Stephen Renton

Interview With Stephen Renton

Bill: Welcome back again, everybody! This is another interview with a Facebook video ads success. We’re going to talk about a really interesting campaign and we’ll leave it at that for the moment, but I’m on with Stephen Renton, so hello, Stephen!

Stephen: How you doing? Good to be here.

Bill: Stephen, I work with Stephen on a variety of different projects. He and I have partnered on different projects and we’ve done a lot of stuff together, but he was telling me the other day about a client of his that he has that he’s been doing video ads for and I was like super intrigued and I just had to bring him on to share with everybody in the audience here so they can hear your success and how you did it. First of all, let’s start the talk about the client. Give us some background on the client that you did this for.

Stephen: Sure. It’s kinda not standard, this is completely outside of the usual market and realms that we are working. I had a client who was doing conceptual artwork. She’s actually doing underwater photography and working with a lot of campaigns with private clientele creating specific pieces of artwork for them, doing high-end conceptual artwork as well for galleries and for exhibitions. She came to me hearing what we can do with Facebook and some of the great ways of expanding your audience and your reach and just said, what can I do, can you help me with that? So this is a very much an experimental exercise because to be honest, I didn’t really know if I could do anything with artwork on Facebook, I didn’t know if I could target audiences that really want to look at them over there, couldn’t find specific high-end buyers for expensive pieces of art and how effective would it be if we dialed the campaigns in, could we get them converting, could we get the costs down. So we kind of went in very much as an experimental mode rather than from the same new client who could achieve x,y,z to get ROI. We adopted a lot of the same kind of features, the same mindsets that Bill uses in Social Profit Machine, with running a very limited ad spend, the testing and then finding ads, approximately $5 a day ad spend, tweaking things and seeing how it goes from there. This was done just as I was getting quite a lot of good information from colleagues on video, it’s becoming so popular now with Facebook, bringing down the costs and encourage people to use video because they’re trying to go head to head with YouTube. I thought this is the perfect time. What I’d like to do is bring a couple of screen shares and I’ll show you some charts from a—

Bill: Real quick, I want to just clarify here, too. Just to really make it clear exactly what she was selling. She does these really beautiful, they’re photographs underwater of people. They’re really, really beautiful pieces of art and what kind of price points do they sell for, just to give some idea of maybe a range of top to bottom?

Stephen: Sure. Well, it depends. She does a very, actual product shoots, so people can commission her to do shoots themselves or they can buy pre-made art pieces. A typical price for a pre-made print, which would be a limited edition print, could be anything from say $1,000 up to, I think she sold some stuff up to some of the high-end hotels, for their galleries, at $10-15,000 for a large print that covers a wall. If she’s doing a photo shoot with people, she can do stuff generally from, I guess about $3,000-10,000 or a photo shoot where you go underwater, we’ll come up with a concept. A lot of it is around mythology and fairy tales. So they take people down with an entire team of safety instructors or divers, photographers to do the lights, and then your getting this one-of-a-kind incredible pieces of art.

Bill: Wow, that’s awesome. But yeah, you’re right, approaching it from scratch, I would have no idea whether that could get any results at all. Like I’d have that same attitude of well, we can send some cheap traffic to it and I have no idea what’ll happen. Let’s walk into that, so we’ll go right into that. You said you had something you could show on what happened?

