In this episode, Stacy sits down with experienced entrepreneur and co-founder of Matchnode, Chris Madden. The two discuss Facebook ads and boosting posts, and how you can set up a marketing plan that allows for iteration.
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Stacy Jones: 00:00
Welcome to Marketing Mistakes And How To Avoid Them. I’m Stacy Jones, the founder of Influencer Marketing And Branded Content Agency Hollywood Branded.
Stacy Jones: 00:07
This podcast provides brand marketers a learning platform for top experts to share their insights and knowledge on topics which make a direct impact on your business today.
Stacy Jones: 00:16
While it is impossible to be well-versed on every topic and strategy that can improve bottom line results, my goal is to help you avoid making costly mistakes of time, energy or money whether you are doing a DIY approach or hiring an expert to help. Let’s begin today’s discussion.
Welcome to Marketing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them. Here’s your host, Stacy Jones.
Stacy Jones: 00:35
Welcome to Marketing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them. I’m Stacy Jones. I’m so happy to be here with you all today and I want to give a very warm welcome to Chris Madden, entrepreneur and co-founder of Matchnode, a digital ad agency that helps grow your business using strategic digital marketing and paid social ads.
Stacy Jones: 00:51
Chris has helped build a culture at Matchnode that is focused entirely on growth, in both the personal development of their team and clients, to business growth, and mentality around growing the pie.
Stacy Jones: 01:00
Matchnode’s success in the digital marketing strategies has led to brand name clients that include The Lending Tree, The Chicago Bulls, New Balance, and Indiana University among many others.
Stacy Jones: 01:10
Today we’re going to talk about Facebook ads, boosting posts, setting up a marketing plan that allows for easy tweaking, and testing campaigns in different audiences. We’re going to learn what has worked from Chris’s experience, what could be avoided, and how some brands are missing the mark with their digital strategies. Chris, welcome.
Chris Madden: 01:26
Thank you very much Stacy, happy to be here. Excited to talk.
Stacy Jones: 01:29
Super happy to have you here because I love all things Facebook and advertising and digital strategies and I always know that I can do better as an agency owner and have our team do better as well.
Stacy Jones: 01:40
So looking forward to having some great takeaways, and I’m sure our listeners are as well. Good for you.
Chris Madden: 01:45
Stacy Jones: 01:46
Start off and talk about a little bit about how you got to where you are today, and what got you into this business of digital marketing.
Chris Madden: 01:56
Of course. So, I am a lifelong entrepreneur. I’ve always had interest and businesses involved with sales and marketing in one way or the other, and then technology.
Chris Madden: 02:07
So, after a video game start-up that I had years ago, that took me on the road, and raised money from outside investors and did deals with large video game companies, the idea of coming home to Chicago where I was born and raised and starting a business where we helped other companies grow, and had a very old school business models of you know, making fees every month, having costs, hiring people, having profit at the end of every month was extremely interesting to me.
Chris Madden: 02:40
It started in really just those modest, practical approaches of trying to give people more value than we were charging them and building up a little bit of a business that way.
Chris Madden: 02:51
And fast forward six years and we are really growing and really excited about the expertise that we’ve gained, and the companies that we’ve helped and the things that we get to learn every day, the ways in which our team and our clients and our client’s team get to grow every day through the work that we do. So that’s how we look at it and that’s how we got here.
Stacy Jones: 03:08
That’s awesome and being in business to grow profitability is a very good reason to be in business in the first place.
Chris Madden: 03:17
Yeah it unlocks a lot of things. Whatever it is that we want to do to help our teammates and to help our clients and to just be good actors in the business worlds, to develop ourselves in the way we want to is very much unlocked by doing our core business and having profit to allow ourselves to move in the next direction with that profit, so it definitely enables a lot of things.
Stacy Jones: 03:38
Yeah. So, Facebook advertising, I know that was the topic that you said you really wanted to dive in deeply on this podcast today. What is it about Facebook that makes it such a powerful platform for brands to advertise on?
Chris Madden: 03:52
Well, going back to one of our core values, which is growth, Facebook allows advertisers to generate demand and not just fulfill demand. And the reason why we make that distinction at our agency, and the reason why I start with that, is because in the digital advertising world, for better or worse, there are two bohemoths, which are Facebook and Google. And they, so much of the ad spend that we come across goes straight into those two companies.
Chris Madden: 04:21
So those two companies represent, of course, search and social. So, on Google with search, extremely powerful, that’s awesome, that you know, there’s a lot of great work for agencies and brands to do on Google.
Chris Madden: 04:34
But, it is often times capped, where in theory it’s capped by the amount of people searching for that given thing on that given day. So you can’t increase demand with Google search ads in our construct here.
Chris Madden: 04:48
You can put a message in front of people on Facebook, for better or worse, maybe we’ll talk about this, we of course only try to run ads for things that improve a person’s life through a product or service that they can find through an ad that we’re running for a client.
Chris Madden: 05:02
But you can put something in someone’s newsfeed via paying for an ad on Facebook and introduce them to a product or service that they didn’t know about. Maybe they have a problem in their life but they didn’t know that your product exists to help solve it. So it’s really powerful in that it can generate demand in a moment like that.
Chris Madden: 05:19
And it’s not just fulfilling demand for people who are already looking for the things they know they needed and again these things work together. Google’s amazing.
Chris Madden: 05:27
But we focus on Facebook for that reason, because it can really help drive growth. You know, really just from a dollars and cents and lead generation perspective, also from a testing things, testing maybe an early business idea you might have, if you learn to read the signals and what feedback means from the ad platform and people clicking on your ad, going through to your website, it can really help a business grow.
