3 Types of Social Media Ads Your Business Should be Running

Every business – insurance dispute litigation law firms, bakeries, jewelry stores, etc – knows by now to take advantage of digital advertising opportunities on major social media platforms. But with so many changes in the ever-evolving landscape of online marketing, it can be hard to keep up. What worked a few years ago may no longer be the best option for your business. 

Here are three modern ad options you should consider if you want to take your digital advertising efforts to the next level. 

Carousel Ads

This type of ad is available on most major social media platforms and works especially well for businesses that have multiple products or services to promote. Carousels allow you to show off several different images, videos, or links in a single advertisement so that your audience can browse all of your offerings at once. 

For example,  if you’re a clothing retailer, you might use a carousel ad to showcase several of your best-selling items; or if you’re an e-commerce store, you could use it to show off multiple products from the same category. 

Carousels can also be used to tell a story with each image in the sequence and engage your audience in a more creative way.

Story Ads 

Stories have become an incredibly popular format for social media users, and businesses can leverage this trend too. Story ads are a great way to target users with content that’s relevant to their interests. 

You can use stories to highlight different aspects of your business – from company culture and values to customer testimonials and product demos. You can even use stories to showcase upcoming promotions or events you’re hosting. 

Keep in mind that this type of ad works best when it’s kept short, simple, and snappy. 

Live Ads 

Live streaming is becoming increasingly popular on social media, so it only makes sense that businesses should take advantage of this trend as well. Live ads are often more engaging and dynamic than other types of advertisements – they can capture the attention of a large audience quickly and keep them engaged for longer. 

Live ads also provide a great opportunity to connect with your customers in real time – allowing you to answer questions and address any issues they may have about your brand. And since most users are already familiar with this type of content, it’s fairly easy to get started. 

Imagine, for example, a furniture store that runs a live ad showcasing its different pieces and discussing the features of each one. Viewers could not only get more information about the products, but they’d also get to interact directly with the company – which can help create more trust and loyalty in the long run. 

Social media ads are an essential part of any digital marketing strategy, and there are several types that you can choose from.  Carousel ads allow you to showcase multiple images or videos in a single ad, story ads provide valuable information about your brand, and live ads allow you to connect with customers directly. 

No matter which type of social media ad you choose, you can use it to reach a larger audience and increase brand awareness.  So, start experimenting today and see what works best for your company!

3 Online Marketing Tips For Entrepreneurs

If you are an entrepreneur who owns or runs your own business or brand, you are already living the dream of so many people out there. However, you also know firsthand how stressful it can be. Not only are there uncertainties about your income, but also you have so much on your plate each and every day. 

Whether you have a great team of people helping you out or you are doing everything on your own, you have a lot of responsibilities and this can become overwhelming at times. One of the most important things is marketing, so much of which is done entirely online these days. If you are feeling clueless about this or just need a little help figuring it all out, here are 3 online marketing tips for entrepreneurs. 

Hire Help

Hiring an online marketing professional is one of the first and best steps you can take for your small business. If you are able to make room in your budget to do this, you won’t regret it. Be sure to do some research to find out exactly what type of marketing you want to do, and seek out a marketing expert who can help you to reach all of your goals and achieve the levels of success you are hoping for. 

Don’t Sleep On Social Media

Having social media accounts on all of the various platforms for your business is super important because social media is one of the first places people look when doing research about businesses. Using social media is free or very inexpensive, and placing ads there is a great idea as well as they will reach a wide, targeted audience. Whether you are advertising biodegradable products or real estate services, targeted ads through social media will reach the people who are most likely to want to do business with you.

Be sure to always be responsive to comments and messages on social media as well, and to post frequently. If you find that this is too much for you to do, consider hiring a social media manager to help you out!

Understand Your Customer

In order for online marketing to work the way you need and want it to, you need to truly understand your customers and clients, and potential ones as well. You can do this by taking polls or surveys either via an email list or on social media, or inviting your existing customers or anyone interested in doing business with you to an open house or party of sorts so that you can get to know them in person. This will help you to gain helpful insight into what sorts of things your customers want to see from you, and you can use this to better market to them in the future. 

Online marketing doesn’t have to be a stressful experience if you use simple tips like the above. Good luck! 

3 Changes To Make To Your Social Posts And Profiles To Help Grow Your Following

Because you want your business to be as successful as possible, you also likely want to have your online followings through various social media platforms to grow as large as they can as well. But just because this is something that you want to have happen doesn’t necessarily mean that it will come easy to you. 

If you’ve found that a lot of your social media efforts have not proven to be as successful as you may have liked, here are three changes you can make to your social media posts and profiles to help grow your following. 

Start Holding More Contests

While it’s wise to be thoughtful about the content that you’re creating and posting on your social media channels, to really see some growth, you might need to get a little more creative with what your social media posts are offering to people on each platform. 

One option you might want to try is to hold more contests where people who follow you or take certain steps can be entered to win some kind of giveaway. People love getting free things. So if you’re able to offer something to people who follow you or share your posts to their own followings, you could see a big uptick in how many people follow you online and interact with your post. 

Ride The Line Between Selling and Sharing

Take a look at the posts that you’ve been sharing recently. If they haven’t been getting you more followers or raising your interactions levels, you might want to consider more closely following the line between sharing and selling.

If your social media posts are too salesy, your followers will be less inclined to share your posts or interact with them. Additionally, if your social media posts are focused too heavily on just sharing content that has very little promotional value to your business, you won’t see the growth you’re wanting. But if you can ride this line appropriately by making your posts right in between being salesly and simply sharing, you could find a lot more success with growing your following. 

