Time to think outside the affiliate box and take your direct response tactics to the agency world. Take notes as Mirella dissects scaling through UX design, funnel optimisation to dial up LTV while reducing acquisition costs, and leveraging the power of media buys to build a portfolio of long-term assets.
Speech by Mirella Crespi | Performance Media Buyer & Founder, WomenInAdTech.com
Mirella Crespi Speech Transcript
Good morning. Thank you for being here. I know it’s early, so I appreciate it.
I never spoke to a crowd this big before. This is exciting to say the least.
You’re probably wondering who I am and why I’m up here.
I’m Mirella. I’ve been media buying for about 3 years. And I started Women in Ad Tech because I believe there’s not enough women that do what I do. Just look around the room.
So, I’m here for the same reason you are. I wanna learn how to make more money and grow my business.
I’m gonna tell you a story today about a campaign that completely changed my perspective on what I do, what we do. I started to look at it differently. And when I did I started to make more money, more consistently.
I realised that in order to build something, an asset that delivers 7 figures consistently, you need to understand user experience. And, you have to build something real.
Like, what do I mean by that?
So, let me take you back. This challenge came to me as an offer.
A very sexy one. It was a hot lead gen for beauty in Latin America. And the payout looked a little too good to be true.
So, you dig a little deeper.
It turns out the client was a start up with great funding and amazing product. But very little knowledge of performance marketing.
They didn’t have great attribution systems. And, they didn’t really understand how to monetise the leads that they were paying for.
So, you know, you look at it and you’re like, “Okay time to make some money.”
Making Lead Gen Work
You build the campaigns. They go live on social. And they’re instant money makers.
Now, if you’re running social, I’d say the first step to success is really high CTRs. High CTRs means high relevance scores and best placements which is your best bet at making things work in that traffic source.
Now, my secret sauce for high CTR is the extreme personalisation of ads and the understanding of a couple things.
Users are consuming media more and more online each day.
We’re getting smarter, we’re getting savvier. Banner blindness is a thing. We’re gonna grow blinder to more things.
At the same time traffic sources are evolving. They’re getting stricter with compliance rules, quality metrics.
So, when you’re building campaigns for social, you have to understand what psychology calls Parasocial Interactive Behaviour. And start behaving like a social influencer in that social network.
Social influencer is such a buzz word now. There are social influencer networks popping out left and right and it’s for a reason.
When offers come to user from a trusted source, they convert 4 to 10 times higher than from a brand.
So, why are they so powerful though?
Why are social influencers so powerful? Why are people like the Kardashians famous?
Because of that, because it’s the relationship where one side puts all these time, attention, and energy. And, the other side doesn’t even know this one exists.
It’s the relationship people have with celebrities and sports teams.
When you’re creating your campaigns aim to create that, with that in mind. And that relationship is nurtured through some very carefully constructed mechanisms.
Its conversational copy, its intimate imagery, like a selfie.
You create that illusion of intimacy, you build a sense of trust. And, you come to them like you’re telling a personal story. You create an engagement.
And the goal is always to spark engagement because when you’re running social, engagement pays the bills.
Engagement Pays The Bills
It does because your bid is not actually your bid.
Your bid is your bid. The value you enter plus your estimated action rate and relevance score. All of that is taken into consideration.
So, when you’re placing your bid, don’t do the obvious. Don’t go like multiples of 10 or 5. Mess with the algorithm a little.
I set my bids to like a 112.57.
Because then they consider the estimated action rates which is the propensity of people to engage with your ad given the targeted demo and what else is being served to them.
Then, there’s your relevance score which is that score from 1 to 10 after 500 impressions. And they consider the feedback from the users.
Are they liking, sharing, commenting?
I’ve heard and I believe it’s true. Only x-outs hurt you if people are commenting. If it keeps you from converting on the ad, hide it. But otherwise any engagement is good engagement and will drop your CPCs.
So, I think people know about this but keep in mind, you can grab that story ID. Because let’s say you have a lot of ad with a lot of engagement, right?
It’s like having an LP with dope testimonials. So, get that story ID and create an existing post with that story ID so then the engagement carries over.
The Winning CPL Funnel
Now, after some optimisations, this was what my first winning CPL funnel looked like.
Very personalised ads. A very simple one step LP.
My offer page was like this simple e-mail capture. So, my goal was to increase conversions there. So it’s like that invites, you get this exclusive offer for limited time only don’t miss out.
Conversions were great.
So after 2 months of running this, I was very happy. Hundreds of thousands leads delivered, 200% ROI. But the client wasn’t happy.
