More than 2 billion people use Facebook daily, which makes is a no brainer as far as an advertising platform is concerned. Not only that, they collect so much data for its users that they share with advertisers to help them target their audience in even the most granular ways.
But you can’t just throw up any ad on Facebook and expect the business to roll in, it takes a little finesse and testing to reach the right target audience that’s going to reward you with leads and sales. You need to choose the right objective for your campaign, as well as choose the ad set level, before you even go ahead and create that perfect ad.
Rich: Rick Mulready is an industry leading authority on simplifying social media and Facebook ads for entrepreneurs and small businesses. He’s the host of The Art of Paid Traffic Podcast. Rick’s Facebook ads programs are based on years of testing, thousands of dollars spent figuring out what works, and case studies from his own daily ads, as well as those of his clients.
With 12 years of corporate internet advertising experience, Rick has worked with the likes of AOL, Yahoo!, Funny or Die, and Vibrant Media, where he sold and managed online ad campaigns for some of the largest brands in the world.
In addition to creating industry-leading training courses, Rick consults with entrepreneurs and businesses on Facebook advertising and marketing strategy. Rick, welcome back to the Agents of Change Podcast.
Rick: Rich, so good to be back here. Thanks man, I appreciate it.
Rich: I get to have dinner with you once a year, and that’s one of the highlights of my entire life, I have to say. But you and Amy (Porterfield) get together at Social Media Marketing World, and the last couple years you’ve been good enough to throw me a bone and have me sit with you at dinner. It’s always great to hang out with you, and Amy as well.
Rick: I’m always psyched when you’re there, are you kidding. Generally, we touch base a little before that to see what you’re up to as far as what your plans are when you’re out here, but man we always have a good time at dinner and stuff like that when you’re here.
Rich: That’s very cool. So, what’s your affiliation with Amy Porterfield anyway? Just kidding. For people at home you’re going to have to listen to the interview with Amy and Rick – we’ll link to that in the show notes – to understand what that’s all about.
Rick: Yeah, that was funny. Inside joke.
Rich: Inside joke for everyone that listens to Amy’s podcast. Alright, so like I was mentioning, I recently was listening to your 2-part interview with Amy Porterfield on her podcast; very great, brilliant stuff. However, a lot of the advice seemed to be about list-building with the end goal of selling a course. Which of course I know a lot of the people that follow you and Amy are into.
I want to take a different tact today, I want to talk about Facebook ads for service professionals and brick and mortar stores, because that’s kind of the people who I’m talking to and the people who listen to the show. People like chiropractors, pain delivery services, and even digital marketing agencies, is there a place for businesses like those that don’t want to create an online course in Facebook ads?
Rick: Absolutely, 100%. It’s been really fun to watch the shift in not only Facebook ads but sort of online marketing in general for these types of businesses. But what we’re going to be talking about here today is with Facebook ads.
There’s a cool opportunity there that exists of going just beyond, “Hey, I’m going to market a special offer or a coupon or a discount code to people that come into my store, or for a service I’m offering.” Obviously – and we’re going to talk about it here as far as locally targeting our ads – but there’s the opportunity now, because Facebook loves this, Facebook wants us advertisers to be leading with value to its user base. Because that’s what Facebook is trying to protect, it wants to make sure that the user base has a good experience when they’re on the platform. Because without users, if they go away, all their advertising dollars go away with it as well.
So one opportunity that businesses like service professionals and local businesses have – especially digital marketing agencies – is to provide content that is going to attract your ideal audience.
So here’s one example of what I mean by that. If you are a local golf course – I actually have a student that runs a golf course outside of Des Moines, IA – it’s a full 18-hole golf course but they also have a big convention area and a mini golf course. What do you call that in the Northeast?
Rich: Miniature golf.
Rick: Miniature golf, ok some people call it “putt putt”, I don’t know if that’s a Southern thing. Anyway, they have a mini golf course on the property as well and she rested Facebook ads with “Get a discount on a round of golf” or “Buy one get one free”, and that has worked well for her. But one of her most successful Facebook ad campaigns for getting families to the mini golf course – for example – was to provide a checklist or cheat sheet that was the “Top 5 ways to save money on your next birthday party”. And so she’s speaking to her ideal audience. In this case, she was trying to reach the mom because she knew from her business and experience that the decision maker was the mom, and the mom was putting together these birthday parties for kids.
