A lot of people have been emailing me asking some variation of “I’m kind of new to all of this marketing stuff. Is there a book I can read that will get me up speed on all this?”Well…yeah I guess. There are lots of books about specific marketing tactics, like SEO or optimizing AdWords campaigns. But I’m a firm believer in getting the fundamental strategy right before getting into specific traffic tactics(and maybe even before you write a single line of code). That means figuring out how big your target market is and what it wants, converting your main features into the biggest benefits, and eliciting attention, interest, desire, and action from your most valuable customers.The thing that surprises technical people most when we talk about this stuff is that building effective marketing messages is not an airy-fairy, vague, creative endeavor. Done well, it’s actually a very precise, and methodical process designed to systematically and consistently elicit specific reactions in certain groups of customers.In the past century, direct response advertisers(the ones interested in generating conversions rather than branding) have developed and refined time-tested marketing messages that operate on the core drives and desires inherently present in all humans. The medium and technology may change, but human psychology does not, and the techniques detailed in the books below, ranging from broad advice on picking a fundamental human desire to target, down to specific words that increase conversions, are timeless.I’ll be blogging about some of the time-tested advertising methods that are most relevant to driving traffic online, but I don’t want to be like one of those “gurus” who simply rehash material from copywriting classics. If you have time, I would rather you read the books below yourself and get the full benefit of absorbing the knowledge of their authors directly from the source.All of these books are written by men who were incredibly successful in direct response advertising in their time. The advice they give is based on thousands of split tests and decades of experience building some of the most successful advertising campaigns of all time.If you read these books, study them, really absorb the insights they offer, you will become a master of tapping your customers’ most pressing desires, and presenting your product as the solution to the problem they’re most concerned about.Claude Hopkins – Scientific Advertising and My Life In AdvertisingThe granddaddy of them all, a seminal work that brought tracking and split testing into the mainstream 80 years ago. You can take his advice about writing short newspaper classified ads and apply it directly to your AdWords ads.Eugene Schwartz – Breakthrough AdvertisingA dense and information-packed tome that reads more like a textbook. It’s not easy to absorb and apply all of the information in this book, and you will undoubtedly need to reread it multiple times, but if you put in the effort to do so you will be greatly rewarded. The book spends a great deal of time on the science of writing headlines, and some of the advice on channeling mass desire into powerful headlines is brilliant. The same methods Schwartz used to entice millions into reading his ads can be used to get you more votes on social news sites(Hello Hacker News!), more clicks on AdWords and social ads, and more signups on your landing page.John Caples – Tested Advertising MethodsCaples was a legend in mail order advertising, and pioneered many of the methods now used by e-commerce merchants. He understands the importance of writing strong headlines, and offers some excellent, specific examples on the topic, as well as a wealth of information on crafting strong appeals. The gems of knowledge Caples drops on every page can be applied to everything from tweets and blog posts to large-scale PPC campaigns.John E. Kennedy – Reason Why AdvertisingEven among scholars of marketing strategy, few know about this rare, incredible book. Over a hundred years ago, Kennedy’s ideas on targeting and testing were revolutionary, and remain groundbreaking in many ways to this day. The few marketers who have mastered Kennedy’s strategies are able to rapidly and easily out-market and out-compete the majority that blindly throw their money away on campaigns that could never work. Some of the concepts presented in this all-too-obscure work may seem obvious or trite to the contemporary consumer but simply thinking through Kennedy’s approach to building advertising campaigns and how it applies to your product or service will bring tremendous benefits.David Ogilvy – Ogilvy on AdvertisingDavid Ogilvy is probably the best known marketer on this list. He diligently studied the techniques of the copywriting masters who came before him, and parlayed that knowledge into one of the most successful ad agencies in the world. The book is chock full of specific, actionable advice on everything from crafting good copy to the best layout and design for a display ad. Many, but not all, of the strategies he used for magazine advertising can work very well for your landing pages. Lock your designers in a room with this book, and don’t let them out until they’ve memorized it.Again, I’m forced to cut an already too long post short. Marketing, like programming, is both and art and a science that can take many years to master. The authors listed above literally wrote the book on contemporary advertising. Learn the basics from them, and you will look at your existing marketing strategy and product with a completely different perspective. Master the intricacies of their knowledge and experience, and I guarantee that the way you approach developing anything that reaches other people, from a simple webapp side project to a sophisticated marketing campaign, will never be the same again.
