Michael Utley: Hey, welcome. This is Michael and Chris, and this is episode 30 of the Dodgeball Marketing Podcast. We're going to talk about what makes a good social media ad. This is really a big deal this year. COVID hit in 2020 and every metric that we saw, social media consumption just went way up over the last year.
Michael Utley: Social media really became a new place for people to feel sort of connected and not so isolated. And so that meant a lot for folks like our customers who are advertising. We have companies that are actively trying to promote different services and products, and so it really changed the entire landscape. We're going to take an approach where I'm sort of going to interview you. You're more of an expert than I am on social media advertising. And you do a lot of the social media advertising that we sell. And have your own company, Bullhorn Media, that does that does social advertising. So we're going to talk a little bit about good social media ads.
Michael Utley: So, number one here is advertise using key target audience data. So when we're advertising, it's not like the old days when where the billboard is on the side of the road and everybody drives by. We're in a whole different universe of complexity. And there's a lot of targeting that happens. But how do we think about using audience data?
Chris Raines: Yeah. This is really the step one you should go through when you're about to launch a social media campaign, or really any campaign is figuring out who your avatar is. And so we-
Michael Utley: So a persona, the person you are speaking to.
Chris Raines: Exactly. And so, we used to only have back in the television days, the television networks would give you generalized data on gender demographics and that sort of thing. But with social media, we have the ability to target at such a deeper level. And so it's worth the extra time to go through that research phase and figure out who your customer is, what their interests... like what are their biggest dreams and aspirations? What are their biggest fears about what might happen inside their business, or to them personally if you're advertising to the consumer? Going beyond just that and then saying like, what pages do they follow? What Facebook pages do they follow? What conferences do they attend? What authors do they pay attention to around the thing that you're selling? And anything that you can think about that points back to what their core motivations are and what their fears are. And so going through that exercise, developing that avatar will help you so you're not going in blind when you set up your targeting, and it will allow you to eliminate waste.
Chris Raines: Once you go in, if you do your customer research, and maybe you have a lot of customers already, and you determine, "Hey, really, no one over 50 buys this stuff. We've never sold it to... Or maybe no one under 50 buys this stuff." Really go in and do that research. And so you can get that targeting right on. And that's I think the most important step, because it also informs your ad creative too, which we'll talk about knowing exactly who your customer is. And maybe you have a few different avatars, right.
Michael Utley: Yeah. Yeah. Most folks are going to have more than one audience segment. So it's really going to help you divide these different segments so you're not trying too hard with your ad copy. If you're trying to put the work of self-selection into the ad copy, you're going to lose character space. You're going to lose real estate and not be able to communicate what you really need. Right?
Chris Raines: Right. Right. So audience research, the avatar development, the most important part. So do the work.
Michael Utley: Yeah. Let me ask you about this next one Chris. We want to think about, we've got different social media channels that are all really, really different animals and really work differently, but we want to be good at choosing the best platforms for social ads. In the past, I would say we thought of LinkedIn as kind of just this job seeker website. I don't think that's the case after 2020 with kind of the explosion of social media's role and people thinking about LinkedIn more.
Michael Utley: Facebook of course, just continues to be a juggernaut. It's bigger than the government of the United States. A billion plus people on Facebook. And we've got these other more visual channels that are coming along like Instagram. How should a company, what's their logical order of steps to start to hone down the seemingly kind of open-ended universe of ideas that are out there to decide where they should go with their services and their products?
Chris Raines: Yeah. I mean, so it's sort of the same as the first question in terms of who is your customer and where are they hanging out? Which platforms are they hanging out on? And how engaged are they on those platforms? And what's their context on those platforms? In other words, what are they thinking? What are they looking to accomplish?
Michael Utley: What mode are they in?
Chris Raines: Yeah. What are they looking to accomplish on those platforms? And so that can go a long way in picking which platforms that you even need to be on. So an example I have here is if you're selling... You wouldn't want to go to TikTok to sell reverse mortgages, right.
Michael Utley: Yeah.
Chris Raines: Because those are for elderly people, and they're just not on TikTok. TikTok's skew is really young, at least right now. And so you want to go to places where elderly people congregate, older people congregate to Facebook. But if you're selling a new app that can make your face morph into the face of a celebrity or something, so you can be Kylie Jenner there's probably an app like that out there. That's great for TikTok, right. You've got younger people in there that are more likely to try things like that. And so really looking at who your customer is, what mode of thinking they're in when they're on the platforms and that'll go a long way to making sure you're not wasting your money and spending money on a platform with the right message and the right offer and the right page, but your audience isn't there.
