Facebook Advertising Tips: 2 Smart Belgian Case Studies.
Every article on Facebook ads best practices is the same. The internet is overflowing with those articles but they don’t teach you anything new or actionable.
It’s quite boring, right? Well, to make it this one succinct, we decided to create a piece of content by interviewing two successful Facebook ad experts in Belgium.
These companies are Crimibox and QIQO. Each product is unique and has a different approach to FB ads so for sure there will be multiple takeaways and tips for you.
They answered a list of questions and explained their secret tips for growing and scaling-up with Facebook ads. Unlike others, this article contains more than cold theories:
- Real-life cases and examples.
- Exclusive strategies from companies located in the same geography as you.
- Tips from people who were recently in your shoes.
- Detailed information such as the % of the budget spent on FB, what campaign structure they used and so on.
- 100% transparency.
If you’re thinking “what if I’m not a Belgian company?”.
Well, it doesn’t matter because the marketing strategies, people and Facebook are universal. You can use the same strategy as long as you’re advertising on Facebook.
Whether you’re living in Belgium or Turks and Caicos, everything is applicable.
Crimibox – Founder, Jimmy Cowe
Crimibox is doing a bloody good job. They’re selling unsolved murder cases as a detective game.
There are two versions of the game.
The digital version: You’re trying to solve the case on the internet. But it’s super interesting with phone calls, Instagram stalking and many other interactive elements.
The analog version: It’s where things get real. You receive the case like a true detective and try to solve it by creating your own Sherlock mind map.
As a team, we’ve played it a couple of times and had a great time. So check it, it’s a lot of fun. So now you know the product, let’s get to the investigation of Jimm Cowe🕵️♂️
What part of your budget goes to Facebook ads?
Crimibox target audience age is between 20 and 40.
In the beginning, Jimmy did some experiments with FB ads, Snapchat, Instagram and many other paid platforms.
But after a while, he saw that FB ads were outperforming other platforms. So he went all in FB ads. 75-85 % of their media budget goes into Facebook ads and occasionally they do awareness campaigns on Instagram.
What is the goal of your campaigns?
The conversion is the holy grail for Jimmy. Like we mentioned seconds ago, sometimes he’s doing brand awareness campaigns on Instagram and that’s it.
Also, Jimmy is only using newsfeed display ads. Straight to the most influential and valuable estate on Facebook.
How do you choose your audience and structure your campaigns?
The main focus of Crimibox is Belgium and the Netherlands.
Before they got serious with Facebook advertising, Crimibox had a successful kickstart launched and had over 10k subscribers out of it. So they leveraged the force of lookalike audiences and retargeting a lot.
The main focus of Crimibox is Belgium and the Netherlands.
Jimmy also created custom audiences by using interests. He found people who are interested in detectives such as Sherlock Holmes. Applied the same strategy for detective books, games and so on.
But there are points where things get experimental. For example, they focused on people who like Hello Fresh’s (a popular meal box delivery service in Belgium). Or in one case they even targeted big cities like Brussels, Gent, Antwerpen, Amsterdam and so on.
Jimmy isn’t using the campaign budget optimization option and he’s using different ad sets for his audiences.
How much money are you spending to validate your ad campaign?
People usually test their Facebook ads with 5€ per day. That’s what Jimmy did when he started but by the time Crimibox got enough $, he increased the daily budget to 20€.
Why? Well, Jimmy claims that you can get more results and see the bigger differences between ad sets. If you use a 5€ budget the difference is not remarkable.
So testing with bigger budget = bigger overview.
What is your ad set structure and how do you choose your creatives?
Jimmy is a humble tactician. To find his main Facebook ad creative and go all in, he followed a unique path and executed his own A/B test.
The first week: He made three versions of his Facebook ad creative with different pictures and kept the rest of the elements the same. And showed all three to the same audience.
A: Picture 1
B: Picture 2
C: Picture 3
After a week, he chose the best performing version. (version B).
The second week: He took the best performing picture. Then he created three more creatives with the winning version but this time he only tested the different titles.
A: Picture B – Copy 1
B: Picture B- Copy 2
C: Picture B – Copy 3
After a week, the last version (C) was the winner of the copy test. Then in the third week, he tested the final version of the Facebook ad and the results were convincing.
So Jimmy decided to go all-in with the winner version and show it to all the audiences. All advertising efforts laser-focused on 1 Facebook ad creative. Wow, a big decision eh?
