New Facebook Social Ads Review

I saw that Facebook today (or was it yesterday?) launched a new advertising platform. Well – two actually – but the first is called “social advertising” and I managed to get my first ad campaign running on a PPC basis in about 10 minutes flat. Some observations and screenshots along the way for anyon interested. I have also put all the links through my own affiliate tracking software, so after a few weeks I’ll be able to tell you some conversion data as well.

 The first great thing is that Facebook makes it even easier to target specific demographics and interest groups. I started off with a massive audience (everyone in the United States) but soon decided to target my adverts to women – because they tend to buy my murder mystery games more than men – by about 2:1. I was also forced to choose one country (BOO… don’t you know I’ve sold a murder mystery games to the Antartic Expedition via the web? I really HAVE targeted every continent!) but I guess I can set up other adverts for other regions in due course.

I could also type in keywords and interest groups popped up as I went. Here is the targeting I ended up with – how “plain English” is that? I AM impressed. 

Facebook Targeting

So now I have set up my target audience and limited to 125,480 people across America. I’ll get the Brits and the Canadians and the Aussies on the next few passes. Right – what was next?

Next was writing the advert – and to my joy I was allowed to upload an image! The text and layout of the advert came alive on the screen. Unfortunately it didn’t give me much clues as to how many letters I could use and it turns out that if your domain is more than 20 letters long (mine was www.murdermysterygames.net) then you won’t be able to use it in your text creative.

Here was the advert creative Screen – again really simple:

How an Advert looks in Facebook

And then game the pring and payment. I was again delighted. I can choose between PPC OR CPM based delivery and I can set the maximum PPC. They are not starting greedy – the default is 10 cents but the minimum is 1 cent. (I went cheap, on the basis that I was likely to be early on the band wagon).

One error or bug here. You are allowed to set campaign start and end dates. I tried to do this – giving myself a great run from now until well after Christmas, which is my peak season for Murder Mystery Parties. The campaign system only allows me to run a campaign up to 30 days in the future. WHOOPS 🙁 “shome mishtake Shurely???” as we say in fashionable London clubs). Never mind – I went for full delivery and set the budget at $50 a day. I figure that if they give spend that at 3 cents a click I’m on a winner! I expect I may have to raise the CPC bar a bit soon. Here’s the pricing screen options:

 Facebook Pricing Screen

And that was it! My advert is now up and running (OK – I had to get the credit card out too). I’m tracking every click to sale, so let me know if there’s any questions you’d like me to report on.

E3 is a must in the Nimzo-Indian

I am learning very late in life that you need to learn the theory, not just think for yourself. Case in point on the ICC yesterday when I played a set of moves I always thought was obvious as white: 1.d4  e6 2: c4  Nf6 3:Nc3 Bb4 4:Bd2 d5 (Diagram below).  

nimzo-indian-move-4

Well – Dasher’s crafty had already been suggesting e3 instead of Bd2 on the previous move, but with a score of 0.01 at the moment it looks OK. That score, though, was assuming that I did do e3 this time round. Ignoring e3 now was an immediate disaster. I chose 5: cXd5 and guess what crafty thought of that?

nimzo-indian-move-5

Well – after 58.1 Million nodes tested, it gave a bit of a no-no. But if you are like me and a very average human chess player, the situation is much worse. Crafty was still saying -0.5 until it got thought that far down. Either way, not doing e3 was the start of a slippery slope. I lost.

Moral for the average player (like me): Develop at the opening instead of sacking things half-cock.

How to Analyse Chess Games

how I go about analyzing my online chess games after the event

I’m really no expert at Chess, but I think I have figured out how to go about analyzing my online chess games after the event. Reading games in newspapers is one thing, but it hurts my brain to be honest. But by using “Dasher” to play my games on the ICC it is really quite easy to see after the game where I went wrong. Dasher is one of the down-loadable clients that is used to play chess against other players there. It comes with “Crafty” built in – so you can play chess with a machine when offline. You can’t use the computer to play other people (at least I HOPE you can’t, that would be cheating!) but the system saves all your games for you. You can then select a game after the fact and bring up a few screens that will help you see very quickly where you went right (or where your opponent went wrong). I also have Fritz on a computer somewhere, but that doesn’t talk so easily with the ICC and that would mean I would probably have to import any game for analysis. Fritz does, however,  come with a graph of your score during a game, which makes it blindingly obvious when you cocked things up if you are a poor standard like me. Dasher, though, is just as easy to interpret once you know what it all means.

Here is a screenshot of a recent opening.

How to analyse Chess Games

It is me (white) to move and I am on move 4. The chess engine, “Crafty” shows the moves that I could realistically have made at this point. Nxd4 is shown as 66% (the red oval) with Bc4 only 26% or c3 at 8%. Now – I played Bc4 (Green oval) instead of Nxd4. I seem to have gone wrong on move 4. To  fair, that does not suggest I have gone wrong, but does show what the book moves generally are and unless you are WAY better than me, the book moves are all you need to learn for now.

So… 30+ years of playing chess an I can see that on a major line (Scotch gambit: Vitzhum attack according to Crafty), I am going off piste on my fourth move. Wow I have so much to learn!

But it gets worse just one move later. Until that point the “score” was marked as zero. that means that I had just done unusual moves, not bad ones. Look what it says after my next move:

How I can see I made a bad move

Now it is actually analysing my opponent’s next move, but in the process it has reduced white’s score from 0.00 (which means even or “in book” to -0.22. Now, anything more than -1 means I am about to go a pawn down, so I should go back and see why moving that knight to g5 was such a pants move. Looking at it now it’s obvious. You don’t start moving pieces a second time unless you’ve got all your pieces developed and your castle’s centralised or if you have a real good reason.

