I know some bloggers out there are naturally (or are trained to be) phenomenal photographers, fantastic photo editors, or experts in graphic design. I am not one of those bloggers. Not even a little bit. My sister was granted that gift, not me. I’m actually famous in my family for always accidentally cutting off the top part of my dad’s head in all the family pictures I took.
I excel at the written word, not so much in creation of stunning images.
So, for those of us like myself who lack some creativity and skill in this area, there’s the struggle of finding really spectacular images to use in our blog. After all, images are good for SEO and are important to getting users to click on the blog post, and to keep reading it. The solution for us non-photographer bloggers? Stock photos.
But those suckers can get expensive, fast. You start paying chunks of money to different sites to get images that sometimes the client will reject and that you don’t get paid for. That one’s always particularly fun. While a few dollars per image isn’t much (and sometimes it can be factored into the cost you charge), it adds up very quickly, especially when you’re putting out multiple posts in a week.
The solution to this problem: free stock photos. When I first started blogging, I searched high and low for free stock photos, and couldn’t find any. Even the sites that popped up on Google as “free stock photos” were never free and were a few dollars a pop.
Finally, I found these amazing sites that offer truly free stock photos that you don’t have to pay a cent for. Some sites will require you give credit on the image when you post it, but some don’t even ask that. I’ve used each of these sites multiple times (a lot of them on other blogs covering everything from wedding cakes to fishing techniques), and I’ve always had great results.
These images go beyond the use of bloggers, too; they can be used by web designers, for professional projects, printed works (in most cases), and (again, in most cases) ads like Facebook Ads online.
I think the last four blog posts I’ve posted on this site have featured images that came from Unsplash. Their high resolution pictures are all stunning and easily beat out a large number of stock photos that you actually pay for on other sites. They look professional, and their free. They just ask you subscribe so they can send you images to your inbox once a week, and they add ten gorgeous new pictures every ten days.
You are free to “do whatever you want” with these images—no credit or links back need to be given. They are 100% free to use however you wish, and they are at the very top of my list.
PicJumbo is another great site, and easily ranking in as my second most frequently used site, right behind Unsplash. It was created by a web designer who understands the industry’s need for high quality images in full resolution and offered up his own images for free to use how you see it (except reselling them, of course).
Attribution and credit is not required, though it is appreciated. As he says, anytime these sites are getting more traffic and downloads, it means that they keep providing more content to their growing audience. Win-win for everybody.
While Picjumbo has a ton of great images for free, you do have the option of purchasing a premium package for only $6 a month (and all the bloggers out there know that this is nothing—some sites want that just for a single image) for extra hi-res images, some of them unpublished, sent right into your inbox.
Pixabay features those really awesome images, some of which are stunning photographs and some graphics that are created by some seriously skilled graphic designers. They do feature a few images under each category that you have to pay for from another site, but don’t be fooled—everything else is free.
You can use these images without any kind of credit or attribution, so again, these images are completely free for you to use however you see fit.
Another site with page after page after page of beautiful images that are all completely free is StockSnap.io. They are constantly adding tons of new pictures to the site daily, increasing their variety and making sure that every time you come back to the site, there will be new images you can use.
StockSnap doesn’t require any credit or attribution when you use their images.
Gratisography offers even more breathtaking, “use as you please” high resolution pictures for free, though there is a place to contribute to the site’s “coffee fund,” which is one of the most awesome ways to ask for donations I’ve ever seen.
All images on the site are 100% free from copyright restrictions. Post away on commercial projects!
Dutch interaction designer Folkert Gorter created SuperFamous—a Los Angeles based studio—and the site that shares its incredible work. This is another great site with page after page of stunning pictures (I know, I’ve said that about all these sites, but it’s true).
Unlike almost all the other sites on this list, SuperFamous still offers their images for free but does require credit and attribution for them when you post them. If you’re curious about the legality of all this, check out the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license for more info.
You now have a ridiculously large number of gorgeous photographs and graphics all at the click of your mouse—for free! These sites make it easier to do my job, and to do my job well. Hopefully it can help you do the same!
Even when the sites don’t require it or ask for it, giving attribution and credit wherever possible is always good. It’s an act of goodwill and saying thank you; it sends them more traffic, which in turn allows them to create more images.
Where do you get your favorite stock photos from? What do you use them for? Leave us a comment and let us know!
Reliable On- and Off-Site Methods to Get More Likes on Facebook
So you’ve created a great Facebook Page. You’ve filled out all the information, uploaded great images to draw attention, and flooded your Page with interesting, original content and posts. You’ve even got a few likes.
But then there’s the dreaded stagnant feeling. You’re stuck, and you can’t seem to connect with new users.
So how do you promote your Facebook Page?
There’s a variety of methods you can actually use to promote your Facebook Page that are all Facebook-approved and won’t result in getting your Page shut down. Some you do have to pay money for, but most of them cost absolutely nothing except a bit of time.
To help you get more likes on your Facebook Page, we decided to share our 5 easy, reliable, foolproof methods to promote your Page on Facebook.
1. Promote It Everywhere
Your Twitter, your Instagram, your website, your own profile page. Post the link to your Facebook everywhere. The more places it’s listed, the more people who see it, and the more who will click.
Got business cards? Put the address to your Facebook fan page there, too.
Do you have an e-mail list? Send out an e-mail announcing your Facebook Page and inviting them to share it. These are users already interested in you, who have a rapport with you. Make it easy by putting a link for them to click, and watch your likes go up.
Anywhere you have a presence and would advertise your business, advertise your Facebook Page.
2. Make It Easy to Access and Share To and From
Don’t just share a link to your Facebook on your site; make it a prominent part of what users see. This can boost engagement in addition to likes.
On your site, if applicable, install a Facebook widget that allows a glimpse of your Newsfeed to show up on your main site.