I recently had the pleasure of assisting over 150 Hacker News members with marketing their startups. I was surprised to learn that I was giving the same advice over and over again. I’m collecting the most specific, actionable and useful marketing advice for startups in a 3 part series. This is part 3. If you haven’t already, read part 1 and part 2, as this post builds on the advice given in preceding posts.I know what you’re going through, fellow startup founder. You’ve already gotten pretty far with your startup. You’ve already launched, and maybe even developed what you think is a solid, scalable business model. You’ve set up tracking and analytics, optimized your landing pages and customer acquisition funnels, tried some PR, and maybe even set up and AdWords campaign.You’re getting a few signups a day, mainly through word of mouth, but not even close to the amount you’re expecting. AdWords is expensive, your CTR is abnormally low, and you’re not getting very many clicks anyway on your $20/day budget.What you need now is traction, but you’re not sure just how to get traction, for it is fleeting and capricious and lost more easily than gained.But don’t worry, I can help. This post is all about quickly getting traction, customers, and profits. More specifically, it’s about leveraging the vast amounts of traffic available out there into rapid, sustainable growth for your startup.So, after you how do you make the leap from piddling along at a few signups a day to consistent, rapid growth?
Test Lots of Traffic Sources
Any successful business uses multiple customer acquisition channels, constantly adapting to shifting trends in the market . Gabriel Weinberg calls them traction verticals, and he has a pretty good list. But you can go much deeper than that list.Are you advertising on AdWords search?With a little excel skill(or some commonly available tools) it would take almost no effort to export a campaign from AdWords and convert it to AdCenter, which covers Yahoo and Bing. Do that, and you suddenly have as much as 50% more search traffic, probably at much lower cost.And, following my last post, don’t neglect media buys on industry blogs. They’re cheaper and easier than you think, and they can do wonders if you’re trying to reach small, high targeted niche audiences- like customers for your B2B software.
Go Beyond Search and Banners
What about PPV(popup ads) networks like Trafficvance and MediaTraffic? You just enter a list of URLs and keywords, and whenever a member of these networks visits one of your targets, your ad comes up.You pay between $10-$15 per 1000 visits. If, for example, you’re trying to promote an iPhone app, popping up an ad for your app over reviews of competitors’ apps is a very cost-effective and underutilized way to get targeted, engaged prospects.I know you think popup ads are so 90s and don’t work, but the success of these ad networks speaks to the contrary. For certain segments of the population(IE users) they can be effective and unobtrusive without damaging your brand. If toolbar traffic is good enough for Ask.com and Zwinky, it’s good enough for your entertainment/gaming startup too.
Leverage Your SEO Efforts
If you’re already getting conversions from SEO, but you’re struggling to get to the #1 position for every single one of your keywords, you can use what you’ve learned from SEO to get a lot more traffic. Running paid ad campaigns is all about testing; you’re essentially paying to collect data about what works and what doesn’t.[pullshow]You’ve collected that data for free(or cheap) from SEO. Use it. [pullthis]Take your top converting keywords from SEO, and put them into a new paid search campaign.[/pullthis] You already know these keywords convert, so it shouldn’t hurt to start paying for them. Even if you’re #1 for a keyword, like your product name, consider bidding on it in PPC anyway. Rand Fishkin says 12% of clicks go to paid results. If your only search strategy is SEO, you’re leaving that traffic on the table.How about keywords your competitors are optimizing for? If you see them moving up in the SERPS for a certain keyword, get the jump on them with a paid search campaign targeting it.
Learn Customer Demographics, Reach Out To Them In Social Ads
The biggest thing you can do to rapidly scale your business is to stop thinking in terms of keywords and develop an in-depth understanding of who your ideal customers really are. Start thinking not just about demographics, but also psychographics. What are their interests? Where do they work or go to school? The more detailed the better.Then take those specific keywords and create highly relevant ad campaigns targeting them on Facebook Ads. You can now target the entire social graph with incredible precision on Facebook- every like, group membership, interest, and so on. Use this data.If you create an ad campaign on Facebook targeting everyone ages 18-30, unless you have an incredibly compelling ad….You.Will.Fail. If you take the time to think creatively about who your customers really are, and microtarget their interests, you will get virtually limitless, highly relevant traffic for pennies a click.Keyword targeting on Facebook is the best kept secret in social advertising.Very few people use this strategy in their social ads, and the ones that do are making absurd amounts of money with very little competition.Did you know that you can target people who have “liked” a specific website? Wow! Imagine the possibilities now that you can show your ads only to people who not only visit but actively engage with specific domains, brands, etc.If you use MailChimp to manage your email lists, they offer a cool free feature where they will link the email addresses in your list to Facebook profiles(courtesy of Rapleaf). Browse through some of your customers’ profiles. Do they share a common interest? Belong to a certain demographic? Try targeting those on Facebook Ads and see how they convert.
