I just made a video about why the traffic ferry don’t exist and some of the real problems we never talk about.
P.S. Register for The 7-Step ‘Lead Acquisition System’ that allows SMB to generate leads, convert them into clients using LinkedIn advertising tonight.
You Already Know What It Takes To Build A Real Online Business. Let’s be real...If you’re struggling, the best thing you can do at this point is to step away from those marketing materials, books, “secret” formulas, swipe files and all that other stuff.
Test Your Pay Per Click Ads
Charles Kirkland: This is Charles, founder of the Media Buyer Association. I’d like to welcome you to the podcast, whether you’re listening to it day, evening, or somewhere in between, you’re going to learn a lot about the world of paid traffic.
Now, today I‘ve got the man that really needs no introduction. If you’ve been into paid traffic, you will know who Brad is. So, Brad Geddes is the godfather of traffic.
So, Brad, how are you doing?
Brad Geddes: Good. Thanks for having me.
Charles: Dude, I am excited. I am super excited today. Now, this is what happened. Brad’s got a software, and I’m going to screw the name up, because I’m very good at doing that. And we’ll just blame it on the southern accent here. He’s got a software called AdAlysis. I screwed it up probably. Who knows?
But first of all, it’s probably one of the most important pieces of software I think I’ve ever gotten an opportunity to even look at. We’re just getting started with it. But, when I initially saw it, I was thinking, crap this thing is going to be $1,000 a month. I know it’s going to be super expensive. And it wasn’t.
But we’re going to get to that. So, first of all, Brad. Why did you create the software? Tell us about what it does.
Brad Geddes: Sure. So, the software, primarily, is all about ad testing. And we essentially have sort of three ways we test ads. We look at best ads within an ad group, which is single ad group testing. We’ll do pattern matches across ad groups, so you can get insights. That’s all about ad testing too.
Ads are the only part of the account users see. Right? Users don’t care about your targeting message. That’s for you. Users think about your ads. And so, everyone in the industry says, oh ad testing’s important. Ad testing’s important.
And when we looked in reality, how people test ads, it goes like this. They set up, you know, maybe 100 ad groups. It could be 10,000 – number’s irrelevant here. It’s all about scale. And then they make two ads per ad group. And then month one, they go in and they’re like, all right, I’m going to make sure I have statistical significance and look at confidence factors.
And the reality is you maybe have three winners. And you’re a little deflated that you have 100 ad tests and three things to do. And so the next month, you do that again. You have five winners. Great. And so we have two months of data.
And the third month you start eyeballing it and saying well, that looks better than that one. I don’t really need to run test results for this. Let’s just pause this loser. And humans are terrible at figuring out patterns. We love to make patterns. So, we thought, you know what? Computers can do this. Right?
Our mantra is, if a computer can do it as well as a person, a person shouldn’t waste their time. People should be given actual data. So, essentually we did it so people could make real results with their ad tests, but then only give people actions when there’s actually something to do, and not waste our time with meaningless math.
Charles: I’ll tell you that’s exciting, because as you’re describing this, I’m thinking, hey! That’s me. Oh, that is me. Oh, third month, that is definitely me. And it’s across platforms, whether it’s Facebook, whether it’s Adwords, whether it’s Twitter. It’s like, you get to a point where it’s like, ugh! Well, yeah. I’ll take an educated guess. I usually probably turn off my most profitable ad campaigns. But you know, we live and we learn.
So really, at the core of what we’re talking about is users could care less about targeting. Only thing they see is the ad – how your ad compares to somebody else’s ad in the world of Google, you know, really you’re fighting your neighbor. Whoever your neighbor is, whoever one, two and three is – that’s who you’re fighting with.
So, what you’re really saying is, basically the thing that matters the most, you get the biggest lift, because you’re not going to get a massive lift from bidding, from adjusting bids, all that plays into a part. But your biggest gains really come from your ads – your ad copy.
Brad Geddes: Exactly. Right? Some part users see. And I also- so bidding’s important, right? It’s controlling the money. But bidding is a transient gain.
So, when you spend time setting a new bid you’re actions are relevant only until you set a new bid. And that’s where testing ads, testing landing pages, adding new keywords, adding negatives, have long-term impacts, which is why from a high theoretical level I’m a fan of automating bidding even if it’s not perfect in margins because the time you save can be so much better used in making permanent gains of adding new negative keywords, or creating, you know, a new landing page test.
