More on Marketing
3 months ago
You Don't Have to Spend $250 on TikTok Ads Because I Did
900K impressions, 8K clicks, and $$$ orders…
I recently started dropshipping. Now that I own my business and can charge it as a business expense, it feels less like money wasted if it doesn't work. I also made t-shirts to sell. I intended to open a t-shirt store and had many designs on a hard drive. I read that Tiktok advertising had a high conversion rate and low cost because they were new. According to many, the advertising' cost/efficiency ratio would plummet and become as bad as Google or Facebook Ads. Now felt like the moment to try Tiktok marketing and dropshipping. I work in marketing for a SaaS firm and have seen how poorly ads perform. I wanted to try it alone.
I set up $250 and ran advertising for a week. Before that, I made my own products, store, and marketing. In this post, I'll show you my process and results.
Setting up the store
Dropshipping is a sort of retail business in which the manufacturer ships the product directly to the client through an online platform maintained by a seller. The seller takes orders but has no stock. The manufacturer handles all orders. This no-stock concept increases profitability and flexibility.
In my situation, I used previous t-shirt designs to make my own product. I didn't want to handle order fulfillment logistics, so I looked for a way to print my designs on demand, ship them, and handle order tracking/returns automatically. So I found Printful.
I needed to connect my backend and supplier to a storefront so visitors could buy. 99% of dropshippers use Shopify, but I didn't want to master the difficult application. I wanted a one-day project. I'd previously worked with Big Cartel, so I chose them.
Big Cartel doesn't collect commissions on sales, simply a monthly flat price ($9.99 to $19.99 depending on your plan).
After opening a Big Cartel account, I uploaded 21 designs and product shots, then synced each product with Printful.
Developing the ads
I mocked up my designs on cool people photographs from placeit.net, a great tool for creating product visuals when you don't have a studio, camera gear, or models to wear your t-shirts.
I opened an account on the website and had advertising visuals within 2 hours.
Because my designs are simple (black design on white t-shirt), I chose happy, stylish people on plain-colored backdrops. After that, I had to develop an animated slideshow.
Because I'm a graphic designer, I chose to use Adobe Premiere to create animated Tiktok advertising.
Premiere is a fancy video editing application used for more than advertisements. Premiere is used to edit movies, not social media marketing. I wanted this experiment to be quick, so I got 3 social media ad templates from motionarray.com and threw my visuals in. All the transitions and animations were pre-made in the files, so it only took a few hours to compile. The result:
I downloaded 3 different soundtracks for the videos to determine which would convert best.
After that, I opened a Tiktok business account, uploaded my films, and inserted ad info. They went live within one hour.
The (poor) outcomes
As a European company, I couldn't deliver ads in the US. All of my advertisements' material (title, description, and call to action) was in English, hence they continued getting rejected in Europe for countries that didn't speak English. There are a lot of them:
I lost a lot of quality traffic, but I felt that if the images were engaging, people would check out the store and buy my t-shirts. I was wrong.
51,071 impressions on Day 1. 0 orders after 411 clicks
114,053 impressions on Day 2. 1.004 clicks and no orders
Day 3: 987 clicks, 103,685 impressions, and 0 orders
101,437 impressions on Day 4. 0 orders after 963 clicks
115,053 impressions on Day 5. 1,050 clicks and no purchases
125,799 impressions on day 6. 1,184 clicks, no purchases
115,547 impressions on Day 7. 1,050 clicks and no purchases
121,456 impressions on day 8. 1,083 clicks, no purchases
47,586 impressions on Day 9. 419 Clicks. No orders
My overall conversion rate for video advertisements was 0.9%. TikTok's paid ad formats all result in strong engagement rates (ads average 3% to 12% CTR to site), therefore a 1 to 2% CTR should have been doable.
My one-week experiment yielded 8,151 ad clicks but no sales. Even if 0.1% of those clicks converted, I should have made 8 sales. Even companies with horrible web marketing would get one download or trial sign-up for every 8,151 clicks. I knew that because my advertising were in English, I had no impressions in the main EU markets (France, Spain, Italy, Germany), and that this impacted my conversion potential. I still couldn't believe my numbers.
I dug into the statistics and found that Tiktok's stats didn't match my store traffic data.
Looking more closely at the numbers
My ads were approved on April 26 but didn't appear until April 27. My store dashboard showed 440 visitors but 1,004 clicks on Tiktok. This happens often while tracking campaign results since different platforms handle comparable user activities (click, view) differently. In online marketing, residual data won't always match across tools.