I didn’t hit even 20% of what I wanted to cover in this post, and it’s already too long. I’ll flesh out the details and specific tactics for scaling traffic in subsequent posts.For now, remember this: Learn everything you can about your customers, find out where they go online, and target those sites from every angle possible.
I recently had the pleasure of assisting over 150 Hacker News members with marketing their startups. I was surprised to learn that I was giving the same advice over and over again. I’m collecting the most specific, actionable and useful marketing advice for startups in a 3 part series. This is part 2.Last time, we discussed marketing fundamentals you needed to get right before beginning to drive traffic to your project. I hope you’ve implemented some of those suggestions into your product marketing.I don’t want this blog to consist solely of vague textbook marketing advice. This week, we’re going deeper and diving right into specific methods you can use right now to generate a stream of interested customers for your startup. Let’s get started.
Test and Track Everything
…advertising is traced down to the fraction of a penny. The cost per reply and cost per dollar of sale show up with utter exactness. One ad is compared with another, one method with another. Headlines, settings, sizes, arguments and pictures are compared. To reduce the cost of results even one percent means much in some mail order advertising. So no guesswork is permitted. One must know what is best.
Can you guess which AdWords guru wrote the words above?That quote is from the seminal work Scientific Advertising by Claude Hopkins, written in the 1920s. You would think that, 80 years later, people would realize the importance of tracking, especially with how easy modern analytics software makes it.And yet, startup after startup is creating ads that link to their homepage, without any tracking variables appended. They can only guess if their ads are effective, and they’re collecting exactly zero data.Any ad campaign, even if it’s set up by an expert, will probably start out losing money. When you launch an ad campaign, you’re not just paying for customers, you’re paying for data about what works and what doesn’t, tested in the marketplace.As you collect data and optimize, the campaign will eventually pull into the black. But if you’re not collecting click and conversion data, you’ll never know what you need to optimize, and you’ll continue bleeding money forever.Don’t just track based on which campaign gets the highest CTR. You need to drill down to the individual ad and keyword level, and track both CTR and conversion rate for each ad. This is done by appending a unique id to the URL of each ad variation. If you can’t tell me exactly which headline is bringing you the most loyal customers, you’re doing it wrong. If you track everything down to the ad level, you’ll be able to know exactly where your most profitable customers are coming from. This is especially critical for recurring billing/subscription services, which many startups are. Again, optimize for CLV.Setting up tracking is super easy. Google Analytics has a simple URL Builder you can use to append tracking variables to any link. You’ll want to focus on the utm_term and utm_campaign variables.If you want even better, more customizable, real-time data, my friends at MixPanel are happy to help.If you remember nothing else from this post, remember this:Track Everything Now. Every second you’re not tracking, you’re losing money.
Search Is Just The Tip of the Iceberg
Here’s an example of what the typical startup founder told me about their marketing campaign:
Out startup sells time tracking software for dog walkers. We’re already advertising online. We’re bidding on “dog walker time tracking” on Google Search and getting 3 clicks and 0 conversions a day. How do we get more traffic?
It’s not surprising that you’re not getting lots of traffic, because you’re stuck in a search-only mindset. You can thank Google’s excellent branding for that, because they would love to have you believe that the only way to get customers online is through buying search keywords.Here’s the truth about advertising online: most of your traffic and customers will not come from search. They will come from social networks(more on that soon) and other sites- and I don’t mean just the Google Content Network. Want to know a cheap, high volume traffic source your competitors aren’t using? Two words: media buys. Yes, I’m talking about banner ads and yes, they still work.You don’t have to have a big budget to start buying banner ad space. Start approaching smaller blogs in your niche, and offer to pay them a fixed amount to paste your ad code into their site for a month. Again, track everything.When you do a simple media buy, you don’t have to worry about maintaining a high CTR or relevance between ads and landing pages, you just need to get enough clicks and conversions to stay profitable.I’ll have a post exclusively about media buying coming soon, but for now, start looking around and negotiating. You’ll be amazed at the great deals and cheap traffic you can find.
