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Online Ads: Finding the Right Tool for the Job

Posted By Carie Schelfhaudt, McDougall & Duval Advertising, Monday, February 18, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Once considered the golden ticket to reach your target audience, print advertising no longer stands on its own. In this web-enabled world, most sensible media plans now include Internet advertising because people are on their computers, mobile devices and smartphones all day.

Though it may be more comfortable to advertise solely in the online counterparts of your favorite print publications, financial institutions that want to attract the most targeted audiences should consider Google and Facebook advertising. Both can open up a world of opportunities to increase market share based on user preferences, habits and locations, but which is better? When we break it down, you’ll see one is more effective in building brand awareness, while the other is better at promoting a specific product.

There are different schools of thought on whether Facebook can effectively promote products, or if it is primarily considered a tool for increasing top-of-mind awareness. While a great mortgage rate or an unmatched checking product can capture one’s eye in a Facebook ad, the social media giant generally falls short as an online avenue for product advertisements because Facebook users are typically not there to search for product information. They are more casual users.

However, for branding efforts, Facebook is the way to go. For starters, it offers the ability to target your ads based on specific user interests, fine-tuning your efforts and minimizing wasted views. Furthermore, a branding ad that is given adequate time on Facebook will be seen repeatedly by the same user, helping to build awareness of the company and its message — without the user ever clicking on the ad. Facebook advertising also gains greater credibility as user’s friends start liking the company page. And since, based on an average cost-per-click, Facebook ads are historically more affordable than Google AdWords. They are the more cost effective choice for an extended branding effort.

Google, however, excels when utilized for a new product launch. The Google AdWords Search and Display networks can show an ad at the exact moment that a consumer is looking for that particular product, or a closely related one. This is achieved by choosing keywords to match your ads with user search terms. In other words, when a user searches Google by typing in the keywords you have chosen, your ad will appear. This ability to capture consumer interest — as people are already actively searching for new products — makes Google AdWords a better choice for product promotions.

Tags:  adwords  facebook  online ads  PPC 

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Facebook Contests: How to Win at Your Own Game

Posted By Carie Schelfhaudt, Mcdougall & Duval, Saturday, February 4, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, November 19, 2013

If you love running contests on Facebook, listen up! You may be losing at your own game. It's alarming to discover the number of financial institutions that are violating Facebook contest rules and regulations in an industry where compliance risks have historically been of the utmost concern.

So, gather a list of your most recent contests and see if they sound similar to the violations below. You could be at risk of losing your page... and your valuable fan base!

Violation #1 Example: Like us to be entered to win ABC!

The simple act of liking a Facebook page cannot automatically enter fans into a contest or drawing. This is against the Facebook rule that states, "You must not use Facebook features or functionality as a promotion's registration or entry mechanism."

However, if you are running a contest on your Facebook page, you can require that customers Like your page as a prerequisite for entering a contest. This process, called fangating, means that fans will see one graphic before they click the Like button, and a second graphic to enter the contest only after they've clicked the Like button. Therefore, fans cannot enter into the contest until they have liked your page. The new Like does not automatically enter the person into the contest, but keeps the contest limited to Facebook fans only. This will help increase your fan count without violating Facebook rules.

Violation #2 Example: Comment on this wall post to be entered to win. Or, upload your photo to enter and the photo with the most likes will win ABC.

Similar to the rule that you cannot use the Like button on your Facebook page to enter fans into a contest, you also cannot use the comment box or the Like button on wall posts as entry or voting mechanisms for a promotion. Facebook rules strictly forbid running contests on the Facebook wall, and that includes entering, commenting, liking or uploading as ways to administer contests. These are all considered Facebook features and functionality.

The best alternative is to direct your fans to a Custom Contest Tab to enter into a contest administered by a third-party app. There are many of these apps on the market today. For a small premium, you can create a contest that is compliant with Facebook's Promotional Guidelines.

Violation #3 Example: Allison Davis, you are our winner! Look in your Facebook Messages to redeem your prize!