My data gap was too large. Even if half of the 1,004 persons who clicked closed their browser or left before the store site loaded, I would have gained 502 visitors. The significant difference between Tiktok clicks and Big Cartel store visits made me suspicious. It happened all week:
Day 1: 440 store visits and 1004 ad clicks
Day 2: 482 store visits, 987 ad clicks
3rd day: 963 hits on ads, 452 store visits
443 store visits and 1,050 ad clicks on day 4.
Day 5: 459 store visits and 1,184 ad clicks
Day 6: 430 store visits and 1,050 ad clicks
Day 7: 409 store visits and 1,031 ad clicks
Day 8: 166 store visits and 418 ad clicks
The disparity wasn't related to residual data or data processing. The disparity between visits and clicks looked regular, but I couldn't explain it.
After the campaign concluded, I discovered all my creative assets (the videos) had a 0% CTR and a $0 expenditure in a separate dashboard. Whether it's a dashboard reporting issue or a budget allocation bug, online marketers shouldn't see this.
Tiktok can present any stats they want on their dashboard, just like any other platform that runs advertisements to promote content to its users. I can't verify that 895,687 individuals saw and clicked on my ad. I invested $200 for what appears to be around 900K impressions, which is an excellent ROI. No one bought a t-shirt, even an unattractive one, out of 900K people?
Would I do it again?
Nope. Whether I didn't make sales because Tiktok inflated the dashboard numbers or because I'm horrible at producing advertising and items that sell, I’ll stick to writing content and making videos. If setting up a business and ads in a few days was all it took to make money online, everyone would do it.
Video advertisements and dropshipping aren't dead. As long as the internet exists, people will click ads and buy stuff. Converting ads and selling stuff takes a lot of work, and I want to focus on other things.
I had always wanted to try dropshipping and I’m happy I did, I just won’t stick to it because that’s not something I’m interested in getting better at.
If I want to sell t-shirts again, I'll avoid Tiktok advertisements and find another route.
2 months ago
What Happened After I Posted an AI-Generated Post on My Website
This could cost you.
Content creators may have heard about Google's "Helpful content upgrade."
This change is another Google effort to remove low-quality, repetitive, and AI-generated content.
Why should content creators care?
Because too much content manipulates search results.
My experience includes the following.
Website admins seek high-quality guest posts from me. They send me AI-generated text after I say "yes." My readers are irrelevant. Backlinks are needed.
Companies copy high-ranking content to boost their Google rankings. Unfortunately, it's common.
What does this content offer?
Despite Google's updates and efforts to clean search results, webmasters create manipulative content.
As a marketer, I knew about AI-powered content generation tools. However, I've never tried them.
I use old-fashioned content creation methods to grow my website from 0 to 3,000 monthly views in one year.
Last year, I launched a niche website.
I do keyword research, analyze search intent and competitors' content, write an article, proofread it, and then optimize it.
This strategy is time-consuming.
But it yields results!
Here's proof from Google Analytics:
Proven strategies yield promising results.
To validate my assumptions and find new strategies, I run many experiments.
I tested an AI-powered content generator.
I used a tool to write this Google-optimized article about SEO for startups.
I wanted to analyze AI-generated content's Google performance.
Here are the outcomes of my test.
I dislike "meh" content. I expect articles to answer my questions. If not, I've wasted my time.
My essays usually include research, personal anecdotes, and what I accomplished and achieved.
AI-generated articles aren't as good because they lack individuality.
Read my AI-generated article about startup SEO to see what I mean.
It's dry and shallow, IMO.
It seems robotic.
I'd use quotes and personal experience to show how SEO for startups is different.
My article paraphrases top-ranked articles on a certain topic.
It's readable but useless. Similar articles abound online. Why read it?
AI-generated content is low-quality.
Let me show you how this content ranks on Google.
The Google Search Console report shows impressions, clicks, and average position.
No one opens the 5th Google search result page to read the article. Too far!
You may say the new article will improve.
Marketing-wise, I doubt it.
This article is shorter and less comprehensive than top-ranking pages. It's unlikely to win because of this.
AI-generated content's terrible reality.
I'll compare how this content I wrote for readers and SEO performs.
Both the AI and my article are fresh, but trends are emerging.
My article's CTR and average position are higher.
I spent a week researching and producing that piece, unlike AI-generated content. My expert perspective and unique consequences make it interesting to read.