Stephen: Yes. So one of the things I had her do was some homework beforehand, was to draw out a list of the different types of clients she had because some people, as I mentioned before, were going for a private shoot, some of it is coming from art advertising agencies, some of it might be a hotel, some of it would be fashion, and so forth. I had her basically draw out a list of the different types of clients that would come to her, figure out roughly what kind of energies she would want to show with them and what would be the marketing message. Initially we started with a few tests just with straight images on Facebook itself, not really videos, and it was prohibitively expensive. As you can see here, these are one of the campaigns that we put together and we’re targeting very specific, people that like art shows and here we have ad executives, international art collectors, art lovers from LA, fine art investors, people that like museums, Christians, the auction house, Sotheby’s, the auction house, investment bankers as potential buyers as well. What I would like to add, I’m also creating these ad groups, specifically in the States, because that’s where a lot of our clientele are, but in the States you can be targeting the people’s income as well. A lot of these income brackets where people can, for example, people that liked international art, I’m also putting in groups people that have income of over $100,000. So not only are they interested in art, they have very substantial disposable income to buy stuff. As you’ll see down here, I’ve highlighted all the campaigns and we’re getting 1 cent and 2 cent video views almost immediately. One ad here is 5 cents so I killed that, too expensive. One other thing that I think was very important was picking a time very early on and ran a like campaign to our Facebook fan page and each like was costing 18 cents, which is pretty high. We tried to optimize that a couple times, it wasn’t really working very well. One of the great things with the video ads, is that as well as getting the ads in front of people in a video format, which obviously is very engaging, is very popular and it did illustrate the art pieces, is that you’re getting likes as well. We have a standard percentage of people that are watching videos and clicking onto our site. People actually like our site fan page as well, I think it’s maybe 30% of people that watch the videos are liking our site, so rather than 18 cents per like, we’re getting the video view of 1 and 2 cents, and we’re actually getting the likes for free. So that was a very nice byproduct. I refer to the facts, the results of this, let me show you typically one of the ads that we’re running. This is a screen shot of the video itself and I’m just blacking out the actual website right now just for client confidentiality. This is just showing some of the stats, we’re getting 13 1⁄2 thousand video views, it’s costing 1 cent per view. Clicks are at just about 1,000 clicks, click-through rate is over 2%, which is pretty high and at that point is well fixed, it pre-calculates a relevant score. We got 151 post likes here, 66 shares, and 55 other actions. This is typical of one of these examples. This one particular ad, and I’ll just go over the results to show you guys why this is exciting. We spent under $50 on this ad. From this, we actually generated $1,600 immediately in art sales. There was a lady from Facebook contacted the client, she bought two art pieces for the sum of $1,600. The exciting thing is she is actually a bona fide princess. One of the things she wants to do next, we just delivered the art pieces, it takes a while to have them printed and shipped, but her father has a castle and she wants to buy two further large prints, art pieces for this castle and the prices of the art pieces actually increase with the size, so the sizes that she’s talking about are $7-8,000 each. So when that goes through, once we go back to the States again, we will, with the two that we’re doing there now, that’s likely to be 15,000, 16,500 in direct sales from an ad spend using video ads, 1 cent video views of under $50.

Bill: Wow.

Stephen: Now on top of that—yeah, that’s a pretty good ROI and I haven’t gone ahead to calculate what that is, but on top of that, we were contacted as well by an Italian art gallery owner who wants the clients to do a full-on art exhibition in his gallery itself as well. So the way these work—and I’m not an art gallery expert, but I can talk about these, and every time she does a full-on exhibition, it results in five figures worth of sales of her artwork. So if she gets that as well from a Facebook ad and goes on to generate five figures in sales from that, that’s a pretty decent return for $50 spent on Facebook ads.

Bill: I’ll say.

