Why I'm Offering AdTherapy

This could be a one sentence post, honestly. 

Because I've seen first-hand how stressful and frustrating advertising online can be.

I've helped over 25+ businesses manage their ad campaigns. Startups, small businesses, hospitals, SaaS companies, consultants, and I've learned along the way that we all need to start working together and educating each other. I don't want to manage your ad campaigns and charge you a lot of money. My hope is that I can be a reference for you to make smart decisions for your business. I'm willing to teach you everything I know. My hope is that this means my services become more affordable for everyone, and businesses that can't afford an agency can get the help they need. If you're an advertiser looking for some help, try AdTherapy. I seriously hope you find it therapeutic!

Brett Middleton

How To Make It At A Startup

Working in a high-growth company is stressful, rewarding, painful, and ... potentially great. When you work in a highly visible team like the digital advertising team in a startup, everything is magnified. Many startups lake the time or infrastructure to invest significantly into content/SEO and rely on paid media to spur movement, the teams can often be small and you're at the forefront of growth. I'm here to tell you today that more than just a knowledge of advertising channels and strategies is required. This is the first in a series of posts about this, but today I'm talking about attitude.

Hey, You Look Like You Don't Care

Surprisingly, when you're 8 hours into a day of staring at ad campaigns, spreadsheets, project management tools, and who knows how many meetings you can occasionally not look thrilled to be there. Startups are often high-pressure environments, there is a need for results today, not tomorrow. Because of this your team leaders are not only looking for performance, but are evaluating your attitude and cultural fit. If you appear low-energy, are not in meetings on time and contributing, rarely smile or attend after-hours shindigs it can be just as bad for your career as a month of tanking ad campaigns. 

The reasoning behind this is we want to work with people who want to be there, and a lack of passion about work may not be impacting results today, but what could growth be like if someone with fire and energy was in your spot? Could things be better? You're not just being measured on what is happening today in your ad campaigns, you're being measured on the opportunity cost of your continued employment. I'm here to tell you today that you can never get comfortable in your work, don't settle into spending all of your time tweaking ads and doing keyword research. Dig into the bigger picture, perform analyses before you're asked to, and if you're a low-energy person you're going to want to try faking it until it becomes real (or try sugar-free redbull).

Facebook Merges Power Editor & Ads Manager

So you might be a little confused about this, if you're a small business owner or manage smaller ad accounts you likely haven't used Power Editor much (or at all). I've managed Facebook accounts with a high amount of spend, and still have only used Power Editor for specific purposes (duplicating several ads across multiple ad sets, making changes that need to happen simultaneously). Power Editor is more useful as your campaigns become larger, and more complex; but now all of us that primarily use Ad Manager are going to be looking at some big changes

It remains to be seen how big of an impact these changes will have, but it seems that the most useful facets of Power Editor are being imported into Ad Manager and this will lend greater flexibility to campaign creation. For those interested in using Instagram Story Ads, this should make things a little simpler. They will no longer have to be silo-ed in their own campaign!

In the wake of AdWords rolling out a completely new interface (that I'm still getting used to), there is a part of me that would like to see Ad Manager just stay the same; but this change is happening and we will likely get some good out of it. Facebook is clearly gearing up for a big year with the rolling out of branded content in ad manager (just create an ad, choose existing post, and branded content may be one of your choices if partners or influencers are tagging you in posts of their own), this change to the platform, advanced measurement (cross device platform that is new) and process revisions around how ad posts are created. Get ready people! If you need any help in Facebook, just contact me here

How To Decrease Your CPCs in Facebook Ads

If you’re using Facebook ads to drive traffic, and have a limited budget, you really can’t afford to spend a $2+ per click. Especially if you’re just figuring out your audience. Here’s what I recommend doing to bring costs down.

Step 1. If you’re using a link click, or awareness, campaign you are making a mistake! If at all possible run a Conversion campaign, this will have Facebook optimizing your ad delivery to those most likely to take action AND will use CPM bidding (cost per thousand impressions). If you need help setting this up email me at brett@brett-middleton.com

Step 2. Create a video ad, or animated ad that allows you to enter your ad as a video. If you don’t have the time or ability to record a video ad, use a series of images in a gif maker (like gif maker, or giphy.com). Or, my personal favorite, if you take photos on your iPhone try out an app like Typomatic to create animated ads from your phone.

