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Measure the Metrics that Matter.jpgby Mari Smith


Management expert Peter Drucker is often quoted as saying, “You can’t manage what you can’t measure.” In order to grow and improve your business, you have to be able to measure and monitor the right metrics.


This applies to everything in your business.


Yet determining the right metrics to measure, and understand, is not so simple.


Proxy metrics (or Vanity metrics) vs. sales metrics


On Facebook’s Q4 2016 earnings call held on February 1, 2017, COO Sheryl Sandberg stated that all ads should drive business. She made the distinction between sales metrics and ‘proxy metrics,’ which includes fanbase size, reach, engagement and video views.


“We really believe that at the end of the day what matters the most is all the way through to sales. What matters the most is the A/B test that these people saw ads on Facebook and Instagram, these people didn’t, and here’s the sales lift. And all of the other metrics,” Sandberg said, “are proxy metrics.”


Of course, this is not what most businesses want to hear. We’ve all been trained to believe more is better. That we ought to strive for more fans, more reach and more engagement.


But, generally speaking, those numbers are all vanity metrics.


Marketers need to see the metrics all the way through to the final goal and focus on the right metrics – those that generate revenue.


It’s important to separate out your KPIs (key performance indicators) into the right categories and report the relevant data to the right person within your business.


For example, brand awareness, social media and engagement metrics should be reporting to the CMO/marketing manager/community manager. Whereas, lead generation and sales metrics are what the CEO and CFO mostly want to know. If you report the number of retweets or video views in a week to your CEO and CFO, they may wonder how that translates to actual bottom-line dollars.


The following are some suggested metric categories:


  • Brand awareness metrics include social media reach, brand mentions, brand searches, media mentions and website traffic.
  • Social media metrics include the number of likes/fans/followers, post reach and impressions.
  • Engagement metrics include people who have clicked, liked, commented on or shared your social media posts; people who have viewed your videos; the number of retweets and more. This stat could also include the number of subscribers opening your emails and clicking on links.
  • Lead-generation metrics include landing page visits, click-through rate, completed registrations and conversion rates. In other words, any activity that moves the prospect from being an engaged member of your social media channels to becoming a contactable prospect. This can include the prospect submitting their phone number, email address, mailing address or contacting you via Facebook Messenger, Instagram Direct or WhatsApp.
  • Sales metrics include appointments scheduled, applications submitted, add-to-cart, initiate checkout, add payment details, and, of course, completed purchases.


“In God we trust, all others must bring data.” – W. Edwards Deming


Tools for measuring your online activity


You may already have a reliable set of tools you use to track an array of metrics in your business. Here are a few of my own favorites:


Facebook Insights: You’ll find these metrics on the “Insights” tab of your Facebook business page. For mobile, use the Facebook Pages Manager app (iOS) (Android) and also check out the Facebook Analytics app. Metrics include Likes, Followers, Page Views, Actions on Page, Video views, Audience retention, Engagement and more.


For video content, I recommend clicking in to each video to study the breakdown of metrics. Otherwise, you can keep an eye on the Overview > Page Summary insights for the past 7 or 28 days and export the data to a spreadsheet for further analysis.


Twitter Analytics: These are at the top right of your Twitter profile or at View your tweet impressions, engagement, and engagement rate. Pay particular attention to your top tweets and do more of what’s working.


AgoraPulse: This is a terrific all-in-one tool for scheduling and managing all your social media channels. The Reports section has colorful charts that are easy to read and may be a great addition to your analysis.


BuzzSumo: One of my favorite tools, this platform allows you to study how well your own social posts are doing along with any competitor’s posts. Plus, you can use the tool to discover what headlines and topics are doing well, identify key influencers, see what’s trending and more.


One-stop data dashboard


If looking at an array of metrics from a wide variety of sources is challenging for you, you might enjoy a great solution called Klipfolio.


