Head Start

Facebook Ads II: Creatives, Budgeting, Optimization, Retargeting

August 08, 2022 Race Directors HQ Episode 37
Head Start
Facebook Ads II: Creatives, Budgeting, Optimization, Retargeting
Show Notes Transcript

Last week, if you happened to join us for part one of our two-part Facebook Ads podcast special, we set the scene by looking at Facebook marketing strategy, understanding sales funnels, planning and structuring ad campaigns, and mastering audience targeting.

This week, in part two of the discussion, it’s time to switch gears a bit and look at some more advanced topics around ad creatives, ad performance monitoring and optimization, and the very important, highly-converting area of ad retargeting.

Joining me again this week to discuss Facebook Ads is EventGrow CEO, Andy Reilly - and what a great pleasure it is to have Andy back on the podcast. 

In this episode:

  • Focusing on the desirable "after state" in your ad creatives
  • Picking aspects of your race to highlight in your ad copy
  • Aligning your ad copy with your ad images
  • Creating video ads
  • Incorporating important race info in your ad
  • Deciding on, allocating and front-loading your ad budget
  • Running price-increase ad campaigns
  • Understanding your baseline target acquisition cost
  • The perils of shutting down your campaigns too soon (in less than two weeks)
  • Monitoring your ad KPIs: click rate, conversion rate, ROAS
  • Retargeting campaigns: spending little for high returns
  • Excluding registered participants from your custom audience campaigns
  • Lookalike audiences and why they often don't perform well for events
  • Common mistakes people make when running Facebook ads, and how to avoid them

Many thanks to our podcast sponsors, RunSignup and Racecheck, for supporting our efforts to provide great, free content to the race director community:

RunSignup are the leading all-in-one technology solution for endurance and fundraising events. More than 26,000 in-person, virtual, and hybrid events use RunSignup's free and integrated solution to save time, grow their events, and raise more. Find out more at https://runsignup.com/.

Racecheck can help you collect and showcase your participant reviews on your race website, helping you more easily convert website visitors into paying participants, with the help of their Racecheck Review Box. Download yours for free today at https://organisers.racecheck.com/.

You can find more resources on anything and everything related to race directing on our website RaceDirectorsHQ.com.

You can also share your questions about paid marketing or anything else in our Facebook group, Race Directors Hub.


Panos:

Hi. Welcome to Head Start, the podcast for race directors and the business of putting on races. Last week, if you happen to join us for part one of our two-part Facebook Ads podcast special, we set the scene for you by looking at Facebook marketing strategy, understanding sales funnels, planning and structuring ad campaigns, and mastering audience targeting. Well, this week, in part two of the discussion, it's time to switch gears a bit and look at some more advanced topics around ad creatives, ad performance monitoring and optimization, and the very important, highly-converting area of ad retargeting. Joining me again this week to discuss Facebook Ads is EventGrow CEO, Andy Reilly - and what a great pleasure it is to have Andy back on the podcast. So stick around for an awesomely interesting discussion of full of real-life marketing tips and insights. We're going to jump into all that in just a sec. But before we do that, a quick shout out to the amazing sponsors supporting this podcast. Many thanks to RunSignup, race directors' favourite all-in-one technology solution for endurance and fundraising events, now powering more than 26,000 in-person, virtual, and hybrid events. And many thanks to Racecheck, whose free Racecheck Review Box can help you collect and showcase your participant feedback on your own website, helping you more easily convert website visitors into paying participants. We'll be hearing a little bit more from these two great companies a bit later in the podcast. But, now, let's dive into part two of our Facebook Ads special with EventGrow's Andy Reilly. Andy, great to have you back on the podcast!

Andy:

Great to be back. Thanks for having me!

Panos:

Well, thanks a lot for coming back and for being so generous with your time. It's your third time on the podcast. Our listeners, so far, are really enjoying our episodes with you on marketing, so thank you very much for that. We're not going to do too much introductions because we've done this a couple of times. But some people in the audience may not be familiar with you and your work. Do you mind just reminding everyone quickly about who you are and what you're doing the industry?

Andy:

Yeah. I run EventGrow, which is a marketing agency. What we do is we help race directors - event directors of all kinds of different types of endurance events - grow their events through digital marketing. So we're helping them with their social media marketing, their strategy, running ads for them on the different platforms, and really just trying to grow the race. So that's what we focus on. Personally, I've been doing that for over 10 years, and with the agency for 4 years.

Panos:

Awesome, which is really relevant for today. You always keep forgetting to mention RACEPLACE - which I think is also a very cool aspect of what you do - and I think you should because it's an awesome website. You want to tell people a little bit about that?

Andy:

Yes. RACEPLACE is, kind of, where I got started after I used to work at active.com. Thank you for that. RACEPLACE is an event calendar. You can go to find events - mostly events - in the United States. We pull in events from a lot of different providers for runners that are looking for races to do. We organise them on a calendar and they can find them. Then, race directors that are looking to reach runners can promote via different ads that we run on that site. There are about 180,000 visitors per month, which is a decent amount in mostly Southern California. Raceplace.com - check it out.

Panos:

Absolutely check it out and go put your race on that because it's free to do so. It's got a really great design and a good amount of organic traffic. It's only going to take you a few minutes to add your race on that, so I think you should if you're in the US and haven't done so already. So Facebook Ads-- we broke this into two parts because there are too many things to talk about there. If listeners haven't listened to the first part of this, you should go back and do that - that was the episode just before this where we discussed some really basic concepts around Facebook Ads. We discussed sales funnels, boosting posts, and using the Facebook Ads Manager, and we also went through all the steps of setting up ad campaigns and also ad targeting, which is a big part of getting successful ads on Facebook - fine-tuning that and making sure that you reach the right running audience or whatever your audience may be in the right area. Moving into part two, today, we're going to be talking a little bit more about the ad itself - creatives and content. Then, we're going to look at strategy optimization and high-level steering your campaign to get going. So we're going to be talking about budgeting which we touched a little bit on in the first episode, monitoring performance, and also retargeting in slightly more depth than we did in episode one. So let's get started with creatives and the ad itself. If people want to link to the previous episode, we discussed a lot about campaigns and targeting. Now, let's sort of zoom in on ads a little bit. I was going through one of your RunSignup Symposium presentations from a couple of years back where you discuss Facebook ad creatives and one of your comments there that I'd like to get a little bit more colour from you is it said, "Highlight the desirable 'after state'." So what's that all about?

Andy:

The after state is an effect - the image or the imagery of the person - after they've received the product or the service, or whatever it is. The idea in marketing is you're trying to move somebody from a before state to an after state. I'll give you an example. The before state for an event, it would be-- you're looking for something to do, you're looking to get active - not that you're inactive, but you're looking for an event and that event is going to provide you want something that's going to bring you joy, happiness, and it's going to make you better as a human. So the before state would be "me before the event" and it doesn't mean that I'm unhappy, it just means that I need to be able to have that event to kind of give me something to provide me something. The after state, naturally, for an event would be them at the finish line. So when I say after state-- the after state would be that the finish line shot to me is the best after state shot because it shows them that there's either pain, there's usually joy, there's happiness, and you actually get it in the photo. So we always try to use those photos in our marketing. Another after state could be, in an event, if they're having fun. For example, if it's something like the colour run, you could show an image of somebody just, kind of, running around, jumping around, and having fun. That's, in effect, a part of an after state of, like, they've received this product and this product has made them feel this way, which is "I'm smiling." If you could see me, I'm smiling, but that's their after state.

