How to Advertise and Spend More Effectively in 2018

by Ezra Firestone

When I spend money to amplify a business, my goal is to make my spending as effective as possible. That’s how I’m able to invest more in product development and team-building than my competition can.

So in this blog post, I want to share the creative strategies and advertising results from one of my ecommerce brand’s highest performing Facebook video ads.

Then I’ll share an easy way to make your 2018 advertising budget, including daily goals to grow your business.

Do Little Hinges Swing BIG Doors?

Well, yeah, sure they do — at least, that’s what we discovered when it comes to optimizing our Facebook ads.

We invested $100,000 in a Facebook campaign to advertise two top-of-funnel brand videos.

Both ads ran with the exact same video, same targeting, same headline, same everything, except for one little difference.

First, let’s start with the key creative elements we kept the same in both ads:

  • Camel Case – We’ve found that capitalizing each word in our headlines performs the best in our ad copy.
  • Text Link Above Video – Include a blue hyperlink above the video so users can visit your blog without having to click Facebook’s “Learn More” button.
  • Square Video with Background – Add a square filler background around your rectangular video, and use the extra space above and below the image for large headlines and captions. (Square videos also take up more real estate on mobile screens.)

And here’s the one “little hinge” that made a BIG difference…

Emojis – We used emojis in four different places in Facebook ad copy: below the headline, above the call to action link, to the right of the call to action link, and lastly in the video’s main headline.

How BIG of a Difference Can One Little Hinge Make?

Remember — both ads had the exact same targeting, same video, same copy, same everything…

The ad without the emojis had 11,537 unique clicks and a 2.63% click-through rate after $15,626…

But that SAME ad with emojis had 79,526 unique clicks and 3.71% click-through rate after $86,889 in ad spend.

So our cost-per-click on the video ad with emojis was 20¢ cheaper. That means to get those same 80k Facebook users to click over to our blog…


And we’ve seen positive results across all four of our brands — and across different industries — from making this one little change to our video ads.

Are You a One-Video Wonder?

Unfortunately, a lot of brands will create a video, use it once during their campaign, and call it done.

But I don’t consider an asset dead just because we used it once. Not even close…

Whenever we create a new video, we’ll also make multiple introductions to edit in front of it.

And by doing this, we turn one video into many and get way, way more value from it.

Change your intro, change your headline, modify the color of the filler background, and — Bob’s your uncle — you’ve got a whole new product video to advertise.

It’s a really effective way to reuse and repurpose the videos you already have..

Optimize Video for All Placements

Here’s another quick tip to improve your video creation this year.

You can optimize existing videos to work on other platforms — without re-shooting them.

On Facebook we’ll run videos 4 to 6 minutes long, because it’s a platform where people will watch longer videos.

Then for Instagram, we’ll edit a 1-minute version of that same video to advertise and post for our followers.

AND we’ll edit a 15-second version to add to our Instagram Story.

Setting Your 2018 Advertising Budget

In my opinion, video is still king & queen this year.

If you’re not budgeting cash to amplify videos that engage people with your story, then you won’t be as effective at growing your business as you could be.

I recommend you invest 10-30% of your 2017 top-line revenue toward your advertising budget for 2018. So if you made $1 million in revenue last year, commit to spending $100,000 – $300,000 on a daily advertising budget.


I interact with a lot of brand owners and here’s a big problem I see:

They spend a ton on advertising all at once, and then stop — instead of commiting to a daily advertising budget.

You need consistency. You have to consistently amplify your business EVERY SINGLE DAY.

Take your total advertising budget for 2018 and divide it by 365. $100, $300, $1,000 — whatever your amount, this is your new daily spending goal for growing your business.

(Think of your business like a plant: If you dump a bunch of water on your plant and then don’t water it for a month, it’ll die, right?)

The beauty of this strategy is that advertising every day will optimize your ad process, because when you’re spending every day, you’re committing more attention toward being as effective as possible.

So consistent advertising forces you to improve your ads management.

And in the four years since we’ve committed to spending more every single day, our growth has been amazing.

That’s all — thanks for reading!

Video Highlights:
0:18 When optimizing, your goal should be to spend effectively in order to reinvest
3:46 We found that that little change of adding emojis into our ad units across the board for smart marketer, for Zipify, for BeeFriendly, for Boom, which is all of our brands, makes an incredible difference
4:38 Buying visibility to get people to engage with your brand and doing so deliberately and thoughtfully and smart and in a structured sequence is the best way to grow an e-commerce brand
6:00 You can reuse and repurpose the videos that you create for your brand and get a lot more value out of them than just run them once and get rid of them
7:57 Video is still king and queen for 2018
9:33 The more consistently you’re in someone’s field of view, there’s much more likely there is gonna buy from you.
10:10 You have to consistently amplify your business every single day

Click Here For Video Transcript

Do little hinges swing big doors? You hear this a lot, little hinges swing big doors, I mean, it’s actually a description. It’s actually true. Little hinges actually swing doors that are really big. In this case, we’ve discovered that when it comes to optimization, which should be your goal, if you’re gonna spend money to amplify a business, your goal should be to have that be as effective as possible so that you have as much profit as you possibly can have to reinvest in creating better products and hiring more people and having a better support team and all that kind of stuff.