Klipfolio is a tool to create an all-in-one dashboard with visual analytics for all of your metrics at your fingertips. You’ll be able to instantly spot trends and see how your business is performing. Compare this month to last month or the same period last year with a single click. Use filters, segments, and automatic trend lines.


Cash flow dashboard


Just as you need to closely track and measure sales and marketing metrics, you definitely need to do the same with your business finances. Bank of America's Cash Flow Monitor offers an innovative new cash flow dashboard where you can see a 360° view of your business’ financial position or picture in a compelling, visual layout.


Cash Flow Monitor is a one-stop ‘digital control center.’ Accessible online and on mobile, this new seamless and integrated digital platform is designed to help you get more time back in your day by helping you manage all financial aspects of your business.


BA360 empowers you as a busy business owner to optimize your time and resources and gain a deeper perspective on your business so you can get back to doing what you truly love – focusing on the mission and success of your enterprise!



Bank of America, N.A. engages with Mari Smith to provide materials for informational purposes only, and is not responsible for, and does not guarantee or endorse any of the third-party products or services mentioned.  All third-party logos and company names mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners and are used under license from Mari Smith. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.


Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2020 Bank of America Corporation

In the early days of advertising as we know it, if a business wanted to reach the largest possible audience, there was a number it could call. That number connected the business to the advertising sales department of a television studio. At a time when families sat together every evening in front of a twelve-inch, black-and-white television screen, running a commercial during the peak time shows could give brands an audience in the tens of millions.



The rise of the Internet has changed that—and not just because families no longer watch one screen together. Companies now have access to a wide variety of digital options like banner ads, social media posts and ad units, email newsletters, content marketing, and targeted search results to promote their messages directly to their key target audiences. They’ve noticed. In 2017, digital ad spending exceeded the value of television advertising for the first time.


As technology and behavior have changed, marketing has changed with it. What hasn’t changed is the type of marketing that’s still most likely to convert potential customers. Businesses that hoped they could fire their scriptwriters and box up their video cameras to focus on text ads and copywriting have been disappointed.


Video remains the most effective advertising format.


Companies that place video on online landing pages have found their conversion rates increasing by more than 80 percent. Seventy-six percent of marketers say that video has helped them increase sales. Eighty-one percentof people have bought a product or service after watching a brand’s video online.


Those conversions have been driven by a steep rise in online video watching. Marketers expect that by 2020, the average person will spend about 84 minutes every day watching videos online.


We’ll be watching those videos on YouTube, of course, but also on Facebook and Twitter, and even LinkedIn. Although relatively few marketers currently place video on the professional networking platform, about 75 percent of those that do said that showing ads to the platform’s business users achieves results. Video is popping up everywhere.

But online video is very different than the kind of ads shown on television.


Most of the video marketing seen online is short, cheaper than fully produced television spots, and is developed to resonate specifically on the platform where it’s being placed.

After the Superbowl, viewers might pull up YouTube to re-watch long, funny, big budget commercials. But on social media, they want to watch short, digestible videos, to comment, like or share, and keep scrolling. According to Hubspot, videos that generate the most comments on Instagram average just 26 seconds. Marketers on Twitter can stretch their time to 45 seconds, while Facebook’s users have an attention span that lasts as long as a minute.


Viewers also tend to watch their videos with the sound off so that they don’t disturb others during activities like a morning commute—or alert their teachers that they’re not paying attention in class. That means telling a story visually and using prominent subtitles to explain what the viewer is seeing.


None of that is simple. It takes more effort and expense to create an effective video ad than it does to make a website banner. But video marketing doesn’t have to involve a lot of effort and expense. Some of the most effective commercial video content consists of live broadcasts in which the owner of a business sits in front of a camera, talks directly to customers, and answers questions about the product. The audience might be small—a live video might reach only a few hundred people during the broadcast itself—but it can be hugely effective at building brand loyalty. And even when you’re making a YouTube video that’s less than a minute long, you should be able to do it without breaking the bank.