And of course, though that content – which has nothing to do with the mini golf course – it’s helpful content that is going to attract your ideal audience, but yet then that content leads into an offer for the golf course. So, if you can be thinking about what type of valuable content can you provide to your target audience, then we’re using Facebook ads to amplify and promote that content and get really granular with the amazing targeting that Facebook has available to us. That’s how these types of businesses are winning on Facebook.
Rich: Alright, so just to break that down a little bit. So is she sending people to her website and taking their email and they can download this, or is it a blog post? What did it look like exactly?
Rick: What she did was it was a PDF, so you had to go and opt in for it.
Rich: So, she’s building her email list at the same time as giving this PDF which had some sort of offer about one of the ways you can save money is by having a mini golf party for your kids.
Rick: Exactly. Or it didn’t even have to be a party at the mini golf course – and I forget what it was, maybe it was “money saving things” or “top 10 ideas for your next kid’s birthday party” – which it was relevant to the audience but it wasn’t necessarily screaming, “Come to the mini golf course!”
Rich: Right. But it was related to the needs, for sure.
Rick: Yup, absolutely.
Rich: And I’m thinking about, we get a lot of chiropractor business here, so a chiropractor might create a similar thing with a PDF of “10 stretches to keep your back loose”, or whatever that might be. And the same kind of thing down at the bottom, there might be some sort of call to action. And even if there’s not there’s that branding and phone number and whatever it may be. So there’s a lot of different ways that companies can use to get your attention. We don’t just have to offer 5% off, 10% off, 50% off.
Rick: Which you can do.
Rich: Which could work, and there’s no reason not to do some A/B split testing. But the bottom line is, what we’re doing is creating something of value. And for whatever reason, Facebook wants us to create this value for their audience.
Rick: Absolutely. And another example of kind of what we’re talking about here actually, another one of my students – he’s in all of my programs, because he’s just done so well – he reached out to me last year and hopped on the live chat on my sales page as enrollment for one of my classes was closing, and I happened to be on there answering people’s questions and he starts telling me how full of crap I am and that Facebook ads only for work for online marketers who sell “How To Make Money on Facebook”, and he’s going off on me. And I love stuff like that because I just gave it right back to him in a very nice way. It turns out he’s in Western Canada, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, and he runs a roofing company. He’s a co-owner of a roofing company.
He had been running Google AdWords forever and he said he’s interested and intrigued by the opportunities that exist with Facebook ads, but he really didn’t think it would work for his business. So, we went back and forth talking about it, long story short he signs up for my program, about 60 days later he comes back to me and said he couldn’t get out of his Google AdWords contract fast enough, and he’s had more business and more leads than his business could handle over the past 60 days because of these Facebook ads. And in the first 90 days he grew his roofing business by 40%.
Rick: Now we’re talking anywhere between $6,000 and $40,000 for roofs. And so we talked about what he was doing to make this work, because you’re not going to be selling a roof right from a Facebook ad. A chiropractor is probably not going to be saying, “Come buy a session from me”, you’re going to be leading them to that.
Well what he was doing was a similar strategy that we were just talking about where he put together a piece of content that was a PDF and it was something like “The Top 10 Ways to Save Money on Your Next Roofing Project”, and it wasn’t about his company but his company branding was in that PDF. And then that led people to fill out the form to get an estimate. And that funnel not only brought in all this business but it gave him a huge list of potential leads, but they were qualifying themselves. They were going through reading this and then they were coming in and filling out that request for more information and he was just killing it.
So now he’s teaching other roofing companies how to do this, but this is just another example of where you’re leading with content that is valuable, and then from that you are branding your company and getting people into your business.
Rich: It makes a lot of sense. Now obviously, the roofing guy is targeting people both geographically and homeowners, I’m guessing. Your mini golf woman is targeting moms in a certain geographical area, possibly a certain age or knows that the children are of a certain age. So let’s talk about that. How do I get in front of my ideal customer on Facebook?
