Are You Measuring the Right Metrics?

This is a guest post by Phil Frost, Co-Founder of Main Street ROI


I had a frustrating call the other day with a private client when we were reviewing his advertising campaign.  He was venting about the high cost per click for various keywords and suggesting we remove keywords solely because the cost was too high.  Similarly, he was suggesting we focus more of our budget on cheaper keywords where we would get “more bang for our buck.”

In one example, he showed me a keyword that was $11 per click versus another keyword that was only $2.98 per click.  The $11 per click keyword was generating only half as much traffic as the $2.98 per click keyword, so my client wanted to stop advertising on the more expensive keyword.

His thought process was pretty straight forward: Stop advertising on the $11 per click keyword and focus more of the budget to the $2.98 per click keyword.  That way we’ll generate more traffic and spend less money.  

But this type of thinking is completely WRONG! Costs alone do not tell you anything about ad performance or return on investment (ROI).

Looking at costs alone is like comparing two investment options and picking the one that requires less capital, despite the projected ROI.  That doesn’t make much sense in investing, yet that’s how many business owners try to manage their ad campaigns.  

Here’s an important tip: there’s usually a very good reason why certain keywords and websites cost less in advertising.  In most cases this is a telltale sign the traffic does not convert to sales.  If the traffic did convert prospects to sales, then more advertisers would bid on the keyword and drive the cost up.  It’s as simple as that.

So lesson #1 here is all traffic is not equal.  Therefore, the cost per visitor is not a good metric to use when optimizing your ad campaigns.  The cost is only half of the equation.  The other half is sales conversions.

This brings us to lesson #2 – you must track conversions to optimize your ad campaigns.  A conversion should be a sale if you can measure it accurately, but it can also be a warm prospect in the form of a phone call, in-person visit, or online webform submission.  

With conversion tracking in place, you can calculate your cost per conversion (also known as cost per action, or CPA), which is really the only way to judge your advertising campaigns.  

Let’s look at our previous example again to see how this works in practice.  I explained to my client the $11 per click keyword was converting 20% of the visitors to warm leads via an online application.  That means the cost per conversion was $55.  The $2.98 per click keyword was only converting 5% of the visitors to warm leads so the cost per lead was $57.  Therefore, both keywords were generating leads for about the same cost.  In fact, the higher cost per click keyword was generating leads for LESS money.  Yet, my client was about to turn off those keywords just because the cost per keyword was higher!

See how the cost per keyword data alone is misleading?  At the end of the day, your goal with advertising is to profitably generate leads and sales.  The only way to measure the effectiveness of your ads is to compare the cost per lead or sale versus the revenue per lead or sale.  Those are the two critical metrics.

My example here was for online advertising, but this is relevant for every type of advertising you run in your business.  All media must be compared and optimized by looking at cost per sale or cost per lead.  The cost per website visitor, cost per radio airtime, cost per TV placement, cost per letter mailed, or any other cost alone tells you very little about the campaign.  Make sure you have a system to track sales and/or leads directly from the ad campaign using tracking phone numbers, unique coupon codes, or any other method.  Then, calculate the cost per conversion to make smart, educated decisions to optimize your campaigns.

About the Author
Phil Frost is the co-founder of Main Street ROI and a Google AdWords certified professional. Want more online advertising tips? Get your copy of Phil’s FREE report: 10 Steps to Dominate Google AdWords


You’re Not Failing Enough

I was asked to give a talk about paid traffic sources at 500 Startups last week. The presentation is embedded below.

Although I couldn’t resist diving into deep, specific, tactical stuff near the end, the three most important points I wanted to impress upon my audience were:

  1. Most online ad campaigns (even those created by professionals) fail
  2. The only foolproof way to succeed is to try (and fail) enough to exhaust every other option except the successful one
  3. Therefore, your objective should be to fail as quickly and cheaply as possible

It’s become common knowledge among the lean startup movement that you should launch quickly, iterate, pivot, etc. But I want to take this one step further as applied to traffic (and startups as a whole):

When you launch a campaign, your objective should be to make it fail.