And he’s saying that it works best to use the winner version for all audiences. (Hey don’t forget that’s an opinion)
Do you use certain psychological triggers in your copy or ads to make sure people will click?
This is the part you’ll get your ROI for clicking this article.
Jimmy says, “I think the success of the ad was because of social proof.”
Now check this Facebook ad:
This picture was taken 3 days after the first appearance of the ad.
Running for three days and got already 300 likes, 1.5k comments, shares and plus many people tagged each other.
It’s a popular phenomenon: when people see all that likes, they get curious, join the herd and eventually it returns as ROI.
And this is no luck, Jimmy did it intentionally. How?
Here is the king of the Facebook advertising tips: Stacking the social proof
Let’s say you’re going to create 5 different Facebook ad sets. You already set the first one up and it’s running, now you’re going to set up the others.
Here you have the option to use the same ad creative in the rest of your ad sets. So what’s the deal if you use the same ad creative?
When you do that, all the likes, comments and shares merge into one ad creative. So if someone comments on the ad set 1, that comment applies to the rest of your ad sets.
All the engagement numbers stack up and build a huge social proof post that boosts all of your ad sets. I don’t have to say (yet I did) that this causes a snowball effect on social media.
Remember, Jimmy chose his champion ad and used it for all campaigns. Are you following detective?
Get closer. He has 3 more tips and tricks under his sleeve.
1. Retargeting Hack
You know Crimibox had a successful Kickstarter launch. The Kickstarter people are fanatic Crimibox supporters from day one. Knowing that Jimmy made a smart move there and showed his ads to them by retargeting them.
The main focus here is not to sell, but to reap the maximum engagement. So for every new Facebook ad he creates, he first shows them to the retargeting audience to get that sweet social proof effect.
After he gets a bit of traction, he starts to activate other audiences. We think this is quite an interesting way to use retargeting ads.
2. Long Copy
Jimmy is a fan of storytelling and long copy. As you see, he uses a long copy to tell a story and drag readers to the crime scene.
There is a legend lurking around named “Long copy isn’t working”. Don’t believe that, it depends on the nature of your product or service. If you can tell a story with your product and have a person with copywriting skills in the team, go for it.
3. Usage of emoji.
Crimibox also noticed a remarkable increase in attention, click rate and conversions when they use emojis such as detective emoji. Or in the Christmas season, they used the Christmas tree to make their ads more attractive.
Notice the strategies Crimibox uses in the Facebook ad image, it’s full of tips:
- A person who is excited/happy to evoke emotions.
- Product all over the table.
- The adventurous feeling of the physical game.
- Crimibox branding.
- Christmas related messaging.
What is your daily budget and how do you scale up?
Crimibox was spending 20€ daily per ad set. When the CAC (customer acquisition cost) was good, Jimmy decided to take action and increased the budget by 10€.
But increasing the budget caused an increase in frequency and conversion rates were not as good as before. And the total daily budget got up to 800€! So he maneuvered back to 20€.
He noticed that he couldn’t increase the budget of ads so he figured out he needs more ad sets. But Jimmy was running out of “Detectives, series and other interests.”
So they did something very experimental indeed. And targeted people who are between 20-40 and liked big cities such as Amsterdam, Brussels and so on.
The result? New ads were converting at the same rate as all the others.
Not so fun fact: In that, all in FB ads era, Crimibox had some problem with logistics and the team had to pack and sent 7-8K game boxes. So it’s really hard-earned money.
Do you have an ad sales funnel? Are you showing different ads to different audiences?
Crimibox is showing the same ad to the warm and cold audience. They’re not doing what the industry preaches and going straight for the kill (conversion).
Why? Because that strategy is working for them.
Here’s what Jimmy says: “I read every article on Facebook Advertising but I discovered that this strategy works for Crimibox, so I’m going for it”
So don’t take this part as the ultimate truth, every brand and audience is different.
How often do you change the creative of your Facebook ad campaign?
If someone sees the same ad for the four times, Jimmy shutdowns the audience. Then he’ll create a new creative or different ad and push a new version to the same target audience.
Have you tried creatives other than a static image?
“They always say the video ads are the best type of ad, so give it a shot”
So, yes, Crimibox also tried a couple of video ads, but they weren’t good as still images. But soon, they want to try it again. Because Jimmy thinks the quality of the video ad was not that good. So they’ll go more professional to test it.
