It’s that time of the year again. Halloween is right around the corner and it has us thinking about horror stories every digital marketer fears. We’re talking about the stuff that can happen in digital marketing that will leave even the most experienced marketer petrified.
Last year, we wrote an article about Instagram horror stories that were…well, frightening, to say the least. This year, we’re talking about digital marketing in general. Proceed if you dare. The following tales may cause you to lose sleep tonight.
Without further ado…here is our list of 5 terrifying horror stories every digital marketer fears:
1. The Clown In the Comments Section 🤡
Once upon a time, I worked as a social media manager for a company that sold travel gear. My responsibilities included posting every day to their various social channels, staying on top of the incoming DMs, and engaging with the comments section of each post.
One day, our customer service team received an angry email from a customer. This customer had ordered a backpack from our company and needed it to arrive as quickly as possible. The problem? He chose the free shipping option with a 5-7 day shipping time rather than the 2-day shipping option which would have cost more money.
Before customer service had a chance to respond, the customer took to social media to rip our company apart. He wrote his own scathing Facebook post and then took to Instagram to angrily comment on the post I had just sent out that day.
Now, this was no ordinary customer. This customer in particular was an avid fan of the heavy metal band Slipknot. In case you’re not familiar with Slipknot, their gimmick is to wear dark jumpsuits along with terrifying-looking clown masks (do a quick Google search if you dare). Not only was this customer an avid fan, but he was also well-recognized in the Slipknot community. Apparently, Slipknot had chosen a photo of this customer to use as their Spotify profile picture. Leading him to gain a large following of Slipknot diehards on Instagram.
The customer shared an Instagram story asking his followers to visit our Instagram page and to spam it with clown emojis 🤡… and his request was well-received. Within a couple of hours, our posts from the last few days were bombarded with clown emojis.
Customer service got back to the customer, decided to go ahead and expedite his shipping for free, and the customer ended up changing his tune and posting a follow-up Instagram story talking about how amazing we were. He and many of his followers took down their clown emoji comments. But, legend has it, if you visit those posts today, you can still find some clown emojis hiding in the comments. As for me, I’d follow Pennywise into a sewer before visiting those comment sections again.
2. Your Facebook Ad Account Goes Dark
Imagine this—you’re Facebook ads generate the majority of your business’s income. Then one day, you go into your ad account to see how your ads are doing and see this message:
Ad Account Disabled: This ad account, its ads, and some of its advertising assets are disabled. You can’t use it to run ads.
Unfortunately, this nightmare is a reality for many businesses. Every day, for one reason or another, Facebook decides to shut down Facebook ad accounts. But the nightmare doesn’t end there.
If your ad account becomes disabled, you are able to put in a request for a manual review. Sounds easy enough, right? You weren’t doing anything wrong with your ads, so surely Facebook will do a quick manual review and get your ads back up and running in no time. Well, not quite. That’s where the next ordeal occurs: Facebook’s response time. For how much we hear of Facebook caring only about making a profit, it’s surprising how terrible their customer service can be when businesses have to wait days and days for a response.
If you’re lucky, Facebook will do a manual review of your account and turn your ads back on. If you’re not so lucky, Facebook will give you a vague response as to why your ad account was shut down and inform you that it is now permanently disabled.
There are some workarounds for this issue, so if it ever happens to you, be sure to drop us a line. Hopefully, this is something you won’t ever have to deal with.
3. The Case of the Missing Conversion Tracking
Conversion tracking has always been an important part of any online paid ads campaign. Thanks to conversion tracking, you are able to track the events taking place on your site—how many people are visiting your site, which pages are they visiting, how many purchases are being made, etc. Without it, you’re lost. This leads us to our next item on our list of horror stories every digital marketer fears—the disappearing conversion tracking.
Ideally, companies should be updating their websites from time to time. In 2021, you don’t want your website to look like it’s from 2001. So most companies will hire a website agency or have someone internal spruce up the design. There are a couple of items that are often overlooked, however, when relaunching a website (we’ll get to the second item next). The first item that goes overlooked is carrying the conversion tracking over to the new site.
Say you’re a digital marketing agency running Facebook ads for your client. One day your client tells you that they’re updating their website. Your first reaction is probably, “Great!” A new website should mean a fresh look and an improved user experience which will hopefully lead to an increase in conversions. After the new site is up and running, you go to check in on how your ads have been doing since the launch. To your dismay, however, your ad campaign hasn’t tracked any purchases since the launch of the new site. In fact, checking the data over the last few weeks, you realize that all of the numbers have dipped since the new site launched. Oh no!