When you launch an advertising experiment, it will most likely fail. The null hypothesis is that it fails. This is a good thing, because it creates defensible barriers to entry for your business.In other words, once you have a successful campaign, a novice with a $100 AdWords coupon won’t be able to disrupt your acquisition channels.

If chances are that your campaign fails, you might as well do it quickly and painlessly.

I know it seems crazy to set a goal of losing money. But just give it a try. Because here’s what happens when a campaign fails:

  1. The campaign failed because it spent money without bringing in enough conversions or revenue to pay for itself.
  2. If the campaign is spending money, it’s generating traffic.
  3. If the campaign is generating traffic, it’s also generating data: click costs, conversion rates, ad copy and landing page split test results, etc.

And as any good marketer will tell you, data is everything. He who has the most data wins.

Don’t aim for launching a campaign that’s instantly successful/viral/profitable. That’s a fool’s errand, and it can only lead to disappointment.

Your only objective with a new campaign should be to collect enough data to validate or disprove your assumptions.

Then go back to the drawing board, use what you’ve learned to create a new campaign that fails slightly less than the last one, and try again.

Don’t worry about the conversion rate or CPC with a new campaign. Just get the data, so you have a baseline you can optimize from.

If you get an additional data point about what works and what doesn’t you win, no matter the result.

Pickup artists call this mindset outcome independence, defined as “The mindset of not focusing on a specific result, or growing attached to any outcome.”

If you’re not attached to the outcome of a split test, you’ll never get demoralized by its inevitable failure. And you’ll never risk giving up on a traffic source or acquisition strategy too quickly because your first few campaigns failed.

This can be an incredibly powerful mindset. Embrace failure. Never stop testing. And the successes will come in time.

The high rate of failure for most ad campaigns is the reason we started MixRank. We built our startup to catalog and analyze millions of split tests and campaigns  so you can learn from your competitors’ mistakes rather than making them all over again.

I don’t post that frequently, so your best bet to get notified about new posts like this one is to subscribe by RSS.

Examples of Psychographic Targeting on Facebook Ads

I’ve written a few times about interest targeting on Facebook as the best way to build out large-scale campaigns that can get real volume while maintaining a high CTR. A powerful way to use this method is by combining Facebook’s existing demographic targeting parameters into new, psychographic targeting options that are not exposed by Facebook Ads directly.For example, you can combine location and interest targeting to identify affluent users.Facebook does not let you target by income directly, but a wealthy zip code combined with membership in a luxury car owners’ club is a pretty good proxy for high income. Of course, the inverse is also true. If you’re promoting an online school, fans of WalMart living in Detroit might convert better than average. If you’re a current student, your university might offer you access to SimplyMap, an excellent demographic research tool. If not, you might have to trawl through census data (the 2010 data is just coming out now).A more sophisticated psychographic factor is propensity for clicking on ads. If 20% of the people are responsible for 80% of ad clicks, it could do wonders for your CTR to only target that 20%.Targeting people interested in certain brands can be a very effective way to advertise only to ad clickers. The vast majority of the 430,000 people in the US interested in Wal-Mart probably acquired that interest right after clicking on a Wal-Mart ad. These are the people who notice ads; they will give you a significantly higher CTR. I’ve tested this, and it works: Combining interest in a certain brand with the demographic constraints I already know are converting well for my offer has given as much as a 300% boost in CTR for some campaigns.In order to identify which psychographic variables, interests, or behaviors you need to add to tighten the focus of your campaigns, you need to create a deep profile of your ideal, highest converting customer.Get really specific and build a detailed picture of the person clicking through your ads in your head. Who is one person who would convert the best? What’s her name? Where does she live? Where does she work? Where does she go after work? What kind of clothes does she wear? What TV shows and movies does she watch? What strong beliefs does she hold?The key is learning as much as possible about your target audience and targeting laterally based on the characteristics of your ideal customer.This process will take a lot of research, but the resulting campaigns can be incredibly powerful. You can target fashion offers to people who watch Glee or America’s Next Top Model, gold sellers to people who like Glenn Beck, or gay dating ads to Catholic priests.This, by the way, is an excellent way to conduct research for search campaigns and media buys.