Competitor Bidding Works, Take it To The Next Level
Bidding on the names of competitors on search is an effective tactic. You’re reaching customers who are at a later stage of the buying cycle. They already know they need your product or service, and now they’re just comparing the alternatives and reading reviews before committing to a purchase. Let your competitors spend money educating the market and finding qualified prospects, then snatch the customer from their grasp when he’s about to buy.[pullshow]Competitor bidding is a good start, but it’s only a start. Here’s how you can easily and inexpensively outfox your competitors on most traffic sources:[pullthis]Don’t stop at search. Follow competitors’ ads around the web.[/pullthis] Search for competitor names, features, products, etc, or get their keywords from a keyword research tool. Look at the search results for their name and main keywords. Are there any sites there that have AdSense? Any blogs that have written reviews of a competitor’s product? Those are all prime advertising opportunities.Approach them directly and offer to buy banner space, either on the whole blog or just on that specific post. Prospective customers searching for information about competitors will instead come across ads for your product, and some will inevitably convert. If you see a competitor’s ads on an AdSense block on a page, you’ve found a fantastic traffic source. Approach the webmaster and offer to buy a banner ad to replace the AdSense. You’ll be able to pay the webmaster more for the space because Google isn’t taking their 30% cut, so it should be a no brainer for them to accept your offer. Now not only have you cut off a competitor from a lucrative traffic source, but you’ve also uncovered a proven source of converting traffic. Repeat this enough, and you’ll be able to completely dominate your competitors outside of search while spending less than them.
Start Retargeting Right Away
Retargeting is the practice of showing ads to people who have already visited your site(but probably didn’t convert). Retargeting is very cost effective, and delivers incredibly high-converting traffic, because you’re only paying for impressions shown to people who have expressed an interest in your product. When building a retargeting campaign, create banners that prominently feature your name, logo, and color scheme. People who have seen that design before will notice and click. There are two easy ways you can use retargeting right away:AdWords has a retargeting option you can turn on for a campaign. Or, for greater reach, AdRoll has an easy self-serve retargeting system that ties into major ad networks. You just add their pixel to your site, they leave a cookie, and show banner ads that follow your visitors around the web, g
ently yet firmly reminding them to sign up for your site.There is so much involved in getting traffic online. I’ve only begun to scratch the surface of what’s possible. If nothing else, I hope this post has inspired you to explore other traffic sources with tracked, tested, creative campaigns. Next week: I show you how to easily increase your current traffic tenfold, discuss advanced optimization tactics to squeeze more out of your current campaigns, and finish with a little-known traffic tip I’ve never told anyone before.
About a week ago, I made a post on Hacker News offering free online marketing advice to any startup that asked for it. I had over 150 startups emailing me, selling everything from enterprise software to scheduling tools to pet food, and I tried to answer every single one with specific, actionable insights they could put to use right away. This took a lot of time, but not as much as I expected, because I would frequently find myself giving the same advice over and over again.I’m going to collect the most useful and common advice I’ve given into a three part “lessons learned” series. In this post, I’ll focus on broader marketing strategies which are critically important if your startup is to succeed. Next week, I’ll delve into driving traffic and specific tactics startups can use to immediately begin growing their customer base.These suggestions may seem basic or common sense to some of you, but you would be surprised at how few startups are actually executing on these. I’ll write about more specific tactics and methods for driving traffic and customer acquisition in my next post, but all of those will be useless unless you get these fundamentals right. By the way, if you’re an affiliate and you don’t think these apply to the landing pages you’re building, you’re doing something wrong.
Articulate a Clear, Specific, Compelling Value Proposition
For many of the startups I looked at, I had to kind of scratch my head and think for a few minutes as I tried to figure out exactly what benefit they offered consumers. The value of your product or service, your unique competitive advantage, should be clear within 5 seconds of visiting your site. I’m sure you’ve heard the old copywriting mantra of “list benefits, not features”. Take that to the next level. [pullthis id=”1″]Take the single most important benefit of using your service, and make that your headline.[/pullthis][pullshow id=”1″]If you could only have one feature in your app, what would it be? Your “killer app” can lead to your biggest benefit, and that’s how you need to introduce yourself to customers. I could write volumes about writing headlines, but a simple statement like this is a good place to start. Especially if you’re selling a B2B service, as many of you are, you need to make the immediate benefit or ROI of using your service crystal clear. If you’re building a B2B app to manage payroll, “Cloud hosted SaaS payroll for your business” is not a good headline. “Spend less time worrying about payroll” is a better one. “Cut payroll management costs by 37% instantly” is even better.
