The TOOLS Show: 7.24.14 – Facebook Audiences & Foursquare’s Makeover


This week, the guys tell us all about Facebook Audiences: what they are, what they’re for, and how to use them. Frankly, it’s a little creepy, but cool from a marketing standpoint.

Then they talk about what’s going on in the world of Foursquare. Changes are afoot! (Even is talking about it)

So, Facebook Audiences. Sage didn’t talk about how to get there, and since I had to figure it out myself, I will share for those who may not know: in your Facebook page, under “Build Audience” (top right, above your cover photo, but under your name), one of the options is “Use Ads Manager” and that takes you to the Ads Manager page, which is where Sage is in the video/where the Audiences functionality is (look on the left side).

There is the option to Create a Custom Audience or Create a Lookalike Audience. First we are talking about the Custom Audience feature. If you have done this before (like Sage, in the video), then there is a green “Create Audience” button in the top right corner; if not, the option pops up first.

Facebook’s Custom Audiences
There are four types of Custom Audiences that FB lets you make; the first one we look at is Mailchimp.

1. In the Mailchimp audience, you can import email addresses from your Mailchimp list(s) that FB will try to match up with FB users, in order to show those people ads. Sage walks through the whole process, but it’s pretty self-explanatory.

2. Remarketing: In the “Custom Audience from your Website” option, you can create an audience from the people who have visited your website, by adding a snippet of code to your website header that connects to FB and tracks people who visit your site and then shows them your FB ad.

I know, at this point, you’re thinking, WHAT?!? The interwebs know where I am online?? Yes, in case you didn’t realize it yet, whenever you go and look at a website, it’s not just that website you are communicating with, but with every other thing you are logged into that can “track” you. Don’t worry, it gets more creepy.

3. Audience from a Data File; you can pop in four different kinds of data: emails, user IDs (like if you have an app on FB), phone numbers, merchant ID (though we have no idea how you would get this info).

4. Mobile app: If you have a mobile app, the information you collect can be imported and used as a FB audience as well.

Then there’s the Lookalike Audience. “Reach new people who are similar to an audience you care about.” So you put in the country and your known-audience (people you already know like you), then you can set FB to find more people like them. You can optimize more toward Similarity or Reach (affects the number of people that could potentially see your ad). Yes, there is a bit of blind faith at work here, but let’s face it, the Facebook gods are pretty good at what they do.

Sage is “rather happy” with the results he’s getting so far using these tools in FB. Seriously, it is interesting and pretty cool that as a small business we get access to this kind of data and tools, though admittedly, a little freaky. But you can build out some different audiences and experiment with what works for you, using FB to find similar people to target, like the Audience Insights tool.

Audience Insights
On the left sidebar, about halfway down. You start with all of FB, then you can whittle it down, by geography, by interests, age/gender, lifestyle, jobs, etc. On the graphs, the dark blue is the stats for the area you selected (in the video case, Cleveland), while the light gray is all of FB, so you can see how a certain area compares with FB as a whole.

Along the top, you’ll see that you can look at Demographics, Page Likes, Location, Activity, Household, and Purchases. When you’ve got your geographic group, then you can sort by interests, which is Sage demonstrates by adding Walmart as an interest. Then you can see how the people in Cleveland who “Like” Walmart compare with the rest of FB, and what percentage of those people belong into demographic groups that FB has cleverly named.

This really is amazing that we can access so much information about people online. Have fun exploring–this could be quite the rabbit hole!

So Foursquare (people are still using it??) recently revealed a rebranding; now you check-in at places on SWARM, and browse nearby places and specials in Foursquare. Local local-search. Hyper-local search?

So far, the reviews of Swarm aren’t great. People hate change, as Sage points out, so we shall see if the ratings improve as people get used to the idea. And being forced to download a whole other app could be a barrier for some.

But Sage points out that Google has something like nine-million separate apps, and people still keep downloading those. Sage loves apps, and downloads them sometimes just for fun, while Greg just hates apps all together, so we won’t bother with what he thinks about it. (LOL–Love ya, Greg!)

Free WordPress Class from SageRock


I’m always interested in testing different ways of providing information to people.

To that end I thought I’d try a test to gauge interest.

I’m offering, for the first time ever, a comprehensive class completely for free.