Charles: Yes. Where the real gain comes, I mean, at the end of the day, if you’re doing the exact same thing as your competitors, which is basically drowning and trying to you know, come up with something better period, you really don’t come up with anything better than your competitors. You have to think differently. You have to automate differently. And you have to just plain be a lot smarter.
Now when I came across this, I was quite excited. I was super-excited. And I looked at it and I almost didn’t want to click on the pricing because I mean Brad, it’s like, you look at this, and like man, this thing’s going to be $1,000 a month, or at least $247, or $497. And I was pleasantly surprised.
I was actually somewhat in shock. I had to kind of look like, whoa! Well maybe that’s per day. I was like, surprised. I mean, completely and utterly shocked – in a good way!
Brad Geddes: So, I mean I’ve been in this industry a long time, and when you start paying eight people a percentage of spend, you suddenly have nothing left. Right? And also, everyone wnts a little piece here. So, we actually really, really thought our pricing was okay. We’ve got API costs. We have database storage costs. We have processing costs. But our heart- our costs are only related to how many ads you have in our system.
So, we said, you know what? If you’ve got 10 million ads, that is a different price than 20 ads. Right? And so we essentially took a different view of that. So, if you’ve got them, we have people paying us quite a bit of money a month because they’ve got 20 million, 30 million ads in our accounts. If you’ve got 100 ads, it’s a really low price point. I want to make it accessible to everyone, not price out people.
Charles: Oh absolutely! And I was shocked when I saw this because every other platform I think I’ve ever looked at was like, we want a base and we want a percentage of your spend. And you start looking at it like, well, we’re using something here to manage ads across platform. We’re using something here to do relevant testing or bidding.
And next thing you know, all of a sudden you end up with basically, a boat-load of people, like you said, and this is, I think, a scary example, but it’s relatively true. We make a boat-load of money usually on a handful of ads. We do. The ROI’s just insane. But as we begin to scale these things up, literally our profit margin starts drying up, drying up and then sometimes we’re literally, quite often we’re going negative just for customer acquisition.
And it’s one thing to go negative for customer acquisition. It’s another thing to tack another seven, or eight, or even five percent onto that. I mean, that really makes it where I’m working to pay somebody else at that point.
Brad Geddes: And a lot of our customers are already using Marin or Kenshoo, or DoubleClick, you know, name whoever your bid system is, alright? So they can’t absorb that price very well, or if they’re an agency, they can’t sell that at some price point.
So, it’s- I think we’re going to see the rise, and you probably see this a lot. We’re going to see the rise in, I think, the next two to three years of complimentary just get stuff done platform systems where you know, it’s- Marin or Kenshoo, I mean, they’re good systems. They don’t automate ad testing.
And if you’re using Google CPA Bid System where you run the rules, you don’t need a third party platform outside of maybe a client reporting or something, or you don’t need them for bidding. So, I think you’re going to see some software rise up that are handling everything but the bidding aspects.
Charles: Oh, I totally agree with you and I really think CPA period has changed the game. When you look at it from the standpoint of okay, do I want to sit here and try to figure this out and micromanage it, or do I just want to say get me users at an acquired user base of x, y, or z? I think that really is a huge game-changer.
Brad Geddes: Yeah. I agree. For lead-gen, that’s great. Or even Google’s rudimentary bid rules for eCommerce – they’re not perfect. Right? But you’ve got to ask yourself. Okay. What’s better – me to hand five percent of spend to a third party, or me to use these really basic tools that are three percent off my margins, or are ether six percent off? Right? And that kind of tells you which one you probably want to use. But they’re good enough for, not everybody, but for most people.
Charles: Oh and I think you just hit on a good point.I mean, and I’m even going to say maybe 95 percent of the people will be fine using those. I think then, you know, you do have that small percentage of people that need everything. And if they could double whatever they have, they would. But that percentage is, I think, so relatively small compared to the overall universe of users. And I think that’s huge.
Just looking at your software, we came into it, we were pretty much using Google ads. We’d unfortunately had some Google problems. Finally, it took a while to get the account cleaned back up and fixed. But once we got it back up and running, I’m a happy, happy camper looking at some tools like this, because I feel like this is something that I need that is probably the best investment I can make when it comes to Google pay per click, hands down. I can’t think of another platform that would give me the bang for the buck that we’ve got here.
