m scared of them and don’t want anything to do with them”.

  2. Outsource when you are ready to and can afford it, so you can choose the best person for your business, rather than the cheapest person out there.

  3. There is a huge range of options out there, and setting up and running ads takes a lot of time. “If the hourly rate works out to be $3.16, you know that something is being missed somewhere,” says Jo.

  4. Don’t be pushed into a deal or a contract. If the sales process is pushy, demanding, or talking at a level you don’t understand, it’s not going to be a healthy fit for you.

  5. If you find you love doing Facebook ads after you learn, you don’t have to outsource them at all. Owning a business is about choosing to keep some of the things you love doing. Facebook ads could be that thing!

  6. If you do want to outsource, the values fit of the person is really important. Take time to find the right person for you. They need to be able to use your brand voice and ‘get’ you and your business.

  7. Don’t feel like you have to stay with an agency forever. Businesses evolve and change at different rates. A good agency understands that and knows sometimes it’s time to make a change.

Facebook ads are a powerful add-on for many businesses. It’s just a great idea to get everything in place before you spend that budget.

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Rachel Klaver is a marketing strategist, specialising in lead generation and content marketing. She owns Identify Marketing, which works with businesses to create the strategy they need to tell their story better to the right people, and hosts the MAP IT Marketing podcast – created to help small business owners learn about marketing.

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Now people can share directly to Instagram Reels from some of their favorite apps

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More people are creating, sharing and watching Reels than ever before. We’ve seen the creator community dive deeply into video content – and use it to connect with their communities. We’re running a limited alpha test that lets creators share video content directly from select integrated apps to Instagram Reels. Now, creators won’t be interrupted in their workflow, making it easier for them share share and express themselves on Reels.

“With the shift to video happening across almost all online platforms, our innovative tools and services empower creativity and fuel the creator economy and we are proud to be able to offer a powerful editing tool like Videoleap that allows seamless content creation, while partnering with companies like Meta to make sharing content that much easier.”- Zeev Farbman, CEO and co-founder of Lightricks.

Starting this month, creators can share short videos directly to Instagram Reels from some of their favorite apps, including Videoleap, Reface, Smule, VivaVideo, SNOW, B612, VITA and Zoomerang, with more coming soon. These apps and others also allow direct sharing to Facebook , which is available for any business with a registered Facebook App to use.

We hope to expand this test to more partners in 2023. If you’re interested in being a part of that beta program, please fill out this form and we will keep track of your submission. We do not currently have information to share about general availability of this integration.

Learn more here about sharing Stories and Reels to Facebook and Instagram and start building today.

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FAQs

Q. What is the difference between the Instagram Content Publishing API and Instagram Sharing to Reels?

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A: Sharing to Reels is different from the Instagram Content Publishing API, which allows Instagram Business accounts to schedule and publish posts to Instagram from third-party platforms. Sharing to Reels is specifically for mobile apps to display a ‘Share to Reels’ widget. The target audience for the Share to Reels widget is consumers, whereas the Content Publishing API is targeted towards businesses, including third-party publishing platforms such as Hootsuite and Sprout Social that consolidate sharing to social media platforms within their third-party app.

Q: Why is Instagram partnering with other apps?

A: Creators already use a variety of apps to create and edit videos before uploading them to Instagram Reels – now we’re making that experience faster and easier. We are currently doing a small test of an integration with mobile apps that creators know and love, with more coming soon.

Q: How can I share my video from another app to Reels on Instagram?

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A: How it works (Make sure to update the mobile app you’re using to see the new Share to Reels option):

  • Create and edit your video in one of our partner apps
  • Once your video is ready, tap share and then tap the Instagram Reels icon
  • You will enter the Instagram Camera, where you can customize your reel with audio, effects, Voiceover and stickers. Record any additional clips or swipe up to add an additional clip from your camera roll.
  • Tap ‘Next’ to add a caption, hashtag, location, tag others or use the paid partnerships label.
  • Tap ‘Share’. Your reel will be visible where you share reels today, depending on your privacy settings.
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Q: How were partners selected?

A. We are currently working with a small group of developers that focus on video creation and editing as early partners. We’ll continue to expand to apps with other types of creation experiences.

Q: When will other developers be able to access Sharing to Reels on Instagram?

A: We do not currently have a date for general availability, but are planning to expand further in 2023.

Q: Can you share to Facebook Reels from other apps?

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A: Yes, Facebook offers the ability for developers to integrate with Sharing to Reels. For more information on third-party sharing opportunities, check out our entire suite of sharing offerings .

