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253: The Rise of TikTok and How It Can Help Your Ecommerce Brand

Posted by Austin Brawner on May 26, 2020

TikTok is all the rage right now. Even with fewer people creating content, there are more people consuming. But what makes this platform so viral?

August Noble went from leading paid acquisition at SnackNation to helping his clients grow using everything from Facebook ads to TikTok influencers. On top of helping companies optimize their advertising, he is also using key learnings from legacy social media platforms to develop influencer marketing strategies and help brands grow.

Tune in and find out what TikTok is all about and how it’s generating more buzz in the social media world.

Episode Highlights: 

  • 3:17 How August Noble shares a similar start with our co-host, Austin
  • 4:10 The successes at SnackNation that led August to paid media consulting
  • 6:47 Lessons learned from Linkedin for B2B and B2C
  • 8:32 How Linkedin helped targeting strategy
  • 10:08 The tweet about TikTok that landed August on our podcast 
  • 14:29 What makes TikTok more viral than Instagram or Twitter
  • 17:26 Building relationships with influencers 
  • 21:42 The products that do well on the TikTok platform
  • 24:18 What August is prioritizing over tracking
  • 26:44 Where TikTok is headed and what the most effective content is
  • 30:56 Key learnings from scaling on Facebook and Instagram
  • 33:53 What’s the difference between $15K a day and $1k a day ad spend?
  • 35:52 Targeting strategies: Specific versus Broad
  • 42:48 Tools and resources August recommends 

Links and Resources:

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Austin Brawner: What's up everybody? Welcome back to another episode of the Ecommerce Influence Podcast, my name is Austin Brawner.

Andrew Foxwell: My name is Andrew Foxwell. And man, I have been excited to talk about TikTok for a while, which is what we're talking about today on this podcast. It's just a crazy platform that is full of surprises. So, when I saw August, who's our guest today, Tweeting about it, I couldn't help and be like, "Got to get that guy on the pod."

Austin Brawner: It's funny, Andrew reached out, and he's like, "Hey, I've got this TikTok guy..." And we're making this as a joke because he's not actually just TikTok. He said, "I got this guy that I want to bring on the podcast to talk about TikTok." And I didn't know who he was talking about. And then he was like, "It seems, August..." And I was like, "Wait, August? I know August." So, the first company I worked at was called Human Healthy Vending, which converted to SnackNation. I left and then, August was hired right afterward and worked for Andy Mackensen, who is the co-founder, and worked in marketing with Andy.

So, we've had very parallel situations where I worked with Andy to start my career, then he worked with Andy to start his career, then we both left and started doing our own thing. And then, so yeah, put two and two together. It's like, "Oh, it's August."

Andrew Foxwell:
Yeah. It's a really-

Austin Brawner: So, I'm really excited about the episode. It's a really, really good primer for how to think about this crazy world of tech-

Andrew Foxwell: It is. It's a good way to kind of get started a little bit and understand what he is doing and how it's working. Actually, why don't we talk a little bit about scaling on Facebook and Instagram, because he's currently doing that with a couple of clients now too, and how that's working for him. So, getting into some leads on that as well. So, let's go ahead and welcome August Noble to the show.

August Noble: Yeah, thanks for having me.

Austin Brawner: Excited to have you here. It's a crazy full circle here for me. We both started our career at the same company at different times with the same marketing leader Andy Mackensen, we both learned from Andy. And then, we both left and we both started doing our own thing. And now, we're here chatting years later. So, it's pretty exciting. Why don't you start out and tell our listeners... You left SnackNation, which we'll talk about but, what are you doing now? How do you describe what you do?

August Noble: Yeah, for sure, it's crazy man. But I think right now, I just kind of ball it all into paid media consulting, really marketing consulting would be the big bucket I'd put it in. But we saw some great success at SnackNation and I think we can get into that if we'd like to. But I had a lot of success there, managed a good amount of media there over the three, four years I was at the company. And during nights and weekends kind of towards the tail end of my run at snack nation, and I was taking on a few clients and just trying to expand into different products, different companies, and seeing some success. So, I ended up leaving there and just going full time with ramping up clients and trying to help them find success, similar to what we do with SnackNation through paid media and some other marketing channels.