If there is interest in this I might do more of it. But we’ll start here and see what happens.

I’m offering a 5 and half hour completely free WordPress class.

In this class you’ll learn:

  • How to easily setup a WordPress blog on a web server.
  • Important plugins you will want to install for advanced functionality.
  • Finding and customizing templates to easily make a great looking site.
  • How to use WordPress as your primary site’s content management system.
  • How to populate the site with images and content.
  • How to update and manage the website yourself or with a team.

This is about 5 and half hours of WordPress goodness.

The class starts out at the beginning of WordPress. By the end of the class we are modifying templates, installing plugins and other pretty cool stuff.

WordPress has become the industry standard in content management systems.  It’s an incredibly powerful yet easy to use system for running your Web site.


The TOOLS Show: 7.17.14

In this episode, Sage and Greg analyze the Twitter analytics, i.e. the “Tweet Activity Dashboard,” available in your Twitter account if you have activated the Ads functionality. {Update: Some sources are saying that Twitter has added Analytics to other kinds of accounts, but we haven’t checked this out yet.}

According to Sage, Twitter badly wants to play in the mainstream, or “possibly become Facebook,” which is probably what is driving their push to include detailed analytics for their users. Because Twitter has a history of getting lots of people to sign up, but then falling off the face of the Twittersphere, analyzing their users’ activities is of paramount importance to them from a business standpoint, and now they have made that data available to us.

The problem, of course, is that statistics and numbers by themselves are useless. Without context, the fact that @sagerock had 17,922 views in the last 28 days doesn’t mean anything. Is that good or bad?

The real question is, how does that number compare to the last 28 days, or this time last year?

Let’s Take a Look

Looking at the full dashboard gives you more context: something to compare to.

  • The big graph shows daily numbers of impressions for the last 28 days [Sage really wants to be able to click on each of the bars and just see that day's info... hint, hint, Twitter!]. And it tells you above the graph that @sagerock’s impressions were up 15.5% from the last 28 days.
  • Along the right side, there is a short paragraph that compares today’s impressions so far to the daily average; though because it’s not graphic, you really have to read the words carefully to digest what that is.
  • There is a listing of recent Tweets, along with the Impression & Engagement numbers for each
  • Engagements sidebar: is the percentage of your Followers that are engaging with your Tweets.
  • And the rest are just numbers, pretty self-explanatory: Link Clicks, Retweets, Favorites, and Replies

What Do the Numbers Tell Us?

That Sage is taking over the Twitterworld! Which is obviously as momentous an occasion as the introduction of the female Thor (according to Greg, at least).

“Numbers are meaningless unless you can make actionable decisions based on them.”

To demonstrate, we have a look at the dip and spike in the @sagerock graph. What happened during the stretch that goes up (July 8-11)?

1. First, take a look at the calendar; no conference or other event that would have pushed up the impressions.

2. Check out the Twitter history, by doing an Advanced Search for Sagerock between July 8-11, and turning off location. [Greg also pointed out that, in fact, the actual Tweets are shown on the Dashboard page.] Some cute bunnies, but nothing really striking pops out that would explain a big spike, besides maybe an increase in Tweets.

3. Greg mentions the very sensible notion that you could look at the particular times and days when Tweets are getting most engagement and see if you can spot a pattern.

Is It Easier to Spot Trends in Exported Data?

Taking a look at the spreadsheet that results from exporting the data (top right corner of the Dashboard), it might be easier to see a correlation between impressions and engagements. This isn’t really the case for @Sagerock, which leads Sage to wonder about the usefulness of all this data. [That doesn't mean you won't be able to see a clear pattern--try it for yourself!]


By trying to understand how to make Twitter data actionable, Sage concludes that although it’s nice to look at the data, the only real insight he comes to is that his engagement and followers go up when he tweets consistently, especially at a conference or event.

But even that conclusion doesn’t always hold, as he points out that he live-tweeted the Consumer Electronics show and not much happened. Maybe that points to a lack of interest from his followers? Looking at the top interests of his followers, they mostly concern marketing, SEO, and entrepreneurship. So staying on topic and live-tweeting conferences in his field are the best ways to boost engagement for him. You, of course, may be different.

