George Thomas 0:08
Ready to spend 15 minutes with the experts you admire need strategy sessions from thought leaders brought directly to your ears. Welcome to the sprocket talk 15 minute strategy podcast where every week George B Thomas uncovers the challenges that sales, marketing and service professionals face and of course, the strategies to help them overcome their biggest hurdles. So sit back and set your sights on growth with these bite sized conversations build your strategy goals. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the 15 minute strategy podcast sprockets here's It's your boy George B. Thomas and I'm back and as always, if you haven't figured it out by like the 14th the 20th episode I'm excited I'm always excited. But today the reasons are different. I get to sit next to a friend again who I've broken bread with who I've gone to Social Media Marketing World with Andrew Fox. Well Andrew before we dive into the deep end of the pool of this 15 minutes raggi podcast, why don't you let the sprockets yours know who you are, what you do and where you do it?
Andrew Foxwell 1:05
Absolutely. So my name is Andrew Foxwell, I do Facebook and Instagram advertising. I've done it for about nine years actually since it was invented, which is insane. And I run Foxwell digital with my wife Gracie. We're a Facebook and Instagram advisory and social consulting firm. Basically, we do a number of different things. We do auditing of accounts, we do consulting and then we also run our own ads. We also build and run trainings with Jon Loomer. And we also i co host the e commerce influence podcast with my friend Austin Bronner. So you can check us out at factual digital but yeah, that's basically what we do Facebook and Instagram advertising.
George Thomas 1:44
Yeah, so sprocket tears to say that Andrew and Gracie know what they're doing is an understatement. It's funny. There's many times where I've met people, whether it be in Facebook and Instagram ads or other parts of marketing and sales where there's the high level sky thinkers. This, you know, up here, and then there's the doers and like getting in the trenches and getting dirty and being under understanding how to implement all the things that everybody else is talking about. And Andrew definitely lives in both worlds, so sprockets yours, please, please pay attention. And listen, if you're thinking about doing Yes, and this is today's topic, Facebook ads or Instagram ads, pay close attention to the next 15 minutes. Andrew, let's start at the very ground level, the foundation, if you will, when a business small medium or enterprise level is thinking about, should we do Facebook ads? Should we do Instagram ads? What's that layer that they have to have down and in place or understand before they even think about getting started?
Andrew Foxwell 2:44
You know, I think a lot of it is what are you going to be putting out into the world right? What was the offer that you're going to have? What's the pitch that you're trying to make and why would somebody buy over or you know, get submit their information to you for a lead over someone else. I was talking to One of our clients, that's one of the biggest outdoor landscaping businesses in Seattle, or excuse me in Portland recently, and he said, You know, we've really never run ads, we our leads come mostly through word of mouth. And, and so what would we put out there? And I said, Do you have any photos of the jobs that you've done? And he pulled up the Dropbox and there were thousands of photos in there of these beautiful landscapes that they created in that area? I mean, truly, like unbelievable, which apparently, this is like a mecca for landscaping. I didn't know that. But until he'd never gone through it. And so I said, What would you want to say? And so we walked through that exercise, they'd never set up the funnel. And so we talked about, you know, what are the things that he wanted to lead with? What do you want to say when someone's a warm lead? And then what do you want to say when someone's white hot? And also how do you get maintenance plans? How do you bring people back? And that's the fundamentals that we started with, you know, of understanding. What do you want to say why why should it? why should anybody care. And then we can use Facebook's tools to design a funnel that makes sense to bring people in and build your business.
George Thomas 4:06
So I love this. And actually what I heard sprocket tears, I'm not sure if you heard it too is even though our perception of Facebook ads and Instagram ads is complex, the conversation that we need to have on them doesn't need to be it was actually a very simple conversation that you had with this landscape company. And it was just like, Hey, we just got to show what you're already doing. Because what you're already doing is awesome. Where Andrew Have you seen where people just overthink this? And that's produced some type of like, Oh my gosh, why would you ever think about joining like, is there literally probably without sharing names? a horror story of overthinking Facebook and Instagram ads?
