I’m very excited to announce a new Facebook Live series about how to do better marketing…
And I have a co-host! Video marketing strategist and Facebook Live Diva Kate Volman, who’ve probably heard of from her GoDaddy’s Garage interview series and her work with Jay Baer…
Here’s what it is:
A weekly Facebook Live on teaching you LIVE how to get better results on various social marketing topics. Interact, ask your questions, heckle me, whatever you want.
During each Facebook Live we’ll tell you how to get a super-valuable FREE download checklist, tip-sheet or cheatsheet.
Each week I will give away one seat in my popular Facebook advertising course (The Facebook Leads and Sales Machine, a $997 value)! Some lucky business owner or marketer (who answers the day’s quiz question correctly… you do have to show up and listen and learn first!) will win a free membership to the course.
It sucks when your ads don’t get results. It feels horrible.
It can be accompanied by panic about how much money you spent to find out it didn’t work.
You may not know why it didn’t work. You may not have set things up so that you learned anything from what didn’t work. You may not know what to do next.
I wish every Facebook ad was a success. I wish every Facebook ad campaign worked brilliantly the first time. But that’s simply not realistic.
Even though we’ve had a ton of successes for clients (some of them are here– and there are about ten more super cool case studies I haven’t had time yet to document)…
There are many failures, and that’s just part of all digital marketing.
And life, really…
Michael Jordan said, “I failed over and over and over and that’s why I succeeded.”
So your Facebook ad MINDSET is critical…
Because even after you avoid the list of mistakes I’m going to give you below, sometimes you still need to…
Gird your loins
Steel your nerves
Grit your teeth
Seize victory from the jaws of defeat
So let’s look at the biggest reasons for Facebook ad failure, starting with the simple and technical and graduating to the biggest and most strategic problems.
Before we get into the list, I have a special freebie for you…
Ok so you opted into that webinar above? Great, let’s get to the list. 🙂
Hey not a big reader? Don’t want to read through this epic blog post? I mean it is 5,800 words long… Watch this video and I’ll talk you through it:
Or just want the short funny summary version? Here’s the ROI vs ROY video (ROI is Return on Investment. ROY is a redneck.):
#1 Insufficient ad testing budget
If you don’t spend enough, you have enough money to test enough ads to find the ads that work super-well, especially if your goals are lead generation or ecommerce sales.
If you really go cheap on your ad budget, you might not find anything that works.
You might run out of money before you get to your goal.
You need enough budget to test at least 50 to 100 ads. At least.
We had a client that we got 2,200% profits for, but it took 160 ad tests to get there, and 76 of those ads DID NOT SELL anything at all.
So if we had only run 76 ads, maybe we wouldn’t have had a single sale!
But one of those ads got 11,800% ROI. Every dollar we spent on it made them $11,800.
Another got 4,000% ROI.
Yes, 150 ads is a lot of work… but it’s worth it.
Sometimes when I look at someone’s Facebook ad account after they’ve said, “Facebook ads didn’t work.”
I see their account only has 10 ads in it and I say, “No, YOU didn’t work.”
You need to do more than that.
What’s the bare minimum you need to spend on Facebook ads?
Most agency folks and consults I’ve spoken to agree that a good start on Facebook ads requires at least $1,000 of spend.
How many things do we need to test? We typically need to run 50-100 ads per product to dial in what is going to work. We need to find the targeting criteria, images and copy that will sell. Some won’t work at all. Some will.
For ecommerce, we can look at your margin and cost per sale and estimate how much we want to spend on each ad before saying it isn’t going to work and turning it off.
The more proven the product is (already selling online) the lower that number will be.
The newer and less proven it is (hasn’t sold online or hasn’t ever sold anywhere), the higher it will be.
If you have a lot products, the more similar they are, the less ads we need to run.
The more different your products are, the more ads we need to run, because people will respond differently to them.
Some of your products may be more popular than others. Some may require slightly different targeting. Some may be a good first buy and the others might be better sold as follow-ups via email. None of that is clear at first. It becomes clear over time.
We won’t know what a reasonable cost per sale is until we get an ad that sells. It might be $5, $10 or $20, or more. As we run the ads, we’ll find a number that convert all at different costs-per-sale.
For lead gen, it might be reasonable to go for a $2-5 lead in the business-to-consumer world.
In business-to-business, it could be $10-50 or even higher. And that’s fine when you’re selling things that cost from $1,000 to $100,000 or more.
Running Facebook ads to see what works is kind of like day trading, but you only get info about stocks you trade, and there are no mutuals- you can only buy single companies.
As we discover more ads that are converting, we can revise that cost per conversion target number. If we think $20 per conversion is reasonable, and we need to run a 100 ads, that’s $2,000, just to give you an idea.
The more ads we run, the more we learn and the more ads we find that convert.
This process is a function of the spend more than the time. So if you spend $3,000 in a month or $5,000 in a month, you’ll get there faster.
At the Brian Carter Group, we don’t increase our fees until a client spends $1,000 a day or more (it becomes a lot more work because the ads burn out faster, because the audiences are finite and they’ll all see the ads and tire of them, and stop responding, and the cost goes up, so we have to refresh the creative).
As you might be able to conclude by now, it’s impossible to set an initial ad spend without some degree of guessing. And your budget- the amount of money (hopefully profits from other marketing channels) you have to invest in growing the Facebook channel- plays a part too.
Knowing you need to spend between $1-5k a month gives you an idea what it costs to run a bare minimum professional Facebook ad campaign.
#2 Creating the wrong ad type
I’ve written and spoken extensively and I’ve taught elsewhere about how Facebook has ten different ad types and every ad type is goal-oriented.
You could go for engagement or video views or website traffic or event attendance or website conversions, but you have to know what goal you want from these ads and choose the right type.
If you boost a post, you’re going to get likes, comments, and shares, but it’s going to be really expensive to get traffic or conversions from that boosted post. If that post has a video in it and you boost it, you’re going to get engagement on that post but not as many video views as you could if you ran a video view ad.
If you want to get website traffic you could run the website traffic ad, but a lot of people have run that type of ad and said, “Wow. I got a thousand people to my site but no conversions, no leads, no sales.”