Brad Geddes: I’m glad to hear that. That’s the goal, right? So, our goal is always focus users on actions or make bulk actions simple. And so, we’ll roll in more and more features over the next coming years on that. I mean, we just rolled out the quality score tool, which now that you’ve got- because quality score’s all about either fixing your landing page, or organization, or testing ads.
I mean that’s all quality score comes down to is those three things. So we can do things like take a look at what’s your weighted quality score? Is your problem landing lages or ad related? And run it through an algorithm and say here’s the ad group that you need to fix the absolute most. Here’s the second most. And that’s again, let a machine do the math and let the user focus in.
Here’s my top quality score gainer. Here’s my top gain over here – whatever it happens to be. And I think that’s important because there’s too many things to do where you kind of look at your data all day long and are like, well, that was interesting. And if you every say that, you probably just wasted an hour of your life you’ll never get back. Right?.
Charles: I’ve looked at data before and it’s like- I’m embarrassed to even say this. My wife is an accountant. So, literally, I have my wife crunching out these massive spreadsheets. And she’s like, okay. Here’s your problems. And some days I look at them like, I know the problem, but I don’t know how to fix it. I’ve got 10 problems. Which one is giving me the biggest bang for my buck?
And often we look at it. I think most people spend their time tinkering on the macro- even the micro things, things that really almost make very little difference overall when the big problem, like you said, may be quality score. Maybe their landing page completely, utterly sucks. And I think that is a huge problem. What do you think is the biggest problem the average user has when it comes to just using Google in general?
Brad Geddes: So, I mean this is why people like you exist. The biggest problem is not understanding the basics of organization, keyword match types, and ads. I mean in reality, the amount of accounts we still see that are one ad group and 2,000 keywords, and all broad-matched words, and they’re terrible, right? Some people get better. Organization’s the first thing they get a handle on – how to actually do organization decently.
And next, it’s about learning about match types and actually, you’re managing search queries not keywords. Right? They’re just a proxy for search queries. And then you learn about the ads, and next it’s the ad extensions which, with the new desktop layout, are super, super important. And again, most accounts don’t have structure snippits let alone some of the other lesser known extentions.
I think it’s the basics are still the problem of most accounts. I mean again, that’s why you’ve got- you know Google’s got three million advertisers or something. And you know, there’s probably 100,000 good ones. And there’s probably a million being managed by resellers and the other 1.5 million or so, in that middle range, are really where the basics will give them a huge, huge lift. But it requires you know, four to six hours of time to learn the basics well, not the advanced stuff.
Charles: Oh, I think you hit it on the head. I see so many people. They have this concept of, I read a sales letter somewhere and I should immediately be able to put money into Google and it needs to spit my money out immediately in small, unmarked bills. And you realize that so many small businesses, first thing they do is they just open an account, give it a try, and wonder why it doesn’t work.
I’ve got a friend of mine who has a local business. And he goes, could you look at this? And I’m asking him what’s he doing? And he’s like man, we’re just spending a boat-load of money and I don’t know where it’s going. And as I looked at the account – it’s a company that has an extruder that makes screws.
So, just imagine him putting all the keywords that he thought were relevant to his business. Needless to say, I mean they were literally burning money for days. He goes, I don’t know what’s happening. It’s like well, you’ve kind of got this big, giant, broad match for screw extruder that just may not be the right target. I think the reality of it is so many people just jump in and they think it’s going to be easy to make money, which is wrong. At least I think it is.
Brad Geddes: Oh, it is. It’s terribly wrong. All right? I mean, in reality, to get a basic understanding of AdWords, you can do it in four to six hours. To get a great understanding could take months of time and actually just doing the work. But, it takes five minutes to open an account. It takes three hours to build a decent looking account for maybe 1,000 ad groups.
If you’re building an account with thousands of ad groups, we’ve had accounts that have taken us a month just to build. But that’s that layout. It’s just like building a house. Right? Like, what’s the end thing look like? What do we need to start with? When does this kind of wire need to be laid versus the flooring laid versus- you know, you don’t sheetrock something before you have wires in place.
And it’s that same kind of thing. And people just sort of jump to what they see as opposed to having a structure to create a proper account. Because it takes time and effort. It’s not just handed to you.