Panos:

Basically - I think I've heard more in the context of marketing more generally - you want to be showing people in the state that they, sort of, put themselves in the shoes of the person in the ad kind of thing - right? And they sort of get some of that emotional high - almost, like, seeing someone running, seeing an image of someone smiling into the camera while they run the race probably works better than having, say, a drone shot of your start line with 10,000 people - like 10,000, dots moving through kind of thing - right? You want to be seeing human emotions and that kind of thing?

Andy:

Well, yeah. I would say, if you were to measure, kind of, an after state shot versus something like a drone shot, I would say I'd rather use the after state shot. Now, a drone shot can be advantageous because what that can do is that could show something that could show scale. Sometimes, we try to show scale of an event to give it some social clout to say, "Wow, this is a sizable event. Other people are doing this. I might want to look into it," which is another kind of the marketing psychology things a social proof, basically. But I would say, if I only had two images, one was an after state, one was a drone shot, I will use the after state shot in my ads.

Panos:

Yeah, we should say to people that the very first episode we did together on the podcast was on marketing psychology. If people haven't listened to that, they should definitely go back and do that, which is actually why we did that. First, we discuss lots of concepts around social proof and other psychological triggers that play well in ads - scarcity, authority, all of that stuff - which is really important. One question we got in the group from Sherry Laniosz - I hope I pronounced this correctly - in our Race Directors Hub on Facebook is whether ads should aim to sell a specific aspect of a race like location, the venue, the swag, or the PB potential - basically focus on one thing - or whether through the ads, you should try to basically sell the race in a more rounded way - like, more generally? Should you focus on one single specific message or try to sell the whole concept?

Andy:

When you're writing an ad, you only have so many characters in the copy. You only have so much space in the image and so much time in a video. So I think the essence is "What should I put in there?" Sometimes it's better to do less than more in terms of the ad. For example, if I have a square image ad - think of Instagram square image format - and I have a description area which I'm told that I should do less than 125 characters. On Facebook, we try to do less than 125 characters per what they're telling us that we should do for optimization. Then, I know, "Okay, here's the available space that I have. Now, what do I want to talk about?" What we do is anytime we work with an event, we'll sit down and actually create a list of highlights of the event of what we believe are the things that sell the event to other runners. So, we already kind of know what those things are. I would highly suggest any event director, before you write your ads, to sit down and say, "What are the things that either people from our survey had told us of why they do our event? What are those things? Let's write them down. Let's highlight them." When you go write ads-- if you can fit the top one or two or three things in an ad - you have enough space or time to do it in your creative or format - then you could do that. But if you don't have a lot of space, it might be better to write a few different ads and just have one highlight. Let's say you run over a very specific part of your course that's beautiful that's by the ocean or by a body of water, that is the be one of the biggest highlights that people have. I would create an image that shows that I would create copy that matches that and I would just leave it at that. I wouldn't try to do too much else. Then, I'll have my call to action. That's how I would think about that. What's the format that I'm using and how much space do I have with an ad? Now, with an email, it's a little different because you actually have more space. So with an email, maybe you take your top three to five highlights - I wouldn't go too much more than that because, remember, it's tough to get people to convert. You need to kind of get to the point pretty quickly when we're talking about ads. Now when they get to your website, that's a little different. You have plenty of time and space - both length and space - to create copy that's going to sell them. When we talk about an ad, we need to get them to make a decision. So, I think less is more.

Panos:

And I guess the benefit of splitting out individual selling points in individual ads is that people who view the ads are going to vote with their engagement, right? They're going to tell you which bit of those five things or those five different ads they respond best to because you're going to see that ad doing better or performing better, so Facebook is going to be putting it out more often.

Andy:

That's exactly right. Yeah, that's actually a good point. You're kind of testing a little bit what you think about why people do your race with something like that. If you have different highlights that you're testing against each other, then you would get information back to show these validate our opinions here or maybe they don't.

Panos:

And speaking of the creative, you also had, I think, a really interesting point there, which is-- I mean, it's fairly obvious, but it's easy to forget sometimes that the image and the copy need to match themselves, right? So they need to, sort of, like, go hand in hand. What you're saying with words should match what the person is seeing on the creative, which I guess is something that people often don't do very well in their ads.

Andy:

Yeah, I've seen this a lot. This is called ad congruency. If the copy doesn't match what you're seeing in the creative, what happens is our brain looks at that and it kind of does a little bit of a twitch or a little bit of a, "I don't like this. I don't quite know how to digest this." Whereas, if it's the opposite where the image and what's happening in the image kind of match an aspect of the copy, then when we see that as consumers, our brains like processing that and it actually delivers more clicks. So there's a little bit of psychology stuff going on there. But you always want to try to have your creative - your image or your video - match your copy and be congruent.

Panos:

And I guess from your comments earlier on copy length, you're not a big fan of those long formats. I see sometimes, on Facebook, where you click on it- they're a lot more common these days. Basically, it's like a full page of text there or something, right? Someone is trying to go through a story and convince you with, like, really, really too much information via text. Do you ever see that in ads - in our space - promoting races? And is there a place for it? Or should people just stick with short-form and be really concise with 120 characters or so?

Andy:

We haven't had a tonne of success with the direct response ads - ads that are trying to get people to sign up with long-form copy in the description area. I never would like to say that it's not something that could succeed. I don't think you should ever say never - you should just continue to test - but we haven't had success with it. I would estimate that it wouldn't be terribly successful for a direct response ad for people that run endurance races. We wouldn't do it because of that reason. However, there might be instances where it might make sense. For example, there might be a race director letter or something that you'd want to write a very impassioned type of message - I've seen some during the pandemic - but I guess those wouldn't be ads in effect. I guess there could be an area where you would utilize that. But when I'm thinking of Facebook ads, Google ads and stuff like that, I would keep it to 125 characters in the description or less.

Panos:

And for the creative, people have been advocating for the greater use of video in ad creatives for a while. People say, "An image is a thousand words, video is a thousand images" kind of thing and "If you can and have a good video to use, use that." What's your opinion on the use of videos? Are they successful compared to images? Are they better? What's a good length for them? What should be in them? Have you guys been using that in the agency for your clients?

Andy:

We've used video for some time now. Even many years ago, people were talking about video being kind of the future. I mean, we're in the future. Now, video is still talked about as the future. So video is definitely something folks should use. I think the challenge with video has always been I don't have the resources to create the video or edit the video. There is a tonne of tools that make it easier now to create videos. How long do we recommend for videos? 15 seconds or less, typically, for Facebook is a good marker to shoot for. Longer form videos could go 20-30 seconds, but for most folks, 15 seconds is going to be a good place. It's also what Facebook likes. You can use some very basic tools to create videos. I'll give you an example. There's a tool called Canva. It's very popular in the United States. Is it popular--

Panos:

Yeah, it's very popular. I mean, I'm aware of it. Lots of people use it in the UK and other places as well.