That’s because there’s another type of ad for conversions. It’s called the website conversion ad. If you run that one, you have to install the conversion tracking, which is mistake number five. If you don’t have conversion tracking running properly, then the website conversion ad will function like a website traffic ad and only get you traffic.
The reason that that’s so important is that, no matter who you target on Facebook, Facebook will first show your ads to the people within your target group who do the most of whatever your goal is.
Let’s say you want to target moms who make more than $50,000 a year. If you boost a post, or promote post engagement, then…
Well, there are a lot of moms who make $50,000 a year (17 million in the U.S.). They can’t show your ad to all of 17 million of them at once, so first they’re going to show it to the ones that they know do a lot of liking, commenting, and sharing. Because you chose the post promoting type of ad. That’s the goal you chose.
And those heavy engagers are not the heavy link-clickers or heavy converters… if you want the latter, you need to choose a different ad type.
If you want to get ecommerce sales from those $50k+ moms, you might run a website conversion ad and send them to an ecommerce site. Then they’re going to show it to the moms who make $50,000 who’ve converted on external websites before.
Do you get the point? They’re going to show it to that subgroup of your target audience that’s done the goal that you’re telling them to do with the ad type you chose.
The dumbest thing you can do is only boost posts and expect to get more than likes, comments, and shares…
…because that means you’re just not aware there’s nine other types of ads and you haven’t gotten into the Ad Manager or Power Editor and you haven’t created those other types of ads.
You have to get in there and create the right ad type for your goal.
#3 Not creating enough ads (not testing enough targeting or creative)
Our best case studies where we’ve had 2,200% ROI or we’ve gotten incredible results for low-cost leads, and all those kinds of things, and where we prevail with the most difficult circumstances and where we drive the most incredible results are when we’ve created the most ideas and put them in front of customers and we see which ones customers respond the most to.
If you only create one idea, it’s a real crap shoot. The chances that you created that home-run ad is very low.
If you create a hundred ads, there’s a much better chance that you found the right combination of targeting and image and headline that people will go crazy for. Then you’re going to get amazing results.
You’re looking for an outlier…
Statistically speaking, WHEN WEIRD IS AWESOME and awesome is weird.
The way I talk about it is I say look at any sport, like the NBA, where there are some amazing athletes…. people like Michael Jordan, Kevin Durant, Steph Curry and Lebron James.
These guys are freaks of nature and have drive and practice and they’re very exceptional people, but they’re only four guys out of millions that have ever picked up a basketball and out of thousands of guys that have been in the NBA.
If the NBA had only ever had four players total, the chances that we’d have those four guys is very low.
When you create an ad campaign and you have an ad account, the more ads you run in there, the more ideas you create and test, the better chance you’re going to have of having something really awesome happen.
The more ideas you put in front of your customers, the better chance you have of them going crazy for one of them.
It doesn’t have to happen all at once.
You may start by testing your targeting, find the right way to target people.
You might test some images, find the best image.
Then you test the headlines, find the best headline.
It might happen over time, one thing at a time. Over the course of time, you’re going to test fifty, a hundred, hundred and fifty, two hundred, maybe a thousand ads at some point.
You get to stop at the point where you decide, “The results are so amazing that I don’t want/need any better.” However, it may burn out at some point, so you should always be testing.
Don’t stop with laziness in the beginning or you’ll lose.
You’ll cost your company a bunch of money.
Your customers won’t be excited.
They won’t care.
You’re just not going to do as well.
You have to test a lot of things. You’ll get results while you’re doing it, and you’ll get better and better results as you go.
#4 Putting too many ads into one ad set
The way that Facebook works, if you put ten ads into one ad set, it’s going to figure out which one is performing the best and it might only show that one. It’s going to decide on its own how much to show each ad. It doesn’t really give you any control over how much each ad in the ad set is shown to people.
Like we talked about earlier, there are different types of ads. If it’s a post promotion ad, it’s going to find the ad that’s performing the best for getting engagement and it’s going to show that one the most.
Sometimes it will show the one that doesn’t have the lowest cost per engagement, and you have to do your own optimization and pause the expensive one. That’s part of your job with the Facebook ads.
If you put ten ads into the ad set, some of them may never get enough reach and be put in front of enough people to really be tested. You have to only test two, three, four ads at a time, or they just won’t get enough reach for you to know that they were tested well.
What that means is that, if your ad set is to a certain target and you have all your different ad sets set up by different targeting, sometimes if you want to test a new ad you have to pause a good ad.
You might want to change the name of the ad. You’ve got the name of the ad itself, and then you just append to that, “Restart later.” Pause it and run some new ones and see if they do as well as the best one.
Another approach is to create a new ad set that’s got the same targeting and apportion some specific budget to the new testing.
I’ve got some accounts where we have
BEST PERFORMING AD AD SETS
TESTING AD SETS
We’ve got a specific amount of money budgeted for testing and a specific amount of money running into the best ads.
That’s a smart thing to do too, because then you’re optimizing your budget. If you were investing, wouldn’t you put most of your money in the stocks with the biggest return?
You could have 80% of your budget going to the best-performing ads and 20% of your budget going to testing new ads.
You should always be testing new ads, because eventually your ads are going to stop working. If you’re showing the same ad to a finite audience, and all audiences are finite, eventually everyone that’s going to like or be influenced to click on that ad or do something with it or watch that video, eventually they’re all going to see it. Some of the people will never respond to it, so the performance is going to go down. It’s going to burn out. The costs will go up.
If you don’t have other ads that you’ve been testing over time that are on deck ready to go into your best-performing ads group, you will have to start over from zero and you’ll have a temporary dip in performance.
It’s not a bad idea to have best-performing ad set and testing ad sets.
#5 Not installing conversion tracking properly and testing it ahead of time
If you’re going to run website conversion ads, you need to have conversion tracking set up with either standard events or custom conversions.
That’s a little technical. I’m not going to explain how to set that up here. Facebook has some great help screens.
You do need to get that set up so that you know which ads are working and which ones are not.
It’s not good enough to track Facebook ads in Google Analytics. You need the conversion tracking from Facebook in your website or landing pages to:
Tell Facebook ads which ads are working,
So that you can optimize at that level and only run the best-performing ads and
Stop the ads that aren’t performing well.
