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E118 : Colby Flood

What Companies Are Doing Wrong With Their Social Ads & How To Stop Burning Money

Colby Flood

Podcast Overview

There is a better way to be running your Social Ads than what you are doing right now. In 2022 Social Advertising is one of the best ways to reach new customers across the globe. More and more companies are increasing their budgets and spending more on Social Ads.

So how can you bring a competitive advantage to the table and increase your company’s sales?

Colby ,CEO and founder of Brighter Click, gives his insight on how to get a competitive advantage in the world of Social Ads and how companies can overcome restrictions along the way. There are many amazing tips in this episode.

eCom@One Presents:

Colby Flood

Colby Flood is the CEO and Founder of Brighter Click. Brighter Click aims to educate the companies on how to run profitable Paid Advertisements across Social Media. He manages a community of high achievers that help over 70 clients grow their business. Colby has over 15 years of experience in the eCommerce world.

In this episode, Colby talks about what companies are doing wrong with their Paid Ads. Find out how to navigate the privacy updates and restrictions. Is TikTok worth your time? Colby shares his opinion on this and more. 

Listen to this episode to enhance your knowledge on Social Ads and find out how you can make more money with them right now. 

Topics Covered:

1:38 – Why Brighter Click exists

3:09 – Colby’s favourite social channel for running Ads

3:49 – How can a company overcome restrictions with paid social ads

6:33 – Navigation through privacy updates

9:10 – The impact of privacy updates

11:58 – How to get a competitive advantage on Facebook ads

15:10 – Opinions on Tik Tok ads

19:53 – Top tips on user generated content

26:34 – Biggest mistakes when it comes to Social Ads

27:59 – What should companies focus on over the next 12 months

29:43 – Book recommendation

30:44 – Find out more about Colby

Richard:
Hi and welcome to another episode of eComOne. Today's guest, Colby Flood, founder and CEO at Brighter Click. How you doing, Colby?

Colby Flood:
I'm doing well. How are you doing?

Richard:
I'm doing very, very well. Very well. I'm loving your background. It's very nice and clean.

Colby Flood:
I appreciate it. I'll let our graphic designer know that. He'll take that as a compliment.

Richard:
For those listening on iTunes, you're missing out. Spotify. So thanks for coming on, Colby. Absolute pleasure to meet you. I heard a lot about the things you guys are doing at Brighter Click. I think it'd be good for our listeners for you to introduce yourself. Tell us what you've been doing, how you got into the world of e-commerce and how Brighter Click came about.

Colby Flood:
Yeah, I'd be glad to. So my name is Colby Flood. I own a paid social agency. We're more of an e-commerce growth partner for e-commerce stores that are looking to scale their paid acquisition. So Brighter Click was started in 2019, January of 2019, and at that time I was honestly freelancing. I had been freelancing since about 2015, doing a little bit of everything. When you start freelancing, you catch all, email marketing, website design, Shopify development, and really niche down to Facebook, Instagram ads for e-commerce stores in 2019. And fast forward to December 2020, that's when I started hiring out a team. We grew 300% in 2021 and are kind of full steam ahead in 2022 this year. But that's just a little bit about us.

Richard:
Yeah, that's brilliant. Brilliant. So yeah, it's surprising how many sort of people we get on that are working on the cold face at a company potentially or freelancing and then obviously build the agency model. It's great to see. It's pretty much what I did quite a few years prior. But yeah, it's great to see and obviously what you've learned, you're taking and then implementing that with real clients and then scaling, which is very much what we've done at our agencies. So it's great. It's great to have you on, really resonates your journey. So social ads, a lot of different options out there. What would you say, what's your sort of favorite channel to run ads on? Where do you spend most of your days?

Colby Flood:
Well, I'm biased because we mainly focus on Facebook, Instagram. I think that's a great channel for top of funnel acquisition, making sure you're getting the new customers. But honestly that can be contingent on what they sell and who they sell to, right? Pinterest is great for beauty products and for clothing companies. Google Ads is great for everybody, especially I'm sure you're having some big wins with the new Max update there. But I'm a little biased to Facebook, Instagram because that's where we operate.

Richard:
So obviously quite a few restrictions on the channels. I mean, what sort of things have you done to overcome the various restrictions and the different updates over this last year?

Colby Flood:
Yeah. It was an interesting year for sure. So in regards to tracking, we've really started moving towards off platform tracking. So we're a big fan of Triple Whale. We advise all of our clients to use Triple Whale for their tracking, not just for Facebook, Instagram ads but for all their platforms. Your Shopify says you had a thousand sales. Facebook may take credit for 75%. Google may take credit for 55%, and there's going to be a huge overlap. Triple Whale helps to avoid that overlap and make sure you have proper attribution that way. So that's what we've really been looking at for data tracking. For data loss, we've been looking at a couple of tools so we can make sure we are hashing out all of our emails properly from website visitors so we can re-target that way. And then for audience restrictions, we've really been focusing on going broad, and I'm sure we'll look at that a little bit later because creative is going to be the theme there. But going broad with our audiences and not getting too niche with our small audiences there.

Richard:
Yeah. I think that sort of attribution piece, as you said, the amount of reports we see from potential clients coming to us saying, "Right, exactly. The numbers don't add up." 75 plus 55 plus 45% is about what... I've lost track. That's like what 180 or whatever it is. But something's astray. So obviously getting that attribution, knowing exactly what comes from what channel, it can be challenging. So you use a tool called Triple Whale?

Colby Flood:
Triple Whale. Yeah, big fan of that one.

Richard:
Yeah, I've not heard of that to be honest. That's something I have to have a look about. Anymore you can tell us about that?

Colby Flood:
Yeah. Triple Whale in specific. Yeah, they're a great tool. So they go on a pricing model based on your actual income for your store. They have their own Triple Whale Pixel, which they actually just updated I believe four or five weeks ago. And it's a great tool to put actually into your Shopify store or your native store, and then you can run their UTMs across all of your channels and integrate those channels as well to their tool. And it shows you the channel specific attribution. It shows you Google analytics attribution, and then it shows you their Triple Whale Pixel attribution as well. And the Pixel for Triple Whale is always a lot more accurate and aligned than your other two trackings are. Another thing people can do, and I'll just throw in is look at your Shopify UTMs. I believe Shopify is working to get better at tracking data just because they understand what's going on in the climate right now.

