Category Archives: Digital Marketing

Marketing on Facebook vs. Advertising on Facebook

LET’S CLARIFY A FEW IDEAS: A shared Facebook post about the value of a brand or a brand story is marketing. A Facebook ad trying to get you to buy something is advertising. They are similar but not the same. Let’s explore.

When McDonald’s advertises the Big Mac on Facebook they are doing something in between. They are not actually trying to get you to stop at McD’s for a Big Mac at that moment, that would be advertising. They are really trying to build the idea of the Big Mac in your mind. Make your mouth water, so the NEXT TIME you see the golden arches you turn in for a Big Mac and some fries.

Marketing – telling a story, sharing a brand experience, with the intention of influencing future purchases.

Advertising – buy now, click here to register, special offer now.

On Facebook you can do both. But of course Facebook is not intending you to be surfing Facebook while driving, so their intention is mainly focused on future events. However, with mobile advertising and mobile Facebook the lines are getting a bit blurred. I’d still offer that marketing on Facebook is what McDonald’s is doing. They don’t have to give coupons for discount fries. The fries sell themselves, so McDonald’s usually advertises or markets things in addition to the fries. Like “all-day breakfast.”

In my experience, there is one type of advertising that works really well on Facebook and everything else is really branding. Typical results from a boosted Facebook post.


And because I know my audience, that 4.36% engagement rate is pretty high. Typical engagements range from 1 – 3%. In my demographic, women for this ad, here is my demographic breakdown.


From this information I can see that no one over 54 or under 35 clicked on my ad. So I can tighten up the target a bit more. But this is branding and marketing. I am trying to build a readership and audience for my blog.

When we talk advertising the one WINNER on Facebook is the Mobile Downloads Ads. But of course these require two things.

  1. That you have a downloadable app.
  2. That your required WIN is downloading your app.

In this channel, Mobile Downloads,  I have seen engagement rates as high as 35%. That means that over 1/3 of the people who see the ad then click on it. The actual download rate then goes down, because not everyone directed to the download store on their various phones is actually going to then click the download button, even when the app is free. That rate usually dropped by 20%. So we’d get a solid engagement and download rate of 23%.

The last mile, for this company, was getting the user to actually launch the app and register with the company for the application to work correctly. This is where the drop off is more of a problem. At this point our WIN rate was about 7%.

So of an ad that produced a 35% engagement rate and a 23% download rate, we would end up with a 7% registration rate. Now if we dropped these numbers to the typical Facebook engagement rate of 2%, you can see where we’d run into serious problems convincing anyone to allocate dollars to a Facebook advertising campaign. Branding yes, advertising, not so much.

Know what you want to accomplish on Facebook. Pick marketing over advertising and see if you can come up with a mobile app version of your website (These can be created for free these days with 3rd party apps.) and you may have some real potential on Facebook. Otherwise, you’re building brand and goodwill, also valuable, but harder to justify in this competitive business environment.

John McElhenney
@jmacofearth (also seen on Google+: jmacofearth)

Broadcast Yourself on YouTube - Logo

YouTube/Google AdSense Still Blocking Me

A month ago I started talking to the YouTube specialists about monetizing my YouTube videos. I thought I had made some progress even though I was being shuffled between different customer service managers for several weeks. Today I got my revised and same answer.


So I hipped Adam to my previous history of “violations.”


AND that did it.

He viewed three of the posts about my past problems with AdSense.


And then sent this response. Um, thanks Adam.


And while I asked Adam, “Why?” I’m pretty sure I’ve heard the last from the YouTube Team.

Thanks Adam.

Read the entire Google AdSense and YouTube saga.

John McElhenney
@jmacofearth (also seen on Google+: jmacofearth)

Huffington Post SNAFU, Again?


981 in one hour. That was a big hour.

my stats are still growing

Today was a great day. Today I logged into the old Huffington Post publishing platform and was given the opportunity to open a publishing account on the new platform. I jumped at the chance and spaced my four posts out over the morning. Putting one in each of my main categories. Single Parenting, Divorce, and Health. And everything looked great until after lunch.

At that time one of my posts started to take off. I was like a kid in a candy store. I was so excited I took this screencast video of my stats going wild.

And just as I was getting excited about it. I was blocked again. Shut down. Killed. And the post that was trending showed (shows) this.


