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Ep. 66 - The Best Strategies for Facebook Copy, Creative, Spend, and Testing with Kurt Bullock

Kurt Bullock is the CEO of the Produce Department, an ecommerce marketing agency specializing in Facebook and Instagram ads. He's helped hundreds of Shopify stores grow their sales with paid traffic. 

In This Conversation We Discuss:

  • [1:00] What is the Produce Department?
  • [1:26] New channels for marketing: Snapchat and TikTok
  • [2:06] Your requests prompted Chase to guest Kurt on the podcast
  • [2:48] The changes in Facebook advertising and its goals
  • [5:25] Kurt’s Facebook ad copy framework: Ryan Deiss’s Before & After Grid
  • [7:35] Create stories that customers can be a part of 
  • [8:51] Putting Ritual through the Before & After Grid: HAVE
  • [10:19] The FEEL: Before & After aspect of Ritual Vitamins
  • [11:33] The AVERAGE DAY of prospective customer Before & After Ritual
  • [12:29] The STATUS of a prospective customer Before & After Ritual
  • [12:55] Digger deeper and taking a look at Ritual ad copies from Facebook
  • [15:00] The “hook” in advertising and examples from Tactical Baby Gear
  • [16:42] When working on ads, does Kurt do the copy first before the creative?
  • [17:44] Does Kurt look for inspiration on the same industries as his clients’?
  • [18:43] 2 things that determine how much creative you need
  • [19:39] Kurt’s creative strategy
  • [20:54] Chase breaking down Kurt’s creative strategy
  • [21:38] Kurt explaining how to retrieve the Post ID and keep social proof
  • [23:12] Kurt’s frequency and duration for winning ads
  • [24:39] Sponsor: Gorgias gorgias.link/honest
  • [25:27] How many steps are there in Kurt’s funnel?
  • [27:34] The ideal ad spend amount to start on Facebook
  • [32:18] Margins, AOVs, and the viability of Facebook as a paid channel
  • [33:55] Kurt’s ad types for Facebook: mainly videos
  • [36:46] Other resources where people can learn Facebook marketing

Resources:

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Transcript:

Kurt Bullock  

You know, we get into these ruts where we do the same thing over and over again. [However], it could be something really great on the other side that you haven’t tested yet because it’s not your normal way of thinking.

 

Chase Clymer  

Welcome to Honest Ecommerce, where we're dedicated to cutting through the BS and finding actionable advice for online store owners. 

 

I'm your host Chase Clymer, and I believe running an online business does not have to be complicated or a guessing game. 

 

If you're struggling with scaling your sales, Electric Eye is here to help. To apply to work with us visit electriceye.io/connect to learn more. Now let's get on with the show.

 

Hey, everybody. Welcome back to Honest Ecommerce. I'm your host, Chase Clymer. 

 

And today welcome into the show, another one of my mastermind members, a good friend of mine.

 

I know I've talked about my mastermind a ton on here. I'm sure we'll talk a little bit about it in a minute. But welcome, Kurt Bullock. How are you doing today? 

 

Kurt Bullock  

Great! How are you doing today, Chase?

 

Chase Clymer  

I'm doing fantastic. I'm just watching GarageBand, making sure it's recording. But I'll switch back over to Zoom now. Awesome. So,  give the people a little bit of background on what you do over there at Produce Department.

 

Kurt Bullock  

Yeah, so Produce Department is an Ecommerce marketing agency. So, we don't really do development. We're really just focusing on things like paid traffic and email marketing with Klaviyo, specifically.

 

Chase Clymer  

Awesome. So paid traffic, we're talking about the hot button issues here. We got Facebook and Google. And are you guys dabbling much into the newer socials yet?

 

Kurt Bullock  

We're testing on a couple of accounts. 

 

So Snapchat, we've got the Snap Pixel and a couple of ads running for one of our ad accounts... For one of our clients. 

 

I haven't done anything with TikTok. I'm just trying to learn more about TikTok, but Snapchat has been interesting so far.

 

Chase Clymer  

Honestly, I feel old. [I'm] being like, "I don't have a clue what TikTok is all about." And I've never felt that way my life.

 

Kurt Bullock  

Yeah. TikTok's totally new animal. It's not at all like Facebook or Instagram.

 

Chase Clymer  

Absolutely. Alright. So, Kurt and I, obviously, we've known each other for quite some time here. And a lot of questions that I get from you the audience... 

 

Which by the way, you guys can straight-up email me chase@electriceye.io and give me ideas for podcasts. Who you want on the podcast or just questions you want to be answered. 

 

But people do often reach out and they're like, "Hey, I just want tips on how to be better at Facebook and Instagram ads." 

 

So, I reached out to [Kurt] --who I personally message when I have questions about Facebook and Instagram ads-- to get him on the podcast. So that's what we're going to talk about today. 

