Warm audiences, fresh content & current data: the recipe for successful Facebook ads with Ryan Stewart

Ryan Stewart started his career working for large consulting companies with clients like Target, Best Buy and Bayer, before branching out to start his own growth marketing agency. He’s now the founder of TheBlueprint.training, sharing the systems, processes and tactics he’s used to scale his agencies to 8 figures in revenue. Ryan has a ton of digital marketing experience and had a lot to share during his time on Data Beats Opinion.

Ryan sat down with Keith to discuss:

  • The effectiveness of Facebook’s algorithm and why the biggest variable now is content
  • Using data as a driver when developing successful Facebook Ads
  • Engaging and warming up audiences before re-marketing to them
  • Understanding the motivations that draw people to different networks and how that influences the effectiveness of digital marketing
  • The online channel posing a big advertising opportunity
  • Consistently switching up creative to keep ads fresh
  • The metrics Ryan looks at to gauge the success of his ads
  • The app Ryan’s launching this summer that allows you to bring your APIs right to BigQuery and pipe in the data that you need.

Find Ryan at:

Transcript:

Keith:

Hello and welcome to another episode of Data Beats Opinion. I am Keith from SegMetrics and I am here with Ryan Stewart. He has been a digital marketing consultant for around 10 years, has run an agency, is building software that’s releasing this summer. And essentially has worked the entire flow from beginning to end with those digital marketing funnels, specifically ads and everything in between. Ryan, thank you so much for joining us.

Ryan Stewart:

Yeah, thanks for having me, Keith.

Keith:

Yeah, and I’m super excited. So I’d like to just kind of dive in and talk a little bit about what you specifically do with ads and kind of what are your main focuses when you’re looking at a new customer, a new client that’s working with you for that digital marketing sweetness that you bring?

Ryan Stewart:

Sure, so I have to first say that I only run ads for my own companies.

Keith:

Okay, all right.

Ryan Stewart:

When I had an agency was only SEO. I’m somebody who believes in going very deep on something as opposed to wide and the difference between staffing an SEO agency versus staffing a Facebook ad agency is completely different. Two separate business models. So it honestly in full transparency was something that I tried, but I had trouble scaling. Facebook Ads are really, really, really … The differentiator is the creative and creative is something that’s very hard to replicate for clients if you’re not intimately involved with it.

Ryan Stewart:

So the point is, is that I run ads for myself, I have an SEO agency training platform called the Blueprint Training. We’re running about $20,000 worth of ads per month for that. That’s selling high ticket, $3,000 courses to other agencies. I then also will run some ads for my consulting and my business partners. His business is called Coding is for Losers. We help agencies build automation solutions in the Google suite. So instead of building software, you can build stuff in Google suite sheets, stuff like that. And then I’m also running some traffic for, we have a WordPress plugin called capturing convert. That’s like 20 bucks a month. So I’m running ads for the full spectrum of prices. So yeah, so that’s what we’re doing right now with our company specifically.

Keith:

That’s awesome. That’s awesome. So you’re really helping a lot of different agencies and consultancies with their tools and they’re essentially like, don’t be beholden to developers. There’s things you can do to get your automation, everything running. Kind of like almost the Zapier for consultancies.

Ryan Stewart:

Yeah, exactly. And for the record, my partner is a developer and because some developers get really, really kind of like jabby when they hear coding is for losers, like they take it personally, but it’s really not an insult. It’s basically just saying, hey, look there’s another way to do it. That doesn’t require this much effort.

Keith:

Yeah. And I think, they say the mark of a good programmer is their laziness. Right. Because a good programmer will spend hours and hours and hours building a solution so that they never have to do something ever again. Right?

Ryan Stewart:

Yeah, exactly. His tagline is actually, laziness is a virtue.

Keith:

Yes. Very much so. Especially with developers. And that kind of ties into what you’re doing with the software this summer. You were talking to me a little bit about it before the call, but can you go into a little bit of detail on that because that sounds awesome.

Ryan Stewart:

Yeah, so I can’t take credit for the idea. So my business partner, his name’s David Krevitt. Since he’s always working in the Google suite, Google BigQuery is a cloud processing engine that has really been picking up steam, especially with a lot of marketers who use a lot of data because basically if you try and crunch a lot of data in like a spreadsheet, it’ll just crash. So if you’re trying to get like millions of rows of data, which a lot of big websites are on a daily basis. BigQuery presents an option to house your data, store it, process it, and pretty incredibly quickly. And then if you know some code, you can then push that out into like a Google data studio into a Tableau to report that data how you want.

