Posts

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.

Why?

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!

facebook ad performance problem diagnosis

5 Steps to Diagnosing Facebook Ad Performance Problems

Do you ever run into Facebook ad performance problems? For example:

  • Your campaigns suddenly aren’t performing as well?
  • Your costs start to go up?
  • Your new campaign doesn’t perform nearly as well as previous campaigns?

We do mentor and train agency folks like Facebook ads specialists, and one of the big skill gaps we frequently have to train for are:

  • The ability to discover the real cause of a performance problem so that you can take the right action to fix it.
  • An understanding of the most important metrics (besides your key performance indicator) and how to use them to diagnose the problem.
  • Comparing present and past performance properly to come to accurate conclusions.

Without these skills, what happens is:

  • Specialists and clients are uncertain what’s wrong.
  • They tend to grab at straws about what might be the problem.
  • They agree on what they think is the most likely cause without looking deeper into the numbers to find out for sure.
  • They end up take the wrong action, and get worse results and missing out on performance opportunities.

That’s like someone treating a disease without doing any lab or diagnostic tests- often considered malpractice.

So let’s remedy this!

Here’s how to diagnose Facebook ad performance problems, in 5 simple steps.

But first, a few basics bout the metrics and how they work:

In the above funnel diagram, you can see the most important metrics we need to look at, and how they are arranged as we drive a user from ad showing (impression) to click (website traffic) to conversion (result).

  • CPM = cost per 1,000 (mille) impressions, AKA the cost per 1,000 ad showings
  • CTR = clickthrough rate, a measure of how interesting your ad is, leading to clicks, AKA website traffic
  • CPC = cost per click, or cost per visit to your website
  • RR = results rate, is the % of ad viewers who convert (to a lead, sale, or whatever you’re trying to get them to do)
  • CPR = cost per result, AKA cost per conversion

Also important to note is that these metrics are all rates, not total numbers. Clickthrough rate (CTR) is more important to gauging how interesting your ad is than its sheer number of clicks, just as miles per hour is more important to gauging how fast you’re going than the # of miles you’ve gone. Total numbers can actually distract you here, and are not important for now.

Start by going into the Facebook ad dashboard and getting your columns right. Here’s what I recommend:

Save that column set as your Facebook ad diagnosis column set, or something like that.

STEP 1: Find a Good Date Range for Comparison

To say anything is wrong, it has to be wrong compared to something that’s right. So we need to figure out what we’re comparing, A and B, and what the date ranges for each are.

Your comparisons could be things like:

  • A: your current campaign, the most recent two weeks
    vs.
    B: the same campaign, the most recent two weeks of the previous year

    OR
  • A: your current campaign, the most recent two weeks
    vs.
    B: a different but similar and better-performing campaign, the most recent two weeks

When it comes to choosing the right date ranges, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • When you compare different time periods (e.g. this month vs last month, or the last 14 days vs the 14 days before that), there could be seasonal variation. Things like news, economic changes, holidays, and even weather can affect performance. If you think about the Great Recession, sometimes changes can last for a long time and can even throw off year-to-year comparisons. So if you are comparing two time periods, think about why they might differ.
  • It’s always best, if you can, to compare either two different campaigns over the exact same date range, or your current campaign this year compared to the exact same date range the previous year. You’re more likely to get an apples to apples comparison, but…
  • When comparing year to year, keep in mind whether the industry, the markets, the economy or anything else has changed significantly. Also, CPM tends to go up each year on both Facebook and Google, so you should expect some change there. Sometimes we’re talking 5-10% but sometimes these changes are huge, as when AdStage reported Facebook CPM’s nearly tripling (+171%) from 2016 to 2017. So look for industry reports on metrics, and also benchmark year to year changes across multiple Facebook ad accounts if you have that kind of access.

STEP 2: Compare CPM, Which Is the First Source of All Subsequent Cost Metrics in the Funnel

First, we want to see if the basic cost of displaying ads has gone up. This is measured in cost per impression (CPM), or cost per 1,000 ad showings.

There are a few different causes of higher CPM’s:

  • Year over year platform cost increases, as described above.
  • Changes in your ad set targeting; you may have added new targets that are more expensive.
  • What your ad sets are optimizing for; if you’re optimizing for impressions, Facebook will find you cheaper ones. If you’re optimizing for conversions, it may be more expensive to show to that higher quality subset of people.

Now compare: Look at the change in CPM, and compare that to the change in your CPR. Is it close enough to completely explain the CPR change? Or was there minimal change in CPM, or even in the opposite direction of the CPR? For example, if CPR went up but CPM went down, CPM is not the culprit.

Check out the following example:

In the first campaign (first row), CPR went up 40.95%, but CPM only went up 13.9%, so CPM played a part, but there’s more to the story.

STEP 3: Compare CTR (Clickthrough rates)

The combination of CPM and CTR is going to give you your CPC. So we want CTR to be as high as possible. It’s reasonable to expect CTR’s as high as 8% at times, but 1-3% is more normal.