Facebook Bidding: How to Rapidly Optimize Campaigns

A lot of the information I have posted so far has been about getting started: setting up tracking, writing ads, building out the initial scaffolding for a properly structured campaign, and so on. But setting up a campaign initially is the easy part. The real challenge comes later, when you are tasked with actually optimizing the campaign towards profitability, managing the bids, scaling up, and actually making the numbers work in a consistent manner.So let’s talk about the next stage of building profitable paid traffic campaigns. I’m going to use Facebook as an example, because managing bids aggressively is crucial for a successful Facebook campaign, but you can easily apply these high-level bidding strategies to any bid-based traffic source. I’m going to go through the exact process I used to rapidly build campaigns from nothing to profitably spending $5000 a day on Facebook.

Start Off Losing Money and Paying For Data

Even the most experienced marketer’s campaigns will not be instantly profitable. In fact, I’ve heard that over 90% of PPC campaigns start off losing money. That means you have to launch 10 diverse campaigns, on average, before you get profitable.The truth about Internet marketing that many beginners seem unwilling to confront is that, when launching a campaign, you shouldn’t expect to get profitable instantly, or even soon. If you do launch a campaign that’s making money right away, consider it an incredibly fortuitous aberration, like a site going incredibly viral. When launching a campaign, remember that you’re not paying for a scalable acquisition channel. You’re only paying for data about what actually works in the marketplace. So don’t be afraid to bid high. It’s much better(and more cost-effective in the long run) to bid high and get enough traffic for statistically significant results than bid low and wait a month before you have gathered enough data to start optimizing. Start with the objective of getting as much data as possible as quickly as possible. On Facebook this generally means bidding $0.30-$0.60 CPC for mot demographics, although you may need to bid closer to $1.00 CPC for the most valuable users (like middle aged women).

Cut Low Performing Ads Quickly, Invest in High Performing Ads

After choosing a broad enough demographic and biddng high enough to get a decent clicks, you can begin optimizing. But don’t be too eager to optimize; if you kill an ad right away before you’ve collected enough data, you’re basing your decisions on the whims of random chance. Be sure to wait until you get statistically significant results before deciding if an ad is effective.Wait until an ad has about 30 clicks before deciding what to do with it. Bidding higher and targeting larger demographics will help you get to 30 clicks and make a decision faster. Yes, this type of extensive testing will cost you more money, especially if you’re testing many ads and targeting options and need 30 clicks on each variation. Sorry; You gotta pay to play.Fear of spending money testing can paralyze you. Think of the opportunity cost of not running profitable ads as soon as possible. The faster you can start running profitable ads, the more money you will make in the long term. If a particular headline or demographic is getting a good CTR, keep spending money on it, even if it’s not converting profitably immediately. Facebook will begin discounting your bids and giving you cheaper traffic soon enough, as long as you can keep your CTR up.On the other hand, if an ad has a low CTR or isn’t performing well, don’t try to keep it alive artificially by bidding high. A good CTR to aim for on Facebook is 0.1%. Cut your losses, kill it mercilessly, and move on. There are so many factors you can test. No need to keep throwing good money after bad.It’s all about CTR on Facebook. Get a good CTR, and the cheap clicks will follow.Expect your CTR to slip over time due to saturation and banner blindness. When you see your CTR declining steadily, don’t bid higher to compensate. Instead, create a similar ad with a slightly different image and start fresh. Sometimes, even reusing the same image with a different color border added is enough to maintain CTR.

Find Gold Nuggets with Reports

Once you’ve gotten a decent amount of clicks and pruned the terrible CTR ads, you can begin aggresively optimizing your targeting. You’ve probably heard the adage that 50% of the money you spend on advertising is wasted; you just don’t know which half.Well, with Facebok Ads, you can find out where your ad dollars are being wasted. If you’ve been getting traffic for a few weeks, and maybe getting close to breaking even on some ads, it’s time to really dive into Facebook’s click reports. You can find the “Reports” link on the left sidebar in the Facebook Ads UI. I usually find the Responder Demographics report most helpful- it will break out exactly which users are giving you the most clicks and best CTR (and the cheapest impressions). Double down on targeting them, while still keeping an eye on conversions.If you’ve started by targeting a broad demographic to get enough data, now is the time to whittle down your targeting to tightly focused ads(i.e targeting a specific age, location, or interest) based on those reports.As always, be wary of making decisions based on statistically insignificant data. Use Facebook’s reports combined with your own analytics to figure out who your most valuable clicks are coming from.

