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189: What’s Actually Working in SEM and on YouTube in 2019

Posted by Austin Brawner on March 5, 2019


The customer purchase journey is no longer a linear path.

SEM and YouTube advertising have changed not only the way consumers find products but also how businesses track where purchases come from.

Today we’re joined by returning guest and CEO of OMG Commerce, Brett Curry. Brett shares his expert advice on where to get started with search-driven advertising, the resources to better understand attribution from each channel, and how you can use SEM, Google Shopping and YouTube advertising to increase customer lifetime value.


Episode Highlights:

  • 6:04 Brett’s background in SEO, Google Shopping and direct response marketing.
  • 8:12 Search, Google Shopping, or YouTube: which is best for ecommerce and where you should start.
  • 12:42 The importance of understanding why people are on YouTube in order to successfully reach your audience.
  • 15:02 Why Brett thinks Facebook is ahead when it comes to conversion tracking and the importance of understanding attribution across different channels.
  • 17:44 Recommended resources to help business owners understand attribution models for YouTube, SEM and Google Shopping.
  • 18:40 How search is impacting the customer journey and the entire sales funnel.
  • 22:08 The types of audiences to build on YouTube to successfully reach your potential customers.
  • 26:44 Getting your audio and visuals right on YouTube is directly related to understanding how someone is using the channel.
  • 28:11 The type of team you need to build to successfully support advertising on YouTube.
  • 31:50 What type of budget Brett recommends to get you started on YouTube.
  • 33:42 How to determine your budgets for promotion on YouTube vs. Google Search and Shopping.
  • 35:57 Brett’s thoughts on lifetime value of customers coming from YouTube vs. Facebook.
  • 38:02 YouTube,  Google Shopping, or SEM: which is best for raising lifetime value and how they can work together.
  • 41:48 Why you should absolutely be investing in paid search for your branded keywords.
  • 44:34 How to determine how much of your budget you should be spending on branded keywords.
  • 46:43 Why you should separate out branded from non-branded keywords in terms of reporting.
  • 50:04 Some of the challenges advertisers run into with Google Shopping and how to get around them.

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

Andrew Foxwell: And I'm Andrew Foxwell. Dude, how are you doing? Are you having a good morning here?

Austin Brawner: I am having a great, great morning. It's one of those mornings. I woke up, got a nice little small breakfast, and then just knocked out some plans I've been working on. I've been using, for the last couple of months, just kind of planning my day the night before, and then waking up and going into it. So, it always feels really good when you get halfway through the day and you've already knocked out a bunch of stuff. It feels very good.

Andrew Foxwell: Oh, absolutely. Look, I have a great story for you. I gotta tell you, which is, last week, here I am in California, a couple of clients, friends, Ecommerce Influence Podcast listeners. We go out surfing together. Okay, so this is our plan. We load the boards on the car, and we start driving, and we get to the exit. And right before the exit, boards fly off the car. Nobody was injured.

Austin Brawner: Oh no.

Andrew Foxwell: Nobody was injured. Boards, injured. So, now I own a $160 nine foot foam top surfboard that is cracked in the back. So that's the journey of ... if podcast listeners reach out, we become friends, then we go surfing and we can break surfboards together, really.

Austin Brawner: Break surfboards.

Andrew Foxwell: Yeah, kind of an unfortunate-

Austin Brawner: Well, this came back to you, deciding you were a surfer earlier this year ...

Andrew Foxwell: Right, right.

Austin Brawner: After reading Atomic Habits.

Andrew Foxwell: Right.

Austin Brawner: And now, you're really a surfer 'cause you own a broken surfboard.

Andrew Foxwell: Correct.

Austin Brawner: So that's step one is deciding and then going from there. Today, we have an excellent, excellent interview with somebody who has decided eight years ago, they were going to become a search engine marketing expert and really went on to build one of the fastest growing agencies, AdWords agencies, in the entire world. OMG Commerce. The person we're interviewing is Brett Curry, who is a friend of the podcast, a friend of ours, and we really had a great conversation with Brett today.

Andrew Foxwell: Yeah, somebody that we both really respect. And you know, I think he is a testament to waking up every day, learning, testing, trying. And they just have a great job and do really good work, so this is an awesome episode for me to learn too, and hopefully for you too Austin, where I just was like, "Man, that's crazy. I wouldn't have known that about YouTube ads, or I wouldn't have known that about search engine marketing or Google Shopping." So let's go ahead and get right into it.

Brett Curry: Andrew, glad to be here man. Super excited, and appreciate the invite.

Andrew Foxwell: Absolutely. You know, a returning guest. And I know you've known Austin for a long time. I think you and I met at the gym. I'm just kidding, I don't go to the gym.

Brett Curry: Yeah, we were gonna lift, you know, get our pump on.

Andrew Foxwell: You were spotting me when I was buried under-

Brett Curry: 300.

Andrew Foxwell: Under 300, yeah. Super classic. But we're very glad to have you here as really kind of our resident that we turn to when we have, you know, SEM, Google Shopping, YouTube ad questions. You're the guy that we go to, so we're really excited to have you on to talk about those things today.

Brett Curry: Yeah, and as hardcore Facebook guys, and email guys, I applaud you for branching out and saying, "Hey, let's diversify. Let's talk Google, paid traffic." So kudos to you guys, and yeah. I'm excited to dive in.

Austin Brawner: We gotta give the fans what they want. We did a poll and we're like, "Who should we bring on in the membership?" And a couple people were like, "We would love to hear Brett talk a little bit more and go do some of his deep dives into SEM and share what's working." 