Clickthrough rate can go down when:

  • Creative burns out: you can’t run the same ads, videos or text forever in the same audience target, because eventually everyone has seen it and it no longer works. Create more stuff!
  • Frequency is too high: If your spend is too high for an audience size, your frequency may go up to 2, 3, 4 or higher, and this overexposure can lower CTR. You might want to do that in a reach-oriented campaign, but in conversions, it could hurt your CPR.
  • Spend is too high for audience size: When you have a good campaign CPR, you want to “turn it up,” as in spend more. And you can, to a point. But you’ll eventually hit a threshold where you’re dipping into lower quality parts of audience, and CTR will go down, and possible CR as well.

If you are seeing a big CPM increase, then if you can lower CTR, you will lower CPC.

But if your CTR remains the same with a higher CPM, CPC will go up, too.

STEP 5: Compare Cost Per Clicks

Ok, admittedly, this one is not super useful, because CPC is a function of CPM and CTR.

CTR changes and their effect on CPC

In the above example, you can see that usually when CTR goes down, CPC goes up, and vice versa. But these numbers are not exactly the same, so we know that CPM changes also played a role.

Most of our solution is going to be focused on

  • Controlling CPM (through audiences),
  • Controlling CTR (through creative), and
  • Controlling RR (through audience, creative and website).

Check your CPC changes, but focus more on the three metrics above!

NOTE: one thing you may want to do with CTR is make sure you’re hitting industry and overall Facebook benchmarks. In the example chart above, all CTR’s are below 1.0%, which indicates there may be a problem with the creative not being compelling enough to the audiences.

STEP 6: Compare RR (results rate), the % of people who visit the website and convert

It’s important to find out if the percentage of people converting on your website has gone down. Sometimes this is a temporarily seasonal type of thing, but sometimes it’s a new competing offer in the marketplace, or perhaps the website has accidentally been changed and you didn’t realize it.

Always check the website and make sure everything looks right and is functioning correctly.

If RR goes to zero, make sure the Facebook pixel is still there and the conversions are still set up correctly.

Nerdy point: RR is results per impression, which is the % of people who saw an ad and converted. Most people also look at conversion rate (CR), which is just the % of website visitors that convert. This is a more focused measure of your website’s ability to persuade. CTR and CR can balance each other out sometimes- one goes up and the other goes down- what you want is for both to go up. When you have relatively similar CPM’s but the CPR is dramatically different, sometimes both CTR and RR are better, combining their effects for a much lower result rate.

Even when CPM is higher, the best cost per results may come from the combo of the best CTR and best CR.

STEP 6: Focus on the area of biggest change when devising your performance solution

When you find the biggest problem area, you can focus your solution there. For example:

  • Check your ad sets to see if specific audiences have high CPM’s and are dominating the spend too much. Look at their CPR’s, and if they’re not good, you may want to pause them.
  • If CTR is the problem, look at which ads have better and worse CTR, and go more in the direction of the better ads. Create more new ads along those lines. Pause the bad ones.
  • If CR (response rate) is the problem, it could be your offer, your website, or it could be that particular audience. Look at your ad sets to see if some of them are not converting very well. But if all CR’s are low, it is more likely to be the entire offer, or the website.

And that’s it!

You now know how to diagnose where the biggest problem with your performance is coming from.

And diagnosis always comes before proper treatment… so now you can go forth as a Facebook Ad Doctor and avoid malpractice!

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!

graphic demonstrating video development through end user experience

Video Advertising Tips: YouTube, Instagram and Facebook

In the second installment of our new Digital Marketing Happy Hour Show, we talk VIDEO ADVERTISING!

In this episode, we answer questions like: What’s the best type of YouTube ad? Which objective should you choose for your Facebook ad? How long should your videos be for Facebook and Instagram?

Enjoy, and don’t forget to subscribe to the YouTube channel!

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!

 

Retailers: The Top 10 Digital Strategies for Store Visits & Sales in 2020

Are you a retail store owner, manager or marketer?

As you know, retail can be very challenging right now, because you’re competing against:

  • Big Box money, scale and technology in the bricks and mortar world
  • Ecommerce convenience, pricing, ubiquity, data and ad budgets from Amazon, Walmart, Bed Bath and Beyond, Wayfair and others.

I’ve spoken to thousands of franchisees and independent retail store owners over the last several years. In preparing for those keynotes and trainings, I’ve personally met to discuss their problems and solutions with them.

Here are some of the solutions that have worked for them, and we’ll cover each one:

  1. Drive more store visits with Google’s “My Business”
  2. Drive more store visits with Facebook
  3. Drive more store visits with Twitter.
  4. Leverage influencers to find new enthusiastic buyers.
  5. Humanize your store with video content.
  6. Stay top-of-mind with shoppers via Retargeting Ads.
  7. Drive more store visits with retail strategies.
  8. Increase sales and profits per square foot.
  9. Get more sales from your Shopify or other ecommerce store.
  10. Increase sales and profits by selling on Amazon.

Here we go!

Drive more store visits with Google’s “My Business”

There are two major marketing methods online: search and social.

Search strategies on Google and Bing attract customers who are already looking for you, or for what you sell.

