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The Cold Traffic Playbook For Direct Response Marketers

The Cold Traffic Playbook For Direct Response Marketers

by Justin Brooke

Do you need thousands of low cost, highly targeted, cheap clicks?

Our cold traffic playbook will give you an action plan to scale your monthly visitors and leverage new cutting edge digital advertising options. The best part is most of this will get you clicks below $0.20 CPC!

If you’ve ever thought to yourself, “Man, I just wish I knew what works,” then this blog post is going to be the best blog post you read all year. 

It starts with Google Display Network [GDN], Yahoo Gemini [AB], And then Taboola [TB].

These three networks are commonly used by top media buyers because they provide massive traffic at a great CPC with precise targeting. 

These 3 Networks Are Used By Top Ad Buyers Because Of Their Cheap Clicks Combined With Massive Scale

Next, is the hottest new trend in retargeting, video retargeting. 

By using Google Remarketing lists and Facebook’s website custom audiences you can use Youtube ads and Facebook video ads to retarget your landing page visitors with short videos. 

We’re seeing double the conversion rates with video ads. 

Even when sending clicks to the same pages that other ads are driving visitors to. Use video retargeting as a way to recycle those bulk clicks into even more traffic. 

Finally, just like you would use email follow up sequences to push people through your sales funnel, you can use retargeting ads to help push your visitors through your sales funnel. 

Just like email follow up, you can use retargeting ads to help push your visitors through your sales funnel

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We discovered these best practices while working with 25 of the top direct response marketing companies. 

We also use competitive intelligence tools AdBeat, SEMRush, SimilarWeb (etc) to analyze your trends and competitors. 

Based on all of our experience and the data that we saw last year, we believe this playbook is the strongest media plan for modern direct response marketers. 

To make sure you don’t think we’re just making this up, below we’ve included screenshots showing ad spend by network for a few of the world’s largest digital advertisers…

LowerMyBills.com Ad Spend by Network

StansberryResearch.com Ad Spend by Network

Instaflex.com Ad Spend by Network

 

Did you notice that Google and AdBlade are the only two that all 3 companies had in common?

Listen, we’re not making this shit up. We have access to an overwhelming amount of data that shows this strategy is a collection of “cream of the crop” digital ad strategies. The best part is, it doesn’t matter if you’re a one man shop or you have a team of internal media buyers, anyone can drive millions of clicks profitably with this strategy (providing you have a decent sales funnel).

Obviously, some customization might be needed based on individual needs, but we felt this is a good template for companies to start with.

What You Need To Know About
Google Display Network To Get Started

[GDN]: Google Display Network

With Google Display Network you can use aggressive style direct response banner ads while targeting your ideal audience. For example, if you’re selling muscle building supplements you can target pages by keyword (Benchpress, Deadlift, Powerlifting, etc) then also layer demographic data on top to ensure it’s highly targeted traffic. Your landing page will still have to be Google compliant, but they tend to be more lax on their display side than with their search ads.

Examples of Google compliant landing pages…

 

These were all running on Google at the time of writing this article. Things may change over time, the Internet is good at that. You should always read the Google advertising guidelines yourself and frequently as they do tend to change.

[GEM]: Yahoo Gemini

Gemini is friendly to aggressive direct response marketers. All the top CPA offers are using Gemini because their ad units look great and get high CTR’s. They used to be a 2nd tier ad network mostly used by rookie CPA marketers looking for cheap clicks, but recent changes in their ad unit design (NewsBullets) and inventory is quickly making them a 1st tier for those in the know. Gemini is a high volume network with great targeting options including geographic, psychographic, and of course demographic.

EDIT: I’ve swapped out AdBlade for Yahoo Gemini. The two are very similar, but Yahoo has much higher quality traffic. My clients are also seeing FAR more conversions with Yahoo Gemini, than they were with AdBlade.

[TB]: Taboola


Taboola is a native advertising network and is the new dog in an aggressive direct response marketers yard. They allow you to put teaser ads for your advertorial/editorial content on their vast publisher network of sites like Forbes, Time, TMZ, and many other 2nd tier media sites. The CTR’s these ad units get are much higher than the CTR’s of banners or text ads and CPC’s below $0.50. ShareThrough.com, a leading native advertising data source, says that native ads are showing an 18% lift in purchase intent. Also, very little compliance issues. You can read their guidelines here.

What You Need To Know About
Video Retargeting To Get Started

2012 – 2014 everyone was buzzing about retargeting. Which for the first time in history gave advertisers the ability to follow the eyeballs after they left the site (without needing to opt-in for anything). In 2015 the hot new twist on retargeting is video retargeting. Following those eyeballs into Facebook and Youtube with short teaser videos or testimonial videos for your products.

[YT]: Youtube Ads

By using Google’s remarketing lists feature you can target your Youtube ads to visitors who landed on your landing page from other means. This is POWERFUL!  