Richard:
Yeah, that's great. That's great. We'll have to have a look at that. Yeah, it's something. Our media team are a few different ways, but that's not something I know our guys are using so that's very interesting. So privacy updates. What would you say to the guys, obviously things just keep changing, don't they? And is there any sort of best sort of practice from your end to navigate the privacy updates?

Colby Flood:
Yeah, the biggest thing we've seen with privacy updates, I'll go a little bit specific in the sense of Facebook is removing audience abilities in cold targeting because they're removing interest, so they're removing interest that have to do with personal attribution or health attribution or things like that. Totally understandable. People need their privacy. People want to be targeted for the right reasons. So we've really been going broad, and that seems to be the landscape for Facebook marketers right now is going broad with your targeting. And this is how you succeed at that. Your schema markup on your website, which is SEO markup on your website acts as targeting for your Facebook ads. When you launch a Facebook ad, some of the first traffic you get is bots that crawl your website from Facebook to understand who you are, what you sell, and who you're talking to.

Colby Flood:
And if you sell tennis shoes or running shoes and other companies sell those as well and you all have schema markup, if customer A visits three of your competitor stores, Facebook knows that they're high interest for what you sell and is likely to find them with your targeting. So making sure you have the best in all schema markup that you can, and then also looking at your ad copy as on page SEO as if it was on your website because we know that the bots also crawl your ads and look at the copy to understand what you're trying to sell as well.

Richard:
That's brilliant advice, Colby. I think we do a lot of episodes on... Well, I've literally just recorded a technical SEO episode. We didn't actually talk about schema, but not because it's not relevant because we talk a lot of other areas. But schema from an SEO perspective, huge, huge thing for an e-comm store, a product store. But obviously from the Facebook perspective, it's a double win. You're getting the benefit from both sides, from the SEO side, from the Facebook side. You're getting that extra data through.

Richard:
And I think it's surprising how many companies aren't using schema. I think especially if it's some sort of custom build or maybe not one of the sort of two or three big platforms. But even so even then probably 50% of the sites we come across or we work with, schema is either not installed or quite often it's installed incorrectly and it's not working properly. So then the proper schema markup, the data, the variables that you're trying to push through are just not pushing through. Yeah, no. That's great. That's great. So what have you seen then this last year or so with the different sort of privacy updates? Have you seen... What would you say the sort of Facebook ad impacts been?

Colby Flood:
Yeah, let's compare. If we want to go super large view and drastic and say let's compare it to like 2015, ROAS have definitely gone down. CPMs have definitely gone up. I mean costs are higher, there's more competition on there. And when we had iOS 14.5 happen, we lost a lot of attribution. There's some accounts that have shown up to 60 to 70% data loss for tracking and for attribution that way. So at the first one to two months, we saw a lot of kind of disruption there. We started a short term solution, which was, and anybody listening can do this as well, you can connect your Shopify store to your Facebook ad account using Zapier and Zap every purchase to offline events.

Colby Flood:
So if it doesn't get measured in online purchases and it was from Facebook, it'll get measured in offline. I would still suggest using Triple over that. But the main thing we saw was attribution loss. When we took that, we found solutions for that, it really came back to not being a Facebook marketer but being a digital marketer and focusing on brand, focusing on messaging, focus on right audience that way. And I feel like at the end of the day, iOS 14.5 helped weed out some of the competition on our end and kind of helped us rely on what we knew, which was marketing.

Richard:
I think that's a real good point. I think when things change on a platform, it's an opportunity, I think is the way we look at it in our agency. Obviously people run for the hills. "Oh, that doesn't work anymore." No, it just means that you've got to sharpen the toolkit. You've got to sharpen the pencil. You may have been relying on just set it and forget it type things maybe, whereas, hang on a minute, you might have to invest in creative now, wow. Whereas before you might not have done, I think. But it creates an opportunity. We find that in Google Shopping. There's a lot more automation about. A lot of people... And then a lot of people do the automation. So then it levels the playing field and everyone... It doesn't work as well 'cause everyone's just doing the standard thing.

Richard:
Obviously you then start to layer in other, you've mentioned other data sources in effect is what I would call it. So layering in, layering in, getting that competitive advantage over somebody else that's doing... That hasn't got schema, that isn't pushing orders through, that isn't... And in time that will become the norm, sort of thing. So it's layering in those extra things. What else would you say to get a competitive advantage on Facebook now? So we talked about schema. You've talked about pushing orders back in from Shopify. Is there anything specific on e-comm stores that's a little bit of a gem? That the guys go, "Oh, never thought of that one." What would you say to that?

Colby Flood:
So I'm going to say too, and I hope that they're very obvious, I guess is just the best way to put it. So creative is king on winning on paid social right now. You have to have a very solid creative strategy and production turnaround as well. You need to make sure you have enough creative because Facebook is going to broad audience targeting, and it's really about creative and Facebook is in the midst of... They just change COOs for the whole company. So they're... Sheryl stepped down, their former COO, and the new one coming in is very data driven. They want to compete with TikTok, so they're changing the algorithm a little bit. TikTok is all about video, it's all about creative. So really focus on creative that way. And one thing I'll loop in the iOS 14.5 privacy update, it reminded us to be digital marketers but also reminded us that we need to pull the main three levers for e-commerce. Get more customers, have them pay more per purchase, and increase the frequency.

Colby Flood:
So make sure you're looking at your acquisition in a blended model of having Google, having Facebook, not just having one platform. And then also making sure that you're focusing on the full funnel, which is how is your AOV in comparison to your cost to good sold? What is your repeat purchase frequency? Are you running loyalty campaigns on Facebook ads to get repeat purchases for product drops, new releases, end of season sales? Are you running email marketing? Are you running SMS marketing? Make sure you're not just focusing all your time, energy, and effort on acquisition but also on retention and repeat purchases as well.

Richard:
Bang on.

Colby Flood:
I know that goes a little past Facebook ads, but we try to make sure we got clients in the right way with that.