If you start using the right objectives/bid methods and test out video or animated ads you will see a decrease in CPC, stretching your budget even further. You’re welcome!

Keyword Research in Google AdWords

I'm going to introduce you to my two favorite ways to do keyword research, and neither require you to have existing site traffic/organic search data! If you're starting from scratch, pay attention.

The Free Route

Go to www.answerthepublic.com

Type in your keyword and you'll get a list of questions people are asking on the internet using your keyword. Why is this awesome? People asking a question are in need of answers, this is also a list of long-tail keywords you can use as exact match keywords for much higher relevancy. You're welcome!

The Test and Learn Route

Want to get started right this second and let user behavior lead the way? Build your AdWords campaign with broad modifier keywords like +wedding +cake for wedding cake vendors, or +boudoir +photos if you're a ... niche photographer. These will show your ads for all searches including these keywords in any order. Bid low, as this traffic will be unpredictable at first. But as you start to get these lower cost clicks coming in you'll be able to see the exact searches in your AdWords -> Keywords -> Search Terms tab and can use these as your exact match keywords! Boom! Relevancy! This also gets your ads out there right now, and lets you collect your own data. Honestly, either approach will get you started off in the right direction, it comes down to your comfort level. What sounds better to you?

Get in touch here and let's talk!

Google AdWords - Competitor Brand Terms

Have you tried "googling" your business lately and seen a competitor was advertising for your brand name? This is incredibly frustrating, I completely get that. I'm going to tell you what you can do about it.

Are they using your business name in the text of the ad, or any of your trademarked terms? If so, document it with screenshots every time you see it; we are building an infringement case at this point. You are able to send a cease and desist letter, if they don't respond get your legal team involved and take further action for copyright infringement. If you have a Google AdWords rep working with you, they may be able to help with this.

Are they advertising against your brand name, or trademarked words, but not using them in their ad text? In this case there is nothing you can do to legally stop them, but there are still actions to take. 

  1. Start using Google AdWords to bid on your own brand terms and ensure it is no longer cost-effective for them to advertise, or at least don't let them steal traffic away from you.
  2. Also, they totally deserve this, advertise against their brand name and products.
  3. Other things you can do? Use social listening tools to monitor posts about your competitors or use a tool like Cluep

There have been court cases around this subject, and it comes down to an anti-trust issue when a company simply targets your keywords. Your business isn't able to stop a competitor from advertising on any keywords, you just have to outsmart them.

If you need any help, or have any questions about copyright infringement or Google AdWords, get in touch here

Weird Facebook Advertising Tactics

Are you curious about how Facebook Advertising can be used in weird ways to promote your business? If you're struggling to find the right method to advertise your business, sometimes you have to think outside the box. I did exactly that in my most recent post on Medium, give it a read!

I dive into what it looks like to target someone before they are in your target audience using video, and create the possibility to target them the moment their status changes from "No thanks" to "This is exactly what I need!". Using Video ads in Facebook we can retarget someone just for viewing our ad, and keep them in our audience for up to 6 months. This means that if we want to target someone as soon as they get married to deliver our ads for the perfect delayed honeymoon, we serve video ads to Engaged users in Facebook, and create an audience of video viewers. We then create a follow up campaign  to hit them at the perfect moment to create a selling opportunity. Check it out!

Should I Work With A Digital Agency?

That is a great question. Unfortunately I can't really answer whether YOU should work with an agency, but I can give you some good general guidelines. The problem with most agencies is that they want to keep you around as long as possible, makes sense doesn't it? Oddly we are considering an exit clause that incentives us to hit your goals sooner so you can move on to bigger and better things, still working that over internally. But, that's not why you're here. The reality of your growth trajectory is that there is a timeline for how this should work. You're about to get some great information we have acquired over the years.