Your first job is to make sure you get your free listing on Google My Business. Then you’ll show up on those local map searches with accurate business info, phone number, store hours and website.

  • Google searches with “near me” have grown 2.4X year-over-year (Google).
  • 50% of consumers who conduct a local search on their smartphone visit a store within a day (Google).
  • One in three shoppers has purchased from a company or brand other than the one he or she intended to because of information received in the moment (Google).
  • Google Maps has a market reach of more than 90% amongst Android users worldwide (Statista).
  • Mobile searches for ‘where to buy’ have grown 85 % since 2015 (Geo Marketing).

Be careful and make sure you monitor your listing. Over the years, I’ve seen competitors steal people’s local listings, so you need to be aware of how you’re showing up for local searches and get control of your listing.

These days, people look at store listings for hours and they can even tell (because of the data constantly being collected about consumers by their phones and Internet activity) which hours your store is most and least busy.

Here is more about:

You may also want to consider a paid service that will help you manage your local presence on multiple sites. Such services include Brandify and Synup.

Drive more store visits with Facebook.

Social advertising options like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and others help you interrupt the right potential customers and tell them why they should come in.

This is a huge opportunity, because after you nail down all your “search-related” strategies on Google and Bing, you have now maxed out on the people already looking for you.

How do you attract more people who don’t even know to look for you?

Interrupting the right potential buyer is the key to social media marketing.

Of course, you want to interrupt them in a relevant and pleasing way, so that they’re happy you told them. Being annoying, insensitive or boring won’t work.

What makes social advertising platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn so powerful is their targeting abilities. You can target people by demographics, interests and even buying habits. You can’t get the right people to come into your store if you never reach them.

Without ads, people don’t get any results from Facebook, because they don’t reach anybody.

A really basic thing to do with your social media- which many people neglect- is just to check how many people it’s reaching.

It doesn’t matter how many fans you have- it matters how many people see your posts and ads. Check the numbers. Without ads, they’re too low.

You need to reach thousands of people just to get hundreds of visitors. That’s how the math works. You have to advertise to get bottom-line results with social media.

One thing you’ll like about Facebook ads, if you’ve already advertised on Google or Bing, is that Facebook can be much more affordable.

And we’ll talk about retargeting separately, which is super powerful for staying in front of your future and past buyers.

Drive more store visits with Twitter.

Twitter is a different animal for retail, because Twitter is nichier than Facebook, for example. Twitter’s users tend to be smarter, geekier bookworms with more money. They’re more likely to be readers than TV viewers. A lot of news and sports outlets use Twitter, so there are definitely some mainstream users, but there are many more mainstream TV viewers and Facebook users who will tell you they “don’t get Twitter.” However, if you’re a tech or computer parts retailer, for example, Twitter could be a great option for your store.

Still, Facebook has six times as many users as Twitter, and people spend 35 minutes a day on Facebook and 15 minutes a day on Instagram, but only 2 minutes a day on Twitter.

To be effective doing retail marketing on Twitter, you have to

  • TARGET: Reach the right potential shoppers on Twitter. For that you need targeting and relevant messaging. Targeting only comes with advertising.
  • ADVERTISING: If you don’t have a lot of Twitter followers, you should use Twitter ads- and even if you do have thousands of followers, Twitter ads can help you target your exact customers, whether that’s geographically, or by their interests, or by whether they’ve visited your website before. Without ads, you may not reach enough people to make much difference, especially if you want to reach a lot of people at once before or during a sale event. Plan to spend $500 or more on Twitter ads during the days of your sale- and do the same with Facebook ads, and this will spike any TV or other media you’re already planning.
  • ADAPT: Make sure you’ve adapted your campaign to the segment of your customers that’s on Twitter, and be quick and get straight to the point. Tweets are short, and people only spend about 2 minutes a day on Twitter on average.

Leverage influencers to find new enthusiastic buyers.

There are bloggers, YouTubers and other social media influencers out there who already have big influence with audiences of people that include your future customers.

Brendan Bauer of Grand Fusion Housewares told me how lucky he was to have found an influencer that has boosted their sales. This blogger had access to 40,000 of his potential customers. They simply donated a product (12 of the same product) as a giveaway and paid the blogger $150, and their Amazon sales went crazy.

If an influencer links to your website, this can help your Google and Bing search rankings.

You can use search tools to find influencers, or use a website like Tomoson that has an influencer marketplace of over 100,000 influencers.

Humanize your store with video content.

If you create video of the inside of your store, you eliminate some of the unknowns that may keep people from visiting.

They’re thinking:

  • What is this store?
  • Will I like it?
  • Are the prices good?

If you’re an unknown, independent store, one of the biggest obstacles you have is that people know what to expect when they go into a chain store.

They don’t know what to expect from you.

If you create appealing videos of your entrance, displays, employees, you can create familiarity and likability that lead to more store visits.

This a huge opportunity most stores fail to act on. Or they create videos that are unappealing. The videos aren’t good enough to have an effect. Or no one sees the videos, because they have no social reach and they fail to advertise.

I get it- video isn’t easy for a lot of people. If you don’t have video talent or skills in your business, and if you don’t set the mood right and get people involved, you won’t be able to pull it off.