Richard:
Yeah, no. I think it's loud and clear. I think if... I would suggest you pause this episode right now and just have a little thing but also have a little rewind for the last minute because that is absolutely bang on. That's my opinion also. And we've done about 120 episodes. We deal with a hundred plus e-commerce stores in our agencies, transacting millions of pounds a day almost. And that retention, average order value, lifetime, life cycle value piece, it is incredibly important.

Richard:
And obviously using Facebook, if we're talking about Facebook particularly, to then build that repeat purchase, to offer different things, to exist in different segments and segmenting. And it's absolutely key Because acquisition, yeah. Facebook acquisition costs have gone up. That's a short version. We could argue that a little bit, but that's the short version. I think it's that simple really. So how are we going to work out how? What are we going to work on to get that lifetime value to take that one time purchase to a five 10 time purchase if possible? Different niches or different numbers. Yeah. Okay. So TikTok ads. What's your opinion on TikTok ads? What would you say about those at the moment?

Colby Flood:
I think it's a great new blue ocean. I mean, I think that it's a new opportunity. I keep going back to creative partially because we're in the midst of rolling out creative strategy in our agency. But if you need creative on Facebook, you need two X that on TikTok. Don't even get started on TikTok ads if you don't have influencer sourcing and also a creative strategy to create organic style creative very frequently because that's what that platform's going to be. And I would make sure you have proper budget needed. I mean, be at the bare minimum of 10 to 15,000 USD per month on TikTok ads at the bare minimum.

Colby Flood:
It's a brand new pixel. There's a lot of learning. When you go with something like Google or with something like Facebook, there's five, 10 plus years of data in their algorithm and in their pixel that helps your business out. TikTok's brand new. So there's a lot of things that they're going to be learning as a platform, but once again, I think it's a great place for a top of funnel acquisition. It can also really depend on what your brand story is, your founder story is, and your messaging, and how likely you are to go quote, unquote "viral" on that platform.

Richard:
So would you say... I know a lot of our listeners, I'm pretty sure they'll be investing in Google. They'll be investing in Facebook, but they might not be as a whole investing in TikTok now. You obviously said 10, 15K, but in terms of testing that environment, that platform, sorry, with a smaller budget. You give us any tips on that? 'Cause I think to... People go, "Oh, 15, 20K," whatever it may be as a start point, might be a bit, maybe... Obviously it depends who's listening, but ultimately if some of our brands wanted to start with a 5K a month type budget or something like that, what would be a sort of testbed test? Talk me through maybe a TikTok scenario where you would test certain things. Obviously like you say, you've got to build that pixel, which is one of the initial challenges. But yeah, what would you say about that?

Colby Flood:
Yeah. I'll position it the way that I can. So we don't technically run too much on TikTok right now. What I will say is make sure you have a full creative and copy or messaging strategy that you want to test out. Make sure that you go into it proactive, understanding what type of messaging you want to put out there for your brand. So we always use themes or structures with our messaging and Facebook ads, and with that, when we bring in a new brand, we look and we understand do they have a great founder's story that they like to push? Do they have a brand mission? Are they running in the United States and have great made in the USA model with their messaging there?

Colby Flood:
There's multiple others that you can run right there with creative. We want to understand is it UGC that's performing the best? Is it lifestyle video or photography? Is it PR content? Which for brands that require education disruptors in their industry, PR content is always a number one there. What type of content? What type of messaging is going to be the best? Look at it from that kind of thousand foot view before you really go into dialing in on one type of creative and mass producing that. And then ultimately make sure you have up to date knowledge on what trends on TikTok are working, what kind of themes are working with creatives that way.

Richard:
Yeah, yeah. It's not a platform I'm actually on personally, not that you need to be obviously but on a personal level. But I know in our agency, the guys do a few things with it. But yeah, I think it's one that obviously huge sort of investment from TikTok in there, sort of ads team or ads platform. There's obviously a lot more agencies managing it and taking it on. I think it's only a matter of time, probably six months, but a lot of creative ad agencies will obviously a big focus on TikTok I think. Yeah.

Richard:
Okay, so we talked... So creative, that can be, I think for the guys that are maybe... Let's dive into that a little bit, I think. Get in that creative side. You talked about UGC content, user-generator content. I think we'll maybe go there first. Can you give me some good examples of where our listeners could maybe think about using that type of content, getting that type of content? I know there's various ways and you get to work with them. You can work with potential influencers. We can look at obviously our customers and so forth. But you got any tips on that specifically, the user-generated content?

Colby Flood:
Yeah, UGC is great. So it can fit in different surfaces or placements on Facebook and Instagram. The main ones that we operate on are newsfeed stories for IG and then Instagram Reels. I think Instagram Stories and Instagram Reels are two of the top places for UGC that way. Now let's break it into two different forms. One is going to be your existing customers, and with UGC, the traditional marketing mindset is it has to be super good lighting and super professional and clean cut. And the more organic it looks, the better it's going to perform, time and time again. Even if there's an error in the creative or something like that, the more organic, we don't even edit UGC, we just run it as it is most of the time. So UGC photos are great in newsfeed for customers. UGC videos are great in newsfeed for customers, but if we're looking at Instagram Stories and Instagram Reels, influencer UGC always performs very well.

Colby Flood:
There's a couple of trends going on right now that we've seen. One is a TikTok style creative. It's so interesting that TikTok is branded how they show creative, and now we say TikTok style creative. But it's like a Q&A type thing. So it looks like there's a question in a little box on the screen, and it looks like the influencer's just answering a question about the product that they have. So it already kind of draws some attention, and you're wondering what the product is and why people are asking questions about it. That performs well. Unboxing videos or review videos work very well. But I would say definitely focus on getting that stuff for Instagram Reels because there's going to be a lot of push towards Instagram Reel organic creators through Instagram, incentivizing them to push there, which opens a lot of ad space and will help out there.