Post Content That Others Will Want To Share

There are a lot of things that you yourself can do to help grow your social followings. But what might prove to be more beneficial to you is getting your current followers to help you by posting content that they’ll want to share with their own followers. 

To best do this, try posting more content that showcases your own opinions—or opinions that are currently polarizing. You can also post things that showcase data that your followers may not have seen before or news and trends that may pique their interest. By knowing your target audience and your followers, you can choose which content you think they’ll find more interesting and want to share on their own. 

If one of your business goals is to grow your social media following, consider using the tips mentioned above to help you learn how this can best be done. 

Digital Marketing Tools For Your Business

If you’re looking to build a more comprehensive digital marketing campaign, you need to know what tools you have at your disposal.  Understanding what you have to work with will grant you a more versatile ability to market your business online.  

Lucky for you, everything you need to know can be found with the right search inquiry online.  Start by checking out a few digital marketing tools for your business.  Here is a quick look at some of the most influential ways to craft a winning digital marketing campaign.  

Podcast advertising 

Branch your marketing efforts out with podcast advertising to engage your target audience online.  Podcasting keeps people interested with visual engagement and the opportunity to learn something new.  

With a strong podcast marketing effort, your business stands to experience a range of benefits.  Increased sales, hyper targeting abilities, and a small boost in SEO make podcasting a tool to consider.  

Social media management

Social media is a huge part of running a successful marketing campaign online.  You go where the people are, and the people love their social media.  

However, your business needs more than one platform to cast the widest net, and managing all those social media profiles can become quite challenging.  

The good news is that there’s a long list of programs that will help you manage your social media profiles in one place.  Check into what Hootsuite can do for your business.  

Google marketing tools

Google gives business owners a bone with their array of marketing tools.  If you’re not in tune with what Google has to offer your digital marketing efforts, today is a good day to check it out.  

Google offers the ability to analyze the performance of your digital content, keyword assistance, and much more.  The best part about using Google tools is that you can do it all for free.  

Email marketing 

Email marketing is another influential element when carving a path in digital marketing.  Your business can get a lot out of keeping the conversation moving via email.  

Managing a successful email marketing effort is much easier when you have the help of a program like MailChimp.  Send emails out to hundreds of people in a fraction of the time it would take to do the work manually.  

Tools for collaboration

Keeping everyone within your operation on the same page is also an essential part of running a successful digital marketing campaign.  Your business professionals can collaborate on projects and keep track of progress along the way with the help of a capable tool like Trello.  

Overall, if you find the right collection of marketing tools, your business will make a more memorable impression on your digital audience.  Take the time to find the programs that best complement your operation.  

10 Critical Items for Your Next Marketing Plan Audit

When’s the last time you had your marketing plan audited by an outside expert?

You do have a marketing plan, right?

Why would you need an audit?

  • Sometimes an organization’s ideas can get a bit stale, over time
  • A company can develop an echo chamber in their own culture, and convince themselves of things that may or may not be true
  • Not everybody has heard of all the latest greatest best practices

And when you’re out of touch, that’s a recipe for

  • Losing business to the competition
  • Losing the interest of your customers
  • People starting to think you’re no longer relevant

Unfortunately, if you aren’t current, people may question everything else about your business.

“If they’re not doing THIS great idea, what other good things are they not doing?”

The marketing plan audit we did for The Perfect Workout led to them discovering a new source of leads and sales, and a 400% ROI.

So, in the spirit of making sure that your marketing plan is up-to-date, here are 10 things you need to have SOMEBODY from the outside take a look at:

  1. Are you 100% sure that your pixels and tracking are installed correctly and that your data is accurate?
  2. According to your website analytics, what marketing source is driving the most conversions? What landing pages drive the most conversions? Is your organic traffic increasing over time?
  3. Are you aware of all the third party performance benchmark reports (on things like advertising, email and landing pages) out there, and is your performance at least average, if not better?
  4. Are you on the most important social platforms for your target customers? Are you advertising there? In your social advertising, are you creating new ad ideas each month? Have you tested new targeting this quarter?
  5. Are your email open rates hitting industry standard levels? Are you split-testing new subject lines? Have you checked on deliverability and blacklist issues to be sure you’re OK?
  6. Do you have someone who loves writing creative copy and is constantly testing new ideas on your audience through ads, emails, and landing pages?
  7. How many people do you need to reach to achieve your lead gen or sales goals, and are you actually reaching that many people?
  8. Are you using all the advanced Google ad technologies that make sense, like responsive ads, site links and other extensions, and call tracking?
  9. Does your website look and function equally well on every mobile device as it does on desktop, and do your analytics support that answer?
  10. Do you have a content plan that fits your platforms and goals? Is your brand flexible enough to allow the creation of diverse and compelling content? Is your content plan informed by SEO research? If you have a content calendar, is it flexible enough to change based on what your analytics insights tell you? Have you found a way to create at least some kind of new video with some frequency for use in social media and ads?

These are a few of the questions that a good marketing plan audit will answer.

And from there, you can revise and improve your marketing plan, and get better results for your business!

10 Reasons You’re Not Getting More Business

Do you want more new business?

Let’s face it- if you’re not getting new business, you’re at risk. The existing customers could dry up. A recession could hit. Who knows what could happen!

So, if your new business growth is not where you’d like it to be, what’s wrong?

Here are 10 things that could be blocking your organization’s customer growth.

BUSINESS BLOCKER #1: You’re not getting enough attention

If not enough people are giving you money, or buying from you, or inquiring, or coming into your store… do they even know you exist? Do they remember you exist?

You need to get people’s attention, then interest, then desire, and only then will they take action.

How many people’s attention does your business have right now?

  • How many ad impressions do you get a month? How many people do you reach?
  • How many emails from you do people open?
  • How many outbound sales calls does your org make?
  • How many leads do you get?