See How Low You Can Bid

Ads that have a few weeks of solid performance history are the perfect target for aggressively optimizng your bids. Don’t just settle for the amount Facebook is bidding you down to. Bid lower, wait a few hours, and see if you’re still getting impressions. Keep lowering your bids for ads that have already been running succesfully until you stop getting impressions. You now know your bid floor at that CTR. You’ll be surprised at how low it can be.You can often bid 40-70% lower than Facebook’s suggested bids without losing a lot of traffic.Even in 2011, it’s still very possible to pay pennies a click and get good volume on Facebook- as long as your ads and targeting are strong.

Scale and Replicate

After a few weeks of constant tracking and optimization, you’ve probably got a campaign that is at least slightly profitable. You’re finally ready to start scaling it up and really realizing the benefits of the vast amount of traffic Facebook can offer. Because you’ve already identified the most effective ads and targeting options, scaling up is a lot less risky. You’re already entrenched, established. If you can monetize international traffic, translate your ads and build campaigns for other countries. You’ll find lots of incredibly cheap traffic there if you know where to look.Or, soften your targeting. Instead of targeting 18-25 year olds, test your strongest ads targeting 17 year olds. Use keyword research strategies to find other related keywords or interests. Check your referrers and see which apps/pages your clicks are coming from. If people are disproportionately clicking your ads when using a certain app/game, maybe you can negotiate a direct ad buy with the developers.

The Ultimate Guide to Facebook Ads Bidding

I’ve gotten a few questions about this, so I thought I would address this in an in-depth guide. There are too many people wasting too much money on Facebook ads because they don’t have a bidding strategy in place. Here’s what typically happens to the novice Facebook advertiser: He gets excited about “social marketing” and throws up a few broadly targeted ads on Facebook, leaving the default suggested bids on, gets a terrible CTR, spends tons of money very quickly without getting enough data for statistical significance, and runs off sniveling and whining on some forum about how Facebook Ads don’t work.Let’s learn right now how to avoid those mistakes, develop the right bidding strategy, monetize, and scale.

Suggested Bids Mean Nothing

This is the most important thing to remember on any PPC platform: The suggested bids mean nothing. Absolutely nothing. They are completely random, arbitrary numbers put in place by executives to justify their revenue projections. Don’t even look at suggested bids. Ignore them. They are in no way related to what anyone is actually paying on Facebook. Actual minimum bids to get impressions are based on a complex interplay of CTR, account history, available inventory, etc, and not on a single number Facebook throws at inexperienced advertisers hoping they’ll bite.Just how arbitrary are Facebook suggested bids? Consider this: A friend setting up a new Facebook Ads campaign saw suggested bids of $1.14-$1.78. For comparison, I tried to create a new ad with the exact same targeting options, and was given suggested bids of $0.28-$0.41. Maybe my account spending history or quality score helped me get cheaper traffic. Or maybe Facebook suggested bids are created by a random number generator and don’t really matter.

Stick to CPC Bidding

It might be tempting to go for CPM bidding, because you can get lots of relatively cheap traffic without obsessing over CTR as much. But, in most circumstances, sticking to CPC bidding will give you much higher quality traffic. The reason for this: Some months ago, Facebook made a tweak in their algorithms which affect how ad impressions are distributed. CPC ads are now much more likely to be shown in premium placements on the site: profiles, news feed, and so on. These placements generally deliver a much better CTR and more clicks.CPM ads are more likely to be shown in parts of Facebook that result in lots of impressions but not as many clicks- games and apps. When your ad has to compete with a plethora of visual stimuli from Farmville, it’s a lot less likely to get noticed and get clicks.You can easily confirm this by checking the referrers in your analytics when running ads. If you see a lot of low performing apps traffic, consider changing up your ads.