Andrew Foxwell: When you were at snack nation, August, what were some of the big things that you scaled, and what were some of the big successes there just to kind of set the stage for a lot of your background?

August Noble: Yeah, definitely. So, SnackNation, in just for some context on the company, is a healthy snack delivery service for offices. Originally, for offices and then, we actually acquired a company called Love With Food out of San Francisco during my time there, that's a B2C, so snack delivery to home. And I basically led the acquisition there. When I first started, we weren't doing any paid advertising at that point for the SnackNation business specifically. And I just kind of waded into these platforms, predominantly Facebook and LinkedIn during my time there. And we had some great success with, I think, LinkedIn specifically, on the B2B side, and then Facebook more for love with food in the B2C side.

August Noble: But while I was there, I think I joined with around 35 employees when I left it was around 150. And we really pushed into LinkedIn and Facebook hard for lead acquisition on LinkedIn and Facebook for customer acquisition. And that was kind of the main focus there. And since leaving SnackNation, I've more gotten into the D2C space with Facebook and Instagram, but still also have a few B2B clients as well, that mainly focus on LinkedIn.

Austin Brawner: What's so crazy about that is, I think when I left, there were about 30 employees. So, I left, and then, you came in, and then they continue to grow to 100. It's just a really interesting thing to hear what actually... It's interesting for me too, to know what happened after I left, and the fact that they went into paid and you took over that, and that ended up being a big, big thing. I would love to hear a little bit about LinkedIn, and what you learned about LinkedIn because when I was there, that definitely wasn't anything that we were doing. What did you learn about LinkedIn for business to business? And what can you share? Have you been able to take some of that and translate it over for B2C companies, or is that something that you've kind of only been able to see success with B2B?

August Noble: Yeah, definitely. So, I love talking about LinkedIn. I think it's a fascinating platform, especially for B2B businesses. And there are some lessons that you can bring over to B2C. I've yet to find a B2C company that's really found success on LinkedIn from a ROAS perspective or anywhere we're investing in the platform. But our experience with LinkedIn, which I thought was just very interesting was, we... I believe it was mid-2016 when we really started looking at the platform. Similar, I think, to a lot of the rhetoric you hear around different paid media platforms at different times. At that time, we were hearing that LinkedIn was too expensive. That was kind of the bucket when you ask people about LinkedIn, it was, LinkedIn is too expensive. And we decided to test it out anyway. And we found that I think, a few things make LinkedIn stand out compared to other media platforms, the most specific one being their job title data.

August Noble: LinkedIn has some of the best job title data in the world. Because the first place people go to update their job title when they get a new job is LinkedIn, not as much on Facebook. And so, that was kind of the main variable that we used for our targeting. We had a product geared towards very specific buyers in offices, and we were able to speak directly to them using that job title data and targeting them by job title. I think the learnings that we got from that was when you're early on a platform, you don't really know it until it's too late, and I say that in a sense. When we were running on LinkedIn in 2016, one of the audiences we targeted were CEOs of 10 to 50 employee companies. And during that time, our average CPM for just an in sponsored content ad for that audience was, I believe, 20 to $30, something around there, maybe $40 CPMs at that point, and I'm still working with clients on LinkedIn now, and that same audience or CEOs, those CPMs are anywhere from 120 to $180.

So, just getting delivered to those audiences has changed so much in the last three, four years. And it was something where, I think, we definitely used the platform to grow, it was our main investment when we were at the company, but to see now just how quickly that's changed into... If we knew at that time what was coming, I think we would have invested even more and pressed even a little bit harder on that platform at the time.

Andrew Foxwell: Yeah, it's interesting. It's only gotten more expensive, but I agree with you, obviously, the job title targeting stuff is huge. And if you're looking to reach CEOs or anything like that, I haven't found a better place, honestly. I've tried it on Facebook, a little bit on Twitter, too, and LinkedIn still, even if it's expensive, it's still the best, in terms of the quality that you're getting out of it for sure.

