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How to Learn Facebook Ads: Our Recommended Course of Study

Do you or your employees need more Facebook ad training?

As we’ve scaled our digital marketing agency to hire more employees and handle more clients, we’ve also gotten better at training our employees in Facebook ads. Here’s what we recommend to you- the same process we send our employees through:

#1 BEGINNERS: First start with this Google spreadsheet I created of recommended videos from Facebook’s own “Blueprint” training. Facebook has some great introductory training. But you don’t need to look at all of it in the beginning. These are the most important modules a beginner needs.

#2 INTERMEDIATE: More intermediate for getting results is my Amazing.com Facebook marketing course, “Social Marketing Profit System,” taken by over 1,800 students. SMPS is part of their entire training platform which has a bunch of other courses, but you can just sign up monthly, take mine and decide whether or not to stick for their other courses after that.

#3 ADVANCED: The advanced course is my Facebook Leads and Sales Machine course. People tell me it’s too much if you haven’t done blueprint or the SMPS course first. But this is the mac daddy when it comes to getting professional results from one of the most powerful ad platforms in the world.

Video Marketing with YouTube and Facebook

People love video. And in marketing, video is becoming more and more important.

YouTube is the #2 search engine in the world. One Facebook insider said they believed within a few years Facebook may be 100% video.

To keep up, your business needs to market with video effectively.

So how do you get the best video marketing results?

You need to think about how to:

  1. Create great videos,
  2. Show them on people’s favorite platforms, and
  3. Use advertising to ensure they reach the right people.

What are the Best Video Marketing Platforms?

Our agency has done experiments, with and without ads, to see what works best with:

  1. Edited videos of various types: Most of our experience with video (TV and movies) is edited, not live. Edited videos are planned. They don’t waste people’s time. This is the best for ensuring people see your whole message and you get the best results.
  2. 15-second edited videos on Facebook: Generally speaking, Facebook videos need to be shorter. Facebook itself is recommending 15 second videos now when you create video ads. We’ve created tightly scripted 15-second videos that get up to 8% clickthrough rates.
  3. YouTube videos: People watch videos longer on YouTube. You can make them extremely long (30 minutes, for example) if you want. But I would make videos for ads shorter- 3-5 minutes max. A smart new strategy is a choose your own adventure video where your first video gives people a choice and they can click to other more specific videos more relevant to them.
  4. Instagram Video: 60 seconds and under, square dimensions- and you can use Facebook ads to target people. This is my third choice after Facebook and YouTube video.
  5. Facebook Live: People often go live for 15 minutes to 45 minutes, but the average viewer still may only watch for 20-30 seconds. This is a challenging format for many.
  6. Twitter video, both edited and live: Everything is limited on Twitter because of the smaller audience size, and we recommend advertising to ensure your video is seen.
  7. Snapchat video: Very hard to get a sizable audience, and no ad platform for most companies. The filters might be entertaining, but limited marketing application here.

Killer Content: How Do You Create Videos People Love That Drive Them to Take Action?

To find out what’s most effective, we are constantly working on new things for ourselves and our clients:

  • Video creation tools: Camtasia, Ripl, Slidely
  • Video type: Live talking head, live in front of audience, edited, greenscreen, talking head, animated- You need lots of different kinds of video because you never know which kind your audience is going to respond best to until you create it and test it
  • Video content outline:
    • Starting with a list of persuasive copywriting points you need to hit will get you better business results. Who is your audience? What are their pain points? What are their biggest fears? Problems? How do you benefit them? Solve their problems? What are their dreams? What is your unique selling proposition? Why should they take action now?
    • Read about the charismatic leadership tactics of Martin Luther King, Jr. and other great speakers, and write a new script based on that.
    • Experiment with serious vs. funny videos
  • Video length: 15 seconds, 30 seconds, 60 seconds, 90 seconds… on Facebook if you want people to see your whole video, create 15 second videos.
  • Ad targeting: Cold prospects, retargeting…
  • Video editing techniques: Greenscreen, video background loops, huge caption text…

We track the results to see what drives views, traffic, leads and sales.

It’s usually different for each client, so you have to experiment to discover what works best for you based on your customer and your offerings.

Targeting: Who Do You Show Videos To?

I always advertise my videos to multiple audiences, and see which videos each audience likes the best:

  • Cold (new potential customer) audience targets
  • Retargeting people who’ve been to my websites
  • Retargeting people who’ve watched my other videos
  • People who’ve signed up to my email lists
  • Cold lookalike audiences based on retargeting or email lists

Retargeting and small custom (email) audiences can have a high CPM but it’s worth it.

Budgeting: How Much Does it Cost?

  • We find that typically, Facebook ads for video are more affordable than YouTube ads for video. 
  • YouTube cost per view ranges from $0.05 – $0.15; these are 30 second views
  • Facebook’s definition of a view is only 3 seconds, which is useless. They may not have even looked at your video, they may have been looking at a post above or below it. Dig into the 30-second view metrics when you analyze your results. Look at cost per 30 second view. To get that you have to export to Excel and calculate it yourself! If you don’t want to, go off cost per 10 second view.
  • The right goal: Is your goal just views? Don’t you want clicks to your website? And possibly real action like leads or sales? If so, I would recommend looking at CTR and CPC instead of cost per view or CPM.
  • The right metrics:
    • Facebook video ad clickthrough rate is higher, and CPC comes down with higher CTR, so…
    • Facebook cost per click is much, much lower- my own avg CTR is 3.0% (across 133 videos for our agency, infoproducts and my keynote speaking)- avg CPC is $0.69. YouTube CPC can easily range from $4 – $13… basically 10x the cost.
    • YouTube CPM’s can be 2-3x Facebook CPM.

You need a lot of content online period. And you need a lot of video. You need new video content at least once a month, if not weekly.

There are endless amount things to try with video and we all need to work on getting better at it.

Why You Have to Market With Facebook Video

I mean it’s obvious why Facebook video rocks, right? I mean you see a ton of it in your news feed. Right? It’s always there.