Find Your Target Market, and Segment the Hell out of Them
Another issue I ran across rather frequently is a distinct lack of marketing focus. When asked who their target market was, many people responded “small businesses” or, worse “anyone”. Alright, fine, you sell your SaaS products to small business in the US. But what kind of small business owner converts the best for you? Which customers are most likely to be profitable customers? Who is most excited about your product? You have been tracking these things, haven’t you?You don’t have the budget to target all small businesses, so start with a specific niche or industry you think your product has particularly strong appeal for. Selling time tracking software? Start positioning as time tracking software for accountants, or dentists, or landscapers. How about targeting a specific task or feature and finding people looking for that feature only? Or what about people who already use a particular competitor’s software? I’ll go into competitor bidding at a later time, but it’s a fantastic way to get motivated early users.Build super niche landing pages or, even better, microsites targeting each specific market segment you want to go after, emphasizing the specific benefits of your product to that group only. Not only is this a very strong SEO play, but it will increase your quality score and relevance in AdWords, as well as greatly increase conversions.If you have a landing page targeted to doctors, test putting a stock photo of a smiling doctor using your software on your landing page. It’s cheesy, but there’s a reason companies use it- it works. Similarity is a very powerful principle of persuasion. Tech people respond well to screenshots of software. Local small business owners may not.By the way, this applies to ecommerce startups as well. If you’re a clothing company build pages like “Top products for new moms” or “Tshirts for fans of __”, they will do very well.
Optimize Aggressively for CLV
If you’re running a subscription service of any kind, customer lifetime value(CLV) is by far the most important metric you need to be thinking about. More than conversion rates, burn rate, SEO, or anything else, CLV will determine whether your startup lives or dies. Try to determine this number, at least an average for your entire customer base, as soon as possible.There are so many ways to increase CLV that fall outside the scope of this post, but just remember that effective monetization of the backend is where many online businesses live or die. Effectively upselling or cross-selling once you’ve acquired a customer could mean the difference between outbidding your competitors and capturing more market share or falling behind.You don’t have to be spammy or annoying to upsell well. This can be as simple a showing a notification when your customer is close to reaching a usage limit, urging him to upgrade to the next tier of service, or emailing your most loyal customers with special discounts.Start measuring engagement, churn rate and attrition, visit frequency, etc, loyalty and so on. If you’re selling a $20 a month service but you know that you will net $400 over the lifetime of an average customer, suddenly you have a lot more options for marketing, not to mention some great metrics to show investors.
Start Marketing Early and Validate Your Idea ASAP
You don’t need a product to start marketing. Let me say that again. You don’t need anything to start marketing. All you need is a vague idea and a landing page where you can collect email addresses from prospective customers. It’s called dry testing, and it works, at least for gauging initial interest to see if an idea is worth pushing further.It pains me to see so many startups emailing me who have already spent months or even years building a product without thinking about promotion or validating their idea at all before launching. “Launch first, then figure out marketing” is a recipe for disaster. You need to be able to answer at least these questions as soon as possible, ideally before you write a single line of code:
- Is there a target market for my product and how big is it?
- Who are the current players in the market? Is it controlled by a few big players or dominated by many smaller companies?
- How much market share can I realistically expect to capture, and how well can I monetize them?
[pullthis id=”2″]Remember this: A startup is a business.[/pullthis] And any business requires basic market research. If you were thinking of opening a coffee shop, would you jump right in and start building it? Or would you first see if there are any other coffee shops nearby, how many customers they have, how much they charge for coffee, etc?[pullshow id=”2″]Marketing isn’t just emailing bloggers and driving traffic. It’s everything- product, price, placement, and promotion. Start thinking about these things before you launch, learn from them, and iterate quickly before wasting a lot of time and money.Next Week: Exactly how to find exactly where your most profitable customers are, where to get cheap traffic to validate your idea fast, and how to easily dominate your competitors on most traffic sources.