Chris Madden: 05:53
So that’s why Facebook ad is for us. I think there’s also just the practical thing too where we just personally, my co-founder Brian and I, when we got together six years ago, just both really liked and were really good at Facebook ads, and people were paying us to run ads for them in a very small kind of freelance ad hoc basis.
Chris Madden: 06:10
And of course, if it was 15 years ago instead of six years ago, maybe we would have been more of a Google shop but because Ad Words is a relatively mature platform, and we see a lot of competitors that do Facebook ads and certainly there’s a lot of other agencies that do Facebook ads and can do them well, but they sometimes start as a Google shop, and they like full time Facebook ads. So they started doing web development or FCO and then as time passes they’re like “Oh, we have to do Facebook ads.”
Chris Madden: 06:35
One thing that’s different about is we are a paid social first. So it’s not just that it generates demand in addition to fulfilling demand, but it’s also something about personally where we were when we started the agency and where we found a foothold and where we just kept going and now we have very deep expertise in it.
Stacy Jones: 06:52
Okay. I know a lot of people, and we run across this with our clients, and we as an agency might have done this a little bit ourselves here and there.
Chris Madden: 07:00
Stacy Jones: 07:00
Think of Facebook and don’t think about the fact that you really have to do a paid plan on it. That you put it out there and they will come.
Stacy Jones: 07:09
But Facebook’s changed their algorithms and it’s actually very few people in your follower base that are actually being exposed to anything you’re posting. Can you share a little bit more insight to what that landscape looks like and why people need to do paid Facebook?
Chris Madden: 07:23
Yeah. So part of I think what you’re referring to is the distinction between what we call organic social and paid social. So, organic social when Facebook first came out was really powerful because if you had 200 friends and you posted something or you’re a business with 200 likes and you posted something like 196 of those people are going to see that post.
Chris Madden: 07:45
It’s a big long term story and a big long term trend in how organic reach has just windowed down to near zero. Now you might get 5% or 10% of your followers or friends might see a particular organic post.
Chris Madden: 07:59
There’s still value in organic social for some brands and certainly some individuals like outside of the business world just people connecting to one another, friends and family, the algorithm changed to push that more and decrease news.
Chris Madden: 08:11
So the algorithm is continuously changing. But I guess one theme I want to get across here, whether you’re a small business or a large business, the algorithm is constantly changing. Sometimes people don’t like that because it makes you, the thing that was working so well for you no longer works. But our point of view is that that’s where the opportunity is.
Chris Madden: 08:30
The changes in the algorithm and the new things that Facebook roles out, and the guidance they give on what you should try next is what you should try next. And even if the thing you’re doing right now is working, you have to be looking for that next thing because the platform changes, the world changes every single day. So you have to constantly be testing and looking for the new thing because that’s where the wins are.
Chris Madden: 08:49
So, I have a couple examples of that I can go into later in this chat. But to go back to your question, I would say that you do have to have a plan. Sometimes some complaints I hear from some smaller advertisers and say Facebook doesn’t work for me, would be, “I boosted a post, and I spent $500 and nobody bought.” Well that’s just the beginning of the story in our opinion.
Chris Madden: 09:13
So, if you only have $500 to spend or if you have $500,000 to spend, you need to break that budget up into pieces to understand how you’re testing, when you’re testing. It just rewards iteration, because it changes every day you have to constantly be in the Ad account, trying things, changing things, responding to all the data that you’re getting that’s telling you if it’s not working then why isn’t it working?
Chris Madden: 09:37
Is it because your website is slow? Is it because there’s not continuity between the ad that you’re writing and what then the page on your website is saying, in which case you might need a landing page to match the Ad to kind of bring the person through whatever it is you’re trying to get them to do?
Chris Madden: 09:52
It just requires a continuous iteration and that’s the way you get it to work.
Stacy Jones: 10:01
You made an interesting point a moment ago when you were talking about the difference between organic and paid. Is there a reason, I can think of also reasons, but from your standpoint is there a reason that brands should even focus on trying to grow their follower base on Facebook anymore, or should they really be putting their initiatives and their dollars into creating Facebook advertising?
Chris Madden: 10:27
There are some reasons to care about your follower base, yes. They are in my opinion relatively small and specific to certain brands. So, the Chicago Bulls are one of our clients, for example. And the Chicago Bulls have 200 million real life fans across the world. So, that’s a very different thing because their fan base is so large, their literal fan base and it is represented in then people that follow them on Facebook and Twitter.
Chris Madden: 10:54
So, being able to just target those people only and maybe within Chicago for trying to get people to buy tickets, that makes sense for them. But most friends are not the Chicago Bulls. So that brand affinity and the brand value of a very small business, if that’s what we’re talking about, or even a medium sized business that doesn’t have high affinity like a bank or something, like a financial institution that people need but they don’t necessarily love and want to see all day in their newsfeed, those things …
Chris Madden: 11:22
So for the Bulls the organic reach matters and the organic base matters. For us, if we have clients that are launching a new product or haven’t been in the market for a long time or haven’t been running a lot of paid social ads, we don’t recommend to spend much time and effort on the organic side.
Chris Madden: 11:41
The Bulls are a very specific example. There are other examples of businesses where it does help and matter. You said you could think of some reasons why, why do you think some brands should go organic and some should not?
Stacy Jones: 11:55
I think that if you do have a loyal client base, so our consumer base, that they make for a small touch base and look at your Facebook’s feed actually driving themselves there versus going elsewhere and even waiting for it to show up in your feed.