Ryan Stewart:

So the challenge with you using BigQuery is, as I said, you have to know some sort of Python. I believe it is to really use it effectively. So what he did is he built a basic connector piece that basically allows you to bring your APIs right to BigQuery connected right through our app and just push the data that you need. Basically just like how Zapier would do for other things. That’s what we’re attempting to do with BigQuery. So we’re getting ready to launch it this summer. It’s called Query Recipes and we’re calling, like BigQuery recipes. We’re calling it recipes because what we’re also doing is just like how Zapier builds apps, that you can just go and sign up for. We’re building recipes ahead of time for marketers.

Ryan Stewart:

So basically we have like a keyword research recipe that you can just pay us monthly for. We have a website audit and then what’s really exciting and how we’re really planning on scaling this is, we’re partnering with other notable marketers in the space and we’re going to them saying, “Hey, like what are you having problems with? Can we help you automate something?” And we’ll build a recipe in their namesake. So then, they’re leveraging their name to our company building something. And it’s kind of like if you go to a sandwich shop every day, they name the sandwich after you.

Keith:

And I saw a similar, I think PlusThis did that as well where they invited all of the marketers in and they’re like, “Hey, let’s set up your marketing flows with these, we’ll put your name on.” Then they sell the Andy Jenkins plan and stuff like that. So. Yeah, it’s brilliant. It’s brilliant. That’s awesome.

Ryan Stewart:

So yeah, so that’s getting ready hopefully by, I would say aggressively by March, but realistically by summertime.

Keith:

Yeah. Those schedules they don’t hit the marks.

Ryan Stewart:

Yeah. And I’ve never built software before. I’ve been involved in the process before, but it really is like, it’s just crazy how delayed schedules get very easily.

Keith:

Yeah. Especially something that is data oriented. So we had similar things when we were building out SegMetrics that you have worked with 50 to a 100, maybe 200 clients and you think you have a really good idea of what people’s data looks like and what people want. And then as soon as you build it to that specification you find other people. Because now you have the entire world coming in and you’re like no one does anything the same way. Right? Like everyone has everything duct taped together in the strangest way and then you have to figure out how it works for everyone else as well.

Ryan Stewart:

Yep, exactly.

Keith:

Yeah. So then going back into kind of what you have been doing to grow the business, especially as they go through ads. I know one of the things that you had mentioned you want to talk about is that kind of difference in the advertising landscape between how … I mean it’s always changing first of all, but how it’s changed even more recently with a lot of the new rules and new kind of guidelines and kind of guide rails that the advertising systems have put around it.

Ryan Stewart:

Yeah, absolutely. So I think it’s important to first understand what Facebook wants. Facebook wants to commoditize the platform. They want my dad to be able to be on his phone, big button that says boost now. They want to commoditize it so everyone can use it, which means the way that they do that is by making their targeting algorithms so easy that by just one click of a button you can just … It knows what your business is, it knows your audiences. The Facebook Ad algorithm, you just go find them. The more success people have, the easier, the more people are going to use it, right?

Ryan Stewart:

That’s how, I believe Facebook thinks they’re really going to hit scale. So their algorithm has really gotten amazing, like really truly impressive. And coming from an SEO who works with Google every day. Facebook’s Ad algorithm, it’s made leaps and bounds so quickly in terms of knowing, especially if you have a little bit of data. If you have a website with a pixel on it that gets some traffic. If you’ve got a Facebook page that’s got fans and engagement, you’re active on Instagram. Facebook has more than enough data on who those people are for them to take that and understand who you should be trying to target without you telling them. Right.

Ryan Stewart:

So back in the day, you still have to make really defined audiences, right? Like age, sex, location, preference, all this type of stuff. This is only to target cold audiences, right? But now it’s basically just like you can leave it open like put nothing in and Facebook will understand if you have enough data who to target. Like it’s kind of crazy. So with that happening and that becoming easier for everyone to go out and target cold traffic, the biggest variable is now becoming content, right? Because if the algorithm is basically, hey, you just put something here and we’ll find the right people. It comes down to what you’re promoting and how you’re positioning it and the copy that you’re using and ultimately where you’re sending them. Right?

Ryan Stewart:

So really to me the biggest variable right now and going forward with Facebook Ads is content. And that’s why I’ve also had really difficult times serving that. Like you can’t just get stock images and stock video anymore. Like you have to put in the time to understand and test multiple types of content based on who you’re promoting it to, what’s performing best, what they like. All that type of stuff. Data becomes incredibly important for reading how that’s performing to then find that optimal piece of content so you can then scale that out. And that’s really how you have success. If you can do that, then you will have success on Facebook Ads right now.

