Episode 199: PPC Ads and How They Are Changing

Show Summary

In Part 2 of the Agency series, Rob Cairns sits down with Ryan Waterbury to talk about the changing world of PPC ads.

Show Highlights:

  1. What are PPC ads.
  2. What Ads convert.
  3. Is privacy impacting PPC ads.
  4. The changing rules of Facebook Ads.

Show Notes

Everybody Rob Cairns here in today’s podcast I’m going to do kind of episode 2 of what I call how to deal with business challenges with Ryan Waterbury and we’re going to talk about online advertising.

Hey Ryan, how you doing today?

I’m doing great.

Well, good so I thought you and I and we’ve had many offline conversations about.

Advertising and the changing landscape, and frankly a lot of that surrounds by our friends at Facebook.

I like to call them the Facebook monster UM and they keep changing the rules.

What’s your take these days on?

What’s going on with Facebook and that?

Well, miss.

I you know when I talk about social media management, I separate that from social media marketing and I make a pretty hard point on that.

When I talk to clients when we’re we’re talking about doing ongoing services.

Uhm, Facebook has not done some good things.

As we know and and just in general.

And it’s not just Facebook, it’s our friends at Google too.

Uh, there’s some scrutiny over data privacy and.

Facebook, Google the the other entities out there.

They want as much information value as possible so that they can fulfill their obligation to their advertisers.

You and I both know that if a product is free.

You are the product and you’re being your data is being sold or you’re being advertised too.

So I, you know, as we’ve gone down this, this realm in this road with Facebook you know they they.

They make changes pretty often and with without, uh, it seems like user input.

If you’ve ever used one of the back end tools a few months later, it’s it will probably change and become unusable for you, or at least hinder you enough to annoy.

You so from from a social media manager and marketer?

Uh, I still like Facebook because it has the biggest audience.

From a metrics standpoint, because individuals are being more privacy aware, you have browsers like brave you know and other third party extensions for Chrome and Safari.

Safari in general already has it built into to block tracking.

Pixels 0

There’s there are some changes being made and I.

I think Facebook and some of the other data mining entities out there are digging harder to maintain there.

Profitability and revenue so.

They’re finding ways to.

Keep mining the data about you, uhm?

While trying to maintain.

Uh, that privacy, aware or respect, which?

Well, I don’t.

I don’t think there’s much there.

Now I I would agree with you and you mentioned privacy and we know what our friends in the EU, the economic, uh?

European Economic Community or.

We’re doing a.

There’s been several lawsuits at both Facebook and Google.

I just before we went to air.

I’ve now read an article that says, and it will probably end up in my newsletter.

Next one is saying, will Facebook be able to operate in EU?

Moving forward, it’s getting that.

We’ve got concerns over data mining, but I think part of the issue before we dive in adds it’s gotta be.

Do these people really understand that if these entities aren’t gathering their data, they’re actually going to end up paying for stuff on the Internet more than they are now?

Yeah, so just, you know from a convenient factor.

You know, I, I thought I would come.

Dump my Adobe products just to you know as an example I said I I’m going to do.

Affinity and do the one time payment.

I don’t want a sass solution, that’s a whole other discussion, but I said I’m doing it.

And I found myself being frustrated and spending more time and I went back and said OK, I need this.

And here I’m using Adobe Creative Suite again because it works and it’s convenient.

And and I’m paying for it.

But, uh, so I.

I think some of the products and services out there that people take for granted that they’re using for free to connect with other people and a lot of a lot of individuals when they kicked their businesses off started a free Facebook.

Business page and imagine if you had to pay.

For that Yep.

That’s where it’s kind of coming down to that.

If if we can’t properly.

Show ads to the right person.

Then is it really worth it to advertise on the platform and and if you can’t do that and people stop spending money on purchasing ad space?

Well then you’re going to have a monthly subscription, just like every other.

Uhm, software as a service to use it and I think that I really think you hit it on the head there that until that really happens.

I don’t think people will realize what they, what they’re they’re giving up.

Now so true and the the other problem like we talk about.

Facebook business pages and you just kind of touched on.

It a little.

Bit it’s now gotten to the point where pages don’t even show frankly.

In the search results, unless you run ads to them, it’s gotten that bad, so you’re you’re almost forced as a business to pay to play, and the other thing that’s changed greatly in Facebook.

It used to be.

To test out Facebook ads, you could go with the formula. I’m gonna run $5 a day for a couple weeks and that would be enough to test out my ad spent and from my experience, it’s been you almost have to run.

Truthfully, 1000 to $2000 on an ad campaign to even have a clue where Facebook’s gonna serve your ads. At this point in time, they’ve upped the ante in a big way.

Well, part of that has to do with the you know the privacy.

So when we when you have browsers like brave and safari or any before that, the ad blockers.