Richard:
Yeah. I was listening to... Well, looking at some of the review platforms. Obviously as an e-comm store, obviously you're having your hundreds or thousands of orders depending on who's listening, coming through on a daily, weekly basis. And then the obviously review system are then pushing back to past customers, asking for reviews, et cetera, and then obviously encouraging video reviews, et cetera. So then obviously you're getting that UGC there. But then also some of the platforms... I won't mention them on this episode, they've had far too many mentions over the many episodes we've done. But then actually some of the platforms will then also show you the follow account of that customer. Obviously if you've had an order from a famous, semi-famous, very famous person who's got 5,000 or 500,000 people on Instagram or show in the dashboard on a lot of the different tools, and obviously then you can potentially reach out to those people knowing that they've already bought your product and not just going after maybe influences that haven't. So that's an option as well. Maybe that's something you've seen?

Colby Flood:
Yeah. Using it on website, definitely. So you want to make sure that they don't lose the scent trail, right? What they're seeing on their ad side matches up with what they're seeing on the website side as well. So it is very good to use UGC on your website as well because if you go from a UGC ad to just super professional in studio photography on your landing page and stuff, you can lose some of that credibility. You can lose some of that trust there. So yeah, I think using it on your website, definitely important as well.

Richard:
Yeah. No, brilliant. Brilliant. So what else on the creative side then? Any insights on some successful campaigns that you've ran where creative had had a real impact?

Colby Flood:
Yeah, there's one in specific. So there's a brand that we work with out of Australia. They're a sustainability product, and we've learned that if there's a brand that requires education or normalization in the sense that they're so new. They're such a disruptor that you need to normalize it and educate people on it. PR content knocks it out of the park. We focused our campaign with them in the first three months on how can we make ads look as native as possible and make them not look like ads at all? They had one to two minute local news station interviews where it was news anchors at the beginning, prepping the interview, and then it was literally a reporter in their factory interviewing them on their product and their business. We ran those unedited one to two minute videos with the news station name as the headline and just some generic copy on conversion campaigns. And I can't stress that enough, not engagement campaigns.

Colby Flood:
We were seeing 1500 to 2000 likes. We were seeing hundreds of shares, hundreds of comments, but also purchases from six AU to 10 AU per purchase super low, and we're able to triple their revenue month over month just off of running that type of creative. So PR content, very, very important. If you can't do that, you can also take your ads and lay over a quote and Forbes below it or whatever publication you've been in. That helps out when you add that social proof on those. We've also seen... One thing that we like to do is what we call color changing gifts. So either the background changes colors pretty quickly, or the product that you have stays in the same spot, but you cycle through all the color options of that product. We find that those have a good thumb stop ratio and also that they have a good click through as well. So that's just two examples I could go on and on about creative.

Richard:
Yeah. That's something we've actually been testing. They're changing the back wall there. I think that's what you're saying on the DPAs. You could do it on normal ads and DPA ads, but on DPAs, changing the background color and the prices and maybe different messaging in the background, but obviously split testing it, testing the different colors. And there's a couple of tools we're experimenting with at the moment that obviously automate that process as well.

Colby Flood:
I was going to say, I've been targeted for a tool that does that. I don't even know. We don't have to name it on here, but I've been targeted for that. So I was going to ask you if you're using a tool for that or what you were doing.

Richard:
Yeah, I'll maybe have a chat with you at the end on that one. Yeah, okay. Yeah, yeah. 'Cause it is a newer thing. Yeah, we have been testing that, exactly. But I'll catch it with you at the end on that one. Okay, so obviously working on a lot of ad accounts, seeing a lot of different things. What are some of the biggest mistakes that our listeners need to avoid on the social ad side of things?

Colby Flood:
Traditional marketing mindset, and I don't mean that for everything but one thing that we see sometimes with clients is wanting to push, let's say 50, 60, 70% of your budget towards one audience that's working well or towards one specific creative that's working well. That can fatigue out your creatives. It can fatigue out your audiences very, very quickly. It can burn them out. And then your entire account has... We have a phrase, don't put all your eggs in one basket. Your entire account goes downhill because you've focused a lot of your time, energy, and effort on Facebook on one audience and one creative. So I would say making sure that you know that you need to continually test new things and diversify your account so it's not reliant on just one specific piece there.

Richard:
Yeah, yeah. Brilliant. So I think next 12 months is going to be interesting times in e-comm, full stop. It's a lot of ups and downs if you listen to the news this last few months for sure. But next 12 months, we want to arm our listeners with the right information, make sure that they are equipped for the next 12 months. And obviously things are changing, and it's all... Everything's is open for change over the coming months. But what would you say the next 12 months in paid social, what should our listeners be focusing on? What should they be thinking about in 3, 6, 12 months, for this next 12 months really? Where should the focus be? Where they're going to get the wins?

Colby Flood:
I'll answer this in a couple of ways. If we're looking at this right now, if we're looking at this in Q2, Q3 of 2022, you really need to already be prepping for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and for Q4. You need to be building out those audiences so that you can focus more so on retargeting and you're not having to pay so much for CPA on top of funnel that way. Over the next 12 months, really, one thing we've been meeting with our clients about during our monthly calls is making sure we're coming up with creative and messaging strategy for their business, for recession, if that does come through. And making sure that they're focusing on the offers and the bundles and the deals that they'll be running as a business on their website as well. We know that it's a tough time. It's the businesses that market through the recession that make it through the recession, but we want to make sure that we're not trying to address people the way we did a year ago in six months or 12 months because it'll be completely different buying patterns and different needs there.

Richard:
Yeah, that's great advice. Some great nuggets there. I think there's very specific things there that our listeners need to be thinking about. I think they're building those audiences now. It's something that there's no point in getting to peak season thinking we might launch X, Y, Z. You can be building, and if things do take a turn, be ready to counter that turn in the market, in your messaging, in your creative. Yeah. Brilliant, brilliant. So I like to end every episode, Colby, with a book recommendation. Do you have a book that you recommend to our listeners?

Colby Flood:
Yeah, this is not a paid recommendation here. This is something I actually just saw on LinkedIn recently from one of my connections. He put out a book. I have just started reading it called The Direct to Consumer Playbook, The Stories and Strategies of the Brands that Wrote the DTC Rules. It's by a guy named Mike Stevens. Check it out. It's been a good read so far. Definitely enjoy it. If we're going on the psychological, get past barriers, mindset, I always suggest The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks. That's a very good book.