The world has changed since the days when soap companies sponsored daytime shows. Audiences have split and screens have shrunk, but video marketing remains just as effective. It can now be highly targeted and, at a time when we all have a video camera in our pockets, it’s readily available to every business.


Learn how to use compelling video for your small business. Check out these other articles:



About Joel Comm


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As an Internet pioneer, Joel has been creating profitable websites, software, products and helping entrepreneurs succeed since 1995. He has been at the frontlines of live video online since 2008 and has a deep expertise in using tools such as Facebook Live, Periscope, Instagram or Snapchat to broadcast a clearly defined message to a receptive audience or leveraging the power of webinar and meeting technologies.


Joel is a New York Times best-selling author of 15 books, including “The AdSense Code,” “Click Here to Order: Stories from the World’s Most Successful Entrepreneurs,” “KaChing: How to Run an Online Business that Pays and Pays and Twitter Power 3.0.” He is Co-Host of The Bad Crypto Podcast one of the top crypto-related shows in the world and has spoken before thousands of people around the world and seeks to inspire, equip and entertain.


Web: or Twitter: @JoelComm

Read more from Joel Comm


Bank of America, N.A. engages with Joel Comm to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Joel Comm is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Joel Comm. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

Selling Product on Instagram.jpgby Mari Smith


As Instagram solidifies its place as a powerhouse social media platform more small businesses should take advantage of this growing new channel to drive awareness, but also for driving sales. Instagram is one of the easiest platforms to showcase your small business’ products for sale and attract new paying customers. The Instagram app is entirely visual and almost exclusively accessed via the mobile app, although there is a desktop version.


With shopping on Instagram, you can create eye-catching, visual storefront posts for your small business that allow people to explore your best products with a single phone tap.


In this article, I’ll cover product-based businesses. If your small business is service-based, there are plenty of ways you can sell on Instagram and we’ll go into that in a future article.


Discovery has always been a key aspect of Instagram. With 80 percent of people already following a business account, and a global community of over 1 billion users, Instagrammers want to explore and find new things from companies they love. Similarly, businesses are always looking for opportunities to connect with valuable prospects and customers.


When Instagram added the shopping feature in March 2017, the company wanted to create something that was less transactional and more of an immersive experience. A way to give shoppers time and space to browse and evaluate products.


How shopping works on Instagram


Your Instagram business profile must be associated with an e-commerce catalog on Facebook. Once your Instagram business profile is connected to your Facebook catalog, you can tag products from your catalog in your Instagram posts and stories. People can tap on product tags to see prices and descriptions, or shop straight from your feed. Once you have a Facebook product catalog connected to your Instagram business account, tagging a product is as simple as tagging a person in a post.


What to sell on Instagram


To sell on Instagram, your business must primarily sell physical goods. You also need to comply with Instagram’s commerce policies. Instagram shopping posts may not promote services. Note that this just means using the shop tag or sticker feature. You can certainly still offer services (and products) using links in your bio and the swipe up feature in Stories.


Instagrammers can find your products via your feed posts, your stories, the Explore tab and from hashtag searches.


The ability to add shopping tags is available for both your main Instagram feed posts and for your Stories. I’ll go into that more below.


When you create an Instagram post with tagged products, the post is not only shared with your followers but is also shared in the Explore section. Over 200 million users visit the Explore tab on Instagram every day.

Including relevant hashtags on your Instagram posts and stories is a must, too. This helps increase your chances of discovery both on the Explore tab and in hashtag searches.


How to set up your shopping posts on Instagram


Step 1


Make sure your Instagram account is a business profile, and not a personal profile. If you currently have a personal profile that you use for business purposes, you’ll need to convert your account. Or, create a new business profile.


Step 2


Connect your Instagram business profile to a Facebook catalog. You can connect to an existing Facebook catalog or set up a new catalog using Business Manager.


If you work with a Facebook partner such as Shopify or BigCommerce, you can also set up a catalog through your account with them.