They would gather data about you and you know there used to be the jokes.

I looked at a diamond ring and now I see wedding photographer photos and all these things.

It’s and I see the same product everywhere I go.

I’m living that right now.

I helped my friend Leslie buy a washer in December that we bought online locally and all I keep seeing is washing machine ads for two months so there.

Right, and you know, I stay logged into those accounts on my browser that circumvents some of that blocking because you are using their service and you are opted in so they’re still collecting data.

That’s kind of that’s a little bit of the saving grace in that.

There is still wide usage of your Google account as a single sign on your Facebook account, so people are staying logged in so the even though you know you’re blocking some of the pixel tracking.

Other actions that you’re taking on the site are collecting data and sending them back to the mother ships, so by by not collecting that that data you are starting to show ads to people that have absolutely no interest in your product and now you’re kind of back to some of the.

The the more traditional methods where you have to figure out which ads worked and which don’t because.

Uh, the the ad providers Facebook and Google don’t have as much data as they used to to refine on a very specific audience in, in a way that’s you know, a good thing from a privacy standpoint, but from a standpoint of an agency owner.

Here it gets more difficult and you have to spend more time doing research and really refining your audiences so you don’t blow through that $5 a day spend. And honestly.

Those days are long gone.

Facebook used to be the cheap alternative to Google ads and.

They’re no longer that cheap alternative.

Uh, cost have increased, and because of the the privacy blocking, your ads aren’t as precise, so you’re not.

You’re not impacting and and hitting as as many of the ideal customers as you used to.

That, and I think a combination that big brands have fine name.

When I talk big brands, I’m talking people like Coca Cola.

And major retail outlets and so on have discovered that Facebook is a great way to advertise and the minute the big brands all moved to Facebook to cost per spend went up as well.

There’s no coincidence with that timing in my opinion and and the other thing that’s getting hard with all this.

Walking is to do those retargeting ads.

We talked about, so it’s really hard if we’re running all the stuff blocking pixels to do retargeting ads at this point in time.

Yeah, you know, Facebook used to be my highest converting channel and I I never ran that.

I never ran ads as first channel on Facebook ever for myself.

I only ran retargeting ads and so my strategy was to.

Do some search text ads around my ideal customers search queries and that took some time to figure out and some spend but with machine learning and my own learning and refining I I got, I pulled traffic to my site.

And if they didn’t, uh, book a session there, I would have them hit with an ad on Facebook and or another display ad on Google, depending on which funnel they were in.

But it was extremely effective and Facebook as a re marketing ad spend was so cheap because you were showing your ad very specifically to.

People who were already engaged with you through a search query so they were seeing relevant content that was a second touch or maybe even a third.

Those days are gone I I don’t want to say that they’re gone completely and that we still use those same tactics and techniques.

You don’t collect the hint that this specific person visited your page anymore, or it’s it used to be around 1/3 of the traffic you you were not seeing. I think it’s over 40% now that you’re you’re not collecting tracking data on.

So as that number grows and more of that tracking is blocked, your ad spend goes up too.

Compensate for that because you’re reaching less engaged.

A customer.

No, I I would agree.

Now we’re kind of tossing around between Facebook and Google, and I know from my experience running ads, LinkedIn is the only platform that will allow you to.

Target job, profession out there but the other thing worth mentioning is LinkedIn ads can be really expensive costs per click or CPM or cost per acquisition.

What are your thoughts on LinkedIn ads?

Do you have any experience?

Do you think to worth it?

Not worth it.

And so on.

You know from a platform I.

I I, I certainly think that the advertising can work on LinkedIn.

Uh, the I think it was more effective, you know a a little while ago I think as people are adopting alternative platforms to Facebook and Twitter that you know you.

You see some dilution of those ad dollars but.

Uhm, you know that target CPA I.

I don’t think it’s high.

If you were running a depending on your market.

If you were running lead acquisition through Google ads, I think your spend could be just as high in comparison.

So I I like the platform.

What I don’t like about it from an organic standpoint is every time I post anything touch anything.

I’m I’m constantly spammed with DMS from marketers.

I’m asking how asking me how I can, how they can help me grow my business, but from a paid standpoint I think it can be effective, but you’re you’re absolutely right, it is expensive.

But you’re starting, yeah, and why I mentioned.

Depending on your market, if you are primarily business to business and rather than business to consumer.

It’s well worth it, because your market, that’s your market right there.

Compared to Facebook, you have a lot of consumers versus business colleagues on that platform.

Yeah, there’s no kidding.

The comment about the spam as the Co admin of a huge LinkedIn WordPress group, I can tell you there doesn’t go a week go by that myself and Courtney Robertson will pull multiple posts out of spam me.

So that’s the knock.

But to to give Microsoft a little credit.

I think they’re working on ways to get around that, so I think that’s going to change.

