Happy Holidays!

We are officially in the heart of the holiday shopping season! To help you navigate the crazy holiday ad period, we’ve put together this ho-ho-holiday edition of the Strikepoint State of the Industry Newsletter.

Inside, we’ve got a case study that reveals a HUGE holiday ad lesson, direct insights from our Google and Facebook reps (make sure to read through the ‘what’s not hot right now’ section), and even give a bonus holiday ads guide checklist to help you:

  • Lower ad costs with simple strategies while others waste money on ineffective ads
  • Create effective campaigns that won’t get shut down by stricter holiday compliance reviews
  • Ensure that you’re getting qualified leads coming in the door
  • Increase revenue from existing resources to help you maximize your holiday campaigns

And a whole lot more…

Now, before we dive into all of that, let’s take a quick look back at some key highlights from a hectic November (and how they affected our industry):

Obviously there’s one event from the past month that stands out head and shoulders above the others when it comes to visibility and importance…

🎉🥳 ACS LIVE VIRTUAL 2020!! 🎉🥳

Okay fine, that whole “presidential election” thing counts, too…

This was arguably the most polarizing election in the history of our country. Joe Biden’s victory is still being contested as President Trump has pushed for recounts in numerous battlegrounds. The uncertainty caused campaigns to slow.

But while democrats and republicans continue to argue over the results of the election, the stock market hasn’t even slowed down.

The Dow was trading below 27,000 on election day and broke 30,000 just two weeks later — and still trading just off those highs as of sending this out.

(And that’s even with numerous states tightening COVID restrictions as new cases continue to rise.)

Needless to say, campaign results all came roaring back stronger than ever.

So what’s the takeaway?

That it’s business as usual in our industry. Both fear and greed (the two biggest messaging angles) are still holding strong as a historic bull run continues right alongside a historic pandemic.

We touched on some of that during our virtual ACS LIVE conference from Financial Marketer’s Hub earlier this month.

Thank you so much to all the speakers and attendees who joined us for an epic two days of brilliant strategies and lucrative dealmaking.

I still can’t get over how much engagement and just pure value there was throughout the whole event. For a virtual event, I was blown away at how intimate and effective ACS was for everyone.

 

I’m not exaggerating when I say that the presentations from this year’s speakers were some of the best strategies and lessons of what to do (and what NOT to do) that I have ever seen — in and out of our industry…

If you didn’t get a chance to join us, grab the full recordings here.

Lastly, it’s impossible to mention November without talking about Thanksgiving and Black Friday.

I took some time to really focus on what I personally am grateful for this year, and in the end, it comes down to the people in my life.

My amazing saint of a wife Jen who not only puts up with me but encourages my ideas and pushes me to be the best version of myself.

My brilliant and curious children who help me see the world in a different way, and motivate me every single day to be the best dad and human possible, and set an example for them.

My incredible Co-Founder and President of Strikepoint Media, Bryan Rosenkrantz, who has stood side by side with me as we weathered every storm and continue to get bigger and better every single day.

Our innovative and tireless SPM team members who embody our core values more than we could ever have hoped for, and make us proud to get to lead such a stellar team.

And you, our friends and clients.

It is an honor to serve all of you in everything we do, from leads to copy and creatives, to agency work and funnel building, and beyond.

From each and every one of us at Strikepoint Media, we wish you and your family the best of everything this holiday season, and continued success in 2021.

Thank you for letting us be a part of your prosperity in 2020, and we can’t wait to help you grow even more next year!

With that being said, let’s dive into the good stuff!

Let’s keep the wins coming in,

Jeremy Blossom
CEO, Strikepoint Media


🔥 What’s Hot

Brace yourselves; holiday ad season is here!

Below, you’ll find step by step guides for running successful ads on both Facebook and YouTube. That’s important because no matter what industry you’re in, costs tend to go up this time of year due to Black Friday and holiday shopping.

But before we dive into our bonus holiday ad guides, let’s look at one quick case study to highlight a critical lesson; rushed ads can slow down your campaign (and make spike your costs).

Case Study #1: From $30 to $3 CPL

One of our successful client campaigns ran into some hiccups recently. In the past, we’ve run this promo and seen great results. However, this time we were racing the clock and given ads not in our typical format. I actually went over these ads during an epic ACS live, but will highlight the campaign here once more.

Most (if not all) of you are familiar with Money Revealed. Their content converts like crazy.

But in this case, the ads supplied to us were not set to the highest definition and were oriented in landscape rather than portrait mode.

When we launched the ads, they were rejected multiple times for “housing” because of the foreclosed house that briefly appears in the videos. The account received so many rejections that it was even temporarily disabled — all while seeing $30 cpls.

Our in-house video team created fresh ads using the same videos (but in our proprietary Facebook ad templates) to get the ads approved and the results were instantaneous.

The ‘new’ ads didn’t get flagged for housing — even though we were using the same video footage — and are now seeing $2-$3 CPLs.

The lesson?

Facebook liked these new ads because of the new format, giving us better placements and auctions.

