Personal Blog of Michael Erickson Facchin. Founder adbadger.com & searchscientists.com

Google File Stream is My Favorite App Right Now

Published a few months ago in Uncategorized - 0 Comments

I had an amazing external hard drive. I bought it in college. In college, you torrent everything and anything. 1TB in 2007 was a big deal. I was rolling in data. Photos, movies, music, everything – I was riding high.

That hard drive died on me a few years ago. I vowed to never again use a single point of failure external hard drive.

I had discovered DropBox in college too, and it was wonderful. I bought my 1TB on DropBox.

The frustrating thing: “Ugh, this is taking up so much space on my physical computer’s hard drive…I have to constantly select or deselect what I want to sync!”

Enter: Google File Stream.

When I introduce people to Google File Stream, they don’t understand. They’ve used Google Drive, or DropBox and the immediate difference isn’t clear.

Google’s own marketing is confusing.

Clinical
Tells me nothing

After being frustrated explaining Google File Stream to people, I’ll now direct them here.

Join me, friends, to the best file & backup systems out there.

File Stream 1: You Don’t Need to Selective Sync – Every File Natively Available on Your Computer

No more selective sync.

No more worrying about your cloud storage taking up space on your physical hard drive.

No more agony over anticipating your file needs, and then ticking boxes in an interface to use your files on your computer.

Those days are over.

You can view the entire cloud storage as if they are on your computer without taking up any space.

You no longer need to spend time downloading large files, editing them offline on your computer, and then re-upload to a web interface. Those days are done.

File Stream 2: The Files Take Up No Space On Your Computer

Want to buy 1TB, 5TB, UNLIMITED storage in the cloud? Great.

Want to use the files?

The old way meant picking what files you want to interact with on you computer, and ensuring you are hammering on selective sync.

With File Stream, the files take up no space on your computer. Which means, you can move through your files AS IF they were on your computer WITHOUT them taking up hard drive space.

File Stream 3: Stream is The Magic Word

File Stream downloads the files on your computer, when you click on them.

It’s fast. Here is a gif of me pulling up Episode 34 of the AMZPPC Den Podcast. This file is not on my computer. It takes up no space. It’s streaming. There is almost no delay. You can see it buffer when I move to a new time.

File Stream

I run on Google Drive. The ability to have access to over 500GB of files at an instant, without it taking up any space on my hard drive, on any computer, in a native Mac interface as opposed to web interface requiring me to download files and then upload after I’m done manipulating – is amazing.

10 Second Book Summary & Review: Killing Marketing by Joe Pulizzi & Robert Rose

Published 7 months ago in Book Notes & Reviews - 0 Comments

Book Summary For Killing Marketing:

My Review & Biggest Takeaway:

  • 4/5 ūüĎćūüĎćūüĎćūüĎć
  • I’m a huge fan of content marketing, and companies becoming mini-media-companies is something I’ve tried to practice for years.
  • My biggest takeaway: When producing content, focus on only two audience KPI’s at a time. Example: Organic Blog Growth and Email List Growth. Better to go deeper with traffic source + higher level engagement on that single traffic source than try and be on every social channel and every medium.

Book Notes & Review: Lost & Founder by Rand Fishkin

Published last year in Book Notes & Reviews - 0 Comments

I’m already a Rand Fishkin fan. I started this book after watching dozens of Whiteboard Fridays over the years. He was an inspiration in helping me find my own voice when it came to speaking. I regularly recommend this post on speaking.

So when I found out he wrote a detailed, full length book – I immediately grabbed the audiobook.

 

This is probably my favorite business book of 2018. It’s fun, insightful, and the storytelling is amazing. There were moments where I teared up, and moments where I was inspired. As someone who also worried about money, who battled with depression/anxiety, who also loves the craft of online marketing, who also tries to do business “the right way”, and who also has a service & SaaS in the industry (mine is PPC, and his is SEO) – this book is near & dear to my heart. You might not have million dollar breakthroughs (although you very well may…), but you will definitely be a bit more inspired to be a better entrepreneur.

I gave Lost & Founder 5 stars on GoodReads.

Lost and Founder: The Mostly Awful, Sometimes Awesome Truth about Building a Tech StartupLost and Founder: The Mostly Awful, Sometimes Awesome Truth about Building a Tech Startup by Rand Fishkin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

View all my reviews

 

 

My book notes are by no means a comprehensive summary. They are often dictated and captured by my cellphone. 

