Facebook mobile.

[Case Study] Facebook and Instagram Ads: How to go from $0 to $43,000/day Ad Spend on Facebook in 60 Days

Facebook ads for mobile apps.

Crunch time. An App partner (iOS & Android) needed to get a massive volume of installs ASAP to support a critical holiday important for their annual revenue and new customer acquisition. 

Over 60 days we went from $0 to $43,000 per day ad spend on Facebook & Instagram. Along the way we helped the app achieve its best revenue day ever, tripled their Instagram following (a positive side effect of the massive spend, and engaging ad creative), and brought in millions in lifetime value (LTV), all while keeping cost per install (CPI) on target. 

We’ll be using “CPI” a lot in this article, so take a moment to sear its meaning into your brain before you read on. Say it with me: “CPI = Cost per Install” 

Here’s what’s included:

  • Overview
  • Campaign Setup and Results Summary
  • Days 1-30: Testing to Find Facebook Ads, Audiences, and Settings that Scale
    • Creative that Scale 
    • Audiences that Scale
    • Ads Settings that Scale
    • Tracking Troubleshooting
  • Days 31-60 The Ramp Up and Final Push
    • More testing; audiences, creative, and settings 
    • Push Budgets to Winners  
    • Event Specific Creative Push 
    • Emergency! Account Spend Limit Hit & Workaround 
    • Emergency! App Stability 
    • Final Push and Rising CPI
  • Summary 
    • Top Ads
    • Performance 
    • Final Assessment and Key Takeaways

Campaign Setup and Results Summary: 

App install campaign data from Facebook Ads.

  • The Client: iOS and Android App with in-App Purchases 
  • Primary Channel: Facebook and Instagram App Install Ads
  • Supporting Channels:
    • iOS App Store Ads 
    • Google App Install Ads 
    • Pinterest App Install Ads 
    • Email (To drive in-app purchases and user-adoption post install) 
  • The Geo: 🇺🇸
  • The Results:
    • 60 Days
    • $263,000 Spend 
    • 97,975 Installs 
    • $2.68 Cost per Install (CPI) 
    • 9.2m Facebook Reach 
    • 26.8m Facebook Impressions 
  • Best revenue day in company history 
    • Bonus Performance Metrics
      • 2.1m video views 
      • 54,000 post reactions 
      • 11,000 post shares 
      • 6,000 New Instagram followers
      • Multiple ad variations went viral 
      • Featured in the App Store

Days 1-30: Identify Facebook Audiences, Creative, and Settings that Will Scale 

After an initial planning, strategy, and goal alignment phase we jumped in. In order to protect costs and efficiency, we spent the first 30 days testing creative concepts including layout variations, and ad copy; we tested 68 audiences, and different bid optimization strategies. This section will get into what and how we tested in the first 30 days. 

Finding Creative the Scales

We went through years of creative in the Facebook Ads Manager and identified ad variations and their attributes of top past performers. We looked at metrics like click through rate (CTR), cost per install (CPI), ad quality metrics and more to identify top ads. We looked at the ads copy, creative, CTAs, and ad formats (single image, carousel, and video). 

This research revealed: 

  • Top formats: Carousel, Single Image, Video 
  • Top creative: was explanatory or had humor 
  • Top Audiences were list and event based lookalikes 

The research resulted in 12 ad concepts to be paired with the different ad formats and creative. We used existing client creative, and worked with their design team on new creative options. 

Creative testing leaned on Facebook’s algorithm to serve the ad variation that would work best. Ad sets typically had 2-6 creative variations, and the Facebook algorithm would move budget to top performers, but the Facebook Algorithm didn’t work alone. 

The Tuff team would monitor ads daily, and turn off any ad variations or ad sets that had high CPI. This would force Facebook to spend more on the other variations, which sometimes would go on to become winners.  

Audience Research

The audience investigation was similar. What audiences had the best performance metrics? Were they segmented by age, gender, or geography? Were there exclusions (users specified not to receive an ad, e.g., existing app users?) 

Though we had initial ideas on what audiences would perform well, seeing historical audience performance, gave us a running start on audience development. 

Audience targeting results on Facebook.

For early learnings we looked at Facebook Demographic reporting in the Ad Account Overview. By Looking at Mobile App Installs compared to Amount Spent, we were able to identify which demographics were likely to have the best performance. In this instance we’re looking at the ratio of mobile app installs to amount spent by age group. To note, this trend didn’t hold through the 60 day push, so it is important to continue to target all ages so opportunities for installs aren’t missed. 

Note: Audiences are selected at the Ad Set level in the Facebook Ads Manager. At times in this Facebook case study, you may hear audiences and ad sets used interchangeably. 

Generally, the Facebook campaign structure is as follows: 

Facebook ads campaign structure diagram.

In the first 30 days we tested 63 audiences, paired with a mix of creative. For our tests, we’d typically have 4-8 ad sets per campaign, and 2-6 ad variations per ad set. Over the course of the test period we would turn off underperforming ads and ad sets to push more spend to winning mixes of audiences and creative variations. 

Facebook campaign structure.

As Facebook Ads performance data came in ads and ad sets we’re turned off, signified in the chart above by “🙅‍♀️”. Only about ¼ of our ad sets survived month 1 testing, and 3 creative variations (of 12) rose as top performers. 

Days 1-30 Summary

TESTED

  • 21 Campaigns 
  • 63 Ad Sets
  • 12 Ad Variations 

RESULTS 

  • $9,821 Spend
  • 7044 Installs 
  • $1.39 CPI 
  • Three top creative variations identified 
  • 15 core audiences identified 
  • Cost-cap bid strategy identified as effective at this scale…
    …but would it last? 

Days 31-60 The Ramp Up

With top audiences, creative, and bid-strategies identified we were prepared to ramp up spend. On day 31 we had 3 campaigns live, 5 audiences, and the top three ad variations running. We spent $950 that day. From there we inched up budget at the ad set level daily, and by day 45 we hit the $2,000/day mark. 

More testing; audiences, creative, and settings

Although some audiences didn’t succeed in the 30 days, there was a chance it was due to the creative and ad settings mix. We ensured these previously tested audiences were given a chance to be paired with top creative and ad settings. 

During this period the client continued to develop new creative, and that was tested as well using the assistance of the Facebook algorithm. We also isolated some creative to guarantee Facebook spend. 

A big driving force behind this rapid Facebook Ads ad spend ramp up was a holiday important to our client’s business, and we wanted to ensure that creative specific to the holiday was served. We tested 10 holiday ad variations, and only one version took off. It would become one of our best ads for the entire 60 period, though it underperformed two non-holiday specific top ads. 

An interesting take away from the top three ads is that the event specific creative didn’t perform as well as more general app functionality ads. This may be due the holiday not being applicable to everyone who sees it. 

Facebook ad example.

Here is the top event-specific ad. It was a carousel and showcased the product offering. More on how they ad variation performed in the results and summary section. 

With top audiences and creative identified we were ready push spend way up leading up to the holiday, however, the the path to spend ramp up we encountered two speed bumps.