Facebook live, Facebook edited videos, it’s constantly there and you’re getting pulled in from one video to another through that carousel experience. You may be watching a sequence of videos before you even realize it.

It’s very popular and Facebook is pushing it like crazy, they definitely want to beat YouTube. YouTube just put out there YouTube Live thing, so Facebook and YouTube are fighting for video. There’s a huge war in general about the screen.

Facebook’s going to bring in all these people like Gordon Ramsay and try to capture your video viewing time. They don’t want you to necessarily to be on Netflix doing video viewing, they’d rather you were on Facebook doing it. Right? Anyone that’s using Facebook video has a huge advantage right now.

I’ll talk at some other time about photos versus videos, because photos still have a big advantage on Facebook just because they’re so quickly consumed. It’s not easy to do Facebook video, or video anywhere well, in a way that people are going to love. It’s a huge opportunity because Facebook really wants everyone to see it, so they are favoring it in the news feed… so you should definitely figure out how to do video.

There are a lot of internal obstacles to it:

  • Like our videos aren’t good enough
  • We don’t have enough money
  • We’re not good on camera

You can do something like this. I’m filming this on an iPhone. I bought like an eight dollar thing to attach it to my tripod. My tripod probably cost thirty bucks, I don’t even remember. You can go on Amazon get a tripod and a little thing to attach your iPhone to your tripod.

The iPhone creates great, I don’t even have special lighting in here. When I bought an HD camera that required special lighting to look good. My iPhone does not, it’s very low maintenance.

There are ways to get involved and do video, and you’ve got to figure it out and start doing it because it’s a huge opportunity.

Facebook video is huge- Facebook reported seeing 100 million hours of daily video watch time near the end of 2015. And with the newer “related videos feature,” where people are automatically served another video after their current one, you can bet video views have grown dramatically from there.

There are a lot of Facebook video options:

  • Facebook Live
  • Facebook video in your personal or page posts
  • Facebook video ads

Why You Have to Advertise to Promote Your Videos

As you might know, I am a big believer in advertising everything you can on Facebook, even if you have a small budget…

Before you run away- let me explain!

What happens if you don’t use ads with your videos?

  • No certainty you get views. They don’t get viewed much. You may get lucky if your video is super awesome and goes viral… but unless you’re already a celebrity, you probably won’t get more than a couple thousand views.  Even if you’re super interesting and talented, most videos don’t go viral- they get a few hundred views and fizzle out.
  • No certainty of target audience. Organic videos don’t necessarily reach who you want them to. Who sees them is not under your control. It’s whoever happens to be on Facebook right then, however the algorithm works, whoever likes or shares, whoever their friends are, et cetera.
  • No certainty of reaching your target buyer. If you’re doing this video for business, you might not reach your target customer. Or out of your several hundred views, maybe only a few dozen are your ideal buyers.
  • No certainty of traffic, leads or sales. Even if you have a link somewhere in that video or post, the percentage of those who watch that click is not 100%; it’s going to be between 1-10%. So if 200 or so watch, maybe 2-20 people click to your site. And what % of visitors do things on your site? Maybe 1% buy and 10% opt into an email list? So very little action comes from this.

But when you advertise your videos, you can:

  • Reach exactly the right audience (your best buyers, not just anybody, not just friends family employees)
  • Reach them right away (not like whenever… maybe… but NOW)
  • Reach enough potential customers to discover how they respond to your content- or don’t
  • Get more detailed stats and metrics from the ad manager than you do from Facebook Page Insights

The last thing is critical. If you don’t run ads for your videos, you won’t get a lot of analytics or insights about them. And you won’t learn much. The video analytics you get when you don’t run ads are pretty limited.

Trust me, you’ll be surprised by what you learn. You need to know

  • How many seconds people are watching your videos on average
  • Which audiences watch them the longest
  • Which ones convert
  • Which ones don’t

There are four ways to run video ads on Facebook, and all produce different results.

The first thing you absolutely MUST understand about how Facebook ads work, that many many people don’t know is that the ad goal determines who FB shows the ad to  based on their most common FB activities which ensures you mainly get that response and very little of the others…

In other words,

  • Choosing an engagement ad shows the ad to people who engage a lot, but these people don’t necessarily click to websites…
  • Choosing a video view ad shows the ad to people who view a lot of videos, but these people don’t necessarily like posts or click to websites…

So your actual Facebook targeting is:

  • Not just the targeting you choose, but also
  • The subset of those people who most do the thing that you’ve chosen as your ad goal.

targetingbygoal

The five ways to advertise video on Facebook are:

  1. Video in post, promoting the post (whether boost or a post promotion ad from ad manager/power editor): gets you in front of the subset of your audience who likes, shares and comments on posts, so you get much more engagement on the post than video views, link clicks or conversions
  2. Video view ad: gets you in front of the people who watch a lot of video, so you get a lot of video views, more than post engagement, link clicks or conversions
  3. Website traffic ad with video instead of image: gets you in front of people who click off FB on links to other sites (but not necessarily the subset that converts), so you get a lot of link clicks, more than video views, engagement or conversions
  4. Website conversion ads with video instead of image: gets you in front of the people who click AND convert BOTH, so you get conversions, but less clicks, video views and engagement.
    Start with your goal, then choose the right ad type.
  5. Awareness boosting ad with video instead of image: this is interesting, because in our initial tests with this, it actually beats the video view ad at its own game!

Here’s how those shake out:

Table showing which video ad types to use, and when to use them

NOT PICTURED: The awareness boosting ad gets you larger reach and at times can get you more views and longer duration than the video view ad.

But just beware- both the video view ad and awareness boosting ads can get you a lot of exposure but won’t necessarily get you interaction or conversions.

What do I recommend?

I like the awareness boosting ad and the website conversion ad with a video in it. I run them in separate campaigns with separate budgets.

That way you can get exposure AND conversions. Best of both worlds.