Richard:
Brilliant. I was looking down because the other one, the first one you just mentioned, I've just bought it actually.

Colby Flood:
Oh, did you? Yeah, did you?

Richard:
I thought it was on my desk. I was just going to flash it up, but it's actually not. It's in my living room somewhere. But yes, yes, I literally just... That's just arrived. But yeah, two recommendations. Brilliant. So we'll link those up, and the other one, I'll have a look at myself as well. But thank you so much for coming on the show. For the guys that are listening in that want to find out more about you, Colby, and more about Brighter Click, what's the best way to do that?

Colby Flood:
Yeah, you can add me on LinkedIn, Colby Flood. You can find me through our website, www.brighterclick.com or just email me Colby@brighterclick.com.

Richard:
Well thanks, Colby, it's been an absolute pleasure. Thanks for coming on the show.

Colby Flood:
Thanks for having me on. I enjoyed it.

Richard:
Thank you. Bye.

Richard:
Hi and welcome to another episode of eComOne. Today's guest, Colby Flood, founder and CEO at Brighter Click. How you doing, Colby?

Colby Flood:
I'm doing well. How are you doing?

Richard:
I'm doing very, very well. Very well. I'm loving your background. It's very nice and clean.

Colby Flood:
I appreciate it. I'll let our graphic designer know that. He'll take that as a compliment.

Richard:
For those listening on iTunes, you're missing out. Spotify. So thanks for coming on, Colby. Absolute pleasure to meet you. I heard a lot about the things you guys are doing at Brighter Click. I think it'd be good for our listeners for you to introduce yourself. Tell us what you've been doing, how you got into the world of e-commerce and how Brighter Click came about.

Colby Flood:
Yeah, I'd be glad to. So my name is Colby Flood. I own a paid social agency. We're more of an e-commerce growth partner for e-commerce stores that are looking to scale their paid acquisition. So Brighter Click was started in 2019, January of 2019, and at that time I was honestly freelancing. I had been freelancing since about 2015, doing a little bit of everything. When you start freelancing, you catch all, email marketing, website design, Shopify development, and really niche down to Facebook, Instagram ads for e-commerce stores in 2019. And fast forward to December 2020, that's when I started hiring out a team. We grew 300% in 2021 and are kind of full steam ahead in 2022 this year. But that's just a little bit about us.

Richard:
Yeah, that's brilliant. Brilliant. So yeah, it's surprising how many sort of people we get on that are working on the cold face at a company potentially or freelancing and then obviously build the agency model. It's great to see. It's pretty much what I did quite a few years prior. But yeah, it's great to see and obviously what you've learned, you're taking and then implementing that with real clients and then scaling, which is very much what we've done at our agencies. So it's great. It's great to have you on, really resonates your journey. So social ads, a lot of different options out there. What would you say, what's your sort of favorite channel to run ads on? Where do you spend most of your days?

Colby Flood:
Well, I'm biased because we mainly focus on Facebook, Instagram. I think that's a great channel for top of funnel acquisition, making sure you're getting the new customers. But honestly that can be contingent on what they sell and who they sell to, right? Pinterest is great for beauty products and for clothing companies. Google Ads is great for everybody, especially I'm sure you're having some big wins with the new Max update there. But I'm a little biased to Facebook, Instagram because that's where we operate.

Richard:
So obviously quite a few restrictions on the channels. I mean, what sort of things have you done to overcome the various restrictions and the different updates over this last year?

Colby Flood:
Yeah. It was an interesting year for sure. So in regards to tracking, we've really started moving towards off platform tracking. So we're a big fan of Triple Whale. We advise all of our clients to use Triple Whale for their tracking, not just for Facebook, Instagram ads but for all their platforms. Your Shopify says you had a thousand sales. Facebook may take credit for 75%. Google may take credit for 55%, and there's going to be a huge overlap. Triple Whale helps to avoid that overlap and make sure you have proper attribution that way. So that's what we've really been looking at for data tracking. For data loss, we've been looking at a couple of tools so we can make sure we are hashing out all of our emails properly from website visitors so we can re-target that way. And then for audience restrictions, we've really been focusing on going broad, and I'm sure we'll look at that a little bit later because creative is going to be the theme there. But going broad with our audiences and not getting too niche with our small audiences there.

Richard:
Yeah. I think that sort of attribution piece, as you said, the amount of reports we see from potential clients coming to us saying, "Right, exactly. The numbers don't add up." 75 plus 55 plus 45% is about what... I've lost track. That's like what 180 or whatever it is. But something's astray. So obviously getting that attribution, knowing exactly what comes from what channel, it can be challenging. So you use a tool called Triple Whale?

Colby Flood:
Triple Whale. Yeah, big fan of that one.

Richard:
Yeah, I've not heard of that to be honest. That's something I have to have a look about. Anymore you can tell us about that?

Colby Flood:
Yeah. Triple Whale in specific. Yeah, they're a great tool. So they go on a pricing model based on your actual income for your store. They have their own Triple Whale Pixel, which they actually just updated I believe four or five weeks ago. And it's a great tool to put actually into your Shopify store or your native store, and then you can run their UTMs across all of your channels and integrate those channels as well to their tool. And it shows you the channel specific attribution. It shows you Google analytics attribution, and then it shows you their Triple Whale Pixel attribution as well. And the Pixel for Triple Whale is always a lot more accurate and aligned than your other two trackings are. Another thing people can do, and I'll just throw in is look at your Shopify UTMs. I believe Shopify is working to get better at tracking data just because they understand what's going on in the climate right now.

Richard:
Yeah, that's great. That's great. We'll have to have a look at that. Yeah, it's something. Our media team are a few different ways, but that's not something I know our guys are using so that's very interesting. So privacy updates. What would you say to the guys, obviously things just keep changing, don't they? And is there any sort of best sort of practice from your end to navigate the privacy updates?

Colby Flood:
Yeah, the biggest thing we've seen with privacy updates, I'll go a little bit specific in the sense of Facebook is removing audience abilities in cold targeting because they're removing interest, so they're removing interest that have to do with personal attribution or health attribution or things like that. Totally understandable. People need their privacy. People want to be targeted for the right reasons. So we've really been going broad, and that seems to be the landscape for Facebook marketers right now is going broad with your targeting. And this is how you succeed at that. Your schema markup on your website, which is SEO markup on your website acts as targeting for your Facebook ads. When you launch a Facebook ad, some of the first traffic you get is bots that crawl your website from Facebook to understand who you are, what you sell, and who you're talking to.

