Advanced FB Strategies: 3 Lessons Learned From Spending Over $1M on Ads | SheCommerce Barcelona 2019

Hey everybody, thanks for the warm welcome.
No pun intended, hope you guys all enjoyed your lunch. First just wanted
to say thank you for having me, it is my dream to be an international speaker,
so being on this stage right now is me living into my dream, so that wouldn’t
be possible without you guys, so thank you. My title of my speech today
is three lessons learned from spending a $100 million on ads. How did I get here? Here’s me, I work at a digital marketing agency
in Southern California called Common Thread Collective and
we specialise in Facebook and Instagram advertising for ecommerce businesses only.
What I’ve been able to do over the last year through my job at
Common Thread is be able to do media buying for Facebook and Instagram
for some top brands, and my current role right now I’m a paid media manager,
so I’m growing the ecommerce teams, helping scale the agency and teach everyone my tactics of how I buy on Instagram and Facebook. So just a quick glance
at some of the clients I work on, most notably Colourpop,
DIF Eyewear, Snow Teeth Whitening, maybe you can recognise a few of those.
On the side, that’s actually a picture of me on my first speech that I did a few weeks ago,
I spoke at Shopify in LA and it was to a group of ecommerce entrepreneurs similar
to yourselves, and this is my first time ever doing public speaking.
I have to say I was very nervous and it took me a while to get my groove,
and so about 10 minutes in I was talking about one of my clients Love Wellness
and what Love Wellness is that they make feminine care products,
that they make suppositories to cure yeast infections, different like
balancing cleansers and I pulled up this ad and I said vaginas, and the second
I said vaginas. I felt the crowd loosened up a bit and I started
loosening up a bit because this is the first time I’ve ever said vaginas is really
out loud to a crowd. I thought it would be fitting that I just start with vaginas
just throw it out there. Since it’s SheCommerce, I feel like this is a pretty
fitting stage, so I just wanted to throw this out there, just for myself
to loosen up, I said it I’m good. So how did I get to where I am today?
It all began on the ground. So on the side, you can see this is
my Instagram profile, “bikinis and brunch”. I started this a few years ago and
I am a self-proclaimed micro influencer in the bikini space with 13,000 followers.
When I built this Instagram, my goal was to create a way to
sell bikinis through Instagram without having to sexualise my body
was something really important to me is that I’m just taking photograph flat lays
of my favourite bikinis and brunches and being to sell it that way without
having to be overly sexualised. Something I wouldn’t able to do
through that I was able to build my audience to over 95% females.
All my followers are females, because as you know when you guys probably
think “bikini influencer” you think of a bunch of guys following them,
but I knew that I wanted to create a very female focused audience.
That was my start, I was building my audience on Instagram and about five years ago,
I started offering my Instagram growth services. I would go to
small businesses and I would say “Hey, I can help you grow your Instagram followers using follower bots, I’ll manage your content and your pages”
and it was pretty similar to Cat Howel’s story, where I would charge
500 bucks a month, I would manage their whole social profile,
get them likes and it was a different game back then, because not a lot of businesses
knew how to set up a Facebook page. This is very different than
how we are five years ago now. So what I realised over the last few years,
I felt that my services weren’t being valued.
So posting for someone’s Instagram page, I was starting to get like undersold,
like suddenly they weren’t even seeing the value of paying $500
a month to grow their Instagram account and this is for a variety of reasons. The first being it’s just easier now.
Anyone can create an Instagram page and most businesses know how.
But secondly I think that this is the most important one, is that because
it’s gotten easier, just the value of it isn’t there anymore.
And so I really liked was the data side of ads on Facebook and Instagram.
I never did a Facebook ad before, so I was like, “Okay I’m gonna go back
to school, I’m gonna go get a degree in data science,
I’m gonna get my MBA”. Here I am, a very proud moment. Just a year ago,
I got my MBA in data science and I was so excited to learn how to do Facebook ads
and to be able to utilise this degree in order to use
excel in our studio to solve for inefficiencies, but what I realised, which is pretty crazy,
and I’m gonna go in to since one of my three lessons learned
and a lot of the speakers echo the same sentiment,
you don’t have to be a data scientist expert to be good at Facebook Ads.