Andy:

So Canva is a great tool that's very easy. In fact, my mom uses it. I just bought her a membership. She loves it. She does all of her birthday cards on it and stuff. She can use it pretty well. So you can use it. My mom's crushing it on Canva. We can do this. In Canva, you can upload even just images and you can create a simple slideshow of those images. You can create the timing of it - 15 seconds - and export and get that out pretty quickly - we're talking about within 10 minutes. Let's say people that don't even have video creative, you could create a video of, basically, slideshow images where you add 10 images and you kind of slide them or create movement with them with Canva. It lets you turn it into a video and you export it. That is going to perform better than just uploading those images because Facebook looks at video and video just performs markedly better on that platform. That's where I would start. If you haven't started at all, you could start there. That's actually a very feasible starting point for somebody that's not a video expert - you could be a video newbie and get involved that way.

Panos:

Yeah, that's an interesting point about using a slideshow versus, say, something like a carousel of images, which is also another format that you have available for you because, as you say, Facebook - particularly in the old days, when it was pushing hard on video - it would actually give, like, a rich bonus to video. So even if it's, as you said, like, just a bunch of images woven together into a short video, Facebook will try and push that harder than just an ad that's made up of an image. So for a video like that - a 15 second video - are we talking 15-seconds of the race story - people before the race at the start line throughout the race and then the finish line kind of thing? Is that what you'd focus on?

Andy:

Well, if you have 15 seconds, you can think about, "Okay. In 15 seconds, how many scenes can I hit in a video? I don't want to overdo it. I know my length - that's 15 seconds" You can kind of think of, "Okay. How many different areas on course or different clips could I fit in that time without it being too much?" When you start to get to more than five clips for a 15-second spot, then you're having to shuffle through those pretty quickly. So I'd say try to shoot for a maximum of five clips or even just one clip of a highlight of your course. Then, think about your copy. Let's say the ad is I'm going to cover two of my highlights - I run by the water and they have a great metal. Do I have video clips of them running by the water and video clips of the medal - or pictures? Then, what I would do is I would take those two scenes that I'm marketing and have a transition at about 6-7 seconds, which is halfway through the video. I go from highlight one to highlight two. Then at the end, I'd put a call to action. In the call to action at the end, you should always be telling them what to do. People want to actually be told what to do when they look at an ad. So, at the end, I'd put register here or whatever the messaging is. That's kind of how I would think about that. Once again, match the video up with your copy and that can actually give you an idea as to what you should put in your video because you don't just want to put random "everything" in your video - it's a lot to digest. That's why these shorter videos are great because as a producer - you're a video producer now - you don't have to think about "I'm gonna have to fill 30 seconds. Like, that's a lot." Now, you just have to fill 10 or 15. so you could think maybe one, two or three clips, and you could achieve it that way.

Panos:

Well, and of course, I guess, whether it's a video or just a straight image, you should aim to incorporate, in an ad, key race information, like the name of the race, the location of the race, and the date - right? So people can immediately know whether they're interested in taking part or not. I guess, in the video, you can put it at the end. I've seen it in some teasers basically that, at the end, you have, like, a banner where you say, "That's our race. January 16." What's the best practice around incorporating that very key information that people often miss on the race websites as well and is really frustrating on an ad so that people can see that? Would you put it in the ad title, basically in the header, in the description, in the help text? There are different areas you can add that. How would you make sure that information is available to the people who see the ad?

Andy:

Yeah, it's a really good question because it does get overlooked. I think on a previous show, we talked about how we don't see that information on websites and we hear about it very quickly. I would say, either put it at the beginning of your video or at the end of your video. I don't think you have to put the location. I think you can put city-state, maybe. I would absolutely put the date. You don't have to use your event name - just use your logo - because, then, you can capture a little bit of brand recognition with the logo. Add the date, though. I would definitely add the date because if you're trying to induce a click, it's almost information that they-- if they don't have the date, what you're gonna do is you're gonna get see people in the comments writing, "When is this?" If they're on Facebook and you're asking them to leave Facebook, it has to be compelling and they have to have that information. So definitely put the date at the beginning or the end. If you want, you could put the city-state because then it gives them some context especially if they live in a different state and you're trying to market over there. Then, use your logo. Then, in the ad copy - the written copy - I like to try to use the event date either in the copy or in the headline. So we're actually duplicating the event date just in case they wanted to click before the end of the video and they wanted that information. So I like to check that box and make sure that we include it there.

Panos:

Okay. So I think that takes us through all the way to the end of setting up an ad campaign and writing a decent ad process. Hopefully, people got a lot of tips from that and our discussion on part one of this podcast. Let's change gears a little bit and go back to strategy and the high level. Let's talk a little bit about budgeting. I'm going in to tr to create a campaign. Let's say I've just opened up for registrations and I have several weeks or months ahead of me to race day. How should I think about spending my marketing budget? Let's assume that there is a figure that I came up with - I want to put $1,000 on Facebook. How should I pace that? How much should I be spending? And how should I plan my budget allocation in my head?

Andy:

That's a good question. First, you'll want to have an overall marketing budget set for your event. So you're going to want to know what that is. Then, you look at that budget and you say, "Okay, which channels - Facebook or Google - are we going to spend this on?" So we always break down the budget by total budget and then by how much we want to put in each channel. And we usually just do a rough percentage. Typically, Facebook's gonna get 40% to 50% of the total marketing budget for most of our clients. Now we have that, that kind of gives us a number. So, let's say that number, just for the ease of sake, is $10,000. So now we have $10,000 and we have six months to market. We have six months until the event happens. Okay, so we have $10,000 for Facebook and then six months to do it. So if you wanted to keep it simple, what you could do is you could just divide the amount of time you have by the budget and run that budget evenly through the course of those months leading up to your event. That would be a very simplified way to do it, and we've done that before. Another way to do it would be to say, "Well, it's a marathon and we know people need to travel, so they need to sign up a little sooner." So what we would do is maybe we would front-load our budget, meaning, in the first three months, we would spend more than, say, in the last three months, and we would look at it that way. So it's not a perfect science. You could kind of partition your budget in the months that you know that you're going to need to do the most marketing and you know your event better than anybody. I'm sure anyone listening knows that if it's a longer distance race, then further along out - four, six, maybe even seven months - from a marathon or a long distance triathlon, people are going to be looking to sign up. So you're going to need to be marketing then. Versus a 5K or 10K, you know 90% of your sales come in a month or two months before your event. So we like to just, at a simple level, look at partitioning it evenly or slightly front-loading it, and that'll give you a number. Say, "Okay, in May, we know the max we want to spend is $2,000," and that's where we start. Then, we create a campaign for May and we cap it at $2,000. Facebook lets you set caps so that you don't go over that cap. Then you can also set a duration of the ad so that you don't go past that duration. Now that we've set our kind of limiter for that particular campaign and that timeframe for our budget, we know we won't go over budget. So that's how I would suggest you go through that process so that it'll allow you to make sure you don't go over budget.