No content generator can duplicate a human's tone, writing style, or creativity. Artificial content is always inferior.
Not "bad," but inferior.
Demand for content production tools will rise despite Google's efforts to eradicate thin content.
Most won't spend hours producing link-building articles. Costly.
As guest and sponsored posts, artificial content will thrive.
Before accepting a new arrangement, content creators and website owners should consider this.
3 months ago
How to Produce a Month's Worth of Content for Social Media in a Day
New social media producers' biggest error
The Treadmill of Social Media Content
New creators focus on the wrong platforms.
They post to Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, etc.
They create daily material, but it's never enough for social media algorithms.
Creators recognize they're on a content creation treadmill.
They have to keep publishing content daily just to stay on the algorithm’s good side and avoid losing the audience they’ve built on the platform.
This is exhausting and unsustainable, causing creator burnout.
They focus on short-lived platforms, which is an issue.
Comparing low- and high-return social media platforms
Social media networks are great for reaching new audiences.
Their algorithm is meant to viralize material.
Social media can use you for their aims if you're not careful.
To master social media, focus on the right platforms.
To do this, we must differentiate low-ROI and high-ROI platforms:
Low ROI platforms are ones where content has a short lifespan. High ROI platforms are ones where content has a longer lifespan.
A tweet may be shown for 12 days. If you write an article or blog post, it could get visitors for 23 years.
ROI is drastically different.
New creators have limited time and high learning curves.
Nothing is possible.
First create content for high-return platforms.
ROI for social media platforms
Here are high-return platforms:
Your Blog - A single blog article can rank and attract a ton of targeted traffic for a very long time thanks to the power of SEO.
YouTube - YouTube has a reputation for showing search results or sidebar recommendations for videos uploaded 23 years ago. A superb video you make may receive views for a number of years.
Medium - A platform dedicated to excellent writing is called Medium. When you write an article about a subject that never goes out of style, you're building a digital asset that can drive visitors indefinitely.
These high ROI platforms let you generate content once and get visitors for years.
This contrasts with low ROI platforms:
The posts you publish on these networks have a 23-day lifetime. Instagram Reels and TikToks are exceptions since viral content can last months.
If you want to make content creation sustainable and enjoyable, you must focus the majority of your efforts on creating high ROI content first. You can then use the magic of repurposing content to publish content to the lower ROI platforms to increase your reach and exposure.
How To Use Your Content Again
So, you’ve decided to focus on the high ROI platforms.
You've published an article or a YouTube video.
You worked hard on it.
Now you have fresh stuff.
If you are not repurposing each piece of content for multiple platforms, you are throwing away your time and efforts.
You've created fantastic material, so why not distribute it across platforms?
Repurposing Content Step-by-Step
For me, it's writing a blog article, but you might start with a video or podcast.
The premise is the same regardless of the medium.
Start by creating content for a high ROI platform (YouTube, Blog Post, Medium). Then, repurpose, edit, and repost it to the lower ROI platforms.
Here's how to repurpose pillar material for other platforms:
Post the article on your blog.
Put your piece on Medium (use the canonical link to point to your blog as the source for SEO)
Create a video and upload it to YouTube using the talking points from the article.
Rewrite the piece a little, then post it to LinkedIn.
Change the article's format to a Thread and share it on Twitter.
Find a few quick quotes throughout the article, then use them in tweets or Instagram quote posts.
Create a carousel for Instagram and LinkedIn using screenshots from the Twitter Thread.
Go through your film and select a few valuable 30-second segments. Share them on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, YouTube Shorts, and Instagram Reels.
Your video's audio can be taken out and uploaded as a podcast episode.
If you (or your team) achieve all this, you'll have 20-30 pieces of social media content.
If you're just starting, I wouldn't advocate doing all of this at once.
Instead, focus on a few platforms with this method.
You can outsource this as your company expands. (If you'd want to learn more about content repurposing, contact me.)
You may focus on relevant work while someone else grows your social media on autopilot.
You develop high-ROI pillar content, and it's automatically chopped up and posted on social media.
This lets you use social media algorithms without getting sucked in.
Thanks for reading!
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7 days ago
A student trader from the United States made $110 million in one month and rose to prominence on Wall Street.
Genius or lucky?
From the title, you might think I'm selling advertising for a financial influencer, a dubious trading site, or a training organization to attract clients. I'm suspicious. Better safe than sorry.
But not here.