But it’s going to be different for all of you- if you have someone looking over your shoulder who expects to see interaction on your Facebook post that has a video in it, you probably should run a post promotion ad (similar to a boosted post)… remember, it’s all about your goals!

REPLAY: Why Retargeting is Even More Important than Email Marketing [Facebook Live Show]

Episode OCHO of Live Online Learning (LOL):

To be sure not to miss future live shows, opt in here to join the email list so we can keep you notified!

Here’s what we talked about, in addition to attendee live questions we answered:

 

  • What is retargeting?

 

      • It’s the best way to stay visible to your hottest leads and best potential customers. It’s a best practice to getting quicker revenue and profits.
      • Retargeting is when ads follow you around- have you ever viewed a site or product and then you see it everywhere? It’s stalking you!
      • Showing ads to people who’ve been on your website or viewed one of your products or services- if you include custom lists it’s also visibility to your opt in email lists and contacts

 

  • Why retarget?

 

      • Owned marketing- these are people who are now in your audience, similar to email subscribers or fans or followers- they haven’t opted into a list but they did show interest.
      • How few people buy or take action right away
        • What’s your bounce rate? That means the % of people who only view on page on your website and leave right away. The average site has about 50% of visitors bounce, without viewing a second page. For many sites it’s as high as 70-90%. Many businesses haven’t optimized their websites behaviorally to get users to stick around and view multiple pages. Retargeting is a great way to bring them back.
        • What’s your ecomm conv rate? 1-2% Reverse it. 98-99%. That’s the % of people you’re losing who forget about you within 1-3 days. Retargeting keeps you top of mind.
        • What’s your email or lead gen opt in rate?  3%-20% Reverse it. 80-97% That’s the % of people you’re losing who forget about you within 1-3 days. Retargeting keeps you top of mind.
        • If you’re working hard or paying to get that traffic, how do you feel about losing most of the people and them promptly forgetting about you? It sucks, right? Retargeting fixes this.
      • Retargeting is like email but better
        • Do you email market? Have you grown a list and done follow up emails to them?
        • Only 20-30% of people open emails
        • 97% of people use cookies, don’t block them, and can be retargeted
          • Advertising on Facebook and Instagram, you can reach 72% of Americans, 69% of Canadians, 68% of U.K.
          • Those ads will get a substantial message in front of people, like a short email- but in front of 2-3x as many as those who open your emails.
        • If you have an email follow up sequence you need a retargeting ad sequence
        • Best practice is to do both email marketing and retargeting (website and custom lists)
      • People need to hear about you 7 times before they’ll buy. Or is it 17 times. Or 27 times? There are different numbers quoted out there- who’s right?
        • Who cares. It’s more than one time! Most people don’t buy the first time they hear about or visit a brand.
          • Sometimes the first time you go to a website, you’re distracted by something or you get pulled away or you’re not focused on their message or you don’t have time or you’re resistant- but over time with repeated exposures to the marketing message, you hear and “get” the message, or hear about the value and how they solve your problems and the unique benefits of their offering and eventually you come to want that thing.
        • Retargeting helps you stay top of mind until they’re ready to take action so that you’re their first choice when they buy- are you worried about competitors getting all the sales?
          • Without retargeting, when your prospect is ready they might see your competitor’s ad or marketing, and you miss out on the sale. They visited you 3 weeks ago, but your competitor is luckier in their timing (or perhaps your competitor is retargeting) and you lose the sale.
      • Familiarity increases affinity (in social psych it’s called The Familiarity Principle, aka The Mere-Exposure Effect)
        • Studies show that the more we’re familiar with a person or brand, the more we like it.
        • For not very much money you can look like you’re everywhere to the most interested people- they don’t realize you’re not advertising to the whole world this much, so they think you’re a huge deal.
      • One of the two best converting targeting options
        • Along with email subscribers, these are your hottest potential leads.
      • Just spending $1 a day on retargeting means you’re in front of 100 of your best prospects a day- instead of zero of them.

 

  • How do you set retargeting up?

 

      • Facebook Pixel code from Facebook goes on every page of website, every landing page, in your ecommerce cart, checkout, everywhere! (in AdWords it’s called remarketing and it’s in the audiences section of “shared library”)
        • This cookies every user that goes to the site, and grows a list of people who can see your ad. If the cookie is on their computer, Facebook can show your ads.
      • Also custom audiences are similar, and are built from email lists and phone lists- so combining web traffic and opt in lists, you can reach just about everyone who knows your brand

 

  • What kinds of retargeting ads are best?

 

      • Ad type depends on goal-
        • Conversion for ecomm or lead gen with landing pages
        • Leads ads for lead gen with
        • Video views (also can drive traffic)
        • Post engagement
      • Variety- it’s best to have more than one ad, so that people don’t tire of it- when the audience is small they’re going to see it more frequently
      • Things to put in the ads
        • Lead magnet- grow your opt in email list with an ebook, checklist, quiz, etc
        • Sales: Offering related
          • Benefits- what does it do for them? If there’s a lot of this, use multiple ads to get them all across
          • Problems- what problems does your offering solve for them?
          • Unique selling prop- how are you better or different than the competition?
          • Discount- offer a special/secret discount

 

  • How not to be annoying or creepy

 

    • Maybe don’t run ads that acknowledge that you know they’ve been to your site- because they don’t always know how they’ve been targeted
    • Watch your frequency, don’t go above 3 within a week- when your retargeting audience is small, you have to have a smaller budget. It’s often around $10 CPM, rather expensive to do small retargeting audiences but worth it- so if you only have 1,000 people in your retargeting audience early on,
    • Ad variety
      • Have 5-10 ads in the retargeting ad group so Facebook has a number of ads to choose from to deliver variety to people. Pause ads when their frequency is above 3 in a week (unless they’re converting so well that you don’t care!)
    • Exclusions
      • Exclude people who’ve bought- don’t annoy them by showing them the thing they’ve already bought- create an audience of people based on the url of the purchase confirmation page and exclude them based on that or the purchase conversion

REPLAY: How to Go Viral and Sell More with Memes [Facebook Live Show]

Episode CINCO of Live Online Learning (LOL):

To be sure not to miss future live shows, opt in here to join the email list so we can keep you notified!

