Category: Blog


Bots vs Email – Which One Is Better?

Bots vs Email – An Analysis of Three Different Campaigns & Results

Being in the digital marketing space for a while, I’m used to new features, trends and technologies and the sheer panic that comes every time something new rolls out and the desire to become competent enough so to not become redundant – I think if you’re in the FB ads or digital marketing space you would have experienced this as well at some stage.

But bots are a bit different.

Otherwise known as “chatbots”, bots are essentially software technologies that automate tasks and enable almost human-like interactions.  Tech giants like Microsoft and Google  are all chomping at the bit to make waves in this space, and a recent study unveiled that nearly 180 bot startups have attracted over $24 BILLION in funding to date.

And – of course – Facebook is paving the way with Messenger, its open API allowing companies like ChatFuel and ManyChat to build software that allow use to use the platform as part of our sales funnels.

Bots, bots, bots, everywhere you look there’s a bot.

They’re pretty awesome, and novel – a combination that usually results in lucrative marketing ROI.

But do they actually work?

I mean, how do they actually stack up against the reigning king of email….

I decided to find out.

 

THE TEST

Before you read on, I wish to stress that this is a test done over three campaigns across three different businesses. it’s definitely NOT the most scientific or robust of testing as my audiences and the products I sell may of course result if wildly different results to what you might get.

But in my case – what I’m interested is if bots actually do improve conversion rates and results for my clients and for my own businesses.

THE BUSINESSES

I ran the split test on three different products, these “guinea pigs” were:

– FB ads management (lead gen campaign)
– The Academy (a webinar training funnel)
– Real Estate (lead gen campaign)

THE FUNNEL

Each product was funnelled through the same way

FB Ad > Messenger Bot > Bot Sequence

It’s importan to note here that one of the very big drawbacks of using bots is the inability to retarget users (you can create a Custom Audience of those that messaged your page but this will target EVERYONE that messaged your page within a specific timeframe, not just those in that specific funnel).  And while the open rates for bots are very high (as you’ll see below) – this severely limited results.

THE TOOLS

I tested and tried the following tools to build these campaigns (these are not affiliate links, just what I used, I’m sure there’s better stuff out there as well although my personal preference was Chatfuel)

  • ManyChat
  • Chatfuel
  • FB Ad Account
  • Email CRM

THE CAMPAIGNS

I tested over $35,000 across the three different funnels – this was split between the standard landing page funnel and the bot funnel and the test was run for a period of two months.

 

I was almost 1000% sure that the bots were going to win out – the engagement on the ad posts using the bots was phenomenal… but I was wrong.

THE FINDINGS

Here’s what excited me most about this test. My target audience IS Facebook/social media marketers. I am literally targeting the one subset of the population that technically should be extremely receptive to bots. And – in fact – they WERE! The bot uptake was massive, but the backend conversion rates didn’t even come close to email.

The second campaign

 

The third campaign

 

While the bot open rates and click through rates were on average higher than email respectively, email sequence won the day for every single funnel and business when it came to the ultimate and most important figure – cost per lead.

The backend conversion rates didn’t even come close to email. I can see why…

This really surprised me to be honest. But after thinking about it I could sort of see why.

The front end uptake is high – but back end conversions are weaker…remind you of something?

Lead ads.

Lead ads are notorious for “cheap leads” in the FB ad world.  They’re actually not cheap leads, they’re just harder to convert.

Why?

One explanation is the popular “foot in the door” theory, otherwise known as the “small yes”. The principle is this: Start by asking someone for something small. If they comply with your first small request, they will be more likely to respond to your next and bigger request.

But lead ads and bots are almost TOO easy. They require minimal effort from the lead – leading to a great user experience, but a not so great sales pipeline. On the other hand, landing pages where a user needs to push a button then fill in their details is a slightly bigger commitment, and it seems that this slight increase in commitment makes the world of difference.

A Variation to Be Careful Of…

There are some factors which could have tainted the results.  I did not run the campaigns at the same time, one was paused whilst the other was live. So because it’s over different months, one could argue that this alone would cause variances and skews.

 

Email stats (above)

Bot stats (above)

Effortless isn’t always great news for sales funnels.

 Lead ads and bots are almost TOO easy.

I’ve since turned off my bot funnels and scaled up my standard funnels – I’ll test it out again in a month or two and will update this post accordingly.

I’m in NO WAY saying bots aren’t good.  This was literally a test run over three businesses and three funnels -and while a lot of budget was spent here, it’s really not the most robust of tests. Likewise, the bot results weren’t actually bad, on the contrary they were quite good – so if I was looking to scale en masse I would have used this strategy.

So while I can’t conclusively say that bots aren’t better than email what I can say without a shadow of a doubt from this test is that EMAIL IS NOT DEAD – far from it infact!

Have you tested the two against each other, what were your results?

How to Use the New Facebook Analytics Tool: Funnels

In this video I walk you through a cool new feature: Facebook Analytics Funnels that allows you to map out your FB ad funnels and get an instant snapshot of how your funnels are performing and if each step is converting where it should be.

To access this new feature, click on  ‘Analytics’ from your ad account.