So you can either hire someone, or you can learn.

Regardless, you may have to make a mental shift: this is all about connecting with shoppers’ emotions, and it’s not just about the latest sale.

YouTube is so popular now, that many people expect you to be able to put your store manager and salespeople onto video, and see happy, interesting people. Your people are an asset, but if you can’t get that across in video, you may not be as competitive.

Don’t worry about live video. It is rarely useful and helpful. Most people only watch about 15 seconds OR LESS of any video on Facebook. People watch longer videos on YouTube, but they’re not live videos.

Just create good 15 – 60 second videos.

Create at least one video a week.

If you can’t do that, you may need to hire someone to do it for you or to help you get into the swing of things.

Stay top-of-mind with shoppers via Retargeting Ads.

Most people don’t buy the first time they hear about you. Sometimes they don’t even buy the first time they visit your retail store.

Even if you get people’s emails, 80% of people don’t open business emails!

Most ecommerce conversion rates are so low, that 99% of people don’t buy when they visit the online store.

How are you going to stay in front of those people if they’re not buying and not opening emails?

And if you don’t stay in front of them, they might forget about you. People are busy, distracted and have powerful “forgetters.”

Retargeting ads keep you in front of potential buyers so they don’t forget about you and you can continue to market to them with new messages until they’re ready to buy.

Using just Facebook and Google ads, we can stay in front of people who’ve given you their emails, visited your website, interacted with social posts or even watched your videos.

Because of the size of their ad networks, with retargeting, you can show up to these people on Facebook, Instagram, Google, YouTube, thousands of other websites, and even in thousands of smartphone apps.

Retargeting is a best practice.

You should be running it with the Facebook and Google ad platforms at the very least, and it will achieve all of that, and usually with a relatively small ad budget.

Drive more store visits with retail strategies.

You have to give customers a reason to come into your store.

Why shouldn’t they just buy from Amazon, eBay or some other Internet retailer?

Retail strategies that work have changed.

Here are some ideas that work:

  • Limited time sales, like Memorial Day, are one of the first things we think of. Don’t neglect them. But they aren’t the only way.
  • Discounts.
  • Contests.
  • Events- are there are other nearby stores you can partner with who might help? What if you teamed up with a local microbrewery to create a community meet-and-greet?
  • Creating content like videos answering common questions to help people get to know you and your store.
  • Improving signage and window displays.
  • Making shoppers feel welcome. Do something interesting at the entrance: for example, a welcome mat, balloons or a human greeter.
  • Putting signs in your parking lots, on roadways and sandwich signs out front.
  • Impressing shoppers with better landscaping.
  • Offering free smartphone charging stations.
  • Offering free wifi.
  • Setting up areas where shoppers can sit down and relax when tired.

Which of these strategies haven’t you tried yet?

Do something new!

Increase your sales-per-square-foot.

Are you meeting or exceeding the average of $325 per square foot?

How do these brands get such high sales per square foot?

First, make sure shoppers stay in your store long enough to buy!

Here is your biggest vulnerability in bricks and mortar: consumers can easily walk out and just buy it online.

Are your prices competitive with Amazon, Walmart, Wayfair, or the big ecomm site in your niche?

Shoppers can get on their smartphone while in your store and find the reviews for the product and the price from a competitor.

Eighty-two percent of shoppers say they consult their phones on purchases they’re about to make in a store (Google).

This was a problem even for Home Depot until they started putting signs next to their products with info about their website to cue you to go online and look for reviews on homedepot.com… not on Amazon.com.

Dana Hunt of Masterpiece Lighting in Atlanta told me his solution… Before becoming a lighting retailer with Lighting One, Dana had an IT background, which he decided to apply to his new business. He put a QR code on every tag of every product in his showroom. Any customer in his store can connect to his store wifi using their email address (which can be a smart way to build a customer list, if you ask for an opt-in, so that you can continue to market to them!), then find out about size, cost, in-stock info, and price comparisons on Google. This is the kind of info you want to supply your customer with if you want to ensure they buy from your store. Customers are savvy and connected these days, and if you ignore that fact, you will lose business.

If you give customers the info they need to confidently buy from you, you will increase your sales per square foot. But if you continue to operate your store like it’s 1995, you will go out of business.

More great ways to increase sales per square foot include:

  • Improving your store layout, end-caps, orderliness and appeal. Also, consider moving sale items and other high demand items toward the back of the store to increase the number of products shoppers see. This definitely increases sales.
  • Optimize your product assortment. Remove products that don’t sell and try new ones. Keep good data on everything so it’s easy for you to analyze this frequently.
  • Monitor your salespeople’s successes and failures, ask customers about their experience with sales associates in the store (Do customers need more help? What kind? Or do they think your salespeople are too aggressive?) and invest in sales training. Even if you’re only investing time in your sales training, make sure you meet with your sales associates monthly- or at least quarterly- to discuss methods and success rates.
  • Test your pricing: higher or lower, ending in a 9 or a 5. What gets more sales for your store?
  • Cross-sell. Put related items next to each other. Consider creating displays that combine products and help the shopper realize why they need more than one thing.
  • Create a loyalty program.
  • Offer more payment options and terms.

