Last year I spent many months upping my game with regard to building technical engines around marketing. I tackled a lot of new tools and systems, but I ran out of steam before I got to Facebook Ads, the most complex system of them all, and one that's critical to international and target marketing.
Well, I'm paying for it now. I got revved up, re-listened to my Mark Dawson “Ads for Authors” course for Facebook (highly recommended) and started putting mailing list (subscriber) ads together.
I have a new series coming out circa year-end and a German translation in the works, and I've been unserious about my mailing list (200 people), so I'm way overdue for winding this all up again and getting back on the newsletter horse.
I'm not going to complain about the general complexity of the Facebook ads system (and it's equally impressive power as a platform for ad management). No, today I'm going to rant about the integration of technical systems that's required to actually make all of this happen.
Last year, before I wound down, I made some tool choices which I didn't put into use, but I did the research well and now I'm, as it were, unwrapping the packages and digging into them. I feel fortunate, a year later, that I'm still happy with my choices.
But look at what it takes to run a simple mailing list ad for Facebook, from the perspective of all the pieces required, esp. if you're as obsessive as I am about tracking as much data as possible.
1. The Facebook environment
Create a Business Manager account and assign my KarenMyersAuthor page (and HollowLands and Perkunas Press) to it.
Create the actual campaigns/ad sets/ads and creative materials. Begin running them to get a feel for the sort of base numbers to be improving from.
…but that means I need to send those ad-responders somewhere to receive a free book and sign-up to my mailing list.
2. The BookFunnel environment
Create matching creative pages for Giveaways that force the ad-responder to provide name and email, and confirm the email.
…but that means sending that contact information somewhere to accumulate into a mailing list and/or CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system.
At the same time, make sure you can use BookFunnel to give free gifts to people who subscribe to my newsletter from my website, or from the backmatter of one of my books, or from a signup list at an event.
…but that means providing forms on my websites that can capture the name and email before sending them to BookFunnel, and send the contact info to a mailing list.
3. The ActiveCampaign environment
Grab all the contacts from my earlier newsletter service (MailChimp), and add all sorts of new data fields, triggers, and automations (AC is spectacular at automation but it's a lot to learn). That's just to get started.
Provide forms that can be integrated into my websites for those signups direct from the websites or from the backmatter of my books. Modify all the standard forms to match my brand colors, etc.
Integrate with BookFunnel for all the ad-responders that come in via Facebook ads.
Design all the automations that take new contacts from all the different sources and run them through a capture and onboarding process before letting them join the main mailing list.
…but the processes are different for “Traffic” ads on Facebook vs “Lead Generation” ads.
4. The OptimizePress enviroment
Landing pages that hand out free books are handled well by BookFunnel (good reader support), but landing pages that are used to push additional books to buy are better served by designing simple pages without navigation on my KarenMyersAuthor website using a tool like OptimizePress.
…but for the receiver of a free book via BookFunnel to hear about the associated upsell opportunity, there needs to be a link to the landing page on the BookFunnel “Thank you – download your book” screen.
5. The Zapier environment
For Facebook Lead Generation ads, the contact info is collected directly from Facebook, and only then is the ad-responder sent to BookFunnel, where he is no longer asked for contact information to receive his book.
…but the contact info collected by Facebook has to somehow get into the ActiveCampaign environment since it can't be passed along to BookFunnel to forward.
Facebook spins up Zapier to execute a “zap” that integrates Facebook and ActiveCampaign to pass the contact information along.
…but ActiveCampaign has to be made to understand that some data that comes from BookFunnel contains new subscriber info (from Facebook Traffic ads), and some doesn't (the “zap” contains the equivalent data) and AC automations have to sort it all out.
All of the above just addresses the technical aspects and only for the mailing list Facebook ads (Traffic or Lead Generation); it has nothing to do with the marketing aspects (creative look & feel, messaging, imagery, offer, etc.) or the financial aspects (audience, interests, metrics).
I anticipate with dread the horrors that await me when I do the Facebook Sales ads next.
Tonight I had to leave support messages with:
- OptimizePress — LiveEditor didn't behave as expected (turned out to be a cache-clearing issue)
- BookFunnel — Data that was passing properly to ActiveCampaign is no longer getting there
- ActiveCampaign — The other side of the BookFunnel question, since neither side has identified the problem yet
- Zapier — initial integration of Facebook and ActiveCampaign hit a glitch
What I found interesting was that Facebook itself was the one system I didn't have to contact tonight.
I realize I'm in startup mode on all of these processes and I have to expect some difficulties, but the term “Rube Goldberg” does come to mind.
And I have a reasonably technical background. I am sincerely impressed that some of my less technical marketing colleagues have made it through the woods themselves.
I've sketched out the beginning of the associated metrics processes I will need to track — metrics need to be integrated, too. Facebook Ads Manager has good tracking for just the ad performance itself, but it only captures the front end of the process, not the whole picture.
Facebook may know about clicks but BookFunnel knows about actual signups for free books, in some cases, and retailer affiliate systems know about associated sales, to some degree.
I'll need data downloads from Facebook Ads Manager, BookFunnel, ActiveCampaign, and at least the Amazon affiliate system in order to create a dashboard that shows me the important metrics to track in aggregate, month by month.
Then wait until I start monitoring international audiences and my German translation…