In fact, I have not used anything from my degree in buying on Facebook
and Instagram, so that was a waste, just kidding. But you don’t need it,
and I’ll tell you how this happened. So from getting my degree,
I was able to land this job as a data analyst at Common Thread Collective,
which is the agency that does Facebook and Instagram media buying.
One year later, at this agency, I’ve spent over a $100 million on Facebook
and Instagram ads. Tons of lessons learned along the way,
but I wanted to point out these three in particular because I think that it
will inspire you to start buying yourself, because the strategies are
actually incredibly simple and anyone can adopt it for their own business.
The first lesson I learned is to let the robots take over, and this has
a lot to do with Mirella said about the pixel. You don’t need to solve for inefficiencies
using Excel pivot tables in order to have great results, what you can use
utilising both the pixel as well as Facebook’s advanced automation
and machine learning tools, in order to get to success. Here’s a photo of me mentally wrestling
with the fact that I am not smarter than a robot,
I just got my degree and Facebook’s algorithm is so much smarter than me.
And once I was able to just relax and say, I don’t need to be
smarter than the Facebook algorithm, I can just let Facebook find
my customers and I can focus more on my product, my messaging and
my creatives that really freed up my time. That’s what I really want to just drive
that point home is you don’t have to be a data scientist and you
don’t have to have crazy media buying tactics in order to be successful. The game has changed from
a few years ago, even going to affiliate conferences just three or four years ago.
It wasn’t as advanced the algorithm back then, and you would
basically have to manually hack your way to add success using tactics
and different betting strategies, but it’s just not that way anymore.
Facebook in fact released an article just a month ago saying that
the ways of media buying is to do it through automation,
and that’s the way that you will get success. So why do I rely so heavily
on automation at the agency? Number one, it saves time.
It takes a lot of time to do these tacky media buying tactics, so organisational
efficiencies has allowed me to just relax and be able to focus my time on creative. The second thing is I actually
have gotten better performance ever since I started using automation
and machine learning to approve my ads, so it’s not only that will
save you a ton of time to rely on these machine learning tools, it’ll actually
get you better results, which is what we all want at the end of the day.
So the first part of my speech, I want to go into the campaign setup,
so you’re wondering how do I set up my first Facebook campaign,
and from spending a $100 million these were the five things
that I used that really set my campaigns apart and allowed
me to achieve success. The first one is cost controls. First of all,
I would love to just get a raise of hands, anyone who is currently Facebook ad buying?
Okay, that’s a good amount. Anyone currently using any of these
strategies including like campaign budget optimisation, dynamic ads?
Great, awesome! It’s cool to see you guys already using
these. So to dive into these is a bit deeper. What cost controls this?
Which is really important is that what you do is on the ad set level,
so when you’re choosing your audience in Facebook, you’re gonna tell Facebook,
I want to only reach people who are going to convert at my CPA target.
For example, if I know that my CPA target is $15, on the ad set level
I can tell Facebook I only want to go after customers who are gonna
convert at $15 or less, otherwise don’t spend my money
and this is so important, because this way you’re not wasting money
on an audience that’s not going to convert, and you’re basically telling Facebook
how much you’re willing to pay for each customer, so this is extremely
vital when setting up your campaign. The second and third pillar is automatic
placements and campaign budget optimisation. Like Mirella said earlier,
people convert on different platforms. Some people are most likely to
convert on News Feed or IG story or right-hand column and the old way
of out buying would be that you would manually select where you want to show your ads. That’s a lot of guesswork, right?
I don’t know if someone’s gonna convert from a right-hand column versus feed.
I could have my educated guesses. But what Facebook is letting you
do with automatic placements, which is literally just a check-box that you
click when you’re setting up. If you’re telling Facebook, I’m gonna let you decide where
to show my ad, you guys have all the data, if you think someone’s
going to convert with my ad on a right-hand column, show it to them
from there. You’re letting Facebook take care of the where and by utilising
automatic placements, you’ll be able to lower your CPA. The second thing is
campaign budget optimisation and this is huge for saving time and also getting better results.