I saw that coming and I felt the offer was gonna pause soon. So I faced the dilemma that I feel like affiliates at one point they all faced.
Do I push this as far as I can to squeeze all the ROI I can out of it and then move on to the next money making offer?
Or do I actually take some time to build something that will deliver the client the results they’re actually looking for?
I like to gamble but not that much. So, I wanted to asses my risks.
So, I needed to figure out how close was I to actually making that work. Was I far from it? Would I have to split test and optimise a lot?
Or was I close to making it work? So place that second KPI simple concept of second pixel, measuring for quality. I wasn’t far.
So, I decided to build. So, we saved that relationship by offering the client to work on a CPA.
But they have to understand it takes some time to optimise. It’s a process.
So we take away just the CPL, pay me a little less for the lead, we add the sale. And then eventually we moved to the straight sale.
My challenge now was to deliver on a CPA while keeping my ROI just as high.
My solution was to keep what I already had working, right? Like, my targeting audiences, my campaigns.
And then try to monetise the CPL and the CPA with those same clicks.
So, I then had to take my campaign and segment them to get these users to convert on both. And the key to this is more personalisation.
The Key: More Personalisation
So, that’s when I turned my focus to beyond the ads.
Because I could tackle this in 2 ways. I could optimise my campaign, I could change my creatives, my copy to be more aggressive and focused on sales. But I had something working there, high CTRs.
I was getting users into my funnel for cheap. So, why would I touch it? Don’t touch it.
Focus on what’s going on after the ad. That’s when I started to pay attention to what being that user was like.
Because I invited them I started a conversation in my ad. And I brought them into my landing page.
I couldn’t just like leave them there to figure out what they wanted, what they were doing. That’s kinda rude.
Keep the conversation going. And then create an experience where you guide them to that last step that you want them to convert on.
And that’s when understanding user experience design comes in.
The Importance Of Design
I wanna take a minute to talk about design because I think it’s often misunderstood. It’s associated like in school, design students are like the liberal art students.
When really, design should be a part of business curriculum, right?
Like engineers, they think about systems how things functionally work.
A designer, they think about people, their emotional states, and their interests. Good design, is it feels natural.
It’s not about like what fonts you choose. What’s the color of your background, it’s about the connection you’re able to have with what you’re using.
So, when design is at its best, it’s human.
So, think about that when you’re building your funnels. Think about users entering your funnels as if they have virtual reality glasses on.
Like, you’re building a room, you’re inviting them to this room. What does this room look like? Is it full of clunky furniture that they can’t navigate and can’t make sense of things?
Once they’re in there, ask them the right questions.
Funnel Optimisation: Step 1 – Interest Category
At first, I was trying to make money on the CPL. So, I created the room on the right, on my right.
So, users walked in and I asked them, “Would you like a personal assistance for your beauty treatments?” Yes? “Get this exclusive discount.”
But now I was trying to make money in 2 ways: on the lead and on the sale. So, I had to ask them questions that would lead them to one of these two conclusions.
So, I built a room on the left, where the user walks in, and this is true to any vertical, not only beauty. There are so many sub-categories of interest within that vertical.
So, you’re targeting homeowners. There’s an endless world of things you can ask them.
What are you actually interested in? Do you wanna refinance your mortgage? Or do you want solar? Do you wanna pay less on your bills?
So ask them what they actually want.
And then my step 2, once I know what they want, in this case getting a manicure is very different from like a Botox treatment on your face.
Funnel Optimisation: Step 2 – Interest Time-Frame
I want to know how bad they want it.
So you ask them, and you give them options to tell you.
In this case, option 1 was, “I want it now, I have a wedding to go to, I need it right away.”
“I just want it done this week” is option 2.
Option 3, “I know I want it within 30 days, sometime this month.”
And, option 4 is the user that’s just curious. They were intrigued by your ad and they just wanna know more.
So if they choose 1, 2 or 3, meaning they’re ready to buy within those 30 days, which is when my cookie expires, I drop them on the sale.
If they’re not ready yet, why would I push them on the sale? I’ll drop them on the lead. And if your lead is well executed, if will back out to sales.
So, once you push them on the sales funnel, you have the interest category page based on step 1 of what they chose.
Funnel Optimisation: Step 3 – Keep The Conversation Going
And then you drop them deeper on the sales funnel, guiding them 1 step at a time, keeping the conversation going.
And you Pixel every step of the way so you can retarget them later.
So this is what my whole conversation with the user looked like.
Segmentation Funnel Overview
I asked them about their interest category. Then I asked about the time frame category. And then I had an offer wall based on the category of step 1.