Also make sure—again, if applicable—that you have those handy Facebook buttons at the top of your Page or in a prominent place that say “like or share on Facebook.” While this will likely send traffic to your site, your name is still getting exposure, and that can help promote your Page, too.
3. Facebook Ads
It’s not free, and it’s really not cheap, but it’s one of the most effective ways to guarantee that your Page is going to have a lot of eyes on it.
You can choose to run campaigns on Facebook Ads just for the sole purpose of getting likes on your Page, though I personally prefer to advertise Pages by using the promoted posts objective under Facebook Ads. Pick some of your strongest content and see how well it does through Facebook Ads.
Yes, we’re all tired of hearing it, but organic reach is declining. It can be harder to reach even the users you’re already connected with.
If you’re new to Facebook Ads, make sure you take a look at our Beginner’s Guide to see how best to promote your post, and don’t forget to sign up for a trial of our FB Ads Formula.
4. Share Content from Well-Known Pages… and Tag Them
This is content sharing that is mutually beneficial, in addition to—ok yes— maybe having an agenda.
No matter what industry you’re in, it’s pretty much guaranteed that there are a couple big Pages in it that have huge, well-established audiences.
If you share their content, this gives you a reason to tag them in your posts, and while there’s no guarantee, there may be some fans (who you already know are interested in your field) who see your post and click, bringing them right to your Page.
5. Get Your Fans to Promote It For You
This can be one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal when you’re trying to promote your Facebook Page.
When I was buying my new car last year, every single car salesmen I talked to promised that they alone could get me the car of my dreams for the best price out there, even though only one of them actually worked to get me just that (for all of you around Orlando, Fernanda at AutoNation was incredible). I didn’t believe any of them; after all, are you going to believe the person who just wants to sell you something?
A few months later, one of my coworkers was buying a new car, and she wanted a Honda like I’d bought. I referred her to Fernanda, and she went right there and bought a car from her without question. You know why? Because I wasn’t trying to sell her something, and she knew me, and she trusted me. I had nothing to gain from helping her.
It’s the same idea (at slightly lower stakes than a $20,000 car purchase, admittedly) when you get your fans to promote your Page for you. Of course you’re going to say how awesome and incredible it is; it goes a lot further when a user says the same to their friends.
The best part is that they don’t necessarily have to go out of their way to promote your Page. They can do that just by interacting on your page by leaving a comment on a post, because it will show up in their friends’ Newsfeeds. You get a comment, and you have a vote of approval.
One of the best ways to get fans to promote your Page is if you give them content worth sharing. If you post images, content, or links that are interesting, informative, controversial, funny, or newsworthy enough, they’re likely to get a lot of engagement—most importantly, shares. And sometimes those shares on a link will get more clicks and engagement that your original post, exposing you to even more new users.
You can also host a Facebook contest to promote sharing. One of my favorite restaurants, Hawker’s Asian Street Fare in Orlando recently did this; if you shared their video of a new menu item, you could win one for you and a friend. They had hundreds of shares every day, and a ton of new likes on their Page as a result.
No matter what you choose, just remember that Facebook is punishing like-gating, so motivating users towards likes on your Page without asking for them explicitly is the way to go.
How do you promote your Facebook Page? What’s worked for you? Share your strategies and success stories in the comments below!
This is a true story. Brace yourself, ‘cause it’s a doozy.
We utilize sites like Yahoo Answers to send traffic to our site; I’ll answer questions about social media or internet marketing and provide a relevant link to one our blog posts with more detailed information. It helps a relevant audience find us, particularly when we can help them most, and it sends traffic to our site. It’s a win-win for all parties involved.
Unfortunately, to find questions relevant to what we do, this means going through dozens upon dozens of questions that often resemble “help, my mom won’t let me use my Facebook” and “how do you know if your crush is looking at your Facebook page,” most of which are typed all in caps with some fairly extreme punctuation.
I recently stumbled upon a question from a sixteen year old who was asking people to log in to her account since her mom wouldn’t let her, to check a response from her fiancé, and to let her know what it says back on the very public Yahoo Answers. She actually posted her password on the site (it was real password, and a real account, I checked).
Of course someone “hacks” into her account, changes her picture, posts a bunch of horrible things (they took screen shots), and changed her password so she couldn’t access it again. They then changed the password to her e-mail address (it had the same one), and likely had access to a ton of even more private information through her e-mail. I watched all this go down over about ten minutes. After he’d entertained himself, he posted a new password for her. She immediately deleted the entire thread.
While this is a more extreme case, and the person in her account was most likely just playing a prank instead of actually being truly dangerous, it did raise some alarm bells about how much of our lives—and our safety—we sometimes put in social media sites like Facebook.
Whether we give strangers access to our accounts via handing over passwords or, more likely, over-sharing or having lax privacy settings, there’s a lot of ways users are putting their safety at risk on the social media site, opening their door to crime online and in real life.
We’ve become so reliant on social media sites like Facebook we forget how dangerous they can be. You can easily and accidentally give strangers– sometimes danger ones– a look into your entire life. It’s scary to think about how much of your life strangers can see from the other side of the screen.
To protect yourself and your information on Facebook, make sure you follow these 6 rules (and remember the stories that come with them) to stay safe.
1. Share Only with Friends
There are different levels of security and privacy settings on Facebook, but it’s always heavily recommended to only allow your friends access to what you show on your profile. This includes pictures, posts, and your personal information.
In order to adjust your security settings, go to the drop down menu at the top right, the same place where you would log out. Scroll down to settings.
Once the settings page opens, go to privacy settings. From here, you can make sure that only your friends are seeing your information that you post.
2. Avoid Over-Friending
Sometimes it’s hard to turn people down when they send you a friend request. Maybe you have mutual friends, or you kind-of-sort-of knew them once, or maybe they just look friendly. It doesn’t matter. If you don’t actually know them, don’t add them. If you have those types of friends on your profile now, go delete them.