Simply, what campaign budget optimisation is, is that in the old days
of ad buying, and what I’m saying the old days I’m literally talking a year ago,
this is how I knew all these interesting learning tools are, and the old days
ad buying you would choose your audience, right? So you would say
I want to go after the dogs audience, I want to go after the moms audience
and then you would say I want to spend a $100 on that audience,
$200 here, $300 there, but it’s pretty arbitrary. And so what campaign budget optimisation does, is you give Facebook three to five audiences,
you’re like, okay I think that my audiences are moms and dog lovers, and then you say I don’t care how much you spend on each one per day,
my total budget for the day is $1,000. and what Facebook will do is that
they’ll analyse the best opportunity within all of your audiences, and then
choose to allocate your budget that way, so you don’t have to do
manual budget changes every day. This has saved me a huge amount of time,
it has allowed me to achieve better results. So automatic placements
campaign budget optimisations are absolute a necessity when setting up. I want to play a little game with you guys,
so going back to my feminine wellness brand Love Wellness,
which was founded by Lauren Bosworth of The Hills. Anyone knows who that is?
Raise of hands, anyone watched The Hills? Okay, so Lauren Bosworth,
she started this company to provide feminine wellness solutions, and these are
all the different audiences I tested. Just anyone can shout it out,
anyone have a guess of which was the best performing audience? Lookalike?
Kardashians, okay any others? Organic? Yeah, I thought organic would be
a good one too, because it’s an organic product. After all the audience testing,
the best audience was female. I just told Facebook, my audience
is female, you guys go find them, my CPA target is $15, you find
the best person within my audience. So the point I’m trying to say is there’s
no magical audience that you have to test in order to find success,
what you can do is choose a broad audience and then with the pixel data
that’s gathering on your pixel, basically able to use its
machine learning to find the best people within a broad audience. So to give you
guys a little perspective of what that would look like and the reason
why broad audiences work so well when trying to scale your ad account,
is because although you might be able to find inefficiencies within
a 1% lookalike or a small niche audience, if you tested a broad you allow
all the opportunities available for Facebook to deliver your ads at your CPA target.
The last thing I want to dive into in terms of setting up your campaign
is dynamic ads. Like Mirella mentioned, for remarketing dynamic ads are key,
so what I mean by that is someone adds something to their cart, and
then on Facebook they get served the same products and a carousel format,
a single image, but it’s basically just following them around with a pixel
and showing them the products they’ve already seen. That’s dynamic ads remarketing. What a lot of advertisers are using
and this has been the biggest secret that I’ve been using the last few months
where I’ve been able to see success is dynamic ads with prospecting.
So what this is it’s called dynamic creative testing, and what this allows you to do,
you upload ten different variations of your image, five different text
headline combinations as well as top text combinations and what Facebook
will do, which is so powerful, it’ll match all these combinations together to
your target audience and tell you which one was the best result. To give you guys
an example, one of my clients is Colourpop and I’m wearing their glittery eye shadow of course, I was to launch an ad. Do you think it would
perform better if I was facing to the right or facing to the left? Eyes closed
or eyes open? Smiling or neutral? I don’t know either, it’s all I guess.
I could take my educated guess of oh I think my left side with my eye
closed it’s gonna be the best performing glittery eye shadow ad.
The thing is none of us actually know it’s going to perform best, so what dynamic creative testing
will allow you to do is upload all your variations of the different
angles of the models as well as different copy value props, and then Facebook
will tell you through a dynamic creative test, which is the best combination.
This is extremely powerful to always be testing and learning and by using
this machine learning tool, you’ll be able to do it very quickly and effectively.
For example, our client Love Wellness, what we did is we launched PR videos.