Brett Curry: Can't say no to the fans. Now when you said that there were fans reaching out, I was hoping it was like hundreds or thousands, but now that you say a couple, my ego is impacted a little bit. But I'm still excited, it's still gonna be good.

Austin Brawner: A couple, it's a couple million, Brett.

Brett Curry: Okay. Alright, alright.

Andrew Foxwell: That's what we do here at Ecommerce Influence. We always just times by a million. So if people say they have, you know, they have $600,000 in revenue, it's $6 million in revenue.

Brett Curry: $6 million. Yep, perfect. I love that. That's a good strategy. I'm gonna adopt that.

Andrew Foxwell: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Austin Brawner: We gave our guests a little bit of an intro. I know you've been a returning guest, but why don't you give us a little bit of a run down, maybe like a minute, 30 seconds to a minute of just kind of who you are, and what are some of the things that you're working on right now?

Brett Curry: Yeah, absolutely. So I'm the CEO of OMG Commerce, and so we're a search agency primarily. Really, we're an eCommerce marketing agency, so we specialize in Google Search and Shopping and now YouTube. We also help on the Amazon side of the equation with Amazon ads and Amazon campaigns, and then, of course, we help with Bing.

And then also, SEO. SEO is the first thing that I ever did in terms of online marketing back in 2004. And so we still help with eCommerce SEO, and that's a decent part of what we do. But you know, we really kind of burst onto the eCommerce scene by focusing on Google Shopping. This was kind of back in the 2012ish range when Google Shopping first became a paid channel, and so really got excited about that. In fact, I think that's when I talked about ... the last time I was on Ecommerce Influence was Google Shopping if I'm not mistaken.

Andrew Foxwell: No question. That's definitely what you came on to talk about.

Brett Curry: Yep, and so a lot of times as I was speaking at Ezra Firestone events or IRCE or whatever, it was about Google Shopping. So big part of what we did for years and years. My background, though, is actually direct response marketing. And I used to run more of a traditional ad agency, right out of college. And so did a lot of videos, did a lot of radio, things like that. And so as YouTube started to evolve and add new ad campaigns and bidding strategies, it really became obvious that YouTube ads could be effective for eCommerce. And so that was a really natural thing for us to grow into because of our Search and Shopping background and my background with video.

So really over the last 18 months, we've done a lot on YouTube and I actually just heard from one of our Google reps that for our size of the agency, we're one of the fastest growing on YouTube ads as well. And so we're all eCommerce, but mainly focus on Google traffic. Google and YouTube traffic.

Andrew Foxwell: Very, very cool. Well, YouTube is one of the things that we have up for discussion today, really. Along with Search and Google Shopping. I guess, to get your opinion objectively, which of these three, Search, Google Shopping, or YouTube, for eCommerce businesses, is actually moving the needle the most in your opinion? You know, if somebody was to say, "I want to get started," where do you start?

Brett Curry: Yeah, that's a great question. So typically if you're just getting started, so you're not doing any of the three, you're not doing Search or Shopping or YouTube, it's usually better to start with Search and Shopping, just because conversion rates are fairly predictable, you're targeting people that are actively looking for your products. So those are typically the go to, but I think part of that also goes back to, how search-driven is your product category, right? So I believe all three work for eCommerce. So YouTube I think is great for most eCommerce companies, but I think there are some companies that are more search-driven or more search dependent than others. So I'll give you a quick example.

So we've done quite a bit of work in the automotive space, so auto parts and accessories and things like that. You know, if I need a new bumper, which if I did need one I would not do it myself. I'm not a DIYer when it comes to, well, really anything honestly. But if I needed a new bumper, I would go search for it, right? So you're not going to maybe just find new people and create demand on YouTube where if you run a YouTube ad for bumpers and somebody wasn't looking for a bumper, they're not gonna think, you know, I could use a bumper upgrade right now on my truck or whatever. So how search-driven is your business versus something that's more about, I need to show this product to my market? It's more, you know, problem solution oriented, that type of thing.

An example there, we have a client that sells a hair accessory, and it's not something people really search for. They kind of have to see it in action, it kind of replaces a few other hair products. And so that type of product is great for Facebook, for YouTube, things like that, where you need to get in front of people and kind of interrupt them and show them, "Hey, look at this awesome thing. It can save you time and money." And all that. So if something is very search-driven like auto parts, then man, you gotta load up on Search and Shopping. If it's more reliant on interruption marketing, then maybe you need a Search and Shopping as a baseline, but then you're gonna spend more on YouTube and Facebook and things like that.

So we recommend, get started with branded search, kind of bottom of funnel search and shopping just as a foundation. And then start building from there and look at YouTube. Because one thing that we know happens because we see it all the time, and this applies to Facebook too, is if someone sees a Facebook ad or a YouTube ad and they think man, that's a cool product, but for whatever reason they don't click and buy immediately, the next step they might take if they really want to find that product is they'll go search for it on google. And so now they're gonna go to Google and try to describe the product, try to remember the name or whatever to try to find it. So getting that Search and Shopping in place, even if it's just kind of bottom of funnel and brand focused, can help a lot, and really help your other paid channels as well.

So kind of a long-winded answer, all three are good. The last thing I guess, I'll say, 'cause this might help add a little clarity, the thing you can scale with ... 'cause that's what a lot of people say, right? They're investing on Facebook like with you guys, and they say, "Hey, I want to scale." Search and Shopping isn't necessarily ways to scale, right? Because it's limited to search volume. But YouTube is something you can scale with. So that maybe adds a little context as well.