Just implementing one of the seven suggestions in this tip could help boost your sales per square foot.

See how many of these areas you can improve this quarter.

Most retailers know that they have limited space, so they need to maximize their profit per square foot.

You won’t win if you’re using up display space on bulky, low-profit items. You might be tempted to boost the price to make up for it, and consumers will just go find better deals online, and your inventory won’t move.

So, if you’re selling with your own online store or on sites like Amazon, reserve your bulkier, low profit-per-square-foot items for ecommerce. Your storage costs will be a lot lower than retail store rent, so this boosts your profitability.

If you’re not selling online already, you need to seriously consider doing it.

Other ideas include:

  • Ship goods to customers from your store (and manage returns there, as well).
  • Allow pick-ups of online orders.
  • Get a platform or system so that your analytics don’t just show you sales or profits, but correlate it with your current display set-up square footage.
  • Instead of stocking many of the same item in your retail store, make your retail store a showcase so you can show a larger number of different items. Actual delivery comes from your warehouse.

Get more sales from your Shopify or other ecommerce store.

Both in our agency work (directly for retailers) and in my keynote speaking to retail associations (interviewing and speaking with retailers from the audiences), we see some common patterns with their ecommerce websites.

What was initially astounding to me was that:

Most retailers say their own ecommerce website doesn’t do much sales volume and is not a big priority for them.

Many retailers get more sales volume from their bricks and mortar stores or selling through sites like Amazon, Walmart, Bed Bath & Beyond.

Amazon is obviously the 500-pound gorilla and many have been forced to join ’em because they can’t beat ’em. Traditional B&M retailers struggle to adapt to what’s necessary to win with their own ecommerce websites.

When you compare your ecommerce site to what you can do selling through Amazon, you’re forced to ask yourself if you can create the level of usability, if you can get enough user data to customize and if you can achieve the conversion rates that Amazon product pages get.

What I hear from retailers is that they can get 12% – 22% conversion rates on Amazon. With Shopify, you’re a rock star if you get a 5% conversion rate, and many struggle to get to 2%. That means your cost per sale is 4-6x higher with a Shopify site than as an Amazon seller.

If you are profiting a lot more doing it yourself, or you can get a higher conversion rate, then investing more into your own ecommerce site makes sense. And even if you don’t do most of your ecommerce volume through your own site, you can still use it as an opportunity to brand yourself and sell to people who can’t or won’t use Amazon and other retailers.

If you want to succeed with your own ecommerce website, you need:

  • To invest in design, usability, copywriting, analysis and optimization. If you don’t have copywriting training, hire someone to write good product text.
  • Get professional photos- they’ll make or break your conversion rate, which makes or breaks your profits.
  • Constantly look at your numbers for places you can improve and try new images and product text. It’s not fire and forget. It’s constantly improve.
  • You need an analyst with a passion for driving better results
  • You need writers and photographers who will get you better and better creative over time, based on what you’re learning from your analytics.
  • If you run ads to your ecommerce website, you need to make sure you’ve properly installed your ad platform pixels. These not only help you measure, but in some cases like Facebook and Google Ads, help the platform itself optimize your targeting for bigger profits. Without these pixels, your ads will cost too much and you may not profit. If your platform doesn’t allow you to place a Facebook pixel, then your vendor is out-of-date and you should switch platforms.

That’s all… and isn’t that enough?

Get to work!

Increase sales and profits by selling on Amazon.

Over 55% of all product searches begin on Amazon. If you aren’t leveraging Amazon, you’re cutting your potential ecommerce sales in half, at least.

Amazon selling is a huge topic, so I’ll just cover the high points.

Whether you go through Amazon vendor central or seller central is the first question, and though vendor central wholesaling may be more convenient for you, you do have more control and options with seller central.

  • Optimize your product listings and use professional photos. Write product descriptions of 1,000 words that contain relevant and appropriate keywords.
  • Use FBA and show up as a Prime option, stop managing customer service and returns on Amazon orders.
  • Get as many reviews as you can. But follow the rules.
  • Your products need to have at least 4 stars. 4.5 and 5 is ideal. If you aren’t doing a good job with meeting shopper expectations with product quality or delivery, they’ll tell you through your star ratings. If you don’t have 4 stars, you won’t sell much.
  • Send follow-up messages to buyers, but not annoying ones! Ask for an honest review (you’re not allowed to ask for a positive one!) several weeks after the purchase.
  • Use Amazon ads (Amazon Marketing Services). The ads that Amazon offers are more effective than anything else, including Facebook or Google ads, for increasing your visibility and sales on Amazon. Max these out first before you consider any other advertising that you might send to Amazon.
  • Watch out for counterfeit products copying yours and get them shut down ASAP.
  • Get a data analyst who looks at all of your ecommerce (your own ecomm site, Amazon, Walmart, etc.) for problems and opportunities.

If that’s not enough, here are more Amazon selling tips.

So, as you can tell, there are more than 10 tips here- there are dozens!