I’m concerned mainly because I had been shut out of publishing on the HuffPo platform for over a year without any explanation. I tried sending emails to and even the Divorce editor but never got a single response. What gives? So today I’m back ON and I start to show results and I’m banned again? I sent this letter to the blogteam.


And while I don’t ever expect a response, my posts are still showing as LIVE on my HuffPo author’s page.


I’m sure we’ll get to the bottom of it. I’m not sure we will ever be told what happened, or why I’ve been banned and am now apparently banned again. For legal reasons (that’s got to be it, right) they are not telling me anything. I’m holding my breath, however, because the thrill of seeing my blog blow up was very nice.

And now my Facebook shares look like this:


I’m sad, but not surprised. I’ll be surprised if I get ANY response out of Brittany or the Blog Team.

UPDATE: This evening I’m afraid to even try and login. My account is in some sort of unstable mode where the site flashes on and off. Here’s the log-in screen.


And what the “Statement of Community” says:

Statement of Community

The Huffington Post’s Contributor Network is a forum for ideas, discussion and diverse viewpoints. We offer a state-of-the-art platform that can help you bring your work to one of the internet’s largest audiences.

Be interesting, be entertaining, be provocative, have a point of view – but do it with a great respect for the readers and writers who join you on these pages. The community we are working to build here is one where diverse, vibrant and original ideas are celebrated and elevated. We welcome posts that embody that free-speech ethos, even when those viewpoints differ from our own.

We reserve our right to remove posts that abuse that spirit of community, such as hate speech, anything overtly commercial in nature and and posts that we believe may be attempting to mislead the public in some way. There may be other times when we will remove a post that has been flagged by our community for other reasons, including matters of professionalism and taste. We hope and expect those times to be rare and we will not take these decisions lightly. But in building this community, we respect the right of its members to be vocal about their objections. When those objections arise, we will leverage the sound judgement of our editors to determine what is best for the spirit of the space we’re trying to create.

Let’s see if the community will respond with an answer to my entire set of posts being taken down.

UPDATE: The mystery continues. This morning when I log-in my account is in some possessed form of code hell. As if they were blocking my account, but didn’t do it correctly.

John McElhenney
@jmacofearth (also seen on Google+: jmacofearth)

Catch up on the entire Huffington Post story

Sorting through the Marketing Data


We’ve just gotten started and we’re averaging 300 hits a day. That’s good. We’re going to get better. Right now we are sorting through all of the marketing data and posts of the last 7 years. We’re building indexes to help you find what you’re looking for. Again, thanks for your patience, we understand it’s hard to find what you need in our current state.

The plan is to keep refining the Active Media Academy for the month of October and then go to a paywall system of $2 per month for all you can eat. We hope you enjoy the free month of October, and we are open to any questions or suggestions about how we can make this site better.

Stay the course.

JMac – Oct. 1, 2016.

We’re Just Getting Organized


Please forgive the disorganization of this site. We’ve got over 800 posts to categorize and build in to classes. Today you can still get all the great content for free, but you’re going to have to look for it. Either use the SEARCH box or use the SITEMAP and search for the word or subject you are looking for there. Here’s what’s coming.

  1. The Twitter Way – using Twitter with skill and art
  2. Workin Facebook – all that’s good and bad and profitable about Facebook
  3. LinkedIn for Business – how to stay on top of the best networking site for business
  4. Fit Lifestyle – the blending of tech and hard work can help you reach your goals
  5. Apple Lifestyle – it’s not just a brand it’s an ecosystem – how Apple changes and improves our lives
  6. BMW Lifestyle – sure it’s a luxury brand, but there is a lot to learn from one of the best run car/tech companies
  7. Dell Hell – branding, e-commerce, company profiles, dysfunctions and repairs for the tech giant
  8. Social Media Marketing – it’s just digital marketing, but social is the accelerant
  9. Growth Hacker Digital Marketing and Branding – driving business using all the digital tools

We promise we are on it, but we’re a team of ONE and have several other projects that are paying the bills at the moment, so please take it easy on us.

We’ll be opening up a subscription option (free for now) and eventually this entire site will be on a $1 per month subscription service. Today, however, it’s all FREE, so enjoy. Look around. If you can’t find what you’re looking for please ask, I’ll fetch it back up to the site for you.