Case Study #2: Guide to Holiday Ad Season

Black Friday is the busiest shopping day of the year, and it kicks off a holiday ad season that causes price fluctuations like crazy as the old pricing ceiling becomes the new pricing floor thanks to the crazy ad bidding.

That means that right now is a great opportunity to collect active new leads (if you’re doing it right) — or overpay for junk if you’re not intentional in your campaigns…

Let’s take a look at how to get the most out of your campaigns and stand out from the crowd during a competitive holiday ad season with simple guides for running effective Facebook and YouTube ads.

Running effective holiday Facebook campaigns

With nearly $70 billion in ad revenue in 2019, Facebook remains the king of social media. That number has climbed steadily as more advertisers and online businesses focus on expanding their digital reach.

Follow these simple steps to maximize your advertising results on the world’s #1 social media platform.

Have a Plan

The holiday season’s extra competition can also come with extra costs. To avoid the unnecessary expense, make sure you have a plan that takes into account the customer journey.This infographic from our agency’s dedicated Facebook rep provides some guidance for making sure your campaigns work towards your objectives.

You’ll want to optimize to the event closest to your objectives and KPIs with the goal of at least 50 conversions per ad set, per week. If you don’t see 50 conversions within your budget, try dropping one “level” in the funnel. For example, instead of “purchase” events use “add to cart” or page views.

You should also utilize Facebook’s new product tags feature within Ads Manager, letting you add Instagram’s product tags directly to paid promotions (This was always available in posts, but never as a tool for businesses to use in ads).

Once you’ve got your strategy and objectives figured out, dive into the creatives.

Use Dynamic Ads

Dynamic Creative Ads lets you test multiple variants at once so you have fewer ads to go through for the approval process. Ideally you should use 5 images or videos and 2-3 copy variants as the max for your testing.

Review the performance of each variant to identify your top performing ads by opening your ad manage, then:

  • Open your breakdown tab at the top right of your Ads Manager
  • Select “By Dynamic Creative Elements”
  • Choose “Image, Video and Slideshow”

 

 

This is where you can find stats for your text, headline, and CTA.

Expand Your Audience

With the ability to create multiple ads and campaigns, advertisers can experiment with targeting at levels that have never been possible before.

If you have existing email lists or pixel data, use that information to create custom audiences that you can leverage in remarketing campaigns (When paired with a compelling offer such as 15% off for the next 48 hours you can significantly increase conversion rates on your campaigns).

You can also use that information to create broad lookalike audiences of past purchasers or leads. Many advertisers use this feature but stop at a 1% lookalike audience. However, you can create separate buckets for 1%, 2%, and 3% to find qualified leads.

In theory, you can still find leads at 5% who are relatively close to your seed audience in terms of personal attributes that Facebook can leverage to help get you quality traffic, but we recommend 3% as your upper limit.

Leverage Facebook’s AI

We can test and guess as much as we want, but Facebook has worked hard to make the ad process easy on us. Most of us are just too stubborn to take advantage of their efforts…

Turn on Facebook’s Automatic Advanced Matching in your Events Manager settings to allow Facebook to attribute more conversions to your Facebook ads, which helps you reach more people through remarketing campaigns.

While these key practices don’t guarantee success, they are proven to help improve the likelihood of reaching your goals. Or let Strikepoint Media take care of it for you 😉

If you’re looking for maximum return on your ads this holiday season, email [email protected] to schedule a call and we’ll take care of everything for you.

Running effective holiday YouTube campaigns

If you’re not running YouTube ads, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity for highly engaged leads. YouTube now has more than 30 million music and premium paid subscribers — 35 million, including free trials — and YouTube TV has more than 3 million subscribers. When done right, YouTube ads can bring in qualified leads who genuinely want to hear from you because you’re directly aligned with their interests based on the videos they’re watching. Follow these simple steps to maximize your advertising results on the world’s #1 video streaming platform.

Separate your placements

Different people view content on different devices. Even knowing that, many businesses fail to separate placements, which can ruin the viewing experience and sabotage your campaign’s results.

Separating Desktop, Mobile, and Tablet placements can help optimize your camping by identifying what resonates most with the audience you’re targeting. Some offers can do well on mobile and tablets but produce high CPCs and CPMs on Desktop.

It’s important to separate this information since Google won’t serve traffic to Desktop placements if they’re not performing to mobile standards.

Use the ‘Target Cost Per Acquisition’ setting

Target CPA (cost per acquisition) is a fully automated bid strategy where advertisers set a target cost per conversion, allowing Google to adjust bids to generate as many conversions as possible at that CPA. Many advertisers fail to use this setting once they gather conversion data in their account, which is a mistake given the huge difference it can have on your campaign’s performance.

To compare, if you have any sort of goals set around profitability, using maximizing conversions can be dangerous because Google will spend the full daily budget regardless of conversion performance. That means that the campaign’s profitability could be great or disastrous on any given day since there is no optimization by conversion.

When starting a Target CPA campaign, make sure you set realistic numbers. If your campaign has an average CPA of $100, targeting a $50 Target CPA simply won’t work because Google will limit the amount of traffic it sends to your campaign.