Colby Flood:
And if you sell tennis shoes or running shoes and other companies sell those as well and you all have schema markup, if customer A visits three of your competitor stores, Facebook knows that they're high interest for what you sell and is likely to find them with your targeting. So making sure you have the best in all schema markup that you can, and then also looking at your ad copy as on page SEO as if it was on your website because we know that the bots also crawl your ads and look at the copy to understand what you're trying to sell as well.

Richard:
That's brilliant advice, Colby. I think we do a lot of episodes on... Well, I've literally just recorded a technical SEO episode. We didn't actually talk about schema, but not because it's not relevant because we talk a lot of other areas. But schema from an SEO perspective, huge, huge thing for an e-comm store, a product store. But obviously from the Facebook perspective, it's a double win. You're getting the benefit from both sides, from the SEO side, from the Facebook side. You're getting that extra data through.

Richard:
And I think it's surprising how many companies aren't using schema. I think especially if it's some sort of custom build or maybe not one of the sort of two or three big platforms. But even so even then probably 50% of the sites we come across or we work with, schema is either not installed or quite often it's installed incorrectly and it's not working properly. So then the proper schema markup, the data, the variables that you're trying to push through are just not pushing through. Yeah, no. That's great. That's great. So what have you seen then this last year or so with the different sort of privacy updates? Have you seen... What would you say the sort of Facebook ad impacts been?

Colby Flood:
Yeah, let's compare. If we want to go super large view and drastic and say let's compare it to like 2015, ROAS have definitely gone down. CPMs have definitely gone up. I mean costs are higher, there's more competition on there. And when we had iOS 14.5 happen, we lost a lot of attribution. There's some accounts that have shown up to 60 to 70% data loss for tracking and for attribution that way. So at the first one to two months, we saw a lot of kind of disruption there. We started a short term solution, which was, and anybody listening can do this as well, you can connect your Shopify store to your Facebook ad account using Zapier and Zap every purchase to offline events.

Colby Flood:
So if it doesn't get measured in online purchases and it was from Facebook, it'll get measured in offline. I would still suggest using Triple over that. But the main thing we saw was attribution loss. When we took that, we found solutions for that, it really came back to not being a Facebook marketer but being a digital marketer and focusing on brand, focusing on messaging, focus on right audience that way. And I feel like at the end of the day, iOS 14.5 helped weed out some of the competition on our end and kind of helped us rely on what we knew, which was marketing.

Richard:
I think that's a real good point. I think when things change on a platform, it's an opportunity, I think is the way we look at it in our agency. Obviously people run for the hills. "Oh, that doesn't work anymore." No, it just means that you've got to sharpen the toolkit. You've got to sharpen the pencil. You may have been relying on just set it and forget it type things maybe, whereas, hang on a minute, you might have to invest in creative now, wow. Whereas before you might not have done, I think. But it creates an opportunity. We find that in Google Shopping. There's a lot more automation about. A lot of people... And then a lot of people do the automation. So then it levels the playing field and everyone... It doesn't work as well 'cause everyone's just doing the standard thing.

Richard:
Obviously you then start to layer in other, you've mentioned other data sources in effect is what I would call it. So layering in, layering in, getting that competitive advantage over somebody else that's doing... That hasn't got schema, that isn't pushing orders through, that isn't... And in time that will become the norm, sort of thing. So it's layering in those extra things. What else would you say to get a competitive advantage on Facebook now? So we talked about schema. You've talked about pushing orders back in from Shopify. Is there anything specific on e-comm stores that's a little bit of a gem? That the guys go, "Oh, never thought of that one." What would you say to that?

Colby Flood:
So I'm going to say too, and I hope that they're very obvious, I guess is just the best way to put it. So creative is king on winning on paid social right now. You have to have a very solid creative strategy and production turnaround as well. You need to make sure you have enough creative because Facebook is going to broad audience targeting, and it's really about creative and Facebook is in the midst of... They just change COOs for the whole company. So they're... Sheryl stepped down, their former COO, and the new one coming in is very data driven. They want to compete with TikTok, so they're changing the algorithm a little bit. TikTok is all about video, it's all about creative. So really focus on creative that way. And one thing I'll loop in the iOS 14.5 privacy update, it reminded us to be digital marketers but also reminded us that we need to pull the main three levers for e-commerce. Get more customers, have them pay more per purchase, and increase the frequency.

Colby Flood:
So make sure you're looking at your acquisition in a blended model of having Google, having Facebook, not just having one platform. And then also making sure that you're focusing on the full funnel, which is how is your AOV in comparison to your cost to good sold? What is your repeat purchase frequency? Are you running loyalty campaigns on Facebook ads to get repeat purchases for product drops, new releases, end of season sales? Are you running email marketing? Are you running SMS marketing? Make sure you're not just focusing all your time, energy, and effort on acquisition but also on retention and repeat purchases as well.

Richard:
Bang on.

Colby Flood:
I know that goes a little past Facebook ads, but we try to make sure we got clients in the right way with that.

Richard:
Yeah, no. I think it's loud and clear. I think if... I would suggest you pause this episode right now and just have a little thing but also have a little rewind for the last minute because that is absolutely bang on. That's my opinion also. And we've done about 120 episodes. We deal with a hundred plus e-commerce stores in our agencies, transacting millions of pounds a day almost. And that retention, average order value, lifetime, life cycle value piece, it is incredibly important.

Richard:
And obviously using Facebook, if we're talking about Facebook particularly, to then build that repeat purchase, to offer different things, to exist in different segments and segmenting. And it's absolutely key Because acquisition, yeah. Facebook acquisition costs have gone up. That's a short version. We could argue that a little bit, but that's the short version. I think it's that simple really. So how are we going to work out how? What are we going to work on to get that lifetime value to take that one time purchase to a five 10 time purchase if possible? Different niches or different numbers. Yeah. Okay. So TikTok ads. What's your opinion on TikTok ads? What would you say about those at the moment?