Stacy Jones: 12:12
We do social influence through marketing for clients. So, the last thing I like doing is working on a social influencer campaign and then seeing that the brand is not actively updating their own social pages on those platforms that we’re working with.
Stacy Jones: 12:26
But you can just … Part of the social influencer campaign helps actually drive people to those social pages, either to become followers of their own or just because we’re working in a social universe, they like touching what the brand is doing socially.
Stacy Jones: 12:40
So the consumer it’s the natural habit to go from the social influencer’s page and go check out the brand that they’re touting. And potentially their social pages more so even in their website on occasion. So those would be my two go-tos.
Chris Madden: 12:55
Those are good reasons, totally agree, and I think you would probably agree with me that that depends on which social profile we’re talking about.
Stacy Jones: 13:01
Chris Madden: 13:03
Instagram yes, there’s much more organic reach on Instagram than there is on Facebook. Instagram of course being as visual as it is it’s very natural to go somebody’s Instagram profile to get a better sense of what they’ve been doing recently or whatever.
Chris Madden: 13:17
Facebook has a little bit less of that in our opinion. You don’t want to have bad posts or have a page that you haven’t updated in a year. But loading up two posts a week for a business that might take five minutes a week is the bare minimum that I think actually will give that appearance that the page is active here for sure.
Chris Madden: 13:37
And Twitter of course it’s completely different, sort of daily engagement platform than Facebook. To your initial point though that if you have long term relationships with your customers or clients, people keep coming back to you over a very long period of time, which I love that trait in a business of course.
Chris Madden: 13:57
Part of what we would do, in that case part of what we do do in that case is use all that data to understand what is the cadence on which those people come back to your business, whether they’re looking for information or it’s something that you buy, say seasonally every quarter.
Chris Madden: 14:13
We would then try to understand those trends and that behavior and then set ads for those people to actively go back into your user base. Just like sending an email, you know? It’s like, oh it’s the 4th of July in the US, let’s send an email because we’ve got this 4th of July products and you’re targeting your customer base to people because you have their email addresses, we do the exact same thing on paid social where all different sorts of retargeting based on you treat a bio differently from someone who just has something in their cart from someone who’s never put anything in their cart but they spend tons of time on your website.
Chris Madden: 14:47
So, agree that organic and updating your social profiles and all the benefits therein, definitely works in that case. We would supplement that with the paid tactics I was describing.
Stacy Jones: 15:01
Sure, and there’s nothing worse as, even as an agency, as a brand when you’re sitting there and you’re putting out so much organic content and you see no engagement whatsoever.
Chris Madden: 15:12
Stacy Jones: 15:13
It’s kind of defeating to you.
Chris Madden: 15:14
Stacy Jones: 15:14
That’s where when … Yeah. You know like no one is looking at my world, at my social. No one cares.
Chris Madden: 15:20
Stacy Jones: 15:20
But as you said, less than or around 5% to 10% of your follower base has even seen your post, so you have to work to do Facebook advertising, or boosting ads, boosting posts and the like.
Stacy Jones: 15:34
Is there a difference for our listeners to understand what’s the difference between boosting a post that you do and actually doing a Facebook ad?
Chris Madden: 15:43
The big difference is the interface in which you’re doing that. So boosting a post really in our understanding just means that you write a post, an organic post and whether you’re just in the admin section of your page or you’re just on your own page yourself, you see the post and it says boost and when you click that it opens up some options to target in how much do you want to spend.
Chris Madden: 16:07
Those options have gotten better and better. What it really is just is, is a very stripped down and right version of Facebook Ads Manager. Facebook Ads Manager is the other place that you can go to create that exact same boosted post or any other sort of ad format, ad type, audience type, all the options in the broad world of Facebook ads are available right there.
Chris Madden: 16:28
So, we just always recommend to go to Facebook Ads Manager. You can create the exact same kind of post. You can take the post that you wrote on the organic side an hour ago and boost that from within Ads Manager. You just get more options and it’s pretty rare that we see a boosted post that works.
Chris Madden: 16:46
It’s usually just a sign of somebody who wants to do it very quickly or doesn’t have a lot of depth in it, which is fine and that makes sense. It’s kind of like the onboarding to Facebook Ads. You try it a couple of times, you’re like what? Okay, I got some clicks and I reached all these people, but why am I not getting sales?
Chris Madden: 17:04
Then you go over to Ads Manager or you start to look under the hood, you go deeper and you realize oh, there’s all these other things I can do like optimize for a sale instead of optimizing for a click.
Chris Madden: 17:15
I do want to briefly go back to something you mentioned though about how it can be demoralizing to see or to feeding to see content that you worked hard to create and then nobody sees it.
Stacy Jones: 17:24
Both of those things.
Chris Madden: 17:26
It’s a sad thing.
Stacy Jones: 17:29
And demoralizing, yes.
Chris Madden: 17:29
Yes, all those negative D words that you feel like you’re going backwards. So, this is something yeah, that it makes complete sense and we’ve all experienced it, we’ve all seen brands do it.
Chris Madden: 17:42
One of the places that we’ve seen the rubber meet the road there for us is with video. We see so many people that make video. Video is so fundamental now on social of course and on mobile and in Facebook Ads in particular. And now Instagram of course allows it.
Chris Madden: 17:58
But we see so many people that make a nice video and even if it’s not super expensive, it might be $500 or it might be $1,000, it might be $5,000 to make this video, there’s certainly big brands that treat them like TV commercials that spend $50,000 or $100,000 to make some video and then they don’t promote it.