Even more importantly- how much is enough?

A simple rule is that you need to reach 1,000x as many people as you want customers, and you need to get their attention 5x before you can expect anything from them.

BUSINESS BLOCKER #2: You’re not getting enough traffic

Most businesses rely on website, store or phone activity to get new business.

  • How much website traffic are you getting per day?
  • How many people call a day?
  • How many people are visiting your store daily?

You need 100x as much traffic as however many customers you want.

BUSINESS BLOCKER #3: Your website doesn’t convert people to leads or sales

A lot of people have nice looking but ineffective websites. They don’t even know what their website conversion rate is. That’s like driving without knowing how fast you’re going.

And even worse, if you don’t generate enough traffic, you can’t find out if your website is the problem.

BUSINESS BLOCKER #4: Nobody wants what you offer

For newer businesses, if they’ve never sold at volume, they have an unproven product or service.

The first question to answer is- does anybody want this? Will they pay for it?

Then you can answer WHO will pay for it.

And in order to find out if they want it you have to get in front of them or get people to it.

BUSINESS BLOCKER #5: You’re not aggressive enough about promotion

If you build it, and that’s all, they won’t come.

Marketing and sales are about driving attention, interest and desire.

Some people aren’t aggressive enough- they choose only passive strategies like SEO or content creation.

If you’re not doing something outbound like advertising, networking, or outbound SDR, you’re going nowhere fast.

BUSINESS BLOCKER #6: You’re afraid to spend money

You have to spend money to make money. Why do you think all these new businesses want funding? Making money is expensive.

Attention, traffic and leads cost money. You have to spend it.

That can be hardest at the beginning, but even when times are tight, you have to keep investing. Businesses that pull back on promotion when things are down just end up going down even faster.

BUSINESS BLOCKER #7: You don’t have a creative solution

Content marketing is important for a lot of reasons, but it requires creating that content.

Ads and emails are powerful ways to get attention and traffic, but they require creative copywriting.

Ads, websites and landing pages are compelling ways to get new business, but you need to have an eye for graphic art, and an understanding of how creative affects customer psychology.

Creative skills and resources are critical. And they are often missing from many marketing plans and departments.

As a result, organizations show up in the marketplace looking and sounding mediocre, and fail to impress.

BUSINESS BLOCKER #8: You don’t have a scientific mindset

Business used to be a guessing game. But now we have data, especially online.

We get insights and reports that tell us what works and what doesn’t so that we waste less money and get a bigger response from customers.

If you’re not trying a lot of creative, copy, and new ideas, and learning from what the data says about the customer response, you’re stuck in the old paradigm, you won’t be able to be competitive, and eventually you’ll be replaced by newer companies and people.

BUSINESS BLOCKER #9: You don’t put enough time in

Sometimes we don’t have enough resources to do what needs to be done with sales and marketing.

Sometimes things are going well, so we coast.

The most talented people have drive. The best companies have lots of people who have drive. They are internally motivated to keep doing more and getting better everyday.

BUSINESS BLOCKER #10: You’re not continuously learning

The only constant is change.

Even when digital marketing and sales were young 10 years ago, there was a ton to learn in this space. But it doesn’t stop. Things continue to advance and get more complicated.

What worked 10 years ago may not work now- for example, SEO is much, much harder for new companies as a viable traffic source.

And what wasn’t a good idea 10 years ago might be now- for example, so many companies have gone online with lead gen, that fewer people are cold calling, and sometimes it works better than it did in 2000 or 2010.

You and your marketing and sales people must keep learning- must keep getting training, must keep reading, getting mentored, and going to conferences…

But only if you want to get and stay on top.

camera lens

Which Social Platform Is Right For Your Next Video Marketing Campaign?

Are you thinking about marketing with video in social media, but not sure which platform will get you the best results for your videos? Well, you’re on the right track and asking the right questions because…

Customers LOVE Video:

  • 85% of Americans watch videos online. [comScore]
  • 45% of people watch more than 1 hour of Facebook or YouTube videos per week. [Wordstream]
  • 92 percent of mobile video viewers share videos with others. [Invodo]

And Video Drives Business:

  • Viewers are 85% more likely to purchase a product after watching a product video. [Internet Retailer]
  • 52% of consumers say that watching product videos makes them more confident in their online purchase decisions. [Internet Retailer]

But There Are So Many Video Platforms!

Where should you publish your videos? There are so many platforms to choose from!

Just to name a few:

  • YouTube videos
  • Facebook videos
  • Instagram videos
  • Snapchat videos
  • LinkedIn videos
  • Twitter videos
  • Pinterest videos

Can you really create and post video on all the platforms… especially when they all have different specs and requirements?

All the Specs & Requirements for the Major Video Platforms

Each platform has different requirements for video size, size ratios, lengths… and they each treat audio and captions differently.

Horizontal Video

  • YouTube: 16:9 or 4:3 ratio, 854 x 480 pixels, 12 to 360 seconds, audio on by default.
  • Facebook: 16:9, 600 pixel minimum width, 720p, up to 240 minutes, but average view length is 15 seconds, audio muted by default, so captions are a great idea!
  • LinkedIn: 4:3 or 16:9, up to 30 seconds, but the best are under 15 seconds, audio muted by default.
  • Twitter: 16:9 or 1:1 ratio, 640 x 360 pixels, 140 seconds.

Square Video 

  • Instagram: 1:1, 600 x 315 pixels, 16 second maximum, audio muted by default, captions are a great idea.
  • Twitter can be square too, as you see above…
  • Something to consider- some tests say people respond more to square videos on mobile while horizontal videos perform better on desktop, regardless of platform. https://blog.bufferapp.com/square-video-vs-landscape-video.