Colby Flood:
I think it's a great new blue ocean. I mean, I think that it's a new opportunity. I keep going back to creative partially because we're in the midst of rolling out creative strategy in our agency. But if you need creative on Facebook, you need two X that on TikTok. Don't even get started on TikTok ads if you don't have influencer sourcing and also a creative strategy to create organic style creative very frequently because that's what that platform's going to be. And I would make sure you have proper budget needed. I mean, be at the bare minimum of 10 to 15,000 USD per month on TikTok ads at the bare minimum.

Colby Flood:
It's a brand new pixel. There's a lot of learning. When you go with something like Google or with something like Facebook, there's five, 10 plus years of data in their algorithm and in their pixel that helps your business out. TikTok's brand new. So there's a lot of things that they're going to be learning as a platform, but once again, I think it's a great place for a top of funnel acquisition. It can also really depend on what your brand story is, your founder story is, and your messaging, and how likely you are to go quote, unquote "viral" on that platform.

Richard:
So would you say... I know a lot of our listeners, I'm pretty sure they'll be investing in Google. They'll be investing in Facebook, but they might not be as a whole investing in TikTok now. You obviously said 10, 15K, but in terms of testing that environment, that platform, sorry, with a smaller budget. You give us any tips on that? 'Cause I think to... People go, "Oh, 15, 20K," whatever it may be as a start point, might be a bit, maybe... Obviously it depends who's listening, but ultimately if some of our brands wanted to start with a 5K a month type budget or something like that, what would be a sort of testbed test? Talk me through maybe a TikTok scenario where you would test certain things. Obviously like you say, you've got to build that pixel, which is one of the initial challenges. But yeah, what would you say about that?

Colby Flood:
Yeah. I'll position it the way that I can. So we don't technically run too much on TikTok right now. What I will say is make sure you have a full creative and copy or messaging strategy that you want to test out. Make sure that you go into it proactive, understanding what type of messaging you want to put out there for your brand. So we always use themes or structures with our messaging and Facebook ads, and with that, when we bring in a new brand, we look and we understand do they have a great founder's story that they like to push? Do they have a brand mission? Are they running in the United States and have great made in the USA model with their messaging there?

Colby Flood:
There's multiple others that you can run right there with creative. We want to understand is it UGC that's performing the best? Is it lifestyle video or photography? Is it PR content? Which for brands that require education disruptors in their industry, PR content is always a number one there. What type of content? What type of messaging is going to be the best? Look at it from that kind of thousand foot view before you really go into dialing in on one type of creative and mass producing that. And then ultimately make sure you have up to date knowledge on what trends on TikTok are working, what kind of themes are working with creatives that way.

Richard:
Yeah, yeah. It's not a platform I'm actually on personally, not that you need to be obviously but on a personal level. But I know in our agency, the guys do a few things with it. But yeah, I think it's one that obviously huge sort of investment from TikTok in there, sort of ads team or ads platform. There's obviously a lot more agencies managing it and taking it on. I think it's only a matter of time, probably six months, but a lot of creative ad agencies will obviously a big focus on TikTok I think. Yeah.

Richard:
Okay, so we talked... So creative, that can be, I think for the guys that are maybe... Let's dive into that a little bit, I think. Get in that creative side. You talked about UGC content, user-generator content. I think we'll maybe go there first. Can you give me some good examples of where our listeners could maybe think about using that type of content, getting that type of content? I know there's various ways and you get to work with them. You can work with potential influencers. We can look at obviously our customers and so forth. But you got any tips on that specifically, the user-generated content?

Colby Flood:
Yeah, UGC is great. So it can fit in different surfaces or placements on Facebook and Instagram. The main ones that we operate on are newsfeed stories for IG and then Instagram Reels. I think Instagram Stories and Instagram Reels are two of the top places for UGC that way. Now let's break it into two different forms. One is going to be your existing customers, and with UGC, the traditional marketing mindset is it has to be super good lighting and super professional and clean cut. And the more organic it looks, the better it's going to perform, time and time again. Even if there's an error in the creative or something like that, the more organic, we don't even edit UGC, we just run it as it is most of the time. So UGC photos are great in newsfeed for customers. UGC videos are great in newsfeed for customers, but if we're looking at Instagram Stories and Instagram Reels, influencer UGC always performs very well.

Colby Flood:
There's a couple of trends going on right now that we've seen. One is a TikTok style creative. It's so interesting that TikTok is branded how they show creative, and now we say TikTok style creative. But it's like a Q&A type thing. So it looks like there's a question in a little box on the screen, and it looks like the influencer's just answering a question about the product that they have. So it already kind of draws some attention, and you're wondering what the product is and why people are asking questions about it. That performs well. Unboxing videos or review videos work very well. But I would say definitely focus on getting that stuff for Instagram Reels because there's going to be a lot of push towards Instagram Reel organic creators through Instagram, incentivizing them to push there, which opens a lot of ad space and will help out there.

Richard:
Yeah. I was listening to... Well, looking at some of the review platforms. Obviously as an e-comm store, obviously you're having your hundreds or thousands of orders depending on who's listening, coming through on a daily, weekly basis. And then the obviously review system are then pushing back to past customers, asking for reviews, et cetera, and then obviously encouraging video reviews, et cetera. So then obviously you're getting that UGC there. But then also some of the platforms... I won't mention them on this episode, they've had far too many mentions over the many episodes we've done. But then actually some of the platforms will then also show you the follow account of that customer. Obviously if you've had an order from a famous, semi-famous, very famous person who's got 5,000 or 500,000 people on Instagram or show in the dashboard on a lot of the different tools, and obviously then you can potentially reach out to those people knowing that they've already bought your product and not just going after maybe influences that haven't. So that's an option as well. Maybe that's something you've seen?

Colby Flood:
Yeah. Using it on website, definitely. So you want to make sure that they don't lose the scent trail, right? What they're seeing on their ad side matches up with what they're seeing on the website side as well. So it is very good to use UGC on your website as well because if you go from a UGC ad to just super professional in studio photography on your landing page and stuff, you can lose some of that credibility. You can lose some of that trust there. So yeah, I think using it on your website, definitely important as well.