Chris Madden: 18:14
So, they spend, let’s call it $1,000 to make a video and it gets 30 views and you look back on it in three months, it has 30 views you’re like oh we worked so hard on that. We hired this person. We did all these edits, all these last minute details we didn’t like, we kept having them changed. So it was perfect to us and then nobody saw it.
Chris Madden: 18:33
So that’s a big mistake that we see a lot and it’s like don’t spend $1,000 on a video if all you have is $1,000, spend $500 to make it and then let’s spend $500 to promote it. It will just feel a lot better that you know that you have some money set aside to make sure people see what you’re doing because what’s the point of crafting this beautiful perfect message if there’s going to be no audience for it.
Chris Madden: 18:55
It’s hard to imagine people who like spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on a TV commercial today or back in the day and then not have any money set aside to make sure it gets on TV.
Chris Madden: 19:04
So, that’s just something that we see very frequently and when a prospect comes in and wants to start talking to us we look at that right away.
Stacy Jones: 19:13
That 100% makes so much sense and I’ve seen that happen as well. So what is the first step that you do when you’re working with a client, how do you approach figuring out what you need to do in regards to your Facebook advertising plan?
Chris Madden: 19:29
Good question. Like a lot of these answers it starts with it depends. But generally people that we start working with already have some history in Facebook Ads. So, one of the first things we do is we get access to their account and we just look in at what they’re doing.
Chris Madden: 19:42
And think about based on what we know about their business and what we’ve learned, what are the things that we would right away and how they look different from what they’ve been doing.
Chris Madden: 19:52
So, right away one of the first things we do is think about audiences and who is their target audience and yes we’re interested in maybe their demographics or where they live or how old they are and maybe some ideas of a persona, what is their job, what is their day-to-day like.
Chris Madden: 20:10
Some of that persona based stuff for us comes more into the creative aspect of who are we writing to, what kind of image on a landing page and in an Ad is going to appeal to this person? What are they worried about when we write a video copy?
Chris Madden: 20:22
We use that persona stuff more for creative. When we really get into which audiences are going to work that we’re going to test and target in Facebook Ads, it’s very data driven.
Chris Madden: 20:33
So, that ends up looking more like okay in your past 30 days … First of all, is the pixel working? That is step one. Is the pixel working? Do you have the pixel properly set up? If you’re selling something on your website is it tracking the value of those purchases in eCommerce? Are we firing purchase when someone buys something? Are we firing add to cart when someone adds to cart. You just have to look in the back end to make sure all of that stuff that is pixel related is set up.
Chris Madden: 21:02
Assuming that it is, then you start to look at what are the audiences that we can create. So, for example, one audience would be your buyers in the past 30 days. So your buyers in the past 30 days is a really good look at the sorts of people that you want to buy in the next 30 days.
Chris Madden: 21:16
So, you can create a lookalike audience which is basically telling Facebook these people who bought in the past 30 days, we want to find more people like them. So, Facebook goes out and creates a list of people that are 1% most similar in their behaviors and their demographics to that list that you gave it.
Chris Madden: 21:35
So, now you’ve got a list of 1% of Facebook users say in the United States if you’re targeting US only. So, about two million people. So, now you’ve got this audience of people that look like your buyers, and that would be almost always, not always, but this is sort of basic, but that’s where we would start targeting.
Chris Madden: 21:53
Then we’d also exclude buyers from that list. You’re saying we’re just looking for new people. That’s kind of the typical thought process where we are just diving right in and saying what are you doing now? Who are the audiences? What’s the best audience? Common sense is the one we can think of is that created, who are we going to target right away?
Chris Madden: 22:12
Then the persona stuff helps us figure out looking at the creative that the brand or the client might already have, how should this creative be tweaked based on what we know about who their ideal customer is.
Stacy Jones: 22:24
Okay. Then at that point what do you do from there? Do you start creating ads, do you work with the …? How much involvement do you have to have with the brands own marketing and creative team?
Stacy Jones: 22:38
Is this something that you all look through the assets that the brand or the business has and you are figuring out what you are going to build and craft or how does that work?
Chris Madden: 22:49
Yeah, good question. This is all very process based. So we have processes and a list of things that start, that go out as soon as we sign a new client, we’re going to start working with them.
Chris Madden: 22:59
Yes. So there’s a set up guide that goes even before what I just mentioned that lists out all the accounts we need access to and we kind of systematically check that off over time.
Chris Madden: 23:10
Then there’s a process by which to your point there is tons of communication with the brand or the client’s marketing department and marketing team especially at the beginning. We want to get to a place over the first two or three months and hopefully over years where we have this very regular cadence of weekly phone calls with our clients.
Chris Madden: 23:29
But at the beginning it’s more intense than that. There’s a lot of back and forth. We have a dedicated Slack channel for each of our clients. We have weekly calls standing but in the first week or two it’s often more frequently than weekly because there’s just a lot of intel that we have to get.
Chris Madden: 23:44
Yes, part of our early process is asking for the brand guidelines. Then we have a copy doc where they approve all the copy that we can write. And we’ll write and they go and approve a different copy. Yes, we’re part of getting the brand guidelines and part of the set up guide is asking for all their raw creative assets.
Chris Madden: 24:06
So of course we’re looking. We’ve already looked at all their Facebook Ads. We look on their YouTube channel. We look on their social profiles. We look on their website. We see what images and pages they’re already using.
Chris Madden: 24:16
And we come to an understanding with them of what does starting look like for us? How much work do we have to do to start? If they have landing pages in place that are really great and we like their ads and we just need to create a video, that can be pretty fast like a week or two to get started and really take over.