Vertical Video

  • Snapchat: canvas fullscreen: 9:16 ratio, 1080 x 1920 pixels, 3-10 seconds, audio on by default; expand to long form with different video.
  • Pinterest: 9:16 ratio, 240 pixels wide min, up to 30 minutes.

For more details, check out this infographic on video specs.

(And I’ll come back to this topic later for the question- is there a way to create one or two videos that work for all of these? There is!)

Can You Get Big Video Exposure & Results Without Ads?

Some marketers may think, “I’ll just post my videos on all the networks! Then we’ll be good, right? I’ll get tons of exposure!”

A good idea, but not always true in practice.

Are you looking at your actual stats to see how many people you do reach with unpaid social video?

Most people are surprised by their actual reach numbers- it’s not as many as they thought!

Is your actual reach anywhere near the number of potential customers you need to reach?

Wait- how many customers do you need to reach?

How many customers are out there for you and how many should you be reaching?

Most businesses haven’t given thought to having actual quantified awareness goals.

When you start to think about the 10,000’s, 100,000’s, or perhaps 1,000,000’s of potential customers you want to reach…

And when you ask yourself: “How often do I want my future customers to hear from me so that I make an impression in their brains and they don’t forget about me?”…

“And how many times do they have to see me before they take me seriously and want to buy from me?”

You begin to realize that serious weekly or monthly reach goals are hard to achieve without advertising.

A few people are lucky enough to strike on some type of content that quickly gets them a lot of exposure, but most businesses have a harder time creating great content that can sustain itself without a little push.

Some businesses choose to only do unpaid social because they don’t have an ad budget or they think they can get away with saving the money, but our experience with the data and case studies of the successes and failures indicates that advertising gives you a much better chance of success because of three major factors…

3 Reasons Video Advertising Rocks

  1. YOU GET IN FRONT OF THE RIGHT PEOPLE: Do you want to be sure you reach your target customer? That can be a challenge when you go unpaid only. There are specific audiences that are very hard to reach that all but require the targeting features of ad networks to get in front of: for example, people outside your brand’s connections, many B2B targets, and the people who are on social media less often or are less active.
  2. YOU REACH ENOUGH PEOPLE: If a YouTube video plays in a forest and no one is around, does it make a sound? If you want to be sure people see your video, ads help out a lot. You can’t control how many people see your video- look at your reach and impressions, and compare that to even a small-spend ad campaign, and you quickly see how limited unpaid reach is in most cases.
  3. YOU GET BUSINESS RESULTS: If you want significant views, traffic and sales from your videos, ads are important. Ad platforms give you an environment to look at multiple creative at the same time and discover which resonates best with your target audience. You’ll know for sure which video is best at achieving your business goals. Overall, this boosts your views, traffic and sales, and puts you ahead of the competition.

So, if you choose to advertise…

How much ad spend do you devote to each channel?

Or should you focus your ad spend all on one platform that best fits your current campaign? And for your campaign goals and your videos, which is best platform for that?

That’s what we’ll answer in this next section…

Video Goals and Metrics

What are the strengths of each network for video?

Every network achieves different results for different goals and with each metric.

The easiest way to illustrate this is to show the range of performance we’ve seen on each networks for a variety of our clients in 2018.

A few notes on the chart: every industry and audience is different, and the more you optimize, the better your metrics will be. Your mileage may vary a bit from our chart, but should be in the same ballpark. Also note, these numbers are for video ads only, not for other types of ads.

Who’s Watching Each Video Platform?

One way to choose a platform for your video is to look at who the users of each network are, and which network is best at reaching which specialized audiences, research from Pew:

  • YouTube- biggest number of users, but 5th in frequency of use.
  • Facebook- second most users, but the most frequently used (51% of users visit multiple times per day), so much so that there are still more 18-29 year olds on FB than Instagram or Snapchat, slightly more female than male.
  • Instagram- younger audience, with Facebook powered targeting, growing faster than Snapchat, third in frequency of use, slightly more female than male.
  • Snapchat- youngest audience, not as good targeting, but second in frequency of use.
  • LinkedIn- professionals, better B2B targeting, but less time on site than other social networks, bigger proportion of college grads than FB or Insta, highest proportion of high income households, evenly male and female.
  • Twitter- like LinkedIn, a bigger proportion of college grads than FB or Insta, evenly male and female, only 26% of users visit multiple times per day.
  • Pinterest- much more female than male.

Yet another great source for checking which platform you should be on is Buzzsumo. You can analyze the content for any keyword and find out on which platforms the most engagement happens. Here’s some analysis on the “staffing and recruiting” industry:

Note that according to Buzzsumo’s data for the staffing and recruiting industry, List posts, How-to’s and Videos do best in that industry…

So if you’re making a video, why not use a list-post format when creating your video, or do a how-to video? ;-)

Rules of Thumb for Choosing Your Platform

Next up, I want to give you what I see to be biggest strengths of each network in our experience with clients. If this seems simplistic, understand that my goal here is to give you rules of thumb to start your strategy with, not overgeneralizations to end with!

  • YouTube- Best for getting long video views, if you want to do in-depth content. Harder than other platforms to drive website traffic with.
  • Facebook- Best for website traffic, leads and sales from video.
  • Instagram- Hipper, younger, positive lifestyle audience using FB’s awesome ad platform- so it’s another good source of traffic, leads and sales.
  • Snapchat- New and affordable. Very unproven. Jury is out.
  • LinkedIn- Reach the upscale, smart business people and decision makers. Expensive but high quality for those purposes.
  • Twitter- Reach smart geeky people. If you have customers who prefer books over TV & movies, but want to do video to them, Twitter and LinkedIn make sense.
  • Pinterest- Reach women who like crafts, cosmetics and do-it-yourself projects.