$5,000 Ad Account Spend Cap Hit & Workaround

Did you know Facebook has a default $5,000 ad spend cap per ad account, even on established ad accounts? That’s right! This spend cap is different from the ‘spend limit’, and can only be increased by Facebook Support. Unfortunately, support can have a several day turn around, which would be after our peak push. 

In this instance, we were able to find an immediate workaround that allowed us to keep advertising. We created new ad accounts. With each ad account having a $5,000 cap, we created 6 additional ad accounts that would take us up to the $35,000 per day in spend.

We did finally hear back from Facebook Support and get the spend limit increased, but this was a good stop gap measure to keep ads rolling. 

App Stability Issues

With this massive ramp up underway the app encountered some stability issues due to the influx of new users. This led to a temporary pause on campaigns while app capacity was addressed. 

The takeaway from this experience is that if you are undertaking a massive app install or web traffic push, have the app and website stability on your radar. How many users can your app support? Who and how will stability be addressed if there’s a crash?  

Thanks to the app’s solid team of developers, app stability issues were resolved quickly and the ramp up would continue. 

Final Push and Rising CPI

The final push up to $43,000 was made possible by attention to detail and willingness to sacrifice CPI for more spend around the important holiday.

Facebook CPI results for app installs.

As we spent more in the final days of the campaign, CPI rose as well. We followed our earlier approach of pushing budget to top ad sets and creative variations, and some of these groupings had literally hit their limit (See $5,000 account cap section above). 

The cost cap bid optimized campaigns also weren’t spending their full daily amount as Facebook struggled to find users at the cost and volume we had set forth, so most campaigns were switched to a lowest cost bid strategy, which contributed to rising CPI. Low cost bid optimization, however, increased volume and ensured campaigns would spend their set amount daily. 

Fortunately the increased CPI in this final push was acceptable because the volume of installs, and subsequent LTV supported the costs. 

Summary 

Top Three Ads:

Facebook ad results from installs.

Our top ad was a carousel. Carousels are known to do well on mobile devices, because they can be used to convey information without the bandwidth of video. This particular ad was also highly engaging and received thousands of reactions and 100s of shares over the course of the campaign. 

Facebook ad results from installs.

Our second best ad was an informal video shot on an iPhone, that shows the end product of the app (a physical card and gift). This video was paired with concise text and a headline on what the app does. The informal nature of the video may have been what made it resonate with people. 

Facebook ad results from installs.

The third best ad was event-specific, and also in the carousel format. It showcased end-products of the app, and also had the clear concise message about what the app does. Because it was event-specific, costs may have been higher, as it wasn’t relevant to everyone who saw it. All this said it was our third best ad of dozens of ad variations run over the 60 day campaign period. 

Results 

Facebook ad results for install campaigns.

Getting to $45,000/day didn’t happen right away. There was little visible activity in the first 30 days while the hard work of research, audience, and creative testing was executed. Increasing spend was only possible because of this critical foundation established early on. 

Spend peaked several days before the event this campaign was based around, after which we settled in at $1,000 – $2,000 / day spend. 

Facebook ad results for install campaigns.

Installs tracked closely with spend. This consistency was the key to our confidence as we pushed budgets up. 

Facebook ad results for install campaigns.

CPI was initially very high. To note the budgets on these learning days was very small. And CPI dropped considerably and stayed low once initial learning was complete. 

Key Takeaways to Ramp Up Spend Quickly on Facebook 

  • Test to identify top audiences, creative and settings 
  • When an audience fails, try new creative 
  • Be considerate of technical issues 
    • Is your site or app capable of the increased traffic from this kind of ramp up? 
    • Have you requested that the default $5,000/day ad spend cost cap be lifted on your Facebook ad account? 

Finally, with these principles in place, don’t be scared to push up ad spend.

Facebook has a propensity to spend what you give it especially with low cost bidding, but this spend isn’t always paired with the desired results. In this case, however, through the approach of finding audiences, creative, and ad settings that would scale, we were able to achieve a massive spend and results ramp up in a 60 day period. 

A team of marketers sitting at a table with computers.

Best Growth Marketing Agencies in Nashville in 2020

A team of marketers sitting at a table with computers.

There are a ton of great growth marketing agencies in Nashville and it can be hard to stay on top of them all. Since we have team members throughout the US, I spend time researching agencies in the cities we operate in, including Nashville. 

In this post, I’d love to share 10 growth marketing agencies in Nashville who have been partnering with clients to drive meaningful results. Some of these agencies specialize in specific tactics, like SEO or Google Ads, and others offer more end-to-end solutions. 

  1. Social Link 
  2. Tuff
  3. redpepper 
  4. Spark Marketer 
  5. Speak Creative 
  6. Astute Communications
  7. Dash Two 
  8. Taillight 
  9. Parachute Media
  10. LSM 

Social Link 

Growth marketing agency website in Nashville.

Social Link was founded in 2018 with a mission to connect people with your brand. 

Their primary focus is on digital marketing strategy using inbound marketing. The agency’s expertise includes Brand Strategy, Lead Generation and Nurturing, and HubSpot Developer and Partner. 

Social Link has 11 strong reviews on Google and the team is led by Brady O’Rourke. 

Sample of clients: Remax, Best Western, and North Shore  

Tuff 

Screenshot of marketing website.

Tuff is a plug-in growth marketing agency for hire. The team was founded in 2017 by Ellen Jantsch and hired it’s first Tennesee employee in 2019. Since then, the agency has grown it’s client base in Nashville and surrounding areas.

They are a small, fully remote team that specializes in tactics like: Conversion Rate OptimizationTechnical SEO ImplementationFacebook and Instagram Ads, Google Shopping, Google Search, Display Ads, YouTube Ads, Retargeting, Content Strategy, Link Building, Influencer Marketing and Email.

Sample of clients: Thalamus, CITI Program, and WatchBox 

Case study: Felt 

redpepper 

redpepper is a full-service agency that specializes in branding and creative services. They are experts when it comes to brand design and brand identity. 

The agency was founded 15 years ago and the team now has 60 full-time employees. redpepper was founded by Tim McMullen and they’ve worked on brand projects for some top companies in the US. 

Sample of clients: Slack, Verizon, and Mars 

Case study: Urbane 

Spark Marketer

Spark Marketer is a one-stop-shop for local service and small business owners looking to navigate the world of online marketing and social media. They work with HVACs, Restaurant Owners, Remodeling Contractors, and other local businesses. 

The agency was founded in 2012 by Taylor Hill and Carter Harkins and has 16 full-time employees. If you’re a local business, Spark Marketer could be a great fit. 

Sample of clients: A to Z Window Screen, Winston’s Chimney Service, and Legacy Hill Dentistry

Speak Creative

Jacob Savage founded Speak Creative in 1991. Since then, they’ve partnered with dozens of brands to help them with website development and brand identity. 

The agency describes the team of 42 as “web design company with a passion for all things digital” and they can help you with things like mobile app development, video production, and website design. 

Sample of clients: Ballet Memphis, OKC Zoo, and BROOKS  

Case study: Graceland

Astute Communications

Astute Communications is a digital marketing and web design agency that focuses on developing cohesive brands and comprehensive digital strategies that generate leads and grow businesses. 