So using different PR quotes, different photos as well as testing
different text and headlines, and so we don’t know which version is going
to work best but we uploaded all the different variations into a dynamic
creative test and Facebook found out that actually the first image, tthe Forbes quote was the best performing. I wouldn’t have known that if I didn’t do
testing. So going back to pixel, it is so important to let your pixel learn,
and this is called going through the learning phase. You set up your new
campaign, you have your broad audience, you’re doing dynamic
creative testing or you’re utilising automatic placements, campaign budget optimisation
so you’re all set up. Now you’re like how do I know when
to actually analyse my results in my KPIs? It’s really important, as a media buyer
is being patient, allowing Facebook to learn on your campaign, and
what Facebook recommends is 50 purchases on your ad set in order to be fully
optimised and to be able to actually analyse your data as actionable. If you launch
your campaign, you’re not going to be able to make decisions within
the next day, you need to get at least 50 purchases to get out of the
learning phase. So that you can make actionable decisions of whether this
is the campaign you want to scale, or turn off and start over. I won’t let
you guys try to read all the small text on here, I just wanted to demonstrate
the campaign setup it’s actually incredibly easy. There’s just a few
boxes you have to check, some audience to set up things, but it really can
be followed in a very easy instructional way. And some of you might have gotten
these blue post cards on your seat for admission, and so what that is, it’s a
tool that I created where I upload all my training videos, I have my default
account structure in there. So you’ll be able to access to this campaign setup.
But I won’t go too much more into the details, because to be honest,
the campaign setup is the easiest part of Facebook ads and the part you
should be spending the least time on. It’s just as simple as I explained,
just using those five automation tools and techniques, that’s all you have
to do for your buying strategy, there’s nothing hacky about it. My second lesson learned from
spending a $100 million on Facebook ads, is the customer
is the hero of your brand story, not your brand. Your customers don’t
want another hero, what they want your brand to be is a guide.
And what I mean by that, is that your customer has a problem and they
want your brand to be able to guide them and finding that solution or
to where they want to be in their life. No customer wants to see an ad
of you bragging about your product to how great you are, they don’t want
the hero. Always focus your ad messaging on your customer
and why they’re the hero. So how do you do this practically in your ad messaging?
There’s two strategies I want to touch on in particular.
The first is expressing empathy, so what Lauren Bosworth did and this
product Love Wellness it’s an ad copy. She talked about how
she found it to be a very uncomfortable experience to buy feminine care products. Anyone had fun buying something
to cure a yeast infection? Anyone? No? Yeah, I haven’t either, and
neither has Lauren Bosworth. And she says I understand that this
experience was painful and wasn’t fun so what she did is she created
a product that celebrated the female body, and made it fun with cute
packaging as well as made it easily accessible to buy online, to make
the experience a lot more elevated. So expressing empathy for your
customers concerns, I know this is a pain point for you, I’ve been there too,
this is why I created X product. The second way to make your
customer the hero is expressing authority. So what I mean by this, don’t come
off as braggy, which it’s easily to do to come off an ads, but what you
need to do in your ad copy is utilise testimonials PR, UGC, customer
reviews in order to establish credibility. Especially if you’re going into
the consumable space or health and wellness, where someone actually is to
put something on their body or use a lotion or cosmetic. People are very particular
and are very critical about what they use on their body, so you have
to establish credibility with PR and customer reviews. I really like this ad
in particular because, it utilises all three, it has a customer review in the
top text with a five-star, the actual creative has the Forbes quote and
the celebrity endorsement by Lauren Bosworth, and then finally
the headline says it’s a proven solution. It’s really just the trifecta of
creating authority and I believe that is the reason why this ad has been
so successful in that account. The third lesson learned is
“Creative is King”. With all the levers you can pull on Facebook, creative is the one
that’s going to make the biggest difference between success and failure.
In fact it’s so important that our next speaker, Michelle, who is my
colleague at Common Thread Collective, has our entire speech dedicated to creative,
because it is that important and it’s where you should be
focusing most of your time when advertising online. I love this graphic, creativity,
time scale equals fire, it’s true. While odd buying is getting easier
and automation is allowing more advertisers to advertise easily,
what this means is yes, it’s getting easier on the ad buying side. Advertisers
have to be more creative at capturing attention and making authentic
connections to your customers. And that is the part where you
should be focusing your time because it’s hard, it’s hard to come up
with those messaging strategies and those effective creatives. Something I want
to point out is this is our toolkit of creatives. At our agency, when
we’re launching a new client per se, what we do is we launch something
called a “toolkit” and what the toolkit contains is a bunch of different
creative types, UGC, PR, mashable style product on white.