Austin Brawner: I think that makes a lot of sense, and I always think of it in two ways. It's like, if you could sell your product on an infomercial, that's more Facebook. If it's more Yellow Pages, it's more Google Shopping, right?

Brett Curry: Yes, yes.

Austin Brawner: That's the distinction between the two of them. If somebody knows what your product's about and they would call, it'd be more of a Search or Shopping. You know, right now, starting with YouTube, because I think YouTube is an underexplored channel. A channel that some people, some businesses are doing great, incredible things on YouTube. But the vast majority of businesses, it's still kind of a black box and they're not investing their time and resources into YouTube. You know, what right now is the difference between the people who are having success on YouTube and the ones who are not having success?

Brett Curry: Yeah, that's a great question. I think part of it comes down to understanding how and why consumers use YouTube, right? So there are definitely some differences between YouTube and Facebook. I think if you have a product that's doing very well on Facebook, then it will almost certainly do very well on YouTube also. And there are some similarities between the two platforms, but also a lot of differences right? So when I go to Facebook, I'm going often just to kind of hang out and to see what, you know, my friends are doing, and to get that social connection and that social energy or whatever. Maybe I'm just killing time.

When I go to YouTube, I may have a specific purpose. Now, I may just be going to listen to music videos, watch music videos, 'cause that's a decent use case for YouTube. But also, I could be going to research. So maybe I'm looking for product reviews. I'm looking to buy a new whatever. I'm looking at the latest iPhone or the latest Android or whatever, so I'm looking at unboxing videos and review videos and things like that.

Or maybe I'm looking for a solution to a problem. So I'm looking for how to fix my lawnmower, how to fix the toilet or something like that. So I'm looking to solve a problem. So a lot of times when people go to YouTube, it's kind of these, I want to learn or I want to do or I want to buy. And so one of the areas we focus on with YouTube is targeting people that go to YouTube looking for products. Looking for product reviews, looking for product demos, things like that, because they're great people to target. So I think part of it is understanding why people use YouTube in the first place and then tailoring your YouTube video to meet people kind of where they are, right? So that's a big part of it.

The other piece is understanding the mechanics of campaign structure and bid structure and also tracking. I think this is one of those really fascinating things where, I think in some ways, and this may get me in trouble with my Google reps, but I think in some ways Facebook is ahead of the curve when it comes to conversion tracking and connecting the dots on what user actually purchases. Because if you think about it, you've got one Facebook account, right? And likely that one Facebook account is on all of your devices, but you may have three or four or five or 10 Gmail accounts, right?

And so Google is pretty good about connecting the dots, I don't want to speak incorrectly there. But understanding the way Google and YouTube attribute conversions, that's critical too. Because if you don't understand that and if you don't look at all the data, you may be shortchanging what YouTube is actually doing and the impact it's actually making on your business.

So I think understanding attribution is a big piece and then understanding campaign structure and how you bid and getting the most out of that as well. So I'm happy to deep dive any of that that you want to, but that's kind of the quick overview.

Andrew Foxwell: Yeah, I think that what it gets to is ... I think that I have seen a lot, which is not just specific to YouTube, but is specific to SEM in general, which is most agencies, I would say ... not most, maybe we should say a large majority, they kind of fail on definitions of what attribution is and how we're going to measure it and the differences between them. And I think even business owners get confused in that, right? And so I think the definitions of, how are we gonna count these things? Is a huge part of it.

I mean, I have a client that I've been working with for a year. Really nice people and they fired up an email to me last week and said, "Hey, we'd love to understand why our leads are going down." Well, on Facebook their leads are up and they're looking at ... and we're using UTMs and everything else, but they're only looking at leads that are submitted via their website from HubSpot. And that's what they're counting. So they're not even really looking at ... and you know, this is really on me. 'Cause we had the conversation at the beginning, but we should have an ongoing definition. I want to say the word definitional, but that's not a word.

Brett Curry: Definitional? It sounds really smart.

Andrew Foxwell: It sounds super good.

Brett Curry: Let's go definitional.

Andrew Foxwell: But you know, of what you do is that. I think the other thing I always think about with SEM and even with YouTube too, is the branded versus non-branded. How do you understand kind of going towards that? Which we can get to with SEM, but that's where I think a lot of people fail. What are resources and, where are places that people can go, business owners, agencies that are listening to this, to have an understanding and get a better understanding of the way that YouTube, the way that SEM and the way that Google Shopping attribute, and how that compares to Facebook?

Brett Curry: Yeah, it's really good. So there are a few resources, I did put out a YouTube course with Ezra Firestone, that we get into this a little bit. I think one of the issues with YouTube and just attribution modeling, in general, is that even marketers can't agree on it, right? Even agencies like ours, yours and ours, we don't agree on it either. And there are so many kinds of nuances and, you know, you could really get down a rabbit hole or several if you dig in here. But one great resource that I'll mention, and I can get you guys a link if you want to drop it in the show notes, but Think with Google. They've got several free resources.

But there was an article kind of at the end of 2018 that they put out called How Search Intent is Influencing the Marketing Funnel. And they make a good point. We talk a lot about going full funnel, right, going from awareness to evaluation to decision. You kind of picture this funnel, and that even goes back to the old direct response marketing days as well. But what this article from Google actually said is that very few journeys follow a typical funnel. Rather, a lot of journeys are this widening and then narrowing and then widening again and then narrowing again, as people kind of look to make a purchase.