Panos:

Yeah. That's a very interesting point and a very obvious one you made earlier about. If you want to market a marathon, you shouldn't be spending money two or three weeks out from the event. Someone who trains for a marathon-- most people take, like, a standard 16-week training plan or something. They would have decided to join the race way before that. While you were saying all that, one interesting point that came to mind from a discussion we had actually on this podcast a while back with Johanna Goode from RunSignup - looking at some statistics - is some stupendously high amount of people seem to register around price increases or early birds - like those points where prices change like, "Within the next four days before a price increase, 25% of registrations or something crazy was happening." Does it make sense to focus, sort of, lots of money around those specific points to basically go a little bit overweight on marketing dollars on those things?

Andy:

So if you run, let's say, a Facebook ad that's called a price increase campaign, it makes sense to allocate-- let's say, you have a monthly stipend of $2,000 and you have a price increase at the end of that month. If you are just going to run one campaign and it's a price increase campaign, then that answers your question, you're going to spend all $2,000 on that. And I think that is completely fine to do because - you're right - you will drive considerably more sales with a price increase Facebook ad than you would with one that didn't have a price increase or a discount because of all that we talked about before that data is already there - they're going to sign up. But let's say you had another campaign that you wanted to run that was non-discount, just a general ad, and you had $2,000 to spend, I would probably make sure that that price increase campaign gets at least half of your available budget for that month because it's going to drive sales, but it is wise to though to spend and make sure that you're spending on campaigns that aren't necessarily always promotions or price increase campaigns because you do want people to learn and understand more about your event without it being always just price increase messaging. So if you have the flexibility to have more than one campaign, then that's great. If you only can have one campaign, then I would say, yes, it will be it will probably be wise to run a price increase ad and use most of your budget for that.

Panos:

So, if you have been using Facebook Ads to market your race, you know that one of the most important things to keep track of is revenue attribution, which is to say, being able to tell how many conversions - that is, race registrations in your case - you get from the money you spend on Facebook ads. Now, tracking conversions from Facebook can be done with the help of the Facebook Pixel, which is a little bit of code that Facebook provides that you have to add to your website to be able to track what actions Facebook users clicking on your ads take on your website. But what happens when people register off your website on your registration platform? When your registration platform is RunSignup, there is nothing to worry about. Because you can easily instal your Facebook Pixel to all pages of your custom RunSignup website from your RunSignup race director dashboard. And after you do that, RunSignup will be sending Facebook all the right event data Facebook needs to correctly attribute registrations to the right Facebook ad campaign. What's more, if you also fundraise through your race, RunSignup will also track and send to your Facebook Ads account data about your race donations, so you can accurately link not only registrations but also donations back to individual Facebook ad campaigns. Of course, like with all tools on RunSignup, you get all this absolutely free with your standard RunSignup race director account, and you can learn more about this and other amazing RunSignup features available to you by visiting runsignup.com. One of the many many reasons over 26,000 events are using RunSignup's industry-leading technology to take their races to the next level. Okay, let's get back to the episode. Next up - figuring out your customer acquisition cost. Besides your total budget allocation, which is a very important number to come up with and stick to, another very important number, I guess, for your Facebook ad planning is your target cost per conversion or your target cost of acquisition. We mentioned some concepts at the start of the previous episode around Return On Ad Spend and that kind of stuff, but I think it's really important to go into the little bit here as well. How should people be thinking about setting a target cost for acquiring customers through Facebook ads?

Andy:

Well, first, in order to even use this feature on any platform, you have to know what that is. So you have to have an idea as to what is your baseline target acquisition costs. If you don't know what that is, that's okay. What you would then do is you'd actually start to run Facebook ads and run conversion-focused Facebook ads - so the objective of the ad is conversions - and run a couple of different ads and try to get through a couple of months of ads out in the market. Then, you can actually go in and look at the metrics, and you can see what the cost per acquisition was. So you can actually see the data and go, "Okay, here's what I was overall paying to target this customer." And if you have a significant amount of data in there - I would say significant would be 2-4 months, at least. I'd imagine, even in that time, you spent maybe $500, $1,000, $1,500 or more dollars - then you could start to get a little bit of an accurate or at least a starting point of what it does cost you to acquire a customer. So in order to use the feature, you need that information first. So, let's say once you do have that information, you can start to test out ads and put in a target acquisition cost. I would say when you use that feature, it's a great feature to make sure that you're not spending too much to acquire a customer on Facebook. It'll actually keep your Return On Ad Spend up because you're not overspending based upon what you know you can spend to get somebody. However, the caveat is you might not drive as many total conversions as a result because Facebook is saying no to the people that are $2 above your target cost. Typically, we won't even use that feature in Facebook - we'll test it out a little bit because we very closely manage the Return On Ad Spend, so we're kind of using that as a metric - but it is good to know. You really do want to know what it costs to acquire a customer. Then, I would kind of test out some campaigns with that in there.

Panos:

Well, that's an interesting point because basically you're saying to run some ads on Facebook and let that cost per acquisition work itself out of your results. I guess you could go also in the other direction and say, "I know what my costs for running the race is. I know what my unit margin is per registration. The gross entry fee is $80. All things spent, I'm going to make $30 net or something." I guess, from that, you could derive a cost of acquisition that you can afford and, sort of, like, work backwards. However successful my campaigns may be or not, it only makes sense for me out of those $30 to spend $7 on marketing or something. Does that work as an approach?

Andy:

It does. That's a great technical aspect or a way of approaching all of this stuff. It doesn't perfectly work out that way in the real world, though, because each platform has a different cost per acquisition. I pay a different amount on Google than I do on Facebook. So when you're trying to drive a sale, if you do that, what I've seen happen to customers that have done that without having a tonne of data or just doing that solely is that they don't drive enough conversions as a whole because when you put that limiter inside the platform, what it's telling Facebook is, "My target acquisition cost is $10." When Facebook sees an $11 person, it won't sell. So, sometimes, you can get people at a lower one and sometimes there are people that are slightly higher. So it's not a bad way to go about it. I just found that it limits overall conversions. I think a better approach would be to understand what that number is for that platform and then go from there, and then use it versus the opposite way around of using it right away and having limited sets of data in there getting less conversions. I think the other way around - the first way around - I mentioned is a better approach. But in theory, you're right. In theory, that makes 100% sense.

Panos:

Right. Yeah, that's a very interesting point. When many people run Facebook ads - it used to happen to me a lot - they would try to do what you suggested in your first approach, which is to run your ads, and that will tell you what your cost of acquisition is. I think, at the beginning of the ads, particularly, when Facebook is trying to figure out how best to optimise, you tend to basically overshoot whatever mental cost of acquisition you may have. Some people and, again, myself included often then think, "Oh, this is going completely out of control - the cost" and they just shut the whole thing down too early, maybe. Is there a "too early" to shut down that kind of discovery process?