Keith:

And that’s kind of what I’ve been seeing as well because I’ve been doing Facebook Ads six years I think. Something like that. And in the beginning you had to be very specific about what you were sending out. Otherwise, you’re just getting tons of junk traffic.

Ryan Stewart:

Yep.

Keith:

And I’ve actually heard this from a number of people that I’ve been working with. They’re like everyone’s telling me just to leave it open, like Facebook knows everything and just to focus on the content, which is interesting because that’s the same strategy as SEO, right? Which is to focus on the content and make sure you’re putting out good content. Because I think it’s gotten to the point where people browsing Facebook are not … There’s so many ads now, right? There’s so many ads coming in through Facebook that you need to be able to stand out and you need to have good content rather than just being in front of the right people.

Ryan Stewart:

Yeah, exactly. And I just get a little more surgical too. When I was talking about the content was, so I have a system, it still runs on funnels, right? And meaning that the key to Facebook as well is not necessarily … The cold targeting is awesome. But the key to success on Facebook is really remarketing to warm audiences, right? People who have seen you before been to your website, it’s getting those people to convert, right? So the key is then growing your warm audience is like how can you get more people to your website that are qualified? How can you get more people to watch your videos that are qualified?

Ryan Stewart:

So that’s where having that, that cold targeting becomes awesome. Because basically what we do is we run a series of videos. I have three to five. This is from my training platform, the Blueprint Training. Again, we’re selling a $3,000 training product. So it’s very high ticket. But what we’re doing is we’re running a series of different short, cut up videos of me or my business partner talking and not like … And literally just trying to prove one very valuable tip that a marketer or an SEO would find valuable, right?

Ryan Stewart:

So if you have like a speaking engagement, you cut up like a one to two minute clip, just like Gary V. does. Same type of stuff, right. For just contextual, not quite Gary V. but in the same vein, right?

Keith:

Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Ryan Stewart:

So what we’re doing is we’re just boosting those to cold audiences, and we don’t leave them completely open. I’ll use a lookalike audience because the more data that you have, like basically what I understood from talking to a Facebook rep is that yes, you could do cold targeting, but that’s really better for people who don’t have any data. Right? But if you have data and you know who your audience is, like use a look alike. You can drop an additional … I target HubSpot all the time. If you’re trying to market to agencies, just putting HubSpot. That audience is so big. And you know they’re all agencies. So that kind of is what I advertise to. And then I get them to watch ideally three videos and so we’ll set up a custom audience for each one of those videos, right? And we’re just running that. And then remarketing kind of down the line, almost like sequencing in a sense. Right?

Ryan Stewart:

And then after that, then we’ve got just a whole number of remarketing. If you’ve watched 25% or more of that pool of videos, then you get dumped into our remarketing, right? So we’re spending about $10 to get somebody warmed up to that point and then getting them into our remarketing sequence. So that remarketing sequence, we have 20 video customer testimonials that are all cut up into one minute clips. I do another like short two minute presentation where I’m like kind of beating down objectives for like pricing and like trainings are garbage, that type of stuff.

Ryan Stewart:

We have a sales team, so we also then have ads driving people to schedule a consult and then we’re running two case studies and then two webinar opt-ins. So we’re hitting people with all sorts of different traffic at that point. So that’s where you can see like if we’re not focused on growing that warm audience, then an audience gets exhausted really quickly. So that’s why that cold video targeting is so important to be able to run those sequences. And that’s also why Facebook is cold targeting is so awesome now because they’re pushing the right people in.

Ryan Stewart:

So that cost to get people through that video sequence keeps shrinking because they keep finding better people to push in there. So that can really scale infinitely. And also too, just to finish that thought is that then your marketing kind of opens up, becomes a lot easier. Then it’s all just about like how can I get more people to the website and watch our videos? Right? So now we’re testing traffic from CORE. We’re testing a lot of traffic on YouTube that’s going really well. So basically what we’re saying is that well, if it’s costing us 10 bucks to get somebody into our ecosystem from Facebook or for cold, we can do it on CORE for a dollar. We can do it on YouTube for $2. So it just becomes about getting better top funnel acquisition methods and then the Facebook remarketing sequence. Because Facebook and Instagram are so crowded, people will much more likely only engage with people that they’ve seen before.