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What to know about Presto SQL query engine and PrestoCon

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The open source Presto SQL query engine is used by a diverse set of companies to navigate increasingly large data workflows. These companies are using Presto in support of e-commerce, cloud, security and other areas. Not only do many companies use Presto, but individuals from those companies are also active contributors to the Presto open source community.

In support of that community, Presto holds meetups around the world and has an annual conference, PrestoCon, where experts and contributors gather to exchange knowledge. This year’s PrestoCon, hosted by the Linux Foundation, takes place December 7-8 in Mountain View, CA. This blog post will explore some foundational elements of Presto and what to expect at this year’s PrestoCon.

What is Presto?

Presto is a distributed SQL query engine for data platform teams. Presto users can perform interactive queries on data where it lives using ANSI SQL across federated and diverse sources. Query engines allow data scientists and analysts to focus on building dashboards and utilizing BI tools so that data engineers can focus on storage and management, all while communicating through a unified connection layer.

In short, the scientist does not have to consider how or where data is stored, and the engineer does not have to optimize for every use case for the data sources they manage. You can learn more about Presto in a recent ELI5 video below.

Caption: Watch the video by clicking on the image above.

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Presto was developed to solve the problem of petabyte-scale, multi-source data queries taking hours or days to return. These resources and time constraints make real-time analysis impossible. Presto can return results from those same queries in less than a second in most cases, allowing for interactive data exploration.

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Not only is it highly scalable, but it’s also extensible, allowing you to build your own connector for any data source Presto does not already support. At a low level, Presto also supports a wide range of file types for query processing. Presto was open sourced by Meta and later donated to the Linux Foundation in September of 2019.

Here are some Presto resources for those who are new to the community:

What is PrestoCon?

PrestoCon is held annually in the Bay Area and hosted by the Linux Foundation. This year, the event takes place December 7-8 at the Computer History Museum. You can register here. Each year at PrestoCon, you can hear about the latest major evolutions of the platform, how different organizations use Presto and what plans the Technical Steering Committee has for Presto in the coming year.

Presto’s scalability is especially apparent as every year we hear from small startups, as well as industry leaders like Meta and Uber, who are using the Presto platform for different use cases, whether those are small or large. If you’re looking to contribute to open source, PrestoCon is a great opportunity for networking as well as hearing the vision that the Technical Steering Committee has for the project in the coming year.

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Explore what’s happening at PrestoCon 2022:

Where is Presto used?

Since its release in November of 2013, Presto has been used as an integral part of big data pipelines within Meta and other massive-scale companies, including Uber and Twitter.

The most common use case is connecting business intelligence tools to vast data sets within an organization. This enables crucial questions to be answered faster and data-driven decision-making can be more efficient.

How does Presto work?

First, a coordinator takes your statement and parses it into a query. The internal planner generates an optimized plan as a series of stages, which are further separated into tasks. Tasks are then assigned to workers to process in parallel.

Workers then use the relevant connector to pull data from the source.

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The output of each task is returned by the workers, until the stage is complete. The stage’s output is returned by the final worker towards the next stage, where another series of tasks must be executed.

The results of stages are combined, eventually returning the final result of the original statement to the coordinator, which then returns to the client.

How do I get involved?

To start using Presto, go to prestodb.io and click Get Started.

We would love for you to join the Presto Slack channel if you have any questions or need help. Visit the community page on the Presto website to see all the ways you can get involved and find other users and developers interested in Presto.

If you would like to contribute, go to the GitHub repository and read over the Contributors’ Guide.

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Where can I learn more?

To learn more about Presto, check out its website for installation guides, user guides, conference talks and samples.

Make sure you check out previous Presto talks, and attend the annual PrestoCon event if you are able to do so.

To learn more about Meta Open Source, visit our open source site, subscribe to our YouTube channel, or follow us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

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How to Interpret Webhook Components in the WhatsApp Business Platform

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The ways customers want to connect are changing. The WhatsApp Business Platform gives businesses an integrated way to communicate with customers right where they are. In order to integrate properly when using the Cloud API, hosted by Meta, you’ll need to leverage webhooks so applications have a way to respond to events. Webhooks allow your application to monitor three primary events on WhatsApp so you can react with different functionality depending on your goals.

This article looks at these three components, goes through the information they carry, and provides some use-case scenarios to give you an idea of the possibilities.

Interpreting Different Webhook Components

To send and receive messages on WhatsApp, it’s critical to keep track of statuses and errors to help ensure you’re communicating effectively with your customers, which you can do with webhooks.

With webhooks, the WhatsApp Business Platform monitors events and sends notifications when one occurs. These events are one of three components: messages, statuses, and errors.

Let’s explore each of these and examine examples of how you can use them.