Here’s what we talked about, in addition to attendee live questions we answered:

  • What are MEMES?
    • “An element of a culture or system of behavior that may be considered to be passed from one individual to another by nongenetic means, especially imitation.”
    • “A humorous image, video, piece of text, etc., that is copied (often with slight variations) and spread rapidly by Internet users.”
    • Not unlike cover songs or music sampling by hip hop and EDM artists
    • By nature there is some conflict with copyright and intellectual property, but the law supports music sample and hip hop- memes are very similar.
  • Why use MEMES?
    • Results
      • Big engagement
      • Free shares (viral)
      • Traffic, leads and sales
    • People love them, tap into what they already like
    • Quickly recognizable
    • Fun
    • Easy to create
  • How do you use MEMES?
    • Use a site that makes making them easy
    • Choose ones everyone knows or will make sense even if they don’t know a lot about memes
    • Learn more about them from KnowYourMeme http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/popular
    • Avoid memes that could be considered offensive or racist!
    • Put the text all at top or bottom so it doesn’t violate FB ad 20% rule
    • Fit your sales message into the formula
    • Put a link in your post so they can take action on your website or landing page

What’s Facebook Ad Relevance Score? Is It Important?

I’m about 99.9% sure Facebook created relevance score because advertisers were not getting that clickthrough rate (CTR) is king… check this out:

ctr-relevance

Think CTR and Relevance Score are related?

You just about NEVER see an R2 value this high with ad metrics… the closest to this I’ve seen is the correlation of CTR to CPC, and if I recall that was only around 0.5 or 0.6.

If you’ve never heard of scatter graphs and R2 values, here’s some background. Excel actually makes it REALLY easy to create one and get the R2 value at a simple level.

The point is, relevance score is just a code word for CTR, and CTR is an indicator of how well your message/creative fits your targeting.

As you may know, Mark Zuckerberg wants you to create ads people love, or ads people want to interact with at a high rate… in other words, ads that don’t suck… and that’s why unlike any other ad platform in the world, if your ads are exceptionally relevant and get exceptionally high CTR, you can get INCREDIBLY low cost clicks, engagements, video views, etc.

That said, when you’re going for conversions, the highest CTR is not always the best. In fact, we find that a more average CTR leads to better conversion rate.

You may also want to read:

Why You Aren’t Getting the Facebook Video Ad Results You Want

Facebook video is huge- Facebook reported seeing 100 million hours of daily video watch time near the end of 2015. And with the newer “related videos feature,” where people are automatically served another video after their current one, you can bet video views have grown dramatically from there.

There are a lot of Facebook video options:

  • Facebook Live
  • Facebook video in your personal or page posts
  • Facebook video ads


As you might know, I am a big believer in advertising everything you can on Facebook, even if you have a small budget…

Before you run away- let me explain!

What happens if you don’t use ads with your videos?

  • No certainty you get views. They don’t get viewed much. You may get lucky if your video is super awesome and goes viral… but unless you’re already a celebrity, you probably won’t get more than a couple thousand views.  Even if you’re super interesting and talented, most videos don’t go viral- they get a few hundred views and fizzle out.
  • No certainty of target audience. Organic videos don’t necessarily reach who you want them to. Who sees them is not under your control. It’s whoever happens to be on Facebook right then, however the algorithm works, whoever likes or shares, whoever their friends are, et cetera.
  • No certainty of reaching your target buyer. If you’re doing this video for business, you might not reach your target customer. Or out of your several hundred views, maybe only a few dozen are your ideal buyers.
  • No certainty of traffic, leads or sales. Even if you have a link somewhere in that video or post, the percentage of those who watch that click is not 100%; it’s going to be between 1-10%. So if 200 or so watch, maybe 2-20 people click to your site. And what % of visitors do things on your site? Maybe 1% buy and 10% opt into an email list? So very little action comes from this.

But when you advertise your videos, you can:

  • Reach exactly the right audience (your best buyers, not just anybody, not just friends family employees)
  • Reach them right away (not like whenever… maybe… but NOW)
  • Reach enough potential customers to discover how they respond to your content- or don’t
  • Get more detailed stats and metrics from the ad manager than you do from Facebook Page Insights

The last thing is critical. If you don’t run ads for your videos, you won’t get a lot of analytics or insights about them. And you won’t learn much. The video analytics you get when you don’t run ads are pretty limited.

Trust me, you’ll be surprised by what you learn. You need to know

  • How many seconds people are watching your videos on average
  • Which audiences watch them the longest
  • Which ones convert
  • Which ones don’t

There are four ways to run video ads on Facebook, and all produce different results.

The first thing you absolutely MUST understand about how Facebook ads work, that many many people don’t know is that the ad goal determines who FB shows the ad to  based on their most common FB activities which ensures you mainly get that response and very little of the others…

In other words,

  • Choosing an engagement ad shows the ad to people who engage a lot, but these people don’t necessarily click to websites…
  • Choosing a video view ad shows the ad to people who view a lot of videos, but these people don’t necessarily like posts or click to websites…

So your actual Facebook targeting is:

  • Not just the targeting you choose, but also
  • The subset of those people who most do the thing that you’ve chosen as your ad goal.

targetingbygoal

The five ways to advertise video on Facebook are:

  1. Video in post, promoting the post (whether boost or a post promotion ad from ad manager/power editor): gets you in front of the subset of your audience who likes, shares and comments on posts, so you get much more engagement on the post than video views, link clicks or conversions
  2. Video view ad: gets you in front of the people who watch a lot of video, so you get a lot of video views, more than post engagement, link clicks or conversions
  3. Website traffic ad with video instead of image: gets you in front of people who click off FB on links to other sites (but not necessarily the subset that converts), so you get a lot of link clicks, more than video views, engagement or conversions
  4. Website conversion ads with video instead of image: gets you in front of the people who click AND convert BOTH, so you get conversions, but less clicks, video views and engagement.
    Start with your goal, then choose the right ad type.
  5. Awareness boosting ad with video instead of image: this is interesting, because in our initial tests with this, it actually beats the video view ad at its own game!

