Episode 5: What Works for Facebook Advertising Now? | With Gavin Bell

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Facebook advertising has changed significantly over the past few years, so it’s essential to be on top of what works well now, versus what used to work. That’s what we’re discussing in Episode 5 of the Strategic Marketing Show.

Podcast 23 Minutes
What Works for Facebook Advertising Now? | With Gavin Bell

Our guest today is a man whose agency is a preferred Facebook Marketing Partner, managing over 5 million pounds in client advertising spend per year. As well as that, he also oversees campaigns on Google, and on TikTok ads. Welcome to the director of multi-award winning PPC agency, Yatter - Gavin Bell.

[You can find Gavin over at weareyatter.com/]

Topics discussed on this episode include

  • Are Facebook Ads effective for big business?
  • Where do Facebook Ads fit into an overarching marketing strategy?
  • It used to be that you could be hyper-targeted with Facebook ads, but it seems that because of legislation and because of the Cambridge Analytics scandal that a lot of that targeting isn’t possible anymore. Is this the case?
  • How has the nature of Facebook targeting changed in the past few years, and what’s still possible to do?
  • Today you’re sharing a case study of a client of yours - Pickup Music - that’s achieving a lot of success through Facebook Ads - can you walk us through what you’re doing for them and why it’s successful?

Full transcript:

David Bain  0:00 

What works for Facebook advertising now? With Gavin Bell.

David Bain  0:08 

Facebook advertising has changed significantly over the last few years. So, it's essential to be on top of what works well now, versus what used to work. That's what we're discussing today with a man whose agency is a preferred Facebook marketing partner, managing over 5 million pounds in client advertising spend per year. As well as that, he also oversees campaigns on Google and on TikTok Ads. Welcome to the Director of multi-award-winning PPC agency Yatter, Gavin Bell.

Gavin Bell  0:27 

Thanks for having me, David. It's a pleasure to be here.

David Bain  0:32 

Good to have you on Gavin - well you can find Gavin over at WeAreYatter.com. So Gavin, a lot of listeners to the show will be marketers in large enterprises. Are Facebook Ads effective for big business?

Gavin Bell  1:13 

Yep. Well, there's my answer. Yes, they are. It's it's one of those things where I think a lot of people get distracted by Facebook being a B2C or a consumer-facing advertising opportunity and look to LinkedIn, perhaps as their kind of bigger business enterprise. There's definitely a thing in that, where Facebook is more consumer-focused, and LinkedIn, maybe more B2B. But to say that Facebook doesn't work for B2B or enterprise is overlooking, in my opinion, what's quite a good opportunity. Because when you look at advertising, I mean, you're simply paying to put a message in front of somebody, whether that's B2B, B2C enterprise, small business, whatever it may be. And Facebook's got the advertising platform with the most number of people on it. And it has some pretty incredible targeting opportunities. So to answer the question, "can you get your message in front of the right person?" Yes, the problem or the challenge then becomes well, what message and what offer can we put in front of those people to get them interested in what we're doing? Because the reality is people on Facebook might not be in that enterprise, big business mindset when they're on the platform. So that's where marketers come in. That's where we have to find fun, unique, different ways to get people that are on Facebook interested in what it is that we have to offer, but that's a challenge from B2C B2B enterprise small business, everybody has that challenge. It's not just the enterprise folk that need to worry about that.

David Bain  2:54 

Okay, so many people would certainly recognise that it's an opportunity to put your message in front of people, as you say, but I think what people might struggle with - what marketers might struggle with, is where Facebook Ads fit into a marketing strategy. So are we talking about fairly early stages, awareness type stages where Facebook Ads fit in best?