The agency was founded in 2013 by Anna Stout, a web designer and developer with a background in business development, the company was built to create harmony between client interests and production realities. It’s a smaller shop, with 9 full-time employees. 

Sample of clients: Nashville recovery center, aerial innovations, and vintage millworks

Case study: Verdi Oncology 

Dash Two  

Dash Two is a digital marketing firm headquartered in Culver City, CA, with a second team and location in Nashville. The agency was founded in 2009 and now has 30+ team members. 

Dash Two specializes in end-to-end digital marketing, with solutions for paid ads, landing pages, conversion rate optimization, and data and analytics. 

One thing that makes Dash Two particularly unique is that they combine the power of online channels with more traditional marketing like billboards, print, and outdoor advertising. 

Sample of clients: Adidas, Puma, and Universal Studios 

Case study: Klarna 

Taillight 

Taillight is a creative video production company based in Nashville. The agency was founded in 2000 by Tom Forrest and has a team of 10 employees that provide video production, branding, and content marketing services.

The team has extensive video production experience and focuses on TV programming for live music specials, comedy specials, awards shows, original series.

Sample of clients: CMT, Glow, and Hallmark 

Case study: Lady Antebellum Global Tour 

Parachute Media 

Parachute Media is a go-to creative agency in Nashville with a passion for brand-storytelling. The agency was founded in 2012 and now has 13 full-time employees. 

The agency’s expertise include photography, web design, data and analytics, reputation management, brand development, and paid ads. 

Parachute Media strive to have their clients view them as their in-house team rather than a distant, third-party agency.

Sample of clients: Kirkland, Alpha Park, and Camping with Dogs 

Case study: Evolve Pet Food 

LSM 

LSM is a 50+ person agency focused on helping local and small businesses succeed with online marketing. The majority of the team is located in Tennessee with support from an Indonesia office. 

The agency was founded in 2006 by Tevor Emerson and has since helped hundreds of business owners build and grow their online presence. This includes services such as local reputation management, local SEO, website design, and more. 

Sample of clients: DMMG, European Wax Center, and YMCA

Case study: Thompson Burton

Woman on a video call.

When You Sign Up For a Discovery Call with Tuff

Whether you are curious about our team and how we work, or you’d like to know your growth marketing potential, we’d love to chat with you.

The first step is to schedule a 30-minute discovery call with us.

This is a pressure-free conversation (30-minute discovery call) about what you’re trying to achieve and whether or not our teams could be successful together. 

Here’s what you can expect on the call: 

When you sign up for a discovery call, you can plan for a 30-ish minute conversation with our team to discuss:

  • Practical tips on your existing marketing strategy 
  • Your challenges with and opportunities for your company’s user acquisition 
  • How we plug-in teams with on-demand growth marketing services
  • An honest conversation about whether or not we’re a good fit 

During this call, we’ll ask you questions about your business and what you want from a partner. Things like: 

  • What are your north star goals and core KPIs?
  • What are your existing acquisition channels?
  • How much are you spending on ads currently?
  • Do you have any major roadblocks right now? 
  • What’s an acceptable CAC or CPS? What’s the ideal CAC, CPL, or CPS? 
  • Do you have someone working with you today? 
  • If you’re looking for a partner, what’s your ideal timing? 
  • If you are looking for a marketing and growth partner, what are you looking for with that relationship? 

We’ll also spend a chunk of your time sharing a bit more about Tuff – our team, how we work, what the first 30 days of working together looks like, how we structure our weekly marketing sprints, what tactics we specialize in, and how we get good results. We want you to get to know us, honestly. 

What happens after the discovery call? 

After the discovery call, if everything makes sense and feels good, we’ll get access to your core accounts. This data gives us the insights we need to prepare a custom partnership proposal. 

The accounts we typically get access to include:  

  • Google Analytics 
  • Google Search Console 
  • Facebook Ads Manager
  • Google Ads 

Using this data and insight, we’ll then put together a Partnership Proposal that puts down on paper what working together would look like. 

If it doesn’t feel like a good fit or we don’t think we can help you achieve your goals, we’ll send you over a list of vetted agencies and freelancers we think could help. Our goal is to be as helpful as possible and get you paired with the right growth marketing talent – whether that’s our team or someone else. 

Ready to chat? Let’s talk. 

Tuff ecommerce case study.

How We Boosted Koala’s Ecommerce Conversion Rate by 153%

Tuff case study image.

New Mexico based Hangtime Gear is an early stage startup designing innovative mobile accessories. 

Their core product is the KOALA Super Grip Phone Harness – a smartphone holder with a leash and clasp that secures to any fabric keeping your phone safe from drops, damage, and loss. 

The KOALA was originally a 2019 IndieGoGo Campaign that raised over $500K. It has been featured in Outside Magazine, The New York Times, Gear Patrol, The Boston Globe, and on CBS’ Innovation Nation with Mo Rocca. 

From crowdfunded campaign to eCommerce Growth Strategy

Hangtime Gear reached out to our team in March 2020 to help them build and execute an eCommerce growth strategy. After doing foundational research and reviewing the full user journey, we immediately got started on getting quality traffic to the site. This included: 

  • Google Ads
  • Google Shopping
  • Facebook and Instagram Ads
  • YouTube

As traffic increased, we turned our focus to conversion rate optimization. When it comes to increasing revenue, we knew it would take more than clicks. 

In this post, we’re going to break down how our website optimizations increased the eCommerce conversion rate by 153% by:

  1. Differentiating between a crowdfund backer vs eCommerce customer.
  2. Rewriting, redesigning, and rebuilding key sections of the site. 

Crowdfunding Campaign Design eCommerce Website Design 

A great crowdfunding campaign can pave the way for your eCommerce business by giving you access to the capital you need, market validation, PR, and product reviews. 

What it can’t do is provide a verbatim model of how to advertise to your customers and optimize your eCommerce website. 

Hangtime Gear’s existing website featured design elements that were pulled from their crowdfunding page, which didn’t translate into a high enough conversion rate for our paid advertising strategy to produce a high ROAS. 

This is a common situation for founders that launch with crowdfunded campaigns – what works for a backer audience doesn’t always translate.

A crowdfunding backer is supporting an idea – more times than not this idea isn’t fully realized or completed – which is okay. The point of the crowdfunding campaign is to give you a platform to test your assumptions. 

On the contrary, an eCommerce customer is buying a fully functional product to use for a specific need. 

Due to this distinction, the two audiences require different customer journeys and user experiences, especially when it comes to a website. 

Here are the four main changes we implemented to increase Hangtime’s eCommerce conversion rate from 1.36%  to 3.46%. 

Data from Google Analytics showing an increase in conversion rate.

We started with the homepage.  

The first step in the redesign process was the homepage section. Originally, the site featured all product information on one page like you would do for a crowdfunding campaign page or for an Amazon listing. 

You could learn about the product, read customer reviews, look through top-tier publisher testimonials, and add the product to your cart, all from the homepage. 

The strategy behind this is smart – lots of the world’s leading platforms utilize it from Amazon to IndieGoGo and Kickstarter. This design centers on the assumption that the conversion rate will be higher if people have to navigate to fewer pages. 