Andrew Foxwell 4:46
Yeah, I think I think it's very easy to overthink it. The issue is that it's a Paradox of Choice. I mean, there's so many different things you can do. It's it's the same thing with HubSpot, I would imagine, right? There's so many options. There's so many cool things that you can do. And if you're a person that's a learner by trade, which are By by, you know who you really are inherently, which, obviously you're listening to this. So you are, you want to try everything, you know, you want to try it all at once. And so that's something that's very common that happens. And what you have to do is you really have to break it down and understand like, what are the most common ways that people bring business into their site or into their their, you know, their whatever it is, maybe you don't even have that creative a website and to bring him into your, your small business, or your retail location, like, what are the most common things and I think what you'll do if you start to dig into the industry, of Facebook and Instagram advertising, you start to hear themes around like conversion ads, you'll start to hear things around like, you know, even boosted posts, you'll start to hear things around like, you know, organic content, what am I designing there and so there's themes, a lot of this that lead into it, but then there's really technical tools that people get excited about, like custom audiences where you load your email list into Facebook and find people look like those people or, you know a number of other tools that are based off the facebook pixel or You know, engagement, custom audiences, which are based on people that have engaged with your Facebook event or your website. So there's a lot of different options and you get excited. And a lot of people, you know, you're like, I don't know where to start. And so that's really where it becomes a challenge. But I think it breaks down in the fundamental, we're thinking about the funnel, and what are you really trying to bring him in? And how can you use Facebook's tools to meet them where they are? Yeah, I
George Thomas 6:25
love that you've kind of leaned into like, nobody knows where to start, or a lot of people don't know where to start. And my question as I was listening that that was going through my head is, it'd be nice to know, as a listener, as a viewer, I struck a tear. Like is there if I'm looking at this big huge lake, that is Facebook ads and Instagram ads, where's the best place for me to dip my toe in where like the alligators or the Puranas are not gonna like come and you know, start tearing off my flashlight, what's something that I can do? That's a light lift, but I may get pretty good. Decent rewards from and after that Andrew maybe even go into like, here's like the, you know, the shallow end of the pool. After you do that you might think about doing this thing. And then I really want to hear something that like right now, as somebody who has done this for over nine years that you just are like, this is Ninja, but it excites the crap out of me like what are those three layers of here's the shallow end. Here's where the Adult Swim. And here's where I'm doing the 50 foot sky jump into, you know, three flips into the Facebook pool like give us that story?
Andrew Foxwell 7:38
Yeah, sure. So I mean, I think in the shallow end, at a minimum, if you have never done retargeting with Facebook, utilizing the facebook pixel that is that is something you can have an incredible impact in your business regardless of the type of business that you are. So there's there's integrations with the facebook pixel, you can find it in your Facebook ad manager. You take the pixel ID sometimes you have Install a little code, it's actually instructions for any platform almost that you're running are pretty easy to find. Because there are already people that are going to your site that you're that are looking you up that maybe you haven't spoken to, again, right. So that's one thing. I recently install this for a local business we work with, it's like a local pizza joint. And they never done this as my friend runs the business. And it was crazy, because all we did was we took the things that he was creating already, organic content, meaning without paid promotion, on Facebook, and Instagram. And we just began to promote them to the people that had been to the website twice in the last 30 days. That's it. And his business from there was was up like 15% within a couple of months. And he and he's like I've done nothing else, other than spend $200 a month on this silly retargeting and you're just reminding people so that to me is a minimum in terms of the shopping And I think in terms of, you know, once you do that other things you can do. The next one, it clearly is, is starting to think about a full funnel approach. So if you have remarketing set up and you're you're utilizing, you know, some sort of, like I said, maybe it's organic content, maybe you're creating ads in the lower part of the funnel, then it's thinking about, alright, what are the ways that I can create audiences to find people that are my people, my prospecting. And so then it's a conversation around things like custom audiences that are turned into look alike audiences. It's interest based targeting, it's demographic based targeting and trying to diversify and find different types of people that have never heard of you before and bring them into your site. Then thinking about utilizing what are called engagement custom audiences, I mentioned them before, and these are people that have been to your site and spent a lot of time looking around or and those that have engaged with your content. So maybe they've engaged with you on Facebook or Instagram, but they haven't been to the Last 30 days. So that's the next phase of it is designing the targeting. And then it's thinking about basically, from that part, what types of ads you're going to show them. And there's all different types of objectives on Facebook. But the two that are most common that we see being used as a conversion objective, which is utilizing the facebook pixel. And then the second one is it can also be, you know, you can drive purchases on your website from that you can drive leads from that. And it's, you know, he can set up a lead event on that and it'll fire the pixel and say, Hey, this was a lead that submitted or you can do lead ads from Facebook, which are another objective that or offer a form on Facebook that people can fill out and submit and press play and you can just download the CSV or put it right into HubSpot. Probably so. So that's the next level of once you're in that shallow into the pool, you start walking then it's designing a more full funnel approach. The thing that's The Ninja thing that's insane that not a lot of people know or thinking about is Shopify has shown in beta the ability for you to take products from websites and actually turn on the camera on your phone and put that product on your shelf in your house. Or try on a pair of glasses or try on a hat. This is like not that far away, this would be like it easily in the next three to six months that this has happened. So in terms of Ninja, how that's designed and how they're going to lower the you know threshold of getting that to be able to be used by more people. Is is one thing that will to be seen. But that makes me super excited because one of the things we always try to get across in ADS is there's three principles of good Facebook ad and Instagram ad in my opinion, which is trust, customer experience and previous customer experience and quality. Those are the three core components. And look at what look at what you could do with seeing that item on your shelf. It gives you an idea of what it looks like, it gives you an idea of the quality. And if you put a review in the copy you have, you know, you have a lot of that already. So, so that's kind of something that makes me like super, super excited about moving forward.
