A brief introduction about Alex:
Alex is an e-commerce specialist and Facebook Ads Expert. His prowess in this industry has allowed Alex to grab the 2-comma club award. It is because of his proficient and precision skills in Facebook ads and e-commerce that Alex has got his clients business worth more than $100 million.
A facebook Guru, an ads expert Alex has become a successful brand in the 21st Century’s e-commerce expansion ecosystem.
Born in Ukraine, Alex went from SEO to Google Ads, to e-commerce until finally, he stumbled upon Facebook Ads. His interest in Fb Ads was born out of client requirements and this got him started only to become one of the most proactive individuals in this niche.
His understanding of Facebook and the implementation of strategies to get more business from the largest Social network in the world is just awesome.
In talks with Sandeep Kumar, let’s understand the nuances of Facebook Advertising and advanced strategies shared by the expert himself.
The Interview Begins:
Sandeep Kumar: What type of e-commerce projects are you working on? Do you have any niche brand or product under your ambit?
Alex Fedotoff: First of all I like products that have high potential and give provide more profit. These products must have a higher value, they are more competitive. The motive is to use those products that can be scaled up and are waiting to be ignited and ensure higher outcomes. Secondly, I look at the market share of the products and if they have the attributes to reach out to a higher market audience.
Also, our profit margins to work with a product is somewhere between 20 to 40%. Then we try to leverage the most out of that product’s properties and use quick funnels plus custom-built funnels and expand the outreach. It is like taking one product and squeezing it only to get the most out of it.
Sandeep Kumar: Ok, I guess your preferred regions are the markets of Europe and the USA?
Alex Fedotoff: Yeah, our aim is to look for markets in developed countries and benefit from the kind of exposure that they provide for Facebook Ads.
Sandeep Kumar: There is a unique trend that I have noticed. Every time a new store, business or a product is promoted through Facebook Ads, initially, the conversions are good. The business starts to show some growth. But after a few days, say 10 to 15 days later the curve starts to decline. It is almost like an inverted U-shaped curve. Why is that and what is the way out of this?
Alex Fedotoff: Well, starting out you need to understand that it is a competitive landscape. There are more than 6 million advertisers out there who are trying to pitch their product as the best one through the ads. Another reason for this drop can be due to the fact that you have simply outrun the course. This happens when you run Facebook ads heavily, something I call as Ad fatigue. You have exhausted your target market. Because if there are, for instance, 1 million people who can buy your product, it is not necessary that your ad will reach to all of them. It may happen that facebook has not optimized for all audiences. Or it can also be attributed to the reason that your ads are not strong enough to make a lasting impression.
To check the performance for my ads I have set the benchmark of more than 3% unique click rates. Because if that happens it means that my ad is resonating with the audience and I am getting some response. And if the click rate starts to drop down, then it can be because I was not creative enough while posting the ad. You need to know that being creative is the biggest part of success in facebook ads.
Moreover, the Facebook algorithm is very smart. It works in a unique manner. I will tell you how. I have some accounts which are working on the very basic attributes. Like we only have the country gender and age. There are no interests.
Sandeep Kumar: But the pixels for these accounts is mature enough to perform that well like they must have thousands of conversions.
Alex Fedotoff: Yes, the pixels for these accounts is mature enough indeed. But what I do is work in dual stages. First is to provide all the relevant data to your pixel. This is to groom your pixel with the data and as soon as the account starts to perform better, the targeting has to expand. I choose a broad area of audiences and let Facebook optimize it further. And this method works for products that are appealing to a large audience. This is one of the reasons why I work with beauty products because their target audience is almost universal.
And let me tell you something interesting. I have been called to the Facebook headquarters almost after every couple of months. I go there and see what all is happening with their platform. Down the line, Facebook is aiming to remove all kinds of targeting and selecting your interests. It will like answering a few basic questions including the type of industry, ideal customer and the target.
And when you realize it, creativity and message are the only two things that will need your entire focus. This is what everyone should do now too. Just focus on being creative.
Sandeep Kumar: Ok, so moving on, let’s talk about the expenses. What kind of budget do you like to set for a new store?
I have seen some people start the ads with $5 a day budget. But I think this is too less seeing to the CPM rates and the outreach of the big developed country markets. Moreover, what do you think should be the first target of the budget that we can set for a new store, shall it be ‘Add to cart’ or ‘View Content’ or just ‘Purchase’? Also, what is your recommendation for the audience size?
Alex Fedotoff: Ok, so what I do is create 5 different ad sets and then choose 5 different audiences. This will give me a head start and I will have the potential to look at more variables than what I will get with one ad set and one audience.
As for the budget is concerned, I would recommend $20 for a new store initially. But here too, a lot depends on your creativity, your website, and your funnel. If your website is good and can generate more conversions, expanding the budget should not be a concern. But the $20 that you will spend can give you an idea of the click rates and get some more data. The point is to confirm whether your message is resonating with the audience or not. But you need to find a matching audience first and then you can expand on that audience with ease.