Andy:

Absolutely, yeah. If you don't have a lot of Facebook data and you haven't had your Pixel up for a while, then you're kind of in this territory where Facebook just doesn't have enough information to understand who your customer is or how to optimise your ads to reach that customer. I've seen tonnes of clients shut down ads inside of the two-week window - I understand and I get it. You only have so much money to spend. This is a fragile situation where you're putting yourself out there, you're spending money, you're looking for something back, and maybe you're getting zero conversions. If it's early on in your Facebook journey, I can tell you that you just need to keep at it and keep trying. Now, instead of just shutting the ad down, you could optimise the ad. You could change some copy or change the audience. That's what I would focus on. "Okay. Maybe it's not working after two weeks. What can we add to this? What can we reflavor this as and see then if we can get more results." But I would keep going rather than shutting it down. I usually look at just around that - two week period is kind of our sweet spot. For some of our larger clients, it could be a week because they're spending enough money to get enough data back. But for most people, it's around two weeks. I really see that through and try to get as much data as I can and then make an adjustment from there.

Panos:

It's an interesting point there about your Facebook Pixel and data. Does it actually improve results if you've installed your Facebook Pixel for a while and it keeps collecting data even when you're not running ads, rather than, say, day one when I installed my Pixel, day two when I run my ads? So does it actually help for the Facebook pixel to be collecting data in the background even before you run an ad?

Andy:

Yes, I believe so. The Facebook Pixel, once it's set up is-- people with a Facebook account that are running through that Pixel-- meaning if you haven't set up on your website and somebody has a Facebook account and they hit your website, Facebook's going to collect that and put it into an audience and store that. So it's building up your available audience List, which in effect should help you because, then, when you go and use that audience with one of your ads, then they'll be available to you. So yeah, it should. Especially for really any website, I'd make sure that Facebook Pixel is set up because it's going to be building these rich audiences for you. It's also letting Facebook know and Facebook's creating, kind of, a profile for that customer. So it's not the entire enchilada but it's half of it. So once you start running ads and you have these larger audiences, then you kind of get this cumulative effect of "Okay, I have part of the audience-- I understand who the audience is," and then Facebook starts to understand the other people it can show it to beyond that, and that's kind of where their magic comes in with their AI

Panos:

Okay. Good point there. So people should be installing that Pixel as soon as they can. In terms of what you mentioned earlier on when we were talking about how you determine your cost per conversion and you said that you may be getting fairly different costs of acquisition across two different channels - say, maybe, on your Facebook ads, you're getting people at $5 to convert for the same event and maybe, on Google ads, you get them for $2-- my simplistic thinking might be, "Google ads, I get $2. Facebook ads, I get $5. Let me throw all my money on Google ads." Is that too naive to think like that? Would you still be running even at such a big ad cost differential on both platforms?

Andy:

You'd still continue to run ads on that other platform because you'd need to look at the overall volume of conversions. So for example, if I'm paying $15 to Facebook but Facebook is driving me two times the conversions, and I'm paying only $10 to Google, you could say, "Well, Facebook is sending me two times the conversions, but I'm paying $5 more per conversion." Like I said, in a perfect world, yes, I'd love to spend $10, but I'd also like to get 250 registrations and, maybe, pay $5 more - I can put that $5 more per customer. So it, like, usually ends up being a volume issue where you're sure you're getting really pretty good volume from this other partner, you're having to pay that other partner a little bit more, and you'll take that volume because it equals lifetime value, it equals people on the start line, and it's still within your profit margin. Right? It's still a little bit higher, maybe. So that's typically why we stick with these other platforms, too.

Panos:

Yeah, that's a good point. Once the ad campaign gets started, what metrics and what KPIs do you personally want to be tracking, monitoring, and looking at to make sure that the campaign is still on track, and it's doing what it's supposed to be doing?

Andy:

A couple of things we do is we try to set up the-- when you're setting up a Facebook campaign on the first screen, after - I should say the second screen - after you choose your objective, then we choose the Advantage Campaign Budget. We select that to on - it's the very bottom of that first screen and it distributes budget across the ad sets to get more results. So what that means is if we have two different ad sets which are basically two audiences - let's say audience number one is past customers that have run our race and audience number two are potential customers that live in or around London that like the London Marathon and similar events like it. So there are two different technical audiences. What "selecting on" for Advantage Campaign Budget does is it says where you're going to spend your total available budget against the ad sets that are performing the best. So if you spent it evenly but one of those ad sets - let's say, perhaps, your customer list - was performing way better than the other one, then you do yourself a little bit of a disservice because you're trying to spend evenly when, really, you should be trying to spend more money against the one ad set that's performing better. So what turning that little knob on does is you allow Facebook to spend your money in the area where you're getting the best return. That's why we use that.

Panos:

And in terms of-- at the ad campaign level, you'll be looking, I guess, at cost per conversion. Would you be looking at any other metric to basically just get a feel for how things are going or whether they are, sort of, like, going off-course - maybe how many times people are seeing your ad or any of those metrics that you get there?

Andy:

We're looking at cost per click, which is what you'd look at for, kind of, a more traditional ad like a Google ad. We're just making sure that people are clicking on the ad at a feasible rate and that there are clicks and conversions. So very easily-- like, how many people are clicking your ad? How many people have seen our ad? Then, Return On Ad Spend is the big one. So what we're getting - Return On Ad Spend - is a metric that looks at every dollar that I spend on this ad and how many dollars do I receive in sales. In effect, it's you could look at it as - it's not really return on investment because there are other things - return on your ad spend, and that's literally what the acronym is. After a couple of weeks, we'll look at that. It's taking into account the amount of conversions we've driven and how much sales we've driven from each of those against what we spent on the ad. So it shows that if you have a six Return On Ad Spend, that means you spent $1 on the ad and you got $6 back on sales.

Panos:

And is that a good ballpark - the six that you mentioned there?

Andy:

You want to shoot for around a three or four - that's a good space. Six would be really good. It'd be 600% return on your spend. Anything above a six is just absolutely fantastic. If you're in the two to three range, then that's okay. You want to try to get it up. I'd say three is a good spot - spend $1 and get $3 back. So most people are going to be around a three or four. And if you're at a three or above a three, then that's a feasible place to be for Facebook.

Panos:

And if any of those metrics that you would typically follow seem to not be where you want them to be, particularly, in the beginning, what other metrics, basically, would you look to troubleshoot or maybe try to basically debug that? Where would you look to start making some educated guesses on whether that ad is working as it should or not?