Visitors to your landing page will be shown a short video teasing the benefits of your product when they log onto Youtube. This re-engages them and we’ve seen conversions double after clicking to the page from video ads. Same compliance issues as Google Display, light, but strict. Not nearly as bad as Facebook.

Here’s how to set it up…

  1. Put Google Analytics code on all your pages.
  2. Link your Google Analytics account to Adwords.
  3. Create a Google remarketing list for all website visitors.
  4. Create a 30 – 90 second video. Make sure the first 5 seconds set the hook so they don’t click “skip ad.”
  5. Upload the video to your Youtube account.
  6. Link your Youtube account to Adwords.
  7. Now create a Youtube “instream ad” from your video and set the target to the Remarketing list you made.

Side Note: If you’re looking for a really good course on Youtube ads, I highly recommend InstreamTrafficSystem [aff link] by Tommie Powers. When it comes to video advertising, he’s the top dude right now. I also wouldn’t be a great marketer if I didn’t mention that I have one also here: Bulletproof Youtube Ads

[FB]: Facebook Video Ads

While Facebook is not friendly to aggressive direct response marketing, they do have arguably the best traffic retargeting options with their custom and lookalike audiences. 

By using their website custom audience pixel you can create an audience from all your landing page visitors and then serve them short video ads later on while they are on Facebook. Use one of your Google compliant pages here, try not to attract too much attention to yourself, and you should be fine.

Imagine a visitor who was on the fence about your product all of a sudden seeing video testimonials, product demonstrations, or short teasers for days after they leave your site. Surely, you see how this is way more powerful than simple banner retargeting.

What You Need To Know About
Curing Cart Abandonment

[FB]: Facebook Website Custom Audience

You may have noticed we didn’t include Facebook as a primary source of traffic. That’s because over the last year they have proven to be very unstable and unfriendly to direct response marketers. Almost anyone doing $1,000/day or more has had repeated trouble with ad account shut downs. However, I believe using them for smaller ultra targeted campaigns using their website custom audience and lookalike audience features is a sure bet. With website custom audiences you can create an audience of people who landed on your landing page AND also clicked through to your sales page.

These are highly qualified visitors that makes a lot of sense to retarget them with soon-to-expire discounts via FB newsfeed ads. For example, visitor clicks landing page, then clicks through for the product, for some reason doesn’t buy right away, but then see’s a 10% off (expires midnight) newsfeed ad for your product later that night on Facebook. BOOM! Conversion.

You can also create another website custom audience of people who land on your order page but don’t complete their order. These visitors were excited enough to click the order button, but just couldn’t pull the trigger yet. You’d be surprised how much this happens. There are horror stories all over the net of marketers discovering 50% – 80% of their order page traffic abandoning the cart before ordering. Now, you can bring those orders back using Facebook website custom audiences and newsfeed ads which are arguably the most effective ad unit in the world right now.

After you’ve built up a sizeable custom audience for each of these examples, now you can create a lookalike audience and expand your campaign to people that Facebook believes are similar to your visitors. Every Facebook advertiser I know has said that custom and lookalike audiences are the highest ROI campaigns they’ve ever run. With some reports as high as 900% ROI.

[RMG]: Google Remarketing Lists

Using the Google Analytics code that is likely already installed on all your pages you can create remarketing lists based on pages your visitors visit, just like with Facebook website custom audiences. So everything I just described above that you can do with Facebook you can also do with Google. Allowing you to follow your visitors all over the rest of the web instead of just inside Facebook. Plus, Google just released a competitor to lookalike audiences called “similar audiences.” This means you can also create campaigns targeting people who Google believes are similar to the visitors from your remarketing lists.

The trick with Google remarketing and Facebook website custom audiences is ONLY targeting highly qualified visitors. You do not want to just target any visitor, because a majority of web visitors are bounces that were never interested. However, someone who visited your landing page and your sales page is a qualified candidate. Same goes for someone who has visited your sales page and your order page. With Google remarketing lists you can ever create a list of visitors who were on your page for a specified amount of time. This is great if you have a VSL and want to remarket to people who watched more than half of your VSL, but not all the people who left in the first minute.

Wrap Up:

The best part about the roll out strategy is that it works for a one man shop, or a company with their own team of internal media buyers. It’s simple enough for the amatuer and strong enough for the veteran.

However, if this looks overwhelming to you, or if you don’t have accounts in these networks, or if you don’t have the time to learn how to use each of these networks, then you should let us make it hands-free for you.

Our AdSkills Media Buyers specialize in direct response ad campaigns. We can guide you through the compliance rules and help you scale the campaigns.

What we need from you…

  1. Proven/tested sales funnel that is capable of converting the highly targeted clicks we send into sales. (Note: we do not work with newly built sales funnels)
  2. Tracking Already set up – we work with all cookie-based tracking solutions, however other solutions (like Infusionsoft) are not acceptable tracking solutions for our services.
  3. 1 day of your time to plan and build your digital marketing strategy.