Here’s how those shake out:

video options

NOT PICTURED: The awareness boosting ad gets you larger reach and at times can get you more views and longer duration than the video view ad.

But just beware- both the video view ad and awareness boosting ads can get you a lot of exposure but won’t necessarily get you interaction or conversions.

What do I recommend?

I like the awareness boosting ad and the website conversion ad with a video in it. I run them in separate campaigns with separate budgets.

That way you can get exposure AND conversions. Best of both worlds.

But it’s going to be different for all of you- if you have someone looking over your shoulder who expects to see interaction on your Facebook post that has a video in it, you probably should run a post promotion ad (similar to a boosted post)… remember, it’s all about your goals!

How Facebook Cut This Company’s Cost Per Customer by 60%

This is the first case study interview in the relaunch of my podcast. And yes, a lot of my podcasts start as videos. :-)

Real companies, real campaigns, real results.

One of the biggest problems we struggle with these days is an overwhelm – too much information, too many ideas, too many platforms, too many strategies.

What actually works?

That’s what we’re going to talk about in these case studies.

I think it’s time for social marketing to mature. We’re going to talk to companies that are doing big things in social media, and getting quantifiable, measured results.

INTERVIEW:

Jonathan Leake (Director of Digital Marketing for DirectBuy): In the first six months of doing Facebook, we drove our cost per lead down by 84%, which is massive. I mean, we’re talking in dollars and cents, we’re talking – prior to initiating the Facebook campaign, we were well over $1,000 at a cost-per-member perspective, and now we’re sub $400 on average.

Brian Carter: That’s crazy.

Jonathan Leake: Yeah, cost-per-member is crazy. Our cost-per-member across all our media spends, and all our channels – and this is a very generalized number, so we can get very finite based off of channels. Prior to really initiating social, we were over $1,000. Today, if you look at all of our channels combined, we are generally lower than $200.

Brian Carter: We got to work with DirectBuy on this stuff, and what we’re going to talk about today is some great attribution stuff, right? Jonathan has done a great job with all of your data partners, your analytics partners of identifying what’s really going on. So many people use social, and no matter what they’re doing, they don’t really know what effect it’s having.

Jonathan Leake: That’s totally true. I mean, a lot of people just – they have a lot of money and I think it varies by the size business that you are. Generally, the larger business that you are, the harder it is to attribute things so you use tools like Adometry, which is a wonderful tool to use, but in my experience with different brands, you’re making huge financial decisions with 10-15% of data. That’s a lot of data that you’re missing. The opportunity with that other 85% of the data that you’re missing on is huge.

Where we were struggling as a business, is that we didn’t really have a really good attribution path or report to really tell us what channels were pushing and pulling. If you think about media, you want to push and pull different levers based off what’s working. Sometimes you actually want to push a lever further out, that’s actually not working for brand reasons. A billboard is a perfect example in every day.

We’re like, “Why do we want to put a billboard up on the street?”

“Because Coca Cola is on the other side of the road, and I’m Pepsi.”

You just need to be there.

When you want to get down to conversion and lead gen, it’s another ball of wax. Where do I want to put my efforts in? In this case, for us, it was social. It was an area that we knew, based off our experience working together. We knew that we could drive a lot of brand-awareness. We knew that we could drive leads at a really efficient cost. It just was a question of, “How was it going to impact our business?” And the results are huge.

Brian Carter: Let’s go back. What was Direct Buy doing before with social, if anything?

Jonathan Leake: Previously, we were really community. It was about engaging members, getting them to work with our page. We’ve had a brand reputation issue in the past, so we try to make sure that we put customer service first. We want customers to come to our page. We want them to ask questions, and have our customer service team answer those questions. It really was not about a membership conversion vehicle. We didn’t use Facebook as that. We were using it as an engagement tool with our existing membership. Some of the type of content that we put out there is inspirational for folks that like to do things by themselves, like DIYers and things of that nature.

I would say the opportunity – and as you and I know – that Facebook and social in general has become a pay to play kind of space. If you want to actually drive your member engagement up, if you just want to drive your page engagement up, you have to pay just to get your post shown. If you want to use social as a lead acquisition vehicle, then you can also do that too, but you also have to pay. Your organic stuff, that you can do, can certainly help that but it’s an assisted conversion. It’s a question of, “How does pay change the algorithm for you, within social?” It can certainly do a lot of good things, and that’s where your team helps us out a lot.

Brian Carter: We did several things. Number one, we identified who is the best buyer. We took all Direct Buy’s e-mails, we uploaded them. We looked at members who stuck versus members who didn’t stick versus people who didn’t become members. Then we looked at the difference between who those people were. That helped us target the ads better. I always tell people now, I’ve summarized it. Advertising is instant- targeted- visibility, whereas organic is like, “Uhh, we might reach some people. We don’t know who, and we don’t know when.” That’s the problem with organic.

The other thing, too, is that there’s this black box. You identified through the attribution study that social is often the first touch. Google is often the last touch, but in between what was it that increased all the Direct Buy searches? Was it the brand reputation stuff we did? We did a number of different awareness and engagement campaigns. We know they all helped, we just don’t know which one helped the most.

Jonathan Leake: Right, and that’s actually what we’re working on right now. We’re working with our analytics partner to get better attribution. Out of every dollar, if you’re thinking about a linear attribution model, that’s generally a 40/40/20 split. First click gets 40% of your dollar. Last click gets 40% of your dollar, and the remaining channels get 20, so you spread 20% across all the other channels.