Chris Madden: 24:32
If they don’t have a landing page and we need to rebuild it from start and we need to build a video and it’s a heavily regulated industry like finance or something and their pixel is not placed, there could be a lot of work to get going.
Chris Madden: 24:44
So it’s really first just assessing what’s needed, laying it out in a systematized way and yes we start creating ads once we have enough assets, we have copy approved and we show them the ad and they approve it, we turn it on, we’re off and running and from there, there’s just a lot of iteration that starts.
Stacy Jones: 25:02
Okay. That’s quite a bit of systems and processes.
Chris Madden: 25:04
Well you have to have it over time.
Stacy Jones: 25:06
Chris Madden: 25:07
Yeah. Over time, we learned to build it.
Stacy Jones: 25:10
That’s great. So you mentioned video and you mentioned video a couple of times. Typically, when you’re doing Facebook advertising, are you focusing on videos because it has higher engagement or are you also looking at static ads?
Chris Madden: 25:25
We are looking at static ads. We’ve put static and video ads in the same campaigns almost always. And I’ll give you one kind of tip reason why. But video does have higher engagement. I mentioned that Facebook keeps kind of putting out guidance on what to do next. Video was that thing three or four years ago. You might remember those of us who pay tons of attention to Facebook and Facebook ads, mobile and video has been the huge move in a macro sense going back five or six years.
Chris Madden: 25:59
So, it still really works. The video that works now is different in our experience than what worked three years ago. Three years ago we were creating 30 second commercials with voice overs where we’re telling the story. Now it’s much more like it looks like it’s still image with a little bit of animation and there’s things moving to kind of catch the eye. Facebook talks about thumb stomping content so much traffic now.
Chris Madden: 26:25
If you’re doing Facebook ads and you’re not thinking mobile first, you’re starting from the wrong place. So people flipping through the newsfeed and how video works there.
Chris Madden: 26:34
The other point that I was going to make about video and static is we’ve been advised and we’ve tested and it works, make sure that in the same ad set you have one video option and one still option.
Chris Madden: 26:50
The reason why that works is some people … Facebook’s algorithms knows that some people prefer video and some people prefer static. It’s just a preference that people have.
Chris Madden: 27:01
Some people like to click and stop and play videos and some people really don’t. It can be as practical as what kind of internet connection you have on your phone. If you’re cellular and you’re walking around, it might not be wise to show somebody a video ad because it’s not going to load fast enough and they don’t have time because they’re not in the mode to stop and look at a video for 30 seconds. So, that person might use still image ad in that moment.
Chris Madden: 27:25
Whereas, that same person could be on their desktop at work and scrolling through the feed and they might see that same ad that has a video. So within the same person and then across people. Facebook knows that some people like to see video and some people like to see still image. If you put those in the same ad set, the algorithm is always going to have the option to show the optimized option or the optimized alternative. So, definitely use both. Always mix and match.
Chris Madden: 27:51
The other thing that is related to this is getting lots and lots of guidance to just overall to leave things more broad and allow the algorithm to do its work. So probably that means all placements. So you load up a video, you load up still image, maybe a [carell cell 00:28:08] if you’re doing. Then you tell Facebook to put it on all placements. So that includes Messenger, Instagram, Mobile Newsfeed, Desktop Newsfeed, Audience Network, all those different placements.
Chris Madden: 28:19
And we found that really worked better even if you know that or even if for your particular case you know that audience network doesn’t look great. It doesn’t matter. It still works better when the algorithm has the option to show the ad wherever it thinks it should at that moment.
Stacy Jones: 28:36
What you’re saying there is not about the audience. You’re not saying let Facebook decide your audience. You’re saying let Facebook decide their audience network of how and where they want to serve up your ad?
Chris Madden: 28:46
Yeah. Well I think there was a particular placement. But I’m saying let Facebook choose the placements. So yes, when you’re creating the ad you have the option to be like I only want this to show in the desktop newsfeed or in the mobile newsfeed or on Instagram. Facebook says choose all and let the algorithm decide where to show it.
Chris Madden: 29:07
Your question about audience is a different one and we’re also doing broad audiences being there are ads we create that have no targeting at all in them and those ads for scaling there’s a very particular way we set it up that I can go into if you’re interested.
Chris Madden: 29:18
But we do both and it’s part of a systemic change where allowing the algorithm to make the decisions both on the placement side and on the audience side. Again, I can give you another deeper tip on that.
Chris Madden: 29:31
But that is a broader move that Facebook’s algorithm is getting better and better to the point where you can give it less and less info and let it go and it does a better job than we can with these little lab micro tweaks that we might be doing manually.
Stacy Jones: 29:46
So it’s really about artificial intelligence and algorithms and figuring out in some cases itself?
Chris Madden: 29:51
Yeah. I would say that it’s been about algorithms for a long time.
Stacy Jones: 29:55
Chris Madden: 29:55
I’m not sure how much AI is in there as part of our machine learning for sure as far as who to show what ad to next. But it’s definitely about the algorithm, yes.
Stacy Jones: 30:07
You said you could dive in a little bit deeper into going broad for your audience.
Chris Madden: 30:10
Stacy Jones: 30:10
I’d love to hear it. I’m sure the audience wants too.
Chris Madden: 30:13
Yeah. This is an exciting one for us. We found some real wins there. This definitely goes into the category of trying that next thing that Facebook is just rolling out. Then you try it and you get some wins and then maybe a bunch of other people try it if it’s going well. Then it becomes just the default for Facebook.
