Pinterest & Snapchat: 12 tips to dial in your visual ads

With the holiday shopping season in full swing, contributor Brad O’Brien offers tips to make the most of your advertising on Pinterest and Snapchat.

on November 10, 2016 at 10:41 am

By this point, we’ve all traded enough Facebook advertising Q4 tips (raising hand) to write a few books on the subject.

If you’re not using all the tools in Facebook’s ROI kit in the next few weeks through the busy holiday shopping season, you don’t have many excuses.

But what about for the newer social platforms that don’t have as many best practices in circulation? For retail clients especially, there’s still time to make hay in Q4 on Pinterest and Snapchat.


Pinterest is a cool combination of social engagement/proof and search intent. Since I last wrote about the platform in April, lots of new best practices have emerged.

Because keywords are such a big part of the platform, some unique optimization tactics open up, including:

  • Bucket your top-performing keywords into their own campaign to isolate them. This helps you try things like bidding higher on keywords that you know will perform.
  • Test keyword audiences against lookalike audiences to see which perform better. (For the record, one of our recent tests showed that CPC and CTR were better for keyword audiences, while conversion rate was better for lookalikes. But results vary by client.)

There are plenty of other more social-natured tips, too. Some of our favorites:

  • Exclude Custom Audiences from promoted pin targeting (this functions much like Facebook’s Custom Audience exclusions).
  • Let certain pins run organically for a while to build engagement before spending on them. When you start spending on new pins right away, it can take weeks before the pins spend money because there’s little traction with engagement.
  • You can create dark pins in the bulk editor; this lets you get specific more efficiently.
  • Leverage the new Pinterest pixels! They’re now in version 3, and they’re pretty darn handy for Creating Website Custom Audiences and retargeting audiences.
  • Pinterest description copy should be detailed, and it can be longer than what is generally used for social posts. We’ve found a sweet spot right around 240 characters, though of course we recommend testing.
  • Creative should have distinct text overlays with highlights, whether on the image or in a text box (e.g., “How to budget your money…” or “Create great dishes with these 100 recipes…”). Vertical aspect ratios (pins taller than they are wide) are still the best performers in my experience.



Snapchat ads, of course, are the newest and arguably least known of the three. A few tips if you are considering Snapchat ads in Q4:

  • Try geo-fenced filters, a fun branding play that will only cost local businesses a few bucks to create a cheap, engaging experience for any store visitor. Create one that is fun and holiday-themed, and consider offering a discount at checkout for anyone who shows that they’ve used the filter. Use your other social platforms (like Facebook, Twitter) to cross-promote the Snapchat filter locally.
  • Snapchat is no longer just for teenagers. Popularity is growing most, especially in the 25–34 age group, which grew from 11.3 million to 15.8 million users in just the last year. With a broader demographic flocking to the platform, this makes it more compelling to many advertisers.
  • Snap ads have grown from only being seen in the Discover section of the platform to Stories, showing among the content of the users you are following. Further, some newer features of Snap ads allow the user to “swipe up” on the ad to see more; you can even direct them to articles, videos, app stores and mobile website experiences.
  • Having the sound on is a self-selected feature that most Snapchat users will opt into. This is because the bulk of the platform is actively creating and viewing video, and this naturally will lead to having your sound turned on to hear and be heard. Facebook video, conversely, has sound off on video by default, resulting in up to 85 percent of Facebook video being watched with the sound off.

By the time Q4 2017 rolls around, my (educated) guess is that Snapchat will have dozens of new features to share, and Pinterest will be a well-oiled holiday machine.

For now, our advice is the same as usual: Test any new features aggressively before diving in, but don’t be afraid to grab an opportunity before your competition.

Five “Ancient” Marketing Ploys That Still Work in the Internet Age

With the advent of Internet marketing people have been quick to abandon the wide range of advertising avenues made available to them prior to the web.

While forward thinking is certainly is not a bad idea, failure to incorporate surefire, time-tested strategies into modern marketing is a failure to utilize state-of-art technology to its fullest effect.

The following are five marketing techniques that sound like they belong in the old school, but are certain to find their audience in the Internet Age:

Old-time salesman who huffed and puffed their sales pitch from town to town had to think of ways to catch peoples attention. This often led to eccentric character development, obnoxious paint jobs, and memorable monologues. Today this marketing ploy continues to exist in the form of viral kitsch; stuff that’s so bad it’s good. Examples include the efforts of, a site dedicated to showcasing the most awkward of products via even more awkward YouTube videos, and the marketing success of the Snuggie.

Promotional Products
T-shirts with a company’s name printed on them and
custom coffee mugs remain hot items for marketing your brand. You just have to get a little creative with them. Instead of brandishing an uninteresting corporate logo, brandish a fat QR code on the side of a mug or the back of a T-shirt. That way you invoke a reaction, which can result in an action, which would obviously be people scanning these items and being taken to your website via their mobile device.

Click here for full article

Author: Chris Birk

Eleven Ways to Find Customers

LookingWhat’s the hardest thing about starting a business? For many new business owners, the answer is “finding customers.” Having a great product or service that you are sure many people will need isn’t good enough. Customers won’t find you or your Web site just because you have started selling a product or service. Indeed, most business owners have to go on regular and frequent fishing trips to find customers and keep new business coming in their doors. But how do you do that? Here are several suggestions to get you started.

Develop a plan
Consider who would make the ideal customer. If you sell to businesses, consider what department is most likely to buy your products or services, and what individual (what level of responsibility) would be the one to determine the specific purchase requirements. (Make some calls if you don’t know!) Then consider how that individual would normally find products or services like yours. What circles do they travel in? Who are they likely to listen to or where do they look when they want to buy a product or service. Find a way to put your information, or yourself, in their path.