For Amazon and crowdfunding platforms it works for two reasons: 

  1. High levels of trust with those platforms. 
  2. Those platforms have spent thousands of hours and millions upon millions of dollars optimizing their single page layouts to perform at the highest conversion rates the world has ever seen. 

However, for early-stage startup brands with very little recognition and no resources to properly optimize a single home page and product page website, getting the conversion rate results to scale can be incredibly tricky. 

To help clean up the user experience, we started by breaking out the home page from the product page and utilizing a product benefit banner structure on the homepage featuring different creatives with product specific copy and different CTAs (Calls To Action) on each banner. 

We introduced a separate product page.

For the product page, we utilized the product page section from the original website but broke it out onto its own page for the above-the-fold content. Here’s what this looks like: 

Shopify website product page design.

Below the fold of the product page, we added a customer product review section using Stamped.io’s widget that highlights top reviews with user-generated content and chronologically ordered reviews. With Stamped.io, users can filter through the reviews using a query function as well as preset tags to see all reviews featuring a term like “iPhone.” 

After the review section, we added an additional product information section that dives deep into exactly how the product is used, how it was made, and why you should use it. We used an app designed for Shopify websites called PageFly Page Builder to build this custom section. The app also allowed us to utilize a feature called lazy loading which made the product page’s loading speed faster.

We built a dedicated review page. 

One of the great things about Hangtime Gear’s KOALA product, especially for an early-stage brand, is that it has over 400 reviews.  Given that they’ve only been around for a few months – this is amazing and speaks to their customer satisfaction. 

However with 400 reviews, we didn’t want to crowd the home page or product page showcasing all of the user-generated content. We decided to break out the reviews onto their own page using generated code that we injected into the Shopify page using Stamped.io.

Example of ecommerce reviews page using the stamped.io plugin for shopify.

The start of this page features a YouTube Video testimonial of the KOALA in action and is preceded by a scrolling page of the reviews. 

We restructured the header navigation to provide easy pathways to find the product, product proof, or helpful answers about the product.

The final change that we made to the KOALA Website was to reformat the header and footer navigation menus. We wanted to control the UX journey flow, so we took out specific menu items to push non-purchasers to either learn more about the product, read user reviews, or learn about the product on the FAQ page.

We removed: 

  • About 
  • Blog 


We kept: 

  • Shop
  • Reviews
  • FAQs

Website Optimization Results 

We launched the new version of Hangtime’s website on April 23 and instantly saw an increase in conversion rate that leveled out over the next 12 days.  

In addition to bumping up conversion rate, we saw added benefits: 

  • The average session duration increased by 299% 
  • Revenue increased by 36% 
  • Bounce rate decreased by 28% 
  • Page speed increased by 29% 

Not a one and done solution. 

At Tuff, ongoing optimization is part of our conversion rate optimization website design process. It can also be used for our clients who already have high conversion rates and would like us to test new variables in a safe testing environment. 

We typically implement 2x tests per week to optimize the conversion rate. We do either a copy or creative test followed by an offer based test. The process uses 72-hour testing increments to let us measure the success rate of the test. 

If the first test increases or perpetuates the baseline conversion rate, then we leave it and add a second variable into the mix. If the test decreases the conversion rate, then we pull the test variable and move the original variable back into place. Then we move onto the second test of the week. 

This testing process allows us to test new variables regularly without adding too many variables at once which makes it difficult for us to measure what contributed to an increase or decrease in conversion rate.

If you want to explore more about how to increase your eCommerce conversion rate with Tuff or want a first-hand look at the data showcased above, touch base to set up a free, 30-minute growth strategy session with our team. We’d love to learn more about who you are and what you do so that we can help you find your way to the next level.

 

Google Ads: How Tuff Optimizations Turned $172 of Extra Ad Spend Into $192,853 More in Sales

Renogy solar panel on RV

Does this post look familiar? We originally published it on January 16, and so much has happened since! It’s now updated with all the latest data and research on the topic. Enjoy!

The renewable energy industry is growing, big time.

According to CNBC, in the U.S., of all new power capacity added to the grid in 2018, about 30% was from solar. In addition to these increases, nearly every segment of the renewable energy market is seeing rapid price declines.

It’s easy to see there is tremendous room for growth, which is why Renogy, a renewable energy company, reached out to our team to help them supercharge their enterprise SEO and paid efforts.

“Working with the Tuff team is an absolute pleasure. They’re incredibly sharp, goal oriented, and fantastic strategists. Most importantly: they get results! Everyone on the team is very personable and we always look forward to our meetings. Integrating the Tuff team has been one of the best decisions we’ve made and we are confident that we’ll do very well scaling up with their help.” – Evan Huynh, Marketing Director, Renogy (View our reviews on Google & Facebook)

We integrated closely as a team back in November, just in time for the end of the year push. In the first 2 months of our partnership, we were able to generate $192,853 in additional sales for November and December by only adding $172 bucks to the budget. That’s when we originally wrote this post. 

Now, 6 months into our partnership, we’re back with some updates. At the turn of the new year, we worked closely with the team at Renogy to identify our revenue targets for 2020. 

Our first challenge was to increase overall ROAS across our Google Ads campaigns – including search, shopping, and display – with the goal of hitting 3.5 ROAS overall in Q1. And we’re pleased to say we cleared these goals with a 4.5 ROAS.

In this article, I’ll take a close look at the part Google Ads plays in building and optimizing an ecommerce growth strategy, and how Tuff & Renogy worked together to smash the Q1 goals:

We started with a profit-focused strategy

When your online store has different products at different price points and margins, you need to think of them differently. Why? Because not all sales are created equal.

When we took over the Renogy account towards the end of 2019, structurally it was in great shape. Campaigns were organized, settings were optimized, and ads had an above average CTR for the industry. If we had only cared about volume, we would have given this account two thumbs up and kept it humming.

But for Renogy, we cared about volume and profit. So, we needed to analyze the account through a profit-focused lense if we were going to make any meaningful improvements.

We evaluated the value of each sale in the account, not just volume of sales, and identified big discrepancies in ROAS. For example, one ad group generated $250 from $200 spent and another generated $1,200 from $200 giving us a ROAS 1.5 and 6.0, respectively—a significant difference in return for the same amount spent. From a volume perspective these campaigns are equal (each generated one sale) but when you factor in revenue the picture changes quickly.

Armed with the above information, the very first thing we did in the Renogy account was update our analysis and reporting to follow a profit-focused strategy, the goal to achieve as high of a ROAS as possible without losing scale. This helped us:

  • Reallocate existing budget to higher ROAS campaign
  • Set more profitable campaign spending limits
  • Know where to focus our efforts first
  • Where are the low ROAS campaigns in the account? Can we update these and get them more profitable?
  • Where are the high ROAS campaigns in the account? Can we pump more money into these without dropping our return?

Going even deeper than campaign and ad group level, we performed an exhaustive keyword and search term audit on every non-branded Search campaign (this audit template can be found in Tuff’s “9 Ready-to-Go Growth Marketing Spreadsheets Startups Can Use to Boost Productivity”) using Renogy’s extensive internal Google Ads data over the prior 12 months, to identify our winning keywords and search terms, i.e. the keywords and search terms that were contributing the most revenue, as well as those with the highest ROAS. 