Gavin Bell  3:15 

Yeah. So I mean, what you have to do is you need to look at your strategy, first and foremost. So who is it that we're targeting? What is it that we're trying to offer them? And then, of course, how does Facebook fit into that? So typically, a marketing strategy these days is going to involve some form of content, and content marketing. You know, we're creating blogs, podcasts, videos, whatever it may be. And we're trying to distribute that to our audience. So that's where I would start. So you know, we've got all of the organic methods in which you promote your content - posting on social media, sharing with people, email marketing, just add Facebook on to that as a distribution platform. So create your blog, podcast, video, wherever it may be, jump into Facebook, and try and use Facebook's targeting options to drive people to that piece of content. Now, what you can do when somebody has then consumed that content, if it's video, you've got an up you've got an option in Facebook to retarget people that have consumed your video, so you can then use ads to bring them further down your funnel. If it's blog, a blog piece of content on your on your site, you can use the Facebook pixel to retarget people and bring them further down your funnel. Podcasting is slightly harder, but the way that we get around that is to essentially take clips of the podcasts, upload it to Facebook as a as a video and then use that video retargeting. So I would use Facebook as a top-of-funnel distribution platform first and foremost, get those people in the enterprise world interested. And then use retargeting to nurture those people and bring them further down your funnel. There's a study by Salesforce a few years back that looked at what happens when you combine email marketing with Facebook advertising, I think it was a B2B specific study. And I can't remember the stats off the top of my head. But it basically showed if you are emailing a group of people in the B2B enterprise world, but you're also targeting them with Facebook ads, the open rate of those emails increased dramatically. And the engagement rate of those emails, or the engagement rate of that content - because whether it's an email or Facebook ad doesn't really matter - the engagement rate overall, was much, much higher. So when we're looking at B2B or enterprise, that's typically the strategy that we want to go - it's content distribution, and then nurture people via retargeting ads further into our funnel and our offer.

David Bain  5:43 

So people will be aware of that retargeting and the legislation around retargeting has changed a bit, and I think many marketers are a little bit concerned with ensuring that they stay the right side of the law. So if you're driving people to your website, and you have the Facebook ad script on your website, what are you able to track now versus what you used to be able to do.

Gavin Bell  6:07 

So in terms of what you can track now, it's exactly the same as always has been. Somebody comes on your site, the pixel what we call in the marketing world "fires", and that person is then picked up by Facebook's system. Now we can't ever, as marketers identify who that person is from personal identity. We can't see that. We just see them as a number. So in that case, that hasn't changed. Now, there are obviously GDPR and all those different things - I'm no lawyer, you can you can read into the the terms and conditions of all that sort of stuff if you want to in your own time. But what we can do hasn't changed. What has changed is the the accuracy and the quality of the data that we're getting. So iOS 14 was rolled out. We had the Cambridge Analytica scandal, all of these different things have meant that Facebook have had to adapt what they were doing and change what they were doing. So back in the day, where someone might visit your website, and we can 100% track that person accurately. That's not so much the case anymore, you can still do all of the things. But where you might have had, people will visit your website, and you might be able to track them with 90% accuracy. That's maybe down at like 70, 60% now. So we're finding that our retargeting audiences are typically smaller, you're not able to pick up as many people as you used to. We're also finding things such as, if we're excluding people from our ads, so we might want to create an ad that says, we want to target everybody that's been on our email list, but exclude the people that have already been on our website. That's not as accurate anymore. So sometimes, even if you're excluding certain people, they will still receive your ads. A common use of that is excluding people that have already purchased from you. We're not able to do that with as much accuracy. So the things are exactly the same. It's just they're they're just, in short, not as good as they were. And Facebook have also removed quite a few targeting features as well, which they might argue is because of all this scandal and things have happened, they might argue for something else, but certain targeting features have been removed. And those are everything from - back in the day we used to be able to target people that worked at specific organisations, we're not able to do that as much as we used to be able to, all the way down to, certain interests have been removed. So we were no longer able - we've got a client that sells goalkeeping gloves, for example, we're no longer able to target people that are interested in goalkeeping. So there's, there's lots of these different things that have been removed. In short, we can do all the same things. It's just not as effective or not as good as it used to be.

David Bain  9:06 

Okay. But in short, it's still a very effective medium for enterprises to be trying?

Gavin Bell  9:13 

Yeah, the reality is what we're finding - I've been doing this for around eight years or so. And what I found as a trend is back a few years ago, pre all of this scandal and iOS 14, that we had to input a lot of targeting options into Facebook to make sure we were targeting the right people. So we would create our campaigns, we would do lots of split testing in the audiences, go really, really specific into who it is that we're trying to target. We don't need to do that anymore, because Facebook's machine learning and AI is so smart that it almost does the job of targeting itself. And so although we've lost some of these features, Facebook has got so much smarter that it's almost the case that We don't really need some of these features and a lot of the campaign's that we will be building now, we'll go super broad. So if it's a client in the UK, and they can target people in the UK, sometimes we will just go full UK, no targeting in there. So when it comes to enterprise, B2B, the same applies. Some of the options may have gone. An interesting one for enterprise maybe, targeting people that work in specific companies, that is still there, it's not as good. But there are actually other options. And this is a brand new one - Facebook in the last week, have just released some new targeting features for the enterprise world. So we can now target business decision makers, we can now target new active businesses. So that's somebody that's created a business page, and they've started using it within the last 24 months. And there's some there's some interesting, B2B targeting that's coming up. And I think that's going to be a real trend going forward, because I think Facebook is so good for B2C, B2B slightly limited, I think that they'll start to introduce some more B2B targeting.