Jake Freeman, 20, made $110 million in a month, according to the Financial Times. At 18, he ran for president. He made his name in markets, not politics. Two years later, he's Wall Street's prince. Interview requests flood the prodigy.
Jake Freeman bought 5 million Bed Bath & Beyond Group shares for $5.5 in July 2022 and sold them for $27 a month later. He thought the stock might double. Since speculation died down, he sold well. The stock fell 40.5% to 11 dollars on Friday, 19 August 2022. On August 22, 2022, it fell 16% to $9.
Smallholders have been buying the stock for weeks and will lose heavily if it falls further. Bed Bath & Beyond is the second most popular stock after Foot Locker, ahead of GameStop and Apple.
Jake Freeman earned $110 million thanks to a significant stock market flurry.
Online broker customers aren't the only ones with jitters. By June 2022, Ken Griffin's Citadel and Stephen Mandel's Lone Pine Capital held nearly a third of the company's capital. Did big managers sell before the stock plummeted?
Recent stock movements (derivatives) and rumors could prompt a SEC investigation.
Jake Freeman wrote to the board of directors after his investment to call for a turnaround, given the company's persistent problems and short sellers. The bathroom and kitchen products distribution group's stock soared in July 2022 due to renewed buying by private speculators, who made it one of their meme stocks with AMC and GameStop.
Second-quarter 2022 results and financial health worsened. He didn't celebrate his miraculous operation in a nightclub. He told a British newspaper, "I'm shocked." His parents dined in New York. He returned to Los Angeles to study math and economics.
Jake Freeman founded Freeman Capital Management with his savings and $25 million from family, friends, and acquaintances. They are the ones who are entitled to the $110 million he raised in one month. Will his investors pocket and withdraw all or part of their profits or will they trust the young prodigy for new stunts on Wall Street?
His operation should attract new clients. Well-known hedge funds may hire him.
Jake Freeman didn't listen to gurus or former traders. At 17, he interned at a quantitative finance and derivatives hedge fund, Volaris. At 13, he began investing with his pharmaceutical executive uncle. All countries have increased their Google searches for the young trader in the last week.
Naturally, his success has inspired resentment.
His success stirs jealousy, and he's attacked on social media. On Reddit, people who lost money on Bed Bath & Beyond, Jake Freeman's fortune, are mourning.
Several conspiracy theories circulate about him, including that he doesn't exist or is working for a Taiwanese amusement park.
If all 20 million American students had the same trading skills, they would have generated $1.46 trillion. Jake Freeman is unique. Apprentice traders' careers are often short, disillusioning, and tragic.
Two years ago, 20-year-old Robinhood client Alexander Kearns committed suicide after losing $750,000 trading options. Great traders start young. Michael Platt of BlueCrest invested in British stocks at age 12 under his grandmother's supervision and made a £30,000 fortune. Paul Tudor Jones started trading before he turned 18 with his uncle. Warren Buffett, at age 10, was discussing investments with Goldman Sachs' head. Oracle of Omaha tells all.
3 months ago
Yahoo could have purchased Google for $1 billion
Let's see this once-dominant IT corporation crumble.
What's the capital of Kazakhstan? If you don't know the answer, you can probably find it by Googling. Google Search returned results for Nur-Sultan in 0.66 seconds.
Google is the best search engine I've ever used. Did you know another search engine ruled the Internet? I'm sure you guessed Yahoo!
Google's friendly UI and wide selection of services make it my top choice. Let's explore Yahoo's decline.
YAHOO stands for Yet Another Hierarchically Organized Oracle. Jerry Yang and David Filo established Yahoo.
Yahoo is primarily a search engine and email provider. It offers News and an advertising platform. It was a popular website in 1995 that let people search the Internet directly. Yahoo began offering free email in 1997 by acquiring RocketMail.
According to a study, Yahoo used Google Search Engine technology until 2000 and then developed its own in 2004.
Yahoo! rejected buying Google for $1 billion
Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google's founders, approached Yahoo in 1998 to sell Google for $1 billion so they could focus on their studies. Yahoo denied the offer, thinking it was overvalued at the time.
Yahoo realized its error and offered Google $3 billion in 2002, but Google demanded $5 billion since it was more valuable. Yahoo thought $5 billion was overpriced for the existing market.
In 2022, Google is worth $1.56 Trillion.
What happened to Yahoo!
Yahoo refused to buy Google, and Google's valuation rose, making a purchase unfeasible.
Yahoo started losing users when Google launched Gmail. Google's UI was far cleaner than Yahoo's.