Thanks again, John McElhenney

Requests and post ideas to john.mcelhenney (at) gmail (dot) com

AdSense and YouTube Continue to BAN ME from Monetization (UPDATED)

If you know anything about social media marketing and content marketing, you know that monetization is the key to making the web work. I have been a content creator for years, I’m a verified partner with my very own YouTube channel about social marketing. And for over 200,000 views, YouTube/Google has paid me zero. I’ve been fighting a bogus click fraud case they have used to not pay me on my original content and not allow me to monetize my blogs using Google Adsense.

Today I was looking specifically at my YouTube account


Of course my account is verified and in good standing, so WHAT’S THE FUCKIN DEAL GOOGLE?


And I filed the typical form letter complaint with the YouTube team. Let’s see if I get any better results than I did using the gestapo-ish AdSense team. Onward ho!

For the full story you can visit this thread | Google Adsense Kills My Dreams

Or start here: Google Adsense, Can We Start Over?

@jmacofearth (also seen on Google+: jmacofearth)

Read the entire Google AdSense and YouTube saga.

UPDATE 3-24-16 YouTube wants feedback. I gave them the full thumbs down on this one. The specialist’s suggestion. Trying joining Adsense using a different email address. Um, yeah, we tried that already.


Free Social Media and Digital Marketing Classes

What We Have Here is a Failure to Communicate

Pardon our dust. All of our content is here and free, but not very well organized at this point. We’d love you to look around while we fix things up a bit.

screen-shot-2016-09-19-at-9-12-44-amsomething is growing here

UBER.LA was great, but the traffic began to split along the lines of digital marketing (content is here now) and lifestyle/influencer posts. That’s all good for you, because today, for now, all of the content of the social media academy is available for free.

We’re just getting started, but let me hint at the structure underneath the pile of content.

  1. The Twitter Way – using Twitter with skill and art
  2. Workin Facebook – all that’s good and bad and profitable about Facebook
  3. LinkedIn for Business – how to stay on top of the best networking site for business
  4. Fit Lifestyle – the blending of tech and hard work can help you reach your goals
  5. Apple Lifestyle – it’s not just a brand it’s an ecosystem – how Apple changes and improves our lives
  6. BMW Lifestyle – sure it’s a luxury brand, but there is a lot to learn from one of the best run car/tech companies
  7. Dell Hell – branding, e-commerce, company profiles, dysfunctions and repairs for the tech giant
  8. Social Media Marketing – it’s just digital marketing, but social is the accelerant
  9. Growth Hacker Digital Marketing and Branding – driving business using all the digital tools
  10. Building an Influencer Marketing Program – brands and small businesses can benefit from this influencer thing

Pardon our dust. For now you’ve got to dig for the content using the index and search functions. But today it’s all free, and without a pay wall. (It’s coming.) So get your content today. And join us for tomorrow.


John McElhenney

@jmacofearth (also seen on Google+: jmacofearth)

Top Twitter Spammers Still Going Strong

Since they’ve blocked me on Twitter I can’t get an on-going look at the output of Chris Brogan and Guy Kawasaki, but a quick check-in from a different account reveals to distinctly different approaches to Twitter Spam.

Go check it out for yourself and see what you think.

Here’s what I noticed.

Guy Kawasaki has become click-baiter extraordinaire. Mixed in with 100 or so “funniest video of squirrel” type posts are his original value posts about social media or marketing. But they are usually not original thoughts, just retweets of social media sources. He’s lost all tether to the great brand he was. His 1.47 m followers on Twitter are merely a clickstream.

Spend any time on his feed and you’ll see he’s a bit like the National Enquirer and Buzzfeed wrapped together. And it’s a fact that the man himself is not behind the tweets, no he’s got a staff of tweeters. Not an issue, I guess, if you have become a bot rather than a human. I guess the Real Guy Kawasaki doesn’t have time for Twitter any more. Oh well, what a loss.

Chris Brogan is still repeating and repeating and repeating. And while I’m sure his “offers” and “contests” are good, I’m sure they’re not that good. I think Chris does actually do his own tweets. And mixed in with his repeats

Screen Shot 2016-04-12 at 7.21.09 AM

are also these type of narcissistic questions.

Screen Shot 2016-04-12 at 7.21.41 AM

I guess that’s funny. And 7 people loved it, so who am I to critique?