All those security settings that you have set so that only your friends can see your information become null and void when you start adding strangers or vague acquaintances to your friends list. Keep your Facebook for people you actually know in real life to reduce any threats to your safety.
3. Don’t List Personal Information
A surprising number of people list extremely personal information like their addresses and phone numbers on their Facebook. Most of them argue that they’ve made sure only their friends can see this information.
But is that guy who sits in the corner of your chemistry class that you talked to once so you friended on Facebook really someone you want to have your address? Would you give him either your home address or your phone number? Probably not, and though you may not think of it that way, he now has both.
Particularly when you combine listing personal information with anything other broken rules from this list, you’re setting yourself up for trouble. While a lot of people don’t realize how big of a deal it is, it can be a major security hazard, and keeping it to yourself is the way to go.
4. Keep Your Plans to Yourself
When you’ve got a vacation or a particularly exciting outing coming up, it’s understandable that you want to shout it out to the whole wide Facebook world. It’s better to resist the temptation.
About a year ago, my neighbor posted on Facebook how he was excited to leave for a weekend vacation the next day, but how much he’d miss playing his brand new expensive gaming console with the dozens of games he’d gotten for his birthday. Oh, and he’d miss the enormous, top of the line TV they just bought.
Guess what? The next night, my dog woke me up snarling at the front door. I looked outside and couldn’t see anything, but at about two AM and home alone I heard the distinctive rattle of someone trying to open my (thankfully locked) front door. My dog started jumping on the front door and barking, and by the time I got there, no one was to be seen and the cops couldn’t find anyone.
Low and behold, the next day someone realizes the neighbor’s back window was shattered. Cops were called, the neighbors vacation was ended abruptly, and they came home to find that every expensive electronic in the house had been taken and nothing else. Call me crazy but I don’t think it was a coincidence.
So, to recap: the neighbor posted when he was going to be gone in the same post describing all of his wonderful, expensive objects just sitting there waiting to be stolen like they were ripe for the picking. He got his house robbed, and he put the rest of our neighborhood at risk, too.
Whether you’re going to be gone for just a few hours or for a month, post about it afterwards—not before.
5. Keep Sensitive Information Off Facebook Entirely
I once had a friend who sent her husband her bank account number, password, and log in through Facebook’s private message system. It was only going to be seen between the two of them after all, right?
A few weeks later her Facebook got hacked and, you guessed it, some crazy things were happening in that bank account a few days later. Fortunately they were able to track the guy who hacked his way in and it all worked out ok, but you get the idea. There have also been reported problems of some naked photos sent via Facebook’s messenger appearing in other unwarranted places online.
Facebook is hardly Fort Knox, particularly when you consider that most users’ passwords are the same basic passwords (pets names, etc) that they use for everything else online. Sending any sensitive information through a Facebook message isn’t a good idea and can lead to security problems down the line.
6. Don’t List Your Full Birthday
When you call a doctors office to talk about a health concern or prescription refill, what do they ask for to confirm your identity? What about when you call your insurance company? Or just about any other institution that has secure, private information about you and your life?
They ask for your full name, and they ask for your birthday. Every now and then they’ll ask for a home address, but anyone with Google and some barely-developed search skills can figure out an address nine times out of ten.
If you want to have your month and date of your birthday listed, that’s fine. Just skip the year to help protect your information, and make sure that only your friends can see the month and date.
Check What Other Users See on Your Profile
If you want to double check that your security and privacy settings are functioning as you think they are, there’s a way to do that.
When you go to your profile, next to your cover photo you’ll see an ellipses next to the “View Activity Log” option. Click on the ellipses. It’ll give you the option to “view as.”
You can view your profile as a specific friend, or you can view your profile as the public sees it. This way you can make sure that you aren’t accidentally sharing any information you don’t want to.
Facebook is a fantastic tool for entertainment, communication, networking, marketing, and even business purposes. We just have to remember to stay safe on Facebook while we’re using it.
Don’t forget to make sure you’ve logged out of your account when you use a public computer or a friend’s computer to access Facebook. Not only does leaving your profile open on a public computer put all of your information at risk, it puts your friends information at risk too, because a stranger now has access to everything they’re posting, too.
To check where you’re logged in, go to the security settings, and scroll down to “where you’re logged in.” Click on it.
You can see every device you are currently logged into, and, if necessary, “end activity” and log out that device from this screen.
You’ve now heard a few of my crazy Facebook stories. Do you have any to add to the list?
New Update : Now after using Rignite since summer of 2014, we can share real results showing some nice growth in social media traffic in part by using this tool.
You can clearly see some nice gains in part from Rignite automatically sending out social media updates to our fans & followers.
I’m big on automation and growth and I’m sure you are too.
Online, content, and social media marketing, as we all know, has a lot more to it than just running a basic ad and immediately seeing results. It’s a big task, one big enough that companies have started hiring staff members (sometimes multiple staff members) to be responsible for different aspects of managing campaigns.
What Is Rignite?
Rignite is a program offering cross-platform integration and evaluation. It is a subscription-based service that allows you to manage and monitor social media marketing campaigns and activity across your social media sites in one place. They have a two ready-made plans, but can create a custom package to fit your needs.
What Rignite does:
Walks you through the steps of creating campaigns that can be run on Facebook and Twitter simultaneously.
Lets you automatically or manually schedule your posts, either individually or as a series.
Uploads your pre-set posts automatically to your separate social media sites.
Provides highly detailed analysis of your campaigns so you can monitor your success and results.
Lets you establish goals for campaigns (such as gaining 100 likes on a post) and informs you when you’ve reached them.
Makes your Facebook and Twitter contests utilizing engagement easier than ever to create and manage. Really. It’s incredible.
Monitor activity and engagement on your posts.
Work as a team more effortlessly. You can distribute individual cases for your team to manage, assigning different team members to respond to particular users on your social media sites.
Create and Schedule Campaigns
This is easily our most used feature on Rignite as of yet.