Yahoo offered $1 billion to buy Facebook in July 2006, but Zuckerberg and the board sought $1.1 billion. Yahoo rejected, and Facebook's valuation rose, making it difficult to buy.
Yahoo was losing users daily while Google and Facebook gained many. Google and Facebook's popularity soared. Yahoo lost value daily.
Microsoft offered $45 billion to buy Yahoo in February 2008, but Yahoo declined. Microsoft increased its bid to $47 billion after Yahoo said it was too low, but Yahoo rejected it. Then Microsoft rejected Yahoo’s 10% bid increase in May 2008.
In 2015, Verizon bought Yahoo for $4.5 billion, and Apollo Global Management bought 90% of Yahoo's shares for $5 billion in May 2021. Verizon kept 10%.
Yahoo's opportunity to acquire Google and Facebook could have been a turning moment. It declined Microsoft's $45 billion deal in 2008 and was sold to Verizon for $4.5 billion in 2015. Poor decisions and lack of vision caused its downfall. Yahoo's aim wasn't obvious and it didn't stick to a single domain.
Hence, a corporation needs a clear vision and a leader who can see its future.
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4 months ago
Web 2 + Web 3 = Web 5.
Monkey jpegs and shitcoins have tarnished Web3's reputation. Let’s move on.
Web3 was called "the internet's future."
Well, 'crypto bros' shouted about it loudly.
As quickly as it arrived to be the next internet, it appears to be dead. It's had scandals, turbulence, and crashes galore:
Web 3.0's cryptocurrencies have crashed. Bitcoin's all-time high was $66,935. This month, Ethereum fell from $2130 to $1117. Six months ago, the cryptocurrency market peaked at $3 trillion. Worst is likely ahead.
Gas fees make even the simplest Web3 blockchain transactions unsustainable.
Terra, Luna, and other dollar pegs collapsed, hurting crypto markets. Celsius, a crypto lender backed by VCs and Canada's second-largest pension fund, and Binance, a crypto marketplace, have withheld money and coins. They're near collapse.
NFT sales are falling rapidly and losing public interest.
Web3 has few real-world uses, like most crypto/blockchain technologies. Web3's image has been tarnished by monkey profile pictures and shitcoins while failing to become decentralized (the whole concept is controlled by VCs).
The damage seems irreparable, leaving Web3 in the gutter.
Step forward our new saviour — Web5
Fear not though, as hero awaits to drag us out of the Web3 hellscape. Jack Dorsey revealed his plan to save the internet quickly.
Dorsey has long criticized Web3, believing that VC capital and silicon valley insiders have created a centralized platform. In a tweet that upset believers and VCs (he was promptly blocked by Marc Andreessen), Dorsey argued, "You don't own "Web3." VCs and LPs do. Their incentives prevent it. It's a centralized organization with a new name.
Dorsey announced Web5 on June 10 in a very Elon-like manner. Block's TBD unit will work on the project (formerly Square).
Web5's pitch is that users will control their own data and identity. Bitcoin-based. Sound familiar? The presentation pack's official definition emphasizes decentralization. Web5 is a decentralized web platform that enables developers to write decentralized web apps using decentralized identifiers, verifiable credentials, and decentralized web nodes, returning ownership and control over identity and data to individuals.
Web5 would be permission-less, open, and token-less. What that means for Earth is anyone's guess. Identity. Ownership. Blockchains. Bitcoin. Different.
Web4 appears to have been skipped, forever destined to wish it could have shown the world what it could have been. (It was probably crap.) As this iteration combines Web2 and Web3, simple math and common sense add up to 5. Or something.
Dorsey and his team have had this idea simmering for a while. Daniel Buchner, a member of Block's Decentralized Identity team, said, "We're finishing up Web5's technical components."
Web5 could be the project that decentralizes the internet. It must be useful to users and convince everyone to drop the countless Web3 projects, products, services, coins, blockchains, and websites being developed as I write this.
Web5 may be too late for Dorsey and the incoming flood of creators.
Web6 is planned!
The next months and years will be hectic and less stable than the transition from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0.
Web1 was around 1991-2004.
Web2 ran from 2004 to 2021. (though the Web3 term was first used in 2014, it only really gained traction years later.)
Web3 lasted a year.
Web4 is dead.
Silicon Valley billionaires are turning it into a startup-style race, each disrupting the next iteration until they crack it. Or destroy it completely.
Web5 won't last either.