Sandeep Kumar: What about the specific pixel that we need to target? Like should it be view content, add to cart, purchase and so on..
Alex Fedotoff: Mos of my ad sets take the audience straight to purchase. Add to cart is when the product has a higher value. View content is not something that I think will make any difference.
Sandeep Kumar: But what I have observed is that people who go for add to cart they just don’t continue their purchase any time soon. And like we can use this to optimize the ads and convert them into sales
Alex Fedotoff: I think that around 60 to 70% of the purchases from Facebook ads go to add to cart. This means that Facebook has a lot of data and they will show these ads to the people.
Sandeep Kumar: Further, I have seen that the US market CPM is way too high. It is like $20 at the very first step. And then I have seen the CPM to be as high as $50, $60 or even $70. What can one do to bring it down?
Alex Fedotoff: Ok, the method to lower down the CPM is increasing the engagement. And to do that you need to add an emotional factor to your ads. Trigger their emotional point and then you can see the rate coming down. But here too the key point is to know your customer. Like what you can do is add a story of a person who had some family issues due to overweight and these issues were resolved after using a weight loss product. Here if your ad which promotes a weight loss product will have a higher chance of conversion than the one which does not trigger an emotional response in the reader.
Sandeep Kumar: Ok, but then another question arises, what should be the ideal size of the ad copy. Because adding a story to it can make it a bit lengthy.
Alex Fedotoff: Well, this depends on the product entirely. Selling a $15 or $20 t-shirt will only require one or two sentences in the ad along with a couple of pictures. But when it comes to selling a gadget that will cost a bit more than you need to add that story angle and build up in stages. Like first, you need something to attract their attention, then tell a story which resonates with that person and then further add some elements to cement their interest.
You need to think about what the buyer must be thinking. Like if they are at work and just scrolling down their newsfeed and suddenly something attractive shows up. This gets them to click on it and converse further with your ad.
This means that you can make a long ad copy if the need arises.
But what I wouldn’t do is add the obsolete elements to make your ad copy more attractive. Like, offering discounts, coupons and other such boring stuff. You need to show the benefits of the product to the end-user, remember, a benefit-driven will resonate more with the audience.
Sandeep Kumar: I have also seen a lot of advertisers add emojis or excessive URLs to their ad copies. Do you think it works to their benefit?
Alex Fedotoff: I guess no because today’s customer has become sophisticated. They want value and not spam. So, if the customer has changed, the marketer also has to change and become sophisticated in order to resonate well with their target audiences.
Sandeep Kumar: let’s talk about dropshipping. Like I have noticed a few changes perpetrated by Facebook this year only when they have included the feedback feature in the drop shipping. Moreover, they have also started declining the stores. What do you think is the future of Drop Shipping in 2019 or 2020 and what should a marketer do to approach these changes?
Alex Fedotoff: The future of dropshipping is strong, as long as people find it profitable and they find the right product to market. The reason a lot of people do drop shipping from China because the margins are good enough to allow them to continue with it.
For a marketer, the recent changes mean that they have to upscale their service and facilities. They need to bring the products to the country, ship them faster and provide better customer service.
This is also important to sustain on Facebook or otherwise, they risk being banned from Facebook or even being a marketer. I have seen some people who I know are banned from Facebook to advertise. And this is not as a business or through some company, but they are banned as an individual.
Sandeep Kumar: And the reason for their banishment is the type of ads they run or something else?
Alex Fedotoff: Yes, it can be due to the type of ads they run. But there are other reasons like a lot of disabled accounts, or they are working from a country which people do not trust that much. I have seen some people facing problems because they were logging in to their accounts from different locations even though they are working in the US.
Understand it as a business and Facebook is also running their own business and want to eliminate risk. And why should they allow such activities? On a larger scale, these smaller risks add up to become one big factor and moreover, why would Facebook want a lawsuit.
This is the main reason they want to work with legit businesses. This means that your business is operating from one location, you work constantly from here, your credit cards are all operating from one location, there are no due bills.
In the end, Facebook is looking for more consistency, that’s all.
Sandeep Kumar: Right, they are running a business. But what is the solution to come out of this?
Like one of my clients was shocked to see that 20 to 25 of her Facebook businesses and ad accounts were disabled in under a minute. Is there a way to come out of it?
Alex Fedotoff: Well, the key is to just give in. All you can do is reach out to Facebook and admit that you were wrong and have not followed the rules in posting your ads. Tell them that you will be compliant in the future. That you want to run your ads with everything done according to the book.
You need to convince these guys that you want to work with them and will show full compliance with their norms and regulations.
Think of the small chance that you have. Like someone sitting in the Facebook, office is reading lines like why have you disabled my account or I have not done anything wrong, or even reactivate my account and such stuff.
No, you cannot do that. Just take the chance that you have, admit your mistakes and get your account back.