One note: Google lists the minimum number of conversions for using this method is 15 conversions within the last 30 days. However, we’ve found this number to be low. You should ideally have at least 50 conversions in the past 30 days before testing Target CPA bidding. If possible, aim for 100. This ensures that Google has enough data to keep your conversions consistent.

Test multiple ads within each ad set

Never assume that the ad you love will be the same one your audience connects with.

Test at least three to five ads per each ad set to effectively optimize your campaigns and produce the results you’re looking for.

Get specific with your targeting

There are a variety of ways to find your ideal leads, yet many advertisers simply throw out the biggest net possible, resulting in leads that may or may not be qualified for your offer.

Be specific in targeting your ideal audience through:

  • Keywords
  • Topics
  • In-Market
  • Interest

Create new ad sets for each audience target (and remember to test 3-5 ads per ad set) to improve your results.

Be patient while Google learns

On Google Ads, the learning period typically lasts seven days since the last significant edit to a campaign. Each campaign must go through a learning phase in order to maximize its delivery and effectiveness. Be patient while Google learns how to improve your campaign, and don’t fiddle with anything!

Utilizing everything mentioned above and minimizing edits after launch will help you get through the learning phase more quickly. Also, adding pixels to all of your landing pages, cart page, page views, lead capture, purchases, etc. can significantly increase the learning phase of that campaign and gather more customers for your business more quickly.

Again, if you’re struggling with your campaigns, Strikepoint Media would love to help.

If you’re looking for maximum return on your ads this holiday season, email [email protected] to schedule a call and we’ll take care of everything for you.


⛄ What’s not hot right now

With the tide of new ads comes an added focus on reviews and compliance from Facebook.

On the one hand, Facebook has removed the 20% image text rule, but tightened up compliance regulations as a result.

We had a long meeting with our Facebook Agency Partner about what those new regulations look like, and here’s what we learned.

(FYI this applies to all Facebook ads and landing pages.)

No more “false sense of urgency”

This could be a bitter pill to swallow. The new regulation means:

  • No using clocks or timers on any ads or landing pages
  • No language about limited spots available for webinars or limited inventory for any products.
  • “Reserve your seat now” could potentially fall in this category for webinars as can “RSVP.”
  • If asking for information such as an email address to attend a webinar, you must disclose what it will be used for.

Additionally, ad rejections compound and can set you back further from a penalty standpoint if too many are rejected without a resolution. If you continue launching ads without getting rejections resolved then you have a higher chance of getting an account disabled.

So what can we do?

We can still use language for limited spots so long as the webinar legitimately cannot hold more than a certain amount of people. But even if that works, it still falls into a grey area which can mean false rejections that require time to get re-approved.

However, a better approach is to follow Molly Pittman’s brilliant strategy she shared during ACS LIVE 2020.

Regardless of how you approach the new regulations, make sure to take extra precautions and put your campaigns under a compliance microscope.


😎 What’s hot at SPM

Another month, another record for Strikepoint Media.

Fresh off our new monthly record (seems like we’re saying that every month), we are already implementing new processes and tools for 2021.

One part of that would be a more involved relationship with our Google Rep.

Thanks to that relationship, we are now able to pull competitive data from GDN on:

  • What competitors are spending
  • What KPI’s they are hitting
  • And who they are targeting

If you’re new to Google and are looking to spend $30k/month on their network, SPM can help you access priceless data that can really improve your campaign results.

Just email [email protected] to see if it’s a fit for you.

But the single biggest and most exciting SPM news from November is easily ACS LIVE.

This event blew us all away. It was simply better than any of us could have hoped for.

If you didn’t get a chance to join us, grab the full recordings here.

In other news, the free traffic audits we’re running have been helping our clients improve their ad performance significantly.

Additionally, SPM is hiring! We are currently actively recruiting for the following positions:

  • Sr. Web Designer
    Motion Graphics & Video Production Specialist
    Youtube & Facebook Media Buyer

If you’ve got someone you think would be a great fit, use our referral portal and if they get hired, you get a nice bonus!

And finally, I just want to take a second to toast our team.

We’ve had a busy month celebrating some milestones within our team’s personal lives.

💖 Two of our employees got engaged!! Congratulations to Mason on his engagement, and to Zephyr on hers!

🏡 A big congratulations to Shayan for closing on his first house! Way to adult Shay!

🏡 It’s been a BIG month for Mason, as he also bought a home in Oregon to go with his new fiance!

🥇 Amanda officially passed 3 years with Strikepoint this month, and is celebrated with a nice promotion to Senior Designer for SPM! Thank you for all you do Amanda!

🥇 Our resident Software Developer ninja Robert officially celebrated 1 year with us, and has absolutely crushed every single project he’s taken on. We are so happy to have you on the team Robert, and look forward to many more years!

Then there was a long list of birthdays and other personal accomplishments, but that would make this letter even longer than it already is, so for now we’ll cut it and say happy holidays from all of us to each and every one of you!

That’s it for November!

One ask: Please share the newsletter with your friends and colleagues if this is helping you!

Let’s keep the wins coming in,

Jeremy Blossom
CEO, Strikepoint Media