Saturday, March 31, 2012

Facebook Ads--The Downside

So I've been advertising on Facebook, targeting my advertising to just my town. Facebook lets you target ads to specific zip codes, so limiting it to just one zip code is an effective way to reach the best customers.

Except it's not.

Currently people in town are seeing my ads (I know because a couple people mentioned it at church) but they're not becoming customers.

On Wednesday I found out from two different sources that my ads are not restricted to just my zip code--meaning that I'm paying for advertising as far away as Twin Falls (2.5 hours away). People on the north side of Idaho Falls are also seeing (and clicking on) the ad (about 30 minutes away). That's not even close to my zip code.

So either Facebook is intentionally spreading my ad further than I've ordered, or their zip code targeting sucks.

Since I pay for advertising based on clicks, I'm changing it so that it promotes the fact that I'm a local attorney, and not that I give out free consultations. My ads might get fewer views, but at least I won't be paying for advertising in Twin Falls.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Utah Senator Votes No Against Utah Judge

This is crazy. Utah senator Mike Lee is one of just two senators to vote "No" against the approval of a Utah judge. Way to support your state...

The court system is severely understaffed right now. More judges are needed.

I guess this is what happens when ideology trumps reality.

Here's hoping this clown's a one-term senator.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Google Adwords v. Facebook Ads

So, I've been doing some online advertising.

I've started advertising with two of the biggest online advertisers--Facebook and Google.

A warning first--anytime you click on an ad, regardless of whether it's Facebook or Google, the advertiser is charged for the click.

Despite the cost, however, the advertiser does want customers to go to their website, and if it has to be charged for it, so be it. Also, I get the distinct feeling (based on personal experience) that Facebook and Google stop putting up ads that aren't bringing in money, so some clicks are necessary.

Facebook's advertising options are actually pretty good. My Facebook ads are limited to just two zip codes, including a potential reach of just 5,900. They've appeared on the page of 4,700 individuals, meaning that the vast majority of Facebook users in the surrounding area have had my ad on their Facebook page. I get charged around $1 for each click. Not only does that bring increased traffic to my website, but it means most of the 18-40 crowd in the area get regular exposure to my ads. I got 10 clicks just yesterday, and I probably would've gotten more if my daily budget had been greater. We'll still have to wait and see how effective the ads are in getting business, but they've certainly helped my website's prominence on search pages.

Google's approach is different--the focus is on searches. Unfortunately, I can't really target specific zip codes like I can with Facebook--I have to target all of Eastern Idaho. And that gets expensive.

Of course I can advertise for "Shelley Attorney" or "Shelley Lawyer" within all of Eastern Idaho, and since those search words aren't too common the advertising's not too pricey. But Google needs to allow for advertising aimed at specific zip codes. They'd make a lot more money off me if they did.

Meanwhile, my website is doing pretty well. Since searches for "Shelley Attorney" put me at the top of a Google search, my "Shelley Attorney" ad has become redundant, and it's time to take it down already.

Any other recommendations for online advertising? What search engines do you use?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Correlation is not Causation

Sigh. BYU Economics professors do a "study" that shows that kids that get 7 hours of sleep are smarter than kids that get 9, and then try to say that perhaps kids don't need any more than 7 hours of sleep a night.

Correlation is not causation, and asking kids to self-report hours slept is not exactly good science. This is why Economics professors shouldn't do science.

I know quite a few people who know a lot more about science and sleep than I do (I did, after all, work as an underling at what is probably the top sleep lab and the top sleep research lab in the world), but even I could come up with a vastly superior way to figure out how the amount of sleep a kid gets affects performance.

First: Take 100 teenagers of similar age. Pick 50 at random for each group (getting a good mix of gender, race, etc. in each group). Test them for response times, performance on tests, etc., and for sleeping disorders. Eliminate any with sleeping disorders. Then place them in a controlled environment for a month. Have 50 of them spend 9 hours a night in bed, and have 50 of them spend just 7 hours in bed. Evaluate their sleeping patterns to see how long they actually sleep. During the day time, run various performance tests. How do individuals do, over time, in each group? Do they improve or get worse? By how much?

The difference between the above experiment and the "study" done by the BYU Economics professors? The above experiment is an actual study, and its results would actually mean something. We don't expect science professors to do study on Economics. Economics professors certainly have no place trying to run a scientific study (although it's rather hilarious how poorly they do).

To be fair, one of the economists, Showalter, at least recognizes some of the weaknesses in the study. The other economist, however, seems to be entirely clueless.

Please, next time leave the science to the actual experts...

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Political Contradictions

A couple political contradictions I've noticed this last week:

Calling for lower gas prices and a war with Iran. Ummm--the reason gas prices are higher right now is largely because of the threat of war with Iran. If we actually go to war, watch those prices go up much, much more. You can have lower gas prices, or you can have a war with Iran. You can't have both.

Independent, anti-government-benefit types worrying about the government taking their house after they and their spouse die because of Medicaid costs. (Basically, Medicaid pays for them to be in a nursing home, but once both spouses are dead, Medicaid will want to be paid back, and instead of their kids getting the house, the government will). A lot of people really don't get it--Medicaid and Medicare are just as much government benefits as food stamps. The paltry amount you paid into it doesn't begin to pay for it. If you use government benefits and you have the means to pay for, the government will take its payment.

That is all.