So, let's move on to the main event here, TikTok, which is the main reason we wanted to bring you on today, is you had a Twitter thread, which I think was some time in 2019, later half of the year, where you said, "We sent about 100 units..." I'm quoting your tweet here... "costing about $2,000 to TikTok influencers. Yesterday, a video review did over 2 million views and we did over 50K in sales for a client with an average day being about 8000. This was on a low AOV personal care product." And he followed it up by saying, "If your product is sub $50, TikTok influencers are the cheapest acquisition channel available right now." So, that sets the stage for what we're talking about. So, first of all, what the hell is going on with TikTok? What's your take on this?

August Noble:
Yeah, TikTok is a crazy, crazy place. I think it's gotten a lot of... There's obviously a lot of conversations around the platform. It's a new platform. It's different from most social media but also the same in a lot of ways, to where I think, when it's new, a lot of people kind of cast it to the side and don't take it super seriously. But yeah, with that specific client, they definitely have a product that makes sense for younger demographic. And this was in October of 20... I think it was October of 2019. We'd been doing micro-influencer marketing if that's what you want to call it on Instagram and YouTube for about two years. So, we'd been investing in just building relationships with influencers, getting the product into people's hands. And that specific product is very, very cheaply sampled, so our typical strategy there is just to get it into as many people's hands as possible.

And in about October of 2019, we decided that TikTok was just somewhere we needed to invest some time. Now, there were a lot of conversations happening about it, and we just wanted to dive into it and see what we could make happen there. And I think it was probably within two to three months, we started to see some crazy traction from the exact same strategy we'd been doing on Instagram for over a year, at least. And I think, a lot of it is due to... I think I mentioned it in that tweet, but the crazy reach that these posts are getting from people who on Instagram, would be seen as a micro-influencer. So, I think when I sent that initial tweet, that was one of the first videos we got, and subsequently since, we've gotten... And I jotted them down here, 2.7 million view video, 5.3 million and then probably five to 10 that have done over 500,000, and these are from influencers on TikTok with between 500 and 5000 followers.

So, these aren't your typical Instagram influencers with millions of followers, these are just small creators in the platform that are, I think, because of the algorithm, because of how TikTok is set up right now, are able to just see some crazy reach from, I think, otherwise pretty standard posts on other platforms.

Austin Brawner: Could you dive in and talk a little bit about that specifically, and explain what you mean by the algorithm and why TikTok provides more opportunity for virality than an Instagram post or Twitter?

August Noble: Yeah, definitely.

Austin Brawner:
Twitter's got some aspect of that but-

August Noble: Totally. Yeah. And I wouldn't call myself the TikTok expert so this is off of my observation, so take it with a grain of salt. But when you're on TikTok, I think one of the first things... And I'll just lay it out as if you've never been on the platform at all. It's similar to Instagram in the sense that you have a profile page. But if you think about your home feed on Instagram, it's mostly populated with... And it pushes you towards people who you're already connected with or friends with. I think the big difference that you'll see on TikTok as you start to just download it and play around on the app at all, their main feed where users are spending most of their time is called the For You page. And it's not necessarily anyone that you follow, it's completely a discovery feed.

And so, when on Instagram, you're mostly seeing posts from friends and people you're connected with, TikTok is mostly posts, and I think people are just using the platform more for discovery. And so, that would be my best guess as to why that's happening. I think also, just the amount of users that are on the platform compared to Instagram, that are creating content versus the number of users that are on there consuming it. I think probably, there's less content being created to fill those views or eyeballs or consumption if you want to look at it like that. So, more posts are seeing more virality.

Andrew Foxwell: So, if you have something that's pretty good, a good video or whatever, it can go faster, is what you're saying because there's such an appetite for content to be discovered there.

August Noble: Yeah, and I think there are fewer people creating content and more people consuming, and that gap is larger.

Andrew Foxwell: Yeah. Right.

August Noble: And so, there's a deficit of content. So, they need content to show people as they're scrolling through their infinite feeds. And so, again, these relatively... And when I say relatively normal posts, I think they're not... If you go on TikTok and scroll for five minutes, you'll see posts that you have no... At least from my eyes, I can't figure out why they have 5 million views, but it's something that's happening every day on the platform.