Bid High for Small Groups, Low for Big Groups

This should be intuitive, but most people don’t seem to act on this simple concept: A larger group of users will have more impressions available than a smaller, less targeted group. If you target males age 18-49, you should be able to bid less and still get traffic compared to, say, only targeting 22 year old single males. This is a good way to get data about what images or headlines work before increasing your bids to campture more traffic.The converse is also true: If you’re going for a small, highly targeted demographic (ex. using interests/like targeting), you need to start out bidding very high(even if it’s very unprofitable) to beat the broadly targeted ads you’re competing against that will also be shown to the same people. If your ads are relevant enough to the interests/likes you’re targeting, you should get a good CTR (0.1% is OK, 0.2% or above is fantastic) right away, without having to split test a lot of images or headlines. This will enable you to rapidly bring your bids down significantly- probably as low as 10-15 cents a click and still get volume. To be continued…Next Week: I walk you through setting up a Facebook campaign and optimizing the bids to profitability.

This Common Tracking Mistake Is Costing You Thousands of Dollars

A few years ago, when I was still getting my feet wet in internet marketing and not making very much money, I had a conversation with an incredibly successful affiliate marketer. This man had come from humble beginnings, starting with little seed money and no marketing knowledge to generating millions of dollars in commissions for himself in less than a year.And he did this by promoting lead-gen offers in the financial space, one the most fiercely competitive and difficult to break into niches out there.Of course, I was dying to learn the secret of his success.I knew he worked very hard, but lots of people work hard without approaching his level of success. So I pressed him to tell me exactly what he was doing to be wildly successful where so many of his competitors failed. And he told me.He said….

“I track everything down to the individual ad level from impression to conversion”

He was advertising on AdWords in the highly contested finance niche, where clicks could easily cost $4-$10 each. His competitors were experienced affiliates and PPC managers for major performance advertisers, so they knew what they were doing.They all carefully tracked each keyword via a unique subid, so they knew exactly which keywords were converting well for their offer. But they weren’t tracking everything.When building a PPC campaign, most advertisers, even experienced search marketers, take two parallel paths in optimizing their campaign:

  1. They look at every keyword’s CTR and conversion rate, and eliminate poorly performing keywords that either have a high CPC(because of low CTR) or a low EPC(because of low conversion rate)
  2. Simultaneously, they test different headlines on their ads to see which one gets more clicks, keeping the ads that have a higher CTR

Do you see what they’re missing????

After finding keywords, the advertisers in this niche would spend most of their efforts on writing enticing ads, using words like FREE! and Try It Now! that would get a lot of clicks, thus lowering their cost per click.This clever affiliate wasn’t doing that, because he knew better. And the reason he knew better is that he wasn’t just tracking how every keyword was converting like everyone else…he was also tracking how every single ad he wrote was converting.For every ad he wrote, he appended a unique tracking ID to the destination URL, which would get passed through as part of the subid to that offer. He had a huge spreadsheet listing thousands of these ID numbers and the unique ad variation and ad group it corresponded to.The meticulous record keeping paid off. By tracking how every single ad converted, he soon realized that his most profitable and successful ads were not the ones with the highest CTR. In fact, some of the ads that got less clicks were responsible for the majority of conversions.Those clicks cost more, but they brought in much higher quality traffic. Instead of trying to get as many people as possible to click on his ad, he pre-qualified potential customers through the ad text, so only the most motivated and profitable customers clicked through to his landing page.When all of his competitors were losing money trying to get a high click through rate and getting cheaper clicks, he optimized his campaign at the individual ad level, went for targeted clicks over cheap clicks and was incredibly successful.Had this affiliate not been tracking every ad, he would have continued to put up high-CTR but low converting ads, lost money on the campaign, and missed out on millions of dollars in revenue for his business.Track every single headline, body, display URL, image, anything and everything. Follow the user from the specific ad all the way to the conversion.If you’re not tracking every little bit of data possible, I guarantee you’re losing money. Don’t make that mistake.

Startup Marketing Lessons Learned Part 2: AdWords is Only the Beginning

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.

6 Killer Facebook Ads Image Tactics That Will Skyrocket Your CTR

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- 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.

Advanced Facebook Ads Strategy: Optimize for CTR to Get Massive Traffic Fast

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.