Put some into practice now.

sales magnet graphic

Why Facebook Pages are the DUMBEST Strategy for Lead Generation

Some people ASSUME that, “The best way to do Facebook marketing is through fans and pages.” It’s not.

Fan-oriented marketing was one of the main Facebook marketing strategies for years, but eventually most people realized that fans don’t always respond the way you want, and might not be your best new customer prospects.

The good news is: you don’t have to market to your fans. There’s a better way.

The main problem is organic (non-advertising) visibility. Once you get fans, not enough of them see your posts to make it worthwhile. You have to advertise to your fans to reach them! But who wants to do that?

Should you still have a fan page and fans? Yes! I recommend:

  • Have a fan page because that will allow you to run newsfeed ads.
  • Keep posting and finding out what posts your fans like and don’t like. Monitor your engagement rate and improve it by doing more of what works and less of what doesn’t. You can get your Engagement Rate (the % of fans who both see AND interact with your posts) up to 30% at times if you consistently, diligently, strategically create posts and discover what they like.
  • Run FB ads to your fans, because they still love you and need to see your latest stuff. But this is just one audience you should advertise to.

But don’t rely on unadvertised page posts to get you results you want. You’ll reach 10% or less of your fans that way. Yes, there are some exceptions, especially in pages with less than 20,000 fans… but NO fan pages are reaching over 50% of their fans organically. When you start advertising, you should see a 10x increase in your Facebook post visibility- and often more than that.

But don’t boost posts if you want website traffic or conversions. Boosted posts are mainly shown by FB to people who interact with posts more than they click to websites. They work for post interaction, but that’s about it. If you have goals beyond awareness and engagement, use website conversion ads from the Ad Manager.

The formula for Facebook lead gen success is simple:

  1. Advertise. There’s no way around it.
  2. Advertise to both warm and cold prospects.
    1. Warm prospects are fans, opt-in email lists, people who’ve viewed your videos on Facebook, people who’ve interacted with your posts or ads on Facebook and website visitors (retargeting).
    2. Cold prospects are people who don’t know your brand yet: interest targeting, demographic targeting, behavior targeting, and lookalike audiences.
    3. Typically, retargeting and lookalike audience convert the best.
  3. Make sure your webpages or landing pages convert visitors into leads effectively. They should convert over 10% of your warm prospects and at least 2% of your cold prospects.
  4. Make sure your lead forms, notifications and pipeline into your CRM (if you use one) are working properly.
  5. Put a lot of creative, unique ideas into your ads. Learn what your prospects respond to and don’t. And then for each segment of your prospects (ad sets and targeting in Facebook ads), find out what they respond to that’s unique. Your creative strategy for cold ads probably is going to be different than your warm ads.

Those are the basics! Get to work, or reach out to us for help!

Gen Z Jobs, Advertising and Social Media Behavior

Gen Z is coming. Gen Z is here.

Millennials have been a big challenge to employers, just as every new generation is. We are still grappling with that, and now Gen Z is coming right behind them.

Who are they? How are they different?

I don’t want to make the mistake with Gen Z many made with Millennials.

It took a decade to overcome bad Millennial stereotypes and accept that everyone is unique.

Let’s stick to the facts and treat everyone like a real person.

Also, Gen Z is young (anyone born from 1997 on), and when looking at any generation in their youth, we should always consider:

  • How much of what they’re doing is what young people do, and how much is truly characteristic of their generation?
  • How much of their behavior will change as they adapt to other generations, the workforce and mainstream society?
  • How much will change as they age and their priorities change due to work, marriage, children and family?

We can look at Gen Z’s 18-21 year olds, the ones in the workforce.

As you can see from those age ranges, a lot of Gen Z have not even had a chance to finish college yet.

A lot will change for them over the next 5-10 years.

Facebook Insights & Facebook Ad Manager Data on Gen Z

This data comes from the Facebook Audience Insights and the Facebook Ad Manager. The reason I use this is that it’s freely available, live data on 230 million monthly American users.

A lot of it comes from their regular life and online activity, not from an artificial survey with all the usual flaws of market research.

The Facebook Ad Manager data includes Instagram data, since Facebook owns Instagram and the ad platform allows you to advertise on Instagram.

Gen Z Job Titles

There are above average numbers of Gen Z working in these job areas:

  • Food and restaurants
  • Sales
  • Farming, fishing and forestry
  • Protective services
  • Military
  • Personal and home care services
  • Transportation and moving
  • Administrative services

There are below average numbers of Gen Z in these job areas:

  • Government
  • Computation and math
  • IT and tech
  • Business and finance
  • Community and social service
  • Architecture and engineering

In this particular list, you see mostly jobs that require a college degree, for which Gen Z is currently too young. These likely will change a lot within 5 years when a they’re out of college.

Gen Z Social Media Behavior

Gen Z share posts at the same rate as other generations. Sharing is a positive action that says, “I accept your lifestyle or attitude or idea and want to affirm and spread it.”

Something that’s interesting about Gen Z social media behavior is that they’re less likely to write text comments on posts than other generations. This may be related to a desire for privacy.