Like I said earlier, if you’re trying to run website conversion ads and you don’t have conversion tracking set up they will run like website traffic ads. Often you will get traffic with no conversions, which is a waste of money.
When you set up the conversion tracking, then you need to test it before running the ads. You don’t want to waste any money, so you need to get the pixel in. You need to check the pixel dashboard and make sure that it’s firing. You need to make sure it’s firing on the URLs that you have it on.
You need to, if you do custom conversions, to find that custom conversion by the thank-you page, or whatever confirmation page shows up after the conversion is complete.
If they complete a lead and then they go to a thank-you page, or they buy something and go to a confirmation page, the URL of that thank-you page or confirmation page is your custom conversion URL. You need to set that up, define it, and then make sure that you’ve gone to it again, and then that the custom conversions dashboard says that it’s active.
Once you’ve done that, then you can create and run ads that are website conversion ads that work. Make sure you’ve got all that stuff set up and verified ahead of time.
#6 Pushing on what you want rather than following the customer’s lead
This is a mistake I see a lot of businesses make on Facebook, is…
they post something and nobody responds,
the response is very low, and
their reaction is, “Well, we need to advertise that more, because this is an important thing and we want to make sure we hammer this into people.”
That’s the exact opposite response of how you should look at these things.
Facebook is a customer laboratory for you, where you can put things in front of customers and see what they like and see what they’ll respond to and what they won’t. Whether it’s engagement or videos or leads or sales, you can find out what works and what doesn’t.
You’ll do better if you go in the direction of what customers love and what they respond to. If you do that…
Your costs are going to decrease
Your profits are going to go up
Your customers are going to love you more
If you go the opposite direction, where you say, “No. This is our initiative. This is the thing we’ve decided is important. We need to hammer this into customers even though they’re not responding to it.”
It’s going to be more expensive
You’ll get less results
Customers won’t like you as much
You’ll seem out of touch because you’re not following their lead
The second one is like having a conversation with someone and not listening. You say something to someone, they don’t like it, and you say it again louder? That’s not how relationships work.
Follow the customer’s lead.
This is a really cool time to be marketing, because for years and years and years we’ve wanted to know, as businesses, what customers like and don’t like. There have been a lot of ways to try to figure that out- through surveys and focus groups and all that kind of stuff.
Every one of those customer discovery methods has flaws.
One of the biggest flaws they have is the customer knows that they’re being asked these things. That’s very different.
How a customer or a person acts when they don’t think they’re being watched, what they will buy, what they will do, is different. It’s more true and it’s more accurate than when they’re in a focus group trying to impress the other panelists or the person asking the question. Or when they’re taking a survey talking about who they wished they were instead of who they actually are.
You want to know how they actually behave, not how they wish or intend to behave.
When we put things in front of customers and they don’t realize it, they’re not really thinking about how we’re monitoring whether they did or didn’t respond to the post or the ad, but we are.
It’s like a top-secret survey they don’t even know we’re doing on them.
While we’re getting Facebook results, we’re also constantly learning from them without them realizing that we’re surveying them.
That’s what Facebook posts and ads do for us, is that they are a huge source of customer intelligence and they’re much more accurate than some of the other methods we’ve had for a long, long time.
#7 Bad copy
That means copywriting. Copywriting is a fundamental marketing discipline.
It’s very important to understand that different phrases and different words affect people differently. There’s been work in this area for over eighty, almost ninety years. People in marketing have been trying to write things that get bigger and better results from customers.
You need to understand the fundamentals of copywriting. There are many books out there, many courses out there, about copywriting.
Beyond that, there’s even psychological research about what words people respond to the most, what words are positive for people, negative, arousing, stimulating, which ones men like, which words women like. There’s a lot of good research out there too.
There are places like BuzzSumo that analyze blog posts that work and don’t.
There’s a lot of data out there, and then you can create your own data. You absolutely should because your customer group is going to be somewhat unique and is going to respond uniquely to your offer and brand, so ask yourself:
Which subject lines get them to open your emails?
Which blog posts get the most attention?
Which ads get the best results?
Which posts get the most engagement?
If you’re smart about it and you’ve learned the basics of copy writing, you have thought about what are the benefits of my product or service, what is my unique selling proposition… there are a whole bunch of fundamental copy things you need to know about your business. If you’ve figured those out, you can test them with Facebook ads and find out what works the best for your customers.
You may start with bad or mediocre copy, but you don’t have to stay there.
Facebook is a customer laboratory, and testing is the process that saves us from ourselves and our bad ideas and our office politics, and it helps us get better results.
#8 Not split-testing landing pages
Fundamental thing to understand about getting results online is that a landing page is anywhere you send somebody. It could be your homepage. It could be a leadpage. It could be a click funnel’s entry page. It could be any webpage. A landing page is the first page they go to. You want them to do something when they get there. Maybe you’re trying to get a lead. Maybe you’re trying to get them to sign up for your email. Maybe you’re trying to get them to register for an event. Maybe you’re trying to get them to buy something. Whatever it is, you’re trying to get them to do something.
You can split test that landing page to see which page gets a better result. What’s the conversion rate? What percentage of people who went there did the thing you wanted them to do?
It’s not as smart to do sequential testing, which means we’re going to have our website look like this for a week, and then we’re going to change it and have it look like something else for a week. Because who knows what happened this week versus last week? Maybe there was a holiday. Maybe there was a national crisis. Maybe the economy went up or down. Things can change in time.
Split-testing allows us to see how people responded to different things at the same time, which eliminates a lot of variables that could screw up our results.
Split-testing is really important. There are a lot of different platforms that allow you to do that. There’s lead pages, click funnels, Unbounce, Optimizely. There are WordPress themes. There’s a WordPress plugin that lets you split test your blog post titles.
Split-testing is a fundamental part of digital marketing. It’s really very similar to testing multiple Facebook ads. You need to have this understanding that the cost per conversion, whether that’s a lead or a sale online, comes from a couple different things: the cost per click, how much did that traffic cost to get there; and then how many people did you have to send there per lead or sale, that’s the conversion rate.
If you can increase the conversion rate or lower the cost per click or both, you lower your cost per sale cost per lead. You increase your profits. These are your two biggest levers.
We’re back to copy writing, images, all those things you put on a landing page, the format, the layout, whether there’s a video or not, what kind of video it is.