 

We're going to talk about what can separate you from a beginner and help you really get some better returns. How would you like to articulate that a bit better?

 

Kurt Bullock  

Yeah. I think that's right on. I have been approaching this from the perspective of like the changes that we've seen recently with Facebook. 

 

So right now, competition is high, traffic costs are rising, they're making changes like introducing CBO and CBO and [changing] the way that the algorithm works. Trying to make it smarter, which is great. 

 

But this is... It's changing a lot of things. And so when there's a lot of change, people get nervous. They don't know what to do. 

 

And so I think that ultimately though, Facebook's goal is to get the marketplace working as well as possible, to be as profitable for us as it can be, which leaves us more time to focus on really the fundamentals. 

 

Which is stuff like copy, creative, your testing schedule... Stuff like that. So I wanted to talk a little bit about that today.

 

Chase Clymer  

Awesome. So we're going to learn some inside hints. And this is from someone that's managing quite a bit of spend every month. 

 

So this is a real professional in the game these days. We're going to talk about how you can best write some copy for your ads, some ideas for creative and how to test that, and get a little deeper on the testing itself. So I hope you guys enjoy. 

 

Kurt Bullock  

Excellent. So, looking through that lens of so much is changing right now, if you're an advertiser, you might sometimes feel like you don't really know what's working and what's not working. It goes in waves. 

 

And so I always think about it, like, you know, there are certain things that I can control. And then there are things that I can't control. Things that I can't control are going to be the marketplace, the cost of traffic, the quality of traffic that they're sending me... I don't have any direct influence over that. 

 

Although I can change targeting, Facebook ultimately decides who's going to be showing each ad. Just regular ups and downs in the marketplace, like introducing CBO. That's changing... It's giving us swings and performance, both better, and in some cases, worse. 

 

That's the stuff that we can't control. But the stuff that we can control and really iterate on and get better at over time is stuff like getting to know our customers better so that we can speak to them better. Our ad copy. 

 

So, copywriting or offers, and positioning, and then creative. That's what I like to focus on. And I think we should maybe start with ad copy. 

 

Facebook says that people look first at the creative, like at the image, and then they look at the ad copy in terms of importance and where the eye goes. But I think starting with ad copy helps us to have a framework that we can use to talk about the creative.

 

Chase Clymer  

Yeah, I think they definitely influence each other strongly. I know personally when I'm on Facebook or Instagram... 

 

Mostly Instagram, I try to avoid Facebook --and you can probably tell that by my absence in our Facebook group that I'm only in there about once or twice a week-- but on Instagram, immediately I see an ad and then I go to the copy.

 

Kurt Bullock  

Let's dive into copy a little bit then. So there's a conversation that has been going on, especially in digital, which is [the] difference between brand marketing and performance marketing

 

Ultimately, I think that with the way that things are going, where creative is becoming our biggest lever, it's not going to be so much about knowing a little hack or trick to kind of get around Facebook's algorithm; We're going to want frameworks to help us think about how to get better at this. 

 

So one guy that I look to a lot is Ryan Deiss. And I've used this framework for ages. You can Google "Before & After Grid Ryan Deiss" if you want to get more information on this. But basically, this is gonna... This helps you uncover different hooks and ways of thinking about your audience. 

 

So he breaks it down basically into 2 columns, Before and After. 

 

And then for each of those, we're looking at it through the lens of HAVE So what does your customer have or not have Before and then After purchasing your product? Same with FEEL Before and After, AVERAGE DAY, and STATUS. 

 

And he makes the point and I totally agree that we usually focus on HAVE "This is the product, these are the details about the product. Come get it." And that's the easiest, lowest barrier to entry in writing ads. 

 

But he argues that focusing on the last 3 is really where we can set ourselves apart from others. So that's on the FEEL: Before and After, AVERAGE: Before and After, and STATUS. 

 

So really, this is thinking about the emotional side. Internal versus external. How do your customers see themselves now? How do they want to see it themselves?

 

Chase Clymer  

Mm-hmm. "I feel amazing. My life is better." Things like that.

 

Kurt Bullock  

Yeah, exactly. And then also, "How do customers want to be perceived by others as it relates to your brand?" 

 

So, there's the... And I have a couple of examples that we'll go through down here, but it's all about this idea of being transformed and being part of the transformation of your customer. 

 

So if you can associate an aspirational identity or a lifestyle with your products, then you can increase the perceived value of your products and your brands in the marketplace. 

 

Chase Clymer  

Yeah, yeah. That's pretty much half of the plan of every luxury brand.

 

Kurt Bullock  

Right. And it helps you... there's a whole sort of class of ads that are really separate from the brand that is really product-focused. Some drop shippers might fall into that category. 