Then once you select the offer on the offer wall, you have your offer page. Then your checkout step.
And again, retarget these users.
Sprout Social put out a stat recently, it was like, people buy something after they see it on social 2 or 3 times. It’s like social proof.
So use your custom audiences to retarget them.
Now, when we’re looking at numbers, because they don’t lie. And I’m comparing and that’s also the best and most fun part of it.
If we’re comparing my 1-step LP to my multi-step landing page, not only was I making more money, but I was making the client happier.
My EPCs have jumped from 0.20 to 0.80 cents.
And, here’s the thing, when I started to look at both the top graphs and the bottom graphs, I started to understand my traffic from a different perspective, from a higher level.
I was actually delivering true performance.
So, if you ask the right questions, it’s really about setting new goals, establishing a metric and optimising towards that.
You start with your lead gen and your installs and how to make money with those. Then you focus on the quality when you optimise for that. And then you focus on the average cart value of those users.
You reshape your funnels to optimise for that, then you focus on the lifetime value.
Affiliates don’t think of that. But we have to because the advertisers do. That means higher payouts and endless budgets, right?
So when you’re building these segmented funnels, here are a few tips.
Building Segmentation Funnels: Best Practices and Tips
Pick that goal and metric and optimise towards it. And then shape your funnel to guide the user all the way to that goal.
And when you’re building all those multi-steps, use oCPM for conversions. And you need relevant data.
So if you’re not getting 30-50 conversions within the first 24 hours, move the Pixel to an earlier step.
And again, Pixel every step to build Custom Audiences. I cannot stress how important Custom Audiences are to making your traffic cheaper and more effective.
So aside from the working campaign, I was making money and making the client happy. I was pulling my sub ID reports one day and I started to realise that the links in inboxes, messages, about sections, posts, they converted 30% higher than my paid traffic.
I was like, “This is crazy.”
More Awesome Results
So I had to build something lean to keep engaging with those users and monetising that organic traffic. Because it’s I see it like a net, right?
Like you have your funnels, and they’re converting and working or not, but if you’re giving users something else to engage with, it’s kind of catching what your funnels don’t.
So in the case of Facebook, if you make Facebook happy and you build a community where you’re maintaining it, and there’s endless tools that can do this for you.
We use automated response tools. They respond to messages, they hide certain keyword. And they respond to a certain user message with a certain link.
And that’s easy, you have to outsource very little to handle what the AIs can’t.
Once you have that in place, nowadays, 25% of my revenue is from organic traffic. That’s insane, that’s free money to reinvest in growing these properties.
Weaving The “Net”
So, look at what you run every day and what you pour your money into in those media buys.
Maybe try to organise them by like vertical, traffic sources, geos. And, find that common thread, you know? Something that’s similar enough that you can combine them together and start building something with the money that you spend everyday.
So say you have advertorials that have similar angles or for similar traffic sources, link them together.
Don’t use Women’s Health, use your own brand. Make it dope and then sell it later, right?
Like build a property, put some placements in there. Talk to emailers, start a host and post relationship from your sidebar email capture.
You can use widgets like MyLikes and eBay, they pay you for the click. So like you’re buying clicks, you’re getting paid for them and your users are converting in your offers.
So try to monetise every click you buy in every way you can. Re-pixel those users, right?
Look at Google Analytics, try and understand who this audience is and try to build something.
So if you look at it, you have your traffic coming in, you have your funnels, and you have your nets to catch what your funnels don’t.
How To Hit 7 Figures: The Skinny
So, if you want to hit those 7-figures consistently and start building assets, you can’t forget that aside from finding those commonalities and building your nets to catch what your funnels don’t and make your traffic more effective, you really need to remember that.
And here’s the thing that I don’t get like, how online marketers can separate the online from the offline world. There’s no such thing.
Virtual reality, augmented reality, that’s also real. This is it, this is how we access the world so stop looking at it like that.
Stop looking at trying to trick your users. Don’t do the bait-and-switch.
Because there’s so many huge advertising agencies out there that offer all these services that we do by ourselves.
Affiliates are marketing powerhouses on our own. We have access to real-time data, multi-variant testing tools.
We literally know, change button from orange to green, it clicks more.
Once you can capture that user experience and control it, we can control what people do and the power of good design.
So use it. Don’t sell yourself short.
Stop using Women’s Health, build your own stuff. Drive traffic to things that you own and focus on your users’ journey.
Think like a performance designer. Take them by the hand.
And instead of tricking them, talk to them. Build a user experience because we have the power to create the illusion of choice.