Advertising on social can be a great way for new businesses to find more customers and reach new audiences, targeting on data and location. But what's the best way to approach this? We chat to Dave Rotheroe of Cheese Posties, the world's first subscription cheese toastie business, about how Facebook ads helped them increase their monthly revenue by over 750% in mere weeks.

Cheese Posties - how Facebook Ads helped us grow our business

There’s a lot of hype around Facebook ads at the moment. With the massive amounts of data Facebook collects on each of its users, on and off the platform, there’s a tremendous opportunity to reach highly relevant audiences with a tailored message and extreme cost efficiency.

It’s also very easy to waste thousands of pounds in a very short space of time throwing money at their extremely slick user interface, which almost gamifies the process of creating and optimising ad copy. Truly effective Facebook advertising involves creative content and deep data insight working in perfect harmony.

With a little trial and a fair share of error, in 2017 we were able to master our strategy and increase our monthly revenue by over 750% in just 12 weeks, profitably.

Groundwork

The first thing to consider with any form of advertising is if your product isn’t eye-catching and positioned for the intended audience, it will be much more expensive to achieve results.

We designed Cheese Posties from the ground up to be a social product. One that was inherently sharable, likeable and struck a chord with visual food trends. Ultimately, we wanted to capitalise on Facebook’s relevance algorithm that increases reach at a lower cost for content deemed engaging for the intended audience. 

Before we built the brand, we looked at what food content was being shared, how the major viral food pages were communicating with their audiences, and considered how we could capitalize on these proven mechanisms and brand tones.

What we saw

Protein in motion. The illustrious ‘cheese pull’ – the money shot of any cheese related viral recipe video. Flavour combinations that spark debate and create intrigue. Overhead explainer recipe videos made easily consumable with quick edits and sped-up clips.

Having identified these formats, we repurposed them for our own product. It’s worth noting that none of this cost us more than £100 using an iPhone camera, a mounting bracket from Amazon, and iMovie to edit.

Identifying our audience

We built our product for a very specific audience from day one. We already had an idea what publications they followed online, which brands they interacted with and how other similar services they subscribed to were positioned.
With a little audience research, using a combination of Facebook’s insight tools and some informed common sense, we were able to set up various test targeting audiences and refine to the most cost effective. Doubling down budget on whatever provided the best ROI at every level.

Polarisation of opinion

Two of the key metrics used to determine relevance and reach are ‘Positive Feedback’ and ‘Negative Feedback’. On our most successful campaigns to date both of these have been at max capacity. 

We’re lucky enough to have a product that sits in a really interesting space. Some people outright love it, some people vehemently hate it. This social dynamic often sparks debate, which invariably strengthens the opinion of our fans and drives the ads forward fueling their relevance score.

Taggable / shareable content

When a customer tags their friend or shares ad content to their timeline, not only are we reaching their own network with the added social proof of a like or share, we’re also engaging the all-important relevance algorithm that gives our content exponentially more reach.

We found creative ways to exploit this algorithm directly, encouraging post interaction for massive reach - at times achieving £0.001 per post engagement.

Retargeting

Although a certain amount of purchases can be achieved with ads served to a ‘cold’ audience, or people who are new to your brand, mastering retargeting and creating a sales funnel with ads has the potential to hoover up every last bit of traffic maximizing ROI.

We draw new customers’ eyes onto our brand using a soft touch, non-salesy approach, and eventually qualify them for discounts and more direct sales ads based on their actions, tracked by Facebook’s tracking pixel.

My advice for those getting started

Strategy and customer definition should come before all else. Having a direct understanding of who your customer is and what they react to will save you considerable time, effort and cash.

This involves not just identifying them and the interests you can mechanically target, but also how you position your product in the creative and how effectively you can paint a picture of it as part of their life.

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