But we're having to... I think that too win, we're having to tell more stories. Create the story that our customers can buy into so that we can incorporate ourselves into our customer stories and think more about the brand. 

 

So, let's look at Ritual. Have you heard of Ritual Vitamins? 

 

Chase Clymer  

I have. 

 

Kurt Bullock  

Yeah. So...

 

Chase Clymer  

Only because every lead is like, "Hey, we want to be like them."

 

Kurt Bullock  

(laughs) Right. So yeah. Ritual, led by Kat Schneider. They described themselves as a health brand driven by some publicity, transparency, and science. 

 

So, if you're not familiar with Ritual and their vitamins, the capsules --the actual vitamins themselves-- are clear. And you can see these little beads moving around in them. Have you seen the vitamins, Chase? 

 

Chase Clymer  

Mm-hmm. Yes. 

 

Kurt Bullock  

Yeah. So, they're clear, the bottle's clear, the box has [a] bright yellow [color] on it and they actually smell like mint. They have some mint scent in there as well. So, light and fresh. And they're thing is “vitamins reimagined” 

 

Alright, let's just go through ads that HAVE, FEEL, AVERAGE DAY, and STATUS. And I've put together a couple of thoughts. So initially, HAVE. They start out in the Before state with the traditional multivitamin. 

 

Shady fillers potentially, additives in there... That's just the basics of what they have or they don't have a vitamin at all. 

 

But then the After is this idea of the "vitamin reimagined". So, clean nutrients, no fillers, no additives, vegan certified, it's sort of next-gen. 

 

So that's the most basic. That's just like, "Hey. You used to have this old, crummy vitamin; Here's a newer, better vitamin." That's the simplest one. That's HAVE. 

 

Chase Clymer  

I see that strategy as the go-to for most intro marketers. 

 

Kurt Bullock  

Right. 

 

Chase Clymer  

It's the easiest to wrap your head around.

 

Kurt Bullock  

Definitely. The others take a little bit more experimenting and thought. And in these examples, I have the benefit of being able to pull up the ads in the ads library and have the answers to the questions. 

 

But really, it takes a lot of time to think through these, to experiment, and to get them right. But let's go through these next ones. So, FEEL. I've got a couple of examples for FEEL. 

 

So, Before state is, --with your old vitamins-- you're uncertain. Like, "This doesn't have everything in there that I need. Can I trust this vitamin?" 

 

And so the After there would be somebody who's confident trusting that your vitamin has everything that it needs, that there are no gaps in this nutritional plan. 

 

Another one could be that taking your vitamins is more like just a daily to do. Just check it off your list. It's not part of... It's not like something you're looking forward to or that you think about, really, in any other way. It's, "I have to." 

 

The other way that you could FEEL about it is by taking your vitamins as part of your self-care ritual. And they designed the whole brand around that. 

 

Calling it Ritual to help you become the best version of yourself. So that's thinking about the feelings. And that's maybe one layer deeper than sort of the HAVE: Before and After.

 

Chase Clymer  

Mm-hmm.

 

Kurt Bullock  

AVERAGE DAY. Okay, so AVERAGE DAY. [It] might be in the morning, you're cobbling together multiple supplements. You're having to pull together all these different things. 

 

They all add up to maybe a lot because you're pulling from 3 different vitamins. AVERAGE DAY After Ritual is just selling it as a super simple solution. It's all contained in Ritual. So, it's just 2 pills you take. 

 

And also it's an easy win because there's so much (talking points) around daily rituals of successful people. It's about exercising and meditating for 30 minutes, and all these things that are great. But taking your vitamins can be a really easy win. 

 

Chase Clymer  

Mm-hmm.

 

Kurt Bullock  

So, [it's] giving you an easy win. Another AVERAGE DAY is you take your vitamins [and then] you have a fishy aftertaste from fish oil [or] omega 3s. And I said this (Ritual) leaves you with a minty aftertaste. 

 

And then finally, STATUS. I think that the STATUS is rolled up in these. But essentially, it's someone who's taking care of themselves. That's how you see yourself After. This is a self-care routine.

 

Chase Clymer  

Absolutely. You know what the best part about approaching it this way is --and I'm sure that I'm just stealing your thunder here (laughs)-- but once you think through this process, you're like, "Oh man, you could just make this video or these couple of images could tell this story for me."

 

Kurt Bullock  

That's exactly it. This framework is supposed to basically give you... "Here are all the components that you need. Now just mix and match." Pull from one HAVE not over here and the other HAVE on this side and you've got an ad. So, if you go to the Facebook Ad Library, you can pull up any brand that's an advertising and see their ads. 

 

So I did that for Ritual. And I pulled a few of their copy examples from their ads. So, I'll read through just a couple here. So let's say we're talking about like shady fillers and additives in the Before state. Let's see. 

