In my recent podcast, I had on Molly Pittman, a top digital marketing strategist. We discussed many topics like: how paid traffic works, what you must do to optimize your paid Facebook campaigns and:

  • What are common myths associated with paid media?
  • What are the key elements of the perfect ad?
  • How does Molly audit ad campaigns?
  • What’s winning on Facebook now?
  • What should you do if you are on the fence about Facebook ads?

Molly’s Motivation

Pittman firmly believes people can change their lives with skill sets that we all have the opportunity to develop. Digital marketing strategies are skills that can apply to anything and any business, and they are available to anyone. There’s never been an easier time to start a business. Molly wants to remove the fear and help people change their lives. She’s on a mission to help people who are tired of their nine to five job, and ready to build their dream business. Digital marketing is making that happen.

Common Myths About Paid Media

Advertisers must change their mindset about how paid traffic works. Paid advertising, including Facebook, is not a magic wand. There’s no guarantee you are going to get money back from your investment. If you are thinking, “Facebook ads don’t work,” focus on your business. Facebook provides the best targeting opportunities, but your product/service has to be something the market wants. Paid traffic can’t fix your business problem. If your ads aren’t working, it’s not a function of the ad platform. If no one wants your product, it’s on you.

Consider this. Ten years ago, it took seven interactions with a brand before people bought your product. According to Google, it now takes 20 to 100 interactions. Why a change? Consumers are changing every day, and so is the digital landscape. It is extremely noisy, and consumers are easily distracted. Old banner ads provided a way to purchase something you might not have access to again. Today, consumers can research anything. They are informed and crave authenticity.

What are Key Elements of a Perfect Ad?

People say Facebook doesn’t care. They just want your money. That’s really not true. Facebook is focused on the user experience. Their values are built on knowing the needs of their users. They’ve designed an ad platform that is completely controlled by the user. Facebook is like a mirror for users. The content they see is a reflection of actions they’ve taken. That makes it easy for advertisers to collect data. However, they must change their mindset. Consider Molly’s five tips for creating the perfect Facebook ad.

  • 1. The offer. You must have an offer that’s something users want. Whether it’s buying a product, signing up for a service or simply reading an article, it must be something they want or you’ll fall flat.
  • 2. Targeting. You must be willing to put time into research. Do whatever it takes, including creating customer avatars, doing Facebook interest targeting research or reading Amazon reviews about products in your market to determine customer pain points. Join forums where your market is talking. Listen to the chatter. Answer questions like, “what grade level does my audience speak at?” or “what buzzwords do they use?” Get to know the people you want to serve. Realize you are not targeting demographics. Instead, you should be targeting consumers with certain psychological behaviors. Facebook has over 50,000 data points on each of its users. Google has an enormous amount of data on search and browsing behaviors. Opportunities for targeting are endless when you understand the online intent of your audience.
  • 3. Ad copy. Ad copy must be conversational and native, as if you are writing a letter to a friend. In short, it shouldn’t look like an ad. That’s how you generate the social proof needed to rank high in the ad auction, yielding lower costs and increasing your reach. Create two or three variations of ad copy that are targeted to different parts of the market. Molly’s example was an advertiser that wants to reach people who practice Yoga. Create ads that appeal to extroverts, introverts, people who prefer reading, those that prefer video, users who are feelings-based and those that are logic-based. Tell a story with your ad copy.
  • 4. Ad creative. Ad creative is just as important as ad copy when it comes to representing your message. Put thought and research into your creative. Don’t just resort to a random stock photo. Create native content that flows naturally into the user’s Facebook page. Try using iPhone photos and videos to get that native appeal, like an image from a friend. The more native your creative, the better your results will be.
  • 5. Full User Experience.¬†Facebook algorithms that determine your place in the ad auction include three parts. The first is your actual bid. The second is the estimated action rate. Facebook measures your social proof. How are people engaging with your ad? Are they clicking? Are they sharing? Are they commenting? The third part is user value, the overall experience users are having with your brand. How active is your page? Do you respond to comments and messages? How about the load speed of your landing page? How many pages deep does a customer dig into your website? Facebook is looking for congruency throughout the entire user experience. Do users get what they expect from your landing page when they click on your ad?

Auditing Accounts

Molly starts with context. She wants to know what advertisers are selling. Then, she determines what mode they are in. The three mode are:

  • Scale mode is when you are trying to acquire as many customers as you can and just break even because you know paid ads are critical to growing your business.
  • ROI mode is when you are focusing on your margins.
  • Launch mode is when you are getting off the ground.

You must identify which mode you are in first. Then, get a basic overview of the numbers. How much did you want to spend compared to how much you actually spent on paid ads last year? For example, not spending what you intended indicates you had trouble scaling. Next, move on to your metrics. Molly looks at CPA numbers compared to volume.

Media buyers must be researchers and troubleshooters. Dive into the numbers and data, and find out why your campaign didn’t work. Even if a campaign is not successful, don’t consider it a failure. You just purchased a ton of data about your business and your market.

What Makes a Great Media Buyer?

Media buyers must be empathetic. Be in touch with humans, and understand the customer journey. The more of a connection you have to other people, the better media buyer you will be. Even though it’s digital, users can feel when something really speaks to them. If you don’t have a connection, develop it. Read forums. Talk to people in the market.¬†Even though buying ads includes a lot of technical work, you must connect and understand people.

What’s Winning Now on Facebook?

Larger audience sizes for cold traffic and native ads are winning. Facebook doesn’t need to be told who to show an ad to, so super small audience sizes are no longer needed. Facebook has more data than ever before, and they are using it to make the platform easier for users and advertisers. Especially after the Cambridge Analytica scandal last year, Facebook is focused on providing a great experience for end users. That’s why they are weighing social proof so heavy.

Native ads allow you to generate social proof, and social proof is more important than ever. It’s the most important metric. Ad copy that is backed by social proof will beat out a new ad no matter how much money the advertiser spent or how great the ad copy is. Focus on creating native content.

On the Fence with Facebook Ads?

Launching a paid Facebook campaign is daunting. Start by looking at your business to figure out where you need optimization the most. What point in the journey does your business need the most help? Figure out where you need the most help, and build a campaign to address that problem.

How Can You Learn More From Molly?

Molly’s podcast Perpetual Traffic is all about paid traffic. Listen in or join Team Traffic to gain access to ongoing educational resources and rub shoulders with pro media buyers.