Charles: Oh my gosh! I think so many people look at like- they expected there would be a software to do it for them. It’s like- I don’t know if you’re familiar with something called Speed PPC, but back in the day, it did a lot of stuff. It’s still a pretty neat little software but at the end of the day, the software can only assist you.
If you don’t know what you’re doing, you’re still going to put 2,000 keywords in a group and just go well, you know, it should work. I’ve got one landing page. All these things are like kind of, sort of, remotely related to my site, and I’ve got the same bid for everything. Google should fix it for me.
And I think that’s the reality is the average user’s coming in just completely blind. They’ve read some B.S. sales letter on, whatever and it doesn’t work that way. It doesn’t even remotely work that way. And with the changes in Google- I absolutely love Google. And it’s hard to think that now we’ve got Google. We’ve got Display. We’ve got YouTube. We’ve got Gmail. We’ve got- I mean, literally, there’s no shortages of opportunities to use Google.
Brad Geddes: So, I think of AdWords as an aggregation of channels because you’ve got remarketing, shopping, search, remarketing for search, display buys, YouTube – and then you cross that with devices and suddenly- and Gmail, I mean you could just keep going there’s so many different ways.
So, I no longer think of AdWords as AdWords. I think it’s an interface to manage multiple channels in one place.
Charles: Yes! Absolutely. And I think it’s really interesting. I know this is slightly off-subject but I love talking to people when we get into attribution, and lift, and we’re doing multi-channel. I think the average consumer cannot really even envision that opportunity that’s even out there. They’re thinking, I did a search on Google. That’s where my ad should be. I think they’ve completely missed the boat. And I think most marketers have, too.
Brad Geddes: Oh, I totally agree. Totally agree. Right? And the problem with attribution is you deal with end data very quickly. So, in some cases, this is where marketing managers and that thought process is so important of, let’s at least design a few different customer journeys, market to the customer journey and see if we can change things.
If we don’t have the data to prove it, let’s at least- I mean, they’re called best practices for a reason. They’re best for most people, not necessarily for everybody but let’s at least start with a best practice, multi-channel type of system and at least lay out our ideal customer journeys – start somewhere. It may be wrong, but at least it’s a starting place.
Charles: Absolutely. Absolutely. Well, I don’t want to keep you online. I asked for 30 minutes. I just want to say thank you for your 30 minutes. Where can we find out more about you and more about your software?
Brad Geddes: Sure. So, you can find AdAlysis.com. And you can contact me there. Or I do hang out at Twitter at BGTheory. And if I’m social, it’s likely to be Twitter over anywhere else. Those are the two best places to usually find me, or any SMX conference pretty much in the world – you can find me at one of the SMX’s as well.
Not enough market research
As entrepreneurs it’s easy to fall in love with an idea about how well your products are going to sell. Just build a better mousetrap and they will come. Well, in the online world that’s like waiting up all night to catch the tooth fairy. It’s just not going to happen.
Most entrepreneurs start an online business with the belief that their idea is going to be worth millions right out of the gate. But if you do the market research and look at the facts, you might discover that your idea is not going to work. In this case it may be better to ditch the idea in the planning phase than to waste time and money trying to make it work.
When you are doing market research make sure your find multiple people selling something similar to your product. That’s proof that other people have made it work and you can to.
Next, you need to visit their site to sign up for their email list and buy their product. Take note of the different products they offer for sale in their funnel.
Once you have this research together you will better understand the market dynamics and what you’ll need to have in place to compete successfully with them.
Not focusing on 1 thing until it’s done
Now that you have your market research done and have proof of concept that there is a healthy demand for your product, you need to focus on creating the product until it’s done. That means 100% done, not 99% done. As online entrepreneurs it’s easy to get side-tracked by bright shiny objects that are designed to make you part with your hard earned money. You can’t sell anything until you get it done. Don’t try to do multiple projects at once because it will just slow you down. Plus, you only need to have one front-end product completed to build your business.
Not using your own domain
You can’t judge a book by its cover, but you can judge an online business by its domain name. A lot of entrepreneurs will be pound wise and penny foolish by using a free hosting account or a shared domain name. That’s a sure sign of an ameteur. Your domain is your storefront. Make sure you have a self-hosted domain that reflects your business. Plus, the right domain name will inspire confidence in your buyers.