Stephen: Oh, the other thing as well, I did mention, just keep in mind as well, one of the ad groups that we’ve been targeting is Saatchi & Saatchi because they have a big art gallery following of the Saatchi & Saatchi website. And what you’re seeing on the screen now, if Google Hangouts is keeping up with me, this is one of the targeting groups that we were hitting. I’m picking out the predominantly big countries that Saatchi & Saatchi are more popular in, okay, India fell into that grouping as well, I think she probably told me she had some very high-end Indian art buyers, too. Most of it are English-speaking countries and the other ones that have a large overall grouping to the ad-target audience. We’re picking out everybody who are interested in Saatchi, Saatchi Russia, Saatchi gallery, Saatchi online and so forth. This has been running very successfully with 1 cent optimized views. Actually Saatchi & Saatchi saw this themselves and they contacted the artist and they were that impressed with the video that she was running, the video ad, which we actually just threw together in about, I think it was under three hours in total, it was just a slide show of her pieces of art, put together with some call to actions and I actually went onto the site, which I will show you on there. No, I can’t. where you can buy royalty-free pieces of music, so we went and found a piece of music that fit with the art we were showing and we rendered that onto a quick video with Keynotes, put it together and then Saatchi & Saatchi said they loved that and they asked for a copy of it and they blasted it out to their entire audience via their social media, Facebook, Twitter, and everything else that they had, so we got a lot of extra exposure from that as well. There’s been quite a lot that’s come from that, so let me just, I think there’s another slide that I wanted to show. What I actually have as well is the video itself, but this is one minute, so if that’s okay with you, Bill, let me just roll this and people can see what we put together and how simple it is to create a video ad work using like Keynote and some music. The key points of this is you want to keep it down to about a minute in duration because obviously people have a limited attention span on Facebook, with lots of other things happening, but there’s also some metrics and demographics that you want to keep them short because you can build audiences from people that have watched things and clicked on it. Facebook will actually do this in the background based on the percentage of the video that’s watched. So if you have a shorter video, obviously you’re going to have a higher percentage of people watching a larger part of it than if you try putting together a video that’s five minutes or seven minutes that people are never going to sit through. Let me hit the play button properly and this is all going to work technically, and you can see what we put together.

[Video plays.]

Bill: So but essentially, just the key points on this, are that, I mean, you achieved all of that, the video is one minute long, and it’s essentially a Keynote presentation, right? With some music.

Stephen: Yeah. Yeah, we just put together—one of the things that I thought of is obviously people are going to see a piece of our artwork on Facebook and a paid- for image, which is great, but if you can get a cheaper video and just take a set of images that are going to be captivating, people are going to listen to it for a minute and the music, you’re creating an entire experience like somebody walking through an art gallery, so why not try that, figure out demographics or goods that you can target then, that have high incomes, that have expressed interest in specific galleries, specific museums, specific art publications, and then also targeting high net individuals like Sotheby’s, Christies, investment bankers, and people that you can narrow down with Facebook targeting that have high disposable incomes and click it from there. So far, with an ROI like that, I think she’s quite happy.

Bill: Wow, that’s pretty cool. In your targeting them, the really surprising thing to me was how cheap it was to target those really high income. Typically with other types of ads, if we were going to try to do website-clicks ad or try to get traffic straight to a website or an image ad and we try to target that high-end demographic, it would be way more expensive than that. So it’s kind of surprising how cheap it is with video.

Stephen: Yeah, that’s one of the things that surprised me. You can see a lot of people, especially in our industry, using Facebook ads to drive traffic to a $37 piece of software or whatever else, so this was very much what you can see what you can target and get in action from something completely separate, then you can hit ROIs like that in an ad spend. Obviously, results not typical. But it was very interesting to see how it could be done, and the fact that you can target them that tightly to those markets and have it that cheap, I was initially going to put retargeting pixels and we may still do that and they could be targeting again as well all the different, types of platforms and networks, but if you’ve already been in 1 cent clicks, how much more do you need to optimize? From there, I guess.

Bill: Yes, yeah, 1 cent clicks targeted to high-net worth individuals or high-income individuals who are interested in high-end art, that’s like pretty amazing. Now, had you had any experience on other types of Facebook ads to that audience and if you did, what is the comparison? Was it quite a bit more expensive?

Stephen: Well, yeah, I mean, I’ve played a bit with ads retargeting people for a typical internet marketing product launch we did before, we did some stuff for JV’s way back in the day, we did some custom audience stuff (inaudible), but if you can tightly target groups like this and get such ridiculously cheap clicks and views and still get likes thrown in to the bargain, it’s better than anything else before. My thought process in this is why would you waste your time in a crowded marketplace and pitting against everyone else, if you can go out, pick any kind of high quality or high-value product or service and go to these guys, “Hey, I’ll get you targeted traffic all day long, ridiculously cheap video views coverage,” and take it from there.