The thing about Twitter, unlike Facebook, is that it is purely sorted by time, so because of how people tend to use Twitter (inconsistently and in short spurts), the more you tweet, the better chance you have of getting in front of eyeballs that find your content interesting and relevant.

“What I can sort-of glean from my analysis of Twitter is that when I stay on topic, based on why people are following me, and I tweet more often about content that is valuable and interesting, then my numbers increase. Almost always.” -Sage

Which is a damn fine description of content marketing in general, wouldn’t you say? A superb goal for us all.


Check out your Twitter stats at

P.S. In case you were wondering, here’s some background on the phrase “bated breath.” Watch the video and you’ll understand! :)


The TOOLS Show: 7.10.14

The Tools Show: 7.10.14

Website Re-Review

First off, we are taking another look at Eternal Health Wellness Acupuncture Center’s website, which had been previously reviewed. A number of updates and changes have been made to the site since our last visit, we are happy to report. Here are the highlights:

  • “San Jose” had been added into the html Title tag, which will help their local search
  • The big, clear phone number at the top of the homepage is grabbing attention right away, which makes it clear what visitors should do
  • We love the colors and great photos on the page (Though Greg makes the point that on other pages beside Home, large header photos can do more harm than good because they block the view of the rest of the page content on smaller screens.)
  • And their 5 reviews on Google put them at the top of the Local results, which is great!
  • One thing Sage noticed when looking at the Google results is that Google and Yelp are pretty chummy, so be sure to claim your Yelp site and pump it up, to help fuel those search results.
  • The “Seven Secrets to Good Health” email list incentive is working nicely, after some trouble during the last review.

Now that they have put together a site they want to show off, and are ranking well for San Jose and “weight loss,” Eternal Health can move into Paid Search with some geo-targeted ads. And depending on the strategy of the company, check out other niche acupuncture areas beside “weight loss.”


You can try the SageRock System for 30 days for FREE, starting Today!

“Leverage the power of the interwebs” with this awesome toolkit that you won’t know what you did without.


Retail + Information = We Like

Next up is–the site where Sage bought Greg’s Christmas present, and he vouches for their excellent customer service. Burman specializes in home coffee roasting (What? There is such a thing?!?)

When we searched “home coffee roasting,” Burman’s main page didn’t come up on the front page, but a long-form informational page on their site did. This brings up the point that often a longer, very educating page can convert when people are doing research and looking for hard-to-find information. That said, there were a number of Google Shopping ads along the side of the search results, picturing various coffee roasters, and Burman was not one of the stores listed.

Greg breaks down the secret of Google Shopping ads:

  • Site has to have a shopping cart
  • You set up a monthly feed that ties into your AdWords account
  • When you connect Shopping & AdWords, the images are able to show up in the search results
  • If you have an older site architecture, it is possible to feed products manually

Just be careful–even with an older-looking site, if it’s converting lookers into spenders, you might not want to do a total makeover and possibly lose the traction you’ve gained! If your shopping cart needs revamped, great, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that redoing the entire site is a good idea.

On a related note, Greg brought to our attention the tendency of online stores that carry seasonal items to take down the page related to an item that is no longer in stock, which can hurt them in the long run. Too often we see that deleted pages lead to broken links (which are just frustrating), and think back to those people doing research–there is still content on that page that could be useful to them.


In Other News…

Sage found a study that shows that Google doesn’t care about you if you have less than 10,000 Twitter followers. (Gee, thanks, Google :P)

And a report that Facebook has been running psychological studies on its users without their knowledge, permission, or a review process of any kind. That’s not scary at all… not.
Thanks for following along, and as always, send us websites to review and interesting internet news to share with our Tools-toting friends!

A Simple Video From SageRock

Here’s a simple video we did for Spring Garden Waldorf School in Copley Ohio:

We considered music, cuts and stuff like that. But as I watched her speak so intently about the subject of why she chose Spring Garden Waldorf for her son, I just wanted it to be pure.

We shot it at their school using a three point lighting structure.

The video was shot on a Nikon DSLR and the audio was recorded on a boom mic stand using the Rode NTG2 Condenser Shotgun Microphone and recording onto the Zoom H4N.

I’m just really into video and audio purity. This setup seems to give me the cleanest result I can find.

How Search Affects Your Business Today