Conclusion: How Many Platforms Does Your Video Really Need to Be On?

Obviously, you can easily post your video organically, without ads, everywhere, as long as you deal with the specs. And it makes sense, if you have time, to get it out in as many places as possible.

But how many platforms should you actually spend money on? If you’re not careful, your spend and time will get divided so much that you won’t have much impact anywhere.

Can you reach the same people on one platform without having to be on five of them?

According to the research from Pew:

  • A lot of the same people use YouTube, Facebook and Instagram…
  • But Twitter users aren’t necessarily LinkedIn users, and
  • LinkedIn users aren’t necessarily Twitter users.

That means that you may only need to be spending on two or three platforms, max!

Takeaway Strategy #1: Focus Your Video Ad Platform Choices Down to One or Two

Based on all the successes, failures, efficiencies and wasted money that I’ve seen in digital marketing over the last 20 years, I’m a big believer in the 80-20 rule.

You’ll get the best ROI by doing the 20% of things that yield 80% of the results.

Focus on the one out 5 video ad platforms that yields 80% of the results… even if you have a lot of resources- get really good at the most popular, most effective networks that have your best customers rather than being a mediocre jack of all networks.

The platform that’s your 20% may vary with your audience and goal, but for most companies these days that want traffic, leads or sales, without a doubt it’s Facebook.

At The Brian Carter Group, we recommend that most businesses run ads on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Google AdWords.

If you have a special audience-related need or goal-related need (not just a personal philosophy) that dictates that Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, or another network would be a better fit, then add it on or substitute it.

But unless you have really solid proof (not just opinions) that they’re not good for your industry or goal, all the data and case studies I’ve seen suggest you should first get good at getting results from Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

This rule of thumb frees you to focus on just Facebook and Instagram, or just Facebook and YouTube and get great results. You don’t have to worry about missing out.

So, takeaway #1 is maximize your spend and your focus by only advertising your video on a few platforms:

  • Facebook and Instagram, or
  • Facebook and YouTube, or
  • Instagram and YouTube, or
  • Facebook and LinkedIn, or
  • LinkedIn and YouTube

Takeaway Strategy #2: The Retargeting Add-On to Cover Your Bases

But if you are worried about missing out by being to narrow on your platform choices, just add retargeting on the other networks to make sure you’re present to some degree- it’s not a big time or money investment to do that. That way you’d do something like this combination

  • Cold audiences and retargeting on your main platforms from Takeaway #1 above. For example, you might do Facebook ads, both video view and conversion campaign types for traffic, leads and sales. PLUS
  • Instagram retargeting ads
  • YouTube remarkateting ads
  • Twitter retargeting ads
  • LinkedIn retargeting ads

Now you’ve got your main focus driving a lot of traffic and visibility from both new people and retargeting AND you’re covering your bases by being visible to all these people on multiple networks via retargeting. Because retargeting spends are typically small, and the campaigns are much easier to set up, you’re not wasting time or money, you’re not a jack of all trades master of none. You’re increasing your bang for your buck without having to worry about focusing so much that you’ve left something out.

And that’s the best of both worlds.

7 New Facebook Ad Insights You Need to Know Today

Are you up to date with the most cutting edge practices for Facebook ads?

These are some of our biggest insights in Facebook advertising. These are the things that we’ve learned , having done Facebook ads for over 150 clients.

Some of them are best practices that effective advertisers embrace, and some are new insights and changes you can’t afford to ignore.

The seven most important things that you need to know to be really effective with Facebook ads today based on all our data…

And if you don’t know us from Adam:

  • We’ve been doing Facebook ads for ten years…
  • We’ve done them for over 150 clients…
  • We’ve worked with many types of clients of different sizes from small businesses to medium to famous big brands…
  • Facebook ads are the Swiss Army Knife of ad platforms: there are 12 types of Facebook ads, and we run them all…
  • We analyze the audience, create custom creative, optimize e-commerce performance, create custom lead magnets, split-test landing pages and optimize the ads…
  • We have some pretty cool case studies if you want to read about them…

This is our latest stuff our latest insights to pass on to you guys to get better results… The seven Facebook ad insights you absolutely need to know today answer these important questions:

  1. How Much Do You Need to Create?
  2. What Kind of Ads Should You Run?
  3. Which Posts Should You Promote First?
  4. How Long Should Facebook Videos Be?
  5. How Important is the Pixel and Conversion Tracking?
  6. Which Conversion Window Should You Choose?
  7. What Are Retargeting Best Practices?

Ready? :-)

Facebook Ad Insight #1: How Much Do You Need to Create?

You have to test a lot of stuff

A lot of audiences and a lot of creative.

I feel like I said it’s a billion times but hey- you may never have heard this and you’ve never heard of me before! So I’ll just say this again and give you some more specifics on it that you may never heard me say this exact way in this level of detail but…

Our most successful ad campaigns are those where we’ve tested anywhere from 10 to 20 different audience settings. 10-20 ad sets, each targeted a different way.

And that is even the case when we’re only targeting one audience persona.


Because there are many different ways to target the same people in Facebook and there are plenty of other blog post out there that you could read- Andrea Vahl has a really good post about all the different Facebook ad targeting options– there are just a ton of them and that will show you why it’s possible to create so many different ad says different ways to target the same audience.

And if you do that you’re going to get different results.

You’re going to need to find that the ad sets/ the audience targeting that works the best for your purposes regardless of what type of ad you’re running- this is true for every type of ad, ok?

Test a lot of different audiences.

So if you have not tested 10 different ad sets with different audience targeting, then in my opinion you are not being thorough and you will not get great results.

You make get “ok” results. You won’t get great results.