According to Facebook, you cannot notify winners through Facebook, such as through Facebook messages, chat, or posts on profiles (timelines) or pages. This does not mean that you can't tell your fans who won the contest. It simply means that you have to find an alternative way to notify the winner and award the prize, such as via email or phone. A custom notification tool is a standard feature with most third-party apps. Alternatively, you could host your contest on your website and direct fans to a custom URL to enter the contest.

But everyone's doing it, you say? Facebook certainly does not go out of their way to inform page owners of their contest guidelines, but they are out there, and not following them could put your page at risk for deletion.

If you're worried about teetering on the line of what is appropriate and what is not, be sure to read the complete list ofFacebook's Promotions Guidelines. And remember, Facebook contests, promotions and sweepstakes must include the following:

1. A complete release of Facebook by each entrant or participant.
2. Acknowledgment that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.
3. Disclosure that the participant is providing information to [disclose recipient(s) of information] and not to Facebook.

Continue the conversation online feel free to email me directly at with any questions or comments.

Tags:  contests  facebook  social media 

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5 Steps to Managing Privacy on Facebook

Posted By Carie Schelfhaudt, McDougal & Duval, Monday, July 11, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The social media revolution exists at the intersection of our personal and professional lives. Being socially immersed in the online world creates challenging boundary issues for workers whose jobs require them to be present in online communities, but hesitate to have their personal lives revealed with coworkers on the Internet. Blurring the lines between our working and personal lives could have negative ramifications if not treated with care. Choreographing a unique dance around the line between your work and personal lives will help to extinguish any concerns as we nudge into this new medium of communication.

Your Facebook friends are likely a carefully compiled mix of friends, family, coworkers and acquaintances. Because of this, the content you generate on Facebook may not be appropriate for all of your friend circles. For instance, you may not want to share photos from your high school reunion with the CEO of your company. If you've hesitated recently about hitting the accept button on certain friend requests, you may want to consider increasing your privacy settings.

Google+ (Google's "answer" to Facebook) has recognized privacy as a huge issue for adults in the working world and has created drag-and-drop friend circles to allow you to only share certain content within each friend circle. This feature allows you to have a diverse range of friends and simultaneously protects you from over-exposing your private life. However, what many consumers don't realize is that you can categorize your friends just as easily on Facebook. Here's how:

  1. Start by taking a good look at your current friends and those who want to be friends with you. Online and offline, we know people in different contexts and share information with them in that context, and sometimes that context alone. Have you not accepted certain friend requests? And for what reason? When you take a good hard look at your friends, you will realize the diverse mix of friends, family, coworkers and acquaintances, yet they all see the same information on your profile. Think about ways to group your friends based on the content that you are wanting or willing to share with them. If you really don't want every single one of your friends to be updated with photos of your anniversary barbeque or you think Aunt Helen will flinch if you post an edgy blog entry, creating friend lists will help you mind the gap between friend circles.
  2. Analyze the type of content you share with your online community. Do you often share pictures or videos that are appropriate for all parties? Start looking at your content from the perspective of your friends; through their eyes. Really try to understand why they friended you in the first place. Not only will your friends appreciate the gesture, but you will have the added benefit of protection from friends that you don't know as well as others.
  3. Start building simple friend lists. Choose friend lists/categories that are easy to remember. Don't get bogged down with too many lists because it will be hard to remember the privacy settings for each list. Two or three lists are usually sufficient. To access your Friend Lists from your Facebook homepage, click on "Friends," then "Manage Friend List." From here you can create a new list and add friends to that list. Once created, Friend Lists will be displayed in the left-hand navigation for adding or deleting friends. By default you will see a list of friends not currently on a list.
  4. To change the permissions for a friend list, click on "Account," then "Privacy Settings." From here you can click "Customize Settings" to see a list of the different content that is available for your friends and networks to see on Facebook. Selecting the "Customize" option from the dropdown menu for each area of sharable content will allow you to manually type in a list of friends that you would like to hide from seeing the respective content.
  5. Privacy settings change. Many times, they change with little to no notification. Be smart about the content you put on the web and be sure to check your work. Periodically view your page as others would to make sure that the security settings are still in place.

Continue the conversation online feel free to email me directly atcschelfhaudt@mcdougallduval.comwith any questions or comments.

Tags:  facebook  privacy  social media 

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