Facebook Analytics tool

Accessing the new Facebook analytics tool

Facebook Ad Formats 2017

 

Facebook ad formats 2017 – the latest specs and sizes for all the FB ad formats available

Download printable A4: https://www.dropbox.com/s/qknq1cm7gw0gpbr/FBadsInfographicA4.pdf?dl=0

Download printable image format:  https://www.dropbox.com/s/vmpm2pk5czhw9qc/FBad-infographic3.pdf?dl=0

 

Facebook oCPM vs CPM – what works best in Facebook Ads

oCPM vs CPM

 

The word oCPM is getting thrown around a lot these days, but few understand the actual meaning – or rather – the implications of what this stands for and how to leverage it in campaigns.

For those of you who haven’t come across the terms before:

oCPM: optimised cost per thousand miles/impressions

CPM: cost per thousand impressions

oCPM vs CPM – THE SIMPLE EXPLANATION

Facebook can either choose to optimise ads for impressions (CPM) or optimise for a specific action.

Here’s how it works in practice: Facebook KNOWS that certain people in your audience will be more likely to perform on action over another.  This includes retargeting/warm audiences.

It knows this because it’s reading your emails, it’s following your online searches and behaviours, it’s seeing all your content and interactions through Facebook, it’s even listening to your actual conversation via Messenger! 

It has a lot of data on you.

It knows if you are in the Consideration phase of a marketing funnel, or the Acquisition phase – it knows the difference between you wanting to book a trip overseas and just looking for trips overseas or if you’re just an avid travel content junkie.

The easiest way to think of this is to compare it to Google Adwords. Google allows you to run display ads (blanket marketing) or to target people based on search (people in the consideration phase of the funnel)* (big props to Tom Hiscocks for this analogy!)

…Think of it like this 

Facebook is pretty much the same – it can feed your ad out to replicate a blanket display marketing approach OR show your ad to those most likely to perform action (search).  The latter is part of the algorithm called Expected Action.

The main difference here is that – unlike Google where you need to run one or the other (Search or Display), Facebook will switch between the two automatically and can also be controlled manually by you.

CPM is therefore blanket marketing – Facebook will try and get the best CPM (cost per thousand impressions).

oCPM is leveraging Facebook’s data brain to optimise your campaigns for an action you want.  The CPM will typically be more expensive here, however, results for that specific action will typically be more effective.

How do I Know If I’m Using oCPM?  

With the exception of Brand Awareness and Reach campaigns – every campaign objective has the ability to use oCPM.

The above illustrated the campaign objectives that allow for optimised cost per mile (oCPM).

When you are using one of these objectives – at your ad set level, you can select between CPM and oCPM by selecting the conversion event or link clicks.

oCPM = Link Clicks or Conversion ad set delivery optimisation 

CPM = impression or reach ad set delivery optimisation 

oCPM CPM Facebook ads

 

oCPM vs CPM – WHICH ONE SHOULD I CHOOSE? 

Facebook recommends that you use oCPM where possible.  While your CPM will typically be more expensive here, your results will be improved.

However, below is a general graph/guideline on the strategic application of oCPM vs CPM.

oCPM vs CPM: Facebook ads

Using CPM is typically done in situations where: 

  • Your ads are stalling (i.e: you are losing in the auction process)
  • You need mass awareness/reach – popular with brands
  • You’re CPM is costing you way too much (again: you’re losing in auction process – read more on why here)

In the above, you’ll notice that Link Clicks is also counted as oCPM – this is because it’s still optimising for a specific action (Link Clicks).

oCPM vs CPM – FINAL NOTE  

oCPM simply means bidding for an OPTIMISED ACTION on Facebook.  It’s using Facebook data to improve our results.  CPM simply means bidding for impressions.

Got any questions of oCPM vs CPM?  Pop ’em below of joining me in the Facebook ad Hacks group. 

The Hiring Washing Machine…

On paper, hiring is pretty simple.

Put out a job listing, screen the candidates, see if you vibe together, bring them into the business, train them up, and set them loose on your accounts.

Simple.

They’ll take work off your hands, free you up to bring in even MORE business, so that you can then hire your next team member, (so that you can be less IN your business and work more ON the business.)

Rinse and repeat until you have a well-oiled million-dollar machine.

Facebook Groups: The underdog of marketing tools

Facebook Groups

It’s no secret that Facebook can do amazing things for your business. More and more businesses are looking to Facebook ads, and it’s almost impossible to fathom that in 2017 any given business wouldn’t have a Facebook Business Page.

And while Facebook Pages are undoubtedly an asset to any business, there is one majorly powerful marketing tool which continues to be wrongfully underestimated.

Facebook Groups.

Facebook’s Gift to Small Business: Local Awareness Ads

Facebooklocalads

For years, NZ business owners trying to promote their small local business on Facebook struggled with targeting.

 

Even with all the Interest or demographic segmenting, localising ads was near impossible and the result was a Grey Lynn shop promoting ads to South Auckland just to ensure adequate reach of message. The experience has been – for the most part – a grim one.

But Facebook recently rolled out their Local Awareness Ads and these are now available in NZ! Can I get a Hallelujah!