  1. Just starting your marketing - Handle it internally
    1. Read articles and how-to's build your first AdWords campaign and start testing, or have Gary the intern do it.
  2. Spending $1,000-$2,000 per month
    1. If Gary hasn't gotten better by now it may be time to hire a freelancer or very small agency that charges you a percentage of spend, or low minimum rate. Large agencies will not work with a client this small, and hourly rate agencies will end up charging you a somewhat unreasonable % of spend at this point. Although, we would too, it's hard to effectively manage this much spend.
  3. Spending $2,000-$19,000 per month
    1. Ok, now we are talking. You're officially large enough to be a great client for an agency to work with and you're spending enough to really get great results. You're still not quite hiring a full-time person.
  4. Spending $20,000-$30,000 per month
    1. Yes, there is very little difference between $19k & $20k, thanks a lot. But at this point you'd likely be paying an agency 10%-15% of $20,000-$30,000 and investing roughly half of what a full-time junior advertiser would cost you. It's time to at least consider a hire, talk to your agency about consulting relationships and training your hire. We will actually even help you make the hire like we are a recruiting firm, which is pretty cool.

Most business will not reach an advertising investment beyond this, but if you do you will often need to consider a hybrid model of having a Full-Time Senior (3-6 years) Ad Manager AND an agency that assists in strategy development and execution. Once you are investing significantly in digital advertising you will likely find that agencies that can deliver with the speed you are looking for are few and far between. Nobody will know your company better than your own team, working with an agency as a trusted partner can become the best model when you reach the upper echelons of advertising. If you have any questions about hiring agencies or growth and the fun problems that come along with it...get in touch!

How To Use Facebook Advertising To Compliment AdWords

If your business has been slow to adopt spending outside of paid search (probably AdWords, but it's ok if you use Bing Ads too) you likely feel like you're behind; but changing your strategy and investing in something that may not feel directly relevant to your business is hard to do. The context we reach our audience in feels important, but the reality is that social media advertising has now reached what print, TV, and radio were. Advertising in Facebook is simply reaching your audience where they are. Also, if you haven't been doing it you probably aren't aware of the amazing targeting Facebook gives us as advertisers. Let's walk through some examples.

The Financial Planner

Your a wealth management firm that works primarily with those approaching retirement and seeking a better understanding of their investments and a sense of security. When you take out a napkin and pen in a meeting you describe your audience as 50-60 year old professional with $1-$3 Million in assets living within a 50 mile radius of your office. Did you know that Facebook has financial targeting capabilities? 56 year old Mary is ready to evaluate her options, performs a search, and clicks on your competitors search listing because they're at the top. Had  you been serving ads in Facebook, or a similar channel, and sparked her interest before she had the intent to search for a firm you would have won.

The Tech Startup

Looking for funding is exhausting, finding customers and standing out among your competitors? Even more so. With a minimal investment into Facebook & Instagram advertising you can not only create a pretty complex retargeting funnel that uses events such as signing up for your demo, starting a trial, or visiting your contact us page to determine the right ad to show...but you can create an efficient prospecting machine. Your target audience is the millennial marketer looking for increased efficiency from their ad campaigns, your reporting tool is the solution to transparency. Showing them a video ad with a reach and frequency campaign (for increased reach and awareness by selecting the # of impressions per user), and creating an audience for video views then targeting them on desktop we find the exact path you need to start converting traffic.

How Does This Work With AdWords?

If you're worried about pulling back on your AdWords budget, don't do that. You shouldn't sacrifice your core advertising spend to pursue an experiment, plan your foray into Facebook as best as you can and monitor results. Starting advertising in channels like Facebook will often lead to increased search volume (and consequently ad spend), plan for this; watch for spikes in search traffic to your site that indicate your Facebook campaigns are working even more than Facebook says they are. Also, being that you're a direct-response marketer using Google Analytics and a last-click attribution system, drop us a line to talk about the proper way to use UTM's so you know which Facebook ad actually drove a sale or lead.

Open For Business

Hey website visitor, if you're reading this (how did you get here?!) I'm really excited about that! I am beginning the journey of self-employment and becoming a full-time paid media expert for businesses like yours. My wife is joining me along the way on the Project Management side of things (she makes this whole thing work).

Are you struggling to create growth? Are you doing well with your business, but just need a little extra acceleration? Let's talk about how we can make things better. I can take ownership of your campaigns and make greatness happen. I hope you'll be in touch soon, it's the right decision.

Brett Middleton