Change now while we’re talking about ads.

It’s worth mentioning YouTube as a large ad platform, but that goes into Google, but where I wanted to go was what do you think of things like Yelp ads for service industries and the value of those? And do you think they provide a bit of a value, potentially to an advertiser?

I I get it.

I mean it.

It depends on you know the type of business.

I have a Yelp listing and I’ve actually gotten several good leads from there.

Do I think it works for everyone?

Probably not, but.

I think other ad platforms and other areas.

’cause besides the the the big two or three, if you want to, you know look at YouTube as the third.

You know you start looking at other platforms to get creative and look to find leads besides Facebook and Google Now when I talk about the big two.

The we used to call that the the perfect union of advertising data.

Which without the tracking is is gone.

So other platforms like Yelp are helpful.

Just having a listing there is good for.

I, I mean, that’s just good for your SEO.

Uh, and so that’s that’s another.

Another piece that I look at SEO is another marketing channel and you know, aside from paid but using the other platforms out there to advertise.

I I think it’s a great idea, but it also depends on what your business is and where your target audience is.

Yeah, where do you think paid advertising is gonna go with all this?

Blocking, uh privacy and retarget people blocking retargeting cookies and things like that.

Do you think retargeting is effectively dead?

Or do you think it’s going to kind of morph into another way of tracking?

Well, I you’re seeing companies like Google and Facebook adopt other ways to group you into a group of cohort.

So Facebook has the conversions API, which I’ve set up on every ecommerce site that.

Customer A purchased this product or viewed these products and so oh these other five people are like them.

In these ways, when they’re on our platform, so we’ll show the add to that.

So there’s still some effectiveness there.

But specific retargeting like we used to have a few years ago.

I think that’s gone.

I I, I think more people are getting privacy astute, and I mean I even.

Too seeing people deleting their their Google Workspace accounts and using other alternatives that aren’t as useful in my opinion.

Uh, so you know?

As we continue to go down that Rd.

I think content marketing and SEO becomes more important.

Yeah, but but then people need to realize for doing content marketing and SEO.

Yes, they’re important, but that’s also a marathon game, not a Sprint, and it used to be the highest weight ROI was PPC or paid advertising pay per click, but I think that’s starting to shift too and.

I think people need to.

Kind of figure out their expectations and kind of get and then check with what the landscape is doing.

I right and and that really comes down to building a good customer persona and finding out where they hang out and maximizing your ad dollars on those platforms.

I the majority of my clients are around my age mid 40s so you know I I still spend money on Facebook because established business owners have come to see me as not just a young hotshot digital marketer.

But a an agency that they can partner with.

So it.

That demographic is still there, so it works for for my business in particular.

Now, if I had a, uh, another product, or a consumer driven product that was aimed at.

Uh, you know the.

Under 24 market I would probably look at doing advertising on Tik T.O.K or if I’m going to stay on the meta platform maximizing you know the the dollars on there with Instagram and particularly in story or reels. They don’t convert as well but.

You’re going to touch your your target audience.

That that is so true, and I think you got to kind of look at ads as there’s no one size fits all anymore.

It depends on what you’re trying to target where you’re trying to target, and demographics mean everything, and I think a lot of people are still.

Frankly, when they’re producing ads, they take what I called the, throw it at the dartboard blindfolded method and they have no clue on what works.

What doesn’t work and what they’re targeting, they just throw their ads out there and then they wonder why.

They don’t convert.

I write and.

Looking at analytical data and doing testing on those platforms.

After your, you produce a few ads.

I think it’s the wrong approach.

I think you need I think.

Companies need to spend more time on their customer persona and you know who is purchasing their products and then finding out where that demographic hangs out online.

And then start your testing there before you spend any ad dollars.

Because, you know, we we can’t collect the the data that we used to buy, you know, Internet navigational behavior.

So the offline thinking needs to happen.

It already should have been happening in that that sense before, but I don’t think so.

Of the amateur or DIY, ARS really looked at it that way.

No, it’s true and you have to be aware of the rules around ads and you and I both know.

And having had political clients, we both know the political and we’ve talked about this in past.

The political landscape is a minefield when it comes to running ads.

If you’re trying to sell cannabis products, if you’re trying to sell guns in the USA.

If you’re trying to sell any adult type products, there’s a multitude of issues.

Yeah, and I put this in.

Note my newsletter because as you mentioned, we both have political clients that not only political clients, but the targeting around issues has gone away and that’s no longer an option.

You know on the meta platform.

Terms one of my strong niches that I I still service a lot are nonprofits so that really hurts when we want to do giving campaigns.

If we’re we’re doing any any paid events that issues based targeting really kind of cuts off some of the.

Humanitarian organizations out there in my opinion.

Yeah, I know in the last federal election in Canada I had a client who did not apply for their AD account early.