Have you experimented with some new additions like ‘direct to messenger’?
This is how Crimibox successfully launched a kick-ass Kickstarter project by experimenting with new features of Facebook.
And in this experiment, Crimibox was working with the Upthrust team. We used Facebook Messenger and Manychat and prepared a FB chatbot quiz themed “Which detective is hidden inside”.
The assumption: If people are interested in knowing which kind of detective they are, they are potentially also interested in solving a murder case.
So we asked several questions in a chatbot and helped them find out their inner detective. At the end of the quiz, we offer them to solve a murder case and direct them to the crime scene. This scene was a Kickstarter landing page.
Crimibox increased its subscriber number from 2K to 10K in 15 days and successfully launched on Kickstarter! If you want to see more growth hacks like this, dive into these 19 actionable growth hacking examples.
Why did this campaign work?
- It was super targeted.
- It was a new feature. (Quiz chatbot built-in Facebook Messenger.)
- We made the quiz personal. People always fall for personality quizzes.
(Note: We didn’t ask for any email address or contact information to not scare away people)
Tadaa. This is the end of our interview with Jimmy on Facebook advertising. I hope you noted some Facebook advertising tips or marketing tips in general.
Now we’re waving our hands goodbye to Jimmy with love and welcoming Amaury, founder of QIQO, with a round of applause.
Onwards to the next interview,
QIQO – Founder, Amaury Timmermans
QIQO is an energy tea that helps people to beat the afternoon slump. It’s also our official office drink, so I’ll try to describe the effect of QIQO to you.
It’s a natural focus and productivity booster. But it’s doesn’t give you the nervousness nor the crash when it stops working. So it’s gentler than coffee. But the guaranine inside it gives you enough alertness to tick all the boxes in your to-do list. So it’s not soft like tea either.
Since tea and coffee are the competitors of QIQO, it’s a hard product to advertise. But Amaury tested many things with Facebook ads and found some holes in the market, so there are lots of learnings and tips in this interview.
It doesn’t matter you’re B2C or B2B, these Facebook advertising tips are actionable for both sides.
What percentage of your budget goes to FB ads?
It’s 100%. Because people don’t really search a product like QIQO, so SEA(Search Engine Advertising) is not an option.
The team knew similar products got successful with FB or Instagram ads. That’s why they’re heavily investing in Facebook advertising.
What campaign structure do you use?
QIQO’s objective is always conversions. They saw lots of different results by doing awareness first then conversions campaigns before. But since QIQO is an impulse product, the first visit can also lead the conversions.
That’s why the target is always conversion. Ideally, it’s even purchase conversions.
Even though Facebook takes some time to optimize for the right audience, QIQO looking for purchase conversions.
Amaury thinks FB is the right platform for QIQO. Because people always go there for inspiration and also they’re used to see ads and ready to shop. On Facebook, almost everybody bought something one time.
Yes, I know what you’re thinking: people are tired of seeing ads.
But on the other hand, if you have a cool product with a compelling/creative ad, Facebook, Instagram and Messenger, are still the best platform to target your audience.
How do you decide on the placement of your ads?
QIQO lets Facebook optimize the ads and decide where to put them.
Amaury is not creating different versions (sizes) of creatives for Instagram and so on. They didn’t see a big difference between vertical and horizontal ads, so they don’t waste their energy on it.
“Yes, it looks better but at the moment, we haven’t seen any evidence that it converts better. It’s just extra work.”
What’s your targeting, how do you choose your audience?
QIQO is still experimenting with interest audiences, although they had some trouble to find interest to target.
Also, Amaury focuses a lot on lookalike audiences. They create lookalike audiences based on lifetime value and purchases from visitors. Then once they get a certain volume of a hit, they let Facebook decide who to target and that’s usually a very broad audience.
He claims, “Once your Facebook Pixel has enough data, it actually becomes quite good at finding those people.”
Once they spent 10K in a month and let Facebook decide and do its thing. The results were ok, but Amaury says it could be better for any other product. Because QIQO is a cheap product so the return on ad spent is not optimal
Also, we asked: Have you tried to target interests like coffee or tea?
Amaury doesn’t see any difference between targeting those interests or let Facebook decide. So after trying many things, here is one of his tips: trust Facebook’s algorithm.