If this is you, fill out our matchmaker form and we’ll pair you with an AdSkills certified media buyer that fits your budget. For everyone else, I read every comment so if you have questions leave a comment below.  Also, if you found the information in this article useful, sharing it on Facebook or Twitter really helps us keep producing more content like this. Without the shares, we just couldn’t afford to keep producing free content like this.

Thanks for reading.

INSTANT DOWNLOAD: 50 ONLINE ADS THAT MADE MILLIONS FOR THEIR FOUNDERS

We searched 50 companies that made millions online with digital ads. Then packaged all their landing pages and ads in a neat file for you. Download it now and have an instant swipe file for your own inspiration. 

Direct Response Playbook

The Aggressive Direct Response Marketers Playbook

authorIcon By Justin Brooke
 
This playbook is not ideal for all businesses.
 

It is designed for aggressive direct response marketers who want to scale fast and large. By aggressive, I do not mean unethical or illegal either. I just mean companies with proven offers and the cajones to play big.

Overview:

There are new ways to squeeze out more ROI. 

Our ad network roll out strategy is designed to explode your monthly visitors and leverage new cutting edge digital advertising options for unheard of ROI. It starts with Google Display Network [GDN], Yahoo Gemini [AB], and Taboola [TB]. These three networks are commonly used by top media buyers because they provide massive traffic at a great CPC with precise targeting options. We recommend using these 3 networks for bulk clicks to your landing page.

Next, is the hottest new trend in retargeting; Video retargeting. By using Google Remarketing lists and Facebook’s website custom audiences you can use Youtube ads and Facebook video ads to retarget your landing page visitors with short videos. We’re seeing double the conversion rates with video ads going to the same pages that other ads are driving traffic too. Use video retargeting as a way to recycle those bulk clicks into even more traffic.

Finally, just like you would use email follow up sequences to push people through your sales funnel, you can use Facebook website custom audiences, lookalike audiences, and Google remarketing lists to push your visitors through your sales funnel. Read on to learn how we use both of these to reduce shopping cart abandonment.

Proof:

For the last two years we’ve worked with over 25 of the top direct response marketing companies. We’ve consulted on split tests, media buys, ad networks, audiences, and we’ve seen the results of those tests. We also use competitive intelligence tools WhatRunsWhere, AdBeat, SEMrush, SimilarWeb (etc) to analyze trends of leading direct response companies and their competitors.

This gives us a lot of data and a lot of experience to draw from.

Based on all of our experience and the data that we saw last year, we believe this 2015 roll out strategy is the strongest digital advertising roll out strategy for aggressive direct response marketers. If you’ve ever thought to yourself “Man I just wish I knew what works,” then this blog post is going to be the best blog post you read all year.

To make sure you don’t think we’re just making this up, below we’ve included screenshots showing ad spend by network for a few of the worlds largest digital advertisers…

LowerMyBills.com Ad Spend by Network

StansberryResearch.com Ad Spend by Network

Instaflex.com Ad Spend by Network

Did you notice that Google and AdBlade are the only two that all 3 companies had in common?

Listen, we’re not making this shit up. We have access to an overwhelming amount of data that shows this strategy is a collection of “cream of the crop” digital ad strategies. The best part is, it doesn’t matter if you’re a one man shop or you have a team of internal media buyers, anyone can drive millions of clicks profitably with this strategy (providing you have a decent sales funnel).

Obviously, some customization might be needed based on individual needs, but we felt this is a good template for companies to start with.

Detailed Breakdown: Bulk Traffic

[GDN]: Google Display Network

With Google Display Network you can use aggressive style direct response banner ads while targeting your ideal audience. For example, if you’re selling muscle building supplements you can target pages by keyword (Benchpress, Deadlift, Powerlifting, etc) then also layer demographic data on top to ensure it’s highly targeted traffic. Your landing page will still have to be Google compliant, but they tend to be more lax on their display side than with their search ads.

Examples of Google compliant landing pages…

These were all running on Google at the time of writing this article. Things may change over time, the Internet is good at that. You should always read the Google advertising guidelines yourself and frequently as they do tend to change.

[GEM]: Yahoo Gemini

Gemini is friendly to aggressive direct response marketers. All the top CPA offers are using Gemini because their ad units look great and get high CTR’s. They used to be a 2nd tier ad network mostly used by rookie CPA marketers looking for cheap clicks, but recent changes in their ad unit design (NewsBullets) and inventory is quickly making them a 1st tier for those in the know. Gemini is a high volume network with great targeting options including geographic, psychographic, and of course demographic.

EDIT: As of June 2015, I’ve swapped out AdBlade for Yahoo Gemini. The two are very similar, but Yahoo has much higher quality traffic. My clients are also seeing FAR more conversions with Yahoo Gemini, than they were with AdBlade.