The site makes it easy to create campaigns, including time frames, scheduled posts, and alternative posts to be included in it.
In order to create a campaign, click on the plus sign next to the “My Campaigns” heading.
After you do so, Rignite will prompt you to choose what type of campaign you want. You can choose between promoting an event, blog, or content; boosting engagement; and growing fans and followers. Each of these categories has a subcategory, as seen below.
Our most used choice is to schedule a series of posts in which we promote our individual blog posts.
Once you’ve made your choice, Rignite asks you to choose which networks you want to use for this individual campaign. You can choose to use multiple platforms or just one. Keep in mind that even during one campaign, you will get to make separate posts for each platform.
In Step 2, you are asked to create a name and description for your campaign, as well as selecting a time frame. As noted in our post explaining our content marketing strategy, we run all of our blog posts twice a week for six months.
You can then choose to add a link to your campaign; in this case, we provided the link to the blog post. You can also decide whether or not you want to enable Google Analytics URL tracking.
Step 3 involves creating the actual posts that will be uploaded to Twitter and Facebook. You can create separate messages for Facebook and Twitter, or copy and paste so that they are the same.
You can also add up to 3 different posts for each platform. We always do at least two. Not only does this keep Twitter from blocking a duplicate post (which it will do if they’re posted back to back), but it gives the same article separate descriptions that might appeal more to different people. Using more headlines gives you a chance to advertise your content in multiple exciting ways. Rignite will automatically rotate your messages when posting, giving you one more thing less to worry about.
After creating the posts that will appear on your pages, you choose how often you want your post to appear. Again, we run our blog posts twice per week for six months. You choose this for both Facebook and Twitter separately.
When you hit next, Rignite automatically schedules your posts for you.
If you’re unhappy with their suggested scheduling, you can manually reorder the timing of your posts, with posts appearing on Facebook and Twitter being separate from each other and able to be moved separately.
After your campaign is scheduled just the way you want, you choose when you want to be notified. I always choose before both the start and end of campaign, but for some campaigns (like when we run a contest) I’ll choose to have a notification sent before each post to make sure it’s still relevant.
The notifications come to your e-mail, so if you ever forget to check in at Rignite, they won’t let you forget anything important no matter how hard you try.
Step 7 prompts you to review your campaign before you start it. It is easier to make overall changes at this stage, so review all the information and make sure everything is correct. Rignite reviews are concise and detailed, leaving no stone unturned.
After you’re happy with how everything looks, press the green Kickoff button at the bottom.
Congratulations! That’s how easy it is to set up and schedule a six month, individual content marketing series of posts for your campaign. There’s no having to remind yourself to repost your content and keeping track of what gets posted where and when. You don’t have to think twice except to monitor its results.
Host a Contest
One option provided when you first start to create a campaign is to boost engagement. Under that category you’ve got fans engaging on social media to win a prize and fans entering a contest to win a prize.
In another post we discussed how to successfully host a contest on Facebook. Rignite makes it easier than ever to set up a contest and to monitor it along the way.
In Step 1 of this type of campaign, you are asked to choose what platform the contest will actually be on. You must choose either Facebook or Twitter to host the contest on, though you can promote it cross-platform. We chose Facebook.
Step two, as with the above campaign, asks you give a title, description, and timeline for this campaign. For this contest, we’re giving a span of two weeks—long enough to allow people to see it, but short enough that it stays in everyone’s mind and encourages people to post immediately.
Step 3 asks you to select a prize, as well as to choose whether you want people to like your post or comment on it. You are required to choose how many people can win the prize, and your desired number of entries.
Rignite automatically creates a message that can be posted to advertise your contest, which you can edit to your heart’s desire. Having a preset template, whether you edit it or not, definitely keeps you from forgetting to add something important (like the date the contest ends).
The next few steps takes you through setting a schedule, how many times you want your post to appear, notification options, and review before kickoff.
Once your contest is up and running, Rignite will notify you once your goal has been met. Once your contest is up, it will also show you the list of possible winners, allowing you to manually choose or randomly select a winner. See? I told you it was easier than ever.
While your contest is running, you can use cross-platform promotion (aided by Rignite) and promoted posts on Facebook to maximize visibility and increase user engagement.
After you’ve set up your campaigns, you can check detailed analysis on each individual campaign separately day after day.
You get to evaluate your campaign reach in a graph that shows you Twitter reach and Facebook impressions. This shows you how many people have actually seen the content Rignite has posted for you.
You see engagement by day, including retweets, replies, comments, and shares.
You can see my personal favorite, shortlink clicks by network. As a content writer, this really let’s me know which of my posts (and how I describe them) is most appealing to our followers and what they’d like to see more of. This kind of feedback is incredible and has already helped me focus in on what content our users want. Especially since we’re working hard on our content marketing strategy, I cannot overstate how helpful this has been.
Finally, you can see engagement by post. This, again, can help you hone in on what content (and perhaps even what times or days) are most effective with helping you connect to your audience. Rignite reviews how much engagement comes with each post so you can see trends over time.
If you set up more than one campaign at a time, you can see which are more successful. We’ve gotten an insight into what type of blog posts our followers are most interested in reading by evaluating engagement and clicks.
This is a great chance to evaluate how your target audience responds to different styles of messages as well. If you create different posts for the same campaign and one has vastly better results, you can evaluate why one individual post worked and the other didn’t when, at the end of the day, the link behind it was still the same.
You can see this clearly in the last graph above. As I only used two messages in that particular campaign, I can see that one message was more successful in getting likes compared to the other. This information makes our future campaigns much stronger.
This offers massive growth and learning opportunities that aren’t always as readily available with even the incredible data Facebook provides.
This is a feature that makes working with a multi-person (and in a multi-location) team much easier. I am two time zones away from my closest team member and Rignite’s social collaboration software has made it much easier for our team to work on single campaigns together.
