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Facebook Ads is one of the best ways to grow your business, FAST. 

It’s also an easy way to blow your entire marketing budget… if you don’t know what you’re doing.

If you currently have an ‘advertising budget’ that probably means that your campaigns are not giving you back the cash flow that generates an unlimited cash machine.

If your ROAS is healthy and you are achieving profitable ROAS, there is no reason why there should be a cap on your ad spend. 

WHY CONTINUE READING?

Over the past year, we have backtested many different strategies on facebook and come to realise that a few things that consistently outperform the market.

After reading this article you will learn:

  • How to reverse engineer and steal your competitor’s highly converting ads for yourself 

  • Guide on what creatives work best on facebook/social media channels

  • How to reduce your cost per acquisition by our full retargeting funnel

  • Using Google Analytics To Deep Dive to drive better conversions

  • How you can implement some of our techniques into your business

The reason why we wrote this blog post is because despite all the strategies outlined here, what matters in the real world is execution. A great plan without a great team and execution means nothing, so we’re not shy to share all of our processes.

I really hope that you will gain something from reading this article and take our strategies to implement them into driving real impact into your business.

With that said…let’s get started!

WHY IS FACEBOOK SO POWERFUL

So all this hype around facebook…is it real? 

Perhaps you have never seen a store scale its ad spend from $50 per day to $1000 per day. Increasing ad spend in just a couple of days seems mind boggling for some, but when you got a traffic engine that spits out cash with a full funnel approach, yes, its possible. 

The reason why facebook is so powerful as a tool for marketing traffic is because of its ability to retarget its customers. Currently, Facebook’s AI engine is really good at targeting appropriate customers as it has a lot of data.

And just like fine wine, your ad account gets better over time because your facebook pixel acquires more data.

What the data inside a facebook pixel looks like

What this means is that for example, if 20,000 visitors visited your store this month, you have the ability to target these 20,000 potential customers in the future at a lower cost per acquisition. 

Simply because these people have taken an action to go to your store, the facebook pixel identifies this, captures that data, and as an advertiser, we are able to go and run targeted ad campaigns towards these people in the future. 

So what impact does all this have?

It means that as you acquire more data, your cost per acquisition and ROI/ROAS will increase steadily over time as more people are placed into your ‘WARM’ traffic bucket.

There are more WARM leads in your marketing funnel.

They may not buy from you now, not even 3 weeks from now. 

But with a retargeting strategy as vicious as ours (we’ll show you more later), that sales cycle will be shortened and there is no doubt these WARM leads will become PAYING customers, in just a matter of time. 

Pixel Account Data

As you can see from this account, facebook tracks several actions people take on their website. Some of these actions are arranged from top of the funnel all the way to bottom of the funnel prospects:


Page View: Customer has viewed the page

View Content: Customer visits the page and scrolled down through the its content

Add To Cart: Customer has clicked the ‘Add To Cart’ button on a product page

Intiatite Checkout: Person has gone to initiate checkout

Add Payment Info: Person has entered in their credit card information

Purchase: Person has purchased a product on your site

These are some of the action metrics that Facebook tracks, allowing us to run personalised campaigns to people who have taken that specific action. 

For example, if a customer has gone to a product page of a blue bag, I can run an ad with an image of that blue bag including other testimonials of people using that actual blue bag, I could also throw in a 10% coupon to incentivise the prospect too.

Something like this.

Or, I could be running traffic towards a webinar page, I can target people who have spent the most time on that page (top 25% of people who visited that page) with an ad showing more of the product + a few more testimonials to push the prospect closer to the purchase decision. 

You get the point. 

And that means you spend less to acquire a customer. You can generate positive cash flow, you can outbid all your competitors and you grow your brand in a hyper growth stage.

HOW TO REVERSE ENGINEER AND STEAL YOUR COMPETITOR’S ADS

The facebook ads platform is an auction. Everyone in the world is competing for the screen real estate and for the attention of facebook’s users.

Facebook Ad Library: The Holy Grail Of Spying On Your Competitors

So, creating a highly converting ad that is ‘cheap to run’ is extremely important. Essentially what happens is Facebook pits all of advertiser’s ads against each other, and according to the engagement, click through rate and other metrics, certain ads that receive more engagement will be cheaper to run and will receive more impressions at a lower cost. (More eyeballs!)

So if you are struggling to run profitable campaigns or JUST starting out (fresh ad account), it is best to follow what’s working and just adapt them to the persona of your brand. 

Your competitor’s have already done the hard work in spending money on validating that their ad produces an ROI, so just take what’s working, do a better version of it, and outbid all of them. 

First what you want to do is to open a google sheet to put all the information of your competitors in one place, their unique selling points (USPs), marketing angles and so forth.

We have an internal document in our agency called the ‘MASTER FILE’ that contains all of this information. Here’s a sneak peek of our template.

Competitor Analysis Master File Template

So we do manual research first of all of the ‘top dogs’ in the industry, then we head over to the facebook ad library to search their ads. You can do this by simply googling ‘facebook ad library’.

Type in the name of your competitors and select their official facebook page username. Select ‘ALL’ if they are targeting most countries and scroll down to the bottom.