Ryan Stewart:

So that’s why it’s so important to get them engaged and warmed up. And then the Facebook and Instagram remarketing is just lethal. Like that’s where you really make money on Facebook is your remarketing audiences.

Keith:

And that’s what I’ve seen as well. I think it was Ezra Firestone was saying as well. He did a talk at TNC that was just mind-blowingly good. He said, the first ad you always see, and I think it’s even the first three ads, none of them are sales. He does not even mention the product for the first three ads you see because he’s focused on building that brand, building that relationship with you and you don’t get that unless you have clicked and engaged with those ads and that content in some way. And then you actually go in once you’ve proven to be interested in  that remarketing, which makes it higher conversion.

Ryan Stewart:

And imagine he’s settling his average, I think sale prices or like cart checkout as like less then a 100 bucks, so.

Keith:

Yeah.

Ryan Stewart:

Like mine’s 3000, so I have a lot-

Keith:

You have a lot of hard work to do.

Ryan Stewart:

And also too, your margin on a training course is over 90%. So our CAC can really go through the roof, but it needs to because people are super skeptical about training, especially in the SEO space. So we need dozens of touch points with people.

Keith:

Oh, I was just saying that it’s one of the issues that we’ve run into as well. And a lot of the clients that I’ve worked with where if you’re targeting marketers, they’re pretty savvy, right? Because we’re doing this all day long and that’s why emailing to marketers is also difficult. I mean, I get 200 emails from different marketers every single day. You have to be really good to stand out, right?

Ryan Stewart:

Yeah. Yeah, so me and my business partner, David. David hates email. I still believe in it. But like what we’ve done with our email strategy is we do not send any sales emails ever. If you’re on one of our lists, our main goal is consumption. Like going back to that same vein as like if I know if I can get you to watch three of my videos, you’re probably not going to think I’m as much of a dick as you think I am the first time. But it’s the same thing with emails. So like if you opt in to watch a webinar, like dammit, I want you to watch the webinar because it’s really good and if you watch that webinar you are going to fall in love with our product and our system. I know that for a fact.

Ryan Stewart:

So once, we kind of shifted that mindset to not just be kind of like always trying to sell people through … Like once, we have their email, it doesn’t mean people want to be sold to. If we have your email, like we want you to open that email and we want you to click on that email. If you’re not going to do that, then we don’t want you on our email because it’s costing us more money and it’s driving down our deliverability rates on email, which is a huge problem. So that’s why we’ve also, we opened up a Slack channel so we’re like really trying to nurture people through community Slack channels. Got over 1300 people in it now. Like really going well. So getting people off of email to other kind of like one-to-one communication methods that like people are actually going to see and consume and engage like humongous, humongous game changer for us.

Keith:

Right. I think it’s going to be interesting once you launch the software because I think that software hits a very different need and a different advertising strategy then courses and training and things like that. I was just talking, I’ve been talking about my advertising strategy with a bunch of people. I was talking to a guy and he’s like, “Why are you doing … ” We were doing Google ads and he’s like, “Why do you have all these Google ads going to a webinar and all this stuff. Like people are searching for a solution. They’re putting in reporting for convert kit or reporting for Infusionsoft and you’re sending them to a webinar. Why are you doing that? Send them to the product, show them the thing.”

Keith:

Because with Google Ads especially, they’re in a ‘I need to solve a problem’ mode. Whereas with training and courses, they’re in a, ‘I want to learn, I want to get more information’ mode. Right. And so it’ll be really interesting I think. We still haven’t cracked the code 100% on the software side, because we’re used to marketing for digital marketers for training courses and stuff like that.

Ryan Stewart:

Yeah. I mean like software has a whole other set of problems too. I mean there’s switching costs for people. You know what I’m saying? I mean, that’s what I found out with this WordPress plugin. So I have a WordPress plug in, it’s called capture convert and if people are happy with the form builder that they have, they’re not going to switch no matter what you say. Like getting people to take action on software … And me too, as a marketer, like how many emails do you get from someone that’s like, “Hey Ryan, like we want to give you free access to our software.” I’m like, “I don’t really want free access to your software.” Unless, I already use your software. Like unless your rep’s coming to me and being like, “Hey, we want to give you a free, whatever.” Then like I’m not interested in it.

Ryan Stewart:

That’s why software is hard, man. Because it’s definitely going to be a challenge for us to have to switch to that mentality. You’re a 100% right.