You do a quick check and see all of the ads are running as they should be. You go and check the website to make sure it’s still up and running and it is. Then it hits you—is the conversion tracking set up properly? You rush into the backend of the website and check where your Facebook Pixel, Google Tag Manager, Google Analytics, and every other piece of conversion tracking code should be and…none of it’s there. The website agency that built the new site didn’t bring any of the old conversion tracking codes to the new site.
Now, when you send your report to the client, you won’t be able to account for those few days between the site launching and catching the missing conversion tracking. And, undoubtedly, the client will claim that any sales that came in during those few days surely came from organic search and had nothing to do with your ad efforts. What a shame.
4. When SEO Takes a Plunge
This spooky tale is similar to our last story. As you may or may not know, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the process of making websites and webpages more visible to search engines and then giving those search engines reasons to rank them higher in the results. SEO is an important part of any digital marketing strategy. Unlike Google ads and Facebook ads which can see quick results, SEO is a major time investment. Most companies don’t see the fruits of their labor for months and months.
We once worked with a company that was seeing great results from our SEO efforts. Similar to our last story, one day the client informed us that they wanted to update their website. We were excited for them. A site refresh was definitely past due. We put together a list of items going over what to watch out for in terms of SEO when updating the site that they could pass along to their website team. According to our client, their website team assured them they knew exactly what they were doing and would not disturb our SEO efforts at all. If only that were true…
The day came when our client informed us that their new website launched. Yay! That is until we later checked their Google Analytics and Google Search Console. Oh no! Their rankings had tanked. We reviewed the site and quickly learned that the website team did not follow some of the most basic protocols when updating the website. Yikes! All of that time and effort was gone in an instant. Thankfully, the client introduced us directly to the website team and we were able to work through some glaring issues together. Still…that initial glance into the analytics was terrifying.
Side Note: As you may have guessed by now, I no longer get as excited when I hear a client mention they’re launching a new site. To avoid the horror stories that can come with a new site, I now make sure to connect with the website team directly to work through the conversion tracking and SEO items together. Or, I just make sure they go with our trusted website partner Big Red Jelly.
5. When a Stranger Leaves a Review
Over the last decade, reviews have played a HUGE role in online marketing. Your reputation online can be a determining factor of whether a customer will buy from you or not. In fact, according to Qualtrics, 91% of 18-34-year-olds trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, and 93% of consumers say that online reviews influenced their purchase decisions.
The lesson to be learned? Make sure your business’s online reviews are top-notch. Sadly, that’s easier said than done.
Remember that scary movie where a teenage girl is home alone and a stranger calls? Ok, I know that just described a handful of scary movies, but the point is, those movies are terrifying. Nothing like getting a call from someone you don’t know saying they’re in your house. What are they doing here? Why did they have to choose your house? Will they at least chip in for rent?
For digital marketers, the equivalent is having a complete stranger…leave you a negative review. Dun dun duuun! Receiving a negative review is bad enough (and should be properly handled) but to receive one from a complete stranger is even worse. This can lead to hours of trying to find out who this mystery person is! Are they a customer of ours? No. Did they used to be a customer of ours? No. So you respond to their review and ask if you can speak offline either on the phone or over email. But then they ghost you. Oh great, now you’re dealing with ghosts too. (Who you gonna call? Not the person who left the negative review since you have no clue who they are.) Now, you just have a random negative review that you don’t deserve sitting on your Google profile. What a conundrum!
The only thing you can do when a random, unresponsive negative reviewer appears on your profile is work extra hard to get more positive reviews. Sort of like if a stranger was in your home and you called all of your friends and acquaintances over to help protect you. Or you could just leave your house…but in the case of your business, let’s not think about figuratively “leaving your house.”
If you need help getting your customers to leave you reviews, talk to our friends over at Revetize. They make the review process so incredibly easy.
The End…Or Is It?
Well, there it is—our 5 terrifying horror stories every digital marketer fears. If you are reading this, that means you made it through the whole post. Congrats! We hope this doesn’t keep you up at night. Did we miss anything on this list? If so, feel free to connect with us on social media and shoot us a message. Happy Halloween!
McCain is the founder and VP of Client Services at Set Fire Creative. When he isn’t busy helping his clients grow their business through digital marketing, you will most likely find him with his nose in a Stephen King book, eating spicy buffalo wings, hanging out with his wife and Blue Heeler Ozzy, or listening to Guns N’ Roses—sometimes all at the same time.