Realize there is no one path to success
Sales often happen because prospective customers hear about your products and services in several different ways and from several different sources. The more often they hear about you, the more likely they are to consider what you have to offer when they are ready to buy.

Work your local newspapers
Daily and weekly newspapers are an incredible source of contact information and leads to potential customers. Watch for names of people who have been promoted, who have won awards, who have opened new businesses, or who in any way may be potential customers. Send those people personalized mailings letting them know the benefits of what you sell. Try to attend meetings they will be at, as well. When you meet them or send mail, let them know you read about them and congratulate them on their success or mention how interesting the article about them was.

Watch for events that may bring your potential market together
Contact the organizers of the event and offer to give away your product or service as a prize during the event in exchange for having the group promote you in their promotions.

Attend meetings and seminars that your prospects might attend
If you’ve been doing that and haven’t made contacts that could lead to sales, look in the newspapers to see what other organizations hold events that might attract your target market and attend some of those meetings.

Follow up after meetings
Contact the people you’ve met to see if they may be prospects. If they say they don’t need your services now, ask when a good time to call them back would be, or if they have business associates who could use what you sell now.

Give a little to get a lot
Give away free samples of your product and ask the recipients to tell their friends if they are pleased. Or, if you are a consultant, give away some free advice. This could be in the form of a newsletter that contains news or tips and hints, or it could be a free consultation during which you provide just enough information to help the client scope out their project and know that you have the ability to handle it.
Work your personal network
Ask your friends if they know of people who can use your services, or people who may know others who could use your services. If your pricing structure will allow it, offer friends and business associates a finders’ fee for referrals that turn into jobs.

Study your competition
Advertise where they do. Promote yourself where your competition promotes themselves.

Use multiple small ads instead of one big one
If most people in your type of business advertise to bring in customers, you should do the same. But don’t plan on making a big splash with one large ad. Plan smaller ads to run over a long time in the same publications that your competitors advertise in. The repetition will build name recognition. If you advertise in the yellow pages, consider taking out ads in multiple category headings. If you provide office support services, you might want to advertise under the Word Processing and the Typing headings.

Ask for feedback when prospects don’t buy
Did they find a product that better served their needs? Did they decide they don’t need the product at all? Did they just postpone their buying decision? Did they find it difficult to place an order on your Web site? Use what you learn to make needed changes and watch your sales start to grow.

Larry Ellis
SBDC Rural Program Manager
& Business Advisor

Existing Businesses: Are You Ready to HYPERGROW?

A lot of the services we offer at the Del Mar College Small Business Development Center SBDC tend to cater to start-ups and those businesses in the early development stage.  I will have you know that we can also help established businesses, and have seriously been trying to implement new seminars and services to serve the second-stage business.  We are actually hosting a pretty cool seminar next month (November 30) just for existing businesses.  This workshop won’t be free, but it is definitely going to be a great value.  We are gonna fly in Curt Clinkinbeard, the author of HYPERGROW Your Business, to present the all-day workshop which promises to be a really intense session that will focus on new marketing methods for your business.  Click here to learn more about the workshop. 

When: November 30, 2006 9:00AM-4:00PM
Where: 3209 S. Staples
Cost: $195 (Save an additional $50 if you register before November 7, 2006!)
Call (361) 698-1021 or click here to reserve your seat now!

Sweet Ways to Promote Your Biz

I was skimming through the latest Inc magazine last night, and saw an M&M’s advertisement that I thought was pretty neat.  You can have these little chocolate treats customized with your logo and business name.  Personalized M&M’s can help you make a big impression with your clients and employees.  I know I’d pay more attention to a tasty bag of personalized M&M’s than I would another promotional pen or cap. 

So, maybe M&M’s don’t do much for you…here are some other sweet options you might find interesting:

  1. Personalized Fortune Cookies
  2. Customized Giant-sized Hershey’s Bar
  3. Cookie Bouquets
  4. Gift baskets with Personalized Ribbon

Free Marketing Materials

Thought I’d share a pretty cool offer I came across.  Vistaprint is offering free marketing materials to try their services.  I’ve never had the opportunity to use their services before, so I can’t vouch for the quality…but I’m definitely going to give them a shot.  This is a neat chance to create some marketing materials on the cheap if you haven’t already got business cards and such.  I don’t believe shipping costs are included, but check out what you can get:

  • Note Pads  1 Reg. $7.99 Now FREE 
  • Premium Business Cards  250 Reg. $19.99 Now FREE 
  • Rubber Stamp  1 Stamp FREE 
  • Return Address Labels  140 Reg. $7.99 Now FREE  
  • Business Card Magnets  25 Reg. $12.99 Now FREE 
  • Postcards 100 Reg. $24.99 Now FREE 

Act Now! Offers expire September 30, 2006.
Shipping and processing, product upgrades and photo/logo uploads not included unless otherwise specified.

Making Your Events Public

Got any upcoming events you’d like to share?  Well, I thought I’d share a few places you can post online here in Corpus Christi.

KRISTV Logo allows you post any upcoming events on their community calendar.  No charge.

Caller Times also has an events calendar. The daily events get published in paper.  No charge.

Corpus Christi Daily will allow you to post an event.  No charge. has an events calendar, and classifieds section.  No charge. Corpus Christi has finally found it’s way onto Craigslist!  Post your events and classifieds for free!

*If you know of any other places to share your events, please let me know (dmunoz @