David Bain  11:13 

Interesting and it also appears to be from what you're saying, going down the same route that Google ads have gone down, in that Google ads have gone away from keywords - they've gone more towards AI and just learning. If that's the case, does that mean that what you're better off doing is committing a certain amount of budget to a campaign to begin with? Maybe £1000 or something like that in order for Facebook to learn what kind of audience is likely to interact with your campaign to get better conversion rates over the longer term?

Gavin Bell  11:46 

Yeah, I mean, it's one of those things that every marketer will say "it depends" - I hate giving that answer, but it's one of those where every business, every ad account, every offer is so different, that it's hard to give exact. But, if you've got an ad account, and you've been running ads for a long period of time, Facebook will have more data. And you've got the Facebook pixel installed, Facebook will have more data on the types of people that it thinks it should be targeting. So typically, you'll get results faster compared to somebody that's just starting out for the first time. So there's factors like that. Typically, what we will say with a client is if they're starting from scratch, is, obviously try and work out what are the goals? So, how much is a customer worth? How many leads do you need to generate in order to acquire a customer, and work all these figures back, so we've got a rough guideline of what it is that we're trying to target, then, like you say, commit a budget to an initial campaign. And that initial campaign is really just a testing exercise to try out some some different hooks, some different angles, some different copy creatives, and see what works. From that we should get a baseline number of "this is how many leads that we've generated, this is how much it's costing us per lead". And then we can take that budget and go, "do we need to increase that budget? Is it working? Do we need to decrease the budget? What are the numbers looking like? And where do they need to be? What do we then need to do? Or what can we try to get them to a place that we're happy?" So for me, it's really just a maths game at the end of the day. It's setting up campaigns like a scientist. What's the hypothesis? Let's launch the campaign, do few different tests, see what came out. Okay, what factors do we then change to try and get closer to that end goal?

David Bain  13:41 

So you can talk about a client of yours - Pickup Music - that have achieved a lot of success through Facebook Ads? So can you walk us through what you've done for them and why it was successful?

Gavin Bell  13:50 

Yeah, big pickup have been a great client to work with over over the last couple of years. They essentially came to us looking to get more members into their their music membership. And of course, that's one of those where, the targeting has changed slightly. So we used to be able to target things like "guitar player". Things like that have now been removed. So, it just means we have to work a little bit smarter. So what we do is we we look at okay, well what are some of the things that people are interested in? If they're a guitar player verse things that if you're not a guitar player you're not interested in so we look at things like Guitar Magazine, and those little those things. And we build big broad audiences out for them to try and target people.

Gavin Bell  14:34 

The thing that's worked really well for Pickup is is we can identify those groups of people. I like to identify as people that are interested in certain things and aren't going to be interested in other things. So an example that might be if you're selling a golf product, Tiger Woods would be a really bad targeting option because you've got people that aren't interested in golf products that also like Tiger Woods. So it's what are the specific things that people will like that would identify them as somebody that's going to be interested in your product. So we build these audiences out for Pickup and create nice, big, broad audiences. But the thing that differentiates them from everyone else. And the reason that they've been so successful is down to the creative. So what we've been able to do with Pickup, because there are a membership site, teaching people how to learn guitar, we've worked things into their their process of creating content, where we will get them to create specific pieces of content when they're filming with an artist. So we'll ask them to create TikTok style videos, we can take clips of the lesson, we can get the artists to do some cool licks on the guitar, and use that. That content is really, really appealing to an audience on Facebook, because it's cool, because it stands out. And because it's really cool. It doesn't look like an ad, it looks like something that looks like a video that someone might just film and upload, because it's cool. So that's what we've been doing with with Pickup Music. We've been growing them a really big bunch over the last couple of years, which is great. And we will continue to do so using the same same strategies. And now that we've got the targeting side of things locked down, our job really just becomes "how can we continue to keep creating really nice, fresh creatives and really pushing the boat out in terms of things that we're trying to see what works".