Because different customers respond to different types of creatives and these are
the creative types we’ve seen have the most success. But it’s not enough
just to launch with one type of creative, you have to have a broad portfolio.
I’m sure you guys have all seen ads on Facebook and Instagram and
just like the ones I’ve shown, you’ve seen a ton like that and
customers are becoming blind to ads, skimming over them as fast as possible.
So how do you make your product and your ads stand out from everyone else? I have three tips to level up your
ad craving. The first one is being interactive. On this first IG story,
what it is, is that you actually hold down to select the product that you want,
and this becomes a very like interactive gamify experience
that a customer is more likely to interact with than just an ad that looks like an ad. The second one is an IG story poll.
Just like on your organic feed, when people can post polls on their IG stories,
brands can now utilise that too. This is the way you can interact
with your customers and create a more engaging experience beyond
just showing them an ad, so I definitely recommend setting up an IG story poll
as part of your ad creative. The last is Messenger bots. This is
the way of the future of interacting with your customer. You can set these
up very easily and what this can do instead of having to call
customer service line or for them to email you, you have these automated
responses that are programmed in, that helps the customers not only
answer FAQ questions or customer service, they can also help them
explore the product. You can give them recommendations of things
they may like and give them different options to interact with the bot.
I definitely recommend setting up a Messenger bot for your ecommerce store.
My second level up tip is make it organic. As you can see,
these creatives utilise Instagram´s native gifts and also the native
IG story text, so the best ads don´t feel like ads. They make it seem
like it’s almost as if an influencer is posting it or one of your friends.
It doesn’t interrupt that feed experience, so you don’t need
a huge content shoot or a huge budget, you literally just need
the Instagram app to create an ad. Just make it on your organic feed,
save it and then uploads ads manager. That’s exactly what we
did for ads 2 and 3 and they’ve been extremely effective. In fact,
we’ve seen organic ads even work better than unstylish shoots.
My last level up tip is make it satisfying. This is one of my clients,
Colourpop, and this video has been the best performing an
ad account for months, and the reason why is so simple.
It’s so mesmerising to watch her apply that lipstick so perfectly,
I could watch this over and over again. Ads that feel satisfying such as
like even if you think about just trends in general on social media,
it’s like playing with slime and goo and cutting soap, like all those
weirdly satisfying videos what people organically interact with.
So if you can find a way to make your products, just as satisfying
to watch whether the application or views of it, that’s
gonna be an ad that converts, because people watch more of
the video and end up converting on your website. Just to summarise,
my three lessons learned from spending $100 million Facebook Ads Number one, let the robots take over.
Utilise Facebook’s automation and powerful machine learning tools,
especially dynamic creative testing, in order to succeed on
Facebook and Instagram. The second, make your customer the hero.
And you can do this by expressing both empathy
and authority within your ad copy. And lastly creative is king.
This is where you should be spending most of your attention on
your social strategy. It´s making tons of topping creatives. As I
mentioned, you guys all have a little pamphlet on your sheet for a
30-day free trial to admission. So what a mission is this is something
that we created within the marketing agency I worked at.
For people who don’t have enough money to actually join our agency
and use our services, what we’ve been able to do is we say,
Hey, we´ve all the training’s and we know how to set up
Facebook Ads, we’re gonna give you access to all these training videos
and documents so you can can teach yourself. And so for
SheCommerce, we were able to offer a free 30-day trial,
so what you’ll be able to do is just login, create your account
and just download all the resources. Download all the videos and
just slowly watch them, because honestly all of these topics can
be a one-hour speech in themselves. Campaign budget
optimisation, set up and there is a few clicks involved and
so the best way to do it is to actually follow along with the clicks. I highly recommend setting
up your account and download doing all the tutorials and videos
during a 30-day trial, because then you’ll just be able to do this yourself. And there’s me on a few of the videos,
so you’ll be able to see my face, so it’ll be a great experience,
I can guarantee you. And yeah, let’s be friends,
let’s talk after this. Thank you.

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