Keith:

And you’re exactly right because if someone even comes to you and says like, “Hey, this is three months of free software.” It’s like, it’s not three months of free software because I have to figure out the software I need, get it set up. Like there’s a lot that goes into that in addition to just the software. And so you really have to be hitting that pain point… So the switch cost from an SOP slash interim business side is almost zero as well in addition to the pricing.

Ryan Stewart:

Yeah, so basically what we’ve been doing … That’s why our community is so important and the Blueprint Training is so important because we’re taking this to market initially for SEO agencies, like all of our recipes are built for SEO agencies. So David, David’s just a really smart dude. He builds these like kind of micro versions of the data recipes in Google Sheets, that’s built into our course. So we have hundreds of agencies going through learning our systems, using our templates. And then once the solution’s live, we can be like, “Hey, by the way, that tool that you’ve been using in Google Sheets, we can automate that using this.” So that’s why like fostering that community of agencies is so important because that’s ultimately going to be our main go to market strategy too. Is just getting people into those trainings.

Ryan Stewart:

Actually, ClickFunnels has an amazing story about how they grew so fast because basically what they did is they stapled the $49 course for basically like how to build landing pages and CRO that then didn’t have anything to do with ClickFunnels. So people were buying that. And then in the training when people watched it ClickFunnels was the product that they were using and they were giving people a free month after that. So they were acquiring customers. They were getting paid to acquire customers, which is amazing. And then actually activating them through the training and forcing them to use it.

Ryan Stewart:

And then, like I said, once people use software and they like it, like it’s really hard to get them to switch. Like it’s really hard.

Keith:

Yeah, it really is. We integrate with a number of things and the reason we have to do that is because people are like, “Well, I’m using this landing page builder that no one else has used in the last 10 years, but I’ve been using it for 10 years.” I’m like, “Well now we got to do this too.” So. It’s interesting that you know your main market for the training course and everything is SEO. And you focus a lot on the advertising for yourself. I’d love to hear what you think the relationship between SEO and especially Facebook Ads are.

Ryan Stewart:

Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Keith:

As the landscape changes. Like you said, Facebook Ads are getting easier to publish, which means there’s more competition and SEO while not getting harder. I think that a lot of people moved to Facebook and kind of put SEO to the side. And I’d love to kind of get your feeling on kind of the importance of both and if either of them is heading for a crash or anything like that.

Ryan Stewart:

Yeah, I mean look, as long as people use the products that they’ll never crush, right? As long as people still use Google. And I think Google knows enough not to just overwhelm the entire SERPs with ads because I mean consumers just don’t trust when people stop using the product. So there’s a healthy balance that I think both platforms have to deal with that’s on them, but as long as they keep users, then they’re still going to be important. I think what’s important though is that you have to understand … I break marketing down to three very simple buckets for anything. Like number one is audience. Like who are your customers and what do they use, right? Like, and what is your product and how are people going to find it, right.

Ryan Stewart:

For software, SEO is always going to be important because there’s nothing more important. There’s nothing more powerful than point of search for something like that. But if you’re like a coffee shop or like, you know what I’m saying? Like SEO is just not a good … Like a gym. Like SEO is not a good fit for you anymore. And then, Facebook Ads too are important. So knowing your audience is number one. Number two is content. So like know your audience, build the right type of content for them. And then number three is promotion and distribution.

Ryan Stewart:

So I look at SEO and Facebook and everything as just kind of a spoke off of that bucket three there. So like you have content, where are we going to promote it? And SEO is a promotional channel, Facebook Ads is a promotional channel. All these are just promotional channels. So that’s how I look at it. And if you just pick and choose which one is the best based on which business that you’re running. So like for me right now, SEO was not a priority for any of my companies because it’s just too competitive in the space we’re in. It’s going to take way too long to rank. And I know that we can turn around revenue profitably right now if we advertise.

Ryan Stewart:

So we’re still building the same content that we would be building. Maybe a little bit shorter, maybe a little bit more video focused, maybe a little bit more social focused, but we’re still building the same content but we’re just ultimately using a different distribution strategy to get it in front of people.

Keith:

Right. And that’s I think really smart, which is, and you’ve said you’re building the same content you would normally build, but it’s geared more towards that advertising. So if let’s say Facebook, either prices exploded or Facebook itself, like your target audience just stopped using it. Like what happened to LiveJournal, stuff like that. You’re not screwed because you do have all this content that you can then push into SEO and other channels. And I think it’s important to always be where the competition isn’t, but your customers are. Right.