Rick: That’s one of the beautiful things about Facebook advertising is that Facebook has so much data about its users and it makes that data available to us advertisers. Now granted here in the US we can target by income, for example, but other countries don’t have access to that necessarily. So there are some differences. But in general, Facebook has all of this data available to us and makes it available in the advertising platform, whether it’s Ad Manager or Power Editor.
Now if you’re talking about wanting to reach moms with kids, for example, well there’s an option for that. It will give you an age range of kids like teenagers or toddlers, or between 3-9 or something like that. So you can actually get that granular.
You can also target things like behavioral targeting. So, Facebook partners with these third-party companies that have purchasing data. So, for example if I’m a local pet store, I can target people based on their purchase behavior of buying pet products. So again, Facebook has that data that it makes available to us advertisers. So, with using that information, we can get very specific on our targeting.
So, for example if you are a local chiropractor in Portland, Maine, we can target people by a certain age range, we can target men and women, or just men, and then it comes down to what are you specializing in and what kind of person do you want to attract into my practice. And Portland is a pretty decent sized market, it all depends on who your exact target is. You’ve got to be super clear on understanding who your target audience is.
I’m always challenging people who say they have a good understanding of who their target audience is. And I tell them that’s awesome, but never forget, don’t stop learning more about your target customer. We can always be learning. And so, if you’re that local chiropractor, just be really clear about who your exact target audience is, what are their attributes, what are they interested in.
One of the examples that I like to use is, if I’m a yoga studio owner of course I probably want to target women between 35-50 who are interested in yoga. That’s a no brainer. But if you take a step back and be thinking about targeting women between that age range, but I also probably want to target women in that age range who have an interest in Lululemon or maybe they shop at Whole Foods. So, taking a step back and thinking about our target audience from a holistic standpoint, thinking about the brands that they engage with, where do they shop, are relevant to our business.
Rich: So are you saying in this case that you want to narrow your focus by focusing on a subgroup that like Lululemon, or are you talking about expanding your potential audience by saying here are some people who Facebook may not realize like yoga, but they are into Lululemon, so at least they like to look like they’re into yoga.
Rick: Yeah, great question. And so, what I would do with that is I would have an ad set up so that I’m targeting the women between 35-50 who have an interest in yoga. You could also test another ad set for those that have an interest in yoga and Lululemon. And then you could also have another ad set – and granted, you start to get into a little bit of overlapping here – but you could have an ad set of the women between 35-50 who have an interest in Lululemon, but then you want to use the ad copy in the image to speak directly to yoga. Because people who shop at Lululemon might be into Pilates and not into just yoga.
So, we want to use the ad to further speak to our exact target audience, and this is what it really comes down to, just testing different variables and different combinations of the targeting to see where we hit our sweet spot.
Rich: Now Rick I have to say that you’re understanding of yoga and women’s fashion statement is frightening to me right now. I’m sure this is from working with different clients, you just start to get these weird pieces of information.
Rick: And my wife.
Rich: And your wife, there you go. So, you started to say a few things that I wanted to get to, so let’s talk about this. I know from listening to you before there’s at least 3 components in a Facebook ad. One being the campaign, one being the ad set, one being the ad. Can you kind of give us a breakdown of how these things overlap, or just the structure and format of those three things?
Rick: Sure. So, this is the hierarchy when it comes to setting up your Facebook ad campaigns. So, at that top level – as Facebook calls it – the “campaign level”. And really you’re doing 2 major things. If you’re a chiropractor and your goal is to get new patients, great, do that. And I’m going to work backwards from there.
Let’s say that person is signing up for multiple sessions with a chiropractor. Ok great, what needs to happen in order for that to take place? We could look at that customer journey like we were just talking about. Let’s just say that a chiropractor is putting out a PDF of the “best stretches for your lower back”. Ok great, if we’re going to start there then we need to have our Facebook ad go to that page on their website where they can opt in to get that.
Ok great, now that we know that we can choose an objective that aligns with that goal and the objective in this case would be conversions. So, Facebook has objectives like conversions, and traffic, and engagement, or video views. The whole reason I talked about knowing what your goal is right up front is that you want to choose the objective that most aligns with what you’re trying to achieve.
So, in the example we just used, our objective there – our goal – was to try to get people to opt in for that checklist. Ok great, so our objective in that case would be “conversions”. If all we wanted to do was get people to watch our video – let’s say we had a Facebook video ad – but we can turn around and re-target those people who are watching our ad, and then in our case there we could do “video views” as our objective. Because all we really want to do is get people to watch our video.