Let me add one thing here. When it comes to testing ads, testing copy, testing landing pages, the research says it doesn’t matter how long you’ve been a marketer, you don’t get better at guessing. Your guesses do not get more accurate. You can get better at writing copy. You can get more disciplined at the testing process. You can get more creative. You can get better at understanding customers, but you can’t get more right. You still have to test a lot of different things.
Testing is liberating, too, because not only does it increase our chances of getting higher profits, it’s a profitable activity, but it liberates us from the personal opinion, feeling, emotional, messy side of creativity, where somebody’s attached to the image they like or the headline they wrote, or whatever. If you can get everybody on board with science and say, “Look, these are all great ideas. Let’s see what the customer likes. Using a scientific process, we’re going to find out.”
Then everybody on the team is free to have good ideas and bad ideas. No one has to say, “I’m a good person or a bad person because I had a good idea or a bad idea.” That’s not what it’s about. It’s about a process, trying to understand the customer, and create things, and test things, and get better and better results. It’s just a conversation with the customer where we serve them better and better. Landing pages are a big part of that.
#9 Too many steps before conversion
One thing to understand about digital marketing is the more steps people have to take to get anywhere, the fewer people will get there.
The longer the journey is, the more people die on the way. That’s a horrible analogy.
If you think about email marketing, for example, to get people to buy something you’d have to get them to open the email, that’s step one. Before that you have to get them to sign up for your email list. You have to get them to go to your website to sign up for the email list…
Go to the website,
Sign up for the email list,
Open the email. That’s three steps already.
Click on the link. That’s four.
Then however many steps it takes to buy the thing on your site. Maybe five, six, seven steps.
That’s email marketing.
How many people open the email? 20%? 30%? That means 70-80% didn’t open the email.
How many people that opened the email click through? Maybe it’s 20%, 30%. Again, you lose another 70-80%.
When they get to the site, how many purchase? A good ecommerce conversion rate is 1% or 2%.
98% or 99% of the people that clicked on your email, went to your site, didn’t buy.
You lose most of your people at every step you make them take.
With Facebook, if you have to get a fan, get them to see your post, we know Facebook reach is a problem, get them to click the link in the post, that’s a lot of steps to get them to your site.
You can cut out some of the steps just by having a Facebook ad that sends them directly to the site. You cut out two steps. You didn’t need to get them to be a fan. You didn’t need to get them to see the post. Just running the ad got them to see it.
We know website conversion ads, get better people there to convert. Your conversion rate’s going to be higher. That’s even better.
That’s why fan marketing is broken. It’s partly you might have the wrong people. They might not be buyers. It’s also extra steps.
Having too many steps in your funnel
Reduces your conversion rate,
Increases your cost per sale,
Lowers your profits.
Simplify the customer journey and you increase your profits.
#10 Custom programming and generally reinventing the wheel
Sometimes I see entrepreneurs hire a programmer and have the programmer create things that are not as good as stuff that’s out there. There are a lot of software-as-a-service apps out there. Landing pages are a big one. Have a programmer create a way to buy something on your site instead of just using lead pages or click funnels and plug it into PayPal, or something. You’ve got two obvious SaaS’s that are bulletproof and they always work, as opposed to having a programmer create something that might be buggy.
The problem with programmers is you never know if they’re going to be really good or they’re going to do things on time or they’re going to hold your code hostage or what. There’s a lot of problems there. You don’t know if they’re going to provide good customer service. I heard so many nightmare stories with programmers.
It’s better to find an existing service out there that does something you want them to do than to custom program it.
You create a lot of problems for your self by reinventing the wheel and hiring programmers to do custom things that are already out there. Don’t do that. Check and see what’s already out there before you hire somebody.
Uh oh, there’s one more!
THE BIGGEST mistake that will cripple your Facebook Ad Campaigns…
OFFERING SOMETHING NO ONE WANTS
We have sometimes have clients who are entrepreneurs who have a new idea.
It sounds great, it looks great, but we don’t realize until we put it out there nobody wants to buy it.
If it’s a product that no one’s ever bought before, you can test it with Facebook.
Facebook is very affordable- more affordable than Google ads. If it’s a totally new thing, nobody’s searching for it, so AdWords doesn’t make sense.
It might be a new category of things. Nobody’s searching for it, so Facebook makes sense.
Reach the right people, tell them about it.
People go, they check it out.
IF… no matter how you explain it, no matter what you do, you get influencers, you create awesome videos… No matter what you do with it, nobody wants it….
Sometimes you have a business or a product idea and it’s just a DUD.
The good news is that you can pretty affordably test your new product or business or service idea with Facebook ads.
You can even use Kickstarter to test a product idea without putting out money to create the product… because if no one wants to fund it and buy it ahead of time probably nobody would buy it.
Facebook ads and Kickstarter are really good ways to test an idea ahead of time and not commit a lot of time and money and emotion to something that no one’s going to want to buy.
It’s a tough thing, because
You could totally love the idea.
You could be super-passionate.
You can be convinced your logic is sound that people should want it…
But there’s still a chance that they won’t buy it.
I’ve seen numerous situations where it just totally made sense people should want this thing, but nobody wanted to put money out for it.
I’ve even seen products created from customer surveys where people said they wanted it, but when it came time to purchase, nobody bought.
What people say they’ll do and what they’ll actually do are very different.
Until the cash register rings, you don’t really know for sure.
Save yourself some heartache and some money and use Facebook ads to test the idea.
Just seeing if people will click through at a high rate on the ads for it. If they won’t click through a newsfeed ad, a 1% or a right-hand column ad at 0.1% for it and it’s the right target audience, there’s just not enough interest.
You could do a beta, do a website that’s like, “Check this out. Sign up. Put your email in to hear about it when it’s available,” or, “we’ll give you 20% off when it’s ready.”
If you’re not getting a lot of interest from that, then you got a good indicator there’s something wrong. Something’s not right.
It’s good to know that as soon as possible. You don’t want to invest a lot of time, money, heartache into something that no one’s going to buy.
It can be challenging, because there are a lot of mistakes people make. And I see so many businesses make the exact same mistakes over and over. That’s why I write posts like this.
It’s frustrating, because I think a lot of people get excited about things.