Chris Madden: 30:28
So this is a good example. Some of your audience might be familiar with it. I’m sure you are. It’s called Campaign Budget Optimization, CBO. So, I would say about last September, September to October of last year we started hearing about this from Facebook. Some of our larger clients have really great Facebook reps and we’ve been in meetings with them and they would start talking about CBO and this new structure.
Chris Madden: 30:48
So, historically all of budgets on Facebook ads were created at the Ad set level. This feature allowed you to create budget at the campaign level. So let’s say in a campaign you had ad set A and ad set B and historically you just put $50 a day in ad set A and $50 a day in ad set B, and you would have maybe different audiences in those two ad sets, maybe some other things you’re testing.
Chris Madden: 31:13
Now, you put $100 at the campaign level and Facebook is going to move the budget to ad set A or B. It might spend 90/10, it might spend 50/50, it might spend 20/80 depending on what the algorithm thinks is going to do better based on whatever optimization you give it.
Chris Madden: 31:31
So if you’re trying to do cost per purchase and you want the lowest cost per purchase, it’s going to move the budget between those two ad sets whichever way it thinks you’re going to get the best cost per purchase. With me so far?
Stacy Jones: 31:43
Yeah totally, yes.
Chris Madden: 31:44
Great. So now you’ve got this possibility of optimizing between ad sets and letting the algorithm do it. So, what we started doing there is combining that with very, very broad audiences and very precise audiences.
Chris Madden: 31:57
So ad set A in my example that I’ve just given, would be 1% lookalike of your buyers and excluding your buyers. So, you’re always looking for new people in this example. Then ad set B would be completely broad, no targeting whatsoever, zero targeting. Don’t target anything.
Chris Madden: 32:18
Now, within reason and if you know your product is only for females or something like that or only people in a particular city, yes of course, use common sense and exclude people who literally just can’t buy your product or don’t fit.
Chris Madden: 32:30
But generally, totally broad is best. No targeting whatsoever. But what you do is you exclude the 1% lookalike audience and the buyers from that larger, broad ad set. So all you have is everybody else, there’s zero overlap between the two audiences.
Chris Madden: 32:47
So now you have $100 a day that you’re telling the algorithm to spend at CBO campaign budget optimization at campaign level. It will spend … A lot of that money at the beginning might go to your precise audience because it’s very precise, people work. It’s lookalike audience 1%.
Chris Madden: 33:03
But overtime you’ll see it start to spend just day over day. Sometimes it’s going to spend in the broad audience, sometimes it’s spending the narrow one. So we just started to see this work for a couple of clients that have fairly large budgets so that we immediately just roll it out to a bunch of other clients that made sense and just worked across the board.
Chris Madden: 33:19
So, it is right now the structure to scale campaigns. One of the mistakes we see people make we call it pockets of success. People will get this really, really specific audience that they’re very proud of because they’ve made all these changes to it over time and they feel like when they overlay these five interests with these two or three demographics and add some behavior type, that this is the audience in which they can really get the CPA that they need. But it might only be 50,000 people.
Chris Madden: 33:49
So now you tap that audience very quickly. You spend $200 and you tap that audience, it’s like where do you go from there. So the ability to scale and target broadly and let the algorithm broadly is you increase budget and that kind of CBO campaign budget optimization example I just gave, you can put parameters on it and say spend tons of money but only if the CPA is below where I want it with that contract works really well towards getting brands figuring out how they can scale their ad spends.
Chris Madden: 34:19
So just to zoom out a little bit, that came out in September/October. We saw it really work. It’s still really working and now for people who are in Facebook ads a lot in different accounts, you see this notice. Not a warning but kind of saying budgets are moving to the campaign level on all accounts in September, this coming September.
Chris Madden: 34:40
So now it’s been a year where this was an optional thing and they were wins on the front end that we found because the algorithm is moving in this direction and we’re moving with it, versus people who are just kind of doing what they’ve been doing and probably see their performance fall off. And now everybody is going to move to this and we’re looking ahead to move to the next thing.
Chris Madden: 34:59
So that is a way to target just completely broad audiences and have some controls in there so you’re not going to spend widely on something that’s not working and taking advantage of a new feature on Facebook ads.
Stacy Jones: 35:14
Okay. You mentioned doing this for a broad. Is this more specifically for a B2C, a consumer target, versus a B2B business?
Chris Madden: 35:25
Stacy Jones: 35:26
Because the B2B you’re really going to have to micro niche down a little bit to your core target.
Chris Madden: 35:31
Yes, and that is a great distinction, a great point. Not all businesses enjoy or fit easily in the B2B or B2C distinction. But it’s so useful. And we are almost, we are entirely a B2C agency. We’re doing direct response Facebook ads for B2C and part of the reason is we find it hard to do really good Facebook ads for B2B. In our early days as an agency is we were looking for clients who were like oh we’re just going to turn on Facebook ads and get a bunch of clients. Well it doesn’t work that way.
Stacy Jones: 36:02
It’s hard. It really is hard, yes.
Chris Madden: 36:05
And it’s why we frankly don’t do B2B marketing. B2B is a larger segment of the economy than B2C. Most businesses are B2B and more dollars than B2B. But this is in our opinion an awesome high volume B2C ad channel.
Stacy Jones: 36:24
Yeah. I think LinkedIn has really positioned themselves as the better marketplace for B2B marketing. We’re still figuring out a lot of their hows and educating on what you’re supposed to do with it as a business to advertise and a lot of times there’s some funky things that go along with it.
Stacy Jones: 36:39
But we haven’t seen Facebook be that successful for our B2B clients our ourselves in those cases.