Richard:
Yeah. No, brilliant. Brilliant. So what else on the creative side then? Any insights on some successful campaigns that you've ran where creative had had a real impact?

Colby Flood:
Yeah, there's one in specific. So there's a brand that we work with out of Australia. They're a sustainability product, and we've learned that if there's a brand that requires education or normalization in the sense that they're so new. They're such a disruptor that you need to normalize it and educate people on it. PR content knocks it out of the park. We focused our campaign with them in the first three months on how can we make ads look as native as possible and make them not look like ads at all? They had one to two minute local news station interviews where it was news anchors at the beginning, prepping the interview, and then it was literally a reporter in their factory interviewing them on their product and their business. We ran those unedited one to two minute videos with the news station name as the headline and just some generic copy on conversion campaigns. And I can't stress that enough, not engagement campaigns.

Colby Flood:
We were seeing 1500 to 2000 likes. We were seeing hundreds of shares, hundreds of comments, but also purchases from six AU to 10 AU per purchase super low, and we're able to triple their revenue month over month just off of running that type of creative. So PR content, very, very important. If you can't do that, you can also take your ads and lay over a quote and Forbes below it or whatever publication you've been in. That helps out when you add that social proof on those. We've also seen... One thing that we like to do is what we call color changing gifts. So either the background changes colors pretty quickly, or the product that you have stays in the same spot, but you cycle through all the color options of that product. We find that those have a good thumb stop ratio and also that they have a good click through as well. So that's just two examples I could go on and on about creative.

Richard:
Yeah. That's something we've actually been testing. They're changing the back wall there. I think that's what you're saying on the DPAs. You could do it on normal ads and DPA ads, but on DPAs, changing the background color and the prices and maybe different messaging in the background, but obviously split testing it, testing the different colors. And there's a couple of tools we're experimenting with at the moment that obviously automate that process as well.

Colby Flood:
I was going to say, I've been targeted for a tool that does that. I don't even know. We don't have to name it on here, but I've been targeted for that. So I was going to ask you if you're using a tool for that or what you were doing.

Richard:
Yeah, I'll maybe have a chat with you at the end on that one. Yeah, okay. Yeah, yeah. 'Cause it is a newer thing. Yeah, we have been testing that, exactly. But I'll catch it with you at the end on that one. Okay, so obviously working on a lot of ad accounts, seeing a lot of different things. What are some of the biggest mistakes that our listeners need to avoid on the social ad side of things?

Colby Flood:
Traditional marketing mindset, and I don't mean that for everything but one thing that we see sometimes with clients is wanting to push, let's say 50, 60, 70% of your budget towards one audience that's working well or towards one specific creative that's working well. That can fatigue out your creatives. It can fatigue out your audiences very, very quickly. It can burn them out. And then your entire account has... We have a phrase, don't put all your eggs in one basket. Your entire account goes downhill because you've focused a lot of your time, energy, and effort on Facebook on one audience and one creative. So I would say making sure that you know that you need to continually test new things and diversify your account so it's not reliant on just one specific piece there.

Richard:
Yeah, yeah. Brilliant. So I think next 12 months is going to be interesting times in e-comm, full stop. It's a lot of ups and downs if you listen to the news this last few months for sure. But next 12 months, we want to arm our listeners with the right information, make sure that they are equipped for the next 12 months. And obviously things are changing, and it's all... Everything's is open for change over the coming months. But what would you say the next 12 months in paid social, what should our listeners be focusing on? What should they be thinking about in 3, 6, 12 months, for this next 12 months really? Where should the focus be? Where they're going to get the wins?

Colby Flood:
I'll answer this in a couple of ways. If we're looking at this right now, if we're looking at this in Q2, Q3 of 2022, you really need to already be prepping for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and for Q4. You need to be building out those audiences so that you can focus more so on retargeting and you're not having to pay so much for CPA on top of funnel that way. Over the next 12 months, really, one thing we've been meeting with our clients about during our monthly calls is making sure we're coming up with creative and messaging strategy for their business, for recession, if that does come through. And making sure that they're focusing on the offers and the bundles and the deals that they'll be running as a business on their website as well. We know that it's a tough time. It's the businesses that market through the recession that make it through the recession, but we want to make sure that we're not trying to address people the way we did a year ago in six months or 12 months because it'll be completely different buying patterns and different needs there.

Richard:
Yeah, that's great advice. Some great nuggets there. I think there's very specific things there that our listeners need to be thinking about. I think they're building those audiences now. It's something that there's no point in getting to peak season thinking we might launch X, Y, Z. You can be building, and if things do take a turn, be ready to counter that turn in the market, in your messaging, in your creative. Yeah. Brilliant, brilliant. So I like to end every episode, Colby, with a book recommendation. Do you have a book that you recommend to our listeners?

Colby Flood:
Yeah, this is not a paid recommendation here. This is something I actually just saw on LinkedIn recently from one of my connections. He put out a book. I have just started reading it called The Direct to Consumer Playbook, The Stories and Strategies of the Brands that Wrote the DTC Rules. It's by a guy named Mike Stevens. Check it out. It's been a good read so far. Definitely enjoy it. If we're going on the psychological, get past barriers, mindset, I always suggest The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks. That's a very good book.

Richard:
Brilliant. I was looking down because the other one, the first one you just mentioned, I've just bought it actually.

Colby Flood:
Oh, did you? Yeah, did you?

Richard:
I thought it was on my desk. I was just going to flash it up, but it's actually not. It's in my living room somewhere. But yes, yes, I literally just... That's just arrived. But yeah, two recommendations. Brilliant. So we'll link those up, and the other one, I'll have a look at myself as well. But thank you so much for coming on the show. For the guys that are listening in that want to find out more about you, Colby, and more about Brighter Click, what's the best way to do that?

Colby Flood:
Yeah, you can add me on LinkedIn, Colby Flood. You can find me through our website, www.brighterclick.com or just email me Colby@brighterclick.com.

Richard:
Well thanks, Colby, it's been an absolute pleasure. Thanks for coming on the show.

Colby Flood:
Thanks for having me on. I enjoyed it.

Richard:
Thank you. Bye.

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