Tips & Tricks

Your Quick Guide to the Top eBay Destinations and How You Can Use Them to Optimize for Higher Earnings

Your Quick Guide to the Top eBay Destinations and How You Can Use Them to Optimize for Higher Earnings

Although using the same landing page for all of your campaigns may seem like an easy way to save time, when used strategically, more specific pages can accelerate conversions and drive more dollars per click.

Visual Social Channels Series: Snapchat Isn't Just for Selfies

Visual Social Channels Series: Snapchat Isn't Just for Selfies

Despite initial skepticism on the idea of a temporary photo messaging app, Snapchat took off in 2012 with users sending millions of images to each other. By 2016, Snapchat surpassed Instagram in growth rates around the world. However, a lot of bloggers are still unclear about how to utilize this platform to amplify their message. We’ll share a few lessons...

Visual Social Channels Series: Mastering Your Instagram Account

Visual Social Channels Series: Mastering Your Instagram Account

During our recent trip to the BlogHer conference in Los Angeles, we compiled a wealth of information on how to utilize each visual social media platform to create brand awareness and trust. To kick off this series, we’ll delve into some best practices and tips for making your Instagram account shine...

Affiliate Marketing 101 (VIDEO): How to Make Money Online

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Are you running a successful blog or website with a large audience? Do you have a strong social media presence with a dedicated following? Our partners know that affiliate marketing can be a great way to monetize your efforts. If you’re new to affiliate marketing or just getting started with EPN, check out this recording of our Affiliate Marketing 101 webinar. In this short and informative webinar, you’ll get an overview of the following:

  • Affiliate marketing basics: Affiliate marketing is a type of performance-based marketing and a growing industry expected to reach $6.8 billion by 2020. Check out the webinar for an overview of how it works in simple terms.
  • Business models: There are several ways that you can use affiliate marketing with your existing business model. Whether you publish editorial content, share deals or coupons, or focus only on social media, we’ll give you real-life examples of how publishers are using affiliate marketing to earn commissions.
  • How to begin: You’ll learn to identify your audience, set goals, establish your niche, find a complementary affiliate program, and more.
  • Introduction to eBay Partner Network: We introduce you to eBay’s in-house affiliate program, how to join, how to find and share products to promote, and how to earn. Getting started with EPN is as easy as “find, share and earn.”

Watch the recording of the webinar here:

We hope you found this webinar useful. If you’re ready to get started, check out our website to apply to the program. The application process is quick and approvals are made quickly!

If you have any questions about the webinar, please leave them in the comments below.

Creating “Snackable” Content for the Digital Attention Span: BlogHer 2016 “Experts Among Us” Part 5

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Researchers now claim that (thanks to technology) our attention span is about 8 seconds long - apparently shorter than that of a goldfish. This puts bloggers in a particularly tough spot with no time to spare and no fluff content to be tolerated. What does this mean? Simply put, you need more snackable content. You know, those small, bite-size nuggets of wisdom that draws the reader in and keeps them asking for more. Content gurus Lauren Lumsden of The SceneAlejandra Ramos of Always Order Dessert, and TV host Carley Knobloch spoke at the BlogHer conference giving strategies for bloggers and affiliates who are looking to capture readers in spite of their dwindling attention span.

Get to the Point

Of the most common reasons social media pages perform poorly, having too much uninteresting content is at the top of the list. The key to grabbing a reader's attention is to get to the juicy details right away. This means the most important information should be placed at the beginning of your videos, status updates and headlines. Cosmo's use of the new Snapchat feature, "Discover," embodies this point perfectly as it puts all of the most newsworthy content right at the tips of your fingers. Even if users weren't intending on browsing Cosmo content, it becomes incredibly tempting to click through all of their most exciting stories of the day. Food and travel blogger, Alejandra Ramos told BlogHer conference attendees that it's okay to publish "clickbaity" teasers as long as the content is truly high quality. Strike a balance between enticing and honest to solidify trust with your readers.

A/B Test

Simply put, you don't know what you don't know. And when you're trying to create content for a busy audience, it's critical to know what motivates them. Studies have shown that 60 percent of those who share a link will not even click through to read the content. Thus, A/B testing has become a quintessential tool for learning what compels your audience to click - whether it be on social media, landing pages, or websites. Not only can A/B testing inform the topics you cover, but your tone and phrasing as well.