And in the real world we’ve all got to make a living. So perhaps Mr. Brogan and Mr. Kawasaki are really showing us how it’s done. Errr. Wait. Do you really think either of these behaviors are honest and providing value? Or are they promo-bots? Mere shadows of their former selves? In Kawasaki’s case, he’s not even attached to this account any more. At least Brogan occasionally tosses in an original tweet to mix it up, even if they illuminate his self-importance.

These guys are kings of social media. They’ve written the book on being a Trust Agent and doing marketing right. And yet they fail to follow their own advice. Too bad for all of us.

Read all my posts tagged with Chris Brogan and Guy Kawasaki

@jmacofearth (also seen on Google+: jmacofearth)



image: spam,, creative commons usage

So, You Don’t Understand Twitter, Let Me Explain

We need to get a few of the fundamentals straight about Twitter.

Your reach is directly proportional to the number of followers you have. An average Twitter account has around 500 followers. Some Twitter Pros have hundreds of thousands and even millions of followers. Most of us, working in the middle, have somewhere around 1,500 followers. I’ve been working Twitter quite hard since launch, and I’ve got 23k followers. But it didn’t happen by accident. It didn’t happen because I have great content and ask for the follow at the end of every post I’ve ever written. Nope. The simple “grind” of following a ton of like-minded Tweeters, over and over, day after day, is why I’ve built my Twitter following. If you’re promoting your Twitter account but not doing the detail work to build your following, you’re wasting your time.

Twitter growth without an aggressive following strategy will gain you from 5 – 10 new followers a week. And this is from generating a ton of content, a ton more tweets and retweets, and asking for the follow. That’s about all your going to get. And that rate will not get you near your goal, if your goal is reach and influence.

Mind you, Twitter following growth is a pain in the ass.

And if you don’t believe me, well, try it for yourself and see what results you have. I’ve been growing this account for more than 5 years and I’ve tried everything short of paying a spammer for 10k followers for $19.95. I’ve never paid for followers. If you know what a spammer account looks like, you can see why they are of no value.

So what is the value of a follower on Twitter? Why do we do this? What’s so great and different about Twitter?

First let’s break down some simple numbers on your average Twitter reach and influence. Let’s say you’ve done some homework, you’ve been following new influencers, and you’ve grown your account to 2,000 followers. And let’s say you over-tweet and share 10 times a day to get your message out. (I typically tweet between 20 – 30 times a day.)

With the typical 3% reach, we can estimate that each of your tweets reaches 60 people. And if you repeat this process 9 more times, you’re liable to reach 600 followers, and mind you some of them will be overlap. Either way, you’ve tweeted 10 times and you’ve reached a little over 1/4 of your audience. Do you see a problem with our strategy?

You have to tweet more frequently to increase your reach. I recommend using #hashtags to create unique tweets and tweeting them in real-time using a tool like Tweetdeck or Hootesuite. I do not believe in pre-scheduled tweets as these have ZERO chance for starting a conversation. If you’re going to tweet at least do it as a human and not as an auto-bot.

Okay, so you’ve got two new tasks on your to-do list.

  1. Follow a lot more like-minded tweeters
  2. Tweet a lot more frequently, but don’t spam

So how do you find people to follow?

The simplest way is to look at who’s following you and follow who they follow. Find leaders in your industry and follow who they follow. And if you’re lasy, use the “Who to follow” section of and click away.


While Twitter’s algorithm get’s off on some weird tangents, you can follow a lot of people quite quickly by using this little widget.

The real drudgery is the unfollow process. I’ve been using the free version of Manageflitter to help season my list. In the same way, “who to follow” puts all of the potential follows in a little window, Manageflitter can show you a list of “who does not follow you back.” It’s then a grind to click on each unfollow button, but it’s better than trying to do it without the tool.

I often season the list for a week before unfollowing people. And I go through my followers daily and follow back all the real people, who seem legitimate. This is partially to keep them from unfollowing me in the same way I do, using Manageflitter, but it’s also to grow my list of potential influential followers. If they found me they are often real people with like interests. That’s the idea.

Recap: 1. Follow Many. 2. Tweet Often. 3. Unfollow non-followers every week. 4. Follow new followers back.

If you don’t grow your Twitter reach intentionally it will probably not get as big and powerful as it might. Work it.

John McElhenney
@jmacofearth (also seen on Google+: jmacofearth)