[TB]: Taboola


Taboola is a native advertising network and is the new dog in an aggressive direct response marketers yard. They allow you to put teaser ads for your advertorial/editorial content on their vast publisher network of sites like Forbes, Time, TMZ, and many other 2nd tier media sites. The CTR’s these ad units get are much higher than the CTR’s of banners or text ads and CPC’s below $0.50. ShareThrough.com, a leading native advertising data source, says that native ads are showing an 18% lift in purchase intent. Also, very little compliance issues. You can read their guidelines here.

Detailed Breakdown: Video Retargeting

2012 – 2014 everyone was buzzing about retargeting. Which for the first time in history gave advertisers the ability to follow the eyeballs after they left the site (without needing to opt-in for anything). In 2015 the hot new twist on retargeting is video retargeting. Following those eyeballs into Facebook and Youtube with short teaser videos or testimonial videos for your products.

[YT]: Youtube Ads

By using Google’s remarketing lists feature you can target your Youtube ads to visitors who landed on your landing page from other means. This is POWERFUL!  

Visitors to your landing page will be shown a short video teasing the benefits of your product when they log onto Youtube. This re-engages them and we’ve seen conversions double after clicking to the page from video ads. Same compliance issues as Google Display, light, but strict. Not nearly as bad as Facebook.

Here’s how to set it up…

  1. Put Google Analytics code on all your pages.
  2. Link your Google Analytics account to Adwords.
  3. Create a Google remarketing list for all website visitors.
  4. Create a 30 – 90 second video. Make sure the first 5 seconds set the hook so they don’t click “skip ad.”
  5. Upload the video to your Youtube account.
  6. Link your Youtube account to Adwords.
  7. Now create a Youtube “instream ad” from your video and set the target to the Remarketing list you made.

Side Note: If you’re looking for a really good course on Youtube ads, I highly recommend InstreamTrafficSystem [aff link] by Tommie Powers. When it comes to video advertising, he’s the top dude right now. I also wouldn’t be a great marketer if I didn’t mention that I have one also here: Bulletproof Youtube Ads

[FB]: Facebook Video Ads

While Facebook is not friendly to aggressive direct response marketing, they do have arguably the best traffic retargeting options with their custom and lookalike audiences. 

By using their website custom audience pixel you can create an audience from all your landing page visitors and then serve them short video ads later on while they are on Facebook. Use one of your Google compliant pages here, try not to attract too much attention to yourself, and you should be fine.

Imagine a visitor who was on the fence about your product all of a sudden seeing video testimonials, product demonstrations, or short teasers for days after they leave your site. Surely, you see how this is way more powerful than simple banner retargeting.

Detailed Breakdown: Curing Cart Abandonment

 

[FB]: Facebook Website Custom Audience

You may have noticed we didn’t include Facebook as a primary source of traffic. That’s because over the last year they have proven to be very unstable and unfriendly to direct response marketers. Almost anyone doing $1,000/day or more has had repeated trouble with ad account shut downs. However, I believe using them for smaller ultra targeted campaigns using their website custom audience and lookalike audience features is a sure bet. With website custom audiences you can create an audience of people who landed on your landing page AND also clicked through to your sales page.

These are highly qualified visitors that makes a lot of sense to retarget them with soon-to-expire discounts via FB newsfeed ads. For example, visitor clicks landing page, then clicks through for the product, for some reason doesn’t buy right away, but then see’s a 10% off (expires midnight) newsfeed ad for your product later that night on Facebook. BOOM! Conversion.

You can also create another website custom audience of people who land on your order page but don’t complete their order. These visitors were excited enough to click the order button, but just couldn’t pull the trigger yet. You’d be surprised how much this happens. There are horror stories all over the net of marketers discovering 50% – 80% of their order page traffic abandoning the cart before ordering. Now, you can bring those orders back using Facebook website custom audiences and newsfeed ads which are arguably the most effective ad unit in the world right now.

After you’ve built up a sizeable custom audience for each of these examples, now you can create a lookalike audience and expand your campaign to people that Facebook believes are similar to your visitors. Every Facebook advertiser I know has said that custom and lookalike audiences are the highest ROI campaigns they’ve ever run. With some reports as high as 900% ROI.

[RMG]: Google Remarketing Lists

Using the Google Analytics code that is likely already installed on all your pages you can create remarketing lists based on pages your visitors visit, just like with Facebook website custom audiences. So everything I just described above that you can do with Facebook you can also do with Google. Allowing you to follow your visitors all over the rest of the web instead of just inside Facebook. Plus, Google just released a competitor to lookalike audiences called “similar audiences.” This means you can also create campaigns targeting people who Google believes are similar to the visitors from your remarketing lists.

The trick with Google remarketing and Facebook website custom audiences is ONLY targeting highly qualified visitors. You do not want to just target any visitor, because a majority of web visitors are bounces that were never interested. However, someone who visited your landing page and your sales page is a qualified candidate. Same goes for someone who has visited your sales page and your order page. With Google remarketing lists you can ever create a list of visitors who were on your page for a specified amount of time. This is great if you have a VSL and want to remarket to people who watched more than half of your VSL, but not all the people who left in the first minute.