Gen Z and Advertisements

Gen Z like fewer posts and click on fewer ads than previous generations.

It’s possible that advertisers aren’t advertising much to Gen Z and haven’t learned how to do it well.

Advertisers tend to advertise to people with money, or influencers of the sale- there has been hesitation to advertise even to Millennials, since Gen X and Boomers still have most of the money- let alone Gen Z, who is barely entering the workforce. Millennials sometimes say they don’t like to “be targeted,” and Gen Z may feel the same way.

This is going to require clever marketing content and adaptation to a new generation. I doubt this has been addressed yet, because most companies are still struggling to fully adapt their marketing to Millennials, let alone to Gen Z.

Gen Z Device Usage, Smartphone Usage and Computer Usage

In terms of device preferences, as you might expects, they prefer smartphones over computers or iPads. Even more interesting, the Gen Z on Facebook prefer iPhones over Androids.

If we look at Facebook vs Instagram users, we can look at ages 13-21.

  • There are 22 million on Facebook
  • There are 20 million on Instagram
  • So, the numbers are fairly equal, with a slight edge to Facebook. Gen Z is the only generation this close. When you look at 18-24 year olds, there are 35 million on FB and 29 million on IG. There are 55 million 25-34 year olds on FB and 40 million on IG. The gap widens with age.

The younger people are, the more likely they are to be on BOTH Facebook and Instagram, and this is definitely the case with Gen Z.

For more on that, read this article.

Facebook Still Has More Young People Than Instagram… In EVERY Age Group

It seems like every time I talk to someone about Facebook, they talk about how young people are leaving it for Instagram or Snapchat.

That may be true.

If they go to Instagram, as a marketer, I’m fine with it. We can still market to them on Instagram itself and via the Facebook Ad Manager.

But have the YOUTHS really left Facebook?

Who knows.

So, I thought I’d take a look at the data and find out!

The results might shock some of you…

Is Facebook Only For Old People?

Let’s take a look at how many people are on Facebook and Instagram in the U.S. right now.

The Facebook Audience Insights Data

First off, on Facebook- if we look at the Facebook “Audience Insights” tool, which available to anyone- just get a Facebook ad account and you can use it- we see there are 200-250 million monthly active U.S. Facebook users right now (as of June, 2018).

  • If 17% of Facebook users are 18-24, that means 38 million 18-24 year old’s use Facebook monthly.
  • Another 58 million young-ish people between 25-34 use Facebook monthly.
  • That means that 96 million Americans between the ages 18 and 34 use Facebook monthly right now!

The Facebook Ad Manager Data

We can also get numbers from the Facebook ad manager. It can tell you, when you create an ad set, how many people you can easily target on Facebook or Instagram.

  • When I put 18-34 in, Facebook Ad Manager says that there are 90 million 18-34 year old Americans on Facebook. Pretty similar numbers to what I found from the Audience Insights tool.
  • When I add in Instagram, we get 100 million Americans, 18-34 years old, on Facebook and/or Instagram.
  • When I remove Facebook but keep Instagram, we get 69 million 18-34 year olds on Instagram only.

More interesting is this chart I put together from FB Ad Manager’s data…

Number of American Facebook & Instagram Users By Age:

That last row is what percentage of the total (Facebook + Instagram) is in Facebook. Over 50% would mean that there are more people in this age group on Facebook than Instagram.

In every age group, Facebook has more users than Instagram. Even in the youth segments!

So… millions of teenagers still think Facebook is cool? Or at least, cool enough to use, for whatever reason.

Here’s a more graphic comparison of the number of Facebook and Instagram users by age group in June 2018:

  • Even in the 13-17 age group, there are more teens on Facebook than Instagram. That may be changing, but it hasn’t changed yet. There are 12% more 13-17 year olds on Facebook than Instagram.
  • And the gap widens as we look at 18-24 year olds. There are 17% more 18-24 year olds on Facebook than Instagram. It widens again for 25-34 year olds. There are 27% more 25-34 year olds on Facebook than Instagram. And so on.

And before you say, “Yeah, they have accounts, but they don’t use them,” the data above is for ACTIVE monthly users…

And read this article about how Facebook ads are still working WAY better than Instagram ads.

Takeaways

The rumors of Facebook’s death amongst youth have been greatly exaggerated.

Young people may be using Instagram and Snapchat more, but there are still a huge number of them on Facebook.

If you market to youth segments, you should market and advertise on all three of these platforms.

The data I can’t find that would be really great to know is: how much time does each age group spend on each social network? It’s easy to find how many people of each age group use a site. Or how much time users of a site spend on that site, but not how much time each age group uses each site.

5 Reasons Facebook Ads Outperform Instagram Ads

Facebook hasn’t had the best year so far, have they?

The Cambridge Analytics data scandal, rumors of youth departing Facebook for Instagram & Snapchat, the fact that Instagram seems new & exciting…

You can’t blame people for wondering if Facebook is over and Instagram might be the new thing, can you?

Is Facebook marketing over or is Instagram marketing better? If so, how should we market on Instagram?

What’s All The Hype About Instagram?