George Thomas 12:13
So augmented reality tied to Facebook and Instagram ads and products and purchasing. And and what's funny when I hear you talk about that, it's like, Why no, I'm gonna like it. I've already seen it on my shelf before I ever even purchased it. Or I've seen it on my face before it ever even got to me. That's crazy. It's funny because we just blasted into the future with augmented reality. And I'm curious with these ads, some of the stories that you've told success stories in this interview. It's like it's content that they already had like some photos of the landscaping and some, you know, content that they were already creating. Andrew maybe take just a minute because you know me I'm a big video nerd and talk me through like Facebook and Instagram ads and Yes, the video no the video sometimes the video, like as somebody who has seen this rover nine years, like where does your brain fall into that being part of this strategy that we're talking about?
Andrew Foxwell 13:11
Yeah, I don't think you can have a fully formed strategy right now in our particular expertise is within direct response to e commerce. That's what we do. But we do lead gen as well and touch on that less b2b lead gen, but really, if you talk about direct response, e commerce you can't have you can't say you have a legitimate strategy right now that doesn't have some video as part of it. Right? Probably, most commonly, I'd say where you see it being implemented currently is within Instagram stories, and Instagram Stories has become within 2019 a stable place that you can drive conversions from. That was not previously something you could do. Where you see it otherwise is you see video implemented within people creating slideshows as an ad unit, which is the ability for you to take different static images, crop them within the Facebook ad manager, the actual ad tool and create video from those particular images. And that's called a slideshow. That's that's common, you'll see that and you'll also see it within, you know, generally, maybe somebody will have something that user generated. So they'll have a boomerang of their product on someone's wrist or they'll have a boomerang of someone wearing their product. And they're going to integrate that in a loop. Usually as like an mp4 of, you know, less than 10 seconds or something or maybe five seconds. I saw one from Patagonia yesterday, it was five seconds looping of a person walking with worn wear baggy they were talking about, right and that's that was an it's a square format. It's a one to one aspect ratio. And, and it's it's pretty, I mean, it's an it's a good looking ad unit, really. And so that's where you see video. The thing that's interesting is it's not everything though. There's still common that you'll see static imagery, specifically An ad unit called carousel ads which allow you to swipe through multiple things. You'll also see, you know, generally, static square photo posts usually have user generated content being integrated across the funnel as well. So it's in some accounts, it's a lot of video and some accounts it's it's maybe you know, 30% video 70% static imagery. But clearly we're moving in a direction and Facebook is moving in direction to make it easier. The tools that they rolled out in 2019 and specific reference to the creation of video and making it easier example of this is Instagram story templates, just google Instagram story templates if you've never done this, there's a great article from Susan Winograd on the Inquirer blog about this, who's a good friend of mine and it's nuts. I mean, you can create like, it's it exists right there and Facebook, you don't even have to have that great content, and you can be creating stuff. That looks pretty darn good. So that's been a big shift as well because clearly they see that movement being helpful. You can also final note on video, create video engagement custom audiences off of the percentage of the video that's been viewed and you can utilize that. So that's another whole type of targeting. That's actually pretty cool that not a lot of people know exists.
George Thomas 16:15
I hear Yes, maybe sometimes, but you got to know like, I love this because there's so much in that last part sprocket tears, you need to rewind, you need to re listen to what's going on. First of all, there was a pro tip in there, did you hear it? You should be googling after you're done listening Instagram templates, so that you can for story so that you can check that out. I know I will be doing that. So here's the thing. We may have some people Andrew who they they saw this title and they're like, Huh, not for me, like Facebook ads and Instagram ads like if this this and this. So I want to take before we close this as our last question and we set people back to their regular scheduled program of their life. What are some myths about Facebook and Instagram ads that you feel should be debunked. So people realize that it is actually a pond that they want to dive in, swim around and enjoy versus standing on the sidelines and being like, I don't think so.