Keith:

And I remember it was a couple of years ago, but we did some Bing campaigns and I was like, “Who the frick is going to be using Bing?” And we were getting like 10 cent leads that were converting and it’s like who is using Bing? Because there was no competition. The clicks were cheap, the leads were cheap and apparently our target audience was actually there.

Ryan Stewart:

So I do see that Facebook is saturated now just like Google is saturated, but they’re still important. They’re still important to be there. That just costs a lot and takes a lot more to get visibility there. So like Facebook is going to continue to rise. It is what it is. I mean especially with the continued use and consumption of Instagram, like people live on Instagram. So that ad space is very valuable. But I look at YouTube as kind of like the really good opportunity right now. YouTube ads … We’re struggling with them a little bit, but we’ve been doing this for like four months now. We can’t get it to convert because we were approaching it like Facebook, like we’re trying to go with that same type of system of like getting people aware and this and that. But like it’s different. People are on YouTube for different reason.

Ryan Stewart:

So we’ve had to adjust our content for that and be a lot more like back to the webinar model. Like try to get people off YouTube to opt into a landing page. That’s just what works there. So we’re still fine tuning that. But like the costs on YouTube are so much cheaper. The video is just as … Like people tend to be on YouTube, like binging, like paying attention too. So like the attention factor is there and you don’t get charged on YouTube until after somebody watches 30 seconds of your video, which is insane.

Keith:

Oh, that’s nice.

Ryan Stewart:

Yeah, it’s insane. Like, dude, I die for people to watch 30 seconds of anyone, I’m paying 10 bucks for it on Facebook. So YouTube knows what they’re doing and so I see YouTube right now is like, if somebody is looking for another traffic source, like YouTube is incredible, incredible.

Keith:

That’s interesting. I have heard good things about YouTube. We haven’t dipped our toes into that yet. What we did try and what I’ve had good results with is Reddit of all things.

Ryan Stewart:

Yeah, I’ve heard that too.

Keith:

And it blows my mind because I think they’ve gotten much better with ads. Because I think even as early as about a year ago, people on Reddit were just super anti ad and it depends on the subreddit but none of them work. And I think that they’ve cracked the way to get them to be part of the content, not have them stand out and be good ads. My friend’s getting, I think he was saying like 20 cent, 30 cent leads.

Ryan Stewart:

Oh wow.

Keith:

Yeah. And I was like that’s really good. Like I need to try that out. So.

Ryan Stewart:

Yeah, it doesn’t surprise me because I see Reddit as a mainly desktop channel too, where like people are, especially in our industry right. Like people are on their desktops. It’s a challenge. So like I’ve been trying testing CORE ads and I’ve been having issues because the traffic is just not performing. Because I feel like there’s an error in clicks people are mobile, they’re there for different reasons. So I could definitely see Reddit being … And you know the exact people who hang on a Reddit too. So you can target your ads pretty well there.

Keith:

There’s definitely a Reddit demographic.

Ryan Stewart:

Absolutely.

Keith:

And I think you touched on something that’s very important, which is the purpose of why people are on that site. So the people visiting Facebook are there for a different reason than they’re visiting YouTube and different than Reddit. Different than Twitter different than Google Ads. I mean, we talked specifically people who are seeing a Google Ad are searching for a solution. They’re not there for entertainment. People on Facebook are much more information and entertainment where YouTube is a 100% entertainment. Unless, you’re doing a DIY video.

Ryan Stewart:

Yeah, it’s important to understand the intent of the network when you’re factoring that in. Absolutely.

Keith:

And how do you also, not just the messaging of the video, but also look at the way the content that you’re actually promoting, as far as like the landing page and what the offer is. Right. So maybe it’s a webinar, maybe it’s a 10 second video, maybe it’s just straight to the application page. Because of that different way that people are looking to consume that information.

Ryan Stewart:

Yeah, so that’s why we’re running so many different ad sets for that warmed audience. So like I said, we’re running … So we built, my partner built like a traffic projection tool that pulls data from SEMrush analytics and then makes like traffic prediction charts. Charts into Google data studio, which is cool if you want to like forecast an SEO campaign? So we’re running that as kind of like, email opt in for that. You get access to it, then a couple of videos to show you how to run it. We’re actually picking up leads off that for like six bucks, which is really solid.

Ryan Stewart:

And then I have a webinar that’s more like agency growth focus that … There’s that. And then there’s really not any direct … Well there’s a demo actually that I said the sales calls running in there as well. Like to me in my opinion too, I actually learned this from just watching, I don’t know if you’ve seen Traffic and Funnels before. The guys, they advertise a lot. I’ve never bought their courses. I actually listen to their podcast. I think it’s really phenomenal. But they do a tremendous job with their ads of consistently switching creative, right? Like when ads get really annoying is when you see the same thing over and over and over again.