Better Optimization with Snackable Content

You may have a stunning website, but did you know your audience size will decrease with each extra second it takes the page to load? It's true! In addition, the vast majority of consumers now expect mobile-friendly websites. Luckily snackable content is perfect for mobile because it's short and to the point! Make sure that important pieces of content are easy to extract in nugget-sized pieces. There are several other steps to take to reduce your site's load time, like removing unused plugins, switching to a faster, SEO-optimized theme and compressing large images. Ultimately, the faster your page loads, the better. Try a few of the tips mentioned and let us know how it turns out for you.

Create a Chain of Snackable Content

In order to popularize certain posts and gain more exposure, it is helpful to structure your blog with one interesting post leading to another. For example, at the bottom of a post about different styles of shoes, a fashion blogger would be wise to link to a related post, like shoe styles on the red carpet. This creates a chain of interest, giving readers the time to realize that your blog is more that just one interesting article. Give them just enough snackable content from another post to make them want to click and find out more.

Get Personal

Sometimes bloggers get locked into a feeling of having to sound professional and only write informative posts about their topic. While it's certainly important to do this, going overboard can give a robotic tone to your content. Readers appreciate knowing that there is a real person on the other side of the screen, so it doesn't hurt to include a personal account here and there. It also doesn't have to be overly revealing - if it is sincere, readers will be engaged. Research has shown that strictly emotional content tends to outperform rational or mixed content. This is simply a factor of human nature - direct connection and communication still trumps all.

There are many ways for bloggers to combat the influx of digital information and changing attention spans. Creating snackable content is just one of them. Making a name for your brand doesn't require expert marketing skills so much as honesty, brevity and focus within your content.

Thank you for reading this article on snackable content. Don’t forget to follow eBay Partner Network on social media for more tips and updates, or to leave us a comment or question. Find us on TwitterInstagram, LinkedIn and on Facebook.

Using Hyper-Local Marketing Tactics to Build Audience: BlogHer 2016 “Experts Among Us” Part 4

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Monetizing your small, up-and-coming blog is a time-consuming and challenging process. Riddled with choices along the way, the path to monetization may seem anything but straightforward. But in 2016, many businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs are discovering hyper-local marketing tactics as a means to garnering local support and carving out a niche. While hyper-local marketing is not truly a novel practice, the way in which businesses are going about it has changed. A common misconception is that you must have a particular kind of business in order for hyper-local marketing tactics to make sense. But in truth, global brands have already begun utilizing big data to incorporate different strategies based on audience location. We gathered some actionable tips from Yvonne Condes and Sarah Auerswald of MomsLA, Jessica Woodbury of Don't Mind the Mess, and Cora Harrington of Lingerie Addict at the 2016 BlogHer conference.

Purchase a URL

You want your blog to be known in your town as "the" place to go for a specific topic. For example, a cosmetics blogger from Plainfield, Illinois may want to share her experience and expertise to gain more local opportunities - yet all of her social media followers are from other cities around the world. Purchasing a relevant URL with your town name and topic can create a new opportunity to be heard locally. A perfect example is BlogHer conference participants, MomsLA, a pair of Los Angeles-based moms who created a one-stop-shop for information moms in LA might need - like recreation for kids, discussions on parenting styles and LA neighborhood guides.

Blog for Your Town

While most of the blog posts on MomsLA are aimed at local mothers, you may need to consciously create some hyper-local content if your topic is more general and has a broader audience. Get started with just one or two locally focused posts, selecting keywords that are not too highly competitive. It can dramatically help boost SEO and visibility if your posts tie in details about a locally trending topic. This topic may not be directly related to your usual topic, but by creating engaging content that references it, local readers will realize that they can relate and trust you as a peer. For example, if your website is specifically about coffee, talking about (and linking to) a new restaurant down the street from your favorite coffee shop can spur conversations among your blog's visitors and social media followers.

Network Locally

It will also serve you to focus your networking efforts toward those in your area, even if for a brief period of time. Spend an afternoon browsing through other local bloggers in your industry and reach out to them. You might also want to mention a good idea they have on your blog or social media channels. This may seem counter-intuitive, as these bloggers are somewhat like competitors. But ultimately, branching out to these individuals can mean cross-over traffic, and maybe even quality backlinks to your site. Don't rule out how another blogger might be of service to you.