You can assign your staff members individual cases of specific interactions that happen on your social media sites. You can ask that one member follow up with someone who retweeted an article or shared it on Facebook, and they can respond under the name of your page.
You can assign cases as open cases, waiting for reply, or closed cases. As multiple members of your team are interacting with your fans and followers, you can see who’s responding to what and how, as well as making sure all your bases are covered.
Everything is all in one place, organized in a way that you can see what still needs to be done—and so can your team.
See Your Schedule
This a simple, self explanatory feature, but it’s a really nice one.
We’re currently running several campaigns at once with that number currently going up. Having a ready made schedule makes it even easier to keep track of our campaigns, not just individually, but as a whole. We can view the overall scope of our entire campaign, seeing pieces as they fit into the puzzle.
Rignite Review Conclusion
In our last post, we discussed our content marketing strategy and we mentioned Rignite. Sharing our blog posts and videos across all platforms is an essential part of that strategy, and Rignite has helped us get the results we want. Since they offer a 14 day free trial, I would strongly advise everyone working with marketing on social media or content marketing in any way to see if you think it will be a tool that can help your business. It has definitely helped ours.
When we signed up, a member of Rignite’s team took us through each aspect of what the site can do, making sure we didn’t have any questions. They helped us make sure that Rignite was the right choice for us, and have continued to stay in contact with us and make sure our campaigns are going just the way we want.
And they are. Between Rignite’s great tools and their analysis, we’ve been able to improve our content going out to better fit our fans’ needs as well as making sure it’s getting seen by—and engaged with— as many of our fans as possible. That is, after all, the goal with both social media marketing and content marketing.
Rignite has made a monumental difference in our campaign. We’re getting more clicks on our links, and our engagement on our posts is increasing. It is the tool we needed to take our content marketing strategy to the next level, and it has already started to do so. Check it out for yourself today.
Have you ever wondered why you’ve seen the ads that appear your Facebook Newsfeed and right side column?
I remember when I first started seeing them and wanting to know why I’d been targeted, of all things, for maternity clothes when I was eighteen, in college, single, and with babies no where on my radar.
As it turns out, I later realized several friends had started to have children, and I was targeted by association, or—more accurately—an association with connections to those Pages. But we’ll get to that in a minute.
Facebook has given advertisers a long list of options to choose from when they’re targeting certain audiences. In almost all cases, the information on your profile simply lumps you into those audiences a certain ad is being targeted for. In only a few cases are you targeted specifically and directly by your user ID or e-mail address. We’ll talk about all of this a little further down in the post.
There are 8 reasons that you’re targeted by Facebook Ads, and you can actually see why each ad was shown to you if you’re interested enough to look.
How to See Why You’re Targeted by Facebook Ads
If you ever wanted to know why a particular ad has been shown to you and why you were targeted for it, now you can find out.
When looking at any ad, you’ll either see an x in the top right corner if you scroll over an ad in the right side column, or you’ll see an arrow that leads to a drop down menu in the top right corner of Ads that run in your Newsfeed.
If you click on the x or arrow respectively, you’ll see the option “Why am I seeing this?” If you click on it, Facebook will actually tell you why you were targeted by that particular ad campaign.
In this first example, I was targeted by Plated’s ad because I was a woman of a certain age. This is common; a lot of advertisers tend to keep their targeting broad to connect with as many potential customers as possible.
In our second example, I was targeted for a crest whitestrips ad because a third party company DLX provided Facebook with information saying that I might be interested in that product.
Facebook’s targeting options are extremely extensive, and you may very well see a different reason explaining the targeting criteria with each ad you click on. If you want to take a look at some targeting options from the advertisers’ point of view, you can take a look at our guide on targeting here.
1. Your Demographics
Demographics is a huge category of targeting on Facebook Ads, and is easily one of the most commonly used by marketers using the Facebook Ads system.
These demographics go from relatively broad defining characteristics like gender (which encompasses large groups of people) to very specific ones like education level, job position, or homeowner status.
Age and gender tend to be the most frequently used aspects of demographic targeting. A lot of large companies like to target users based purely on age and gender if they use demographic targeting; this keeps their reach large while still narrowing their audience down to one that they believe will largely be interested in their ad.
Sometimes users are targeted based on location, getting as specific as a zipcode or as broad as an entire country. Either way, location is a particularly popular targeting tool.
This is especially true when it’s a brick-and-mortar business looking for local users. Businesses like clinics, restaurants, and small independent businesses often target local users within a certain radius or zip code.
All of those Pages, bands, hobbies, books, and businesses that you’ve liked on Facebook can be interpreted by Facebook as your interests, and these interests can be used to target you on Facebook. These interests can be broad (eating out) to niche specific (vegan restaurants), and are often used by brands with a highly specific audience in mind.
Thanks to third party companies, Facebook is able to track your activity both on and off the site. They’re able to use this information to see things like what sites you visit and interact with, your purchase behavior, and actions you take (like charitable donations).
This is information a lot of users are unaware Facebook has. I didn’t know, for example that Facebook was targeting me for ads because I’d made donations to pet rescues in the past, but I found it a bit strange when a ton of ads from non-profits asking for donations suddenly showed up in my Newsfeed. Now I know why; they were targeting me based on behaviors that aligned with their goals.
It’s common that the connections you do or don’t have to certain Pages play an important part of marketers’ targeting strategies. Businesses will target you based on whether or not you’ve already liked their Page or their competitors’ Pages.
Sometimes, businesses will even target you for their ad campaigns when your friends have liked either their Page or their competitor’s Pages. Remember those maternity clothes ads I kept seeing? That’s why.
6. Visits to a Site Off-Facebook
Businesses can install tracking pixels on their websites that are created by Facebook. These pixels send information back to Facebook and tells Facebook (not the marketers) what users have visited certain sites.
Facebook will then let you target these users for their ad campaign. Marketers like these since they often have high conversion rates since you’re already familiar with their brand, product, or business. Again, businesses never have your names or access to your information; only Facebook does.
