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Episode 6: Advertising and Optimizing Your Facebook Content

Organic social is important. It’s how you drive engagement and get people to see your content. But if you’re looking to really scale those efforts, then it’s time to turn your attention to Facebook ads.

Josh Chang joins to talk about how to run split tests, the best way to spend your next $500, and why you should avoid the Boost Button at all costs. You’ve been warned.

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Episode Transcription

Hi. I’m Matt Brown from HubSpot, and this is Skill Up, the show where you’ll learn how to take your sales, marketing, and service skills to the next level.

If you’re posting organically on Facebook, I hope I’m not the first to tell you, but.. not everyone’s going see your content. That’s where Facebook ads come in.

[JOSH: My name's Josh Chang.]

Oh. No. Yea. You didn’t think.. No, no, that’s Josh. Facebook ads aren’t.. A person..

[JOSH: I’m a manager on the acquisition team working primarily on analytics and advertising.]

Josh takes care of running the data on our acquisition team. That could be anything from SEO, campaign performance, and most importantly -- for all of us huddled around the campfire inside your ears -- Josh handles advertising and optimizing Facebook content here at HubSpot.

Organic social is important. It’s how you drive engagement and get people to see your content. Facebook ads are how you scale those efforts.

[cue segment music]
Alright Josh. What are Facebook ads?

[JOSH: So Facebook ads are one of the big players in digital advertising. It's one of the best ways to drive new traffic, new users, new leads to your website or your business. There's a lot of different things that you can do in terms of targeting, in terms of creative. There are tons of different ad formats and so you can test single images. You can test a carousel ad, which is a series of images. You can test videos. are you using video or images.]

So with Facebook Ads, you’re...

[JOSH: Basically paying Facebook money to get eyeballs on your content.]

Got it. And after placing the ad...

[JOSH: You run an initial Facebook ad, you kind of analyze the results, you see what works, see what didn't, and then optimizing involves taking what did work and doubling down on that. Turning off what didn't work, optimizing your content, optimizing your strategy, optimizing your targeting into what's gonna work the best for your business.]
[end segment music]

Look, I didn’t know where to start this interview with Josh. There was a lot. But one thing kept clawing at the back of my head. I checked, no, wasn’t a rogue alley cat. Weird if it was, right? No, it was.. a button -- a simple button with a simple promise.

[JOSH: So most marketers, a lot of the times if you're just running social and you're like, Oh, I need to start running Facebook ads.

That boost button that you see on all of your organic social posts is really, really tempting to click cause it makes it super easy for you to spend a ton of money and your ads won't work. So on that note, it's like, yeah, I'm going to click boost. There's like three settings to set and yeah, I'm running Facebook ads, but how do you actually know what's working?

And so what I tell a lot of people is that don't click that boost button.]

Hear that? Don’t touch that boost button! Whether you’re new to social or been managing it for years. Don’t fall for that budget-content meet-cute called a Boost Button.

[JOSH: Take the time to actually go in, understand what Facebook ad manager looks like. How do you set it up. A really basic split test, and it doesn't take that many more clicks than just hitting the boost button.

When you hit the boost button, you're kind of locked into certain variables, certain settings that might work, but they might also be completely wrong from the objective that you're trying to achieve. When you go into Facebook ads manager, you just have a lot more flexibility and a lot more control.

It can be intimidating, but once you kind of drill down into what specifically you need to do, for example, if you're just trying to drive leads or conversions, you can make sure your ads are optimized and you have the right settings selected in order to actually do that.

By doing that, you'll save your company money and you'll save yourself some sanity.]

[cue synth flourish]

Let’s say you’re taking over the social team. And budgets have been a bit all over the place, or worse, not exactly ‘there.’ Gimme a hot take.

[JOSH: I wouldn't recommend small businesses start off spending $500 a day.]

There it is.

[JOSH: it really depends on the business, which is kind of a cop-out answer, but a lot of the questions when it comes to spend are basically around how much is it going to cost you to get X amount of conversions.

