The first few hours are the most critical in your Instagram post’s lifetime. Its performance at this time is what will determine whether it will eventually take off or tatter to the ground.
As a rule of thumb, posts that spark engagement are favored by the Instagram algorithm and primed to get promoted to a wider audience.
But will they actually reach the most relevant people?
While you wouldn’t question Instagram’s intelligence, it surely wouldn’t mind some hints to fine-tune its profile targeting.
Besides learning how Instagram’s alt text can amplify your visibility, discover a genius tool to land PR coverage with a well-timed pitch, find out a clever hack to source negative keywords to exclude from your Google ads, along with some more powerful tips and tactics in this week’s Know How.
Facebook Ads: Discover Branded Interests Without Checking Ads Manager
Without further ado…
Let’s dive right in!
By Sona Madoyan
If you’ve been in the world of marketing for a while, alt texts shouldn’t be new to you.
Largely used in SEO, an alt text or alternative text is the written copy that appears in the place of an image when it fails to load as expected. Alt texts should explicitly describe what is on a photo and be keyword-rich to relay accurate signals of your image’s content to search engines, to improve your site crawlability and likely the website rank. With descriptive alt texts on your visuals, you also stand a higher chance of coming up during image searches.
Last year, Instagram rolled out alt texts as to hone its own SEO algorithm and serve its users with hyper-relevant content.
Alt texts can be input when creating a post — at the “Write a caption” step — from the Advanced Settings at the bottom of the page.
While this feature is not yet popular among Instagram users, it can have a massive impact on your brand’s SMM. Here is how.
1. First, view alt texts as an extension of Instagram’s algorithm that ensures your content is shown only to the most targeted panel of your audience.
Whenever you make a post on Instagram, an estimated 20-30% of your followers will see it while scrolling through their feeds. And if your post spurs enough engagement to hit the Instagram-bound benchmark, the algorithm will deem it worthwhile to display it to even more people.
The relevant keywords in the image alt text will make Instagram smarter when selecting who to show your post next.
2. Many marketers believe Instagram posts live only on the first day. Past this, they typically build up engagement very slowly until their reach levels off.
This super-short lifespan is because Instagram posts almost never appear on search engines. But the keywords in your posts’ alt text can make your post indexed by Google and other popular search engines, so it can pop up in the results when a relevant search query is made. This will boost your online presence and land greater visibility for your brand.
The impact of a small alt text is too big to neglect. Especially on your SEO beyond Instagram. So dedicate a few minutes to create a keyword-rich, descriptive alt-text every time you make a new Instagram post.
Journalists are on a never-ending hunt for intriguing stories. Ones that recreate perceptions, influence masses, and gain traction. And the role of PR specialists is to supply their story ideas, especially in times when demand is high.
Every hour, journalists from various spaces post tweets to source exciting stories to build their articles on, or jazz them up with fresh insights. They often provide a succinct outline to typify the story they are looking for — to narrow down the volume of replies— and complement them with a few relevant hashtags to amplify the visibility of their tweet. The most popular hashtags are #prrequest” and #journorequest.
A simple search of these two hashtags on Twitter will surface the latest journalist requests. Still, you can’t possibly wade Twitter all day and hope to hop onto the next juicy request as it lands. But what you can do instead is to employ a clever automation tool with handy filters to manage this cumbersome workflow.
And this is exactly what I did.
Request Finder will scour Twitter feeds and pull all relevant PR requests onto a single dashboard. Just pop your narrow-focus keywords or umbrella topic into the search bar, set the publishing timespan, and RequestFinder will deliver you the most relevant PR requests in real time.
Now skim through the list to identify the most forward-taking PR opportunities and rush to get ahead of the curve with your next PR coverage.
Advertisers are always on the lookout for lesser-known hacks to fine-tune their ad targeting and harness greater revenue. Yet no insight — no matter how complex and manifold — can ever excel Google’s intelligence itself.
Imagine if Google could give you custom recommendations on how you can pivot your ad budget to optimize your ads’ ROI. Or show you a list of perfect-fit keywords to reach more of your target audience.
The reality is there is even a dedicated section in the left sidebar of your Google Ads dashboard labeled — no surprise — “Recommendations” that offers you these and many more insights.
But today, we’ll focus on “Keywords & targeting”.
In this section, you’ll find hyper-relevant keyword suggestions to add to your target keyword list. These are the terms searchers frequently use in their queries. So bypassing them out of neglect, you’ll most likely miss out on a notable chunk of your potentially high-converting audience.
Beyond the generous keyword ideas, Google will also give you hints at the perfect match type to use with each one and specify the ad group to add the new keyword in.
And it holds even more up its sleeve.
Upon a click on any of the suggested keywords, Google Ads will display more terms similar to each keyword, along with their estimated weekly searches.
Now you have Google’s intelligence at your fingertips to strategically pivot your ads, hone your ad targeting, and leverage untapped verticals to see your conversion rate spike before the clock strikes zero.
Seasoned Google Ads gurus know the importance of negative keywords. These are ill-fitting phrases you want to exclude from your targeting to ensure you’re not wasting resources and divert your limited budget to more conversion-primed queries.
A simple search for negative keywords on Google returns dozens of generic listicles to be attached to your Google Ads account. Still, we often lack substantial data to adopt a more product-centric approach and identify negative keywords tailored exactly to one specific product.
As I was browsing the Keyword Research section inside Ahrefs, I found a way how its keyword data, and namely the Click Distribution, can be used to distill a list of negative keywords.
The Clicks distribution shows the percentage breakdown of searchers who click on organic results compared to paid on a SERP of a given term.
The Clicks distribution fluctuates a lot from one term to the next. There are keywords that generate disproportionately more click-throughs from paid aids.
On the flip side, there are also keywords that trigger from just a few to no paid clicks at all. People making such queries generally don’t have purchase intent and, therefore, feel more convinced to find relevant information in an organic result.
And since these search terms barely have any conversion potential to raise money, they can be classified as negative keywords and be ruled out from your ads targeting.
By Ani Hakobyan
One of the main strategies we implement in TCF’s Ads Team is leveraging Audience Insights to see what Facebook pages our prospects like.
After drilling it down to the pages most relevant to our campaign, we later search within Ads Manager to see if Facebook offers such interests to target the followers of respective brands. While populated pages stand the highest chance of having a corresponding interest, relying on a follower count alone can be misleading.
So what may seem just a few quick steps eventually compounds into a tiresome “try and pray” routine that feeds off a lot of your energy?
Luckily, I found a helpful Chrome extension — Interests highlighter — that will show you all the targetable interests before you even reach Ads Manager.
Now it is visible right on your Audience Insights dashboard.
Whenever you see a cross mark next to a page, you already know there is no associated interest in Ads Manager.
But whenever you see a tick, add interest to your targeting! 🙂
This much for this week, folks!
Which of this week’s strategies and tools was your favorite? The negative keywords hack was definitely a needle-mover.
Keep your eyes peeled for our next Know How to blog post to not miss another wonderful bundle of the coolest marketing tools and tactics.
And before you walk out with these mind-shifting tips and tactics in your pocket, discover 10 more practical growth hacking strategies you probably don’t know.
And don’t forget to come back in a week for another growth-hacking boost!
I’ll see you in a week!