Next, your account must be reviewed before you can start selling. You can imagine that Facebook-owned Instagram needs to ensure bona fide products are offered for sale on their platforms. The review process usually takes a few days.


Step 3


Once your account is approved for shopping, you then need to enable product tags. From your Instagram business profile on the mobile app, tap the button in the upper right-hand corner > tap Shopping under Business Settings > tap Continue> select the product catalog you want > tap Done.


Step 4


Now you can add product tags on your Instagram posts and product stickers on your stories.


You can tag up to 5 products per single image/video post or up to 20 products per carousel (multi-image post). Tap Tag Products from the Share screen. Select the product you want to tag from your catalog and place your product tag on or near the product in your image or video.


The good news is you can use the shopping tag feature on both new and existing posts.


For Instagram stories, you can create one product sticker per story and you can edit the sticker color and text. To access the product sticker, tap the sticker icon at the top right and then select the product sticker option. Unlike feed posts, once stories have been published, you cannot edit them.


Once you’ve tagged products in 9 posts, a shop tab will show up on your profile that lets shoppers browse your shoppable posts—all in one place.


Weave products into your visual story-telling in Instagram posts and stories.


Promoting your product posts


At the moment, the ability to tag products in feed posts and add product stickers to stories is only available in organic posts. Instagram does not allow paid ads with shopping tags. However, last year Instagram partnered with e-commerce platform Shopify to offer product tagging and these posts can be promoted using paid ads.


For organic promotion, remember to include hashtags in all your feed posts. You can add as many as 30 hashtags. Make good use of the stories feature - ideally posting 2-3 or more stories per day. And include a few hashtags on your stories.


Reviewing your shopping insights


Businesses can get insights like seeing how many people tapped to see more product details or clicked on “shop now.”To see key metrics on your shopping posts and stories, simply tap View Insights on a shopping post or swipe up on shopping stories. You can also sort top shopping posts on various metrics through Insights on your business profile.


Utilizing these tools within Instagram can help take your use of the platform from fun and building awareness to achieving real sales. Consider setting aside a few hours in the next month to experiment with selling on Instagram and see what it can do for your small business.



Bank of America, N.A. engages with Mari Smith to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Mari Smith is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Mari Smith. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

Have you embraced the growing trend of micro content yet? Are you publishing Instagram and Facebook Stories regularly for your business?


Savvy small business owners are easily reaching and engaging their audiences using fun, relevant and creative content in the Stories format.


As explained in my article, 5 Ideas to Use Instagram Stories to Drive Small Business Growth, a Story is a piece of micro-content that disappears after 24 hours. Stories are mobile optimized with full screen, short vertical videos, images, stickers and other fun, interactive features. The Stories format is available on both Instagram and Facebook.


Instagram Stories

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If you have a personal or business Instagram account, you have Stories!


Instagram ad spending is growing at a rapid rate thanks to the rise of Instagram Stories. Story ads increase ad recall, purchase intent, message association and click-through rate (CTR).


With over 400 million daily active users on Instagram Stories, this micro content feature is prime real estate to easily reach your target audience. According to Instagram, one in three of the most viewed Stories are from businesses. So, all the more reason to get going with Stories in 2019.


Instagram Stories and Stories ads are available to businesses worldwide. If you are currently using your Instagram personal profile for business, I would strongly recommend converting to an Instagram Business Profile as you’ll get access to helpful analytics, a CTA button for your profile, integration to third party tools for scheduling and other benefits.


Facebook Stories


The Facebook Stories format is a bit slower to catch on, with 300 million daily active users. But, Facebook is determined to ensure this format is just as popular (if not more, eventually) with new features for businesses rolling out regularly.


Placing ads in the Stories format provides small business owners a refreshing alternative to news feed ads.


“Stories are the future.” Mark Zuckerberg, CEO Facebook, Q3 2018  earnings call


Stories creation and consumption is growing at 15X the rate of feed content. The Stories format will eventually usurp the feed format as we know it. Or Facebook and Instagram may create a hybrid of both formats later this year. 