 

So,  "[The] vitamin industry is full of half-truths, mystery ingredients, [and[ 10-pill regimens that overload women's bodies. That's why Ritual's founder set out to create something better. Here's how she did it." And then there's an explainer video

 

So we're talking about this Before and After. We're going to tell you about this new, After state in the video. All right, another one. 

 

So, "From D3 to Omega 3, Ritual Essential for women fills the gap in your diet, all with a fresh minty flavor and no fishy aftertaste." So, this is all exactly the concern. Is this going to have everything that I need in there and then its trustworthiness.

 

I think that trustworthiness and simplicity are what they're getting at in most of these Before & Afters, especially when it comes to vitamins because you have to trust the brand. 

 

Chase Clymer  

Mm-hmm.

 

Kurt Bullock  

You don't actually know... All right. "Finally,, a multivitamin you'll actually enjoy taking. The vitamin's designed to help you support your nutrient needs postmenopausal-- Expertly developed with 8 key nutrients into minty fresh pills." 

 

And then this last one I'll go to. It says, "Skeptical? We were, too. Which is why we created an obsessively-researched vitamin that even us skeptics could trust." 

 

So, like you were saying, Chase, we're essentially just pulling from these Before & After states here, mixing them together and you can have a bunch of ads to run with a bunch of different hooks to test out in your advertising.

 

Chase Clymer  

Absolutely. So let's talk about that. You've used that word twice now. Hooks. So for someone that's just getting into it, what is that? What is a hook?

 

Kurt Bullock  

Good question. So I like to think of hooks as just an angle. So your hooks can be emotional like these. FEEL, AVERAGE DAY, STATUS, all these things. They can also... A hook can be more feature-related like... 

 

Let's see... Max speed on a tire. A stat, like a way that a camera works. It's whatever, 20 megapixels, whatever it might be. I don't buy cameras.

 

Chase Clymer  

I might argue that that is also in the HAVE stage, as well. Because before you didn't have that, and now you do have that. There's your correlation.

 

Kurt Bullock  

Yep. So I think of hooks [are] just essentially different approaches that you can take. Different angles that you can take. 

 

Chase Clymer  

Absolutely. 

 

Kurt Bullock  

Yeah. And then I just have a couple of quick examples that we don't need to go so deeply into. But one is Tactical Baby Gear. So, they say on their website, “Your diaper bag isn’t your child’s accessory - it’s YOURS™.” 

 

So, we're essentially going from... On their website, they say, "going from your girly diaper bag to... And then they have... All their imagery supports this image of a super practical, military-inspired, awesome bag. 

 

Chase Clymer  

Yeah. 

 

Kurt Bullock  

And the status that you're going for is being seen as like [the] fun dad [or] super dad. And they use customer reviews in their ads. 

 

One of the reviews said, "From the call of duty to diaper duty. This dad has been an absolute rock star with our little girl." 

 

So that right there is how they want to be seen [by] others. That's something that appeals to people that are buying this bag. 

 

Chase Clymer  

Mm-hmm. Awesome. Yeah. So a question about your process. So, do you, --when you are working on ads for your clients-- do you start with copy first, and then try to find the creative later? Or vice versa?

 

Kurt Bullock  

So I usually do an inventory, and I'll say "So, what do we have to work with?" And so I'll hit out the lowest things first. 

 

So if they have videos that I can work with or lifestyle images, then I'll go and figure this out. But basically, after we've hit all the low-hanging fruit[s], then I do like to go through this process. 

 

And then when we're creating a new copy... Excuse me. New creative, I like to have already done this. So that we're being purposeful in any new creative that we make. 

 

Chase Clymer  

Awesome. So you're like, "Hey, these are some cool ideas we had, you should create content around this." And you share that back with your clients? 

 

Kurt Bullock  

Exactly. Yep. And I like to share lots of examples. So I'll pull from the ads library, take a screenshot and say, "What do you think about this idea? This is something that we could do and model but in our industry and with our products. "

 

Chase Clymer  

Okay. Before we move on to creative and testing, though, I do have a few more questions here. 

 

So, when you are looking at examples, are you looking in the same industry or vertical or do you like looking in different verticals to kind of get some inspiration, just to help people get their own ideas?

 

Kurt Bullock  

Yeah. I'm a big fan of looking outside the vertical. I always look at the competitors just to see what they're doing. 

 

But usually, that's not how you get competitive advantage, by doing the same thing that they're doing. 

 

So I think that it's pretty cool to look into other industries and pull from some neat idea that you see a different brand in a totally unrelated industry doing.

 

Chase Clymer  

Awesome. Yeah. I think it's always good... It can definitely get the creative juices flowing. 

 

Kurt Bullock  

Yeah. 