What we know from our experience, is that sometimes it’s non-branded that actually influences people to come into Facebook. Doing a search for a product on non-branded might just be for furniture in a particular location – let’s say furniture in Charlotte, NC – and then they go into Facebook and they see our ad, because that influenced what happened in Facebook. All of a sudden, we show up because we targeted furniture. Then, they engage with our ad. Then the go back out online, and they’re like, “Oh, who is this Direct Buy?” Then they do a search for Direct Buy Furniture, and then they learn about our business and they come to our website. That’s a general path for our business, and how someone learns about us.

We’ve done a good job with content online. Pinterest helps us out a lot with getting other content out there. Inspiration Moments, our blog, does a lot of good work there too. The search team that we work with has really put together a lot of good content on our blog about things like a man-cave – how to make the perfect man-cave. I know it’s a cliché type thing, but let’s be honest here. We all want a man-cave in some way, shape, or form – or I want a really awesome garage. Take your pick, which it is.

Content is what’s driving people into the other channels, in addition to paid. Paid just influences where people go organically. It’s being able to have the right content in place across the other channels that drives them back in. Maybe it’s through another paid channel, but often it’s direct. When I say direct, I mean people literally just type in your domain name in their address bar. That’s the ultimate goal, at least for us because that allows us to tell our best story.

Brian Carter: Why do you think Facebook had such a big effect on the cost-per-lead, cost-per-member?

Jonathan Leake: I think the targeting is the best element. You can do targeting in other markets. You can do targeting in Google, but you have to pay a lot in Google’s world to actually utilize all the functionality that’s available. It takes a really heave media spend to be able to target what you want. Say, for example, that you want to target people with a FICO score, which is something that you do. It’s a cohort, of sorts, that you definitely want to hit if you’re in our market. If we can target people by FICO score, that would be fabulous. It helps us make sure that the people that want to sign up for membership can continue to be a member of us and also have disposable income to be able to take advantage of the savings that we offer every day.

Facebook was huge for us because we were able to look at demographic information that’s not normally available in other sources. Household income is one. That’s generally something that you would get through a business that does FICO scoring – like an Experian. We could take household income, geographic locations – if they happen to be within a territory that we have a club located, which helps amplify the social footprint, and the digital footprint of the business. These are all things that are relevant to what we have going on.

What’s also great for the member profile is that we can actually pull sales data, as in if a lamp happened to be the most popular selling item, then we can change our creative up in Facebook very quickly to identify people that like lamps. You have people that are just very passionate, and I always call them passion-points, and Facebook allows you to really tap into those passion-points really easily. That just amplifies your ad work – what you’re doing within advertising – really well. It’s creative and target all in one.

Brian Carter: I was thinking about brick with “I love Lamp” when you said that.

That’s true and I don’t know if everybody knows that. You can find out people’s income-level from Facebook, on insights. Or that you can target people with Facebook ads by income, by net-worth, or by the value of their home – which have been huge. Like you said, we discover things about – It’s interesting because maybe it’s not the type of furniture that they end up buying, but we discover the type of furniture that leads them to enter their lead information, which may be different from the coolest-looking furniture. It may not be what you expect, and we get to find that out.

Jonathan Leake: Yeah, I’m always amazed that we’d like to think – I personally like modern furniture, but I’m always amazed at how much Americana is out there. When I say Americana, there’s a lot of tattered American flags that are ordered all the time.

Brian Carter: Yeah, and there’s a lot of brown furniture, and comfortable stuff that looks like I could lay down on that and it would be comfortable, as opposed to – We’ve even had people on the Facebook posts go – I don’t know if they’ve said this but they’re like, “It looks I could actually injure myself on that furniture. It’s too sharp.” Or “It’s too white. I’m going to spill juice on it immediately.” We learn a lot of stuff from the posts, and we’re showing them to the best target customers so we’re actually learning what the ideal customer thinks – which is great.

Jonathan Leake: I think what was really interesting, when we first started as a business you do your research and you identify who your customers are. We have four different sets of people that we like to look for. I think what was interesting, though – there’s this argument in the marketplace that you should always be going after millennials. I think millennials are phenomenal people – lots of wonderful ideas, but I have to tell you; millennials right now, today, they’re not our core customer. That’s one of the things we were able to identify. There is a millennial customer that is right for us, but most millennials haven’t experienced the life-moments to really take them to a place where they could really take advantage of our membership in the best way that they could.

Brian Carter: Yeah, and they haven’t had the opportunities. They had the millennial story. We came out of college, there was no jobs. They economy was horrible. That’s what I tell people. “Hey, yeah I’ll give you some millennial data here. The data shows that they don’t have a lot of money.” Maybe they will be the next big customer. There are a ton of them, and they’re going to inherit their parent’s money. So in ten years, fifteen years, maybe they’ll have some money for a while. But right now they’re not a good customer for a lot of different things.

Did you want to share any of those slides, any other thing we haven’t covered yet on those?

Jonathan Leake: Yeah, let me pop up the slides real quick.

Brian Carter: We had Jonathon present at Social Media Marketing World. I had two panels. I had a Facebook panel, a Twitter panel – all corporate stuff. It was a lot of fun. I’m going to have some more of those people in interviews like this.

Jonathan Leake: This is a quick thing. We we are able to identify in a super quick way is, here is our 84% reduction we attributed directly to Facebook because we were only doing advertising in Facebook. We’re not spending money on Twitter, or LinkedIn, or any other place that we could acquire people socially. On the flip-side, what we were able to do is really target the fact that our most inefficient channel, as a result of this, was non-branded pay-per-click. What we did, is we actually cut out our non-branded pay-per-click and it reduced our overall cost-per-lead by 60-70% in just four months. What we talked about originally was 84% reduction in our cost-per-lead. Our member acquisition costs dropped by 80% as well.

Brian Carter: That’s huge.