Wrap Up:

The best part about the roll out strategy is that it works for a one man shop, or a company with their own team of internal media buyers. It’s simple enough for the amatuer and strong enough for the veteran.

However, if this looks overwhelming to you, or if you don’t have accounts in these networks, or if you don’t have the time to learn how to use each of these networks, then you should let us make it hands-free for you.

Our agency specializes is direct response ad campaigns. We can guide you through the compliance rules and help you scale the campaigns.

What we need from you…

  1. Proven/tested sales funnel that is capable of converting the highly targeted clicks we send into sales. (Note: we do not work with newly built sales funnels)
  2. Tracking Already set up – we work with all cookie-based tracking solutions, however other solutions (like Infusionsoft) are not acceptable tracking solutions for our services.
  3. 1 day of your time to plan and build your digital marketing strategy.

If this is you, find out more about most profitable day. For everyone else, I read every comment so if you have questions leave a comment below.  Also, if you found the information in this article useful, sharing it on Facebook or Twitter really helps us keep producing more content like this. Without the shares, we just couldn’t afford to keep producing free content like this.

Thanks for reading.

Headline Swipe File

Swipe & Deploy These Multi-Million Dollar Earning Headlines

216242_BlogPostImages03_08_042318

Use the wrong headline and you’re marketing is dead before it even starts.

Your emails…

Your sales pages…

Blog posts and even your tweets…

They all hinge on your ability to write a great headline.

If you can’t write a good headline, then the email doesn’t get opened, the sales page doesn’t get read, and the tweet doesn’t get clicked.

The good news is you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Legends like John Caples and Eugene Schwartz have already blazed a trail for us. You can borrow from their work, to create your own cash magnets headlines.

The Greatest Headlines Ever Written

Headline Writing Tips From The Pro’s

There you go, you should never have a problem writing headlines again. You’ve got a mountain of examples to work from, most of which sold millions.

Marketing Spotlight Fisher Investments

Peek Inside Fisher Investments Multi-Million Dollar Media Buying Strategy

fisher_investments_image

If you’re buying ads online in the financial or wealth building markets, you can’t help but to bump into Ken Fisher’s ads.

With our tools we are able to estimate that they are spending a little more than $4 million dollars per year online. This doesn’t include the print ads I see in Forbes and other magazines. They are a major player in the financial/wealth building market.

It is my hope in this new “spotlight series” to show you what’s truly working online by giving you a glimpse into the strategies and tactics of the Internet’s biggest players.

What you see below is not conjecture or theory. This is the real facts behind a major online advertiser, the marketing strategies they use, and the tactics used.

About Ken Fisher

Ken_Fisher

Ken Fisher – CEO, Forbes Columnist, Best-Selling Author

Ken is the founder, CEO and Co-Chief Investment Officer of Fisher Investments, a multi-billion dollar money management firm serving large institutions and high net worth individuals throughout most of the developed world.

Perhaps best known for his prestigious Forbes “Portfolio Strategy” column, Ken’s 30 years of high-profile market calls make him the third-longest running columnist in Forbes history. His Forbes market forecasts are among America’s most accurate as measured by independent third-party CXO Advisory Group.

Ken has also been published, interviewed and/or written about in numerous publications globally. He writes a weekly column for Germany’s Focus Money magazine and monthly columns in the UK’s Financial Times.

From 1984 through 2012 Ken wrote 10 books, including four New York Times bestsellers.

Lastly, he is ranked #225 on the 2014 Forbes 400 list of Richest Americans and #663 on the 2015 list of Global Billionaires.

Summary of Their Strategy

While they have about a dozen sites that I could find, it appears that only 3 are critical to their U.S. online ad strategy.

  1. FisherInvestments.com
  2. FI.com
  3. MarketMinder.com

The bulk of their advertising spend is on display ads, primarily through Google Display Network. However, they are are also spending money on native ads. Their display ads are very plain in design with focus on the ad copy. Their ads are driven to landing pages with very basic level visual design and using a 2-step opt-in process.

On their landing pages they offer 1 of 4 different lead gen incentives in exchange for a full lead. Beyond the lead they sell money management services for a flat fee based on their customers portfolio size.

Traffic Profile For FisherInvestments.com

fisherinvestments-traffic-profile

This is their public facing main site. It gets a very decent amount of organic (earned) traffic from the search engines, however, I don’t believe they put much focus on SEO.

The reason I say that is when I look at the keywords they are ranking for and which ones are sending them the most traffic, they are all branded key phrases. If they were putting a lot of focus into SEO they would be ranking for things like “Money Management Firm” more than branded phrases like “Fisher Investment Books.”

As you can see they are spending a moderate amount of money each month on native ads though. When I investigated their native ad strategy it was primarily advertising their 401k calculator, which leads them to taking one of their lead gen incentives.

There is also a lot of valuable content accessible from this site which I believe is contributing to their low bounce rate and high time on site.