When we choose an objective, we’re telling Facebook we want more of this, whether it’s conversions, video views, traffic. That sort of thing. That’s the campaign level.
Then we have the ad set level, and ad set level is really the guts of the campaign, it’s where you’re setting the budget, it’s where you’re setting the targeting, it’s where you’re setting the scheduling, it’s where you’re setting what you want to optimize for all those types of things. So that’s the ad set level.
And then at the ad level is where we’re actually setting up our ad. It’s where we’re putting in our ad copy and image and video and text and all that stuff. So that’s sort of the hierarchy. The ad lives with the ad set, and the ad set and the ad live within the campaign.
Rich: So, you might have multiple ads within an ad set, and you might have multiple ad sets within the campaign.
Rick: So, yes. I’m not a big fan of – and we’ve tested this for years now – and just never had good results in doing this. But yes, you are going to have multiple ad sets within a campaign. Where we haven’t seen good results is having multiple ads within one ad set.
Rich: If I wanted to test, let’s say Agents of Change, so one target might be small business owners, and another one might be social media managers. So my campaign could be selling tickets. So how might you recommend that I then do that? Are those different ad sets, or are those different ads within the same ad set?
Rick: I would do different ad sets. When I’m looking at what do I want to combine within an ad set, is I want to make sure if I’m going to be combining target audiences within an ad set, I want to make sure they’re very similar to one another.
So for example you just mentioned small business owners and social media managers. Those are two different audiences. So if you said “social media managers”, another interest you could probably target is “social media marketers”. I would combine those two because they’re very similar.
Rich: And you combine those how? Into the same ad?
Rick: Into the same ad set, yup. The problem really runs into, and the reason for this is because Facebook at this time – I think that they will change this eventually – but at this time it doesn’t give you reporting if you’re combining 4 different interests within one ad set. Facebook doesn’t break out the performance per interest, so you don’t know which one of those is doing the best.
It’s very similar to Google AdWords, you’re putting “like” terms within one ad group, it’s the same sort of concept. And so I think also where you were going with that, too, is if you’re targeting social media managers and you want to split test maybe a different image to see which one does the best, you would think that you’d want to put both of those different ads within that one ad set.
What happens is – and we really want this to work but we’ve just never had good luck with it – Facebook declares a winner too quickly. So let’s just say we start our ad tomorrow morning at 6am. Let’s just say in the first 6 hours or so that Facebook has declared a winner of those 2 ads, and once it does that it puts all this delivery emphasis on that winning ad and doesn’t give any love to the other one.
Rich: That actually makes a lot of sense because you may have just targeted one ad that was very good for people who stay up too late and Facebook has totally skewed your results and misrepresented them.
Rick: Exactly. And what Facebook is trying to do there is good, it’s trying to split test for you and give the delivery emphasis to the one that’s “winning”. But what we found – and we’ve tested this so many different times and really want this to work – but it declares that winner too fast and then once it does that it doesn’t give any love to the one that didn’t “win”. And then when in reality that other one could do pretty well, it could be a good ad it just didn’t give it enough chance.
So, what we do instead is we would have one ad set for the social media managers with one version of that ad, and then we would duplicate that ad set exactly the same except for we put the other version of the ad in that ad set. So now we’re targeting social media managers in two different ad set, and each of those ad sets has a version of the ad.
Rich: So, to summarize this, is there ever a time that you, personally, would set multiple ads within an ad set?
Rick: We might play around with it a little bit to kind of test it out to see if things have changed.
Rich: To see if things have change, but what you’re saying is you would generally not advise that at this point in time.
Rick: That’s correct.
Rich: Alright, cool. I don’t do lightning rounds on this show because I feel like they’ve been done to death, but I’m going to do one with you because I feel like I’ve sucked up a lot of your time and I want to get some quick answers. And if there aren’t quick answers, then give me a long one.
Rick: Ok, cool.
Rich: What should we be paying per lead? And by the way, if every answer is “it depends”, I swear to god… But if it depends, I want to know why and how to come up with a good number.