Don’t want to manually sift through the 11,000 Facebook ads images I posted earlier to find the good ones? Don’t worry, I did the hard work for you and found 11 excellent images that demonstrate some of the most effective techniques in Facebook advertising.I know that even if I ask nicely that you don’t copy these exact images for your own campaigns, some of you will do so anyway. Just keep in mind that these specific images are already very saturated and overused. If you find a stylistically similar but fresh image, you will get a much higher CTR, guaranteed, which could be the difference between profit and loss in your campaign.When selecting an image, remember that its purpose is to attract attention and entice the user to notice your ad. With apologies to Gary Halbert, you can think of your image as an ad for your ad. What would get your ad noticed?I tried to focus on a general effective tactic when selecting these rather than just a particular image. Read on, and you’ll see what I mean.Note: Posting these images is kind of a gray area which may or may not be fair use. If you can prove one of these images belongs to you, please send me a DMCA notice to ilya -at- unviral.com and I will take it down immediately. 1. Use lots of color The gradient background is a classic, time tested social advertising technique. It may not work for all niches, but it can be extremely effective in getting the attention of certain demographics. And anything bright and colorful will stand out among Facebook’s drab, pale blue interface.
2. Add Banners And Badges I love the use of the word New! in the following ad. Not only is saying “New” a classic marketing technique, but the its design and placement in the lower right corner cleverly draws the eye towards the body of the ad.
3. Mimic UI Elements Years of using modern operating systems have conditioned most people to respond in a very specific way to certain graphical elements. For example, our eye is naturally drawn to buttons that look clickable, just like we’re trained to draw our attention to a small mouse cursor on the screen. These techniques are controversial, but if you can get them approved, you can benefit from a dramatic increase in CTR. People routinely accomplished 30-50 percent increases in CTR just by overlaying a picture of a small Play arrow(like a YouTube video) on their image. This is no longer allowed, but some of these techniques might be:
4. Faces are very effective, but sex always sells In the early days of Facebook Ads, all you had to do was present a picture showing a little cleavage to get massive clicks. They’ve cracked down on how much skin you can show since then, but don’t worry- the right picture of a face can be just as appealing as the sluttiest softcore porn pics. Closeups, especially those images that seem to be staring straight at the user from the page look very effective.Pictures of cute girls for the men, and of babies for the women work very well. We’re just biologically hardwired by millions of years of evolution to respond to them.
Of course, if you’re feeling adventurous, you can always try to sneak in something vaguely pornographic…
5. Don’t underestimate the power of plain text It can often be very effective to simply treat the image as more space for your text headline, particularly if you have a strong, clear value proposition with universal appeal that can be expressed in just a few words.
6. When all else fails, shock Like a tabloid, you can always rely on shock value. Assuming you can get creepy or weird ads approved, you can get a very good CTR for certain demographics very quickly. These ads probably won’t convert very well, but for some offers or sites where getting clicks as cheap as possible is the objective, this is a valid strategy.
This isn’t a comprehensive list by any means, but it should be enough to give you a few ideas on specific tactics you can use right now to increase your CTR, get more traffic, and lower your costs.