Andrew Foxwell 17:14
I mean, the biggest one is is is I here to one of them is out here I? Well, they're kind of related. One is basically the biggest ones. It doesn't work doesn't work for me. And then the related like subtext one a of that is, Instagram doesn't work. And, you know, and it never has, or our audience isn't on Instagram, and Facebook released internal data from 2018. This year, they publicly talked about it. Well, they released it to partner so they didn't like put it out there out there. That 34% 30% in that range of the user base of Instagram is over 50 and growing In the United States, so that's really interesting. So that's one thing. The other thing is that it may not have worked and to be honest with you a lot of the advice that was out there around Facebook in like, let's say 1415 and when it was really hot, it confused a lot of people, they tried it and they hate it. And you know, a lot of it was not helpful. The reality is now that tools have improved, and there's there are many creative ways to make it work. I mean, unless you're selling CBD, which is like pretty challenging, and not necessarily approved even at this point, you'll probably get, you know, a lot of approvals or something that's borderline that's not that's against the terms of service like it can work in a lot of non traditional ways I've known plumbers that have used Facebook very effectively. I've no you know, it it's it's kind of like content marketing. I think where you think you you first are like No, I don't think so. You know, we sell this one specific, you know, spectrometer for Whatever and you're like, No, actually, you're gonna win. And the more niche that I've seen, the better off it can be. So I think I think it can work. I think it's, it's worth revisiting. If you have questions on you know, like, Hey, I'm in this weird business like, what do you think? And always email me at Andrew at foxhole digital Comm. I'm happy to help anybody. That's a friend of George VI's but I think it's, it's, it's understanding and knowing that there are many new ad objectives. There's many new ad units, and there's a lot of creative ways that you can utilize Facebook for not a lot of money to at least give it another shot.
George Thomas 19:34
I love that. There's a lot of ways that you can utilize it for not a lot of money, and you need to give it another shot. Look, the first time you dated somebody, it probably didn't end the best but you went on another date. You tried it again, eventually you got married or not. But the idea is you got to give it another try. Andrew, if folks want to connect with you, if they have questions. If they just need to get more resources, where do you want to Send them.
Andrew Foxwell 20:01
Yeah, I mean, the best place just to tell me about your individual journey at Andrew at foxhole digital COMM The other thing that you can that you can do is check me out on Twitter at Andrew Fox will I'm on there and pretty active. And those are really two good places. If you're wanting to dive into this more, you know, our podcasts, the e commerce influence, we have about 25,000 monthly downloads now and growing. We'd love to have you be a listener there we talk about about, you know, e commerce we talk about anything from today, our episode that came out was about about gross margin and and, you know, calculating your return on adspend properly if you're an e commerce business, which you know, many people could benefit from and including me, you'll hear in the episode I had, I'm bad at math. So it was good to go through that exercise. So we'd love to have you there, but those are good places to connect. Thank you so much for having me on here.
George Thomas 20:51
Absolutely. I'm sprockets yours. Remember to pay attention to your message. Think about your audience and challenge your perceptions and we'll see you online Next episode Did you enjoy this episode of the 15 minute strategy podcast, we'd love to know. leave a rating and written review wherever you listen to your favorite shows and keep that learning going by visiting sprocket talk comm sign up for your free membership and in that membership area you can find bundled episodes where we combine like strategies to help you grow better make the world better and share this episode with your friends and co workers who may be battling this same obstacle. You can always reach out to George B. Thomas on Twitter with questions or guest suggestions or just to talk about your favorite Marvel superhero and go out into the world and leverage this strategy for your success. And we'll see you on the next episode of the 15 minutes strategy podcast.
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About the Expert
Andrew grew up on a farm in western Wisconsin and graduated from St. Olaf College. He then worked as a Windows server engineer and as a digital director for a U.S. Congressional campaign, which later led him to Washington, DC to work as a press secretary. Andrew then founded and managed the social media marketing agency within iConstituent, the leading online communications firm working with Congress.
Andrew worked with members and staffs from both sides of the aisle to deepen Congressional dialogue, improve constituent services, and create a more effective 21st century democracy.
In 2012, Andrew took his skillset to Silicon Valley where he directed the social division of 3Q Digital, a full-service online marketing firm. There he tripled the agency’s social media client base and managed a team of account managers and production professionals. Andrew and Gracie co-founded Foxwell Digital in 2013.
George Thomas 0:08