So they actually highlighted this one, it's an anonymous person, but it was a girl shopping for skincare. And so it involved 125 touch points and this search journey kind of went from broad to narrow to broad again. So it started with, what's good hypoallergenic makeup? So a search. And that led to a couple of products, and then that led to some YouTube views. And then that led to oh, look at these individual ingredients, now I'm gonna search for skincare with those individual ingredients, and now I'm gonna compare that. And so you know, the understanding that the customer journey is not necessarily a linear path and it's not super straightforward, so understanding that is critical. But then I think also understanding that hey, this last click attribution, which is what Google Analytics and everything was built on. They're moving away from it, but where hey, I don't care if there were 10 traffic sources that led someone to your site over 10 different visits, we'll give all the credit for the conversion for that last click, that last source of traffic.

So you know, moving away from that is really important as well. And so looking at what channels assist in the conversion, what channels introduce your product to someone that ultimately converts. All of those things are important, so ... but I definitely like Think with Google because it doesn't get super technical, but it gives these examples of showing okay, here's a real person, let's call her Jill, shopping for makeup. 125 touch points before she actually buys the makeup. So that's a good resource for sure.

Austin Brawner: So one thing that I've continued to see, and if you're in our industry and you ever see messaging marketing from Russel Brunson ClickFunnels, one of his taglines is, "You're just one funnel away." And from whatever you want. Which is kind of taken from direct response.

Brett Curry: Yep, yep, yep.

Austin Brawner: Gary Halbert Letters, you know, "you're just one sales letter away." But when I see that, to me, it's the opposite at this point. You're not one funnel away anymore, especially in the eCommerce space. Because, like you just mentioned, the touch points that people have, especially if it's ... that's a perfect example.

Somebody searching for makeup that is hypoallergenic. Because the decision to purchase hypoallergenic makeup, that is something that is made, and then the research has to be done to find the right version for them. And the reason why I don't believe, you know, you're one funnel away, especially if you have a product like hypoallergenic makeup or something that people need to do some research to make a decision, it's because it's cumulative all the different touch points people have with the product or with reviews of the product or with, you know, unboxings of the product, that help people make that decision.

On YouTube, what are some of the placements and what are some of the things that you see brands doing that are effective to help influence peoples' decisions as they go through the buying search process?

Brett Curry: Yeah, and so I think one of the things that's made YouTube so exciting and also so effective now for eCommerce, is just the way you can target people and kind of the campaign structure you can build. So one of my favorite ways to target people on YouTube is based on their search behavior. So you can now build audiences of people based on their Google search behavior, and then target that person on YouTube. So I don't know about you guys, my behavior on YouTube is quite a bit different than it is on Google. When I'm on YouTube, I honestly don't really search much for product reviews and unboxing and stuff like that. A ton of people do, I don't.

But on Google, I'm searching for all kinds of stuff. Supplements and clothes, whatever. So now you can build audiences of people based on their Google search behavior and then target them on YouTube. So one of our good clients, and I know he's our mutual friend, Ezra Firestone, he runs BOOM! by Cindy Joseph cosmetic company, we run all their Google and YouTube traffic. And so YouTube is becoming a really important source of growth for BOOM! by Cindy Joseph. So one of the things we do, we kind of have this avatar, this demographic profile of what someone looks like who's a Cindy Joseph customer, or BOOM! customer. And so then we combine that with people who are searching for things like moisturizer and skin cream and skin care and even makeup and stuff like that, on Google. And then we target them on YouTube. And that's a great audience to go after.

So, custom intent audiences, that's what those are called. Building an audience based on someone's Google search behavior, it's called custom intent. You can also kind of target your competitors a little bit, so there's another audience type that I love called custom affinity. And this is where you can give Google a list of URLs or a list of topics, and Google will build an audience of people that look like those, who visit those sites or are interested in those topics. So you can build an audience of hey, these are my top five competitors. I'm gonna give Google these URLs, and they'll build you an audience of people that look like those and probably even include some people that do visit those sites. And now you can target them on YouTube as well.

So those are a few of my favorites. You can also target specific YouTube videos that you want your ad to run next to. There's keyword targeting, there's in-market targeting. All kinds of targeting options, and so yeah, YouTube, they are, I think in some ways they're trying to learn from Facebook. And they've seen this explosion in Facebook advertising, and so they're trying to leverage all their data and try to find alternatives or complements, you know, to Facebook as well. But those are a few of my favorites.

Andrew Foxwell: That's really interesting, I think, the tactical things. We've been actually even using Google Affinity categories off of Google Analytics within Facebook targeting. So I mean, not directly, but we're taking broad match dynamic product ads and layering in from the Affinity category, you know, an affinity of pets. Or you know, pet lovers or book lovers, or art.

Brett Curry: Yep, yep, yep.

Andrew Foxwell: We're separating them by ad set and layering those in there. Kind of using Google Analytics and Affinity categories like we would with audience insight from Facebook, which has now, you know, been not as helpful in the last year.

Brett Curry: Right, right. Yeah.

Andrew Foxwell: You know, I think that on the YouTube note, a client said to me when I was talking to him about the fact that we were gonna be interviewing you, he said, "I think the biggest move we made to understand YouTube was to understand how our users are actually just using YouTube." And that goes back to exactly ... you said the same thing earlier. And it goes back to, you were saying, an example of skincare, just understanding, look, it's not just pumping out introductory content. Some of it's even an organic strategy on YouTube of, what are you putting out that's helpful? That's gonna answer these things along with paid, and they kind of run parallel to one another? What do you think about that?