Ryan Stewart:

So what, they do a tremendous job. What I learned just watching them is that I’m obviously on their targeted lists for whatever reason, because I’ve been to their website, whatever. But like they’re never really annoying me with their ads because every week it’s a different video. It’s different copy. I don’t pay attention to them because I’m not ultimately not a buyer, but that’s fine. They’re not annoying me, which I think, which I think is great as well.

Ryan Stewart:

So that’s why in that warmed audience set I’m running like at all times, eight different pieces of creative. Like I said, testimonials, in multiple different sources, video. Like Slack, screenshots, stuff like that. Just kind of like remind people like, “Hey, this is a great program.” Then I’ve got like my sales video where I’m like beating back objections but then we’ve got other value ads. Like I said, we’ve got, like free SOPs that we give away. We’ve got the traffic projection tool that we’re giving away, we’ve got the webinar.

Ryan Stewart:

So we’re just like hitting people with different things and if they’re all in that audience, Facebook’s just going to bounce the one to them that works the best.

Keith:

Works the best. Yeah, exactly. I was thinking about the data getting stale or the content getting stale and that’s one of the reasons why I think it’s … You were saying, when you’re doing an agency, when you’re doing consulting, you want to focus down on one thing and running an advertising agency is so different then SEO because with an advertising agency you have to be on top of it every single day. And be changing out those creatives every single week. And that’s one place where when I was doing the agency that kind of fell down because it’s not hard work, but it’s a very specific task you have to do like clockwork and you can’t miss. Because then your ads just tank.

Ryan Stewart:

And you have to understand creative. You have to have someone who can write copy. And this is why people love to dump on SEO saying it’s dead. But like running an SEO agency is amazing because we get paid every month a nice retainer check and if I’m being honest, like we are not doing that much. Once you get to a certain point, if you know what you’re doing, you’re not doing that much work. Whereas with like with Facebook Ads, you’re right. It’s like, especially when you’re getting that campaign dialed in, which takes months. Like months and months and months to get a campaign dialed in. Like even after that, you’re still checking the ads at least twice a week.

Keith:

Yeah, and that’s the thing. I think that SEO agencies and SEO work is a lot of strategic and experience, right? The amount of work you’re doing is less, but the experience to know what to do the right thing is really high. Where Facebook is the opposite, right? You just need to keep … The experience helps, but you have to keep doing it every single week. Otherwise, it doesn’t matter how much experience you have.

Ryan Stewart:

Yeah, yeah. Agree.

Keith:

It’s like that joke of the mechanic who goes into fix a car. He hits it with the wrench one time and then charges $200 and you say, “Well, why was this $200? It took you 10 seconds. Like, well, it’s for the 10 years it took me to know where to hit to fix this.” Right.

Ryan Stewart:

It’s very true though, it’s very true. I mean, especially in SEO because there’s just … The industry went through unfortunately a very bad period where there was just a lot of snake oil salesman because it was so easy to manipulate the algorithm and then a ton of people got penalized. It’s become a kind of a very mistrusted industry, which is good if you’re a reputable agency. But it’s tough if you’re trying to make a name for yourself.

Keith:

Right. And yeah, and I think that especially during that time, everyone was like, “Oh, it’s so easy.” And then you get hit with your first big like Panda update or whatever the latest update is and you’re like, “Well, there goes the business.”

Ryan Stewart:

Decimated, yeah.

Keith:

Yep. Yep. I want to ask one more thing. And when you’re doing ads and when you’re looking at … So you were talking about being able to forecast out some of these campaigns and everything, and I guess what are some of the main areas that you’re looking at when you’re looking at these ads? When you’re looking at engagement to let you know, hey, this is doing well. Hey, this is not doing well beyond kind of the standard like cost per lead and the return on ad spend and what everyone’s looking at. Like what are some of the signals that you see that are like, oh man, we got to stop this right now or we got to double in on this?

Ryan Stewart:

That’s a good question. So the one that I check every day is my cold campaign that’s just collecting video views. And that’s where I’m running the most tests because I’m testing … At anytime I’m testing 10 different pieces of creative, different ads, like I’m constantly creating. Like I create content every day. It’s just become a part of my routine and whatever. So I have plenty of assets. But figuring out which asset not only is going to get the most views because I think that’s important. Like I’m not optimizing for the lowest cost per view, I’m optimizing for the most engaged views, meaning positive sentiment comments, like stuff like that. So I’m consistently checking to see which one of those ads is attracting people that aren’t showing genuine interest.

