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How We Drove $182,324.83 in Sales With Facebook Ads

  • October 21, 2016

About the author

Ryan Stewart

I have an unhealthy obsession with being considered the world's BEST internet marketer. I'm highly active on social media and love a good debate.

Video: A case study covering the strategy I used to generate $182,324.83 in sales from about $4,000 in ad spend (selling a link building training course).

Below: A bulleted format of the video, covering the need to know tips about running a profitable Facebook ad campaign.


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1. Make sure your Facebook Pixel is setup

A tracking code placed in the <head> of your website allowing you to track conversions and collect retargeting data. It’s incredibly important your pixel is setup properly before you run any traffic from Facebook. It’s impossible to do anything of value without this setup!

Facebook Pixel Help



2. Use Google Tag Manager, not heavy plugins

Google Tag Manager is a must for agile marketing. It allows you to easily add important website tags, markups and schema without a developer. With this on your site, you can add the Facebook Pixel in seconds.



3. Great remarketing audiences need to be BUILT

There’s generally a lot of confusion about Facebook Audiences, particularly remarketing. Your standard list doesn’t the job done, the key is use your remarketing data to build custom audiences with intent.

Creating Custom Audiences

a. Customer File

Great if you have a good email database. Whether it’s customers or a newsletter list, it’s an incredibly cost effective way to remarket to warm audiences.

b. Website Traffic

Just because someone came to your website, does not mean you should remarket to them. Standard website conversion rate is around 1.5%, that means 98.5% of people are NOT ready to buy what you’re selling. Simply running ads to get them back to your site is a waste of time, they aren’t interested. However, Facebook allows you to segment your remarketing list with URL and duration combinations.

Custom Audiences

One of my favorites is creating audiences based on non-converters of key landing pages (especially if you’re in lead generation or SaaS business). Segmentation like this cuts your remarketing list into small pieces of people who have demonstrated intent.

Building Audiences

c. App Activity

If you have a Facebook app, you can extract valuable data to build an audience. Personally, I haven’t used this Audience type, simply because I haven’t come across the opportunity. We’ve been experimenting with Apps lately using our experienced Facebook App developers, more case studies coming soon!

d. Engagement on Facebook

This Audience type is everything and a bag of f@cking chips. We use video to build incredibly targeted and engaged audiences. Within Custom Audiences, you have the ability to retargeting people who have watched your videos to a certain length.


What we do is continuously promote high level videos to cold audiences based on interest (SEO, marketing, etc). Every time someone watches 10 seconds or more of our videos, they get added to a custom audience that we can advertise to. This audience is incredibly cheap to target because they’re engaged, highly aware of the brand and highly interested in our content.

As time goes on, we’re reaching more people and paying less



4. Lookalike Audiences are how you scale good campaigns

Audiences that drive conversions are small and highly focused and because of this, you can exhaust them pretty quickly. Lookalike Audiences are Facebook’s solution – all you do is give the platform an audience that’s working for you, they go out and find similar (aka lookalike) people and build them into an audience.
Lookalike Audiences

Trust in Facebook – they’ve got a scary amount of data, Lookalike audiences are incredibly accurate when you give the right input.



5. Use “Interest” targeting to find new audiences, but keep it simple

Interest targeting is how I drive new people into my custom audiences, they’re incredibly accurate and easy to setup. The key is to focus on 1 interest at a time – this allows you to understand how that audience performs. If you use 2, you can’t understand which one is driving success / failure.

Interest Targeting

If you need to narrow the audience, layer on demographic and location targeting.

Demo targeting


6. Get advanced with “Narrowed” targeting

Interest targeting is broad, and often requires more modifications to make the audience viable. My favorite way to do that is using the “Narrow Audience” capability.

Narrowed Facebook Audiences

Think of this as a Venn diagram – you can segment significantly with the right pairing. In the screen above, you can see I’m targeting people in the digital marketing industry who are also interested in Chamber of Commerce, aka likely business owners or entrepreneurs.



7. Consult Audience Insights for verification

Specifically when you’re working with “cold” audiences, the tool will tell you more about a specific audience. I often use this as a means to verify the targeting.

Using Facebook Audience Insights

You can use it to find new audiences or deep dive into ones of interest. We also leverage the tool for building out audience personas for content marketing.



8. Don’t overcomplicate “Ad Type”, tell Facebook what you want

If you want leads, select leads. If you want video views, select video views. Facebook’s algorithm auto segments the audience you create to serve them ads they’re most likely to take action on. For example, I watch a lot of videos, so the ONLY ads I get served are video ads.