Brett Curry: Yeah, I totally agree. And it's one of those things where, you know, you're looking at, so maybe for these different audience types, we're gonna lead with a different video. So if it's someone that's actively searching for our product or our product like ours on Google, then our messaging with the video is gonna be a little bit different. Or if it's someone who's searching for our competitor's keywords, our video's gonna be a little bit different. And I think even understanding the way people engage with YouTube, so when someone pulls up YouTube, the sound is always on, right? You don't go to YouTube on your mobile phone or with your computer muted, right? At least not on purpose.

Whereas, you know, with Facebook, it's muted automatically and you have to kind of build your video around that. So getting the audio right and the visuals right for those first five seconds on YouTube is critical, and it's a little bit different than it is on Facebook. Of course, good marketing, good direct response, that applies on any platform. But even understanding how someone uses the platform and how important sound is, that is impactful. And also understanding that someone is potentially pretty engaged with your category, depending on the type of audience you're using. And so, tailor in your message specifically that way as well. So yeah, I totally agree with that advice.

Austin Brawner: Brett, when you look at clients that you guys are working with that are having success building YouTube creative and then promoting it with YouTube ads, what type of a team do these companies typically build to support that channel? Is it a videographer, is it a video editor? What type of an investment in a team, and how can somebody get started? What would be the first kind of keys to put together to get started with some of these ads?

Brett Curry: Yeah, that's such a great question. And this is one of the primary differences. Even though Search and Shopping and YouTube, they all do tie together, on the creative side they're worlds apart, right? So creating a search ad, is really easy, you know, we can knock those out pretty quickly. Or Google Shopping ads, super easy to build. Technical stuff, but easy, doesn't take any creativity. Whereas with YouTube, man, it's all about the creative. And we've seen this before where we get the same audience and the same bid and the same campaign structure but with a video, and it can take off. And I know you guys see that on Facebook all the time.

And so in terms of the team, it really varies. And this is kind of one of the hurdles that people have to face to be successful on YouTube, but I'll just give you an example. A friend of mine and also a client, Peter, a good one from Groove Life, Groove rings, the silicone wedding rings. Been really successful on YouTube. Built his own in-house video department. So hired a videographer, editor ... he's actually unique in that he writes his own scripts and stars in his videos, and he's very, very good. Sometimes when people say, "Yeah, I'm gonna write my own video and I'm gonna star in it," you're like, "Oh, okay, well that's one way we can do it." But he does tremendous work.

And so I think you can look that way at finding someone who could be an editor or videographer. Probably what you're gonna need to do is outsource a little bit. And this is where it gets tricky, and we don't do any of the creative side, just full transparency. But finding someone who understands good direct response techniques, that's also a challenge. So I think we're all familiar with the Harmon Brothers style of videos, so Poo-Pourri and Squatty Potty where it's mixing humor but with all these direct response mechanisms and good sales tactics, and at the end of the two or three minute video you're saying, "Man, I have to have that product."

So finding a creative shop, you know, if you're gonna find a local videographer or someone who makes TV commercials, probably gonna have to coach him. Probably gonna have to coach him and say, "No, this is exactly what I need for my YouTube video." But I tend to be more on the side of, let's freelance it. You know, find someone who's made YouTube videos before, find someone who's done TV that's coachable with some resources. And I've got a free guide to seven tips to make a killer YouTube video, it's free. I can send it to you guys if you want to share it. But you know, where you could share a resource like that with a local video person and have them run with it.

But yeah, you're gonna have to have a videographer, editor, scriptwriter, and a lot of times those aren't the same person. The person that shoots good videos, they're probably not the one that's gonna write the script. And so pulling that together is kind of the biggest hurdle in my opinion, or at least makes the getting started part, a little bit harder on YouTube.

Austin Brawner: One quick just hop in here just to follow up on that, if somebody asks you, "What type of a budget do we need to get started on YouTube?" Obviously budget can vary, but what would you recommend if somebody wants to get into the channel and they want to do it right, what type of a budget would you recommend for them to get started?

Brett Curry: And do you mean budget for the creative? For video production? Or ...

Austin Brawner: Creative, video production, even the first three months of promotion.

Brett Curry: Yeah, yeah. This is tricky, and this is where, you know, we've got some ... there's a video house that we know that does really good work, but they're ... you know, they create a video for $15,000 to $20,000, so they're largely working with larger brands. So I think if you had the right script and the right approach and you focus more on direct selling and product demo but it's still an engaging and fast-moving script, you could find someone to produce your video for in the thousands of dollars. Low thousand, under $10,000 for sure, under $5000 even. There are some sources online that will do it for quite a bit less than that, but that does vary based on the style you want and what you want to do. And you have to hire talent, and not hire talent, and things like that.

So my advice would be, you know, put more time in on the script and the idea and the selling power of it rather than just getting slick editing and amazing visuals. Because amazing visuals and slick editing without the sales power is not gonna be very effective. So I don't think you have to spend a fortune on good ads. Some of the best YouTube ads that we've used are mashups of actual customer testimonials. So we've done this with BOOM! and with a few others where it's actual customer testimonials. You mash that up, you add some text, you cut to some product demos, and it could be a great video.