Traffic Profile For FI.com

fi-traffic-profile

Don’t be fooled by the high direct and referral traffic, this site is primarily driven by paid ads. With over $4 million dollars of display and paid search traffic being driven to this site it makes sense that they have a very high amount of direct traffic.

This is what I try to explain to my clients, because I see it in the stats, but no one ever wants to attribute direct traffic to a specific budget. They think it’s just magical free traffic they won in the big marketing lottery in the sky.

To the untrained eye this site looks like a dinosaur, and frankly they would be right. However, the low visual design helps their page load speeds and also focuses the viewer on the ad copy. Great ad copy, great offers, and fast loading pages  = BIG CONVERSIONS!

They were smart to include a lot of highly valuable information on this domain even though most of the traffic is driven to dedicated landing pages with little to no navigation. The reason being, that it’s common for someone to land on a landing page and click the logo or delete the URL tail to visit the home page.

When they visit your home page and find nothing but tons more value = BIG CONVERSIONS!

Traffic Profile For MarketMinder.com

marketminder-traffic-profile

This site is a bit of a conundrum to me.

It doesn’t get a whole lot of traffic, the pages are grossly under monetized, and the titles would be horrible for SEO or Social benefit.

I think this site is a great way for them to add value to their subscribers and keep in touch with them daily. As well as to showcase their viewpoint on timely news. I also think that they are using this site to try and figure out the content marketing game and eventually create their own media asset (smart).

It is obvious that they do care a great deal about this site though because they are spending a little money in all the popular ad channels to give it a boost. Also, suggesting that it might be the new child.

Top Performing Display Ads

Their ads aren’t the type you would typically see for sale on banner design websites or even fiverr gigs.

These “ugly banners” are the types of banners that perform best though.

After having seen their banners all over the place I started testing out their designs on my own ads and they outperformed even the animated banners we were using.

In the ones with a picture they almost always use a guy dressed in surf gear. This puts the target audiences dream in visual form and makes them subconciously desire what they are offering even more (so they can be like the guy who gets to surf).

Lastly, you might be wondering what size those wide vertical ads are, those are 300×600 half-page ad units. There are also other bigger sizes and formats now available with the rising star ad formats released by the IAB in 2011. These newer ad sizes have been shown to outperform traditional sizes.

Top Performing Paid Search Ads

 They have 477 keywords that they are bidding on, but almost all of their ads were a version of the above.

There were a couple of other ads like one with the headline “Complaints About Fisher” which were probably spot targeted ads for a different purpose. However, the majority of the ads were what you see above and drove to this landing page.

I’m guessing that this is a very mature account and the data I’m seeing in the tool doesn’t represent where they started. They have probably pruned all but the most profitable keywords and segments over the years. Either that or they are grossly under-utilizing one of the best ad platforms on the Internet (not likely).

Landing Page Breakdown

It’s important that you know that I did not shrink their landing page. I believe it’s very smart of them to keep their landing pages to a very narrow and short size.

The reason for this is you never know the window size, browser size, etc for the computer your ad is about to be shown on. It also helps with page load speed and there’s that saying “less is more.” All of their landing pages lead the visitor to a full lead (name, email, phone, address) form after clicking through.

In addition to asking for the full lead they also offer a checkbox to receive a free consultation.

By getting the full lead instead of just name and email, they lose a little on the conversion rate but gain everything on the backend. Now they are able to follow up via email, phone, and offline making that lead 100x more valuable.

Everything they need to convert their user and comply with the networks is on this page…

  1. An image of the “thing” they are offering helps increase desire for that “thing”
  2. Emphasis of their headline is that they “thing” is free and then secondary focus is on the benefit
  3. Sub-headline increases credibility and increased credibility leads to increased desire
  4. It’s been proven over and over again that text links get clicked on more than buttons – use them
  5. Nothing increases your opt-in rate more than increasing the desire for the gift and nothing does that better than bullet points
  6. Adding that the information is timely helps to increase the urgency
  7. Adding contact info to your landing pages helps ease the visitors fears about this being a scam (networks LOVE this)

Conclusion

If you are in the same market as Fisher Investment, you certainly have your work cut out for you. However, I hope this brief has helped you to see what areas they are strong in and where they might be weak.

If you are not in the market you should be thinking about how you can apply what they are doing to YOUR market. You should not be thinking my business is different so none of this applies. Trust me after having run over 5,000 campaigns in 50+ verticals – no business is that different. These strategies work in all markets.

Also, take notice as to what is not here. The strategies they are and aren’t using is important to identify.

What strategies and tactics are not showing up here that some experts say you MUST be doing. I find it much more effective to learn from what’s actually in play and working with the biggest players, than to learn from how to courses.

Beginners Guide to Native Advertising

Beginners Guide to Native Advertising

authorIcon By Justin Brooke

The digital marketing sphere is buzzing with talk on native advertising lately.