Inside Facebook Ad Library

You first scroll down to the bottom first to see which ads they have been running the longest. People don’t just spend money on ads for fun, so you know they’re longest running ads are the most profitable ones.

Once you have identified which ads/marketing angles/creative/copy is worth looking more into, bring them into a separate google doc file and put your research data into that document for your creative team. (People who will create the ads)

For videos that your competitors are running as ads, because there is no option for you to actually download the ads, take a few screenshots of the still frames of the video and put them into your google doc as well. 

I may be a bit crazy/overly detailed, but this is the depth of info I collect on each competitor. (See below for our research template)

Repeat this process for 3-4 of your competitors. Do not skimp or skip this step. 

Understanding what your competitors are doing will put you 3 to 4 steps ahead of others.

The ‘hard work’ has been done. 

You’re playing chess, you’re playing checkers.

Ok, now let’s discuss what type of creatives work best on facebook.

HOW TO CREATE HIGHLY CONVERTING VIDEO ADS FOR SOCIAL

The biggest problem I see ecommerce brands face is the creative aspect to it. Even though brands may have nice photos shot with DSLRs and nice bokeh, it does not really cut it because Facebook is a ‘social’ platform.

Actually, what converts best are not so professionally looking content that’s natural and ‘homemade’.

The guys at walmart get it

For photos, do not expect a professional looking to photo to get you any conversions, even with extremely slick ad copy. Facebook just does not work like that.

Instead, try a combination of highly converting VIDEOS (we’ll show you later) + professional photos + Homemade photos. 

Another major problem that brands do not seem to understand is AD FATIGUE. Ad fatigue is basically when advertisers run the same photo/video ad to the same audience, the audience will grow sick and tired of the same creative being portrayed to them. 

Users will engage/interact with the ad less, thus causing the CPMs (cost per 1000 impressions) to go up, making your ad more expensive and less effective at driving conversion. 

Thus for your ecommerce brand to be successful, you need this powerhouse combination.

  • A solid creative team that can continuously produce photo/video content
  • A rockstar Ad Creative team that UNDERSTANDS the social platforms
  • A rockstar person running and optimising your ads

For a more in-depth look and understanding of how the ad platforms actually function, I made this video a while back. 

Understanding the ad platform: watch in 2x speed

Hopefully, you gained some value from it and get a deeper understanding behind the psychology behind advertising on social. I know its a bit long, so you could watch it in 2x speed to save time.

HIGHLY CONVERTING PHOTO ADS

For photo ads, there are a few neat tricks that we found work very well. These are some of the conditions that you want to follow. 

  1. Contrast 
Just don’t go overboard.

I don’t think you’ll be surprised by this but cranking up the contrast sliders on your photos actually decreases CPC significantly. As said in my ‘Intro to ad platforms’ video above, the reason is that when people are scrolling through their phones, they tend to stop their thumb when they see a striking image. 

This makes users curious and they may click on the ad, causing your ad engagement to go up and your CTR to increase.

Cheaper ad costs, more impressions, more money made. 

2. People Smiling

Also another non-surprising aspect, pictures where people are present work very well because it is ultimately a ‘social platform’. 

People scroll through Facebook to see their friends, families and Instagram crushes. So when they see people, it’s seamless and people may not even suspect that your ad is sponsored content. 

The eyes of the user are drawn to the eyes of the image on screen, so that is another reason why people stop scrolling to engage with your ad.

Yup, exactly like this.

I always push the concept of ‘people present, product-focused’. This means that in your video ad, people should always be somehow present in the frame, but the ad itself should focus on the benefits of the actual product.

As I said, these concepts are incredibly easy to understand when I explain it here. But picking it up and executing it is another ball game. 

HIGHLY CONVERTING VIDEO ADS

Video ads, besides all the fancy ad buying strategies, is the singular most important reason why we have found success with our campaigns. 

When you clearly have the best creative among all your competitors, there is no way for them to outbid you in the auctions, meaning time over time, you will dominate everybody else and enjoy the low CPMs, allowing you to scale your campaigns.

The secret is… 

To run our ‘Buzzfeed’ style videos to a cold campaign. We have dubbed this type of product focused, people centric concept as the ‘buzzfeed’ style clips because they have been the most effective way to market a product on facebook. 

By FAR. 

CPMs are not a sole metric to look at, but considering we were running these video ads to the top 4 most competitive markets (US, UK, Australia, Canada), I would say they are pretty good. 

CPMs in top 4.

Below is an example of a demo video ad that follows the ‘buzzfeed’ style, but of course when we help you edit, it would be suited according to the personality and feel of your brand. 

Buzzfeed Style – OXG Video Demo

Buzzfeed style video ads are the most effective way to scale into cold traffic, and if you are not able to do this, you are really not utilising your ad spend correctly. 

Another type of video creative that works very well is the video testimonial. You can insert these midroll into your buzz feed style videos, but they are best run to a warm audience. 

Video testimonial example

REDUCE YOUR CPA WITH A FULL RETARGETING FUNNEL

In this section, I will show you our entire retargeting funnel, visualised. It may seem a bit complicated but it’s just a diagram of multiple touchpoints.