As I mentioned in my previous post on Facebook Ads strategy, social advertising is purely a numbers game. If you can maintain your cost per click(CPC)<earnings per click(EPC) as you scale up your ad spend, you can stand to generate a lot of revenue very quickly on the margins.In order to maintain low CPC, you need a high CTR. And if you’ve ever advertised on social ads, you know that there’s one very important factor in getting a high CTR on Facebook- it’s all about the image.Choosing an effective set of images to test is critical to the success of your Facebook ads campaign. However, it can be time-consuming and expensive to determine by trial and error what kind of image is most effective.With that in mind, I wanted to share a few images I collected from actual Facebook ads, so you can see what is actually working for current advertisers on the Facebook Ads platform.Simply stealing some of these images for use in your own campaigns would be stupid- they’re already in use, and being saturated on Facebook Ads. Users on social platforms quickly develop banner blindness towards ads and images they’ve seen before, so you’re unlikely to find success by simply ripping some random images from this collection.The smart advertiser will take a macro view and browse through these images more broadly. As you look through them, you’ll begin to see common patterns and trends emerge, and develop a sense for what kinds of techniques and types of images are most effective on Facebook ads.Apply these techniques to your own campaigns, and you’ll instantly see significant improvements in CTR and profitability. For example, there’s a certain type and color of border I’m going to try that I think will do very well.I’m NOT going to post the targeting,headline, text or destination URL for these ads, because that would be outing entire campaigns and I’m not going that far, so don’t even bother asking.Methodology:I looked at about 250,000 Facebook ads targeting all English speaking countries(US,CA,UK,etc) in late September through early October 2010 and collected the images.These are not images I just think might work on Facebook ads.All of these images were actually recently used in Facebook ads, and many of them are undoubtedly very successful for the advertisers using them.After sorting through them and removing duplicates, I was left with 11,701 unique images.I also sorted images by how frequently they appeared/were used/copied to find the most popular and presumably most effective ones. But I don’t think I’m ready to release that data just yet. Again, don’t ask.Note to Facebook: I didn’t scrape these from Facebook myself, or touch Facebook’s servers in any way to get these, so please don’t be mad at me. To the best of my knowledge, I’m fully within my rights to link to this image archive.Bonus IdeaThe more astute among you might notice that PlentyofFish uses the same image dimensions and general ad format as Facebook. This is done intentionally to encourage advertisers to copy their campaigns over to the PoF platform. I’m sure PoF would love it if you took some of the high converting images found in this collection and tried on them on the much less competitive PoF platform.In case you’re too lazy to look through the files yourself, I’ll be posting some – but not all – of my favorites in a few days. Expect more outrage as I out people’s highest-converting images.Download:
Social advertising is a completely different animal from most other paid traffic sources. With most paid or free traffic sources, the advertiser’s first challenge is getting wide distribution, specifically, getting enough volume to make optimizing your ads worthwhile.Ad platforms like Facebook Social Ads have virtually limitless traffic volume available for the taking- just bid high enough, and watch the traffic roll in.[pullshow]The main challenge for the advertiser is making the numbers work; getting cheap enough clicks and monetizing them well enough on the backend to make the campaign successful.[pullthis]A lot of people make the mistake of optimizing for conversions on Facebook ads.[/pullthis] That is, they’ll throw an offer up on Facebook, usually direct linking, see if it “converts on Facebook”, and, when they invariably lose money, they move on to another offer or traffic source.Don’t do this. Start out optimizing for CTR.The reason for this is that, if you develop a decent CTR early on with your ad, your clicks costs will drop dramatically in the next few days. If you’re starting out bidding CPC, you could be paying 80% less per click 3 days later, provided you have a decent CTR.Don’t worry too much about monetizing or conversions early on into a Facebook Ads campaign.Assuming your product is solid and the targeting makes sense, once you get your click costs down enough, you won’t have too much trouble monetizing in most cases, even if conversion rates are lower.In practical terms optimizing for CTR means aggressively testing lots of different attention-grabbing images.How do you know which images work best on Facebook? I’m glad you asked. See my next post.
Welcome to the insight.io blog. The content of this blog will be concentrated around one main topic- how to quickly get lots of traffic.I don’t claim to be an SEO expert by any means, so the focus will be on paid traffic sources like PPC ads, media buys, etc. Don’t worry- it’s very possible to successfully test a traffic source with as little as $50-$100.Even though anyone can learn something from the content presented here, most of the content will be of a more advanced nature and may not be suited for complete beginners. Although, as any affiliate marketing guru blogger can tell you, newbies are an easily targeted and very monetizable demographic, I’ll mostly ignore this demographic at my own peril.There are lots of excellent newbie and introductory type guides out there, and I don’t want this blog to become another one.I’ll be sharing advanced, high level strategies for quickly scaling up and optimizing online marketing campaigns. Most of these strategies have been used by me successfully for my own campaigns, so I know they work.There will invariably be people complaining that I’m outing their tactics and wondering why I would out my own successful methods. To them I say I don’t care. There are so many niches, startups, and markets out there that a few people learning a method the top guys already know about won’t really make any difference in the grand scheme of things.I’ve got plenty of tricks up my sleeve. I think sharing a few with the readers of this blog will do the marketing industry more good than harm.That said, if you don’t have much experience driving traffic, don’t be intimidated! If you’re a reasonably intelligent individual, you’ll be able to easily grasp the strategies I describe and apply them to your own marketing efforts.One more thing: I’ll be posting roughly once a week. Check back soon for the first series of guides.