And so it might be 30 conversions. And if you're running a split test on Facebook with two images, let's say, two images, let's see how much it's going to cost us to get 20 to 30 conversions each. And at that point we can start saying, okay, maybe add a worked better than ad B, for example.

I think in terms of impact for your business when you can start spending $500, $600, $700 a day, that's when you're really starting to scale Facebook. But that's something you definitely don't want to start doing until you kind of dial in what specifically is working, whether a specific ad is working, a specific audience is working, a landing page is working, when you start to see something actually move the needle a bit in terms of results for your business, that's when you can start really scaling up that budget level.]

[cue synth flourish]

So you’re in it. You’re running ads, you’re stiff-arming that boost button, and really starting to invest some serious budget in your Facebook ads. Great! What you need next is a plan to optimize the content you’re promoting.

[JOSH: So Facebook ads are a really good way to get quicker results and see what content is actually working versus not. So if you have a bunch of Facebook posts that are each promoting a different type of content or a different piece of content, Facebook is going to help you quickly determine content piece A is working versus content piece C, eh, not so much.

So Facebook ads are going to help you scale that and scale that testing versus if you're just posting and doing it organically, you're probably not going to see super statistically significant results for a while.]

But there’s one more step. And it’s something most social media marketers leave out after they’ve optimized their content. But not you.

[JOSH: Try and understand the value of these users that you're getting from Facebook ads and compare with other channels. So compare with people that you're getting from your blog or compare with people that are coming from organic or from Google.

Making sure you understand a lead is worth X amount from this channel is really important to help you make better decisions.]

[cue synth flourish]

Our last topic takes us once again to the desktop vs. mobile debate. But trust me -- well, trust Josh -- it’s important!

[JOSH: A big piece of Facebook advertising these days is making sure you're doing Facebook ads properly on mobile versus desktop. You can't just assume the same thing is going to work on desktop and then also work on mobile.

70, 80% of Facebook users are on mobile, on their phone. So making sure you understand that's a huge audience that you have to hit in order for your Facebook ads to be successful. Facebook, a lot of the time, is just going to tell you to select all devices in all placements. That may work, but it also might.

Be more beneficial to have content or creative to customize to mobile or to desktop. It's gonna perform differently. It just makes sense that you're on your phone. You're going to act differently than if you're on your desktop at work or something.]

Once you’ve stopped setting fire to stacks of cash and actually optimized for mobile, it’s time to drop that bath bomb and suds it up. Because we’re talkin’ all.. about.. you.

[JOSH: If you're using Facebook ads to drive conversions on your website, one of the biggest places that you can actually make an impact is actually on your own website. So think about it. You're driving traffic from Facebook to your website.]

That’s right, you. Just as important as Facebook.

[JOSH: That landing page is probably the single most important part of your ad, and it's not even on Facebook.

How is that landing page performing? How is it converting? Um, is it related to the content that you're promoting on Facebook? If you click an ad for something and the website you're sent to is completely different. Nobody's going to do anything on that website. So that's a big point in terms of, yes, it's a really important lever for me to pull and I have full control over it.]

[cue synth flourish]

So to summarize: The boost button is not your friend. I know, it throws me from time to time too. Us. Experts. So go ahead and ignore that boost button.

Also, resist the urge to splurge when it comes to promotion. It’ll be much more valuable for you to learn the ins and outs of Facebook ad manager. That way, you can run some split tests. Right, Josh? Josh is still here.

[JOSH: So looking at creative, making sure that you're testing every different aspect of your creative. And so yes, there are single images, there are videos, they're all gonna perform differently. Make sure you figure out what works, what doesn't work. And. Test the hell out of it.

Like. Facebook makes it super easy for you to run an AB test. So test your creatives, test your audiences, test your landing pages, test the content that you're promoting. It's all a separate test, and so there's so much potential to continue to optimize what you're running on Facebook. The testing never really stops.]

Next week, we’ll look at how you can run some of the numbers on what exactly to test and how to know whether you’re a certified success or a series of smoke and mirrors. OoOo spooky.

We’re talking about, of course, reporting. So until then, hey, I’ll see you there.