Andy:

Yeah, I mean, the first one we'll look at is which of the creatives we added are performing better than others. Then, we look at which of the ad sets are also performing better than the others. So I guess the metric we would look at first is click rate because if it has a very low click rate, that's probably an indicator that it's not going to perform on a registration conversion level. That's the earliest on - it's click rate. What kind of click rate are we getting? How many link clicks are we getting? What is our cost per click? Are we paying a lot for a click? So we look at that and if we're paying $5, $6, $7 dollars per click, that's much higher than we want to pay and it also means that the ad is probably not performing with that audience. That's the first one. The second one is how many conversions has it driven - very simply. Like, if it has not driven many conversions after two or three weeks, then our Return On Ad Spend would be low at that point and we need to take a look at that audience and make an adjustment to either the audience or the ad creative. The click rate tells me the ad creative is probably going to be a little bit of an issue. Then, if we swap out the creative and then it starts to convert, then we're like, "Okay, it's kind of the creative." But if, ultimately, you do that and it's still not driving registrations, then you have an audience problem or you have a targeting problem - you need to, kind of, fix the targeting and the ad creative as well.

Panos:

Yeah, I guess it's not as straightforward to figure out what's happening because there could be, as you said, between the creative and the targeting, there could be a few things there. I remember, sometimes, in the old days, when I started out running Facebook ads, like, way, way back, you will get very good click rates on some ads, but that was simply because the audience I was targeting was so broad. Of course, you found some people in there - some really low-hanging fruit - that would be clicking on anything, but that got you nowhere after that in terms of conversions, right? Then, you get some other ads where you have both a different audience and a different ad. Between two ads - one is performing well, the other one isn't performing well - it's very difficult to figure out, "Is it the audience that's the problem? Or is it the ad that's the problem?" So it takes a little bit of experimenting, I guess.

Andy:

It does, yeah. It's not the easiest process. I'd say, one tip for folks to use - we use this structure in our campaigns, we might have talked about this before - is setting up three different ad sets. One of them is your retargeting list - people that have visited your website but haven't purchased, people that have visited your Facebook page but haven't purchased. I would set that up as an ad set that has typically performed well and, then, set up another ad set of people on your email list. Those are, kind of, your warm leads that are gonna perform well. Then, the third audience we set up is top interests - interests like half marathons, 10K or 5K, and people that live around your target area. So those are the three ad sets we set up and just doing that itself is going to put you in a much better position to convert from the start versus trying to do a bunch of other testing and setting up all these different things. I would focus on that. That right there is going to drive more performance for 90% of the folks listening than doing a lot of the other stuff - that's just what happened with us several years ago. So we focus - as a structure of our campaign - on that each time we do it.

Panos:

But high level, you would never-- I mean, you probably wouldn't as a professional in this but, like, you would keep encouraging people even if things are not performing as well as they should to just tweak things, keep reworking things, and just keeping at it - right? It's not a good thing to just turn the campaign off and just, like, walk off. I mean, you need to persist on these things.

Andy:

Yeah, you do. And that's what the tough part about it is. You have to accept that you might not succeed at first. But trust me, Facebook Ads work. They should work for you. If you have an event that has people showing up to your event, then you should be able to use Facebook to drive that. You just need to stay with it, stay positive, and know that if you can make adjustments to your ads and your ad sets, you will eventually find some success and you write that down. The campaign that has success-- the best thing that you can do is make sure you document that and say, "Why did this have success? Well, let me look at this audience I did and let me look at the ad." And you can use that as a model. That should always typically have a level of success that you can use as a benchmark - a baseline - for yourself and then you can go from there. But yeah, you have to stay with it and it can be challenging.

Panos:

Okay, so you spent the money on Facebook Ads and got a good number of new people coming through to your website. Now, it's time for your website to convert those people into paying race participants. One of the big ways you can help your chances in that is boosting your website's social proof, which is something we actually discussed with Andy in our previous podcast on marketing psychology. Basically, this means showing people coming to your site why other people like them loved your race. And there is no better way to do that than using Racecheck's Review Box widget. With your Racecheck Review Box, you can showcase all your glowing race reviews from Racecheck's industry-leading race reviews database directly on your website. You get to instantly share with incoming visitors all that's awesome about your race and why your past participants loved your event. And by showing this glowing race reviews right at the point where people take an interest in your race, you can increase your website registration by a massive 22%. That's a lot of participants to miss out on. And you don't have to, because downloading and installing your race check review box is absolutely free. That's right - all you have to do is head over to organizers.racecheck.com, and you'll be able to download your free Racecheck Review Box today giving your race website the instant social proof boost it needs. Total no brainer - free widget, more registration for you. Organizers.racecheck.com. Okay, now, let's get back to the episode. Let's take a look now at retargeting. So we've touched on it in a few places. I hope, by now, most people listening in would have an idea of what it is. But in case they don't or are still a little bit fuzzy, do you want to explain the concept briefly to people how retargeting works in ads?

Andy:

Yeah, retargeting is-- once you have your Facebook Pixel set up, your Facebook Pixel can kind of track where people are in the process and what they're doing. If somebody goes to your website and they try to sign up for your race but they don't finish that process, Facebook can put them in an audience of people that got to your last page of registration but didn't sign up. Then, you can run an ad and then target that group of people, which is what retargeting is. So it's just putting a message in front of somebody that you've previously interacted with. It's very powerful. In fact, the most powerful thing in marketing is retargeting from a conversion standpoint, and you could imagine so. You're seeing a product or service that you've very recently looked at, so it's fresh in your mind. It's also probably something you're interested in. Frankly, some folks just need more time to be able to purchase. So in effect, that's what retargeting is.

Panos:

Yeah, what is it that they say? You need to see the same message a number of times before you purchase, right? There's nothing wrong with your ad but, like, people have to see your race being marketed to them seven or eight times before they pull the trigger - it's just how things are.

Andy:

Yeah, I think it actually is. Seven-- I think that people need to see a message seven or eight times to actually convert. Like, this is a metric across all things - across all product lines and services. I think it is seven or eight. So the idea that you can just put one ad out and it works is not the case, especially if they don't know who you are. You have to reestablish retargeting with them and re-messaging with them to move them down to that 6, 7 purchase spot or, at least, the three or four spot.

Panos:

Yeah, I guess some race directors who do Facebook Ads on their own probably think that setting up a retargeting campaign is cumbersome and there are only a few people because-- you need to create a custom audience. You need to basically think through this stuff a little bit more. With a retargeting campaign, you're targeting very specific people. But on the other hand, that is the most likely audience to convert, right? Then, you have people who literally came to the end of your registration process and they abandoned it. So it must pay to target those people, right?

Andy:

Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, I mean, your warmest lead is somebody that got to your actual checkout page but then didn't purchase. That is your warmest lead. The ad that is going to convert somebody-- on the first vision of that ad, those people are going to sign up at a high rate. We see this in the data. Even in the post-iOS update, we have trouble retargeting against Safari and iOS users. The available retargeting audiences that are out there still converting at a high rate with Facebook and for good reason. They're right at your checkout page. They're right at the finish line. They've already had, let's say, five to six messages, right? They're at that, like, five to six message mark at that point. They saw your email. They saw your ad a couple and other things. So that is the most profitable audience to run an ad on Facebook through retargeting campaign - it's for that reason.