 

  • Starts up by using the great analogy of cheat codes and how if you know that you codes you can avoid some of the common pitfalls that people fall into for example raising your prices every year but grandfathering in existing customers is a great way to inspire loyalty and boost profits
  • He talks about how Moz is a middle-of-the-road tech startup which didn’t have billion-dollar exits isn’t Lyft or Uber or Tesla but instead is a B2B SaaS
  • Rand talks a lot about how most material written on startups is fantastical, over-the-top, and only talks about the 1% of edge cases – incredible successes or incredible failures. Most of the time, it actually not what media makes it out to be. Most people aren’t college dropouts. Most people who start startups are in their 30’s and 40’s.¬†
  • …the value of transparency and how sharing things that normally aren’t meant to be shared like business financials gross how talks with investors are going didn’t those things are typically pretty private but by making them transparent and sharing it with people it creates a much better culture it’s a great cheat code
  • When the Moz blog first launched, he was sharing a ton of information for insiders so that they could learn SEO then he found that the beginner’s guide to¬†SEO was one of the most valuable pieces of content that he had ever
  • Content, community, and reach…¬†Rand¬†really loved working with people helping them educate them¬†
  • Gross margin on software 70% vs service at 20%
    • 1-2x on service multiple
    • 3-8x on software
  • Services are great
    • Low capital risk
    • Cheaper salaries
  • Investors in saas
    • You will get diluted with¬†load¬†of investors and even if you are 3x bigger you may own 30% less
  • services have a much higher survivability¬†
    • 40 percent vs 20
  • Want to start a product?
    • Start with your consulting
    • Let your service fund your software
  • In generally talks about how service businesses are easy to get started don’t require loads and loads of marketing don’t require loads and loads of capital to get going and even in a lot of ways service businesses have the opportunity to be incredibly profitable for the calendar and not only that you can own more of a small business as opposed to owning less of a busy bigger business
  • Enable a vision
    • Rand¬†loves¬†SEO, but a CEO is a shitty job
      • Doing less than 5% of his time was actually¬†SEO
    • Discusses e-myth ( the idea that if you are passionate about your industry -, becoming CEO¬†let’s¬†you do that….it doesn’t)
    • “I want to do something that changes the world this way.” Is there¬†way¬†to look at¬†bring¬†CEO.
      • Rather than do the work I want to do..
    • When he was CEO, no one knew what to do, no one was communicating effectively.
    • Moz new CEO improved their systems massively
    • It took 6 years to get product planning right at Moz.¬†
    • CEO is a role of problem solver
  • Beware the pivot
    • Pivots only happen when things aren’t going well
    • Few¬†work.
    • Moz started by blogging, but picked a lot of good variables inadvertently…..seo¬†is hugely popular. Start with the right ingredients instead of switching later
    • He spent at least 1 hour a day writing
    • Execution is more fungible¬†then¬†the ideas
  • Companies carry their¬†founders¬†baggage
  • He wants people to think long and hard about receiving investment
    • Investors goals are almost never aligned with yours. Most don’t want you to build a profitable business. Most want to¬†you¬†sell.¬†
    • They may have a fund that they need to 3x over the next 10 years. Most¬†start ups¬†fail, so even a 5x ROI in your business won’t make them thrilled. They want massive exits only.¬†Usually¬†when things don’t go well, they replace founder
  • Growth hacks are hacks
    • They did a one time offer and it distracted them from¬†long term¬†growth
    • Stop growth hacking and start relying on repeatable Evergreen marketing flywheels one that is a little bit difficult to get started but then ultimately will operate in a frictionless environment
      • But importantly get better and more powerful over time
  • Values don’t make money
    • But they’re incredibly valuable
      • TAGFEE
      • Find people with the values already, people will not adapt
    • Diversity is a valuable advantage
      • To cultivate diversity, have a better hiring process, and support organizations that give underprivileged communities a chance. Like mom’s, and women, and minorities
  • Moz analytics
    • He wanted to unite everything with an analytics platform
    • Had to replace engineering team, be released a version that was buggy and incomplete, and it wasn’t what customers wanted.
    • Had 90k emails, thought 5% would convert
      • 97% delivered
      • 30% ctr
      • 18% free trial
      • 41% converted to paid
      • Only 2.3% paid for at least one month
    • Mistakes
      • Instead of small pieces first and scaling, they instead built mega software and then released
    • He was confident in his ideas, but never validated outside of himself
    • Always pare back into one element and then iterate on the fundamentals
      • Only release it broadly when that starting group loves it
    • CEO swap
      • He swapped with seer interactive
    • UpHe watched how seer used their tools
      • He thought that an all in one tool was good, but he was wrong
      • Reality¬†was incredibly different than what he assumed
      • It was so humbling
    • He¬†not uses¬†competitor¬†to to¬†try to understand everything
      • He wanted to consult. He really wanted to get his hands dirty.
      • Not¬†he¬†works with¬†non profits¬†or friends
      • I.e. FB not showing old photos of a dead child
    • Do more consulting it keeps you close to your customers
  • Do more lean startup stuff
    • But also don’t create a useless piece of crap
  • Rand mentions Catch-22 where if you sell your startup your cell out and that if you don’t sell you rewarded and he often thinks about the email or turn down a 20 + million dollar offer
  • Psychological safety is one of the most important factors in teams
  • They lost focus and it less to out of control spending and then led to layoffs
    • If he could do it again, he would have found a path to increase retention
    • They did 1on1 sessions and it was a dramatic improvement in retention
    • Multiple products dilute your brand
      • They didn’t have traction with¬†main¬†product, but then expanded to another product
    • Simplicity is powerful when you start
      • Really this is an attention strain on the metrics
  • Cheat codes for next time
    • The highs are worth the lows
    • Branding :¬†picking a better name for next time
      • Pick an easy name
      • Avoid confusion with any other company
    • Investment options are better now.¬†