David Bain  16:42 

So how can a drier, B2B brand, get creative get a little bit more inventive with the the content that they need to produce? Because it sounds like the content that's more successful as ads on Facebook is a little bit more eye catching? A little bit fun. Is that appropriate for a B2B brand?

Gavin Bell  17:02 

Yeah, I mean, this is this is the the part of what I do that I enjoy the most - how do we take something that's boring, and make it sexy? With Pickup Music, totally understand - it's quite easy, because it's a sexy brand. It's a cool brand already. But how do we take something that's boring and make it cool? It's easier said than done, to be honest. But it has to start with who is it that we're trying to target? And then what are they interested in? But also what are some of the trends and pop culture things that are happening? And how can we combine those two? The perfect place to find inspiration for this is TikTok. Literally go on TikTok and type in your niche. And there will be countless videos of people that are doing something funny, cool, unique with that niche. Quite a good example of this is another client of ours who do home transformations. Now, when I say that it makes it sound cool. The reality is that it's really not that cool. They're basically paint houses. But what we've been able to do with them is turn something that's kind of semi boring into something that actually people really enjoy online. So we've got time lapse videos of a guy spraying a house, and the house slowly turns from like a dirty grey to really nice bright white. And those types of things have the potential to go viral, even though it's literally watching some paint dry. So finding those different - just thinking about now, if you're a recruitment agency, really boring business, how do you find things that are interesting in that? Well, it might be the case of identifying members of your team that have quite a funny personality and starting a podcast or, you know, in fact, that's a perfect example is somebody I saw on LinkedIn recently, they've got a video agency. And they have started a podcast, which is literally just I think 10/15 minute episodes, where they discuss stupid things that come up in the office. So I think I saw an episode that was like "at what size does a wasp become a real danger to human life?" Right now they may be a centimetre - what happens if they become the size of a laptop - and you've got laptop-sized wasps flying around? So they've taken something that's completely irrelevant or different to their business. But they're then creating something that's funny, and that gets people interested and then that's how you get people interested in your brand overall. But my number one tip would be go on TikTok, type in your niche. And you will find countless ideas.

David Bain  20:01 

Okay, I think I know who you're talking about with the agency example. We'll just finish off by moving from what is working for you at the moment to actually, what's the biggest marketing trend or challenge for marketers over the coming year? Is what you've just been sharing something that you think is one of the biggest priorities that marketers should be learning and doing over the coming year?

Gavin Bell  20:24 

Yeah, I think, pretty much, but I'll just add to that, I think there's, there's a few different elements to it, I think, portrait video. So creating TikTok style videos. That's the number one thing. So portrait, and the thing that I've found that I've done quite a lot of shall we call "research" on TikTok - it's basically just me sitting on TikTok and pretending I'm working - is what is going down really, really well is finding those, I would call them hyper-relevant moments in life and business and insert your niche here and creating videos about them. So there's going to be in your industry, in your business in your niche, there's going to be things that happen, that don't make sense to anybody else, other than people that have experienced that in your industry or your niche. And if you can create those TikTok - the way that their algorithm works, right now has this ability to find the people that those experiences are super relevant to. And when you have that experience of watching something that is extremely relevant to you - you know, there's been there's been videos on Tiktok where I've watched it and I've gone "wow! I thought I was the only person in the world that had ever experienced that or did that or thought that!" And then you see that there's 1000 comments from people being like, "Oh, wow, I thought it was only person!" When you have that experience. It creates a bond instantly. So my trend would be, start with TikTok style videos and portrait video. But try and find those hyper, hyper relevant things that happen in your industry, your niche, your business and start sharing them. Because when people pick up on them, and they they watch that, that will create a really deep connection.

David Bain  22:26 

I sense another episode in the future about TikTok ads for enterprise brands.

Gavin Bell  22:32 

That sounds fun - count me in.

David Bain  22:34 

I've been your host, David Bain, you can find Gavin Bell over at WeAreYatter.com - Gavin, thanks so much for being on the Strategic Marketing Show.

Gavin Bell  22:41 

Thanks for having me, David.

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