Michael Utley: And real quick, we've touched on this, let's drop into those modes. Some different modes could be, I mentioned one LinkedIn. We've traditionally thought of it as a job seeker, but it might also be business development. And then I think of Facebook as kind of like a way that people are connecting with family. It's the entrope of grandparents seeing what the kids are up to and the grandkids. It's true.
Chris Raines: And TikTok would be more... the whole platform is focused around your face—. . .
Michael Utley: Fun. So it's really that entertainment or fun.
Chris Raines: And discovery.
Michael Utley: Okay.
Chris Raines: People spend more time on the for you page on TikTok. So they want to look at new things, interesting things. And so they're looking to sample and discover versus Facebook where they're really looking to connect with people that are in their friends and family.
Michael Utley: Maybe active conversations. Facebook's been really effective at creating an online experience with groups. So there might be some relevant connection, marketplace, or selling something in a neighborhood group.
Chris Raines: Right.
Michael Utley: So, Chris let's kind of switch gears here. We want to talk about headlines a little bit. Using headlines that focus on future benefits or current pain. You've done a lot of thought around this. How do we write a good headline?
Chris Raines: Yeah. So the main thing to me is to position, your product, your company, your service, as the mentor that's going to come alongside your customer or client and present to them the future that they want, their future state that they are after, or the elimination of the current pain that they're experiencing. So having a headline that focuses not on your product, your company, or even the features of the product or service, but the benefit to the customer, that's always what you want. So that's my first kind of sniff test on any headline, really in social media or on a landing page.
Michael Utley: And you've got a rubric for this, right?
Chris Raines: I have a rubric for this. And this is not my idea, this is from DigitalMarketer.com. If you go there and search for ad grid, ad grid, you'll see a really great article that they posted it's probably three or four years ago, but it's a good rubric to kind of get starter ideas for headline copy.
Chris Raines: And here they are. They're basically five things: have, feel, average day, status, and proof and results. So have is what is what is the person going to have after they experience your product or service?
Michael Utley: So what do I get?
Chris Raines: What do you get? So a simple thing might be “The Simple Method to Six-Pack Abs in 6 Weeks”. People want six-pack abs. And so if you make that promise, of this service is going to give them that, it communicates, ”They have what I want in my future state”. Feel: how do people want to feel? So something like, “Say goodbye to arthritis pain for good”. Arthritis pain is annoying. People don't like feeling it. They want to feel better. And this goes beyond physical pain. It can be emotional pain and things like that. So, promise a better state of feeling in the future.
Chris Raines: Average day. So this is another way-
Michael Utley: Way to go about it. Yeah.
Chris Raines: This is another way to go about pain. So this is more like low-level pain that people experience every day. And so calling that out and communicating it in such a way that activates and makes people remember that pain and then offers you as a mentor to come alongside them and help them overcome that pain. So one might be, if you're selling HR software or something... Or this would be accounting software, sorry, would be, “Imagine closing out your accounting month without touching a spreadsheet”. So maybe accountants are sick of spreadsheets, and maybe they can't organize the data in the way that they want. Maybe that touches on that pain. So it's everyday life, recurring life.
Michael Utley: You're not trying to hit people at the highs or the lows of life, but their average day.
Chris Raines: Here's how your average day is going to get transformed by our product or service. Status, this is a big one, especially for luxury products. So if you're selling something high-end related to the home, maybe it's home decor, home remodeling, interior design, something, a headline might be “Own the Home That All the Neighbors Talk About”.
Michael Utley: Right.
Chris Raines: So this is status in the eyes of your neighbor. So people want to be seen as affluent, successful in the eyes of other people. So, you're going to activate that desire for status.
Michael Utley: Yeah. We often think of status just with really high-end luxury products, but this also applies all up and down the scale.
Chris Raines: It can be status from being seen as a good husband to your wife, or being seen as a good wife to your husband. So, you can even do status, like, interpersonally.
Michael Utley: It can play in other ways.
Chris Raines: Yeah. Being seen as a good dad, something like that. And the last one is probably the most common one, but it's proof and results. So like, this is the results that you're going to get... a quantifiable result you're going to get after using the product. So it could be reduce your HR costs by 25%. Here's the result. Here's proof of how we can do that for you.
Michael Utley: Right.
Chris Raines: Really simple, but focusing on that result. So all these are kind of shorthand ways to get at casting a vision of that future person to the person you're advertising to or casting a vision of the elimination of the pain that they're currently feeling.
Michael Utley: That's great. Yeah. And then next up, using images to stop the scroll. Images. . .It's funny because there's been this explosion of availability of really high-quality stock images sometimes for really low cost or free, but you're actually telling us to go in a different direction. What do you think about images when we want to craft a really good effective ad?