If you’ve only got one ad set in your entire Facebook ad account, then you are a beginner and you need to create more ad sets. And that’s ok! That’s where you start.

But if you want to get the amazing type of results you’ve seen in our case studies, then you need to create 10 to 20 ad sets over time.

NOW… How many ads?

In our best case studies, our best performing clients and students, there are at least a 150 ads in those accounts.

That’s a minimum number.

If you do 10 ad sets, that’s 15 different ads in each one, 15 creative approaches. You have to conceive of different images, headlines, text, calls to action that will really move the prospect to take action.

A really good case study: we were doing website conversion ads for a small pizza chain of pizza delivery stores in Scotland called La Favorita… ecommerce pizza delivery.

We ran 160 ads for them but 76 of those ads didn’t get a single sale.

But overall we got about 2,200% ROI.

One of those ads was an 11,800% ROI, ok?

They made a ton of money compared to what they spent, and that’s because we tested so many different audiences and ad creative, over 160 combinations total…

But because 76 didn’t get any sales, if we’d only created say 70 ads, there’s a chance we might have only created the ones that didn’t get any sales. We wouldn’t have got any results. Zero ROI.

So if you are not thorough, there’s a chance that you’ll not only not get great results- you might get not get any.

I like to think about this way:

If you go out fishing to a big lake, and you don’t know where the fish are, you’ve got to put your line in a lot of different places to find them.

Now, you could take forever and walk around that lake one at a time, or you can get eight fishing rods or eight guys or whatever and put eight rods in at the same time. Now you’ve got a better chance of finding the fish- that is like an audience, right?

You gotta go where the fish are. Where are those fish? Which people are going to buy from me or fill out my lead form or install my app?

You gotta go to a lot of places.

And that’s why it’s important to test. You don’t know where your people are going to be in terms of targeting.

And this is the other way to look at the fishing analogy: What are you going to put on that fishing hook? That’s your bait.

That could be your ad. It could be a lead generation magnet, depending what you’re doing, right?

You can even look at that as your product or your app or whatever depending on what you’re doing, but you need to be able to patch multiple things okay from an ad perspective

We think about these as a different ad creative- the images the headlines and all those kind of things.

We don’t know which ones the fish are going to go for- in this case there are prospects, right? Which one is going to make the customer respond… not just to take action but do it at a high rate that’s going to give us a really low cost?

And you won’t know until you put a lot of different bait on those hooks.

So you got a fish and a lot of different areas of the lake, which is a lot of audiences and put a lot of different bait on those hooks which is a lot of different creative ok?

Test a lot of stuff.

And you gotta test a lot of new stuff all the time, because eventually people have seen your stuff and even if you haven’t reached your entire targeted audience… because Facebook is going to show it to the best people first and you might have shown all your stuff to the best people already and if they were going to respond they would have- so your results start to go down, you start to see that burnout, you need to new creative for a new audience, ok?

So that’s a lot of stuff – test a lot of stuff and keep creating new stuff.

Facebook Ad Insight #2: What Kind of Ads Should You Run?

To get professional level results from Facebook ads, you need to test ads with multiple objectives (goals).

Now if you’re only boosting post from your Facebook page, you’re only creating one out of 12 types of ad, and that’s just start. You need to get into ad manager or power editor.

Ad manager is a great place to star. If you create an ad in there, it’s going to ask you what kind of ad you want to create. So there are different goals and you choose the one that’s closest to your business goal.

If your goal is to get sales or leads, I would recommend you choose website conversions- because you want to get a conversion- assuming you want a lead or a sales on your website or your landing page, then by choosing that you’ve helped Facebook.

If you say you want traffic, that may be all you get.

You should be testing multiple types ads. Use the full Swiss Army knife of Facebook marketing. It does a lot of different things.

A marketing funnel is a complicated thing. It’s not just the sales- the bottom- there’s awareness at the top, there’s engagement, there’s branding, there might be leads in the middle or visits, all kinds of different things.

And if you want people to be aware of your brand or understand it, you might want to do that through a video, or through an image, through engagement on your page…

If so you need to use different types of ads.

Te page promotion ad, which boosts posts, the video view ad, which gets people to watch videos more… every type of ad objective gets different types of people, because different people do different things on Facebook- every user in Facebook is grouped them by what they like to do. They know what everybody does on Facebook. They group them.

You like to do different things, right?

You may like video- you may not.

You may like posts- you may not you may interact with posts- you may not.

You may click on links to go to other sites… you may click on ads. y

You may go over to websites and fill out the forms- you may not.

But whatever you’re doing, Facebook tracks that stuff, so when you target people with your ads, if you want to get people who convert you’ve got to choose the conversion type.

If you want to get video views, you need to choose the video view ad- and so on.

A healthy Facebook marketing campaign is going to use at least three types of ads.

I would recommend you use all three of these:

  1. Website conversion ads
  2. Post promotion ads
  3. Video view ads

Those three are very effective- you’re going to get awareness and branding. You’re going to get conversions.

Those are very powerful.

Some companies cannot do conversions- they can’t track them. They have issues.

Other companies are so focused on conversions and ROI that they can’t see the value of branding and engagement.

It’s almost like two different religious camps- they are so rigid in their viewpoints sometimes… but there’s value to both.

There’s value to awareness and branding and engagement because people know you exist. Nobody can buy from you if they don’t know you exist. You have to get in the customer’s “consideration set.” With the clients and companies we’ve been able to track- and other agencies have done this, too- when you run awareness boosting campaigns, TV ads, Facebook ads, all kinds of things, you’ll see more Google searches for brands and branded AdWords campaigns that have a very high ROI because people are already looking for you…

Well, where does that awareness come from? It doesn’t come out of nowhere. You have to create it with other types of advertising and marketing campaigns and post promotion and video view ads. Those are one way to do that.