Panos:

It's probably, I'm guessing, also the best and the least money spent in terms of Facebook ads because, like, very few people get to that last stage in your checkout. In terms of Return On Ad Spend, for those people, it must be massive because, like, someone got distracted or something happened - like a kid walked through the door or they didn't complete the registration - you can just very easily target them on Facebook and you can clean that sale by just showing them one or two more ads at a very small cost.

Andy:

You're exactly right. It's a campaign that is not going to cost you a lot because there's only a limited amount of people in that actual retargeting list, but it's a campaign that's going to convert at a high rate and it's probably going to drive the highest return on your ad spend money.

Panos:

You need to have that bases covered before you start with anything else - like doing a top-of-funnel, cold audience outreach, or that kind of thing. You need to have all the stuff in place to be able to retarget the people who just happened to go through your website and your registration process.

Andy:

Yeah. This isn't specific to Facebook. Any platform that provides you retargeting capabilities should always be - based on my experience - your highest performing campaign in terms of return on your ad spend and it's for all the reasons we mentioned. So yes, it would behove you to not have a retargeting campaign because Facebook is a platform that is providing the tools to do this. A lot of other avenues don't provide you the tool to do this, but Facebook does. So, you definitely want to take advantage of that.

Panos:

Technically, do your mailing list or an email list of your past participants fall under retargeting as well or is it strictly people who register a custom audience on your Facebook Pixel?

Andy:

In a way, that is retargeting because-- let's say, you have a price increase message that you've put out last week and then you have a Facebook ad that's congruent with that same message, then you're putting that ad out to that list. So technically, that's a form of retargeting because when I open my email, I see the message there, and when I opened my Facebook app, I see the message there. So like, in a way, you're kind of retargeting a little bit. Now, I would probably have a retargeting ad for that ad as well, though, so it's a second price increase reminder - that would be probably a truer sense of it. But in effect, that kind of is a way of retargeting.

Panos:

And when you're using those retargeting ads - I know you made a point of that to me offline and you make sure to stress that on some of your presentations - what you want to be doing - although, I guess, it's not the end of the world but you do seem to feel quite strongly about this - is once someone that you've retargeted or targeted converts to being a registered participant, you want to be taking them out and, somehow, excluding them from your retargeting campaigns so that they don't keep seeing the "Come register" message after they've actually registered, which can be a little bit annoying.

Andy:

Yeah, that's a great point. So when you create custom audiences on Facebook, it allows you to create an audience of people that have purchased from you. So what that allows you to do is create an exclusion audience or we call them exclusion audiences - we literally named the audience "exclusion", the people that have purchased from us this year. Then, when you go and run a Facebook ad, it asks you, "Do you want to exclude anybody from this campaign?" and we just select that audience. So now, each of the people that have already purchased now are not going to see our future messages on Facebook about that particular event which, you can imagine, obviously saves you money, so you're not spending to reach those people. Probably, even more importantly, it's kind of a customer service. You're not going to piss people off when they see maybe a deeper discount later that they got, so it's kind of twofold. But you want to make sure that's a part of all your campaigns.

Panos:

And those exclusion audiences-- how do you upload them and maintain them? Like, do you just keep adding emails every couple of days or is done automatically? Do you maybe create another audience based on Pixel after someone registers and that's, kind of, like, automatic? What's your preferred way of doing that?

Andy:

We do two exclusion audiences just so we can try to get the most coverage. The first one is what I just mentioned - we create a custom audience on Facebook with the Pixel and we name it "People that have purchased in the last X amount of days for this event." And we use the Pixel. So if they purchased and they converted, Facebook can track people that have purchased and then they get into an audience. So that's the first one. The second one is, kind of, the old-school way to do it - you can upload an email list of people that have purchased from you that year. We do that for clients, usually, after big price increases or promotions, but we do it basically weekly. You can just continue to upload people from your registration platform in there. So, we kind of use two audiences to try to make sure we get full coverage.

Panos:

Okay, great. So one last thing I want to touch on the topic of retargeting is this lookalike audiences functionality. I sort of get where Facebook is coming from that. Basically, from my understanding, these are audiences that Facebook tries to match the people like the people that are in your custom audience with a broader set of people that is not necessarily in your custom audience that Facebook guesses would be a good pool to convert from. In your experience, are they effective - lookalike audiences?

Andy:

We've had varying success with lookalike audiences. Sometimes, they're effective. Sometimes, they're not. I wouldn't look at lookalike audiences and say, "Oh, it's going to save me - this amazing large group of people," because each event is typically geographically challenged, meaning you can only get people from a certain geographic distance out from your event. So, it actually limits lookalike audiences ability to be successful in contrast to an event with a product or service that isn't geo dependent. A lookalike audience can perform really well because people could be in any state in any country. If they have an affinity for that particular product, then that lookalike audience could expand and scale. But with an event, like I said, it's geographically based. So, definitely, I would test it out. But I'd have, I would temper expectations around how much that can and will drive for you.

Panos:

Yeah, in essence, you're saying that you have a great custom audience, say, to start with and by switching on this lookalike audiences, Facebook might actually be diluting down your good audience into something that's broader and less effective because it doesn't understand that, for instance, your event is meant to target only people in Atlanta and, maybe, Facebook sees some people in Atlanta and draws a lookalike audience that isn't really very effective.

Andy:

Yeah. You want to try to create an audience or lookalike audience if you can and make sure that you're understanding your geographic limitations or your geographic data. Like, if you know that, based upon your data, there's only these eight states or eight surrounding areas or areas that people actually travel from, then I'd make sure that my lookalike audience took that into account. Otherwise, it's just going to select people from certain regions or areas, or maybe outside of your potential area, and that's just a wasted impression. So you want to just make sure that you kind of take that into account. But I would test it out - I mean, test it out - and use it and just make sure you're taking into account that geo-specific stuff.

Panos:

Okay, great. I think we've been - between this discussion and the one on the previous podcast - through a lot. I hope people have found it useful so far. One of the last questions I had for you - we've covered a few already - is about common mistakes that people do when they ran Facebook ads and I'm thinking mostly of people who don't do this for a living like yourself. What kinds of things do you commonly see people doing wrong when they run Facebook ads that they can avoid, fix and improve?