If you’re looking for a low cost way to advertise your products or services and actually make more money back than you spend, then you’re going to love native ads!

Let’s Start With “What are Native Ads?”

Apart from the seemingly endless conversations about this new addition to the marketing mix, several social platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr; and even players in the publishing industry like Time Inc., Forbes, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and USA Today have been integrating native ads into their own websites.

Sharethrough.com defines native advertising as “a form of paid media where the ad experience follows the natural form and function of the user experience in which it is placed”.

These advertisements deviate in form and function from traditional banner ads. They would look and act like natural content in that particular environment.

In other words, native ads published on Twitter would look like a normal tweet while a native ad placed on the New York Times would look like any other news or feature article. This creates a seamless and non-disruptive experience for users wherever they may be on the internet.

Because native ads have to be placed on third-party sites, they also have to be contextually relevant to the audience. Meaning it has to provide helpful information to the reader. This way, site users are more likely to engage with the native ad than a banner ad. In fact according a study made by CMO.com,

“Consumers are 25 percent more likely to look at a native ad than at a banner, and they look at them 53 percent more frequently. They check native ads out 4.1 times per session on average, versus 2.7 times for banners.”

Moreover, they have also found out that “Consumers are considerably more likely to share a native ad with others (32 percent versus 19 percent) and showed 18 percent more purchase intent after viewing them”, and that “Seventy-one percent of consumers who had previously bought a product from the advertiser said the brand was one they “personally identify with,” versus just 50 percent for banner ads.”

A notable feature of display ads is that need to come with warning labels like “sponsored stories”, “sponsored tweet”, or “sponsored content”. This is to make sure that the paid placement is 100 percent transparent to the audience.

Why Use Native Advertising

Over the past few years, countless publishers and marketers have bitten the dust and decided to include native advertising into their online marketing strategy. The same study from CMO.com revealed that

“Thirty-two percent of CMOs say they have bought or are planning to buy native video advertising in the next six months.”

In addition, “Nearly three-quarters of polled U.S. publishers said that they already offered native advertising on their site, and another 17 percent said they were considering offering it this year. Only 10 percent didn’t have any native ad plans.”

And “U.S. native ad spending on social sites will reach $2.36 billion, or 38.9 percent of total U.S. paid social ad expenditures. By 2017, social native ad spend will grow to $4.57 billion, and its share of social spending will inch up a few percentage points to 41.7 percent.”

These statistics can be attributed to the apparent benefits of native advertising. Here are some of the reasons why you should also consider adding native ads into your campaigns:

  • It effectively captures consumer attention. Since native ads don’t look like traditional ads (provided that there is sufficient caveats placed around it), they fare better in engaging the audience.
  • Native ads are shareable since they take the form of valuable and contextually significant content. This amplifies the reach of the brand significantly.
  • They build relationships through fostering interactions between a brand and its target consumers. Businesses who connect their native ads with the media outlet and its target audience have improved chances of having their content shared.
  • They work well with mobile platforms. Native ads are hosted on third party sites’ main content area meaning they can be deployed across devices including desktop, tablets, or smartphones. This increases the reach of the ads significantly.
  • Native ads pave the way for deeper and richer level of engagement between brands and consumers. They are for more informative than traditional ads which do nothing more than interrupt the consumers which means they are able to attract inquisitive consumers better.

What do Native Ads Look Like?

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) defines six types of native ad units:

  • In Feed Units. These are stories that look like they are part of the news feed.
  • Paid Search Units. These are ads that appear in search
  • Recommendation Units. These are paid content recommendations based on what you are reading and your searches
  • Promoted Listings. These are products promoted on such sites as Esty or Amazon
  • In-Ad (IAB Standard) with Native Element Units
  • Custom / “Can’t Be Contained”

Ten Best Practices for Native Advertising

When used correctly, native ads can help you reel in more conversions for your ad campaigns. Below are top ten tips when buying display ads:

  1. Aim for a 0.50% or higher CTR. The click prices are determined by your CTR. The higher your CTR the lower your CPC.
  2. Unlike Facebook, the image matters little. Just make sure it’s relevant and has bold colors. Nothing too busy. Less is more.
  3. The ad copy does 80% of the work. BuzzFeed style headlines work wonders here. Don’t be too clever though.
  4. Instead of pausing your ads reduce your max CPC or daily budget. Pausing pulls your ad out of line and out of the optimization algorithm. Obviously, you can pause horrible ads, I’m talking about good ones.
  5. Create a new campaign for each interest you target, otherwise you won’t know which interest is causing the good or bad conversions.
  6. Create one campaign that targets no interests aka “run of network.” Their optimization algorithm is pretty good, let it do its job. Just set you max CPC to like $0.20 so it doesn’t get expensive.
  7. Always be testing multiple ads in each campaign. Try BuzzFeed curiosity style copy and plain straight to the point product benefit copy.
  8. Treat their landing page and ad guidelines seriously or else you’ll constantly get your ads disapproved. They aren’t nearly as strict as Facebook, but they like to keep it classy. No red borders, weird/gross images, or text images.
  9. If you’re spending more than $1,000 per day ask to speak with a managed account rep. They can offer you additional targeting settings on the back end like age ranges, retargeting, and additional audience segments.
  10. You don’t have to send your traffic to an advertorial, however, that’s what works best. Use an article that your target customer wouldn’t be able to resist, make the article educational and entertaining; include a reason why they should buy your product that fits nicely with the theme of the article.