Rick: Well this is one of those answers where it’s all relative to your business. I think one of the big things that I’d want to caveat this answer with is that everybody always throws around “$1 a lead”, or “$2 a lead”, but maybe people are getting that in one ad set to the warmest traffic to their email list, for example. Which is great, but it’s all within context.
So just be careful about what you believe out there. Yes, there are people who are overall getting great cost per lead, $.50, but it’s not the norm. The other thing to know on this front is that cost on Facebook have been going up and they’ve been going up progressively for – in the very least – over the past year. So, it’s much more a bidding auction on Facebook so it’s become a lot more competitive. So, it’s really hard to say what a good cost per lead is. For some businesses, it might be that they’re getting a $20 per cost lead, and for me personally, I don’t ever want to get a $20 cost per lead.
It’s also different for online businesses versus local, or brick and mortars, or service-based businesses. So I’m going to give you a very general number here Rich, if you’re in that $8-$12 range, I think you’re doing pretty well with the types of businesses that we’re talking about here.
Now some people might think that’s way too high, and other people might kill for that. It really does come down to how many of those leads that you’re paying for are converting into actual sales. Because you could be getting a cost per lead of $8 on one ad set and $12 on another ad set, and just at first glance you’re like, “Well that $12 one isn’t working at all”, but maybe all your sales are coming from that $12 ad set.
Rich: Such an important thing for people to remember. You cannot measure just that one piece, you’ve got to keep looking further down the funnel to see where your sales are actually coming from.
Rich: It’s funny, I wrote out the question, “What should we be paying per lead?”, now we’re running ads right now for the Agents of Change Conference and we’re actually not trying to get leads, we’re trying to get conversions because at this point I need somebody to buy a ticket for 2017, that’s my goal. So, the other day I think we figured it out and we were paying over $50 a conversion, that’s still great for us. Spend $50 to make a profit of $200, I wish I could sell all the tickets at that rate. So, it does depend.
Rick: Yeah. But most people don’t even get to that point. All they see is they’re paying $50 per lead and they can’t be doing that. But when you look at it like you just did Rich, I’m paying $50 to make $200 in profit, well I’ll take that all day long.
Rich: Exactly. So that’s what I’m looking at a physical pass is that’s what we can make. Now obviously, there’s other expenses involved too, but the bottom line is that to me is a no brainer.
By the way, this is the worst lightening round ever. It’s so slow.
Rick: I was just going to say, I failed the lightning round already.
Rich: I think it’s the questions I’m asking. What is a good landing page conversion rate?
Rick: That I can do pretty quickly. There’s going to be 2 different ones. So, a landing page on an opt in, if you’re just giving something away for free, I like to say at least 20% on the conversion rate. Meaning 20% of the people who are landing on that page are actually opting in. That’s going to be different for a sales page where you’re asking someone to actually purchase something. That’s going to be more in that 1%-5% conversion. But if you’re in that 20% or above on the landing page for a registration or opt in, you’re doing well.
Rich: Alright. What’s a good click through rate for our ads over to these landing pages I just mentioned?
Rick: I want to see at least 1%. And just a quick explanation on that, the question I get a lot, “Is the click through rate I want to see at least 1% on all clicks or link clicks?” I want link clicks because that is the click through rate on the people that are clicking and going to your landing page. The all clicks could be somebody who’s just liking, or sharing, or commenting. on your ad, or maybe clicking the name of your Facebook page and going to your Facebook page.
The link click is the people who are actually clicking on your ad and going to the landing page. So at least 1% on that click through rate.
Rich: This is kind of a side question. So, if I’m running an ad – let’s say I’m a propane delivery company and I’ve got “10 ways to save propane”, and I’m paying for conversions and somebody clicks the ‘like’ on the ad. Am I paying for that, or am I only paying for conversions?
Rick: No, you’re not paying for the ‘like’.
Rich: Talk to me about relevance score. What is it and what is a good one?
Rick: Super important. This stat has never been more important, what we were talking about before as far as the competitiveness on Facebook now. Facebook has said for a year now that once we hit the middle of 2017 – which we’re beyond that now – they’re reaching this critical mass of the number of advertisements on the platform versus the users, and so forth. So, it’s now more competitive than ever.