They say, “Oh, Facebook ads are going to be great! Snapchat’s going to be great! Live video is going to be great!”
They get very excited about the opportunities, but they don’t see all the traps and pitfalls and mistakes ahead.
I’ve seen so many people make the exact same mistakes and fall into the exact same traps.
My passion is to just tell you guys, as difficult as it might sound, “Here’s some problems ahead of you that you need to avoid.”
I want you guys to succeed. I want you guys to profit. I want you guys not to waste your money.
Please don’t make these mistakes. That is my message to you.
But at the same time…
There’s never been more opportunity in business.
We’ve never had better data about customers.
It’s never been more affordable to try new ideas and get new customers.
So if you’re smart about it, you can succeed with digital and social marketing.
When we do lead generation for clients- we have achieved $0.32 B2C leads and $1.82 B2B lead with quizzes! We help them create quizzes, ebooks, checklists, whitepapers, and then run Facebook ads to generate the leads.
Most people won’t buy the first time they hear about you. If you want customers, you need a list of people to contact over and over again. Those are called leads. You need to generate leads.
If you want to do lead generation you need lead magnets.
The lead magnet is why people would give you their contact info.
Maybe it’s a white paper… maybe it’s an ebook…
Hopefully it’s NOT just an email newsletter because email newsletters are BORING… and annoying.
Almost every website you go to there’s a gigantic pop up that says, “Hey, here’s my email newsletter! Jump on my email newsletter! You’ve got to get on my email newsletter if you want your life to be good! If you want your business to be good! OR click NO if you don’t want your business to be good because you’re stupid and you suck and I’m guilt-tripping you and that’s pretty obvious! WAIT WHERE ARE YOU GOING???”
So the question is what’s a good lead magnet?
Get their contact info: What’s going to spur people to give you their contact info?
Satisfy them: What’s going to make them happy they gave you their info?
Increase your conversion rate: What’s going to maximize the number people who give you their info?
Go viral: What kind of lead magnet gets shared the most?
Quizzes get shared the most overall in social media… but it’s a little bit more complicated than that.
One consideration in your choice of lead magnet is: which social network do you want to thrive on?
Most of us care about more than one.
You probably care mainly about Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, right?
Some people try to be active on all of the social networks, but usually those people spread themselves too thin, and you don’t want to be like that right?
Maybe if you have a big company, and you’ve got 25 people working on it you can do that, and that’s great.
So you are going to have to create a bunch of content, and you need to decide: “Am I going to create a books or quizzes or white papers or what am I going to create?”
Are you going to have a team of people creating it? Great, but what kind of content are they going to create? And how far is that content going to go given how these types of content do on different social networks?
My recommendation would be to choose your lead magnet type according to:
What people like and share
What people convert on
What takes the least time to create
The third factor is really important. If you take 6 months to create a 100-page ebook, and it flops… or 2 months to write a highly-research expert-collaborate whitepaper that doesn’t convert customers… how many quizzes or 5-page ebooks could you have written and tested in that timeframe?
You can get a quiz going in a week. A 5-page ebook in a couple weeks. A checklist in a week or two.
Digital Marketing mega-success comes from testing more things faster. Not just quality but also quantity. So make sure you have diversity in your lead magnets and you’re not putting everything into one hugely-time-consuming lead magnet.
If you refer back to the chart…
If you do quizzes, checklists and short ebooks, the combination of those three content types will have you doing well on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Your major social media platforms are covered, and these are lead magnet types you can get created quickly and affordably.
Here’s an example B2C Quiz:
To promote a book, we created this B2C quiz…
And with Facebook ads we attracted leads for $0.32 apiece. (It’s not running anymore, though.)
For our own marketing agency, we use a variety of quizzes. This one:
…gets us leads for $1.82 apiece. (And you can click on it to take it, if you like.)
Why the celebrity approach? Because these people are recognizable, and we’re using the identity psychological trigger… A lot of people are walking around asking themselves, to one degree or another, “Who Am I?”
If you analyze enough of the most shared content via Buzzsumo, this is one of the patterns you’ll see. Identity quizzes are huge.
“I am my sports team, my job, the style of clothes I like, the TV shows I like, my political party… etc.”
Even if your prospect is pretty sure who they are, they still want confirmation that they’re right- they look at the people in that quiz and think, “I want to be Steve Jobs, I sure hope it doesn’t say I’m Bill Gates!” or the reverse of that, depending on who they are; maybe they think Steve Jobs was a big jerk and Bill Gates is admirably altruistic. Whatever. Identity is relative, and as a marketer, you need to be neutral.
The other type of quiz is a score quiz… “Only Real Friends (TV Show) Fans Can Get 15 of These Questions Right” plays into their fandom and their pride… but of course it has to be relevant to what you’re marketing.
But how to conceive a quiz that’s relevant to what you’re marketing and qualifies the lead? Well, that’s part of our process as consultants. 😉
There’s an assumption in social media that if we get fans or followers and cultivate and invest in those relationships, that will create buyers- and possibly even loyal customers.
Well, you know what they say about assumptions, don’t you?
(If you don’t, ask somebody- I’m not going to say it here, because it’s a little inappropriate!)
What if cultivating relationships and engagement with customers doesn’t lead to sales?
Ok, so engagement probably leads to SOME sales. What if it doesn’t lead to very many sales? What if they’re really expensive sales and it’s not profitable?
The data we have from all our clients suggests that for the most part…
Buyers aren’t fans. And fans aren’t buyers.
By the way, before I show you all the data, which some of you are not going to like, let me share a story from when I used to be in alternative medicine…
I used to read a ton of research, because I had to find proof that the acupuncture and herbs I was learned and practicing wasn’t a bunch of B.S.
During all that reading, I ran across this study of medical doctors. It was research about how medical doctors read and responded to research. It turned out that, for the most part…
If the conclusions of the research conflicted with their preexisting beliefs, they would always question the study’s methodology.
“It must be wrong, so there must be something wrong with the study or data.”
If the research conclusions agreed with what they already believed, they didn’t look at the methodology at all.
“It’s what I believe so the way it was done must have been fine.”
The upshot? Even our super-smart and scientific doctor friends believe what they want to believe and don’t want to be swayed by the data when it disagrees with their beliefs.