Chris Madden: 36:46
It’s really hard and there’s a lot of reasons why we do a whole podcast on why. But some of the things that just come to mind right away is Facebook is now telling us especially with these let the algorithm do it movements and developments, Facebook is telling us you need 50 conversations per ad set per week in order for that ad set to be able to optimize within the algorithm.
Chris Madden: 37:09
So we’ve had some B2B opportunities and clients over the years that it’s the old thing where people say well, we only need two per month. If we get two per month that pays for the thing for a year. You know, and it just gets really, really hard to wait and chase that next one when you go 15 days without a conversion. Things that do not make anybody feel good and just there’s nothing to optimize around.
Chris Madden: 37:32
You have to search for these higher in the funnel things to optimize around which aren’t ideal. So just there’s a volume thing on B2B versus B2C that we’ve seen come up frequently, and there’s also just B2B tends to be a longer considered purchase and this can be very relationship driven. So we found it to be a tough fit. So yeah, we don’t run Facebook ads for B2B for that reason.
Stacy Jones: 37:56
I think the exceptions I’m really seen to it or which have actually worked where I’ve bought something as an agency owner and it’s definitely been a business transaction, it’s in mobile coaching services and things along those lines. It’s interesting.
Stacy Jones: 38:09
So I think Facebook can still be a platform in that depending on how people use it.
Chris Madden: 38:15
Yeah. I mean we have a prospect right now that said oh they’re a B2B company but they sell as if they’re B2C. What he meant by that was it’s entirely digital. There’s no sales team that’s going to pick up the phone and talk to you. The product is delivered digitally. So your example of coaching is a perfect one.
Chris Madden: 38:33
This is something that acts like B2C and that it’s scales you if you’re selling videos to people or maybe the real time one-on-one coaching is a different price or something.
Chris Madden: 38:45
It feels like B2C because there’s a large target market. You can scale the delivery of it digitally. So there’s some exceptions and gray area and there’s some overlap for sure.
Stacy Jones: 38:56
Yeah. So, where are some of the places that people just take this and go wrong and you just look at it and you’re like oh, if only I could tell you. What would you tell them? Where are the big mistakes? The mistakes that people tend to embrace wholeheartedly and run with?
Chris Madden: 39:15
Yeah. The first one gets to a question you asked earlier about boosting a post. I totally get why people boost a post first before the ads manager can be daunting and complex if you’ve never been into it before and you’re not comfortable with it.
Chris Madden: 39:32
But I put that in this broader category of just not planning, you know? It’s almost like a spontaneous or just like oh, I love this post and this is an important message. I’m going to boost it.
Stacy Jones: 39:43
Chris Madden: 39:44
Then when the money is spent and the thing that they want to have happen didn’t happen, I find that they tend to blame Facebook. Biggest mistake. Facebook ads doesn’t work for me. It might be true. It might be that Facebook ads isn’t a good fit for your business. But I feel like it’s easy to stop thinking and say Facebook doesn’t work for me or Facebook Ads stink.
Chris Madden: 40:05
So my counter to that would be your counter, which was plan it. If the plan involves spend all the money in one shot with no chance to iterate and react to the data you’re getting, it’s not a good plan. So, the plan has to involve iteration.
Stacy Jones: 40:22
Chris Madden: 40:23
So if you have $10,000, you should maybe divide it up into four tranches and you know the first $2500 you’re going to be learning a lot and it’s not going to … You shouldn’t expect your best outcomes to be in that first quarter of your budget and then your second quarter you’re still testing but you’re refining because now you have data from the first quarter.
Chris Madden: 40:42
The second half of your budget you should, if you also align that, say that takes your three months maybe, you should feel like the last month is when you’re going to really see what the results are. If you know what you’re doing as far as optimizing goes. So that’s one overarching thing.
Chris Madden: 40:56
It’s just like unplanned and they just shoot their budget. If it’s very small or larger, it doesn’t matter. But just shooting the budget out and being like why didn’t this work and they get mad.
Stacy Jones: 41:09
So basically no all putting your eggs in one single basket.
Chris Madden: 41:11
Don’t. You have to iterate. If your plan doesn’t allow you the chance to have the first thing be wrong, then you have to redo your plan.
Stacy Jones: 41:21
Chris Madden: 41:21
So, that would be one. The second one I would say would be not considering the full funnel. Again, just like I’m going to spend the $50 boosted post on Facebook ads and then it doesn’t work and why not, well one of the reasons might be what’s going on in your website, where are you sending them.
Chris Madden: 41:41
You have to consider one thing we call continuation, continuity, which is we want to have a lot of continuity between the imaging and the words that are in the ad. They click the ad, they go to your website, that page on your website should look like the ad and should have the exact same words.
Chris Madden: 42:00
Don’t have a 4th of July ad and then they click on it and suddenly your home page it says nothing about the 4th of July. Because they’re like wait, is this right?
Chris Madden: 42:07
As soon as they start thinking, as soon as there’s a little bit of cognitive dissonance, people are going to bail. There’s too many other things to consider and look at.
Chris Madden: 42:14
So as soon as they start to think this doesn’t feel like the thing I clicked on. So you need to take a bigger view of the customer’s journey. That includes at the end of the funnel they might be searching for your thing because they’ve now seen it in a Facebook ad and you might want to look at Google and see how do these channels work together. How do retargeting fit in if a lot of purchases or even small spontaneous purchases involve multiple visits to a website from multiple devices.
Chris Madden: 42:42
So, you just have to consider the big picture and it’s not to say you’re going to be able to test everything there is. If you don’t have a lot of budget and a lot of time or even when you do have a lot of budget and time you’re going to end up going with your best bet, your best option for the constraints that you have and for what you think might work.