Using the audit spreadsheet mentioned in the article linked above, we were able to export all of the data needed from Google Analytics within the past 12 months, and quickly compare the keywords and search terms with a variety of filters.

What we found was that although certain keywords and search terms may have had an above-average conversion rate, that didn’t necessarily mean these keywords and terms were performing a positive ROAS. By focusing on the ROAS above all of the other factors, we easily identified our winning keywords within each campaign, as well as our underperforming keywords, which were promptly removed from the campaigns in order to allocate the spend to our top performers. 

We were also able to identify some additional search terms that were driving great ROAS but weren’t currently being used as exact match keywords. With these findings, we were able to add these search terms that have been proven to drive profitable ROAS as exact match keywords into our campaigns in an attempt to trigger results for these terms more often.

Since the completion of the keyword audit, performance of non-branded search campaigns has skyrocketed, with a 194% increase in conversion rate and 274% increase in transactions when compared to the previous time period. Additionally, we substantially lowered the average cost per order from $632 to $128!

Then, flipped standard shopping to smart

Out of all the existing campaigns in the account, Renogy’s shopping campaign was driving the lowest ROAS. 

With our profit-first focus, we dug into the analysis for the standard shopping campaign and realized that it wasn’t structured around the most profitable products and search terms. Instead, it treated every product – from the $49 solar speaker to the $1,200 lithium battery – the exact same.

In this case, three of this campaign’s 100+ products were spending half of the budget over a 30-day span. And they’re only bringing in a tiny 11% of revenue. Ouch.

Because Shopping campaigns don’t use keywords, your product feed takes their place and is responsible for the signals that connect people’s searches with your products. For a quick win and momentum boost, we flipped the campaign from standard to smart and stripped out any product that was sucking up spend without delivering a solid return.

Google ads shopping campaign.

Within a week, our negative ROAS shopping campaign started turning out a consistent 668% ROAS week over week over week. And with Q1 officially wrapped up, our Smart Shopping campaign finished the quarter at 679% ROAS.

And finally, bulked up sales with the right promos

This final strategy we had very little to do with but it’s worth mentioning in the grand scheme of it all. While we were busy making profit-focused account optimizations, the Renogy team strategically rolled out product promotions and sales to support our revenue targets. In turn, we were able to supercharge these sales with Google Ads by:

  • Updating search ad copy to match the promo and sale messaging
  • Build sitelink and promo extensions to accompany our campaigns
  • Bulk up display efforts promoting the sale
  • Each one of these promotions, small and large, helped us bulk up our growth trajectory with Google Ads.

Building and optimizing an ecommerce growth strategy on Google to get results like this is not easy. It’s not rocket science either, though. If your execution is data-driven and your product is high quality, you can see results like this, too. If you want to explore more about how to scale your customer acquisition with Tuff, or want a first-hand look at the data showcased above, touch base to set up a free, 30-minute growth strategy session with our team. We’d love to learn more about who you are and what you do so that we can help you find your way to the next level.

We’d love to work with you.

Schedule a call with our team and we’ll analyze your marketing, product, metrics, and business. Then, present a Growth Plan with actionable strategies to find and keep more engaged customers.

And stay tuned for a Q3 update!

Email onboarding flow computer.

Onboarding Emails: Three things that increased clicks by 50%

Email onboarding flow computer.

Installs, sign-ups, trials, and demos mean nothing if you can’t keep your users. Which makes your onboarding email campaign incredibly important. 

It’s your first impression. But, it’s also your opportunity to guide new users to take the action that will increase their lifetime value. 

Before you start working on getting more people to your site, you need to make sure you have an onboarding experience that motivates your users to take that action you care most about. Otherwise, you’re throwing money out the window.

Onboarding Emails In Action

Earlier this year we started partnering with Felt, a company building an app that sends your personal, handwritten cards and photos from your phone. Our goals were to increase reach, installs, and revenue by running data-driven campaigns on different channels. 

 

Felt app screenshot.

While our full strategy was a mix of campaigns and channels (Facebook Ads, Google, YouTube, Apple Search Ads, etc), in this post, we’re going to focus on just one of the tactics: onboarding emails. We were able to increase clicks by 50% through these three steps:

  • Step 1: Mapping out the existing flow and setting benchmarks
  • Step 2: Figuring out the “aha” moment (using data)
  • Step 3: Rewriting, redesigning, and rebuilding each email to focus on that “aha” moment

But, first, we’ll set the stage.

The Results: A look inside the numbers

On average, 600 – 700 people install Felt every day. Each person who downloads the app and doesn’t immediately send a card, gets put into the new user onboarding email flow. 

Here’s what the numbers looked like before and after we made adjustments based on our research, learnings and experience. On the left, you have the original onboarding flow and on the right, you have the updated flow.

Email onboarding flow case study.

With our first round of improvements, we were able to increase the ‘Clicks per unique opens’ from 7.5% to 11.3%. This action (getting people back in the app and sending cards) immediately gave us a sustainable increase in daily revenue.

At this point, we’re only scratching the surface. 

Holistically mapping the user journey 

With every client, we analyze each piece of the conversion puzzle so we can spend our time focused on the areas with the highest impact on revenue.

In the first two months of partnership, we: 

  1. Configured Branch for better campaign analytics 
  2. Produced copy and creative (videos and images) 
  3. Set up Facebook/Instagram ads
  4. Set up Google Ads
  5. Set up Pinterest ads
  6. Built and launched an influencer program 

With the combination of these tactics, install volume skyrocketed. It’s also worth noting that sending handwritten cards from your phone is a helpful resource while the country sheltered in place.

With the spike in users, it was even more important to make sure they were adopting the Felt app, sending cards, and having an awesome experience. 

So we conducted a full funnel analysis. We asked key questions and mapped data to the user journey to identify where we could improve. We started with: 

  1. How does a user get from install to paying subscriber? 
    • For Felt, it’s when the user sends their first card. If a new user sends a card, they 2x their spend in the subsequent 5 day period. 
  1. What’s our “aha” moment? When do users really get the value of Felt? 
    • When the person they sent a card to actually gets it in the mail. Which speaks to the “do good, feel good” aspect of Felt. When people send cards it makes them feel happy. 
  1. What touchpoints can we leverage to guide our users down the funnel? 
    • For us, this came down to triggered emails, retargeting ads, and app-based onboarding cues. The first, and quickest win was email, so we started there. 

Here’s what we did: 

Step 1: Mapping out the existing flow and setting benchmarks

The 5-series email flow for new installs was in good shape. It was already set up in Mailchimp and had been running for months. We liked the timing but wanted to see if we could increase the number of users who click on each email in the sequence. 

We started by mapping out the entire email flow: 

Email onboarding map.

(There are tools to visualize this type of work but I still love good ol’ fashion spreadsheets).  

Step 2: Figuring out the “aha” moment (using data)

When we conducted the full funnel analysis we uncovered one of the most critical moments for a Felt user. The first card in Felt is always free. When a user sends that free card within the first week of downloading the app, they are 4x more likely to become a paying customer. 

So, how do we get someone who downloads the app to send a card quicker?