7. Information From a 3rd Party Site
DLX and other third party companies can—and do—track off-Facebook behavior and activity and report back to Facebook with the information to allow advertisers to target their ideal audiences. They track purchase behavior, sites visited, and almost every action you make online.
A lot of users greatly dislike that third party companies (or that anyone, really) is tracking their off-Facebook and even offline behavior, let alone that they’re then sending this information to Facebook for marketers to use.
The good news is that all of this information is kept confidential and safe; your name or identity is never shared. Even so, a lot of users feel that their privacy has been invaded, with some users being frustrated enough they delete their Facebook accounts entirely. If you want to disable this part of Facebook Ads and opt-out from having this information tracked, stored, and shared, take a look at how to opt-out here.
8. Relationships With Businesses Off-Facebook
If you’ve purchased from a site or if you’ve opted into their newsletter, Facebook considers that as you having given that business your permission to target you directly on Facebook.
This is where businesses target you directly, knowing that they are targeting you specifically.
They do this with a targeting feature called custom audiences, and they actually upload a list of user names and either your e-mail or user ID. These are specific names and profiles—they are targeting individuals.
Not just any business is allowed to “scrape” your user ID or e-mail address; this has been banned. Facebook now has certain rules about who can use this feature, which you can find out more about here.
Essentially if you’ve downloaded or used a business’s app, have signed up for their newsletter or made purchases with them and they’ve gotten your e-mail and contact information through white-hat, legitimate means, businesses are allowed to target you directly for ad campaigns. Again, these campaigns tend to have high conversion and success rates, so marketers use them with highly targeted messages.
What This Means for You
A lot of the time there’s more than one targeting feature being used by marketers. Location and connections are often used in conjunction with a lot of other targeting features.
An important thing to remember in the midst of all this is that Facebook does keep your information safe with Facebook Ads; advertisers never see the profiles or identities of who their ads are shown to unless users interact with the ad by commenting or sharing.
What do you think of Facebook’s targeting system? Will you opt outof some of the tracking Facebook takes part in? Leave us a comment and let us know!
Tired of Facebook’s frequent ads and wanting to get rid of them? You can’t get rid of them entirely (at least not yet), but you can reduce their reach.
A lot of users don’t realize that we can actually disable certain aspects of Facebook Ads if you have no interest in seeing them, and we’ve had the ability to do so for a while.
Facebook has done a great job allowing Facebook to be as user friendly as possible. Part of making sure that their site has such a great user experience has meant making Facebook’s Ads platform the best for advertisers, which allows advertisers to connect with and engage with their ideal audiences. This can be great for both advertisers and users, but some users have absolutely no interest in seeing any ad content whatsoever—relevant or otherwise.
If you love Facebook but hate Facebook’s Ads, we’ve got 5 fast ways to disable Facebook ads so you can scroll through your Newsfeed in undisturbed peace.
Why Users Want to Disable Facebook Ads
I know that most of what we do here focuses on the advertiser’s perspective for Facebook Ads, but allowing users to disable ads is important for everyone’s experience on Facebook.
While some users like being exposed to new brands and Pages that they are interested in, some users hate it. They want to go on Facebook and scroll through their Newsfeed without seeing posts from Pages they never signed up to see and feeling like something is being sold to them. I understand this; seeing ads flash at me while I’m trying to read news online drives me a little crazy, and the ads all over the internet can be distracting and a bit intrusive when I’m trying to do work.
As for the marketers reading this, allowing users on Facebook to disable ads is good for everyone, advertisers included. Users who detest ads can (and will) channel that dislike (ahem, hatred) to the businesses who use them.
We’ve received a few almost hostile messages from users who have seen our ad, saying that they would never do business with us because we ran ads.
While cases like this tend to be the exception, allowing users who don’t like ads (and thus will almost never click on them) is kind of like an extra targeting feature—you’re filtering out users who don’t want to see your ad (even if it it’s just because they don’t like any ads).
#1: Block Specific Ads and Brands
Have you noticed that if you scroll over an ad on in the right side column, a small x appears in the top right hand corner? If you click on it, you have the option to hide that particular ad or to hide ads from that entire brand.
You can do the same with posts in your Newsfeed by clicking on the arrow in the top right hand corner of the ad or post, choosing “I don’t want to see this” and allowing you to see fewer posts like that, or to hide all from that brand.
This option is good for users who don’t mind some of the content on their pages, but dislike ads from certain brands, or even certain ads in particular.
#2: Block Facebook Ads Through Instant Personalization
First, locate the “Settings” tab under the dropdown menu in the top right of the site’s navigation bar.
Scroll down in the left navigation bar where you see “Apps.”
Click on it, and locate the “Instant Personalization” box. Facebook’s instant personalization features allows other websites to access some information on your profile, and thus they can use this to later target you in the Ads system.
Disable this option to eliminate this feature.
#3: Opt-Out Through the Digital Advertising Alliance
Again, this does not promise an ad-free Facebook screen, but it will prevent Facebook and other participating companies to collect or use information based on your activity on websites, devices, or apps off of Facebook for the sole purpose of showing you ads.
Once at the site, it will check your browser’s status before allowing you to click the opt-out button below it. You can choose to opt-out from only certain companies, or you can opt-out from all of them.
This will prevent these sites from collecting data on you that allows them to target you through ads. While it won’t erase ads completely, it can help cut them down, and disabling and opt-ing out of the research is something that gives a lot of people peace of mind about their privacy online.
#4: Disable Facebook Ad’s Ability to Show You Liked a Page
Above a lot of ads, you may notice that it says “This number of friends likes this Page,” listing that your friends John Smith and Sally Hudson are connected with a particular Page. This bothers some users more than the ads, and it’s part of disabling Facebook’s Ads reach.
In order to keep yourself from becoming an unwilling advocate of a Page, go to your settings just as you did in the last two steps.