Chris Madden: 42:59
But that first thing might not work and your second test might have to involve tweaking your landing page or improving your check out flow or testing your audiences.
Chris Madden: 43:10
So you have to consider the changes that you can make in the Facebook ads level in the context of the full customer journey that’s specific to your business or your client’s business. So that would be number two, is think of a full funnel.
Stacy Jones: 43:22
Okay. Are there any specific minimums of what someone needs to even come to the table with to spend? I mean you work with very large clients, but starting out you worked with very small clients too, I’m quite sure.
Chris Madden: 43:33
Stacy Jones: 43:35
So is there a minimum threshold that you really need to commit to, not necessarily with your agency, but just in general if you want to make Facebook advertising work.
Chris Madden: 43:46
No. The answer is no. There’s no minimum. You could spend one dollar a day, you could spend two dollars a day. I’ve seen people recommend that and there are situations in which that makes sense.
Chris Madden: 43:58
If you’ve got a B2B business, and you’re not even using Facebook ads because say it’s a $15,000 sale and it’s not going to work on Facebook ads. But you might have some amazing blog post that you want everybody who knows about your business to see.
Chris Madden: 44:14
So you can maybe 1,000 people a month visit your site, you can show those 1,000 people. Put them in the ad and say I want everyone who’s been on my website to see this. You can spend 1,000 or spend one dollar a day and run it for 10 days and you spend $10 and you’re going to reach some pretty descent portion of that 1,000 people.
Chris Madden: 44:35
So there are definitely used cases for a dollar a day. We, for our work and not related to the size of our client or anything like that, we think in terms of what is the target CPA. Again, we’re direct response and largely B2C here. So what is the target CPA of your thing?
Chris Madden: 44:54
So if you’re selling t-shirts and the t-shirts on average yield an order value of $40 let’s say per order. So you are tasked with as the marketer, go get us $10 orders. So you can spend $10 in ad spend and the company is going to get $40 in revenue and they’ve told you that that works for them and their unit economics.
Chris Madden: 45:19
So, $10 is the key number here. So, if you only spend $10 a day in that case, it’s going to take you a long time to go fast enough, to know if your iterations and your tests are working.
Chris Madden: 45:29
So we use 6X, the CPA on a daily basis. So if that client or prospect asked us what is the minimum that we should spend? I would say $60 a day would, because it’s 10 times 6, would give us at least enough budget to know that we want to make iterations every couple of days, sometimes every day. But certainly weekly at a minimum.
Chris Madden: 45:52
So we need to be able to turn on a test, have enough budget where we can say all right, this isn’t working after two or three days. Or interesting, we’re getting cheap clicks but they’re not buying, let’s try this other thing, and you need enough volume. You need enough money per day as it relates to your CPA in order to move fast enough to find the wins.
Stacy Jones: 46:13
It also means not just saying that you’re going to have someone in your office do this, run it and walk away. They need to actually be eyeballing the campaign and making those tweaks that you’re suggesting.
Chris Madden: 46:25
Yeah, absolutely and that goes back to the two things I was talking about, just iteration and having a plan that’s going to involve changing over time.
Stacy Jones: 46:32
Okay. Well where can our listeners find out more about your agency?
Chris Madden: 46:37
Well you can find out more about our agency on our website, which is matchnode.com. And feel free to email me if anybody has questions. My email address is Chris, [email protected] I’m on Twitter @maddencm. M-A-D-D-E-N-C-M personally. So happy to continue the conversation with anybody who’s interested. We really enjoy doing this work and hopefully this helps people get some ideas of where to start when you’re looking for growth on Facebook ads.
Stacy Jones: 47:09
You gave some really great advice today. All of your information will be on our podcast page as well so that anyone who is listening and not writing will be able to still get that information and reach out to you.
Stacy Jones: 47:20
Before we go, can you give any last parting words of advice to our listeners?
Chris Madden: 47:26
Yes. I would say that with everything I just mentioned and you just made a really good point that you have to have somebody in the ads every day changing it. This is going to go well when you have somebody who really likes it or is really interested in it and learning about it.
Chris Madden: 47:40
You don’t have to be the most experienced but you have to have the interest in getting experienced because things go better just generally in life when you have people doing what they like doing.
Chris Madden: 47:51
So, if you have somebody who doesn’t … You got to get somebody who’s interested in doing it because then they’ll be in there every day and you want people who wake up in the morning and are excited to see what happened in the campaigns kind of overnight sort of person.
Chris Madden: 48:05
So if that’s not you or you don’t have somebody in your immediate team to do that, there’s all sorts of freelancers, Upworkers, et cetera that can help you with that. But that’s really important because then that’s how you get the knowledge of what’s changing and what’s the new thing and then the knowledge of how and when to change and look at it multiple times a day as you said. At a higher scale that’s what we do for businesses that have established themselves over the years.
Stacy Jones: 48:29
Great. Well I cannot thank you enough. Thank you so much Chris for coming on today.
Chris Madden: 48:34
Thank you so much Stacy.
Stacy Jones: 48:38
Really they enjoyed the topic and conversation.
Chris Madden: 48:38
Of course they did.
Stacy Jones: 48:38
So happy to hear that Facebook is not this perfect place for B2Bers so that we’re not just feeling like we are in a wasteland. So greatly appreciate that as well. And to all of our listeners thank you so much for tuning in to Marketing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them. I’ll look forward to chatting with you on our next podcast.
Chris Madden: 48:55
Thanks everybody. Thanks Stacy.
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