Step 3: Rewriting, redesigning, and rebuilding each email to focus on that “aha” moment

Now that we were crystal clear on the one action we wanted our users to take (CTA was “send a free card”) we rebuilt the email flow to focus users on taking this action in a few ways:

  • We stripped out extra images (removed 4 total) 
  • We removed any marketing copy that wasn’t about our sole CTA (cut the word count by 505) 
  • We outlined the user journey so it was clear exactly what the next steps with Felt looked like 
  • We acknowledged that they had already done something huge (install the app) and so only had one more thing to do 
  • We linked the “send free card” twice – in the primary CTA and in the text of the email

To put it more directly, we removed anything that would distract the user from sending the free card.

Before and after email examples.

Up Next

We mentioned these adjustments are just scratching the surface. We’re lucky that the Felt team had already been sending onboarding emails, giving us a benchmark to start from. 

As we continue with our goals to increase reach, installs, and revenue we’ll want to continue updating and testing emails so the next post is about how we increased conversion by 50%.

Facebook advertising for ecommerce.

How Tuff Partnered with EZ Lifestyle on Facebook and Instagram to Increase Revenue by 50%

EZ Lifestyle is an international nutraceutical company that sells products through Shopify stores and Amazon. Their most popular product is their hangover prevention pills, Over EZ, followed by sleep aid Dream EZ, and energy supplement, Fuel EZ. They are well-reviewed both on Amazon and through private customer surveys. People rave about how effective their products are on social media.

Despite having an efficiently managed online presence, including ongoing CRO work, and a library of videos and images, EZ Lifestyle had not yet found consistent success through their Facebook and Instagram advertising. Both channels were viewed as critical to growth.

EZ Lifestyle reached out to our team to help crack the Facebook and Instagram Ads for e-commerce code, and grow EZ Lifestyle’s overall sales while consistently achieving a positive return on ad spend (ROAS).

Tuff is a true growth agency. We’ve been working with the facebook ad specialist Nate and it’s been a great journey so far. They are highly skilled in all aspects of performance marketing and specifically what it takes to win at facebook ads, which is constant experimentation and analysis. Since we started working with them we saw immediate results growing our revenue by 50% MoM! – Matthew Greenspan, Head of Digital Growth, EZ Lifestyles (View our reviews on Google & Facebook)

In this article, I’ll take a close look at the part Facebook Ads plays in ramping up revenue for EZ Lifestyle.

An all-encompassing testing plan for Facebook Ads 

The first step was determining if Tuff was a good fit for EZ Lifestyle and vice versa. Goal alignment was critical here. EZ Lifestyle granted the Tuff team access to Google Analytics, the Shopify store, and their Facebook and Instagram Ads Account, so performance potential could be identified. 

From there, we developed a three-month plan focusing on these key areas: 

  • Finding efficiency in the Facebook Ads account 
  • Developing high-value audiences for ad targeting 
  • Ongoing ad testing 

Finding efficiency in the Facebook Ads account 

Audience overlap 

The first thing we did was dig into the audience. We found efficiency by focusing on identifying and eliminating audience overlap, a mistake that can cause double bidding on the same users. 

Facebook audience overlap.

Current events

With the US election in full swing at the time of our launch together, key “early voting” states were excluded from our geo-targeting. This helped us avoid bidding against presidential candidates who were spending millions on Facebook. For Facebook ads, it’s important to note, advertisers compete to serve ads to the same audiences regardless of what they’re selling. 

Audience research to identify top audiences 

Another miss advertisers often make is cross-referencing Google Analytics audience data to Facebook ads. Google Analytics lets us know which age groups, genders, devices, and geos spend the most on their products. 

As part of our Google Analytics eCommerce investigation, we discovered that though the USA market has 21% fewer transactions, the USA market drives 20% more revenue, and has an average cart value 34% higher than Canada. This data informed our initial audience development. 

Creative best practices

EZ Lifestyle was running dozens of ads per ad set, and frequently encountered ad rejections which stymied performance. At launch, we winnowed ads down to their top performers and used the dynamic text option so the Facebook algorithm would serve the best copy to the right audiences. Reasons for ad rejections were identified and fixed. 

Developing high-value audiences for ad targeting 

Google Analytics behavior and eCommerce data was leveraged to identify the most valuable audiences. Segmented retargeting, including cart abandon audiences, were identified as well and included at launch. 

The audiences were created and launched, however, they didn’t last long. As part of ongoing performance monitoring underperforming ad sets, and ads we’re turned off, freeing up budget for top ad sets, in turn creating revenue and ROAS growth.

Rapid experimentation was a critical piece to Facebook Ads eCommerce revenue growth 

By the end of month two, five Facebook Ads trials or tests had been completed, three were active, and 12 tests are waiting on deck in a test back-log. The series of tests helped us identify top audiences, placements, objective types, and ad optimization strategies. 

The ongoing testing has helped us create a base level of revenue and ROAS that will facilitate the next phase of growth without wasted spend. 

Facebook eCommerce ad example. Instagram eCommerce ad example.

The results: revenue growth of 50%

  • From month one to month 2 EZ Lifestyle experienced revenue growth of 50% 
  • Overall Account ROAS increased 70% for currently active campaigns at the end of month 2.
Facebook advertising results.

Tuff Ads launched week 15. Week 12 was a holiday sale.

These results were not achieved in a vacuum. Though Tuff was able to find efficiencies out of the gates in the Facebook Ad account and via Google Analytics analysis, the willingness of the EZ Lifestyle team to collaborate was key. It also was beneficial that EZ Lifestyle and their product had the following attributes: 

  • Desirable and highly rated product 
  • Website, eCommerce, and CRO fundamentals 
  • Existing resources readily available: past performance, email templates, creative

Though if these things aren’t available on day one, they can be developed with the help of the Tuff team. Schedule a 30-minute strategy session today to explore how Tuff can help your eCommerce business grow. 

tuff-google-ads-for-foundation-repair-business

3 Secrets to Getting More Foundation Repair Leads from Google Ads

We sometimes get questions about how other local business clients work with Tuff to reach their growth goals — so we’re sharing some stories to help bring our services to life. Meet KC Waterproofing.

KC Waterproofing specializes in foundation repair and basement waterproofing, serving homeowners in the entire Kansas City metro area and beyond. Although they had been running Google Ads for over a year, KC Waterproofing didn’t feel confident about their campaigns and were left guessing about results and deliverables. Looking to build up defense against local competitors while increasing qualified sales leads, they turned to Tuff to help them refine their Google Ads efforts. 

Within the first two months of working together, we were able to cut spend year-over-year last month by 17% while increasing leads by 85% with Google Ads. That translated into more leads for less and a massive spike in revenue. 

Google ads for foundation repair results.

Why KC Waterproofing Turned to Google Ads

For many businesses in the foundation repair and basement waterproofing business, Google Ads can feel like you’re throwing money away on a regular basis. Sure you can get a bunch of clicks, but it’s hard to get the right clicks that actually turn into a lead. 