QIQO’s main difficulty is to find balance: They don’t want to stretch their budget too thin and across too many countries. So they’re continually iterating this decision and trying to spread the budget smartly to get early adopters.
And as long as the budget is big enough, QIQO works with very big audiences.
He’s also using retargeting using custom audiences and Facebook pixel, but we’ll come to that later.
How do you determine your budgets? What do you optimize for?
Since the product has a lifetime value, they focus on optimizing acquisition cost. They’re trying to go below the one return on ad spend. This metric is quite critical for products like QIQO, which aims to recurring purchases.
How often do you change your creatives?
QIQO is currently running 23 ads on Facebook. Each one is quite different than each other and every two weeks or month, they launch new creatives.
They launched hundreds of different ads to continue testing and see what works. And what Amaury says is shocking:
“We see that targeting is actually has a bigger importance than creatives.”
You’re (and we’re) probably jealous of those super creative ads on social media by big brands. But Amaury doesn’t see a huge gap in conversion rates.
What are your Facebook Advertising tips regarding the type of creatives?
This the juicy part and Amaury is quite generous with tips. Here is a big list of actionable tips that you can use in your next Facebook ad campaign.
- Always use emojis.
- Have at least one video ad in your campaigns( Facebook prioritizes video ads)
- Always try to add social proof.
- If it’s a product add rating such as 5 stars.
- Add quotes and testimonials from your customers.
- If you’re using a video be sure to use supers(copy on image) to highlight the features of your product. People first check the image then start to write your copy.
- Show your product as early as possible.
- The loading time of your landing page is critical. Also, the concurrency between your Facebook ad and the landing page is super important.
- Add a thumb-stopping power to your Facebook ads. But keep in mind, if it’s too much of a clickbait, then many people will not buy it.
Here are some additional tips that we have noticed:
- QIQO show emotions by using people in the ads.
- Using carousels and stickers to highlight different features of the product.
- Places the URL after the title as an extra and early call to action.
Also, Amaury noticed something negative but it also falls under the tips category:
“When we start a video with an eye-catcher like a viral funny video, we see the click-through rate going up a lot. But then the conversion rate drops. Because you’re just attracting clicks but not necessarily traffic willing to buy.”
How do you scale up? How do you decide which campaign works and doesn’t work?
They went for a lifetime budget, also daily budgets and use CBO (campaign budget optimization) and just increasing the budget.
As we mentioned earlier, Amaury thinks the Facebook ads algorithm becomes better and better. So they’re giving it as much freedom as they can and fuel the budget.
Some Facebook ad experts on the internet say things like:
“You need to double your budget every 24 hours at 12 am to hack the algorithm” we don’t believe in that kind of stuff anymore.”
Well, Amaury doesn’t believe in that kind of stuff anymore. Instead, he puts his faith and money on Facebook’s algorithm.
How do you use retargeting? Are you doing something special?
They’re always running retargeting for website visitors. But something that also overlooked but worked actually works super well for QIQO is engagers. (or engagement ads.)
What is engagement ads?
It’s an ad format and it helps you to retarget people that liked your post. Or clicked your post to read more, buy, download or etc.
Using that ad format had a lot of positive effects for QIQO. It has lowered CPAs (cost per action) by 50% compared to normal ads or retargeting campaigns.
Have you experimented with some new additions like ‘direct to messenger’?
There are two things on Amaury’s wish list.
Messenger Chatbots: he thinks they’re working and converting very well.
Dynamic Product Ads: If you want to show super personalized ads to your potential customers, this might be interesting for you.
Dynamic product ads are basically carousel ads, but Facebook decides what to put on the carousels. For example, you browsed a particle page or landing page, Facebook tracks your footprints and decides which products to put based on your history and personal interest.
(It only works with carousel ads)
Ok, we know you want to spend more time with Amaury to hear more about his Facebook advertising tips but it’s time to say goodbye!
End of this show. And the beginning of your show.
You’re still here. Since you followed till the end, I’m sure you got some actionable Facebook advertising tips and strategical approaches out of these 3 cases. Here is the last tip and maybe more important than the other tips:
If you’ve learned something, start to implement and experiment with it right away. Do it when it’s fresh and hot.
Only pizza becomes better when it gets colder. Go on, CHOP CHOP.
(By the way, if you think you have different strategies and Facebook advertising tips, reach me out for an interview please!)