People love the idea of Instagram marketing because:

  • You can advertise on Instagram though the Facebook ad platform, one of the two best ad platforms in the world.
  • There are stats and rumors about young people leaving Facebook for Instagram and Snapchat… but Instagram is easier to market with than Snapchat, so if you’re chasing the youth market, Instagram seems to make sense. However, please keep in mind that for every age group, Facebook still has more users than Instagram.
  • Instagram’s audience is younger than Facebook on average.
  • Instagram posts and ads are much more positive, inspirational and lifestyle-oriented than Facebook’s, which can be political, negative, cranky and salesy at their worst.

Are Instagram Ads More Effective or More Affordable?

This kind of benchmark data hasn’t been released by some of the bigger clearinghouses like Wordstream yet, but that I can give you a sampling of what we’ve see from our campaigns and our clients. This data comes from multiple industries and represents nearly 20 million very recent ad impressions as of June 2018:

Metric definitions:

  • CPM = Cost per impression
  • CPC = Cost per click
  • CTR = Clickthrough Rate
  • CPE = Cost per engagement
  • CP10SVV = Cost per 10-second video view

The normal Facebook video view is only 3 seconds. We believe that these are often merely glances, not true “views,” so we prefer to measure 10-second views.

5 Insights from the Facebook and Instagram Ad Data

Let’s compare some of the data from the chart and see what we can learn.

1. Brand Visibility Costs Less With Facebook Ads Than Instagram Ads 

You’ll get more marketing awareness for your dollar on Facebook than Instagram. Facebook usually gets you more affordable visibility (CPM’s) than Instagram ads.

2. Website Traffic Is More Affordable With Facebook Ads Than Instagram Ads 

Facebook clearly has the better cost per clicks (CPC’s) overall. However, Instagram Stories and Facebook Messenger click costs can rival some of the better Facebook ad CPC’s.

3. People Click At A Higher Rate on Facebook Mobile Ads Than On Instagram Ads (Which Are Always Mobile)

When we look at clickthrough rates, people click about 3x as much in the Facebook mobile news feed (1.58% CTR) as they do in Instagram (0.51% CTR).

People are more interested in clicking (tapping) on Facebook ads from their smartphones than they are in clicking on Instagram ads.

People click 67% less often on Instagram ads than they do on Facebook ads.

This behavior may change over time if Instagram users come to accept ads more, or as advertisers get better at making their Instagram ads fit Instagram’s unique ethos and attitude.

We don’t believe that the lower ad CTR on Instagram is related to the lower average age of Instagram users, because when you look at Facebook Audience Insights data for younger users, even though you do see a lower ad-clicking activity from 18-34 year olds (about 7% less) and even lower from 18-25 year olds (about 20% less), those dips in ad-clicking activity are not nearly as extreme as the 67% difference we’re seeing in this data.

4. People Engage More With Facebook Ads Than With Instagram Ads

Facebook ads are still the king of affordable engagement (CPE).

The Facebook news feed’s ad engagements are 40-70% more affordable than Instagram.

This may surprise you, since there are other public stats showing that Instagram is generally more engaging than Facebook. This is true for individual user accounts, but what we’re looking at here is how engaging ads are on Instagram (or how engaged users are with ads), and not how engaging the average user’s posts are.

5. Video Views Are More Affordable With Facebook Ads Than Instagram Ads

Facebook is also winning at cost per video view.

Again, it could be that Instagram users are not appreciating ads overall, or that the people creating the videos haven’t figured out how to tailor them to the Instagram environment or user.

What About Leads and Sales Performance?

I left conversion data out of the above chart, because it’s harder to compare apples-to-apples on leads and sales across multiple clients in multiple industries. The benchmarks can be so different, not just in B2B vs B2C but in each industry.

However, our anecdotal experience from multiple clients gives us strong indications that:

  • Facebook ads convert at higher rates for leads and sales than Instagram ads.
  • Facebook ads can drive a higher volume of leads and sales than Instagram ads (more impressions and clicks are available on Facebook).
  • Because the CPM’s and CPC’s in Facebook are lower and the conversion rates are higher, your costs-per-lead and costs-per-sale will typically be lower from Facebook ads than from Instagram ads.

We almost always have some ads running on Instagram for clients, unless it’s hurting overall performance. However, the contribution of Instagram ads to leads and sales overall has not been big. The overwhelming majority of results come from Facebook placements, not Instagram ones.

Takeaways

Does the fact that Facebook ads are more effective than Instagram ads mean you shouldn’t market on Instagram?

Not at all!

Instagram is a unique and promising social network for marketers, and likely will grow in value to businesses over time.

And for those who are marketing organically without ads, Instagram may be a very effective option.

However, for advertisers, Facebook is still far and above the more effective network and, for most businesses, should represent a much larger ad spend investment than Facebook.

There are always exceptions- there are certain types of businesses that may find Instagram more effective, and if you “crack the code,” so to speak with a clever ad concept, you may find yourself getting amazing results.

You should absolutely experiment with Instagram ads if you feel it makes sense for you.

And as you read above, Instagram story ads may be a real CPC opportunity for website clicks.