Sandeep Kumar: Exactly I have seen people give reasons like, I am new to this business, or that I have done it right, or I don’t know how to do it. These things do not work.
Alex Fedotoff: Exactly, like why should they do it. For them, your business is a risk and if someone sues a business that is run through Facebook, the same person can also use Facebook because they saw the ad to buy a product from this platform only. So, in turn, Facebook is a party to this deal.
Sandeep Kumar: Well, that’s amazing to know. Moving on, let’s talk about scaling the business. I am aware of your suggestions regarding the CBO and other such methods that may help scale the business. But CBO needs a whole new level of understanding. But how can you scale a business from the perspective of a store owner which is growing?
Alex Fedotoff: Talking about CBO understand that it may not work with all the accounts. And it would not be a smart choice to continue working with a method which does not give you results.
Instead what you can do is use the methods that are available to you on a daily basis. For instance, you can modify or add to the regular adsets, tweak your budgeting.
In order to scale, you can use broad interests or a combination of such interests embedded into one adset and set a higher budget for the same.
Another way is to use look-alikes. You will find a lot of such portals that have your target audience’s look-alikes.
All of these are good options to make your business scale up and grow. But at the end of the day, your creativity is something that can make a real difference in it all. Because if you have good ads that are appropriate and are made with creativity, scaling comes naturally. Along with this, you also need to know your customer. Good ads combined with customer knowledge makes for a scalable ad on the whole.
Let me tell why good ads are important. You see that I have trained many people and the only thing that I taught them was how to be creative and develop good ads that are decorated with stories, excerpts that resonate with the audience. And initially, they used to spend $100 per day on their ads. But now, they spend around $3000 to $4000 on these ads and are still earning a profit.
So, the key is to be creative, be empathic, know what your customer is looking for, and be consistent.
Sandeep Kumar: Well, that is interesting to learn. Another thing that I want to ask is what are the things that you would recommend should be there in every ad that we run. Like is there is a set of templates that you can tell us about?
Alex Fedotoff: I wish there was one. But no, every kind of industry has a different ecosystem. So, what I would like to do is first check with someone who has it all figured out in your industry. Someone who knows how to approach the customers, how to run successful ads, to get some ideas, methods, and emulate the model.
Sandeep Kumar: Just like the ads library provided by Facebook. That is an amazing platform.
Alex Pedotoff: Yes, exactly. You can check the library and see what kind of ads are made with reference to a specific industry. Like how do these ads converse with the audience and how do they engage with them. But make sure to add your own unique angle to it. But you also have to find that uniqueness.
For instance, you observe your competitor ads and notice that people are complaining about slow shipping speed or the size does not fit. To get around this, you can mention in your ads something like fast shipping and free returns. That is how you can solve a problem for the audience and pitch the same product with a unique angle.
Again, communicate to your customer what kind of problem does your product solve. Like how can you communicate better with a story that shows a mirror to the audience and convinces them to take action?
You know I have observed some people use testimonials and customer reviews to pitch their products.
Sandeep Kumar: Exactly, a marketer can use these testimonials in their MOFU or BOFU campaigns. Like this can become a tool for remarketing.
Alex Fedotoff: No, use them on the front end. It can happen that the first ad that you show to the people can be a customer testimonial. I have worked with such a strategy and run ads on the front with these testimonials. And these ads run very well.
Because with this you will answer all the objections that a customer may have even before they ask it.
Sandeep Kumar: That’s a cool hack! What about the spy tools? Are there any good spy tools that can let you hack through and get you the customer interests or can they help you understand what interests are your competitors working on?
Alex Pedotoff: I am using X PI. It is a good tool and has a lot of filters. For instance, the time frames, niches, ad platforms and much more.
And when it comes to knowing what interests my competitors are targeting, I do not care what they are doing. You see if they have a well-groomed and mature pixel account and they can afford to target broad audiences, then it has nothing to do with me.
A big part of being an advertiser is that you will have to spend some money without getting any returns. It is a part of your learning curve and it is unavoidable.
Sandeep Kumar: So, in the end, I would like to also ask you about the landing pages. Because I know that these pages have a big role to play when it comes to conversions. What do you think should be there on a landing page of a website that can help us increase the conversion rates.
Alex Fedotoff: The most important thing is the link between your ad and the landing page. Like you need to show the most important thing about your product on the top and visible to the user as soon as he/she lands on the page. Plus, the title of the product has to be benefit-driven. It needs to tell people that this product solves this particular problem. Also, the Add to Cart button should be on the top of the page too. Do not let the visitor search for the buy button. Make it big, make it bold and bright.
Along with this, make sure that the other pages are also visible enough to the viewer. Show the product from different angles, from different perspectives, add some other graphics to the page. Show videos of the product when it is in use. Include all kinds of details on these pages. Add information about the product, what it does, who does it benefit and all that. Add the shipping address on these pages.
Plus, what you can do it gather some feedback about your product and observe what people are looking for. Just implement the new information on your website and clear all the customer objections.