Andy:

One that I typically see is-- well, we actually talked about it before - not having the date of the event in the ad. Save yourself some comments in the comment thread by just putting the date of your event and, hopefully, your event logo somewhere in your ad creative and copy. That's an easy, like, quick one that I just see that's so common out there. The other one that's more strategic is the thought might be, "Gosh, it's just gonna take me so long to create all these different images and videos and copy. But what actually saves you time-- if we're running ads literally for our business, we try to think about how we can be the most efficient with creating and managing ads. So what we're doing is actually saving the most time, the process that we use, and the best thing you can do is lay out your campaign structure before you actually go create the ad. So, just write down simply on a piece of paper, your budget for the ad, your goal, the timeline, or the duration of your ad. Write your copy - actually write your ad copy - before you go into Facebook and create your creative. Create your video. Have that on a sheet or just somewhere on your computer. So all that structure is there. Trust me, if the ad works, you're going to want to make sure you have that structure somewhere - number one - so you can have your cliff notes. Number two, when you actually go into Facebook and create the ad, you will create it 10 times quicker than if you're sitting on Facebook and trying to figure all that stuff out, right? You're literally typing it all in, like, "Ooh, should I say this? Should I say that?" No. You should have all of that well thought out written, you can look at it, step back from it, and say, "Okay". That is a strategic kind of hack and it's very simple - it's not really a hack. It's something simple that really not a lot of folks do. They're just trying to figure it out on the fly. So, just plan it out in advance and have it ready. And oh, by the way, that's a template now, right? So what we find is-- since we've had so many templates, we go back and we look at our old templates. So we've kind of built out this system where we have all these beautiful templates of ad copy creative. So that gives us even more ideas and optimizes the next time we do an ad - that's what I would focus on and I would say that you want to take a look at and do. Then, the last one would be just to make sure you're not shutting the ads down too soon because, guess what? It might not perform well that first week, but you need to give Facebook enough data to give you information to be able to make a decision on optimizing your ad and the only way you can do that is by giving it enough data. So, leave the ad up for two weeks or a month. Then, take a look at things from there.

Panos:

Yeah, it's like that cartoon or meme that goes around sometimes about the prisoner trying to escape and digging that tunnel, he's literally, like, three feet from breaking out and, then, he turns back because he just doesn't know that he's so close to the result that he wanted. You can't know when you're in that initial stage. You just need to stick with it and just see it through at least a couple of weeks, as you said, just to let things work out for themselves because the algorithm needs time to be effective.

Andy:

Exactly, yeah. Especially if you haven't done a lot of Facebook marketing.

Panos:

I think is also a marketer, besides being a race director. This is a tough one. He says, "Where do you see the role of Facebook Ads in marketing races in three to five years' time? Are people going to still be using Facebook Ads in three to five years? Are they going to look different? Is it going to be as effective? Is it going to be less effective? What do you think?"

Andy:

The reason I think Facebook Ads will still be effective at that time is because of the market that we work in. We talked about this before that a high percentage of the customer base that's in running is in the age category and bracket that Facebook's customer profile is in. I believe it was, like, the 35 to 45 or 55 age group is where most of the participation comes in running. Because Facebook has what you call an older customer - technically not but, like, in comparison to the 18 to 24-- because Facebook has that profile, that user base still ages out in three to five years. Now, with that being said, platforms change pretty quickly. We are seeing a shift away from Facebook. We're seeing less user accounts created. We're seeing less usage on Facebook. It's still the second most-used platform. So there are other platforms out there. They're going to start to get market shares of user bases. We already see, on TikTok, a lot of activity and engagement on that platform. I think Google's still going to be a big player because they own search. When you own the search experience, you're kind of going to be a player. But I do see Facebook becoming less important and critical to marketers and, maybe, even potentially being harder to drive transactions on that platform because there is a slightly less user base. Also, Apple and Facebook don't play nice, so the whole iOS thing is going to be a longer-term problem because of retargeting. It's going to be harder to do that. I see the trend line going downwards for Facebook over time unless, say, they acquire - I don't know - the rest of the world. But I do still see it being relevant for three to five years.

Panos:

Funnily enough, I saw this post on Facebook two or three days ago over some of the things you mentioned - the iOS thing, TikTok, and all of these headwinds that Facebook seems to have as a platform that is challenging its dominance. Let's face it, Facebook historically has had a reputational problem as well. It stirred a few issues in terms of trust and other things. Actually, lots of the comments on that Facebook post on Facebook about Facebook's demise were from Facebook users, and they were saying, "Oh, I would have deleted my account ages ago. It's useless." But lots of people seem to be enjoying the groups and the community aspect of Facebook now. It has become a huge, huge thing on Facebook. People of our age or older would say, like, "Oh, I don't bother with it. I don't write any updates or whatever. It's only for close friends. I have my golfing buddies in my golf group." Like, we have the Race Directors Hub group for race directors. Lots of people seem to just go there for the groups. One interesting aspect of that is that groups are still not monetized really by Facebook. So I mean, it's almost like Facebook is stopping short of doing what it did to your personal feed with what's happening in groups. If you're going to a group, you only see group posts - you don't see stuff beyond that - and you need to wander-- like, often, you see people on groups about marketing asking, "I would love to be able to advertise my products and target members in that specific group." That can happen. You need to wonder whether Facebook, down the line, might open up that big opportunity because most of the people still seem to just enjoy that aspect of it.

Andy:

Yeah, they do. You would know better than I would because you have a great race directors group in there, so people are very active and engaged. Once they're in, they're active and engaged. They're probably going to stay in their active and engaged and it might be one of their better features. A lot of people might even log in and use that versus even trying to go through their feed. I think the feed - I hate to say it - is dead. But I don't know how relevant their Facebook feed is anymore. I mean, there's Instagram that's a lot more relevant. You have the sidebars on Facebook - I see ads on there. I think their mobile ads are doing okay, but I think it's dominated by Instagram. The feed seems to be just a lot different than it used to be. But yeah, it's an interesting take on groups. Maybe, if revenue is slipping enough down the line, they do look at that because I know that the advertising part of their business is why they're so big. We'll see how when and if that changes, and if they look at groups for that revenue they're missing.

Panos:

Well, I guess we'll be around, so maybe we can catch up on that in a year or two. In the meantime, I want to thank you very much for-- I say it again. You gave up your time very generously to our audience and I'm sure they're very appreciative of that and they've collected lots of tips from our podcast episodes. In case people want to reach out to you with questions, thoughts, or maybe discuss getting some help on their own marketing through the EventGrow agency, how can they do that?

Andy:

If anyone is looking to just chat about marketing, looking for help, looking for somebody to help them offload, maybe, a part of marketing for their business, I'm happy to chat and I'd encourage you to reach out to marketing@eventgrow.com. That will get directed and I'll see that. So yeah, marketing@eventgrow.com. We work with several clients here in the US all the way from running events to triathlons - different types of events - and even some other types of festival stuff in between, but mostly endurance. But reach out. My name is Andy and I'd love to chat.

Panos:

Awesome. Well, Andy, thank you very much again for your time today, for your time on the previous episode, and the episode before that. I hope we haven't used too much of your time. I'm hoping I can get you back to discuss some other marketing topics in the future. So thank you very much!

Andy:

Thanks for having me, Panos!

Panos:

And to everyone listening in, thanks for sticking with us and we'll see you all on our next episode. I hope you enjoyed today's part two of our Facebook Ads special with EventGrow CEO, Andy Reilly. You can find more resources on anything and everything related to race directing on our website RaceDirectorsHQ.com. You can also share your questions on race marketing or anything else in our Facebook group, Race Directors Hub. Many thanks again to our awesome podcast sponsors RunSignup and Racecheck for sponsoring today's episode. And if you haven't had a chance to listen to part one of my discussion with Andy on Facebook Ads, you'll find that on our podcast's episode list - it's just the episode before this one. Until our next episode, take care and keep putting on amazing races.