It’s hard to be scientific and objective. It’s hard to be open-minded, because it means you sometimes have to be wrong. Being wrong means you need to change.
We don’t want to change. We want confirmation that we’re already right. We want to keep doing what we already do.
Which is why every agency or social media person that gets paid to do engagement is going to question the validity of the data I use in this post 😉
But this data is based on anywhere from hundreds of thousands of people to millions. In most cases, it’s based on more data than their beliefs will be.
If you disagree with this post- email me (brian at bcg (spell it out) dot com) and tell me what your data is, and how many datapoints or people are in your data. 🙂
Digital Marketing History: From Conversions to Engagement back to Conversions?
How has digital and social marketing evolved?
I started in 1999 with SEO and AdWords, when the whole digital marketing industry also just starting, and everyone was very focused on traffic, leads and sales.
Around 2007 and 2008, Twitter exploded and everyone got excited about engagement and relationships.
By 2010, Facebook was getting hot and companies wanted to grow fans. Initially our first Facebook ads clients back in 2010 all wanted fans. For years, they wanted more Facebook post engagement with those fans and others. Many companies still are chasing post engagement.
Both the original Twitter explosion and the Facebook fan and post engagement movements center on the philosophy that businesses need to be human and relationship-oriented; which you certainly can’t argue with…
Humanized, personable brands certainly are powerful. And relationship building and personality clearly work for one-on-ONE networking. If you’re a salesperson, building relationships makes a ton of sense. No one can argue with that.
But does one-to-MANY big-brand relationship-building create more sales and profits?
Let’s look at the data…
Diving into Consumer Data
As we’ve shifted our Facebook clients toward leads and sales, and as we’ve done Facebook Marketing/Strategy Audits for new clients using Facebook’s data (which includes data from Datalogix, Epsilon and Acxiom)…
Analyzing creative and targeting: what has worked and what hasn’t?
Investigating customers on buyer email lists: who are they?
Discovering prospects on lead lists: who are they?
Reviewing fans: who are they?
Characterizing ideal buyers: what makes them unique compared to non-buying prospects and non-buying fans?
Correlating the email addresses, Facebook tells us what it knows about these people, plus:
Acxiomhas detailed entries for more than 190 million people and 126 million households in the U.S., and about 500 million active consumers worldwide.More than 23,000 servers collect and analyze more than 50 trillion data ‘transactions’ a year. pigeonhole people into one of 70 very specific socioeconomic clusters (personas) in an attempt to predict how they’ll act, what they’ll buy, and how companies can persuade them to buy their products.It gathers its data trove from public records, surveys you’ve filled out, your online behavior, and other disparate sources of information, then sells it to banks, retailers, and other buyers.
Datalogix, acquired by Oracle in 2015, now called “the Oracle Data Cloud,” it helps Facebook advertisers find customers on Facebook by onboarding first-party data, target customers through relevant audiences, measure campaign effectiveness based on offline purchases; their expertise spans across all industries including; CPG, Retail, Auto, Travel, Financial Services, Telecommunications, Technology and more.Datalogix aggregates and provides insights on over $3 trillion in consumer spending from 1,500 data partners across 110 million US households… across Auto, CPG and Retail Industries;DLX Auto: 99% of all U.S. Sales Captured, 20+ years of ownership data;DLX CPG: 50+ Grocery Chains; 7,000 brands; 300+ categories;DLX Retail: 10 billion transactions; 1,400 retailers; 1,000+ categories.
We’ve looked at the data, and the data says: in many cases, buyers aren’t fans, and fans aren’t buyers.
For example, here’s the overlap (or lack thereof) between one company’s…
Facebook fan base,
Prospect email list and
Customer email lists…
Across a number of these audits, we see anywhere from zero overlap to 35%, but that 35% is the exception. The average is 1% or zero.
These are the facts…
That doesn’t mean that you can’t:
Create campaigns to get buyers engaged, or
Target your fans better to get them to engage…
But what’s more interesting is this:
When we analyze the difference between loyal buyers, non-loyal buyers, and leads who don’t buy, in many cases, we look at the Facebook activity of
Buyers vs the non-buyers +
Loyal buyers vs non-loyal buyers…
…the buyers and the loyal buyers tend to score LOW in post likes, post comments and post shares:
In the chart above, the light blue area is the Facebook average. The dark blue is what the loyal buyers are doing. As you can see, they’re:
Liking fewer pages than the average Facebook user
Commenting less than the average Facebook user
Liking fewer posts than the average Facebook user
Sharing fewer posts than the average Facebook user
They’re even clicking on ads less, so we should expect and be OK with a lower ad CTR
We’ve seen this pattern in many buyers and loyal buyer groups.
What does that mean?
Often, the more of a buyer someone is, the less of a social media engager they are.
Now, of course this is not true for every brand…
There are some brands with highly engaged buyers- depending on that brand’s psychographic or demographic.
There are exceptions, and you should analyze your own customer and prospect lists to discover the truth about your customers.
But be open to the idea that your best buyers and your most loyal buyers may not be the people who want to engage with your fan page or posts.
Think Realistically About Buyers and Engagement
When you go to Amazon to buy, are you feeling chatty?
Or do you just want to buy the danged thing and get going?
Speaking for myself, I might do some research or comparison before I select the item or the company to buy from, but I’m not in the mood to like or comment on Facebook posts- I’m ready to buy.
I’m often buying something that few or none of my friends have ever bought. I may not be in a community of people based on that thing I’m buying, so trying to get that purchase info socially is not always realistic. Not all purchases are social- and not all the people who buy them are social.
For example, I rock climb, and I even have a local climbing gym, but I don’t care at all what the guys at my local climbing gym think about my next pair of climbing shoes- I just read the Amazon reviews. That might be a form of social, but it’s not on Facebook.
On the engagement side of the equation, who are the most socially engaged people you know?
Consistently the Facebook tell us the most engaged demographic is 13-18 year old females. They’re also one of the groups with the least money! They’re high engagement but don’t have much buying power.
Facebook Audience insights won’t show us the 13-18 group, but here are the 18-24 females:
See how every interaction is above average, except for promotions redeemed- interesting… redeemed promotions requires money, and they’re only average at that.
