The ONeil Edit – August 13, 2021

Oh hi mid-August-nearly-September-back-to-school-chaos-is-upon-us season! That’s what happens when you go on vacation for the first week in August. I’ve got less than 48 hours to secure school shoes for my kids before tax free week ends, next week I head to DYC and the following week sports tryouts begin for my newly minted high schooler. To say I’m feeling a little busy would be an understatement. 

The good news is that vacation did it’s thing, I read 4 books, biked more than 55 miles, walked over 115,000 steps, sat on the beach for more than 15 hours, ate 9 delectable dinners out plus some bonus breakfasts and lunches, caught up with friends, had plenty of quality time with my family and completed 2 puzzles over the 9 days. 

I’m back this week rested, recharged, and ready to handle the busy. And excited to get back into this weekly update. Facebook made some moves in my favorite ad type: conversion ads, Ann Handley and Street Fight pontificate on first party data and the cookieless future, some handy info about SEO and the ways in which Delta is wreaking havoc on housing are what’s on tap today.

FACEBOOK

Now you know how much I love my Facebook ads, but Facebook itself can be super frustrating. This week’s info is an example of why. I got a newsletter from Facebook on August 4th that announced some updates to Conversion ads. I click through to this PDF and find out that the changes took place back in JUNE. Facebook is notoriously terrible at communicating changes like this and it drives me up a wall. 

What are the changes? They’re all really good and helpful which is why I’m including this news here. The two that are the most exciting and important are 1) the end of ad pausing for updating of aggregated events and 2) the ability to optimize beyond the 8 events in the aforementioned aggregated events. 

Back when Facebook was squawking endlessly about iOS 14.5 and the ways in which is was going to doom ad targeting, one of the changes they made was to force domain verification for all landing pages to which an ad was directed, and in turn, you had to pick your top 8 conversion optimization events and could only optimize for those events. If you didn’t set up these events before iOs 14.5 rolled out then when you went to pick your events, Facebook would put all ads in a holding pattern for 72 hours before the aggregated events would be measured and usable. Super frustrating to say the least. 

So now, Facebook has decided that the 72 pause is not needed and that you can optimize for events not within the aggregated set of 8. It just might not perform as well. You can also send traffic to non verified domains, again with the caveat that some performance might be lost. 

FIRST PARTY DATA

Internally, there’s been a lot of conversation surrounding the power of first party data at ONeil in recent weeks. With the loss of cookies has come the realization that there is an urgent need to find ways to take advantage of the data to which you do have access…your own. Lots of expert marketers agree. 

Ann Handley (whom I love) wrote about it in her fortnightly newsletter, Total Annarchy, in issue #92. Reading that you might not think she’s talking about first party data, but she is. She’s talking about building community with your customers and growing your subscriber list. Those moves are an extension of first party data. Use what you know about your customers to the best of your ability to be able to foster community and build trust. What you know about your customers is from your first party data!

The Street Fight post here basically affirms Ann’s thoughts. 

To circle back to team ONeil’s conversation on first party data, we were focused on the kind of information we’d like to see from our clients websites and from our clients themselves. Wouldn’t it be super cool if you could really see a specific customer’s path through your website, into the sales funnel and all the way through a sale? And what if you could do that for every customer? What might you learn? Or how helpful would it be to know that more people convert to leads in communities with proximity to a highway than convert on communities with pools? Think of the impact this data could have on not just your marketing abilities, but also the ways in which you plan to grow your business moving forward.

What information would you like to glean from your customers’ online activities?

SEO

Page speed is out and officially affecting ranking for search. This is the Core Web Vitals update that we’ve been focusing on for the last year. It rolled out in June and people are seeing an impact on their search results. For clients we work with in SEO, it’s been a large focus on the development side of SEO because the impacts that are expected from this update are pretty large. We covered CWV in an episode of Homefiniti and Beyond (which is coming back in a few short weeks!). 

The abridged version is this: Google now pays attention to user experience as it relates to the way your site performs. How long does it take your page to load? Are there pop ups that might annoy the viewer? Does your page have some wonky areas where maybe a video you embedded extends past the viewable portion of the screen on the right or left side? Those all lead to a bad user experience and Google is checking for them. These types of updates are ongoing and rarely will you find that your website has reached peak performance with no room for improvement. 

The other news in SEO land is that customer reviews DO NOT contribute to SEO results, they do, however, contribute to the performance of your GMB listing, which is super useful in the SEO playbook. 

DELTA

Delta, delta, delta! Can I help ya, help ya, help ya? I mean can I help ya get outta here!?! I’m so very over this pandemic and I’m pretty sure everyone on the planet feels this way. But yet, here it is nearly two years in and again we seem to have no end in sight. So of course it’s having an impact on housing. Last year the impact was oddly positive, but now is that still true? On the one hand, yes…mortgage rates are back down. Those mortgage rates are helping first time home buyers get back in the game.  On the other, no…some people could decide not to sell their current home in order to stay safe. Only time will tell.

Thanks for reading along this week, it’s good to be back. TBD on my ability to post this next week when I’m in Dallas. It seems unlikely, but you never know.


Molly White

Molly White

Digital Marketing Manager

I am a passionate early adopter. At ONeil Interactive I help clients put their best technological foot forward while generating high quality leads with digital campaigns that consistently beat industry averages.