Click on the Ads tab on the left.
In the middle of the Page, you’ll see the “Ads and Friends” information. This is where you automatically give Facebook the ability to connect you with certain ads run by Pages you’ve liked.
Click edit, and choose “no one.” Your profile and name will no longer be displayed in connection with ads unless you comment on them directly.
#5: Filter Ads Preferences
This isn’t necessarily disabling the ads entirely, but it is disabling certain ads and ads of a certain interest group or industry that you aren’t interested in, allowing you to see the ones most relevant to you.
When you click on the drop down arrow in a Newsfeed ad or an “x” on a right side column ad, you can scroll down ad click on “Why am I seeing this?”
Not only will Facebook tell you why you’ve been targeted for each particular ad, they give you a link you can follow to manage your ad preferences. Click on it.
Facebook will give you a long list of broad topics, which branch off into more specific ones.
You can manually delete however many of these topics, getting rid of the ones you don’t want to see. You can even delete all of them if you’d like. You can undo these preferences at any point.
Why You May Not Want to Disable Ads Just Yet
While ads are a nuisance to some and a lot of users hate them with a fiery passion (trust me, we’ve all been there at least once), some ads do provide great, relevant content when being shown to the right users.
I’ve found some incredible Pages on Facebook thanks to their Ad system; Pages I wouldn’t have connected to or found if it wasn’t for the ads that they had run to find users like me. I’ve also been introduced to some great companies and merchandise I wouldn’t have found otherwise (although it may have been better for my bank account if I had never discovered Modcloth thanks to Facebook Ads).
At the end of the day, whether the ads bother you or not varies from person to person, and if you’re sick of all of them and not just the ones that have fallen victim to horrible targeting, it’s definitely time to disable them. If you like some of the content, you can try just filtering your preferences.
Have you ever found any useful sites thanks to Facebook Ads, or are you heading to disable them as soon as you leave this post? Leave us a comment and let us know!
How To Make Sure Your Landing Page Complies with Facebook Ads
Facebook Ads are getting rejected, and ad accounts are actually getting hit with suspensions and shut downs because users keep submitting them, unsure of how to fix them so that they comply with Facebook’s guidelines and failing to do so.
Landing pages are the biggest reason Facebook Ads get rejected, even though some users aren’t aware that their landing pages must also follow the same rules as their actual ad on Facebook. Landing pages are reviewed just as stringently as the ads themselves, so trying to sneak something past Facebook by sticking it on your landing page instead of the ad just won’t work.
Here’s the list of broken rules that will result in your landing page getting your Facebook ad rejected.
1. Prevents Click-Aways
Have you seen the landing pages—or regular web pages—that try to stop you from leaving? When you click that x in the top corner of the screen, a small pop up appears saying something like “Are you sure you want to leave?”
These are prohibited to have on your landing page, and will result in them getting shut down. Aside from the fact that they’re against Facebook’s guidelines, they tend to look spammy and annoy users. If they’re clicking away, after all, I’m fairly certain they want to leave. Personally, I’m always mildly afraid my computer will get a virus every time I see one.
2. Has Content Banned by Facebook
You know all those restrictions Facebook has for its ads for certain industries? Like how the medical industry can’t promote prescription pharmaceuticals? That goes for your landing page, too. Nothing on your landing page can break those same restrictions of content banned by Facebook.
A lot of times marketers will try to get past Facebook by having the banned content on their landing page, one step away from their Ad, and don’t realize that Facebook thoroughly checks and evaluates landing pages, too. For obvious reasons, this doesn’t work, and has resulted in some accounts getting shut down.
3. Doesn’t Stay Consistent With Your Ad
We’ve all clicked on a link on an ad (not necessarily one on Facebook) that takes us to something completely unrelated, even if it’s just showing us one product and taking us to a different one.
If your landing page doesn’t match what your ad says or offers, your ad is getting shut down without a question; there’s no sneaking that one past Facebook’s team. Your landing page must accurate reflect was advertised on your ad.
4. No Identity and Contact Information Visible
Users should know who they’re doing business with, even if it’s just getting a free download or signing up for a newsletter, and they should be able to get more information about you if they need it. This can be a link to your main website, your Facebook page, a phone number, or other contact information.
5. Is Under Construction Or Results in Error Pages
I’m not entirely sure why you would spend money on ad campaigns and then send users who click to a site under construction, but there it is. Apparently some people do. Make sure your site is up and running—this means checking your landing page frequently for glitches that result in error pages, too—and you should be good to go.
6. Has Malware, Spyware, or Any Kind of Automatic Download
Malware, spyware, and automatic downloads all go on the users’ computer and software without their consent and often without their knowledge. Even if you have a download that is innocent and that the user actually clicked on the ad to get, it can’t be downloaded automatically. No software, programs, files, or tracking devices can be placed on a user’s software without their approval. And let’s be real here—who exactly would approve malware or spyware without being misled or lied to?
Which brings us to our next broken rule that hits a lot of people…
7. Is Misleading
You can’t mislead your users on either your ad or your landing page. Of course there will be marketers who try, but you shouldn’t do it. You can’t lie to users about what your product or offer is, what it does, or what they—or you—gain from it.
This includes spelling out the fine print. If there are any extra rules, restrictions, or requirements that come with what you’re advertising, the user needs to be made aware of it. If, for example, a free trial automatically renews for a paid subscription, or a purchase is necessary to redeem an offer, users need to know. Any ulterior motive, side effect, or part of your ad and offer need to be clearly explained to your users and need to be in a place easily visible.
8. Leads To An Abusive Page
It’s not just your landing page that Facebook Ad’s team checks; if you directly refer users to another site, Facebook is going to take a look at that site, too. While the restrictions aren’t placed on this third site, it cannot be a site that has been labeled as abusive by the Web of Trust. If it is, your landing page is denied, and so is your ad.