In terms of budget for promotion, so there's a couple of ways I would look it. One of the things that I recommend is, start with remarketing first. And you guys probably mentioned some of the same things with Facebook, but if you're launching a video and you're not sure how it's gonna work, don't open that up and spend $30,000 on it. Start with a small test. So build your remarketing audiences, get your abandoned cart, and your product detail page viewers that have not converted and things like that. Build that remarketing first on YouTube and just target them with your YouTube videos and see how people interact with them.

You know, is the view rate good and are people clicking and are people converting? And then once you see that's good, then expand higher in the funnel. So then let's just say you've got a video that's resonating with people and it's working, testing YouTube, you do want to have a decent budget.

So to give a comparison, if you're gonna run Search and Shopping, start with whatever budget you want, you know? A couple thousand up to $10,000, $15,000 a month, whatever, for Search and Shopping. And like I said, Search and Shopping don't really scale because they're based on search volume, but they're super effective. With YouTube, because YouTube needs volume and, they kind of need budget volume to play with, and I mentioned a campaign type to you guys kind off offline called TrueView for Action, where you're bidding on a target CPA. It needs a little room as well. So typically the first month, we're looking at $15,000 to $30,000 a month to spend on YouTube.

Now I will say, you don't have to spend that with zero conversions. If something is bombing, you could kill it, but there is kind of dialing in a period where for the first month or two you're gonna be over your CPA target, you're gonna be working to drive that down. But it takes a lit of money. If you're only gonna be able to spend $1000 or $5000 a month on YouTube, then my advice would be, just capitalize on remarketing and look to do more when you can spend, you know, $15,000 to $30,000 on promotion on YouTube.

Andrew Foxwell: And the CPAs can be comparable when you're scaling that to Facebook, right?

I mean, I assume if you're taking search intent, they can see that. Do you see any sort of bigger lifetime value of people coming from YouTube versus Facebook? I'm just curious, I mean, one of the criticisms I hear as a Facebook person a lot is, "They're from Facebook." I'm like well, I don't know. YouTube maybe is better if they're coming from a ... could be slightly better if they're coming from a more genuine place of seeing the review and really understanding it more. You know, 'cause that's like the DNA of what YouTube is.

Brett Curry: Yeah, yeah.

Andrew Foxwell: But are you able to see the same?

Brett Curry: It's a great question. And that's one of the things, again, going back to Jay Abraham and kind of the beginning marketing, I was always fascinated with, oh yeah, lifetime value. That makes sense. So you're not paying to get a customer based on their first purchase, but what's the lifetime of spending? And that's gonna impact how much we can invest in them.

So the quick answer is, I have not seen great comparisons between Facebook and YouTube so I don't really have data and I haven't heard of any of the compares. Does YouTube generate a better long term customer? Does Facebook? My thought is they're probably pretty comparable. That would be an interesting thing to look at. One of my takeaways, I don't know if you guys are the same way, but I'm always ... I'm not anymore, but I used to always be surprised by how few people understand the lifetime value of their customers. So we, you know, always get into that conversation in the beginning and it's like ums and ahs and, "Well, it depends," blah blah blah. So few ecommerce people track it that it makes it hard to get good data on that, so ...

Andrew Foxwell: Yeah, I mean, if you were to look at let's say SEM and text ads and look at Google Shopping, one of the things Austin and I are talking a lot about this year is trying to increase lifetime value and trying to talk to those previous people.

Because obviously the direct consumer ecom game, it's tough. And you know, we maybe haven't done as good ... so much of the focus was on the acquisition, and it wasn't on, how do we take care of these people that have already purchased from us and separate them, etcetera. How do you use Google Shopping or text ads on SEM, or can you, to raise lifetime values to show them more of our products? Or is YouTube a better place for that?

Brett Curry: I love that question. That's an awesome question, Andrew. I'm glad you asked. I think the answer is both. So you can use YouTube ... we use YouTube for things like reorder campaigns. So if it's a skincare product or even a home product or maybe you need to sell new filters or new whatever, you can kind of build audiences where you can start running YouTube ads to someone, you know, 30 days after purchase, 60 days after purchase, things like that, to try to get them back to buy the next round of things. So that's certainly useful.

One of the ways we use Search and Shopping, and going back to one of the examples I used before, let's just talk BOOM! by Cindy Joseph again. You know he's investing, Ezra's investing heavily in Facebook ads, and there's a lot of people that see those ads and think, "Man, I love what that product stands for. It's pro-age, it's these models that are like me and the product looks awesome." But then they forget the name, or they forget what it's about or whatever. They just forget. And so we built Search and Shopping campaigns that target video viewers. So they target people that have viewed a video, in this case, it's on YouTube, but people that have viewed a video on YouTube but have not been to the site. And what we find is that a lot of these people are typing in things like skincare for older women, or you know, skin cream for older women. Things like that where you can tell they probably remember something from the video, but not the name of the product.

So we're using Search and Shopping to just get more from our video campaigns. And so that's one way to maximize it. You've got all these top of funnel or these awareness efforts, let's use Search and Shopping to get more from those. And then kind of the same thing can apply, so we're using those lists, it could be video viewers lists, it could be lists of converters, it could be lists of people that have visited product detail pages, and then we're also building Search and Shopping campaigns to target them. And that can also go back to, hey I bought the skin cream, I didn't know you also sold a cleanser or a scrub, and now I'm going to Google looking for a cleanser or scrub, and if I see your ad, 'cause I've already bought from you, then I'm really likely to purchase from you. So we're using Search and Shopping from that perspective as well where maybe it's a buyer that just doesn't know we offer this other thing, this complementary product. And so we want to make sure that our Search and Shopping captures them as well.