Chris Raines: So on social media, the thing that we're finding that performs best time and time and time again, is not stock photos, not really highly art-directed, really polished photos, but organic photos where everything's not perfect, there's no set design or minimal art direction. And the reason that works is because it really fits in with the feed. It looks like content that people are seeing from their friends and family. So you're going to really fit in nicely with the feed and be seen as content that they're likely to consume. And we see this time and time again with campaigns that we run. We've tested stock photos versus just everyday photos of normal people shot on an iPhone and 9 times out of 10, the organic photos, as long as the content there and the motion is there and then there's something interesting about it, perform way better than polished stock images.
Chris Raines: And the second thing I'll say about imagery in your ads is don't be afraid to use metaphors for things that aren't literal to what you're selling. So an example would be, we recently completed a campaign for COVID training for small businesses. So how to position your business for the second wave of COVID this launched in December and it's done now, but the best ad creative that we had was really kind of an oil painting sort of thing of a huge tidal wave that must've been 30 feet tall and a tiny little sailboat floating underneath. And we just did a simple meme-ification of that. And we titled the tidal wave COVID-19 and we titled underneath the wave unprepared small businesses. So that really creates this arresting image where your metaphor. . . I don't know what the word would be. You're creating a metaphor. You're creating a powerful visual image.
Michael Utley: Creates a little bit of humor.
Chris Raines: Yeah. And it's a powerful visual image to communicate like "If you don't make a change now you're going to be the sailboat."
Michael Utley: Yeah.
Chris Raines: And this is the tidal wave. So don't be afraid to use metaphorical images and different pictures to personify the idea you're trying to communicate.
Michael Utley: So not a polished piece of art, but a mix of text and images that sort of conveys a certain joke or a bit of humor.
Chris Raines: Right.
Michael Utley: That's great.
Chris Raines: Right.
Michael Utley: Yeah. And then let's talk about this, setting specific social ad goals and tracking them. This is something that it's often overlooked in the planning, and it's really a combination of a couple of different elements of planning, both goal setting and the mechanics of tying everything together. And it doesn't all happen automatically. You've got to think through and know, what platforms we're going to run it on? What are we going to do? But what do we need to think about when we're setting specific social ad goals and then what do we need to do to track them?
Chris Raines: So the first thing I think about is, what are your KPI's for the event that you're selling? For e-commerce, it's really cut and dry. We know it costs this much to make this product. We know this is the delivery cost, so we can only pay this much for a sale.
Michael Utley: Otherwise we're losing money on the sale.
Chris Raines: For lead generation and other things outside of ecommerce, it's really good to know how much you're willing to pay for the lead.
Michael Utley: What's your close rate? Then you can even go to lifetime value-
Chris Raines: Lifetime value.
Michael Utley: . . .if you're ready to push the envelope and try to push that marketing budget up as high as you can.
Chris Raines: Yeah. And that really lets you go in with a sense of, are we willing to pay $5 per lead and no more, or are we selling a product that's $50,000 and we don't mind maybe paying 200 bucks for the lead because we know we're going to close 1 out of 10? And that's a really great ROI. Maybe we'll pay 500 bucks. So, really getting a sense for your numbers from ad to final profit for the company allows you to go in with confidence. And to your point, knowing how far you can scale it and knowing how high you can get your cost per lead before you're not willing to pay anymore.
Michael Utley: That's great. And yeah, and the mechanics of tying all that together can be... we could do a whole episode on that. But yeah, you want to make sure that you're using both the social media platforms themselves and your Google Analytics or wherever you're tying everything together, and then any custom reports that are coming out of those systems. And make sure that you're understanding exactly what's happening. But you're really making sure that your goals are being used to track back and feedback to the social media channel to see what's working, or to see it in your analytics and make decisions.
Chris Raines: Right. Yeah. And the key of distinction there is make sure you're tracking on the platform and in Google analytics. A lot of times you're going to have data discrepancies. You're going to get double counting. The analytics-
Michael Utley: A click is not always a click either.
Chris Raines: Right. Yeah. The analytics that you own on your page will give you the most true sense for how people are actually responding and so measure both. And so you can get a clear picture of how people, when they click do they actually visit the landing page. And so that will give you a sense for how it's performing if you have it set up on both platforms, both the platform you're advertising on and your Google Analytics or whatever you're using for your analytics.
Michael Utley: That's great, Chris, thanks for dropping your knowledge today. And this has been episode 30 of The Dodgeball Marketing Podcast, “What Makes a Good Social Media Ad?” Thank you all for participating. We really love all the feedback we get on the content and welcome you to subscribe or drop your comments if you're on YouTube, especially. And yeah. Thanks. Thanks, Chris.
Chris Raines: Thank you.