Bill: Yeah, I’ve talked to several people selling high-ticket stuff with video ads and I’ve noticed it working from a variety of different approaches and different markets. It’s funny that the video ads are working so well that they’ll work across the board. We’ve seen people selling fairly inexpensive physical products all the way up to this high-end art or high-end coaching, where you’re talking 5K-plus price points and it’s working across the board. Facebook video ads, they rock. I bet by this time the people are watching these videos, probably realize that, I think.

Stephen: I hope so. Just don’t go and do it and find artwork, leave that all to me. Thank you very much.

Bill: [Laughs] I think one thing I want to point out, too, is the point you decided, “Oh, we want to play around with this, let’s just see what happens,” to implementation was really short. You said you spent about three hours with Keynote and what was the audio resource you used?

Stephen: It’s a site called

Bill: These are fairly inexpensive, I’m going to guess?

Stephen: Yeah, I mean, you’re picking up an audio track there for $5, 6, 7, 8 a pop. So we just sat down, we looked at the art work, we tried to figure a few— something a little bit cheesy and just a little bit too, they’re not that suitable, but we found that was a little classy, I guess you’d have a look at it when you had a chance to watch the video. It really rang through together and it looks really professional. I mean, it’s optimized from a mobile and it plays in the newsfeed as well, we didn’t bother with any Right Side Ads obviously because it’s video and it just went great. I’ve actually got a lot of people coming to me now to try and get me to help them and I have to politely say I don’t work on these to get in and optimize other people’s campaigns. This one was done for her as a favor, but it’s been that successful that we’ll be running these for a long time.

Bill: Yeah, I’m trying to remember, too, on top of—so if you’ve got Keynote, you can obviously use Keynote and that royalty-free music for $5, that’s awfully cheap. But the other one I just found is Animoto, is another service that is pretty inexpensive that will also help you put together some slick-looking slide shows, if they’re looking for an alternative, if you don’t have Keynote.

Stephen: Yeah, excellent.

Bill: Anything else when it came to constructing the campaign or the video, best practices of any kind that you can share that the audience might want to know about?

Stephen: Sure. I don’t know if anybody else has talked about this, but right now, Facebook is actually generating audiences for you on the cloud from videos views. So it’s dependent on the amount of people that watch your video a day, but this is why I was saying you want to keep it short, to about a minute, because probably, it automatically creates two audiences from the video views. One is people that have watched I think the first five seconds of the video. On the other list is people that have watched the first 95% of the video. But obviously then you’ve got two lists of viewers that was built specifically by Facebook themselves. People that watched the longer part of the video obviously are the more targeted visitors. The good thing about that is once you have those lists auto generated by Facebook, if you wanted to—and we haven’t needed to because we’re getting such cheap clicks and target audiences anyway—you could go in and use those Facebook-generated audiences of the viewers to then generate Look Alike Audiences and then run ads to those as well. That I haven’t done yet. At some point when we get to that stage, we also need retargeting, just so we can get people across the different networks. But so far it’s been that easy to get the campaign up and running just with a few good call to actions, some slides, a couple of music tracks, see what happens, see what sticks and just refine it. It’s been incredible, not spending weeks and months on a fortune trying to develop something that simply works, we’ve pretty much thrown it together on the fly, putting it out there, seeing what happened, adjusting it, very cheaply for a very minimal ad budget and then you’ll see what happens to it.