Now, think about the no-nonsense rich powerful guy in his 50’s; does he want to sit around and engage with you on Facebook? No! He barely even wants to be ON Facebook! He want to get in and get out, because he has more important things to do. The following chart is the activity level of the over 50 guy with a net worth over $1 milion:
As soon as I switched it from both genders to men only, the activity dropped. And by the way, in some of our audits, we find that the loyalty groups are more men-predominant… so there you go- loyal buyers not wanted to engage on Facebook!
Early in our Facebook marketing days, we had a client whose customers were all action sports dudes- they all wanted to buy GoPro helmets, but none of them wanted to interact with Facebook posts. They just wanted to go outside and do stuff. They weren’t into social media engagement. Make sure you know your audience.
There are some exceptions- some of the female demographics are very engaged- but again, this engagement doesn’t always lead to sales. I recommend a healthy dose of skepticism, measure your engagement tactics and monitor very closely whether they’re actually converting.
So many social campaigns are called successes based solely on engagement metrics- yet here’s no proof they’re leading to any bottom-line results.
Is It Because of How Facebook Ads Work?
There is actually a really good reason about why buyers would not be fans and fans would not be buyers- and it’s baked right into how Facebook ads work.
The ad type you choose adds another level of targeting to the ad- so
When you do a page like ad or a post promotion ad, your ad is shown to the type of people who engage, but not necessarily those who click links or buy.
When you do a conversion ad, you’re shown to the type of people who buy, but don’t necessarily engage.
The fact is, some people are more likely to do one or the other, and the Facebook ads display algorithm picks the subgroup based on your ad goal.
So, if you want to beat that, you’ll have to
Do conversion ads targeted to fans (but stop them if they’re not cost-effective)
Run post promo ads that get conversions (but often these are not cost-effective)
You’ll have to keep an eye on the costs of both. In our experience, they are not the most profitable approaches.
The Most Cost-Effective Facebook Strategies
We find that the best approach is not this strategy:
With every step in a digital funnel, most people drop out, so longer funnels are not good.
Reachpocalypse happened, and now organic visibility on average is only 2.6%. You have to pay to get fans, pay for visibility, and then post promotion ads don’t tend to lead to affordable link clicks.
The entire process is very expensive, and you spend a lot of time with fans who may be more interested in engaging than buying.
The fan marketing is the strategy the entire industry started with, and it wasn’t until we tried other methods with multiple clients, the data convinced us this wasn’t the most efficient method.
This strategy is better:
Here we’ve cut out three steps, which means losing three failure points.
We can still target fans, or email audiences, or totally new cold audiences, but we send them directly to the website right away. If they don’t buy right away, we retarget them.
The website retargeting ad guarantees a higher quality visitor that’s more likely to buy (this is a second level of targeting I’ll explain on further slides).
Cost per sale is as much as 90% lower with this method than the fan marketing method.
We recommend you use conversion ads to go straight for sales.
And if you’re doing lead gen before sales, use this:
Facebook video is huge- Facebook reported seeing 100 million hours of daily video watch time near the end of 2015. And with the newer “related videos feature,” where people are automatically served another video after their current one, you can bet video views have grown dramatically from there.
There are a lot of Facebook video options:
Facebook video in your personal or page posts
Facebook video ads
As you might know, I am a big believer in advertising everything you can on Facebook, even if you have a small budget…
Before you run away- let me explain!
What happens if you don’t use ads with your videos?
No certainty you get views. They don’t get viewed much. You may get lucky if your video is super awesome and goes viral… but unless you’re already a celebrity, you probably won’t get more than a couple thousand views. Even if you’re super interesting and talented, most videos don’t go viral- they get a few hundred views and fizzle out.
No certainty of target audience. Organic videos don’t necessarily reach who you want them to. Who sees them is not under your control. It’s whoever happens to be on Facebook right then, however the algorithm works, whoever likes or shares, whoever their friends are, et cetera.
No certainty of reaching your target buyer. If you’re doing this video for business, you might not reach your target customer. Or out of your several hundred views, maybe only a few dozen are your ideal buyers.
No certainty of traffic, leads or sales. Even if you have a link somewhere in that video or post, the percentage of those who watch that click is not 100%; it’s going to be between 1-10%. So if 200 or so watch, maybe 2-20 people click to your site. And what % of visitors do things on your site? Maybe 1% buy and 10% opt into an email list? So very little action comes from this.
But when you advertise your videos, you can:
Reach exactly the right audience (your best buyers, not just anybody, not just friends family employees)
Reach them right away (not like whenever… maybe… but NOW)
Reach enough potential customers to discover how they respond to your content- or don’t
Get more detailed stats and metrics from the ad manager than you do from Facebook Page Insights
The last thing is critical. If you don’t run ads for your videos, you won’t get a lot of analytics or insights about them. And you won’t learn much. The video analytics you get when you don’t run ads are pretty limited.
Trust me, you’ll be surprised by what you learn. You need to know
How many seconds people are watching your videos on average
Which audiences watch them the longest
Which ones convert
Which ones don’t
There are four ways to run video ads on Facebook, and all produce different results.
The first thing you absolutely MUST understand about how Facebook ads work, that many many people don’t know is that the ad goal determines who FB shows the ad to based on their most common FB activities which ensures you mainly get that response and very little of the others…
In other words,
Choosing an engagement ad shows the ad to people who engage a lot, but these people don’t necessarily click to websites…
Choosing a video view ad shows the ad to people who view a lot of videos, but these people don’t necessarily like posts or click to websites…
So your actual Facebook targeting is:
Not just the targeting you choose, but also
The subset of those people who most do the thing that you’ve chosen as your ad goal.
The five ways to advertise video on Facebook are:
Video in post, promoting the post (whether boost or a post promotion ad from ad manager/power editor): gets you in front of the subset of your audience who likes, shares and comments on posts, so you get much more engagement on the post than video views, link clicks or conversions
Video view ad: gets you in front of the people who watch a lot of video, so you get a lot of video views, more than post engagement, link clicks or conversions
Website traffic ad with video instead of image: gets you in front of people who click off FB on links to other sites (but not necessarily the subset that converts), so you get a lot of link clicks, more than video views, engagement or conversions
Website conversion ads with video instead of image: gets you in front of the people who click AND convert BOTH, so you get conversions, but less clicks, video views and engagement.