Create Special Offers

One surefire way to harness a local audience is to give them special treatment. This might include selling local brands at a discounted price or working directly with them to arrange limited-time offers or special giveaways. Google Adwords Express is one simple way to get your offers in front of a local, targeted demographic. In addition, start keeping an eye out for potential brands to partner with, as this can double your audience size with minimal effort. Have your website communicate the fact that you are open to partnerships.

While it may seem like hyper-local marketing is limiting and cuts you off from a world of potential readers, it can actually be more lucrative in the long run. Your demographic immediately becomes clearer and your competition slimmer when you select a specific neighborhood to target.

Thank you for following our "Experts Among Us" series. Stay tuned for the next piece, as we explore creating "snackable" content for holding today's digital attention span. As always, don’t forget to follow eBay Partner Network on social media for more tips and updates, or to leave us a comment or question. Find us on TwitterInstagram and on Facebook.

Optimizing Social Media with Analytics: BlogHer 2016 "Experts Among Us" Part 3

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The world of social analytics and metrics gets a little bigger each day. You probably already know that analytics are integral to the way we structure content marketing strategies. Analytics can also help us get to know our audience. Social media traffic provides a valuable opportunity to observe engagement through the advanced analysis tools modern technology offers. So how do you know which metrics hold the most weight? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here, we'll scratch the surface of some of the ways bloggers and affiliate marketers at the BlogHer conference put their analytics to work for optimizing social media for traffic and engagement.

What Do You Measure?

You might guess that when it comes to blogging, all visitors are equal. And while any visitor is good, obtaining repeat visitors should be your top priority. Having an idea of how many repeat visitors you attract can help determine whether your brand is growing. Another key metric to keep an eye on is bounce rates, or the number of visitors who leave your page after viewing just one page. Facebook's algorithm tracks bounce rates to discourage clickbait. Thus it's beneficial to research ways to improve your bounce rate, such as better demographic targeting, faster loading times and fewer annoyances (distracting ads, etc.).

Your Tribe's Characteristics

Super mom and Social Media Manager for BlogHer, Brandi Riley suggests getting in tune with your audience to discover what makes them engage with your content. Getting to know your audience might just be the most important metric to take advantage of. By getting to know them, you are discovering what kinds of content will perform well for you in the future. Factors such as scale, demographic, geographic location and device type can all help guide the content you create. For example, knowing that your audience is urban as opposed to rural will dictate what they relate to and what kinds of products they'd be interested in. Most social media channels have built-in analytics to get you started, but you may want to consider another outside tool to dig deeper. Some of these tools include Buffer, Quintly and Cyfe -- all of which offer free plans.

To Automate, or Not to Automate?

With such a wide range of variables in play, it's no surprise BlogHer speakers like Yolonda Spinks and Kimberly Clayton Blaine have experienced mixed results with automated scheduling tools such as SocialFlow. This tool for optimizing social media uses real-time data to positively impact conversions, reach and engagement. When you use SocialFlow and tools like it, your posts go live based on the predicted optimal timing for each section of your audience. Different content performs better at different times. As a rule of thumb, business-oriented content is best published in the day, and lighter, more fun content at night.

Social Media Best Practices

No two brands are alike, and the same goes for brand audiences. However, statistics have uncovered some overarching trends across social media platforms. So if you're feeling lost, here are some best practices to test out for each channel:

  • Facebook - images win, content performs best Wednesday through Friday.
  • Twitter - relevant and timely content wins, retweet content, test out Twitter cards.
  • LinkedIn - post mornings or evenings not during office hours.
  • Instagram - hashtags win, posts perform best between 3 and 5 p.m.
  • Pinterest - SEO for images, use highly descriptive text, create many boards.
  • Snapchat - silliness wins, keep closed to smaller group of followers.

Overall, we see that there are no hard rules for what works for everyone. But with the knowledge provided by analytics and the assistance of automation tools, you can carve out a social media strategy that brings your business to the next level. Optimizing social media isn't rocket science, it just takes a little elbow grease. We hope you've gained a bit of insight from this section of our BlogHer conference wrap-up. Stay tuned for the next piece, as we delve into how you can utilize hyperlocal marketing tactics to gain more exposure. As always, don’t forget to follow eBay Partner Network on social media for more tips and updates, or to leave us a comment or question. Find us on TwitterInstagram and on Facebook.