Bill: Awesome. The stuff you talked about with custom audiences, it sounds complicated, but actually it is super easy. They’ll have to use something called the power editor, that they may not be familiar with, but I’ll show them in the training how to do that. If you use the power editor and it’s really just, you tick a box, that’s it, and then Facebook will automatically create these audiences for you. Then next time you go in to create an ad, you can actually just pick them from a dropdown menu. You can say, “Show this ad to all the people who watched 95% of my previous video.” It’s really, really easy to do, but I’ll show them, I’ll walk them through what they need to click and how they do it. But it’s super easy. For somebody who hasn’t done it before, it sounds like voodoo, but it’s not. [Laughs]

Stephen: Yeah, I think that was easy. But that was a big eye opener for me, because I had no idea that we could find as many targeted buyers as we could and I literally, so far, I’ll spend less than an hour, with these ad groups and I’m knocking off ad groups very easily, targeted buyers at 100,000 people at a time. One of the things that we’re thinking about doing next is doing a road show about our exhibition in the States. Typically when you’re doing that, if you go to an art gallery, they’ll take 50% commission of the sales, so obviously if you’re selling $6, 7, 8,000 art pieces, those guys are taking $2, 4, 5,000 a pop just to have them hang on the wall. So the concept that I think we could develop on that is developing our own art tour, doing the whole thing ourselves, but we could fill the art galleries with adverts on Facebook targeting specific cities and art galleries and art magazines or exhibitions of specific artists in these places and we put a little bit of preliminary investigation and it’s very, very simple to find just about every time you think about visiting, 100, 200, 250,000 people that are relevant, targeted… (inaudible) So that could be our next as in this process because I think for everything that she does a much better with (inaudible) So if we even pull out (inaudible) targeting, using Facebook video ads to the (inaudible) they’re probably going to be a little bit marketing in that every city in which she would go to, they’re going to do a (inaudible) underwater shoots and is doing that one for charity. But then again, that could be a way of getting to a very good PR campaign and picked up by the radio stations and shows and then all of a sudden from those 1 cent video ads, you have a whole campaign that’s going to go national, a live, national art show exhibition, but something that if that goes well, could end up netting $2-300,000 easily.

Bill: Wow. So as you travel, you’ll do the show in different physical locations, you can essentially run campaigns ahead of time to fill those venues before you show up and do the live gallery show.

Stephen: Yes, exactly, rather than having to be at massive art exhibition spaces, because they take 50% of the profits, we are shocked by that, do our own exhibitions and events and you’ll be able to see us as we go (inaudible) as well on Facebook ads with this part of the (inaudible) event there. It’s going to be a fairly novel, never-done-before direction for an art show tour. But I think if we’re successful, again, it’s something (inaudible) a turning process. Every single artist along the way is generating serious revenue and having to give 50% to art galleries just to hang the picture on the walls.

Bill: Awesome. I do know that one of the other guys I interviewed also, he doesn’t do art, but he fills venues, local venues, for entertainment, concerts, nightclubs, that kind of thing, and he’s having some really good luck with video ads to fill those local venues and that’s very geographic targeted when he’s doing that. I know from that interview that that strategy can work really, really well, so you’ll essentially borrow what he’s doing, tweak with your targeting and the stuff you’ve learned to hit the high-end art buyer and it should work amazingly well. I’ll come back and you can do another interview with me once you’ve had your first successful run at that. We’ll give them an update on how you do.

Stephen: Yeah, definitely. So I guess I’m going to make sure I get a hold of this product to make this even better.

Bill: Yeah, I know a guy who can hook you up. [Laughs]

Stephen: [Laughs] Excellent.

Bill: Okay, cool. I think with that we’ll wrap it up. Keep it simple, target your audience well and just jump in there and do like Stephen did. He didn’t really know what results he was going to get but he was willing to go in and experiment and see what happens and amazing things did happen. You should do the same thing.

Stephen: [Inaudible]

Bill: Exactly. See, now I need to bring Shia LaBeouf in right now. [Laughs] Anyway, some people probably have no idea what I’m talking about, but whatever. So with that, we shall wrap up. Thanks, Stephen, for opening up what your campaigns are and how they worked and sharing all the insights you’ve got, I appreciate it.

Stephen: Happy to help, Bill.

Bill: Bye, everybody.