Jonathan Leake: This is how we did it. In month one, we set benchmarks – super duper important. If you don’t have benchmarks, you should set them now. Even if you don’t have any research, just set them. I’m sure you have some data to establish them. When we went out of the gate, we were looking at trying to get a $40 lead. This gives you an idea, in our lead generation, how it works. We started out, in month one, at $164 a conversion. Month two, we ended up figuring things out a little bit more in our targeting. Our spend ratios and everything we were doing. We ended up with $25. And by month three and month four, we literally were able to achieve a $4 conversion. It’s completely outstanding to see what you can do just by focusing in on the data, which is really important.

This gives you an example of what we actually set. When we put the program together, we worked with you. We ran a full digital audit across all our channels. We looked at what we are trying to actually achieve. These are the four things. We’ve got engagement – 20-50% pulls-per-lead in month one. We were already able to achieve that goal. We were able to achieve the engagement rate that we wanted. As you can see, in month four, that went up in terms of our engagement rate. That’s great.

Then you get down to leads. You have, $40 was our benchmark. Month one wasn’t so good. $106, but by month four, we’re down to $7.45. That’s fantastic. One of the biggest challenges that we had was trying to figure out how to get quality leads in the door. We were able to get a lot of leads, but the question that we had was – of the people that give us phone numbers, how many of those people actually show up at the door?

That’s kind of a big deal. At the end of the day, we really need to make sure that when people become a lead, they actually want to follow through on the appointment that they made with us. It’s a pretty common experience these days to not have that happen. People literally just don’t show up for their appointment. It was top of mind when they actually became a lead, but you didn’t give them a conversion event to do anything other than become an appointment. That’s not what they wanted to do. Maybe they just wanted to sign up right now. That happens all the time, and now we’re trying to refine that process to make sure that the lead that’s coming in the door is the best quality lead to enable our phone sales team to actually work with a lead and convert the lead.

On the flip-side, if you don’t happen to want to engage with actual people, which is more and more common. You just want to text, and you just want to chat. You really just want to be digital. You don’t want to have human interaction, but you want digital human interaction. If that’s how you want to convert into a customer for someone, then we need to give them that opportunity. That’s what we’re working on actively as a business – to make it easier to become a customer.

Brian Carter: That’s the next frontier. Cool. Awesome. I think that pretty much covers it. Thanks for sharing all that info. Test everything. Track it. Analyze it. Do better. Any final words?

Jonathan Leake: One of my mantras is – Launch, measure, rinse and repeat. You’ve got to fail fast, and you have to learn quickly. The only way you’re going to do that is you’re going to dive into the data, and make sure you’re measuring things. Make sure you’re setting benchmarks. If you’re not doing that stuff, find a way to do it. It’s really, really hard but it’s also super easy. It’s the same way that you’re going to grow in life. If you don’t ever say that you’re going to graduate high school, you’re never going to graduate high school because you’re not challenging yourself. You want to graduate college, well set the goal and you’ll make it happen. It’s not easy. No one said anything is easy, but you’ll make it right and you’ll figure out what works to get to where you want to be.

Brian Carter: Awesome! Jonathon Leake, Direct Buy. Thank you very much.

Jonathan Leake: You bet.

TAKEAWAYS

Some of our main take-aways from this are

Number one, Facebook audit can be huge to help you identify who your best customers actually are.

That can be super valuable for a couple reasons. Number one, once you know who your best customer is, in terms of the data, then you can ensure that you’re not targeting the wrong people, and that everybody in your organization is focused on the ideal customer. Then you can use that information to target your ads to the right people. You can make sure your content gets in front of the right people. Then, you can also make sure that when you get feedback about your content, that feedback is coming from your ideal customer, not just from anybody. You don’t want to go crazy with, “People don’t like this or that info-graphic, or that blog post,” and they’re not even your ideal customer. That’s a huge thing to start with.

This Direct Buy case study, for us, is one of our first huge end-to-end things where multiple strategies, multiple tactics, all in place and we saw that having everything going together created a gigantic lift in a lot of ways, for the entire business.

The second thing we saw was that posting in a lot of different ways – for brand reputation, for engagement, and getting across the brand’s value proposition and unique selling proposition really helped soften up the target.

That led to more searches for the brand name. It led to a lower cost per customer acquisition overall, and also allowed us to even stop running certain other types of advertising – certain types of Google ads that were very expensive. We decreased our awareness costs. We decreased other costs. We created more customer awareness. We got them ready to buy sooner. We really made Facebook the most efficient and effective first-touch channel online.

The third things we did was, we found out that Facebook, again – as it has been for many, many of our customers, both B2C, B2B – is a very, very effective, low-cost way to get leads.

Not only can you get customer sales, eCommerce, members, but you can also get a ton of leads for your sales people to contact.

What was really most interesting to me, though, was that by doing everything – from the audit at the beginning, to the posting engagement, the customer targeting, the lead gen – doing everything together had a gigantic effect for their business. We have other clients who sometimes engage us for just one thing. Maybe it’s just the ads. Maybe it’s just the audit. Maybe it’s just posting. They don’t do the entire system of things that is Facebook marketing. We got to see the gigantic effect for using all of the different strategies that Facebook has available. It had a gigantic effect, so we’d love to do that for more businesses – to put everything into play.

What can you do with this information?

  • I definitely encourage you to check out Facebook audience insights. Upload your e-mails, if you have them – your buyer e-mails, your lead e-mails. Analyze the difference between your buyers and your leads, and your fans, and people who just like your competitors, or people who like things in your niche. Find out who your ideal customer is.
  • Do a lot of posting to your ideal customer. Learn what they like and don’t like.
  • Make sure you use ads, because Facebook is pay-to-play. You have to use ads, and like Jonathon said…
  • you’ve got to test. That’s fundamental to everything we do. While we’re getting results, while we’re getting engagement, leads, and sales, we’re also always learning because we’re trying different images, different messages, different ways to target that ideal customer. You always want to be learning.

That’s what you should do with this information from this case study.