Andrew Foxwell: So, let me just kind of walk back the content itself just step by step. So, you send this out, you have products, you send out influencer kits, is that what you... Or do you just send the product themselves? And you have people... Are you coming through, or do you hire someone to find these influencers that have a certain amount of followers? Or, how do you discover that?

August Noble: Yeah. And so, this has evolved for sure, since last year, we're mainly focused on getting our costs as cheap as possible to sample the product. So, we have a specific... I mean, you could call it... Last year at that time, we had a specific kit that was a single product and just a small brochure in an envelope but pretty simple for that case. And then, since we've seen more success, we're now actually kitting up specific influencer boxes still trying to keep the cost as low as possible, but having that experience be a little bit better for if they want to create content with it. And yeah, it's been a... Sorry, Foxwell, I forgot that first part of your question there, what was the initial part?

Andrew Foxwell: Just, how do you get together finding these people? And then, what are you sending them basically?

August Noble: Right, right. Yeah. And so, we have a partnerships manager that we've hired since we've started to see traction. Originally, it was a social media manager. And this is just... I mean, we kept it pretty simple, where she had a KPI every week to reach out to a specific number of influencers and open those conversations. And so, I think, when it was our social media manager, she had a fuller plate, and we've since started to invest more heavily in this. But it was anywhere between 10 to 15 influencer outreach per week. We'd open up that conversation and then, keep it pretty simple of just building that relationship saying, "Hey, we want to get some samples to you, are you interested in getting the product in their hands?" And then, following up afterward with any feedback they had or what they thought of the product.

I think one important note here of the difference between TikTok and Instagram too is, as you wait into influencer marketing on Instagram, I think a lot of the times, there are concerns about getting the product in people's hands and them not posting or promoting the product. I think TikTok has created a lot of... New influencers are given an audience for the first time, and we've just seen a crazy higher percentage of people that are much more willing and excited to work with us than on Instagram. And so, I think it's partially just due to it being a different platform and some of these people not maybe having done brand deals before.

Andrew Foxwell: They're excited to get it.

August Noble: Yes. Yeah, exactly.

Andrew Foxwell: Yeah. They're excited to get the product and they're like, "Oh, yeah, this is awesome. I'll totally do something with this." Because if they're creating content, they probably need something too, because it's... The appetite is there, as you said.

August Noble: And it's been crazy because we... I think a lot of times people ask the questions of like, "Well, are you guiding them into how to create? Or are you asking them for posts? And from our experience so far, there's an understanding that when you say like, "Hey, we love what you're doing, we love the content you're creating, can we send you a sample?" I don't have the exact numbers but I'd say 80 to 90% of those posts are going up within a week or two without us following up or asking anything distinctly about them creating content with the product.

Austin Brawner: Really, interesting. It reminds me a lot of Instagram back when it was just fresh. And when I was working with Blenders Eyewear, we could just ship out shades to people, and then boom, then put them up. And again, the platform was perfect because visually, the shades... They just ship out sunglasses to photographers all over the world. And then, they'd post them and they'd get great content. I would love to hear about the product, right? So, I think one of the biggest challenges with any new platform, or any marketing case study for that matter, is the context of it, right? And what products will actually do well, or which products you've seen doing well? What have you seen... If you can't specifically name the product that you're working with, that's fine, but what types of products do well?

August Noble: Yeah, that's a great question. And I think I tried to give some of that context when I got more and more questions about this initial situation. I only have direct experience with one product. Since I've started wading in or just becoming more curious about TikTok, I've been able to see a few other founders who are openly talking about their experiences with it. And then, also just seeing more brands place product with some of these influencers that we're working with as well.

And so, I think the price point is going to come into play here. I've tested influencer marketing in previous roles with previous companies where to get the product into people's hands was 30 to 40, or 30, or 40, $50. And I think it can still work there, but in our experience was, we had to be way more diligent about tracking, I think, about who we were working with, and it was more of a partnership. It felt more like partnerships outreach on TikTok and specifically with the strategy that we're using, and I think the platform being so hit or miss with some of these posts, I would say easily and cost-effectively sampled is probably the first barrier to entry that I would look at-

Austin Brawner: It's true.