Start with your goal, then choose the right ad type.
Awareness boosting ad with video instead of image: this is interesting, because in our initial tests with this, it actually beats the video view ad at its own game!
Here’s how those shake out:
NOT PICTURED: The awareness boosting ad gets you larger reach and at times can get you more views and longer duration than the video view ad.
But just beware- both the video view ad and awareness boosting ads can get you a lot of exposure but won’t necessarily get you interaction or conversions.
What do I recommend?
I like the awareness boosting ad and the website conversion ad with a video in it. I run them in separate campaigns with separate budgets.
That way you can get exposure AND conversions. Best of both worlds.
But it’s going to be different for all of you- if you have someone looking over your shoulder who expects to see interaction on your Facebook post that has a video in it, you probably should run a post promotion ad (similar to a boosted post)… remember, it’s all about your goals!
You’ve got to test more ideas in digital marketing and social media.
Because if you only text one post or one post a day or one ad a week, you’re only going to discover so much stuff and you’re only create so much stuff and you’re only going to get a certain level of results.
The more stuff you create, the more ideas you force yourself to have, the more likely you are to find that idea that your customer goes crazy for.
I’m talking about…
Gigantic engagement rates,
Gigantic click through rates,
Incredible conversion rates.
Here’s my analogy. Let’s say, in any sport, like my sport is the NBA. I love basketball. When I watch these guys, I’m like “Wow, there’s some amazing players.” Historically we got Michael Jordan, we’ve got Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, we’ve got Magic Johnson, we’ve got Shaq, we’ve got LeBron, Kobe, Durant, Steph Curry, Steve Nash, all these guys are one in a million, one-in-a-billion, right, because they’re freaks of nature in one way or another.
There have been thousands of guys in the league over the years but if we had only had 10 guys in the league, if the NBA hadn’t been so big and hadn’t been so popular and hadn’t been so much money going into it, probably wouldn’t have that many guys and those guys would have done different things with their lives. They wouldn’t have been basketball players. We never would have found those genius basketball players.
If you don’t put enough money or time into your content, you’re never going to find that exceptional outlier of content that performs super well.
I’ve got this post that has a crazy dog in it that gets me 6 likes per penny I spend on it, because I’ve tested hundreds and hundreds of posts.
The more stuff you create and the more you test, the more likely you are to find that exceptional, you know, the Michael Jordan of Facebook post, the Michael Jordan of Facebook ads.
It’s probably not the one expect it is. That’s the other thing that’s weird about it.
There’s research that shows that marketing experts, even after 10 or 15 years of experience, do not get better at guessing which content is going to win with the customer.
You could say, “Brian Carter’s a great marketing mind. He’s amazing.”
He still can’t guess which one is going to work with your customer.
All he can do is say, “I think I analyzed your audience and I understand ’em pretty well and based on what you’ve said, you and I are going to figure out some ideas. We’re going to put them in front the customer and we’re going to see which one it works.”
If we only put 5 ideas out there, our chances of success are much lower than if we put out 100 ideas.
Then we’re going to find one or two that really perform amazingly and your customers are going to go nuts for them. That’s not only going to drive down your costs…
Cost per engagement
Cost per lead
Cost per sale…
It’s also going to:
Create much more enthusiastic customers
Who will love you and your brand more.
More excitement and loyalty
But you don’t get that if you don’t test enough ideas.
So many companies out there are just doing the bare minimum. They’re doing checkbox marketing. They’re like, “Yep, we put out our content calendar. Yep, we ran an ad.”
It’s really easy to do. I know. I’ve done it myself. You get tired, you get busy and you’re like, “I created an ad. I’m done. I’m going to go watch Netflix,” you know? “I’ve got so many meetings today, I don’t have time.”
Okay, but you got to figure out how in your process to make this possible.
And if you’re a manager, you got to figure out how to make this possible for your marketing team, give them more time to brainstorm. Figure out how to help them create more ideas and get more stuff out there. You’ve got to do it.
This is a competitive advantage, to be able to create:
More unique, different ideas.
It’s very important today because the better your ideas are and the more you test, the more likely you are to win.
If you’re going to do digital marketing or social marketing you have to have geeks or you have to get a little geeky. What does that mean? You need to get into the analytics, you need to look at your metrics, you have to start keep a track of these stuff.
You can’t just put on a content calendar that you think is full of content that you like or your marketing department likes or your CEO likes because what really matters is what your customer likes.
That geeky approach, the scientific marketing approach … Facebook is a digital marketing laboratory.
You put this content out. You can get ideas from a bunch of different places, from anyone in your company, anywhere. From customers, anywhere.
Throw all those ideas into your internet digital laboratory aka Facebook see what metrics come back, get a little geeky, look at those numbers and figure out what people like and what they don’t.
There’s really no point to posting something on Facebook if people aren’t going to be engaged in it.
If they don’t watch it or click on it or something, people aren’t going to see it very much and they’re going to stop seeing your stuff. That’s how the Facebook algorithm works. Whether you are a person or a company page, you have to be engaging or you will become invisible.
That’s how the newsfeed works, so you have to get engagement.
If you have a Facebook page and you’re not checking your engagement rate, or you don’t even know what an engagement rate is, you’re not even in the game.
This is the biggest metric that matters and you need to know which of your content is getting engagement and which isn’t.
If you don’t know that, you’re not even in the game.
You got to get on the Facebook page, click on insights, click on your posts, and then click on that metric that says engagement rate…
… and find out which of your posts are getting engagement and which ones aren’t. You got to figure this out.
You got to start separating in your brain, “Which of my posts do people interact with and which ones do they not?”
You got to start caring which of your content people like and which they don’t.
You’ve got to stop putting out content that people don’t care about.
Look, it’s just like being in a conversation with someone….
If you’re talking to people and you’re not listening to them and
you’re talking about stuff they don’t care about and
they start ignoring you and you keep saying the same things,
you’re not going to have any friends.
You’re not going to have any great conversations anymore.
You have to listen and THE WAY YOU LISTEN on Facebook is by looking at the DATA.
The data is the engagement rate.
You have to listen to your audience by looking at the data and engagement rate is the way you do that.
You need to pay attention to this and learn what kind of content your customers love.