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Messages

The messages component is the largest of the three event types and contains two core objects:

  • Contacts — which contain information about the message’s sender.

  • Messages — which provide information about a message’s type and contents.

These two event types allow your application to manage and respond to people that interact with your application. The contacts object contains two pieces of information: name and WhatsApp Id. The contact’s name allows your application to use their name without further lookups. In contrast, the contact’s WhatsApp ID lets you keep track of these contacts or use the contacts/ endpoint to add additional functionality.

For instance, you can verify the customer and start the opt-in process within the customer-initiated conversation, which allows you to message them outside the initial 24-hour response window. It’s important to note that only the text, contacts, and location message types provide contact information.

The message object is where the bulk of the information is stored, including the message contents, type of message, and other relevant information. Depending on the message type, the actual payload of the message component can vary widely. It’s crucial to determine the message type to understand the potential payload. Message types include:

  • Text: a standard text-only message

  • Contact: contains a user’s full contact details

  • Location: address, latitude, and longitude

  • Unknown: unsupported messages from users, which usually contain errors.

  • Ephemeral: disappearing messages

  • Media message types: contain information for the specified media file. These types include:

    • Document

    • Image

    • Audio

    • Video

    • Voice

These different data types can have very different uses, from reviewing images and screenshots from concerned customers to collecting information about where to ship goods and send services. To use these different data types most effectively, you can create applications to handle different forms of communication, with functionalities such as:

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  • Ask your customers to provide a shipping or mailing address. You can use the location-based message feature to capture your users’ location to determine where to send their goods and services.

  • Show customers products and communicate product details through a message. You can use the referred_product field within messages to offer your users specific product details. Using this field develops a more personal, conversational shopping experience and customer interactions.

  • Build support functionality that allows customers to take and send images and videos of product concerns, and submit those for a support case. Once the user has submitted a support ticket, the app can track the case — including steps taken towards resolution and conversations between support teams and the customer through WhatsApp — using a unique case identifier.

These are just some potential features you can build using the interactivity provided by webhooks and the message object. These features extend your current communication channels and provide additional options for customers.

Statuses

Where the messages component provides your application with insight into events that originate directly from your customers, the statuses component keeps track of the results of messages you send and the conversation history. There are six status components:

  • Sent: the application sent your message and is in transit.
  • Delivered: the user’s device successfully received the message.
  • Read: the user has read your message.
  • Deleted: a user deleted a message that you sent.
  • Warning: a message sent by your application contains an item that isn’t available or doesn’t exist.
  • Failed: a message sent by your application failed to arrive.

Status components also contain information on the recipient ID, the conversation, and the pricing related to the current conversation. Conversations on WhatsApp are a grouping of messages within a 24-hour window that are either user-initiated or business-initiated. Keeping track of these conversations is vital, as a new conversation occurs when you send additional responses after the 24-hour period ends.

Some functionality you may want to add to your application based on status events includes:

  • Ensuring your application has sent generated messages, they arrived, and the recipient potentially read them by using a combination of these status types and timestamps within the status object. This information allows your application to follow up with customers if they didn’t engage.
  • Keep analytical information about your application’s messages, especially regarding business-initiated conversations. For example, if your application uses a WhatsApp customer contact list to send offer messages, the status component helps you understand how many were sent, delivered, read, responded to, or failed to measure your campaign’s success.

Errors

Finally, the errors component allows your application to receive any out-of-band errors within WhatsApp that affect your platform. These errors don’t stop your application from compiling or working but are typically caused when your application is misusing specific functionality. The following are some typical errors.

Error Code 368, Temporarily Blocked for Policy Violations

If your application violates WhatsApp Business Messaging or Commerce policy, your account may be temporarily banned. You can monitor this and pause your application while troubleshooting.

Error 506, Duplicate Post

If your workflows unintentionally generate duplicate messages, you can monitor this to find the source.

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Error 131043, Message Expired

Sometimes, messages are not sent during their time to live (TTL) duration. Use this code to know which messages to schedule for resending if needed.

Error handling is a broad, complex subject, and there are many other use cases for which you should be implementing error handling. The errors component helps extend your error handling on the WhatsApp Business Platform for greater consistency.

Conclusion

This article took a high-level look at messages, statuses, and errors returned by webhooks and explored ways you can use these three components to expand your application’s functionality.

Messages provide information on customer interactions, statuses give insight into messages your app sends, and error notices enable you to increase your application’s resilience. Webhooks are critical to ensuring your app interacts with customers seamlessly.

The WhatsApp Business Platform’s webhooks provide your applications with real-time data, enabling you to build better experiences as you interact with customers. Ready to know more? Dive deeper into everything the WhatsApp Business Platform has to offer.

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