August Noble: With this product, I think I rounded up in that initial post to, I think, out the door, this product, we can get it into an influencer's hand for $4 and 50 cents. So, we're way less concerned with tracking than we initially were and way more focused on speed, and we trust the process of... If we get this in somebody's hands and this percentage of them are creating some sort of post with it, We kind of trust the back end process of, okay, we're going to invest X amount of samples per month into the platform.

Andrew Foxwell: I think that's really interesting. Austin is thinking about the mutual client that we have that's done a lot with TikTok, and I think he installed an app that asks, post-purchase, how did you hear about us?

August Noble: Right.

Andrew Foxwell: And I think it was something like 30% now because he's doing this as well, sending out samples, say that they heard about the product from TikTok which is-

August Noble: I think we're thinking of the same person, too.

Andrew Foxwell: Which is just wild. Yeah. And so, that to me is really interesting. So, let's just talk a little bit more about the tracking piece. So, you're just sort of trusting it, and then, are you doing any measurement? Or, you just sort of, as you said in the thread, hey, we saw that there... Had a video that did great, and our sales had a big lift, and we know that that's kind of tied together there?

August Noble: Yeah. So, we've evolved to this. I think I've gone through the process of attempting to track, and this is what that previous product that was a little bit higher price point of custom coupons or unique URLs. And I think what we found with this specific product with it being so easily sampled is, we were spending more time trying to track results that ended up being... Maybe someone would see the post and not use the coupon code from the influencer, right? And so, we ended up spending a lot more time, I think, trying to rationalize that spend, that ended up not even being a massive... Compared to our overall media budget for the month, that sampling budget is not even... It's not even a huge percentage of it. So, we do some lift testing. I think as I mentioned, we have pretty consistent media spend, we have very consistent days across the board between Shopify and Amazon.

And whenever we see a spike or our video does really well on a specific day, that's kind of where we've seen these, okay, this is definitely having a lift. Granted, there are other days where a post will do 100,000 and we won't notice as much of a spike. But I think, at the end of the day again, we're... Because we've gone through that full process of attempting to track it and seeing the results a few different times, I'm not wanting to typically say, impressions matter and video views matter, but we've gotten to the point where we're prioritizing speed kind of over really tracking what comes from this post.

Austin Brawner: Yeah, back to the tracking thing, and you kind of touched on a little bit Andrew, but Enquire app is an app that you can put on the post-survey for Shopify stores, which makes it easy to get some attribution, especially in this sort of case where you want to have an idea of your marketing budget and you're looking for percentages or where people are finding you, that's a good app to kind of track it there.

I would love to hear a little bit about just kind of your thoughts on where you expect TikTok to go, or just a little bit more about kind of, I guess, where you think it is right now and your own experience with messing around with TikTok. What have you learned from just setting up an account? Messing around with it? What are the types of posts and creative that seemed to be effective?

August Noble: Yeah, definitely. And I think it's interesting, too, because whether it's TikTok or any other platform, I'm always just interested in experimenting and trying out these new platforms as they come into the mainstream. And my thoughts on TikTok overall is, we're treating it the same way we treat any other platform. And I think since we've started to see results, it's become a bigger and bigger part of our conversations internally. But at the same time, it's not something that we're all on investing in, it's just another platform that we know we need to create content for, and we're going to continue to invest in influencer strategy.

And so, from my perspective of what I'm seeing work, it's a weird platform, right? There's a lot of... I think if you'll hear about the dance videos and some of the cringe-y content that people see on there, especially when you're in... Maybe closer to our age demographics. But I think if you go... The one thing I've been fascinated with at the platform is if you open an account and like the videos of the content that you actually want to see more of, I have yet to run into a discovery algorithm that's as good at serving that similar or more conscientious of it.

Austin Brawner: Sure.

Andrew Foxwell: That's the same to me. I went on and just started liking a bunch of content around trucks because I was curious because somebody had said that-

Austin Brawner: Big truck guy.