What About Native Ads on Social Networks?

My favorite way to do native ads is through Facebook and Twitter ads. Yes, Twitter ads actually work, in fact I’m using them right now to promote this blog post.

All of the native ad networks above are great. Nothing wrong with them, but let’s face it, they are not as big as Facebook or Twitter. Nor do they have the deep targeting options that both social networks have with their ad platforms.

I’m not saying native ad networks don’t have targeted traffic. They do. You can target by demographics, location, even interests. However, Facebook and Twitter ads let you target keywords, hashtags, fan pages, and more. Even specific mobile devices.

This is why I use these two social networks for the bulk of my own personal native advertising.

Best Practices For Social Network Native Ads

As described above, native ads means they are native to the platform. When you use Facebook ads or Twitter ads for native advertising you should make them look and feel just like any other post on the platform.

You can do that by using an educational video that offers a tip and then offers a book, course, or physical product at the end. For example, if you are selling kitchen knives you’d use a video that teaches food preparation techniques and then offer a coupon for your knives at the end.

It doesn’t have to be video either

Outbrain vs. Taboola Whats Different And When To Use One Over The Other

Outbrain vs. Taboola: What’s Different, and When To Use One Over The Other

authorIcon By Justin Brooke

I’ve invested a little over $10,000 into both Taboola and Outbrain.

Below you’ll learn about my experiences with each, how much you need to spend to get started, and what makes them different.

If you’re not familiar with the two, they are the ads at the bottom of Forbes that say, “You’ll never guess how this man gained 10 pounds of muscle overnight” and stuff like that. Basically, the tabloid ads of the Internet.

If you’re looking for ad ideas and killer headlines, the ads people run on Outbrain and Taboola are unmatched.

You can easily see what image types and headlines are the highest converting. They’re listed on damn near every site. For headline inspiration, look in the “Powered By” ads section on sites like the NY Post, Entrepreneur and Forbes. Chances are, you’ll see Taboola or Outbrain ads.

While both Outbrain and Taboola are great platforms to run ads, they are also very different.

What Makes Outbrain Different From Taboola?

Both use different publications for ad placement, as well as varying delivery methods. With Outbrain, you’re allowed to set only a daily budget. Tell them how much you want to spend each day, and they’ll spend it, plus about 20 percent. They always go over. Taboola has a monthly budget you can break down daily.

The audience targeting on both platforms is pretty much the same. Choose from geographic location and exclude publications where you don’t want to run ads.

For example, if you sell business coaching, you probably don’t want your ad on TMZ.com. The best way to narrow down your audience is by excluding as many publications as you can. Do that, and I guarantee your ads will only run on the ones you most want.

Taboola assigns you a rep. Your rep sells you a package and then sends over a doc-u-sign paper agreement. I had to commit to $5,000 and a $.45/per click rate.

I didn’t have a set time frame to spend the $5K. I just had to agree to spend it.

When I set my first campaign with a budget of $500 with Taboola, I spent the $500 in like 30 seconds! They have so much traffic it was nothing to them. Literally, my entire spend was gone in seconds. Google Analytics reflected the stats were real, too. I had around 1,200 clicks in a few seconds. NUTS!!!

Outbrain didn’t give me a rep. 🙁

I did everything electronically and was up and running with my first campaign in minutes flat. They don’t ask for a minimum buy-in and I could set a daily limit on clicks. Outbrain spaces the clicks out over the entire day. 🙂

While I paid $.45/click at Taboola, I averaged $.10/click at Outbrain. The quality of traffic and site distributions are similar, so I calculated I’m getting more bang for my buck at Outbrain.

When To Use Outbrain Vs. Taboola?

Taboola has a lot more traffic, so if your goal is purely volume of clicks – go with Taboola.

Outbrain, was easier to use (despite not having a rep), and was easier on the wallet. If you’re just getting started with native ads, or if you’re purely just trying to get more traffic to your blog – go with Outbrain.

I still use Taboola, too. Because there’re some great sites where I want to run my content. Like Forbes and CNBC. I place my ads there for branding and such. Especially since the pixel tracking in my site can retarget them on Facebook and the Ad Network. So there’s a need for me to use both. Plus, I like my ads anywhere I can get them.

If you’ve been considering other places to run ads outside of Google PPC, Facebook and the other usual suspects, and you have some serious headline writing skills, you should run some tests on Outbrain first. Once you get the results you want, commit and use Taboola as well.