Using Paid Social for Content Marketing: A Case Study

Today is April 21st. It’s a Saturday. It’s raining here in Austin, so instead of continuing the battle against the bamboo in my backyard (proof), I’m cozied up inside looking at Moz’s Youtube Channel. I half-started this process just to see how their Whiteboard Fridays were carrying on without Rand Fishkin.

While it wasn’t Rand, I did find a great piece of content.

I found Kane Jamison from Content Harmony talking about using paid social for content marketing.

…and I’m happy I saw it.

The video is incredibly relevant as we scale up content marketing at my companies, and can benefit almost every business creating content.

Let’s start with a summary of the video:

  1. Audience development (email & regular readership) is difficult. Most people won’t see your content who would be interested. Paid social can help.
  2. Different styles of content promo:
    1. Video as a teaser or sampler for the content: short animated video, or talking head video. Nice for team recognition.
      1. Tools: Soapbox by Wistia, BigView, Shakr, Promo by Slidely
      2. Create captions
      3. Could be cheaper than traditional image ad
    2. Create Lookalike Audiences based on website visitors or existing email list
      1. Do a 1% Lookalike with some additional filters
    3. Influencers:
      1. Bloggers, journalists, page managers: Use job title & broad title filters
      2. CPC will be a lot higher to reach them
      3. Share-CTA
    4. Retarget non-subscribers

Over the next month, we’ll be testing this strategy, and sharing the results here.

Using Paid Social for Content Marketing: The Study

Problem: Most people who would be interested in your content, won’t see it organically – on Google, or email, or social.

Solution: Use paid social for content promotion.

Potential ROI: Expand cookie-list, expand engagement audience, expand email list, grow readership.

Expected Learnings:

  • What are the campaigns to launch and on what platforms? Why those?
  • What kind of ads? Why those?
  • What’s the tone of the ads? Why?
  • How repeatable is this process?
  • What are extensions of this study that could be applied elsewhere?
  • How should we measure if this is effective?

Over the next several weeks, Jack (the content marketer at Ad Badger), will put this theory to the test to see if it’s worth it.

That’s all good, and I’ve got some initial thoughts:

  • Does he have examples of what kind of video is going to connect best?
  • What about the exclusion audiences?
  • Does it make sense to retarget everyone on my email list, too? Considering 60-70% won’t open a marketing message from an email list…
  • I know he mentioned FB primarily, but I also imagine Linkedin Video could do well. My friend and former mastermind-member Kiri Masters is doing great with her Linkedin Marketing (follow her if you’re an e-commerce¬†brand). Look at the difference between a standard social share VS video (both organic feed)

kiri masters linkedin

Compared to the organic video:

kiri masters linkedin video

28 likes vs. nine likes. It’s a smart assumption that talking-head video paid social promotion will have higher engagement (and thus cheaper CPC’s) than just a simple image.

So there is a good theory going that paid content promotion on social is a great amplifier to get your content read & watched. But what’s the actual business impact of this?

Putting Theory to the Test

Over the next few weeks, here’s what I’ll be working on:

Measurement:

I want to measure to see if paid content promotion leads to a cost-effective way to acquire new top of funnel (TOFU) leads to our Amazon PPC Software Ad Badger.

I am also well aware (as my friend & Search Scientists client will attest to [Eric Bandholz from Beardbrand], of the immense power of brand lift. Becoming the authoritative source of Amazon PPC information, tips & strategy is precisely what Ad Badger aspires to be. More people will be exposed to your brand, and when it comes time for them to seek additional information or make a buying decision, forming that relationship at the top of the funnel is what great companies do.¬† How do you measure brand lift? For this experiment, we’ll be looking at branded searches & follows on social.

This won’t be a perfect¬†experiment. I’m well aware that other activities will influence leads & brand awareness. To help isolate the data and form our experiment, I’ll be reaching out to Kane from that Moz video to get some additional insight into the strategy.

Contacting Kane on Twitter

Update: One Month In: Content Promotion

-May 20th, 2018

Baby steps.

This has been slow to start.