Andrew Foxwell: Huge truck guy, big on lift kits. And I was like, I'm curious... And it's insane. My TikTok is basically a truck show. It's all about just Big Rigs, and it's wild. And it was within a day-

August Noble: It's fascinating.

Andrew Foxwell: ...that it was completely flooded. And actually, really funny content too. And I noticed some of it was older, whatever, but generally, it was pretty interesting.

August Noble: Yeah. And I thought it was fascinating, I was with... Since all the lockdowns happened, I have my whole family together. And of course, my sister and girlfriend are like, "I'm never getting a TikTok." Now, have gotten it, and are just going through each of our feeds side by side on our phone and seeing the different content that comes up based on what we've engaged with previously, it's remarkable, I think, just how good they are at serving that For You page with stuff that you're going to likely engage with or keep you on the platform.

Andrew Foxwell: Yeah, one thing I do want to say about TikTok is, you can buy ads on TikTok as well, and we're talking about an influencer TikTok strategy, which I think is really a better entry point for brands if you're curious of getting started, but you can do... There isn't an auction that's in beta that you'll be able to buy ads eventually on TikTok. People have seen it here and there. It looks a lot like Snapchat, which looks all like the ads manager for Facebook. There are brand takeovers, there're in-feed videos, there's a thing called Top Video. And these are all very expensive, they start at two to five grand a day. So, not probably for most people, actually.

But kind of interesting just to mention that, that that's something that we're not talking about. We're sort of talking about another way in here. One thing I do want to touch on August, as we kind of keep going here is... To transition away from TikTok slightly, but I know that you're currently scaling on Facebook and Instagram with that product as well, with the one that did well on TikTok, or one of them that did well on TikTok. So, talking about Facebook and Instagram for a second, what are you seeing working? What's crushing? What's lighting it on fire for you? This is your chance to brag man.

August Noble: Oh, thank you. Thank you for steering me away from the TikTok space a little bit.

Austin Brawner: Don't worry. We're going to label this one, The Godfather of TikTok and influencer marketing.

Austin Brawner: Yeah. Exactly.

August Noble: Yeah, please do not.

Andrew Foxwell: You're not going to escape it.

August Noble: Yeah, I'll change my name if I have to. Yeah, so for the same product, we've been investing in Facebook ads since I took over the account about two years ago, but for even three years before that. And I think the most interesting learnings that we've seen, so we just hit 15K a day as of two days ago, and our goal is to spend 30K a day by the end of this week with two ROAS. And so, we're having a lot of success there with this product. Its low price point... Its average AOV is $25. I think the big learning that I've had there so far is... We've tested a ton of creative top-of-funnel, a ton of creative for prospecting, and we have a sale running this week which has obviously helped the scale a lot. But we just took that top-performing piece of creative, that top-performing video and added very similar copy to what we were running before, that was not performing and added our sale copy to that. And that's been what's really moving the needle for us and holding the scale this far.

The other thing that was just such a... I think something that you hear about and you think that you've tested enough, but maybe you haven't is, we were sending most of our traffic to our homepage and then, to one of our top product pages, that the top product page, though, was not our most expensive product, I think we were worried about potentially having too high of a price point product on that initial ad. But during this test, we went to our variety pack of... Which is our most expensive product, and it's actually converting almost the same, just slightly below what our other product was, and has brought our AOV up, $2 to $3 on that product, which isn't a huge deal until you're really trying to scale spend. So, going from 22 to 25 has been huge for us this week.

Andrew Foxwell: That's awesome.

Austin Brawner: From your experiences, you've kind of continued to ramp up spend. What's the difference between spending $15,000 a day and $1,000 a day? What are the things that you have learned?

August Noble:
Yeah, it's funny, I think, again, and you brought this up earlier Brawner, but the context is really important too. This product has a very broad audience, so it's made scaling a lot easier. For this, it's larger audiences, it's letting the algorithm do more of its work, and really focusing on those small levers that maybe $1,000 a day, that 2.8 conversion versus 3% conversion rate doesn't seem like a huge difference, but as you get into these higher spends, it really, really adds up. And so, with that context, I think the difference for us has just been being more strategic on testing, in the sense of knowing when not to test.