So you can test multiple objectives.

Facebook Ad Insight #3: Which Posts Should You Promote First?

The third ad insight is about post promotion.

If you have a Facebook page, hopefully you understood what reachpocalypse was in 2013 and that your posts are not going to reach your fans unless you advertise them.

So, you’re doing post promotion ads if you care about your posts being seen by anybody…

And hopefully you also look at your page insights and you switch up your metrics there and look at the engagement rate.

That will tell you the percentage of people who see the post and like, comment or share on it.

The posts that have the highest engagement rate- they’re really the best bait, to go back to our fishing analogy…

You could put there’s almost anything in the world on your Facebook page, but you want to put the things on there that people are going to like the best, because there’s an opportunity to get people excited. ok going to relate to your brand your product and all those kind of things but also resonate with them stuff they like stuff that relates to their identity who they are all that kind of

It’s a very complicated topic to discuss: how do you come up with the kind of post that resonate with a specific audience?

There’s an art and a science to that.

But you look at your posts’s engagement rate and you figure out what your audience is interacting with, and which ones are high, which ones are low.

What are they not interacting with? And learn from that.

When you promote a lot of those posts, the interesting thing is the lowest cost-per-engagement ads don’t always turn out to be the ones that had the highest engagement rate!

We’re not really sure why that is. It might be a difference in the way that Facebook shows ads vs. the way that they show posts… or it may just be an aspect of the pricing.

But there’s some overlap, so if you’re going to test a limited number of posts, you should choose the ones that have the highest engagement rate.

Facebook Ad Insight #4: How Long Should Videos Be on Facebook?

Across all of our clients – although some are better than others – the average video view length is 15 seconds.

That’s pretty crazy… and we’ve seen that stat from other people as well.

That’s one of the reasons I think that’s crazy is that everybody is talking about how great live video is.

Facebook Live videos are very long. I know Amy Porterfield has done some 5-8 minute FB lives to promote her courses. But if you do 40 minutes or an hour or whatever, you just don’t know how long individuals stay. You don’t get a lot of metrics on them. If you do 45 minutes and the average person was there for 2 minutes… how are you gonna be sure you got your message got across? What part of your message got across? It’s very hard to develop marketing messages that way.

People are effective with webinars because they get people on the webinar and they have ways of keeping them on the webinar the whole time. But with Facebook live, they come in, it’s very informal… it’s more engagement focused, more top of funnel.

We’ve noticed that the videos that cost the least to promote are the ones that got the highest percentage of completion… they’re saying don’t waste anybody’s time, whether the video is 30 seconds long or five minutes long, it’s higher quality if people are finishing it.

In other words, don’t make your videos longer than they need to be!

Keep it interesting. Have a plan. If you’re editing it, edit out the boring and redundant parts.

I don’t know if they’re going to keep that because they’re trying to get TV dollars. They’re probably going to prize video duration, so that’ll be that’ll be an interesting thing to monitor if they start to favor videos that can hold an audience longer amount of time.

Facebook Ad Insight #5: How Important is the Pixel and Conversion Tracking?

Conversions are important- they’re leads and sales.

And that’s my bias because I started out in Google AdWords, helping companies get sales way back in 2004.

We do a lot of lead gen as well. So to me conversion is very important and it’s a lot easier to justify ad spend if you’re getting money back from it.

It’s difficult to quantify the value of branding and awareness and engagement even though we know it has a value… certainly they say that Coca-Cola’s brand itself is worth $78 billion separate from all the factories and other assets- and there are case studies that quantify that…

I don’t think we should ever avoid doing conversion just because it’s hard.

But there are are often significant obstacles. We’ve done a lot of lead gen and sales/ecommerce work with Facebook ads. A lot of our clients have obstacles implementing the tracking… whether it’s that they don’t have a devoted thank you page with its own URL or a confirmation page… or they’re using some kind of third-party software like a scheduling software that doesn’t allow us to put JavaScript into it… some SAAS vendors that don’t understand marketing tracking. Some programmers don’t understand that Facebook and AdWords pixels are not just for tracking- it’s not enough to have the Google Analytics on there- because Facebook and AdWords do conversion optimization algorithms- automated artificial intelligent algorithms to determine who to show ads to and how to optimize ad display based on that pixel information. So if you don’t have the conversion pixel in the setup, you’re just not going to get as many leads or sales at as low a price. Or you might not get any conversions.

It’s just not going to work as well. It’s like a GPS without a transponder. You don’t have a satellite up. You can’t get a signal.

Weird things happen. We’ve noticed some weird things- like ads that perform better the longer they run. That’s the way that Google AdWords and Facebook conversion optimization work.

They have to learn a conversion profile – they’re AI profiling your buyers and they need data to do that, and they can’t get that data from Google Analytics. So that pixel has to be set up properly for them to get that data.

You can’t judge a conversion campaign too quickly, either. We’ve learned to give everything at least 72 hours and sometimes it takes longer than that. If you judge an ad too soon and turn it off, things don’t work well.

There have been situations where we’ve been able to let ads run longer… even ones that weren’t performing at the ROI level we wanted, and they got better because Facebook is homing in on the target and it just needs more time and data.

That data, unfortunately, costs money.  You have to pay to not get results for a while in order to ramp things up.

If you’re getting conversions, you’re feeding information into the algorithm and the performance will improve quite a bit over time. That’s an important thing to understand about the pixel and the algorithm and everything if you’re too quick on the trigger to judge a bad conversion and you may miss out on a lot of opportunity.

Facebook Ad Insight #6: Which Conversion Window Should You Choose?