First, I decided to unify Search Scientists & Ad Badger marketing processes. Originally I thought we’d only be doing paid content promotion with one company, it makes sense to expand it out to both.

Organic Video Content Promotion on Linkedin

I was experimenting with uploading a native video to Linkedin discussing content. A few notes:

  • It was unique content. I didn’t simply share a video in the post itself already, and this wasn’t a double post of a video I also published on YouTube. The rationale here is you can talk directly to LinkedIn. Extra effort, but potentially worth it.
  • It was a native upload. I’m following the Facebook video protocol that native posts (posts uploaded through the platform, keeping people on the platform) gain more traction. The platform (in this case LinkedIn) wants to keep you on their platform, not redirect to your site or YouTube.
  • The 80/20 of this method is to probably repurpose a single video for YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and Linkedin. Perhaps apply some light editing for unique introductions on each platform.

Here is the post:

In addition to 28 likes & 11 comments (which is well over the average engagement for me), here are the full stats.

Linkedin Post StatsThis content repurposing led to an extra 1,412 views on me & my content.

The engagement in comments, new follows, new messages led to a few meetings I’m excited about to talk about Amazon PPC. Personal branding win.

Could I pay to promote this? Unfortunately not with my personal account on Linkedin. I spent years curating a list of almost 5,000 connections.

All their paid ad video offerings need to be run through a company page.¬† It’s something to experiment with.¬† I know this post started as a test for paid social content promotion, we landed on an organic technique that I couldn’t pass up.

Foundational Learning: I will continue to upload videos through my personal Linkedin. Averaging 10 videos a month at 1,500 views would yield an extra 15,000 views on my content Рfor free.

This video helped turn our “AdWords vs Amazon PPC” post to our most popular blog post (and infographic) of the last 30 days. It also ranks number 1 for “AdWords vs Amazon PPC”.

Paid Content Promotion on Youtube

Ad Badger Youtube Promotion. On Youtube, I decided to run a video ad that was less-personal more “Official Video”. I also only ran it to a retargeting list only.

paid ads on youtube

Not very exciting. Stats:

  • $0.21 cent CPV’s (On Youtube a view is 30 seconds compared to Linkedin 3-Second views)
  • I’m actually pretty surprised with the 17% view rate on a pre-roll video.
  • This was the video

Learnings for next time:

  • I like how the video was instantly catchy. In the first 5 seconds, there is something fun (The Badger), a personal greeting relevant to the audience (“In this video we’ll be talking about bidding on Amazon”). This is probably why the pre-roll (in-stream) ads were cheaper and got more engagement.
  • The “in-search” and “along-side” video got weak engagement. Probably due to its weak thumbnail & weak title.¬†¬†/Users/seth/Downloads/youtube thumnail.png
  • This paid content promotion’s only goal was for visibility and brand building. I wanted to increase eyes on quality content. 89 extra views (representing about 6% of the new retargeting audience we built for this), was fair for 20 bucks over the course of 2 weeks (about 1 dollar a day).
  • Before we launch something like this to cold traffic, I’ll want to have a better funnel strategy. Watch video 1, then take step 2. This project only had 1 objective: watch video.
  • Search Scientists video retargeting on YouTube was very similar in our results.

Foundational Learning: Spending a few dollars a day on retargeting video views as an authority builder is part of our mission to become a trusted source in the Amazon PPC space, so it’s something we’ll continue to invest in.

Paid Content Promotion on Facebook

On Facebook, we went with a very similar approach. We targeted all previous visitors and optimized for video views.

The video ad:

fb video ad

We ended up with 97 10-second views for 13 bucks.

video retargeting stats fb

How We’re Going to Improve Our Paid Content Promotion

More Talking Head Video

“Today, one of the best skills an entrepreneur or marketer can have is talking directly into their phone or webcam.” That’s a quote from a good friend who runs the terrific podcast Austin Brawner of Ecommerce Influence.

Proving his point – the organic videos I’ve been posting on Linkedin got more engagement than the YouTube or FB Ad videos we paid to promote.

Marketing on social is and should be a social experience.

For future posts it might be more effective (more reach & engagement) to record a short 1 minute talking-head video, as opposed to sharing the post itself.

Reward Strong Organic Posts with Paid Campaigns

Consistently spending thousands of dollars every month of paid content promotion – for the purposes of promotion, not lead generation – is a tough sell. I want to be more intentional about it.

Using a very basic optimization principle, we can identify the specific posts that are worth being promoted.

  • Post regularly on organic, email.
  • Develop a baseline level of engagement metrics.
  • Only pay to promote the most organically engaging content to a cold audience.
  • Since higher-engagement paid posts get cheaper cost-per-clicks (CPCs), we’ll maximize our marketing dollars by only rewarding already strong posts.

 

 

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