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Posted by Sonne Taylor on

A Glimpse At Two Ways To Think About “How Much Should I Post” and “When Should I Post”

I probably spend more time than I should these days working with in rooms that have TVs on in the background.

Which…is why when I noticed this.

I figured it was as good a time as any to talk about the two different ways I’ve seen people talk about how frequently they post and how much content they need to create in order to maximize distribution.

While much has been written about how decentralization works (Vitalik Buterin’s “The Meaning Of Decentralization”) and what it might mean for content distribution (I’m a fan of Meghan Keaney Anderson’s “Decentralized Content”) I’m starting to suspect that for many teams, the question of what these changes might mean for post volume are just beginning to come up.

There are probably more ways to think about this than just these two, and I’ve not really picked them for any reason other than being the two I notice teams discussing the most frequently.

I didn’t have a clip-maker handy at the time of writing, so I’ve linked directly to the relevant video clip. We’re interested in the spot between :05 and :25 or so, and we’re really only interested in a few seconds between :05 and :09ish.

There really isn’t any situation where you should see your organic reach fall to zero — on any platform.

Sometimes this gets a quizzical reaction.

I can understand why, it seems counterintuitive — especially when it seems like every other post you read about marketing is about an algorithm change that promises to destroy everything.

But say you wanted to do as Joe Scarborough says and find out if it’s true that when “you go back and look, Saturday mornings are usually the most chaotic times,” how might you do that?

It’d be pretty straight forward. You’d run the tweets and look at the timestamps and if the pattern was there, you’d spot it.

If you were following in real time, you’d have experienced it.

The truth is, there are always going to be people willing to go out of their way to find your content. In some cases these will be the people you know, in others it may be people you’ve engaged with in the past or your most loyal customers.

While you should always be looking to grow the size of the universe of people who check your page in this fashion, there isn’t much to be said about it. Consistently following best practices gets you there given time.

I think this sort of thinking is generally the right way to operate in today’s environment. One of my favorite articulations of the idea is Mike Sall’s “When Is The Best Time To Publish? Wrong Question.”

In some situations, you might be responsible for content that a larger percentage of people are willing to go out of their way for. You may encounter a situation where you need to coordinate impressions across platforms. A common example might be coordinating a post to go live at the same time a TV or radio ad airs.

In these sorts of situations, it isn’t uncommon to use a similar technique to make sure your impressions are translating into real views.

Collecting information about simple things (like when your audience is online) can make it possible for teams to measure the optimal window of time to post in. I’ve even seen teams that capture detailed information on commenters. The point here isn’t what you’re measuring as much as it’s striving to get an accurate read of who you’re communicating with.

Thinking this way, you post whenever you find the optimal window.

Thinking about what your users are doing when they are seeing your message is one really great example of using this sort of thinking in practice (figures prominently in WalktheChat’s “WeChat Posting Time.”) You can see a similar technique based on interactions in Chris Tweten’s “How To Calculate When To Post On Instagram.” The truth is, you could probably come up with an approach like this for just about any metric you could isolate.

I mentioned earlier that I’d only explore those two schools of thought, but I wanted to briefly note the existence of one more, because the truth is that in some circumstances, this level of scrutiny really is overkill.

If, for example, you only post about or around events, this is likely something that you aren’t ever going to need to worry about. By only posting about specific events, you’re already performing this sort of curation — you can post whenever there’s an event you should post about, in whatever format gets the best engagement for the effort required.

But it’s important to recognize that the only reason that exception exists is because there are people who will go out of their way to find content about an event. Were it to not be the case, you would simply alter your thinking accordingly.

A Glimpse At Two Ways To Think About “How Much Should I Post” and “When Should I Post” was originally published in Notes On Digital Marketing.

Posted by Sonne Taylor on

Why Isn’t Anyone Clicking My Ad?

The Problem With Performance Based Pricing Models

Over the past few weeks, I’ve grown increasingly uncomfortable with client deals structured around metrics like cost per click. It’s probably a little out of character, but as these alternative arrangements gain popularity, it feels worth pointing out that we may still have a few things left to work out.

Metric based pricing is one of the more promising precursors to performance based pricing. Structuring a deal around a metric (in theory) makes for better alignment between in-house teams and out-of-house talent. When everyone can agree who is responsible for what (the argument goes) it’s easier to hold individual players accountable for their performance.

The appeal of results-driven evaluation is kind of hard for a perfectionist to learn to ignore. As such, we’ve used variations of performance based pricing over the past few years to varying degrees of success.

I want to love this pricing model. It makes so much more sense. It spares my production team from having to explain the rules of one genre or another to an uninterested client. It spares my accounts team from hours spent churning out reports no one will ever read (we check.) It spares my clients from the ambiguity that comes when picking between poorly differentiated service providers. It has so much potential.

The truth is, in its current form, click based pricing can’t work.

For the sake of example, I’d like to paint an exceedingly simple picture.

Let’s say you’ve been managing a Facebook page that has 1,000 likes. Organic posts are seen by about 100 people. Each post generates 1–2 clicks.

Those are actually pretty decent numbers. A 10% organic reach is a feat, and 1–2 clicks for 100 reach would be 1–2% CTR. Could always be better, but you’d be right to be satisfied.

Let’s say for the sake of example that you aren’t and you draw up a post promotion ad. You target 100,000 people near your business who are interested in one of your larger competitors.

Your promoted post reaches 5,000 additional people and generates 50 clicks.

How do you feel?

If you’re a small business owner, you’re probably angry you didn’t get the number of clicks you were expecting.

If you’re an advertiser you’re probably excited that your ad scaled perfectly.

The trouble with a click-based pricing model is that in this situation, neither the advertiser nor the client are having the wrong reaction.

The perspective of the advertiser is easiest to speak to. When you’re promoting a post, you have a little bit of a leg up. Because you know how the post has performed historically, the only trick is figuring out the extent to which that performance is a function of the page’s audience. If you can correctly identify the larger subset of the population the post needs to be shown to, you just need to make sure that the metrics are in keeping with the reference value. As you do this, you’re able to grow the reach of an ad without compromising the performance.

The perspective of the business owner is slightly more challenging to unpack, but I think at its simplest it’s important to remember that very few people elect to work with a specialist who creates more problems than they solve.

When you’re working with someone to promote your business, it’s hard to hear that the reason your ad didn’t get the number of clicks you were hoping for is that your website isn’t loading fast enough or you need to try a different graphic, but the truth is these aren’t “opinion” statements anymore, any agency that was willing to sign a performance or metric based agreement likely has the data that’s pointing clearly towards whatever problem you’ve got.

Off-hand I can think of six or seven factors that might influence the performance of a clicks campaign. The ask in the ad, the message, the creative, the targeting, the load time on the landing page, and even the popularity of the page promoting the post can all influence performance.

The truth is a complete list would easily push this post into unreadable territory. But I think it’s enough of a list to highlight a problem.

You can’t evaluate someone’s impact on a metric unless they’re empowered to influence the factors that contribute to that metric.

In-house we have the capability to address each of those elements, but accommodating scope creep in performance based agreements is a new kind of problem.

And for that matter, one I’m not sure I’ve seen a good solution for.

Why Isn’t Anyone Clicking My Ad? was originally published in Thoughts On Best Practices.