 

Chase Clymer  

And this is a great segue into creative, which I personally think is the differentiator between a brand that's going to make it on the platform with advertising [and] a brand that's not. Creative, it's the hardest thing.

 

Kurt Bullock  

I agree 100%. So creative. Let me just, I guess, start by talking about how much you need. That's a question that I get all the time. 

 

And I think that the amount of creative that you need is going to be related to 2 things: One is if you're in testing mode, and you don't know what the hell works yet. 

 

Chase Clymer  

Yeah. 

 

Kurt Bullock  

Then you need a lot of creative just so that you can start testing things out. Once you actually get the gears and the machine turning, then I think that is determined by your spend level, primarily. 

 

Chase Clymer  

Yep. 

 

Kurt Bullock  

So, [if] you're spending a lot, you're going to need a lot of creative. Some of our highest spending counts, we're adding new creative on a weekly basis. It's our goal. 

 

It doesn't mean that we're replacing all of our creative on a weekly basis, necessarily. But we'll add new creative to the pool and let it duke it out right between the old and the new creative.

 

Chase Clymer  

Yeah. See which one's gonna win. It's like  those old radio contests of which one's going to stay the winner. "This one's been the winner for 14 weeks straight."

 

Kurt Bullock  

Exactly. Yep. And one thing to be careful of is that your ads that have lots of social proof on them already are usually going to be the winner, just because Facebook already has so much data on that ad.

 

Chase Clymer  

Yeah. 

 

Kurt Bullock  

So, that's something to keep in mind. But even still,  I'm always adding new creative there. I do like to test creative before introducing it into my main campaigns. 

 

So I'll usually have like a campaign that has my best low funnel audiences. So that would be like my newsletter list [and], previous purchasers. And then I'll have maybe one of my best cold audiences which is oftentimes a maybe a 1% purchase or something like that.

 

A Lookalike. And so I'll test it in both of those. And also, I'm looking to gather some comments and social proof from the ads that's running to my customers. 

 

If you show an ad to your existing customers, a lot of them are going to jump on there and say, "Oh, I have this and I love it!" And add a bunch of comments to the ads. 

 

And then you can take the Post ID from that ad and pop it in, once it graduates from testing. You see that this is a good ad, then you can graduate into your top of funnel campaigns.

 

Chase Clymer  

Mm-hmm.

 

Oh, that is a... Right there, is a gem. Okay, so what he's doing there is finding a winning creative... And creative is imagery and video, to use a non-industry term. 

 

So he's creating a new ad with a cool video or with a cool photo or series of photos --depends on what ad you're really running-- and then he's testing it in some audiences that he knows are going to work regardless because these people are very familiar with the product. 

 

Once he sees one starting to catch on, and it's got social proof now on that ad as well --so it's got comments, and it's got likes, and it's got shares-- and then he's putting that. 

 

He's repurposing that ad now at the top of the funnel to try to bring in new customers. He's using it for prospecting.

 

Kurt Bullock  

Exactly. And for people that haven't done this sort of thing before. Part of that strategy is using the... They call it the Post ID from that ad that has all the comments. 

 

So you can retain those comments. And the way that I do it usually is I'll go to the ad, hit preview on Facebook. It's called like, "preview on Facebook with comments" and then it's going to give you... 

 

In the URL, there's going to be a big string of things, the very last set of numbers before the slash. So the very last set of numbers is what you copy. 

 

And then when you go into a new ad, you choose "use existing enter post ID" and you paste those numbers in there. That way, you're not erasing all the comments and the social proof. You can carry it with you. Is that clear, Chase?

 

Chase Clymer  

Yeah. well, I guess my only clarifying question here is, are you making this first initial ad that you're trying to test out in the middle of the funnel [where] people are already familiar with the brand... 

 

Are you making a post and then boosting it? Or are you actually making an ad within Ads Manager with that segment targeted?

 

Kurt Bullock  

I'm definitely making an ad in Ads Manager. Then after you hit publish, is when you can get that Post ID when you preview the ad.

 

Chase Clymer  

Gotcha. Yeah. See, that's something that always seems to... It's getting the ones that already exist, and then using them to elevate new ones. It's hard to wrap your head around sometimes.

 

Kurt Bullock  

Yeah. For sure. So yeah, that's my strategy in terms of social proofing. And what you'll find is that social proofed ads perform much better than a fresh ad. So I try and social proof whenever I can.

 

Chase Clymer  

How long are you letting a winning ad run? How high are you letting the frequency get? That's something that some people are looking at a lot.

 

Kurt Bullock  

Yeah. So once I've graduated that ad into my top of the funnel, then I'm looking at usually 2 numbers: I'll look at my frequency like you mentioned. 

 

And if I'm looking at like 30 days, then I would not want that frequency to get over. Usually I can, if I see the frequency getting over 2, then that's usually high for a top of funnel audience. 