I hope it was useful to you and I look forward to bringing you the next one.

See you then!

 

The More Ideas You Test the More Likely You Win

You’ve got to test more ideas in digital marketing and social media.

Because if you only text one post or one post a day or one ad a week, you’re only going to discover so much stuff and you’re only create so much stuff and you’re only going to get a certain level of results.

The more stuff you create, the more ideas you force yourself to have, the more likely you are to find that idea that your customer goes crazy for.

I’m talking about…

  • Gigantic engagement rates,
  • Gigantic click through rates,
  • Gigantic sales,
  • Gigantic leads,
  • Incredible conversion rates.

Here’s my analogy. Let’s say, in any sport, like my sport is the NBA. I love basketball. When I watch these guys, I’m like “Wow, there’s some amazing players.” Historically we got Michael Jordan, we’ve got Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, we’ve got Magic Johnson, we’ve got Shaq, we’ve got LeBron, Kobe, Durant, Steph Curry, Steve Nash, all these guys are one in a million, one-in-a-billion, right, because they’re freaks of nature in one way or another.

There have been thousands of guys in the league over the years but if we had only had 10 guys in the league, if the NBA hadn’t been so big and hadn’t been so popular and hadn’t been so much money going into it, probably wouldn’t have that many guys and those guys would have done different things with their lives. They wouldn’t have been basketball players. We never would have found those genius basketball players.

If you don’t put enough money or time into your content, you’re never going to find that exceptional outlier of content that performs super well.

I’ve got this post that has a crazy dog in it that gets me 6 likes per penny I spend on it, because I’ve tested hundreds and hundreds of posts.

crazydog

The more stuff you create and the more you test, the more likely you are to find that exceptional, you know, the Michael Jordan of Facebook post, the Michael Jordan of Facebook ads.

It’s probably not the one expect it is. That’s the other thing that’s weird about it.

There’s research that shows that marketing experts, even after 10 or 15 years of experience, do not get better at guessing which content is going to win with the customer.

You could say, “Brian Carter’s a great marketing mind. He’s amazing.”

He still can’t guess which one is going to work with your customer.

All he can do is say, “I think I analyzed your audience and I understand ’em pretty well and based on what you’ve said, you and I are going to figure out some ideas. We’re going to put them in front the customer and we’re going to see which one it works.”

If we only put 5 ideas out there, our chances of success are much lower than if we put out 100 ideas.

Then we’re going to find one or two that really perform amazingly and your customers are going to go nuts for them. That’s not only going to drive down your costs…

  • Cost per engagement
  • Cost per lead
  • Cost per sale…

It’s also going to:

  • Create much more enthusiastic customers
  • Who will love you and your brand more.
  • More excitement and loyalty

But you don’t get that if you don’t test enough ideas.

So many companies out there are just doing the bare minimum. They’re doing checkbox marketing. They’re like, “Yep, we put out our content calendar. Yep, we ran an ad.”

It’s really easy to do. I know. I’ve done it myself. You get tired, you get busy and you’re like, “I created an ad. I’m done. I’m going to go watch Netflix,” you know? “I’ve got so many meetings today, I don’t have time.”

Okay, but you got to figure out how in your process to make this possible.

And if you’re a manager, you got to figure out how to make this possible for your marketing team, give them more time to brainstorm. Figure out how to help them create more ideas and get more stuff out there. You’ve got to do it.

This is a competitive advantage, to be able to create:

  • More ideas,
  • More creativity,
  • More unique, different ideas.

It’s very important today because the better your ideas are and the more you test, the more likely you are to win.

Geeky Data Increases Customers and Loyalty

If you’re going to do digital marketing or social marketing you have to have geeks or you have to get a little geeky. What does that mean? You need to get into the analytics, you need to look at your metrics, you have to start keep a track of these stuff.

You can’t just put on a content calendar that you think is full of content that you like or your marketing department likes or your CEO likes because what really matters is what your customer likes.

That geeky approach, the scientific marketing approach … Facebook is a digital marketing laboratory.

You put this content out. You can get ideas from a bunch of different places, from anyone in your company, anywhere. From customers, anywhere.

Throw all those ideas into your internet digital laboratory aka Facebook see what metrics come back, get a little geeky, look at those numbers and figure out what people like and what they don’t.

It doesn’t matter what YOU like. It matters what your customer likes.

You need to get geeky and figure out what that is.

geek

Do You Know What Your Customers Like?

There’s really no point to posting something on Facebook if people aren’t going to be engaged in it.

If they don’t watch it or click on it or something, people aren’t going to see it very much and they’re going to stop seeing your stuff. That’s how the Facebook algorithm works. Whether you are a person or a company page, you have to be engaging or you will become invisible.

That’s how the newsfeed works, so you have to get engagement.

If you have a Facebook page and you’re not checking your engagement rate, or you don’t even know what an engagement rate is, you’re not even in the game.

This is the biggest metric that matters and you need to know which of your content is getting engagement and which isn’t.

If you don’t know that, you’re not even in the game.

You got to get on the Facebook page, click on insights, click on your posts, and then click on that metric that says engagement rate…

… and find out which of your posts are getting engagement and which ones aren’t. You got to figure this out.

You got to start separating in your brain, “Which of my posts do people interact with and which ones do they not?”

You got to start caring which of your content people like and which they don’t.

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You’ve got to stop putting out content that people don’t care about.

Please.

Look, it’s just like being in a conversation with someone….

  1. If you’re talking to people and you’re not listening to them and
  2. you’re talking about stuff they don’t care about and
  3. they start ignoring you and you keep saying the same things,
  4. you’re not going to have any friends.

You’re not going to have any great conversations anymore.

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You have to listen and THE WAY YOU LISTEN on Facebook is by looking at the DATA.

The data is the engagement rate.

You have to listen to your audience by looking at the data and engagement rate is the way you do that.

You need to pay attention to this and learn what kind of content your customers love.

You’ve got to do it.

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