Why Stories ads?


Both Instagram and Facebook Stories ads appear at the top of people’s feed in between organic Stories. Videos display for up to 15 seconds and images for up to 6 seconds. Users tap or swipe to navigate back or forward. Stories are always full screen and vertical, which provides a fully immersive, distraction-free experience for users.


Advertisers can include calls to action and links. Links open up inside the native Facebook and Instagram mobile app, allowing the user to browse, take action and return to exactly where they were all without leaving the app. This last part is vital to the user experience. It allows the user to maintain control. To tap and swipe, engaging with your content, and then return to where they left off.


How to create Stories ads


Take a look at Facebook’s Creative Hub to optimize your creative process and save valuable time. Mock up, preview and test Facebook and Instagram ads here.


My favorite tool for creating video Stories ads is Choose from hundreds of millions of royalty free assets, or upload your own. Add text overlay, stickers, GIFs, logos, music and more. You can easily create a video in landscape or square formats, and at the click of a button convert to the 9:16 vertical video Story format. [Editor’s note: Mari Smith is an ambassador for]


You could also create still image Stories ads using a tool such as Canva. They have some gorgeous premade templates you can use. 


A great mobile app for creating Stories is Unfold.


Where to set up Stories ads


To place ads in Stories on either Facebook and/or Instagram, use Ads Manager.


If you are already placing ads, you might already be using the Stories ads format without even realizing it. Any qualifying ads that you create in Facebook Ads Manager already show up in the Instagram and/or Facebook Stories placement by default.


Instagram Stories ads are available as a standalone placement using Ads Manager.


Facebook Stories ads is included when you leave the default Automatic Placements. Currently, you can't select Facebook Stories as a standalone placement when you create an ad.


Stories ad formats


    • Instagram: Single image, single video, canvas, and carousel (where you can place up to 10 ‘cards’ in a single ad).
    • Facebook: Single image, single video.


Stories ad design specs


    • Image aspect ratios:  9:16 and 4:5 to 1.91:1
    • Video: 15 seconds
    • Full Instagram and Facebook Story ad specs.


Stories ad calls-to-action


Just as you can add any of the available CTA buttons to regular ads, you can include one of these on your Story ads: Apply Now, Book Now, Contact Us, Download, Learn More, Get Showtimes, Request Time, See Menu, Shop Now, Sign Up, Watch More, Listen Now, Subscribe


Stories ad objectives


Only certain ad objectives can be used with Stories ads. These are: Reach, Traffic, App installs, Video views, Brand Awareness, Lead Generation or Conversions.


Get inspiration for your Stories Ads


    • Check out Instagram’s own library of Stories Ads case studies.
    • Facebook also has a vast array of Stories in Ads examples on its Success Stories site.
    • See this fabulous infographic by 99firms - How Businesses Use Instagram Stories: 30 Case Studies.
    • Facebook Stories ad case study of Bux app by



You can read more articles from Mari Smith by clicking here



About Mari Smith



Often referred to as “the Queen of Facebook,” Mari Smith is considered one of the world’s foremost experts on Facebook marketing and social media. She is a Forbes’ Top Social Media Power Influencer, author of The New Relationship Marketing and coauthor of Facebook Marketing: An Hour A Day. Forbes recently described Mari as, “… the preeminent Facebook expert. Even Facebook asks for her help.” She is a recognized Facebook Partner; Facebook headhunted and hired Mari to lead the Boost Your Business series of live events across the US. Mari is an in-demand speaker, and travels the world to keynote and train at major events.


Her digital marketing agency provides professional speaking, training and consulting services on Facebook and Instagram marketing best practices for Fortune 500 companies, brands, SMBs and direct sales organizations. Mari is also an expert webinar and live video broadcast host, and she serves as Brand Ambassador for numerous leading global companies.


Web: Mari Smith  or Twitter: @MariSmith


Bank of America, N.A. engages with Mari Smith to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Mari Smith is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Mari Smith. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

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