9. Doesn’t Function in All Browsers
This is a rule that often gets broken unintentionally, and doesn’t happen as often as some of the others. You may have the most beautiful, masterful landing page in the world on Google Chrome, but it doesn’t amount to much if it doesn’t work on Safari or Firefox. There’s a long list of browsers out there, so test them all and make sure that they work. In some cases you may want to test them on different devices, too; some websites don’t work for apple products at all.
If you want to make the most out of your ads campaigns and landing pages, you should make sure that your landing page is optimized for mobile devices as well. More users are utilizing Facebook on mobile than desktops, so not having a landing page that works on mobile devices can isolate and exclude a lot of potential customers.
Following these guidelines (even though there’s a lot of them) isn’t as bad as it sounds, and it will help keep your ad from getting rejected and getting your ads account shut down. Again, landing pages are the biggest reason ads get rejected, so making sure yours follows the rules to a tee will help your ad come back approved.
Have you struggled with landing pages on Facebook Ads? Leave us a comment and let us know!
How To Keep Your Facebook Ads Account Open and Active
Facebook isn’t shy about shutting down and banning ad accounts, and you can be affected by this even if you weren’t intentionally trying to go against the system. Just as Facebook is aggressively killing fake likes, they have no reservations about shutting down ad accounts that are repeat offenders who don’t stringently follow their rules.
Since Facebook is hardly being stingy with the shutdowns, it’s important to know remain Facebook compliant in the ad system. We’ve tracked down what seems to be the biggest infractions and most common reasons accounts are being shut down.
As long as you follow these 6 laws of remaining Facebook compliant, you can officially worry less about your account being hit with being closed, suspended, or banned.
Uphold Industry Policies and Other Legal Restrictions
Even outside of Facebook’s rules and guidelines, you need to maintain the legal restrictions of your industry, which includes privacy policies and anything else legally required of your business.
While this isn’t a rule that I’ve seen get broken a lot, it’s one that will get your account shut down pretty quickly. Advertising liquor to underage users? Referencing any kind of drugs? You can kiss your account goodbye.
You can also get into a sticky situation in a variety of other industries, especially if you’re involved in an industry like the medical one, which has a lot of red tape around it, and you can’t advertise prescription medications on your ad or landing page.
If there are privacy policies and legal obligations your industry requires, then your ad, offer, and landing page all need to reflect and uphold them.
This includes images, headlines, and text on both your ad and landing page.
This is a big one, and it happens accidentally almost as often as it happens on purpose. It’s easy to try to make something sound as appealing as possible only to accidentally make it sound like something else.
Staying relevant is key here. If you’re advertising weight loss recipes in an all-vegetable diet regimen, maybe don’t have a picture of a chocolate cake with the headline “great recipes for weight loss.” Technically, yes, it’s food, but that’s not what you’re advertising at all.
Under this umbrella is also the topic of spyware or malware. Getting users to your landing page promising them one thing but really using some sort of software to “sneak” into their system or that performs activities without a user’s consent is a massive violation.
This is a serious problem, but all of our readers have good intentions and actually seek to remain Facebook compliant, so we’re putting it as a reminder instead of a main rule. If you do have any kind of software that automatically downloads without a users’ permission or somehow invades their privacy or their software, get rid of it immediately. Even aside from Facebook’s rules, it’s wrong and unfair to get users to your page for an offer or advertisement but to have an ulterior motive of installing software on their system.
No Manipulating User Behavior
Making grandiose, over zealous promises or motivating users with fear-mongering and panic-inciting revelations are both big no-no’s. This should be a mandatory rule in all advertising: not making giant, over-exaggerated, and overhyped statements and promises that make a user rush into something out of misguided excitement or fear.
This ties closely in with the first rule above about making sure there is nothing misleading on your ad or your landing page.
Make Your Identity Clear
Once on your landing page, it should be immediately clear to a user who they are doing business with. The name of your business should be present, as well as the necessary contact information and/or a link to your main site or Facebook Page. The contact information, if applicable, can be a link to your main site—that’s acceptable.
This protects users and Facebook, and helps keep shadier businesses from advertising on Facebook. If users are going to click on Facebook Ads and end up on a site that they don’t know who’s running it or how to contact them, they’re unlikely to click another Facebook Ad again, which is bad for Facebook’s business.
If your landing page doesn’t have the necessary contact information for users to get ahold of you, your ad (and potentially account) is getting the axe.
Landing Page Must Coincide with Ad
Issues with landing pages, including issues with breaking this rule and the next, is one of the most common reasons ads get rejected and accounts can get shut down. Since landing pages are one of the biggest causes of ad rejection and everything that can follow, make sure you read Facebook’s entire section of rules about landing pages. It could help save you a world of hurt, or at the very least some time. Facebook checks and monitors landing pages closely.
Your landing page must coincide exactly with your ad. If you make an offer for 50% off your product but your landing page takes you to an opt-in for a free download of a different product, your ad will get shut down.
Keep the offer consistent with what you’re actually wanting to advertise, and you should be good to go.
Landing Page Must Be Clear About Intentions
This is where people are getting the information. The ad is like a little teaser, while the landing page is the IMDB movie page, complete with full plot synopsis and parental advisory guidelines.
If your product, for example, has an automatic subscription service or monthly fee in addition to the product that users will be charged, they need to know that.
Whatever strings come attached with a user taking action on your landing page or taking you up on any offer, they need to be brought to the attention of the user on your landing page—not later.
Have we all seen at least a few examples of businesses breaking these rules and getting away with it? Of course, multiple times. That doesn’t mean that everyone gets away with it; most people aren’t, and most of the advertisers who got away with it before are even starting to get shut down now.
While there a lot more Facebook rules and guidelines that don’t make this list that you shouldfamiliarize yourself with, these are the essential laws of staying Facebook compliant that will keep you from getting your account banned in the blink of an eye.
Have you experienced any of the persistent account suspensions and shut downs? Leave us a comment and let us know!