So, as an advertiser, one of those stats that you need to be looking at that’s very important is this relevant score. It’s a scale of 1-10, 10 being the highest and 1 being the lowest. So, the higher you are the higher the relevant score that you are seeing on your ads. By the way, you look at this at the ads level and you’re going to see lower costs, higher delivery, and so Facebook is looking at a lot of different factors. We don’t know – it’s kind of like their secret sauce – we don’t know everything that’s in there but we do know essentially Facebook is saying how relevant is this ad to the target audience that we are targeting.
So, if you have a low relevant score, I would be looking at how is my target audience and am I reaching the people, am I setting this up to reach my ideal target audience. Then looking at what am I offering in my ad, is this the type of ad that this audience wants to see.
The other thing that plays a big part in this and everyone seems to be talking about this lately, is this high negative feedback score. And that plays into this score as well. And really what that means is in the upper right hand corner of an ad you can click a little down arrow there and say “hide this ad” if you don’t want to see the ad. If that happens too much, Facebook is going to give you a high negative feedback score, and as advertisers we want to try to stay away from that. Because again, Facebook wants good quality advertisers on the platform.
So, you want to be shooting for that 8-10, and maybe 7-10 range on the relevant score. If you’re in that 4-6 range, you’re doing ok, I’d keep an eye on it. If you’re in that 1-3 range, you really want to be looking at the rest of your stats to figure out what’s going on with your ad and possibly consider making some changes to it.
Rich: So, you want to possibly more narrowly target to your audience. So, the things we need to pay attention to is that we’re targeting our audience properly, we’re not just going too broad. And also, that we are providing some sort of offer that when they get to the landing page – for example – that they’re actually converting, or a high enough percentage of them are converting. And that’s what a low relevance score is telling us is that at least one of those 2 things isn’t working for us.
Rick: Exactly. And when it comes to the targeting, Facebook’s algorithm has gotten so good over the past several months that really – this is 2 parts and I’ll make it quick – because we’re talking about more local businesses here, we do want to be as targeted as we can but yet also broad in the same scope. So, if we’re targeting a national audience or international audience, then the higher that we can get the potential audience size, anywhere between that 500,000+ up to a few million people, that’s kind of going to be the sweet spot.
Now as a local business you’re saying, “I’m not going to be able to hit that because my local area is not that large”. That’s ok, just try to get as targeted as you can but also consider thinking about if I’m that yoga studio in Portland, maybe I want to try testing women between 35 and 50 in the Portland area. That’s it. And so that’s going to get me a much broader audience and then we start laying in interests in yoga, for example.
Rich: Ok. Last question. What is a frequency score and what is a good one?
Rick: Frequency is the average number of times somebody is seeing your ad. And the reason this is important to keep an eye on is if somebody is seeing your ad too much; 1) they’re going to start tuning it out, and 2) they’re probably going to get annoyed and hit the ‘hide ad’ button and that’s going to increase your high negative feedback score.
So, what I would say is if you’re in that 1-3 range on the frequency, you’re doing well. If you’re in that 4+ on the frequency, it’s probably time to refresh. People often freak out when they have that high frequency. I wouldn’t freak out, all it means is the people I’m targeting are seeing this ad a lot and I just have to refresh. It’s time to change things up.
Rich: Alright. Rick this has been very helpful, I’m sure everybody who’s listening is thinking about how they can get better at their Facebook ads. If they want to learn more, where can they find you online?
Rick: I would say the podcast, which is The Art of Paid Traffic, we’re on iTunes and Stitcher and pretty much wherever you listen to podcasts. And then my website is rickmulready.com, and you can hop on the email list and you get all kinds of helpful information.
Rich: This has been awesome. Thank you so much Rick, and we’ll talk to you soon.
Rick: Absolutely, thanks Rich.
Rick Mulready is an authority on Facebook ads, having helped countless entrepreneurs and small businesses navigate their way through to get the most return for their advertising dollar. Check out all the valuable info he has to share on his podcast and his website.
Rich Brooks is the President of flyte new media, a web design & digital marketing agency in Portland, Maine. He knows a thing or two about helping businesses grow by reaching their ideal customers, and to prove that, he puts on a yearly conference to inspire small businesses to achieve big success. You can also head on over to Twitter to check him out, and he just added “author” to his resume with his brand new book!