So yeah, I think a lot of people short change Search and Shopping because they just think about it from a, you know, grab a keyword and target that keyword and they don't think about shopping funnels and they don't think about audiences and the people behind the keywords. And so Search and Shopping can be very effective at both helping those top of funnel efforts and then helping with repeat purchases and things like that as well.

Austin Brawner: When you go in and you're onboarding a new client, one of the big ... I don't know what it is, skeptical talking points around SEM focuses on branded versus non-branded keywords. And this has been around for a long time.

Brett Curry: It has for sure. Yep.

Austin Brawner: Sometimes, you've got people who are very skeptical of ... they're like, we've got the top rank on Google. Why should we spend money on branded keywords when we know they're gonna convert anyway? How much do you feel ... around that question, how much should people be spending on branding keywords? What percentage of their budget? And what do you say to people who, in their mind, that's their thought process around branding keywords?

Brett Curry: Yeah, so I'll tackle that second question first. And it's logical, right? That's not a stupid mindset to say, "Hey, I'm already ranking number one organically, so why should I invest in the paid search for my own brand?" But actually, there are several compelling reasons, the first of which is, one, it does keep your competitors at bay. So it keeps your competitors, you know, maybe from infringing on that and bidding on your keywords and trying to siphon some customers. Even just you being there can help maybe keep some competitors out, and you'll almost always rank number one in the paid results for your name. So that's one thing.

Also, just controlling the search engine results page (SERP). So for me, if it's a brand that I own, I want to control that SERP. I want to make sure I'm controlling the messaging, and so you know, you can control headline and description and your extensions, which add more text and things for people to click on. So like on mobile, if you've got a well built out search ad, you can control a really huge chunk of that SERP for your name, so you control the messaging.

Whereas if you just rely on organic search, Google usually pulls from your title tag and your meta description and things like that to build your organic listing, but they don't have to. They can do whatever they want. They can pull from anywhere on your site and build those. So, having a paid ad, you control the messaging for that.

And then kind of the final piece is, you need the data. You need the data from those branded search campaigns. So stepping back several years, I remember doing a lot of SEO back in the day, I remember when Google started to hide keyword data in Google Analytics.

And man, the uproar. People were bringing out their pitchforks and their torches, and let's storm the castle of Google and let them know what we feel about this. And so it has not gotten more transparent since then, it'd be quite the opposite. It's just been more and more hidden. So you can connect the dots better with a branded search campaign, seeing exactly which keywords convert and what rate, things like that. You can also then watch as you invest more in a Facebook campaign or invest more in a YouTube campaign, you can quickly see then how your branded search campaigns respond to that, 'cause they are connected. So then the data are important, too.

So anyway, I would always run branded search after now getting into this and doing this, you know, for eight or 10 years, I would always run a branded search.

In terms of percentage of the budget, it really depends, right? And that's like classic agency answer, right? That's like a politician or something. But it does depend. If you've got a product that's very search driven, so go back to our bumper example, our car bumper is very search driven or carburetors or whatever. Branded search should be pretty low. You want most of your budget to go after a non-branded search, category search, product-specific search, things like that. If you're a strange hair accessory that nobody knows what to call, then branded search is gonna be small and it's gonna be there just to support your Facebook and YouTube efforts for when someone does see the video that shows this fancy new hair gadget and now you're like, "Okay, I've got to have that, so I'll go to Google and find it."

So you know, for search-driven businesses, we're always wanted 60% plus of the search volume to be non-brand, and ideally more. But it is nuanced, it does kind of depend from client to client. But if it's a product that's not very search driven, then brand maybe the majority of the search budget. But that's kind of why we're using search, is just to clean up and help with our top of funnel efforts. Does that make sense?

Andrew Foxwell: It makes a lot of sense. I think it's really a good sort of methodological ... metholodic ... why can't I say that word? Method, method.

Brett Curry: Easy for you to say.

Andrew Foxwell: Method, at this point.

Austin Brawner: We're making up lots of new words today.

Brett Curry: I love this. This is like vocab day on Ecommerce Influence. This is awesome.

Andrew Foxwell: Give people a real insight into the words I can't say. But you know, it's a good method of how to approach ... just thinking about it, I've never heard an answer that is actually that concise and clear. Because normally what happens is a client will contact me. I know Austin, he and I have talked about this, this is why we wanted to ask you about it. You know, they're like, "Well I've got this agency, it's all branded," etcetera, and I just feel like it's a total joke, you know?

Brett Curry: Yeah. Now one thing I would add to that though, and I think this is important, you do need to be able to separate out branded from non-branded in terms of reporting.

Andrew Foxwell: Right. Which, I don't think a lot of people do.

Brett Curry: You know, you're kind of lumping it all together.

Andrew Foxwell: Right.

Brett Curry: Yeah. So my thought is, maximize brand. I want my search impression share for the brand to be maximized 'cause I don't want anybody taking my customers. But I also want to break it out from a reporting standpoint because you don't want to hide things that aren't working with good branded numbers that are working. So I think you need to report on them separately, but I think it's still very smart to run branded ads.

Andrew Foxwell: You know, one thing, talking about this and thinking about Google Shopping, I was thinking about a question we got from a listener basically saying, "Look, my big question with Google Shopping is sort of, how do you find people that don't know it exists? And is Google Shopping a good place for some incremental prospecting to take place?" Because he had said the majority of it was done on remarketing, and that's really where the agency he was working with is focused.