The other number that I'm looking at though, is the First Time Impression Ratio. So retargeting, though. To be clear for my retargeting, my frequency numbers are higher than that. 

 

Chase Clymer  

Yeah. 

 

Kurt Bullock  

Yeah. My cold traffic, I'm looking to keep it at 2 or less generally. But the other number that I'm finding --and this has been released by Facebook in beta to most ad accounts. 

 

I have it in probably 9 out of 10 ad accounts that I'm looking at right now.-- And that is the First Time Impression Ratio. 

 

So basically, this is a number that represents, "Okay, so we showed your ad 10 times. Of those 10 times it was shown, how many times was it shown to somebody that was a fresh face that had never seen the ad."

 

Chase Clymer  

Mm-hmm.

 

Kurt Bullock  

So, that's your First Time Impression Ratio. I'm watching that. When you launch it, it'll be 100%. And then you'll see that number starting to go down lower and lower, as it shows the ad to more and more people. 

 

And my threshold is usually around the 50% mark. Once the ad is being... That first impression ratio is in the 40s, I usually see my performance start to decline anyway, which is another indicator right that you want to switch things up. 

 

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Chase Clymer  

Awesome. And so we're talking about here, just the top of funnel and prospecting. So, would your goal with that is more just moving people down into the middle [of the funnel] into purchasing? 

 

How many steps is your funnel that you play around with?

 

Kurt Bullock  

So, it depends a little bit on my spend, too. But I'm usually thinking about it... I'll have my top of the funnel. And just to be clear, prospecting stuff's going to be Interests and Lookalikes. 

 

I'm also doing a lot of even open targeting these days where I don't... This is only for accounts that have seen lots of purchases already and Facebook has a good idea of who you're targeting. 

 

I won't even send... I won't even set a lookalike audience or interest. Maybe I'll just set "Hey if I know that  it's men that we're targeting, I'll set that it's men." 

 

But otherwise, I'm leaving things basically open. And that's forming a part of my top of the funnel. And that's a side note there. But that's an interesting thing because that never would have worked a few years ago, right? 

 

Chase Clymer  

Yeah, that's insane. 

 

Kurt Bullock  

Yeah. But so now I might assign, I don't know, 15% - 20% of my top of funnel budget to open targeting. I'm also using lots of big, broad...

 

So let's say 10% lookalikes with CBO. CBO seems to work really well... Sorry, I'm throwing CBO out there. That's Campaign Budget Optimization. 

 

That's the new way Facebook is setting things up. Starting in February, it's going to be mandatory apparently. It hasn't happened yet. 

 

Chase Clymer  

Fun. 

 

Kurt Bullock  

Yeah. (laughs) But... So, CBO works really well with big audiences. So, back a year or two ago, I was looking for things, maybe 3 million people tops, typically. Maybe 5 [million] at the very high end. Now, my CBOs all include 3 [sets of] 10% local likes. 

 

Oftentimes, each of those has 20 million people in there. So that's 60 million people in the CBO, which just never would have worked before. 

 

But Facebook's done so much work on their AI and the algorithm that it's just a lot better at finding people if you give it data. You have to give it lots of data though and give it time to actually work. 

 

Chase Clymer  

That's a good topic right there: Spend. What would you say is your threshold... Not to work with you or anything like that. 

 

But if you're going to get started on your own and you have the time to commit to learning the platform, you've gone through Blueprint which is free... Don't get started on Facebook without actually figuring it out. 

 

Go do Blueprint if you want to do this. But, what do you think the budget you should be starting with? Especially, now that this is a mature platform. These clicks aren't cheap.

 

Kurt Bullock  

Right. So, I usually think about it in terms of a multiple of your average order value. So it depends on what you can spend. 

 

But I think that if you are going to be successful and you want to have the best chance, I usually try and allocate at least 3 times your average order value to an ad set when I'm testing. 

 

So, if I'm testing $100 product out, I'll set up a new ad set that has an audience in it and ads, and I'll say, "I'm going to let this run for up to $300 before I decide if this is a winner or a loser." 

 

Now, that becomes harder as you jump with... If you're working with really high AOV items. If you have like a $2,000 grill, --a backyard grill kind of thing-- you don't want to necessarily spend $6,000 to validate an ad. 

 

I think that breaks down at the higher levels, right? 

 

Chase Clymer  

Yeah. 

 

Kurt Bullock  

But I think that on the lower levels of spending, at least $100 per ad set on the very low level.

 

Otherwise, I just use average order value as my marker. So I'm looking at 3 to 5 times average order value to test. That helps you think about your testing. 

 

In terms of setting aside resources, do I want to test 10 ads at once? Or maybe I should be testing two ads at a time? over 10 weeks. Right? 