So that’s how I’m going to start to analyse my games. For the record, I lost the game a few moves later, even though I hung on until move 26, when my opponent forked my king and rook with a knight.

SMX Stockholm Roundup

It’s now the weekend after SMX Stockholm and I am just getting the chance to recover. I promise to get my two presentations up over the next couple of days, but probably most people only care about where the link was to the link trust comparison tool that Receptional has built. If you weren’t there, you won’t have a user-name and password, unless your blog searching skills are better than mine, but me and see me at SMX London later this November and I’ll let you in for a few weeks.

It was great to meet some of the regulars again. Kristjan who ran the Iceland conference was on fine form as usual and interviewed me and Andy Atkins-krugerfor Sempo TV (Anyone got a link there?). They were also prolific on the photos.

I also enjoyed meeting up again with Joost after the Affiliates 4u event in London. So many others to mention… They include Shari – who has now published her new book. Also Mel Carson and Tor from Microsoft, Mikkel (Danish Blog), Chris Sherman and Rand.

I know there were so many more, when I get the cards out – but my thanks also goes out to Thomas Bindle for the burger… which came just at the right time as the hangover was starting to take hold.

Pictures of Dixon Jones

Oops. I am about to do a talk at SMX Stockholm on Universal Search. I’m up with Adam Lasnik from Google and Andy Atkins-Kruger from Webcertain.

The problem is that universal search is all about optimising other forms of information on theweb. When you look for a picture of dixon jones on Google, it takes an effort to find me. You get some Grannies and

Oops. I am about to do a talk at SMX Stockholm on Universal Search. I’m up with Adam Lasnik from Google and Andy Atkins-Kruger from webcertain.

The problem is that universal search is all about optimising other forms of information on theweb. When you look for a picture of dixon jones on Google, it takes an effort to find me. You get some Grannies and Darth vadars apparently! Andy has the screenshot to prove it immediately after my presentation. I wonder if I can fix the problem inside an hour? Probably not 🙁

Dinners’ on Andy next time.

Dixon Jones (The real one)

Best Link Building Tools

Here are some good Link Building Tools and reputation management tools from around on the web. I have a four hour workshop for SES Training to do on Linking strategies and reputation management. There’s a lot of ground to cover and I know that a big part of it will be online tools that people can use to evaluate links. I thought I’d save myself time and just link to them from here. If you have some other decent ones – please suggest them in the comments. I’ll try and keep this post up to date and current.

labs.receptional.com/links/(password required at the moment): This is the only one in the list that requires a log-in. This tool strips out links that cannot be identified as trustworthy and shows the different strategies between two competing sites.

Technorati Buzz-meter: This chart monitors your company’s name being mentioned on blogs. You can take this code and dispaly a graph on any web page. At Receptional we have the chart on our Intranet home page, so the whole company can see when we get a “buzz”.

Google Alerts:Seeing back-links is not always as useful as knowing what is changing on the search engines. Whenever Google indexes a new page on the web, you can get an email if it includes keywords that you are following. You cannot get much more relevant than Google itself telling you when it finds a new mention.

Yahoo Site Explorer: Google doesn’t like to give useful back-link data. Yahoo is much happier doing so if you use this link. This is the best data source for finding backlinks into your entire domain… or your competitor’s!

Marketleap’s Linkpop: This back-link checker analyses up to three sites but compares them with the biggest sites in your vertical. This really is a tool for people looking to have significant market share.

Live HTTP Headers: This Firefox plug-in helps SEOs avoid a trap. Many links involve redirects and whether Google correctly interprets these links is not obvious. This plug-in helps us to see if 301 redirects are operating correctly and whether 200 messages are being returned.

Compete.com:This company has arrived to challenge Hitwise without the expense. Download the toolbar and set up a “snapshot portfolio” and you will be able to track competitors over time. The data used to be US centric, but I believe they now have UK data-sources.

Google Trends: Not as cool as Compete.com, but at least they have historical data and news spikes

Make a Blidget:Turn you blog into a Widget, which others can put into their pages – their Facebook, their Myspace, their personalised Google page… almost anywhere. If the content is good, you have got a viral link tool. (If you want something cleverer, we can build that too…)

WordPress: If you don’t have a way to add content to your site easily, you don’t have one of the major tools for SEOs today. WordPress is free and robust. Add it to your site to have an instant blog or news service. Then use the RSS feed (or a blidget!) to syndicate the news with the rest of your site and other parties.

A Great Virtual Hosting Company

I decided that after a decade I really should get my personal domain – dixonjones.com – updated. The old one was originally built in 1997 using Front Page ‘97!
Of course, my main company has its own dedicated servers, hosted with Rackspace, but I didn’t feel that putting my personal sites up there was particularly good form.

I decided that after a decade I really should get my personal domain – dixonjones.com – updated. The old one was originally built in 1997 using Front Page ’97!

Of course, my main company has its own dedicated servers, hosted with Rackspace, but I didn’t feel that putting my personal sites up there was particularly good form. I like to use my own sites to go crashing around things like CMS systems and playing with Htaccess les and really – I don’t fancy bring down a server being used by a fortune 500 company on my watch!

 So I have gone with Clook and I have to say the system is brilliant. So far I’ve easily installed Mambo, Joomla and WordPress all at the touch of a few buttons and when all the database connections seemed to break earlier this evening, they fixed my problem in less than 10 minutes. Can’t argue with that.