After working with local businesses for the last three years, however, we’ve learned how to reliably produce quality leads from Google Ads. Here are three of our favorite strategies and ideas that can help you show up locally when it matters most: 

Foundation Repair and Basement Waterproofing Playbook:

Get granular with keywords and adgroups

Relevance is key when you are running ads on Google. For example, when someone searches “foundation repair in crawl space”, they want to see and click on an ad that mentions ‘Crawl Space’ rather than a generic ad that just talks about foundation repair. This makes sense, right? People want a quick solution to their problem and are more likely to click on an ad their specific concern understands them and their needs.

When you structure your campaigns, organize keywords into different ad groups, and each ad group will only show ads for the keywords in that ad group. Here’s an example of how we started with KC Waterproofing: 

Google ads account for foundation repair.

So, in the  “sump pump installation” ad group, we only put sump pump keywords in that ad group to serve on Google. Then, we wrote ad copy specifically for “sump pump installation” for that ad group. The same goes for all the other campaigns and adgroups. 

Google ad for sump pump installation.

Include call-only ads

With call-only campaigns, you can encourage customers to call you by clicking your ad. And in this case, you bid to drive calls to your business instead of clicks to your website. Call Only campaigns are only served on mobile and they look like this: 

For local campaigns, these can be a strong addition to your overall Google Ads strategy. In addition to call-only ads, utilize all relevant ad extensions in Google Ads. This will help motivate searches because they have your location and phone number at their fingertips. 

Set up tracking and report on deals closed

The final, yet most important, key to running a profitable foundation repair campaign in Google Ads is high-quality tracking and reporting.  No matter how strong your keyword research, adgroup set up or campaign type, if you aren’t tackling leads, there won’t be many results. Despite the importance of conversion tracking, less than half of the local Google Ad accounts we review are effectively tracking conversions or closed deals.  

If you really want actionable data, make sure you set up the below: 

Google Analytics
With Google Analytics, build-out goals so you can accurately track leads. From there, you can integrate your Google Analytics and Google Ads account to give you more actionable insights like campaign performance, time on site, bounce rate, and keyword health. For KC Waterproofing, this helps us analyze customer activity on the website after an ad click. 

Conversion Tracking
For foundation repair, a conversion is typically counted when a customer fills out a quote, contact form, or calls a phone on your website. Once you have all the conversion action you want to tack, it only takes a few minutes (and some basic HTML) to get conversion tracking up and running for your campaign.

Call Tracking
For KC Waterproofing, 70% of their monthly leads come from phone calls. Google Ads, along with other call tracking services like CallRail, can show you which search keywords are driving the most calls aso you can allocate more spend to top performers. 

Lead Tracking
At Tuff, we leverage a shared spreadsheet with KC Waterproofing that integrates with their internal CRM. This gives us the ability to see beyond a phone call or form fill to understand lead quality and return. We can see how many leads received a quote, how many leads were lost, and how many leads actually closed that month. 

We’d love to work with you.

Schedule a call with our team and we’ll analyze your marketing, product, metrics, and business. Then, present a Growth Plan with actionable strategies to find and keep more engaged customers.

tuff-facebook-ads-for-subscription-businesses

How To Run Paid Acquisition Campaigns For Your Subscription Business

We sometimes get questions about how other clients work with Tuff to reach their growth goals — so we’re sharing some stories to help bring our services to life. Meet Beer Drop.

Beer Drop is an all Colorado beer subscription delivering only the freshest beers from Colorado’s best small breweries you won’t find in stores. 

As a growing business, Beer Drop came to Tuff looking for a growth marketing partner that would help scale customer acquisition leveraging ppc and paid social. With clear goals and an aggressive testing plan, we’ve worked closely with Beer Drop to continually hit our growth goals and customer acquisition targets. The Beer Drop team works strategically on the product while the Tuff team is responsible for executing growth strategies that deliver quality traffic. This combination, so far, has been pure magic. 

  • In the first month, we started slow. We focused on audience research, targeting, and message development. We validated that Facebook and Google were the right fit for Beer Drop and could successfully deliver subscribers. 
  • In the second month, we tripled our budget and went for scale. We expanded our geo-targeting, introduced video, and refined the sign up flow. 

From initial launch to today, as an integrated team, we’ve been able to increase subscriptions by 531% while simultaneously driving down cost per subscription by 61%.  

Building and optimizing a customer acquisition strategy on Facebook and Google to get results like this is not easy. It’s not rocket science either, though. If your execution is data-driven and marketing and product can work as one, you can see results like this, too. 

Talk to your existing customers

When it comes to successful ppc and paid social campaigns, we spend 50% or more of our time understanding what the customers’ needs are. This is so often overlooked but incredibly critical. You have to know who your target audience is, what their problems are, and how they want to interact with you. Having these questions explicitly answered will allow you to build a much stronger customer acquisition strategy on Facebook and Google based on both qualitative and quantitative data.

During this phase, we like to: 

  • Talk to customers 
  • Read customer reviews 
  • Read competitor reviews 
  • Study social channels and followers 
  • Follow Google Analytics flows and analyze heatmaps 
  • Analyze Google Analytics audience data

Test different audiences and messages

When it comes to paid channels, especially Facebook, it’s easy to narrow in on visuals. This is important, absolutely, but don’t get stuck here. It’s more important to test early and often with multiple audiences than to spend weeks on creative development. 

At Tuff, for Facebook audiences, we take the 80/20 rule. We launch campaigns with 8+ audiences, find the top performers early and push spend to them, and then kill the rest. We did this with Beer Drop, too. In month one, we launched with 45 audiences across 5 campaigns. In our second campaign launch, we only launched with the top 30% of audiences in phase one. 

For Beer Drop, “top performing audiences” meant audiences that purchased subscriptions. This isn’t always the case though. When you are evaluating success and making audience optimizations, you have to link back to your campaign objective. Did you optimize for reach? Did you optimize for clicks? Did you optimize for sales? You need to evaluate campaign performance against the action you told Facebook you care the most about. 

Focus on your lowest hanging fruit

If you’re testing the waters with paid social and ppc, if you can focus on the low hanging fruit, do it. With limited time, money, and people, you want to put your best foot forward first. For subscription-based service, that could be: 

  • People who’ve added stuff to cart and have purchased
  • An email list you’re trying to reactivate
  • Retargeting audiences to a specific landing page 

That said, I’ll be honest, for Beer Drop, we ignored this completely. Beer Drop is based in Colorado and has more brand awareness in this market than any other state in the US. Our initial plan was to experiment with campaigns in Colorado because we thought the existing brand presence would help us convert at a higher rate. We changed directions before launch because of our overall business objectives. We needed to find out if paid acquisition would work in cities and states that had never heard of us before. It’s a balancing act really, how do you pair business objectives with the right experiments to give them the best chance to be successful? 

Optimize for subscriptions and not clicks

For Beer Drop, we tested out two types of campaign objectives. We ran a batch of click objective campaigns and a batch of subscription campaigns. This is an important distinction because it influences what optimization and bidding options you have throughout the campaign setup and ultimately how the ads are served. 

Our click objective campaigns, example below, we developed around a “quiz” concept where we wanted to drive as much traffic as possible to the quiz, collect an email, and then retarget. The engagement and click stats were bonkers. To no one’s surprise, people love beer quizzes almost as much as they love beer. Although we had incredible results here, we ultimately killed it because it wasn’t helping with our end to get more subscribers at an efficient cost. 