 

Chase Clymer  

Yeah. 

 

Kurt Bullock  

Yeah. So it helps you formulate your plan there.

 

Chase Clymer  

Yeah. I mean that's... I think that right there is just [a] simple math for everyone listening, whether or not you can get in the game with these Facebook ads is your average order value. You're not going to be able to win on a $10 or $20 budget.

 

Kurt Bullock  

Right. Exactly. And your average order value that's one to one, right? 

 

If you earn $50 and it costs you $50 to make it you're coming out breakeven in terms of dollars in, dollars out. And even less when you talk about your cost of goods sold

 

But then you could also be coming out even more if you're talking about lifetime value if you've got a product...

 

Yep. 

 

Chase Clymer  

Products that your customers tend to spend more of their lifetime.

 

Kurt Bullock  

So that's a huge point. And I'm glad you brought that up. So I usually don't think of... When I'm just talking about getting an ad account started, I'm talking about these simple numbers. 

 

But you're right, when I'm looking at scaling an ad account, then we're looking at lifetime value. It actually might make sense to bring in customers at a cost or even sometimes less than cost, right?

 

Chase Clymer  

Yeah. You could spend it in any way [you want] and that's the fun thing about analytics. But I think that there is validating that this platform can work for you. There's A. So it's like, "Alright, we can make it work. Dollar in 2 dollars out. 

 

Kurt Bullock  

Yep. 

 

Chase Clymer  

Or whatever works for you. That seems to be what people are happy with at the minimum. 

 

And then from there, it's like, you can only sell to the same people over and over. You need to grow your customer base or your business actually isn't growing. 

 

So then figuring out what is actually good for your business in terms of scale. What is the highest you can pay to acquire a customer that you're willing to hold that risk for them to come back to you again, and then you get your return on them in the future? 

 

So are you willing to... Your lifetime value is, say, $300, but your average order values $150. Are you willing to pay $150 to acquire that customer and sit on them for 2 years to get that other hundred $50?

 

Kurt Bullock  

Right. Yeah. I totally agree with what you said. Another side avenue is just thinking about your numbers and your breakeven. 

 

So, we talked about maybe just validating that your products work, your ads work on the platform, getting that one to one return. A lot of times the next step I'll be looking for is "Alright, so what is your break-even given your margin?" 

 

An easy way to figure that out with big, round numbers is if you take 1 and then divide it by... If you have a 50% margin, then it'd be 0.5. If you have to 60% margin, it's 0.6, right?

 

Chase Clymer  

Mm-hmm.

 

Kurt Bullock  

So, if you take 1, divide it by 0.5, that means it gives you 2. And so your breakeven ROAS will be 2x. If it's a 60% margin, then I think that that's going to be 1.6x. 

 

So, 1.6x will be your breakeven. So having enough margin there, you can see, is really helpful. Because if your ROAS targets are so high that it's hard to reach them, then that's going to make it difficult to scale. 

 

Chase Clymer  

Yes. So much yes. And so let's talk about that now. I think you tweeted this the other day, and I shouted you out. 

 

But this is like, if you have a $50 average order value, and it's costing you $30 to produce it, you cannot make money on Facebook. It's just too expensive these days. 

 

Kurt Bullock  

Yep. 

 

Chase Clymer  

You need to get your average order value up or you're not going to be able to do it. You need to get your margins up, too. Paid acquisition is a channel that only works when you have healthy margins.

 

Kurt Bullock  

Exactly. So you know, a lot of times, part of figuring out how to get paid traffic to work for you is finding "Alright, so what's going to be our top of funnel products?" so to speak. 

 

One that has healthy margins, one that leads to maybe people making repeat purchases afterward. These are all the different things you consider. And sometimes it's funny, I was recently working with a brand where, you know, our goal was to get the average order value up. 

 

So we went with a product that was more expensive, higher average order value. When we compared that to a cheaper version of that product. In this case, the cheaper worked better because the barrier to purchasing it was better. 

 

And so we actually, we turned... Basically, the idea is that there was more margin on the cheaper product. And so we had more to work with. Now, of course, that's going to break down at the very low end of the spectrum. Like you said, $10 CPAs just don't exist top of the funnel.

 

Chase Clymer  

Yeah. No way.

 

Kurt Bullock  

Yeah. So yeah, it's important to think about those things and be strategic about which products you're selling. Doing things like bundling, and trying not to give away all of your margins with your 10% or 15% or 20% discount code, if you don't have that margin giveaway.

 

Chase Clymer  

Yeah, absolutely. So we just got into it there. And I just want to circle back to the third thing that we promised people we'd talked about which would be testing. So, give them a few tips and tricks there on testing. (laughs)

 

Kurt Bullock  

Yeah. I went through a little bit about my testing strategy. But maybe, I'll talk about this. when I'm testing. So I have that little that process that we talked about. 