Selecting Facebook AD TYPE



9. Content is THE major key to success

If you approach Facebook Ads like Google PPC Ads, you’re going to fail. The key is building value, awareness and attention on Facebook, before asking them to leave the network and take action.

This is done through the use of content (i.e. blog posts, guides, infographics, webinars) that are NOT gated (i.e. opt in required to consume). Please, PLEASE watch the video in the header for more inform.


10. But video is the MOST major key

If you run video traffic, your chances of success are much, MUCH higher. I will NEVER run an image ad, ever again – it’s that serious. Creating video is difficult, expensive or resource intensive but you can hack it by creating slideshow format ads.

Facebook Video Ads



11. Without a funnel, you’re screwed

Selling to people takes 5 – 8 touch points before they’re a legitimate sales lead – a funnel hacks that process. The video above shows you exactly how I setup a funnel for my training course. Have you still not watched it? Seriously, the video is 100x better than this post.


12. Read, understand and ACT on your data

Facebook gives incredibly detailed reporting that’s easily accessible. You should be using this data to better understand who you’re targeting and how you can optimize that targeting for increasing performance.

Facebook Ad Report

For example, if you’re running traffic without a geo-modified location, segment that ad by location and find out where CPMs, clicks and engagement are cheapest. Then, duplicate that ad and change the geo targeting to run only in that location.

This is applicable to everything – sex, location, language, device type.


That’s all I’ve got. This is by no means an exhaustive list and I’m hoping you guys list yours in the comments.

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Comments ( 66 )

  • Brian Driscoll Says
    7 years ago

    Yes, this is exactly what people need to be doing. I find myself ignoring more and more FB ads, because like you said, they are just opt-in clickbait. Brands need to be providing much more upfront value, and it seems from what you are putting out, quality FB videos is a great way to give a quick, easy-to-consume piece of content.

    And *thumbs up* for mentioning ads with CC images. CMON ITS AN AD! Treat it like one. =)

    Considering that it is so cheap, is this just being underused? Will it grow in price?

  • Ryan Stewart Says
    7 years ago

    it depends on the audience you’re advertising to. i’ve already seen CPMs go WAY UP to target marketing professionals, so yes, as more people advertise the more expensive it gets.

  • Mark Says
    7 years ago

    Great guide and will try deploying on a new ecom website. Any comprehensive (updated) guides on running fb ads for ecom?

  • Mike Says
    7 years ago

    Hey Ryan what are you currently using for creating funnels?

  • Kurban Ali Says
    7 years ago

    Hey Ryan, I got a question for you. You didn’t say anything about – Optimization for Ad Delivery. Which one you prefer to get better result – Post Engagement, Impressions, Daily Unique Reach ?

  • Ryan Stewart Says
    7 years ago

    we do it all manually, custom design and development – clickfunnels is a good software to build one out if youre on a tight budget

  • Ryan Stewart Says
    7 years ago

    we just let the default run, i believe thats post engagement (depending on ad type)

  • Ryan Stewart Says
    7 years ago

    in the future we will for sure

  • Brian Driscoll Says
    7 years ago

    Thanks for answering that. Useful to get context on how the industry is shifting. Cheers!

  • Stuart Says
    7 years ago

    Hi Ryan, thanks for the great video. Can you explain why you run a video ad driving people to the webinar/blog post video rather than just run the webinar video directly as a Facebook video ad and retarget from that?

  • Ryan Stewart Says
    7 years ago

    on facebook, people dont want to want more than 1 – 3 minutes of video, yo uneed to get them off FB to watch a webinar

  • Martin Says
    7 years ago


    This is great. I’ve been wanting to set up and run Facebook ads, but it seemed overwhelming. Your clear explanation, step-by-step guide (and video) and results obtained are what I needed to get started. Thanks.

  • Ryan Stewart Says
    7 years ago

    youre very welcome!

  • shin Says
    7 years ago

    great training man thank you

  • Luke Says
    5 years ago

    Great video

    Thank you very much

  • Ryan Stewart Says
    5 years ago

    you’r welcome luke!

  • Stephany Jane Says
    5 years ago

    Awesome facebook advertising tips. As we are newly started real estate firm in Sunshine Coast, we are planning to promote our business through your agency. Thanks for sharing.

  • Ryan Stewart Says
    5 years ago

    You are welcome!

  • Kate Says
    5 years ago

    Thank you for this really informative article. I would also add that you can target your competitors’ audience on Facebook. As we can’t do it directly through Facebook it would be necessary to use some third-party tool as e.g. LeadEnforce.com. The thing is that competitor’s audience contains perfect potential customers for your business. So showing your ad to them is much better than showing it to random people.

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    6 months ago

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