Ryan Stewart:

So all of those, I’m looking at my main KPI there is 25% video views and then the engagement rate too. So there’s an engagement rate that you can add into report. So I’m looking at those. And then I’m also looking at the comments because I have one ad that I thought was really good but dude was getting bombed from people with negative comments. Like bombed from people because I was just talking about like, how Google’s 50% of searches go to result in no clicks in Google now, right.

Keith:

Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Ryan Stewart:

And like I mis-said something. I don’t know, it was just crazy. So I had to cut that ad off, which was unfortunate because like people just kept on piling on and piling on and piling on. So I’m looking at like sentiment because it’s tough. Like I do believe that the internet is a very tough place and people are allowed to have their opinion, but like you have to not care about it. Otherwise, it will just completely derail you from getting anything done and publishing more content. But to a certain extent you do have to listen to them because you can’t just let people pile on negative comments because then everyone who sees that ad is going to see that and think that you’re a jackass too.

Ryan Stewart:

So that’s what I’m looking at for that. And then I feel like if I can build that audience enough, then the mid funnel ads, I’m actually not really looking at too much data from those because they can really vary. And the thing is too, is once Facebook like decides what that cost per lead is going to be. It doesn’t really change that much. The only thing that happens is you’ll just get less and less over time because the audience gets exhausted. So it’s kind of like within the first couple of days, you don’t really have to sit there and stare at the data, like the cost per lead data because it’s pretty much … Facebook is identifying that subset. And I also believe that they’re just like through the algorithms so intelligent that it’s going to distribute it evenly too.

Ryan Stewart:

Like they’re not going to give you all the conversions in one day and then have none for you for the next couple of weeks. Which I’m sure that they could do, they could just look at your audience and be like, “Okay, you’re going to have a 100% conversion on this now.” But so yeah. So I believe that the algorithm just understands it like, okay, this is what … Looking at our dataset, they’re calculating what your cost per lead is going to be, and then they’re just distributing that over however long.

Keith:

They’re essentially building out that long tail for themselves. So that they can generate that money over time. Yeah.

Ryan Stewart:

Exactly. And again, because my CAC can be so high for the training that I’m not concerned. I try to keep it under a certain range for our leads, which is like 100 bucks. But when I have one campaign performing at six bucks. I scale that one up and kind of cut the other ones. So I’ll just like let the winner of … Like I have five webinars, I’m just running one webinar ad though. I pick the best one that performs the best.

Keith:

Right.

Ryan Stewart:

So yeah, aside from that, I’m not checking too much. I’m really just looking heavily at those … And then also too, I’m running a blog post for cold traffic. In that I’m checking Google analytics to see how that traffic is performing on the page. Like how much time they spent on page. Do they have to-

Keith:

Have to read it. Yeah.

Ryan Stewart:

Yeah, exactly. Exactly.

Keith:

Excellent, excellent. And then, do you use any tools or anything for managing all those ads? Because I know sometimes Facebook Ad Manager can be a beast.

Ryan Stewart:

I’m spending a good amount on our ads but I’m only managing a few ad accounts so it’s not that big of a deal.

Keith:

Yeah.

Ryan Stewart:

But no, I mean I’ve heard good things about Kenshoo and stuff, but that’s for like enterprise. That scale and stuff. I’m pretty junior in the grand scheme of things.

Keith:

Yeah, I’ve tried a number of different systems and haven’t found one that I really like more than Facebook Ad Manager.

Ryan Stewart:

Yeah.

Keith:

Like as bad as it is, it’s like it’s still seems to be the best, which is always-

Ryan Stewart:

Yeah, I mean you’d be hard pressed to bet against Facebook too. That would be, if I were to invest myself in time and money into another tool. I mean Facebook … I mean if you remember Power Manager and like now it’s just Ads Manager, like the leaps and bounds. Like, I agree. There’s definitely still things that could be improved, but they’re continuously making updates and improvements and it would just be tough to bet against them on their own platform.

Keith:

Yeah, yeah. Awesome. Well, Ryan, thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us. Where can people find you?

Ryan Stewart:

You can find me at Theblueprint.training or on social media as Ryan was here.

Keith:

Awesome. And we’ll have those links in the show notes. Ryan, thanks again and have a great day.

Ryan Stewart:

Great time. Thanks, Keith. You too.



Keith Perhac