Our subscription objective campaigns, example of one of the ads below, were setup using custom conversion event tracking. We place code on the subscription confirmation page and tell Facebook to help us get our ads in front of people likely to subscribe. This doesn’t always work for newer brands or startups like Beer Drop but for us, because of our data-driven target and user-specific copy, it worked. 

Using real photos as social proof

Users have become pretty numb to overproduced videos and fancy creative. A few years ago the conversation with paid, especially Facebook, was “how do we stand out enough to get someone to stop scrolling?” but now, it’s “how do we get more real, more authentic, and blend in with our target audience?”. This is exciting for the small budgets and teams who want to test and experiment often. 

Here is a good example. The video below has no editing, took 3 minutes to film, was shot on an iPhone, and ever since launch, has been our best performing ad in almost every campaign: 

124 comments and 43 shares in two weeks? Yup, yup! 💪

To get this right, using real photos to drive results, revisit the “Talk to your existing customers” section of this post. It’s the one consistent thing you have to do all the time!

Learn from your traffic and make user flow optimizations

It’s not just about impressions or clicks, right? It’s about driving actions and subscribers. The customer acquisition equation is only complete when we focus as much on pre-click as post-click (and engagement and retention but let’s stick with acquisition for now!). 

When someone clicks on your Google ad or Instagram ad, what happens next? We like to use tools like Hotjar, Heap, and Optimizely to learn what users are doing when we actually get them to landing page or website. How can we make things more clear on the page, provide the right value, and remove friction? 

Beer Drop’s product team led the charge here. They’ve made small tweaks and adjustments at every stage of the user flow over the course of the last few minutes which has inched our conversion rate up and up. We would never see this type of growth, a 531% increase in MoM subscribers, without a product team committed to user improvements.

When it comes to paid social and ppc, remember that 90% of your traffic from these channels will be on mobile. Review your page in mobile, design in mobile, and make improvements based on mobile behavior. 

Use enough budget to test and get data to make better decisions

There’s no one set budget for starting out on Facebook and Google. When we think about test allocations, we start with the goals: “What do I want to learn from my paid advertising? What is the end goal? 

In the first phase with Beer Drop, we set out to answer:

  • What are my users responding to? 
  • Can I prove market fit on Facebook? 

We’ve seen that in order to answer questions like this, that you need daily budgets in the $200 to $400 a day range to get meaningful data. And be prepared, the early months are often not very profitable. I know everyone wants results, heck I’d be lying if I didn’t say Tuff is driven solely by results, but the trick is to have a smart testing plan to get data that’s statistically significant to your paid social and ppc efforts. What you prove on $100 in spend is not significant enough to say that it’s going to be the same if you spent $10,000. 

Whether you’re just testing the waters or ready to scale, figuring out how to acquire new customers on Facebook and Google is difficult. We’ve spent the past few years working with all kinds of different businesses, with small and large budgets, across a range of industries to help them figure this out. We’re still partnering with Beer Drop closely and will update this post with future results, challenges, success stories, and more. 

In the meantime, if you want to explore more about how to scale your customer acquisition with Tuff, or want a first-hand look at the data showcased above, touch base to set up a free, 30-minute growth strategy session with our team. We’d love to learn more about who you are and what you do so that we can help you find your way to the next level.

We’d love to work with you.

Schedule a call with our team and we’ll analyze your marketing, product, metrics, and business. Then, present a Growth Plan with actionable strategies to find and keep more engaged customers.

tuff-google-ads-for-hvac

How to Drive Your HVAC Sales Leads Up with Google Ads and Facebook

We sometimes get questions about how other local business clients work with Tuff to reach their growth goals — so we’re sharing some stories to help bring our services to life. Meet Alpine Ductless.

Alpine Ductless is a family-owned Northwest ductless heating and air conditioning installer based in Olympia, WA.  Looking to build up a defense against local competitors while increasing qualified sales leads, they partnered with Tuff to launch local Google Ads (formerly Adwords) and Facebook campaigns to drive their HVAC sales leads upward, along with their revenue and booked jobs. Through closed-loop reporting (Lead < Assigned to a salesman but not quoted < Lead Quoted < Customer Ordered < Sales Volume), we now maintain a minimum 1953.33% return on ad spend each month. 

Why Alpine Tapped Into PPC

Today, 80 percent of homes in the U.S. have an air conditioning system — and that’s similar for commercial properties. This generates a massive amount of search traffic on terms like “central air conditioner installation” or “ductless mini split installation.” Since there are plenty of customers searching for an HVAC company, if you don’t show up in every possible area on the search engine results page, customers won’t find you. 

One of the channels we saw the most success with for fueling user acquisition for Alpine Ductless was Google. After an initial kick-off meeting with Alpine Ductless to align on goals, ROI expectations, call-tracking, and reporting we launched geo-specific paid campaigns following the below process. 

HVAC Playbook:

Step 1: Conduct user research before building campaigns

Have you built out campaigns and ad groups in Google Ads before or with the help of an agency? You go into Google Ads, pick some keywords, insert some ad copy, and fill in the rest. In 15 minutes, you’ve got an up-and-running ad campaign. Sound familiar? 

If so, we should talk. One of the key things missing from this picture is research. After managing dozens of local Google Ad campaigns for our partners at Tuff, we’ve found that a team-wide brainstorming session to narrow in on the best keywords and match types can make a huge difference in the campaign ROI. 

Step 2: Configure tracking and reporting flow 

After we do our research, we set up conversion tracking and call tracking. This is critical for local businesses because without this tracking you’re in the dark when it comes to results. For form fills, we placed the Google ads pixel on Alpine’s site and also configured goals in Google Analytics. Then, we worked with their team to setup CallRail to track calls.  For many local businesses, a phone call has a very high chance of becoming a sale, because it usually means a customer has finished researching and is ready to pull the trigger. 

Step 3: Capture highly relevant searches on Google 

Google ads for local business can get expensive and wasteful fast. Before we launched campaigns, with Alpine, we identified top keywords and niche-specific opportunities to improve our clicks, quality, and sales. As a team, we decided to start with only the most qualified terms and expand from there once we had a steady sales flow. We also restricted our ads to only show to people within a 30-mile radius from the business to make sure the clicks were relevant. 

Step 4: Make your contact info easy to find and add call extensions 

The whole point of running Google ads for your local business is to get the phone ringing, people in the door and leads in your pipeline. We helped searches do this by making sure Alpine’s contact info was front and center on Google. In addition to call information, utilize all relevant ad extensions in Google Ads. This will help motivate searches because they have your location and phone number at their fingertips. 

Step 5: Build brand awareness and retarget with a compelling offer on Facebook 

To combat ad invisibility and get the most of customer acquisition using Facebook ads, we try to always include a compelling offer or call to action in our retargeting effort. Doing so can drive great results, especially if your goal is to generate sales rather than solely drive clicks. With a wide range of targeting options to help you find the right niche, customer acquisition using Facebook ads can be a highly cost-effective channel. Here’s an example of what this looked like for Alpine Ductless: 

We’d love to work with you.

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