I think a lot of people are... Testing is great, it's amazing, but especially when you're spending these higher levels of spend, we've really leaned on proven content, proven copy, and a funnel that we've seen work just to make sure that... If we were on a new piece of creative and Facebook spends $3,000 on it with a miss, that's not going to feel good. And so, for right now, we're really focusing on the content that we've seen perform well in the past and just continuing to ramp spend on that.

Andrew Foxwell: Yeah, it makes sense. I mean, it's more reliable and it's something you can bring back. And yeah, it's not as much of a bet either, and I think... The interesting thing you said about scaling for me is, is that you... I mean, I don't know, how do you feel about this? Let me actually pose it as a question. Do you feel that when you scale, things need to become more complicated from a build perspective in terms of the audiences and things? Or, do you believe that as you scale in this day and age that simplification is a better route for scale?

August Noble: Yeah. And I go back and forth on this a lot. And I actually would love to hear your opinion on it as well, Andrew. But for this product, we are running all broad audience. So, we are... All the United States letting... I mean, and granted, we have five years of data on this pixel and it's doing between 10 and $12 CPA, so we get a ton of data, even just daily on it. So, for this case, we went broad. And I think a lot of people when you start talking about CPMs, this has always rubbed me the wrong way there, it's a vanity metric. I'm like, "It's not." It shows you what you're being charged to show, a funnel that has very consistent click-through rates, very consistent conversions. And so, granted, I know the quality of the audience can fall there, but we did a lot of testing of... When you run a 10% value-based lookalike, which is a very large audience, versus broad, at least for this product, the CPM is almost double because you're using that value-based audience.

And so, Facebook is charging a little bit of a premium on that. And as you try to make up for that down the funnel, you either need to double your click-through rate, something needs to happen to make up for that, that audience has to be that much better. And at least for this scenario, we haven't found that to be the case. So, we're keeping it extremely simple. I think the things that are keeping me up at night are optimizing for seven-day click versus one day click, really playing that game with the algorithm of what's the better optimization strategy. But from a targeting perspective, we're going pretty broad.

Andrew Foxwell: To me, a broad appeal that the product has, the broader you're able to go with audiences, and the inverse, the more niche your product is, you have to be... Unless you have a lot of data, you have to at least start out when you're spending with more specific, I think-

August Noble: And when you-

Andrew Foxwell: More specific audiences.

August Noble: Andrew, when you were wrapping that one that I know was a super popular episode, and I listened to it as well, for that product were you more focused on broad or was that built-

Andrew Foxwell: It started specific, and then over time, we scaled it broadly. So, it's sort of like, I think you always start with... I mean, it depends on the product, but I think you would have it maybe two years ago sort of a 1% or 2% lookalikes on Facebook and then you kind of move it up. Now you're more starting... A low end is going to be maybe a 3% or 2% if you're not spending that much, and then you're going to kind of go into 6 to 7 to 8%. And then, you may also start to integrate just totally broad and then, you can start to have a more complex middle funnel and things like that, as time goes on.

But that's how... It started more specific, and then once you see success, then you can kind of start to open the floodgates more, because then Facebook knows, okay, this is going to convert. Yeah, it's super interesting. But yeah, I appreciate you asking the question, man, it's fun to talk about, and I appreciate you... What's that?

August Noble: Sorry. I think I'm cut down a little bit, Andrew. I was going to say if you're taking over an account with... So as Brawner... I can't hear Brawner.

Austin Brawner:
I'm here.

Andrew Foxwell: Yeah, no, he's here.

August Noble: Okay. I'll just say if you're taking over a new account, what are you... And I just love this conversation because it's something I think I do a lot within Facebook. You are opening up with larger... If they have some pixel data, you're going larger in the top of funnel prospecting, because I think I've started to even open it up, to your point with 5, 7, 10% lookalikes. Is that something that you're doing of prospecting an audience as well with a new product?