 

Showing these ads to low funnel audiences and then my best top of funnel audience. So, some sure audiences. 

 

But then besides that, when I think about testing, I'm trying to make sure that I'm not just playing the same note over and over. 

 

And so you can think about that in terms of different ad types. Different messaging, for sure. 

 

But let's talk about ad types. So there are like, I don't know, maybe eight different ads that I use regularly. 

 

And I've broken them down into intro videos, so this is where we're introducing the product; user-generated content, comparison videos, review and PR videos, video like holic/obsessed, which is usually it's another form of PR, but it's people that are essentially saying "I'm obsessed with this product!" (laughs) and might have hype-y music behind it or whatever it might be. 

 

But so we've got those. Influencer videos and then unboxing or reveals.

 

Chase Clymer  

Mm-hmm.

 

So I want to highlight something there. 

 

Kurt Bullock  

Yeah, 

 

Chase Clymer  

All of that ended in videos. 

 

Kurt Bullock  

Very true. So (laughs) I think you have the most flexibility with videos to actually do all these different things. I do rely on a single image, as well. 

 

But the story that you can tell with video is just much... You have a lot more leverage in it. You can tell a much richer story with video than with a single image for sure.

 

Chase Clymer  

Yeah. I'd see a single image perform well with retargeting people that are familiar, the warmer they are. But if you're prospecting, you might just be burning money. 

 

Because it's so easy to get lost in the shuffle of the platform. Video just gives you a better opportunity because it's moving and humans have lizard brains. If it's moving, they're gonna look at it.

 

Kurt Bullock  

Exactly, yeah. Video is great. And then another thing that I'm sure you know, but you can retarget video as well. And it gives you one more data point, one more audience to work with. 

 

o I'll retarget people that watch 95% of my video, as that kind of tells me they're interested enough to have watched that much. And that's another good audience.

 

Chase Clymer  

Yeah, I would consider that hot traffic. I'd consider that bottom of the funnel. 95% of the video is a lot of the video.

 

Kurt Bullock  

Yep. Yeah. So that's another solid audience to you know, to use and another benefit of using video.

 

Chase Clymer  

Absolutely. I know you talked a little bit about Ryan Deiss, you can find that probably in Digital Marketer

 

That information. [Are] there any other resources people that want to get into this other than Facebook blueprint? Some may be some unbiased stuff that they can learn from.

 

Kurt Bullock  

So, I read tons of books. If you want to learn more about storytelling and everything, Building a StoryBrand by Don Miller. It's a good one that can give you some of those basics. But because stuff changes so much on Facebook, I just try and be a student of the Facebook Ads Library. So I'm in there all the time. 

 

And I try and... Those I listed, all those videos that I use. When I'm going through competitors' videos and clients' videos, I often find myself trying to categorize and break it down, just so that I can learn like "Okay, what are the chords that they're playing?" 

 

Then once I know "Hey, these are the key notes or chords" then you can rearrange them and make your own song. But it's great to be able to categorize it and learn from it that way. So I'm always doing that. 

 

And I'm always thinking about which ads I actually stop on when I'm looking at my own feed. And once I find one, I'll usually screenshot it on my phone and then come back later when I'm in brainstorming mode and check out all those ads.

 

Chase Clymer  

That's amazing. Is there anything that you want to share with the audience before I let you go today?

 

Kurt Bullock  

No. I think that's primarily it. Just don't try and do everything at once. If you take anything from this, I would just experiment with some of those before and after questions that --the Ryan Deiss questions-- see if that gives you some new ideas, then just dedicate one new piece of creative and just get out of your box. 

 

Because we get into these ruts where we do the same thing over and over again. [However], it could be something really great on the other side that you haven’t tested yet because it’s not your normal way of thinking. Absolutely. 

 

Chase Clymer  

If someone wants to get in touch with you, how do they do that? 

 

Kurt Bullock  

You can follow me on Twitter. Just @kurtbullock. Or at our website, which is producedept.co. Really bad URL.

 

Chase Clymer  

The dot coms are always expensive.

 

Kurt Bullock  

(laughs) Yeah. I also have The Produce Department, I think. But producedept.co.

 

Chase Clymer  

Follow them on Twitter. Thanks so much for coming on the show today.

 

Kurt Bullock  

Right on. Thanks, Chase. 

 

Chase Clymer  

You're welcome. 

 

I cannot thank our guests enough for coming on the show and sharing their journey and knowledge with us today. We've got a lot to think about and potentially add to our businesses. Links and more information will be available in the show notes as well. 

 

If anything in this podcast resonated with you and your business, feel free to reach out and learn more at electriceye.io/connect. Also, make sure you subscribe and leave an amazing review. Thank you!