OXG Media Ecom Sales Funnel

And.. here it is!

DATA ACQUISITION STAGE

On the top left, we have different sources of traffic coming in from organic search SEO, youtube, instagram and others that funnels into a landing page/product page.

For the traffic sources of facebook/instagram, we use the ‘Buzzfeed’ Video ad as mentioned above to drive the traffic.

Once potential customers hit our site, our pixel captures that visitor and we’ve got another potential customer in our warm traffic bucket. 

Almost immediately, we bring these customers into an indoctrination ‘Branding sequence’ where users will see a few creatives that talk more about the brand, share the values and backstory and even perhaps show the founder showing the product to the user.

In the engaging sequence campaign, video and photo content ads that ‘educate’ the user about the product will be shown. 

By this point, the user should have at least have had 4 touchpoints with the brand and is primed to convert. We use a combination of video testimonials, single photo social proof, unboxing videos and product focused experience creatives to make the conversion.  

We use different types of ads including collection, dynamic product ads and story ads that consistently drive the customer closer to the purchase. 

The great thing about this funnel is that it is so robust in terms of the various touch points used.

EMAIL MARKETING

When people abandoned their carts, there will be an additional 6x email sequence that will be triggered over a span of a week or so, making the brand almost omnipresent as our retargeting ads are always on.

LIFETIME VALUE MAXIMISATION

Additionally, for brands who already have significant pixel data, we can also extend the funnel into an upsell sequence with a:

  • Email post purchase sequence
  • Additional ads that promotes cross-sells of other products in store

As you can see, we were getting extremely good CPAs ($5-$18/CPA) for a $400 product from a warm traffic audience. 

$5 conversion for a $400 product, on warm traffic.

Facebook Ads, just like any medium of advertising, works. 

You don’t just go up to a girl whom you don’t know and ask them to marry you.

You develop a relationship, spend some time with her, handle objections, then you close the sale.

It’s just a matter of completing a sales process, providing a good creative and having a systemised way of doing things. 

The process when summarised is as follows:

Good, Consistent New Video Creatives

Targeting Audiences with LAA, Broad Interest

Systemised Media Buying With Sequence And Funnel

‘Educating’ Your Audience With Content

Segmenting Warm & Cold Traffic Audiences

8-15 Touchpoints

Relentless Warm Traffic Retargeting

Handling Objections With Social Proof

6 Touchpoint Abandoned Cart Email Sequence

Then… Close the sale!

USING GOOGLE ANALYTICS SEGMENTING TO GET HIGHER CONVERSIONS

There is a reason why digital marketing is so powerful and important is because there is data.

Data is everything. 

So when you are running campaigns, NEVER ASSUME.

NEVER Assume.

Always look at the data and act accordingly. Do not rely on your ‘intuition’ to make a judgement. 

So if you are not already deep diving into your google analytics data, then this may help you gain a deeper understanding of your customers and allow you to make more profit.

I would assume you have had ecommerce tracking and your remarketing tag installed on your store already and data is running through your filters.

SEGMENT REVENUE BY LOCATION

The first filter you may want to go to is to understand where your customers are actually from. Head over to Audience > Geo > Location, then click the ‘Revenue’ portion to sort by revenue. You will see a list of countries who are spending the most money with you.

These are your profit maximisers so when you are running ads, and you have not expanded your advertising to the global audience yet, double down on these countries.

For the store example below, the United States is clearly the biggest driver of revenue. Although the ad space is competitive there, the most money is being made there, so focus on where your customers are before trying to scale your campaigns.

Google Analytics Revenue, Country Segmentation

SEGMENT REVENUE BY DEVICES

Next, head over to Mobile > overview and see how your customers are purchasing your products. For this store, there are an overwhelming number of people purchasing from the desktop, indicating that people are looking at our ads on mobile then moving over to desktop to pull out their credit cards. 

Hence, I might want to create an even longer email sequence for abandoned cart and installing apps that retain a customer’ checkout information.

Google Analytics Revenue, Device Segmentation

SEGMENT NEW VS RETURNING VISITORS

Lastly, because Facebook’s custom audience feature gives an estimate of the number of people in a custom audience, you may need to go into GA just to check.

Google Analytics Revenue, Visitors Segmentation

Head on over to Behavior > New Vs. Returning and find out what % of your traffic are actually returning visitors.

If there is a significant pool of people then that indicates to you that ramping up your retargeting ad spend makes sense. (Follow the funnel blueprint in the section above)


FINAL WORD

We don’t hide anything and we’re not afraid to share our ‘secrets’ and strategies. 

Because we know in the real world, execution is everything.

Please use the information in this article as a resource and take action on it!

I hope you found the article informative and hope you gained something out of it. 

Hi there, Jonathan here, I run OXG Media and we help ecommerce and information product brands to scale their revenues multi-fold.

If you feel like we can help you grow your business, I would really love the chance to hop on a call to discuss what challenges you’re facing at the moment and see how we can help you with that.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Cheers,
Jonathan