They weren’t planning to run any ads and then decided a week in their campaign and they said what do you think?

And I said honestly.

You’re you will not get approval in the time you need it to run ads.

It wouldn’t even bother, but it would chalk it up as a lesson for the next time, because these things all take approvals.

Now they all take reasons for doing things.

And because of all the issues caused all over the place, the platforms are cracking down because they’re trying to stay out of the.

I said to the lawmakers, and that’s a problem too.

Googles from the uh certifying with with Google ad platform for political advertising, they’ve changed a few things to make it easier and clearer on on how to register.

And now those were recent changes that that.

They shared in some of their newsletters, so I was happy to see that that it’s not necessarily.

A more lenient process, but approval is faster and.

It’s actually clearer on what you need to do in order to be approved.

Yeah, yeah, at least they’ve made it easy as As for the Facebook monster, they seem to hide everything.

And then when people don’t get approved they kind of look and say why and they haven’t made it really clear anymore what’s allowed.

What’s not allowed.

So I give another example I’ve had.

Couple clients in the healthcare sector.

And on health stuff you’re not allowed to make a guarantee. You can’t say 60% of all people, even if you have statistics to back it up.

This will happen.

You’re not allowed to say that, and it’s getting it.

It’s really tough to market when you can’t make guarantees.

Now I want to move on to one last.

Person when I run ads I like to send my clients to landing page or their viewers for my clients to landing.

Pages should say, and I prefer that landing page not to have a lot on it, and one of the things people make the mistake of.

They make their landing pages.

Too pretty, they put navigation on.

They put footers on.

They put headers on.

I personally prefer to strip all that out because I want people to concentrate on the landing page.

Gemini for fun.


Oh absolutely, I see.

I see people that DIY all the time that make a page on their website.

That they’re running paid traffic to that has the header, the footer.

Uh, extra navigation.

You don’t want any of that.

They came very specifically to that page and you want them to take a very specific action, whether it’s to sign up for an email news.

Better buy product you know or?

Give a donation.

They hit that page.

To do that.

You don’t give them any other options to do anything else but that.

And that’s it.

Yeah, it’s so true now.

The one exception I would.

Make is if the product was a high value product you might wanna put some branding on it because the the branding will bring credibility and but I still wouldn’t put to navigation personally.

Oh sure.

That’s the number one.

Uh, issue that I see with a lot of people that even other marketers, I still see them putting their header and footer on landing pages and.

It’s it’s a rookie mistake.

It happens it.

You know, it’s it’s an easy one to avoid, but.

Uhm yeah.

Giving giving people too many choices when they come to a page for a specific purpose really hurts your conversion rate immensely.

And so yeah, a clear call to action since we’re talking about landing page.

Just a clear description of why they they need to do it, and then another follow up called the action at the at the end of the page.

If you have a longer landing page.

That’s that’s really the best recipe or anatomy of a page for success.

Yeah, so true.

And and the other thing is to to think about not just the ad copy, but if you’re doing like Facebook ads or ads on other sites.

Really think about the images that you’re using.

And by the way, folks don’t just go on the Internet and grab images from there.

Are companies that run around looking for people using images they shouldn’t be using, and get yourself a good stock photo library where you can pull the images off.

Or better still, use your own.

Right I you know I.

I think the number one upgrade I see for small businesses is.

Spend the time to hire a professional photographer.

Because stock photography, a lot of it out there that you know even the paid subscription services.

They have an editorial use only license, so unless you’re paying the high dollar subscription or very specifically buying a license to use this in commercial applications.

You can find yourself in some hot water it it doesn’t always happen.

You might get away with it once or twice, but eventually you’ll probably get a cease and desist letter and you have to go through and redo your landing page or all of your ads and basically start over.

Yeah, or or in the case of a company like Getty Images, they are notorious for going after companies and taking him to court.

I’ve seen it happen way too many times in my career and people just say I didn’t know.

And they don’t realize that if they had done things the right way in the 1st place, it wouldn’t have this problem to be honest.

Yeah, it it.

You know when we when we talk about clients that that want to grow their business and and you know we’re talking about landing pages here where where we’ve we’ve talked a little bit about content the the last things that I see.

Small business is spending money on well for one or marketing, but once we get to that point, it’s quality content that’s written specific for their business and for their sales purpose.

And then good images showcasing their products or services that are original.

Clients did those two things.

They would see a huge increase in trust and conversion.

Yeah, so true.

Ryan, thanks for jumping on and talking about ads today is somebody once get ahold of you has the best one?

You can find me on every major social media platform at one dog solutions.

You can email me at Ryan.Waterbury @onedog.solutions.

Or you can visit my website onedog.solutions.

And make sure you say hi to Ryan’s office manager and assistant Bud and Shooter.

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