Not building your email list from day 1
The life blood of your business will be your email list. Think of them as your own tribe and you are their fearless leader. It’s up to you to lead them to whatever results you or your products deliver. Never be afraid to email your list because you know you are providing value.
Make email list building your first priority as soon as your site is live. I would suggest you use Aweber for your email marketing. They have a crazy deal where you can get 30 days free. Even if you don’t have your products ready for sale, still get an email form to capture emails on your blog.
Not building out your funnel
Now that you have your email capture up and running it’s time to review your market research to see what and how your competitors are selling their products. You need to really look at how they are positioning their products to the market. Are they the Cadillacs of the niche or do they have the Walmart mentality. You have to figure out your positioning before you create a product.
You also need to look at what types of funnels your competitors are using. Are they losing money on the front-end to acquire a customer only to promote high ticket items to them next week? Do do they make enough money from the front-end sales that they don’t have a back-end funnel. These are important details you need to consider.
Not focusing on recurring income
Even if you’re only selling 1 item, look at how you can take that one time sale and turn it into repeat sales. Or better yet offer some kind of continuity program to create recurring income. Often this is done with a product of the month, membership sites, newsletters, or product refills. This will be the source of the bulk of your long-term income. Plus, if you consider selling the business the recurring income and the email list will be the assets that buyers want the most.
Not wanting to spend money on advertising
This is where most entrepreneurs trip themselves up. You have be willing to spend money to get your offer in front of your target audience. It is just like in real estate– location, location, location. You can’t make sales if buyers never see your site. Paid traffic should be a line item on your cost of doing business. The entire internet is based on the model of using paid traffic.
Trying to do the techie stuff yourself
I’m a victim of this myself. I can’t count the times I should have spent my time growing the business instead of tweaking some code on the site or in the shopping cart. Don’t spend your time doing techie things. Technology is hard to learn, and often you will only use it once or twice. But technology is easy and cheap to outsource.
I think today’s subject line sounds like the start of a slow-moving country song.
Close your eyes and clear your mind and you can almost hear the words pouring out of some dusty jukebox speakers.
This is what it would sound like.
I’m an online marketer working as hard as I can.
Trying to break even with my FaceBook ads.
Yet nothing I do seems to work.
No matter what I can’t seem to make it work.
I bought every online course trying to make it work, but the bills are piling up.
I’m more of a talk radio guy myself, and I really don’t listen to the radio often so this is about what I imagine it would sound like.
But there is a lot of truth in that song. The
problem is about 70% of your money is wasted with every new campaign.
For example, I have a new campaign where the 45-54 age group is costing me $21.01 per lead while the 35-44 age group is $3.98 per lead.
Most people would freak out and kill the campaign and start over, which is the wrong thing to do.
You need to dig down into the campaign and see why leads cost so much.
Could it be males convert better than females or was it my page didn’t display correctly on mobile devices?
Those are the keys to taking a losing campaign and creating a winner.
Watch the replay to see how little things like that can make or break your FaceBook campaigns.
Most people don’t realize it, but I have dyslexia and ADD on top of that.
It means that while most people read left to right I read right to left while being hyperactive at the same time. It certainly made for some “fun” times as a kid growing up in the public school system of the 70’s and 80’s. As a teen my parents bought me the Hooked On Phonics program and a speed reading program to help.
While it helped somewhat, it didn’t cure anything.
Lucky for me by the time the school system got around to being able to label me, I didn’t see it as a disability or problem but a gift. I’m able to consume massive amounts of information in a very short amount of time if it’s visual. So I can watch somebody do something and I can repeat it without any problem. But I still have trouble reading FB ad reports.
I’m visual in the way I learn, so having rows of numbers leaves me with a headache. I can’t use spreadsheets to save my life.
How many times have you seen me open a spreadsheet to teach you anything?
So how am I able to manage and grow my business?
Less than 5 feet away from my desk is somebody who breaks down all the numbers and helps me figure out what’s working. I need visual reports saying if something’s working or not.
That’s why I freaked out when I started testing AdEspresso with my FaceBook ads because their reporting is visual–graphic with bright colors.
For the first time ever I can make my own decisions and now I can tell what’s working at a glance. I feel like Christmas came early. Because I’m a stark raving fan of AdEspresso, I got the founder on a call to do a podcast with me.