Andrew Foxwell: Yeah. I mean, I think, if they have a decent amount of data, the way that I think about this is, what does the budget allow? And then, what can we test within that? Right? So-

August Noble: Sure.

Andrew Foxwell: To me, it's like, let's start a campaign... Let's start a CBO with different interests to see what happens, and maybe you're going to have kind of interests that are stacked, that are different categories of people. Okay, so, it's like a health product you'll have, one that's like gym rats and you have another one that's like a CrossFit interest stack, and those will be in a CBO. That's one thing.

Then the next one would be different size lookalikes and different types of lookalikes. So, lookalikes off of purchase, etc. and that type of thing, and then lookalikes off of view content and things like that. So, trying to, if I have the budget, diversify the type of prospecting, so that I can understand, okay, actually, this site gets a lot of traffic, and so the lookalikes of this are actually really valuable versus the purchases are... It's a higher AOV, and so the purchase... If it is higher AOV the purchase lookalike might not be as valuable as something like add to cart or time on site lookalike or something like that.

August Noble: Right.

Andrew Foxwell: For me, it's trying to test and find out. But generally, a wider audience has been working a lot better recently, for sure. And I think it's because Facebook just knows where to serve it more often especially within the United States.

August Noble: I think-

Austin Brawner: I also think that-

August Noble: Go ahead, Brawner.

Austin Brawner: It's really important to remember that if you're going to be able to spend $30,000 a day, it's probably because you have a product that has mass appeal.

Andrew Foxwell: Yeah, exactly. Totally.

Austin Brawner: It's chicken and the egg, those companies that are spending 30K a day, they're few and far between and they really come with a product that has mass appeal for sure.

August Noble: Yeah. And I think, again, going back to context, this is why I always try to... Even with the TikTok stuff, you always try to give that context around... Yeah, if it cost you $50 to get a product out or $70 to get a product out, this isn't going to make sense. And I don't like giving binary answers because it could, you never know, but I think similarly to scaling Facebook, there's so much context that comes with the product that you're selling. And I think it often gets lost in the communication on the interwebs.

Austin Brawner: Sure, and that's because it's more exciting to see $30,000 a day in spend, than to hear more about the context about it. I'd love to wrap it up with two questions, two-part question. The first one is, do you have any tools, resources, things you've been reading, videos you've been watching, apps, anything like that, that you've been excited about recently, that you would want to share with the audience. And then after that, also, if someone's interested in reaching out to you, what's the best way to connect with you?

August Noble: Yeah, for sure. I think as far as tools, resources, I'm always reading some of the older advertising books, Claude Hopkins, scientific advertising is always one that I'm going back to. Apps that I'm excited about, I think you mentioned one, is Enquire Labs, that's one that... I think, I saw one of you two mention it on Twitter, and that's something that we're definitely looking into. Selfishly, self-serving, one of the apps that we actually use for the company that we're scanning those Facebook ads on is a new project that I've been working on with my team called AOV Boost, and it's not officially launched yet, coming soon. But it adds an order form bump into the Shopify checkout process, and so that's something that we're using for that brand, that we're scaling right now. And I've seen some great success with AOV, but it's just something that we've been working on for almost a year now, and are super excited about coming out with soon.

And then yeah, if you want to get in contact, Twitter or LinkedIn is a great place, just @augustnoble on either of those. And love the community on there, and I think a big thanks to both you Foxwell and Brawner for I think, organizing a lot of that and getting us in the same place and starting a lot of those conversations.

Austin Brawner: Oh man.

Andrew Foxwell: Super nice. Compliment fest here. Love it. 

Austin Brawner: I love the old school marketing books, I know and Andy Mack loves those as well. I picked up a bunch of books and reading those from him back in the day. Just reading old school advertising books, there's so much interesting stuff in there. So, August, thanks so much, man, for coming on and sharing.

August Noble: Thanks, guys. I appreciate it.

Austin Brawner: What's up everybody? Welcome back to another episode of the Ecommerce Influence Podcast, my name is Austin Brawner.

Andrew Foxwell: My name is Andrew Foxwell. And man, I have been excited to talk about TikTok for a while, which is what we're talking about today on this podcast. It's just ...

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