Optimize Downloadable Feeds with our New Quality Score

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While our Full Downloadable Feeds offer access to thousands of item-level listings, we understand that this list can be hard to sift through. That’s why we have introduced a new field in these feeds to help you identify and display the items that have the best chance of converting. This new indicator provides a way to help you optimize your efforts when working with Full Downloadable Feeds. If you’re not yet familiar with these feeds, they are daily files of eBay listing data that you can use to cache eBay listings in your own system. They are most often used by publishers with high-traffic applications such as shopping comparison sites, loyalty programs and large portals.

This new quality score is generated by a machine-learning model, which identifies and groups items to predict a likely conversion rate. If you’re already using our Full Downloadable Feeds, you’ll see this new indicator now included in a field titled itemScore This score can range from 1 to 1000, with a higher number indicating that the item is more likely to convert.

If you’re not currently using Downloadable Feeds but would like to learn more, you can watch this tutorial. And if you’d like to get access to these daily Downloadable Feeds, you can email us at epn-cs-english@ebay.com.

Please let us know in the comments below if you have any feedback or questions.

Optimizing Content for SEO and Higher Search Exposure: BlogHer 2016 “Experts Among Us” Part 2

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In today's digital marketing landscape, content has an incredible influence on branding success. It has become essential to drive more traffic to your website, as more traffic equals a better public perception of your brand, and a higher chance to generate sales and subscribers. So it would only make sense to do what the experts are doing when it comes to SEO and content marketing. By neglecting this factor, you fail to give visitors a chance to find you on their own. You may already be using social media to direct visitors to your site, but are you doing everything to optimize SEO? Here is what we learned from the experts at this year’s BlogHer conference.

Take Advantage of Evergreen Content

A great tip from BlogHer ’16 is tying evergreen content into timely, relevant happenings for a temporary boost in traffic. Readers will always be interested in current news, so if there is something worth commenting on in your industry, weave it into your evergreen content that already ranks high in search engines. In many cases, your evergreen content serves as the face of your brand -- the first thing visitors stumble upon. So make sure it’s up-to- date and features the right tone and voice. Some timely examples to take advantage of include May the 4th (Star Wars Day), seasonal holidays, and other fun observances like National Dog day. If you’ve got content or tips and tricks that can easily tie into these types of days, then you’re well on your way to gaining higher visibility online.

Leverage Keyword Tools

While it’s true that small brands don’t need massive traffic to get their message out and create a positive brand identity, it can help immensely if searchers can find you easily. Stephan Spencer, author and SEO expert, and Lindsay Valdez, SEO Manager at SheKnows Media, recommended tools to guide you through the optimization process. There are several tools out there designed to help you be successful online. Please keep in mind that some are free, while others require subscriptions. A great free tool, Google Adwords Keyword Planner, assists you in selecting keywords with reasonably low competition and a decent search rate. Another tool, Moz, provides more information and better suggestions than Adwords, however, it is not free.

Optimize for Google Answer Box

Relatively new to the scene is Google Answer Box. You might not know Google Answer Box by name, but chances are you’ve used it once or twice. Have you ever typed in a question into Google like, “What is a blog?” Doing this will typically generate an answer at the top of the page just above the search results. That’s Answer Box! Optimize for What’s the benefit of this? The opportunity lies in that if your site’s content makes it into the answer box and links back to your site, you have pronounced visibility without having to pay for a higher page ranking. It’s a win-win.

Right the Wrongs of SEO

While marketing experts advise the importance of selecting a few quality keywords, that doesn't mean you have to go overboard. Using the same keywords excessively can actually cause Google to penalize you and assume your posts are spam. Instead, speakers at BlogHer stressed the importance of prominence (keywords at top of page, not bottom) over density (number of times a keyword appears in a post).

Finally, did you know Google penalizes you for bad links? They do, and it can have a heavy toll on your search rankings. Have no fear, link detox tools exist to allow you to find and eliminate bad backlinks to your blog. If your site has bad links, Google will know, and it could potentially hurt your search rankings and visibility. These tools are generally easy to setup and can help you recover your ranking score and recover from a Google penalty.

If you didn't know about these common SEO errors, there's no reason to panic - you're not permanently disgraced in the eyes of Google's algorithm. Get going with the right tactics, and you’ll be on your way to a better ranking.

We hope you found this information helpful. Be sure to check back next week for part 3 in our series. As always, don’t forget to follow eBay Partner Network on social media for more tips and updates, or to leave us a comment or question. Find us on TwitterInstagram and on Facebook.