Another conversion factor is conversion window.

When you choose conversion window, it’s one day or seven days.

You’re basically telling Facebook, “We think that the person is going to convert within one day of clicking… or seven days.”

It’s kind of like a sales cycle. How long do you think it takes the person to decide before they’ll convert, whether that’s a leader of sale?

Sometimes you can have a pretty good idea depending on the business, but it’s just as easy to test both, and in some cases that’s what we do… we’ll test the same ad set where everything is the same but one has a one day conversion window and the other has a seven day conversion window.

The results can be dramatically different- it could mean the different between zero conversions and a lot of conversions.

Facebook Ad Insight #7: What Are Retargeting Best Practices?

The last thing that I want to share with you is retargeting.

Retargeting is essential. You have to do it.

Why is that?

For the same reason we want to do email marketing.

The first time people come to your website, most of them don’t do anything: whether that’s buy or become a lead… most people don’t convert if you look at the percentages.

  • A great e-commerce site converts at maybe 3%.
  • Even Amazon product pages convert at max 20% but that means that 80% percent don’t convert.
  • If your Shopify site converts at 3%, you’re a rockstar. But 97% of people didn’t convert.

You need to be running retargeting ads to stay in front of those people. Whether that’s normal retargeting or dynamic product ads, you’ve got to do it. It’s a best practice to the degree that it’s malpractice not to run them.

You’ve got to stay in front of people.

Now, don’t be stupid about it. You’ve seen the ads when you’ve already bought something but you’re still seeing ads for it? That means they didn’t exclude the buyers, which is not hard to do. You can exclude the buyers. Create another audience based on people who have been to the confirmation page. Exclude those people if you want.

If you’re doing lead gen, a really great lead gen campaign converts at 40-60%, but you’re still losing a ton. Te average lead gen campaign converts 10-20% of people, so 80-90% of people leave, and you need retargeting to stay in front of them.

They didn’t like that lead magnet, so send them to another one.

Create three lead magnets. Find another lead magnet that they’ll go through.

Content marketing has become popular, so the stakes have gone up, the ante for the marketing game has gone up, and if you don’t have multiple articles, multiple videos and multiple lead magnets, then you’re falling behind.

You need to create it or you need to have somebody like us create these so that you can grab prospects.

Retargeting is such a best-practices that it’s malpractice not to do it.

In some cases we have clients that we run AdWords and Facebook ads but they may only get Facebook leads and sales from retargeting

We’ve got other clients that do get lead sales cold from all kinds of target groups with Facebook ads, but for some clients they can only get it through retargeting… so in some ways retargeting is the strongest Facebook ad audience.

Lookalikes and custom audiences are really good too.

We recommend them for post engagement, video views, awareness, engagement…

Your retargeting audience is basically like an email list. You want to constantly show them new stuff: whether that’s new blog posts, videos or whatever… every month you better have something new, or they’re going to get bored.

Look at that frequency number and see how many times your audience is seeing those things. If that feedback number goes over 3-5, they’re start hiding your ads abd the negative feedback goes up. That can be a danger to your account reputation, and if that’s combined with too many ad disapprovals, Facebook can deactivate your account.

If your frequency goes too high, you either need to create more content faster for your retargeting, or you need to lower your retargeting spend. Maybe your retargeting audience isn’t big enough.

Maybe you haven’t made the duration of the audience long enough- are you targeting 180 days? I make it as long as I can, because that’s like saying, “I want people to hear about me for six months.”

If you had an email list, how long would you want them to hear from you? Until they left the list, right? Why wouldn’t you want the same for retargeting?

The last thing about retargeting: sometimes we find what sells is to show customers first one type of ad to cold audiences and another type of ad to retargeted people. It’s like a one-two punch, a cold and retargeting ads. What we’ve seen work is the cold audience gets a pain or a problem oriented message and the retargeting gets the solution oriented message. So, if you’re having trouble converting cold traffic try that badass one-two punch solution. That’s a freebie I should probably sell

Go Do It!

Those are seven Facebook ad insights we’ve gathered that you absolutely need to know.

I hope that you find that useful and look forward to hearing your gigantic results!

chalkboard graph of decreasing costs

Facebook Post Promotion Ads for Lower Conversion Costs? DMMH #4

In this 4th episode of The Digital Marketing Happy Hour, Lynda and Brian discuss how post promotion ads can have direct and indirect effects on your conversion performance, e.g. lowering lead generation costs.

Don’t forget to click through and subscribe to the DMMH channel- and comment on YouTube if you have any questions- or even suggestions for future videos!

Facebook ads experts graphic

What Makes a Facebook Ads Expert? Digital Marketing Happy Hour #1

I’m so thrilled to debut a new podcast and youtube channel to you all today!

And that I finally got my wife and partner in our digital marketing agency, Lynda Harvey-Carter, into some content where you can see the kind of thinking and work we do every day for our clients and partner agencies. We have a lot of fun doing the work and getting results- and we just have a lot of fun. Look forward to hearing what you think about it. Hope you enjoy!

We’re calling it The Digital Marketing Happy Hour. It’s fun AND practical.

In this first episode, we talk about what makes a Facebook ads EXPERT vs. someone who’s only been doing it a few years. What’s the difference? We give examples of some of the most critical issues and activities to success and failure.

Here are some of the things we discussed:

  • Facebook ad targeting
  • Facebook ad types
  • Facebook ad metrics and benchmarks
  • Creative assets, design and testing
  • Customer behavior and why it’s often so surprising
  • Mobile (smartphones and tablets) and why it’s the most important thing

Please go subscribe to the channel, and hit that notification bell so you hear about all our future episodes.

For now it’s just the YouTube series, but soon we’ll add the audio podcast as well!