You know, we talked about YouTube from a prospecting standpoint, and there's more scale. You said there's not as much scale in Google Shopping, but I've got to think that on certain categories, it will help, right? It'd have to be, though, something that would be easy to understand. It couldn't be a highly visual product, that would do better on Facebook or YouTube probably. So does that kind of depend too, on the product type, as it relates to Google Shopping for prospecting?

Brett Curry: It does. I think Google Shopping is a good fit for almost all eCommerce companies, at least to some degree. And I do want to clarify the scale comment. Go back to this automotive example, auto parts. It's not uncommon for auto parts companies to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars, millions of dollars a month on Google Shopping, right? 'Cause there is a huge volume of people searching for parts and things like that. If you sell some specialty boutique women's fashion blouses, things like that, you may have a slightly harder time with Google Shopping, but I think you'd definitely want to use Google Shopping.

Brett Curry: So I think about it from a couple of standpoints. One, what are the category type searches that people type in, or the pretty specific category product searches that people conduct on Google? And then really, with Google Shopping, you gotta work on your product feed, that's kind of what builds the ad. The work on the titles and product type and things that are part of the Google Shopping feed or product feed to build that ad. And so one of the other things to consider with ... do you know what vertical your client was that asked about that? 

Andrew Foxwell: They have very cool posters and maps, different maps.

Brett Curry: Oh, okay. Yeah, sure. Okay.

Andrew Foxwell: So you know, he said it's doing decent on Google Shopping, but he wanted to ... he's curious about the incrementalism. 'Cause Facebook does, and Instagram, does really well for them. And YouTube is not something he feels like he could do, but I think there is a possibility there after today, I think, you know, hearing from you.

Brett Curry: Sure, sure. And so that is interesting. One of the areas where Google Shopping, you can run into some issues, if Google has a hard time matching keyword to the product or more importantly if there's ambiguity around a keyword. So if I type in "map", maybe I'm looking to just buy an atlas or maybe I'm looking for a digital map or whatever. I may not be looking for this collector's item, collectible map. So you've got to work on the keyword setup there. But that's where I think you could build Google Shopping ads around, you know, these are collectible historical maps, whatever those words are, and just build those Google Shopping ads around those keywords that make sense for the product. So that's important. Oh, go ahead Austin. Did you say something?

Austin Brawner: No, that makes sense. I mean, there's a lot of those very difficult keywords, and that's a perfect example. You could just be looking for Google Maps.

Brett Curry: Yeah, yeah. Exactly. So it's kind of tricky there. One of the other things I would look at and one of the reasons why I asked if it was apparel is because we've seen some success with showcase shopping ads. I don't know if you guys are familiar with those. They primarily show up on mobile devices, so if you were to go to Google and search for something like men's dress shoes or summer dresses or something like that, you'll see these ... they're in the place of Google Shopping ads, but it's more of a category. Where it's, each ad features multiple pictures. So you typed in "summer dress" or "summer dresses", here are some retailers and a variety of dresses from each one. So, showcase shopping ads.

We're using those for a footwear company and a jewelry company we're working with and a handmade bracelet necklace company. And so that's working pretty well, too. So that's kind of like a higher in the funnel, I don't know exactly what I'm looking for, category search type thing. And so we're running showcase shopping ads to them, and then standard Google Shopping is when someone's a little more specific in what they're looking for.

So yeah, your map friend, your custom map friend, I think they could still have success on Google Shopping. Probably be limited, it'll be limited to things like, you know, custom map, decorative map, historical map. I'm just making keywords up, I'm not really sure. I'd have to research it, but you kind of get the idea. You'd just have to tailor it to the keywords that fit your product.

Austin Brawner: Brett, this has been awesome. We want to be respectful of your time, and we really appreciate you going into depth about really three different channels and sharing some of your knowledge that's been built for the last, really eight years of doing this stuff. It's awesome to hear you kind of go through this concisely and kind of map out a framework to think about these channels.

I know obviously, you host Ecommerce Evolution Podcast, which is another great podcast talking about similar things that we talk about. Where would you direct people, the best way to connect with you if they listened here and they were interested in learning more about what you're doing?

Brett Curry: Yeah, I really appreciate the podcast plug. You know, I wake up every day that I record an episode and I say, "How can I be more like Foxwell and Brawner?"

Austin Brawner: Classic.

Andrew Foxwell: This is a good back patting episode. A lot of compliments happening on this one.

Brett Curry: Yeah, it's all good. But no, appreciate the podcast. And hopefully, this was the right level of nerdiness, too. I hope I don't get too nerdy, but just the right amount. But anyway, if someone wants to know more, go to and check that out. That's the best way to connect. You can also find me on LinkedIn and Facebook, happy to connect there as well. Or, and yeah. Those are the best places.

Austin Brawner: Rock and roll, man.

Andrew Foxwell: Thank you, Brett. This has been great, man.

Brett Curry: Also, I did record a webinar with Ezra on YouTube, kind of a deep dive on YouTube, it's free. So if you search for a two-minute crash course on YouTube, you'll find the listing. It's on Ezra Firestone's page, and then the webinar is on that page, too. It's free. That'd be a good resource as well.

Austin Brawner: Cool, cool.

Andrew Foxwell: Brett, thanks so much man. We will talk to you soon.

Brett Curry: Okay. Thanks, fellas, really appreciate it.

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

Andrew Foxwell: And I'm Andrew Foxwell. Dude, how are you doing? Are you having a good morning here?

Austin Brawner: I am having a great, great morning....

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