So let’s take a goose gander at a Facebook ad. All right, so here’s an ad that we’ve been running. I’ll point out a couple things about it. Number one, we have a very compelling headline. Notice that we’re using camel case. We found that camel case works pretty well, where all of the text in the headline is with capital letters in it. Next, we have a link above the actual video itself, right, an actual text link that you can could click on that is blue and underlined that will show up in the News Feed that is above the video so you don’t have to actually click on the Learn More button below the video. You can actually click a link above it as well.

Next thing you’ll notice is that we’re using what’s known as a Square video format. So you can see where it’s blue. All of the blue is the video, not just the play button, but we have an actual…We’ve layered blue color behind our video, which creates a square. So the video’s playing in a rectangle but what you actually see when you open…when you see this ad on Facebook is a square because square takes up more screen space. Square allows you to have big captions below the video that you put in yourself. Square gives you this big headline. Look at how giant this headline is. This headline is above the video itself and it’s an extra headline and it’s giant. Then we have the actual video and then we have the caption place. And so everything that is in the blue, from the headline to the video to the captions underneath it, is a video unit, so it’s a giant video. We’ve discovered that Square videos with backgrounds and headlines and captions work really well.

Let’s take a look at the difference. What do you notice that is different? What’s different between these two ads. I’ll give you a second to take a look at it. I don’t see the comment feed at this time, but I’m sure some of you are saying the emojis. Look. The only difference between these two ad units is we’ve added emojis. We’ve added emojis underneath the main headline, emojis above the call to action link, emojis to the right of the call to action link above the video and emojis below the video on the main ad headline. So how effective are these little hinges? How big of a difference do they actually make? Let’s take a look. Now, for those of you who cannot see that, you can see that…For those of you who can’t see it, I’m gonna zoom in for you. Take a look at this.

So this is all the data here you can see, you know, that we’ve, you know, reached a couple million people, we spent about $100 grand, so it’s enough to have a real test. Look at the difference. The ad with the emojis has a 3.71% click-through rate. The ad without the emojis has a 2.6 click-through rate. Look at the cost-per-click, the cost-per-click meaning how much I actually pay to get someone to click on my ad is 20 cents cheaper on the one with the higher click-through rate.

And the only difference, the only difference in the whole thing, same targeting, same ad copy, same video, same everything, the only difference is that little change, which is the emojis in the ad unit itself. We found that that little change of adding emojis into our ad units across the board for smart marketer, for Zipify, for BeeFriendly, for Boom, which is all of our brands, makes an incredible difference.

Look at this. If you’re spending $100,000 and you’re generating 10,000 clicks and you’re spending 20 cents less per click, that’s a lot less. You’re saving a lot of money by having a higher click-through rate. So emojis in the ads are a really, really good thing. So, if you look at the difference here, just again to show you, it’s not a huge difference. So my point is that when you’re looking at Facebook advertising, because if you follow me, you probably use paid amplification as a means to grow your business, right? Because that is kind of what I advocate for.

I think that going out and buying visibility to get people to engage with your brand and doing so deliberately and thoughtfully and smart and in a structured sequence is the best way to grow an e-commerce brand. I’m launching a new brand right now. It’s exactly my plan. I’m gonna go out and spend $300 grand my first year. Now, many people don’t have that kind of budget. Doesn’t matter what your budget is, right? As long as you’re consistently amplifying the brand, it’s the best way to get a brand off the ground is to buy visibility for it.

I actually have a Facebook ad course that you can check out where I teach more than this, but let’s look at one other thing. A question I have for you is, are you a one video wonder? This video here, that you’re looking at on the screen is a cut up…By the way, yes, I have covered over the headline. I didn’t want to show you what the headline actually was. So this video is actually another video. Most people create a video and then they use it and then it’s done. What we do is we create a video and then we cut like four different intros to it. This video that you’re seeing right here that we’re running right now, we spent like a million dollars on this video extremely profitably, is the exact same video that we had created to advertise. The only difference is the headline above the video is different and we’ve modified the intro. You can reuse and repurpose the videos that you create for your brand and get a lot more value out of them than just run them once and get rid of them.

Change up the intro, change up the headline that’s above the video, modify the color of the backdrop and Bob’s your uncle. You got a new product video that you can advertise. So don’t consider an asset dead once you’ve only used it once. Reuse it. Add a new intro to the top of it. All right, I got some questions while we’re still on the topic of Facebook ads, which is how much did I spend in 2016 and 2017 on the Facebooks? In these two years, how much did I pay Facebook to give me visibility for my brand?

Well, let’s take a goose gander. Here it is. You can see the date in the top-right corner is January 1, 2016, through December 31, 2017. And you can see that our total spend is $8,248,774.41. This is actually…Total spend I think was around $10 million because this was only one of the brands. That’s basically we took $10 million in paid amplification. We turned it to about 45-50, yeah, closer to 50 but somewhere in between there. That’s really good. I’ll do that over and over as much as I can.

The point is not to show off how much money I spent. I mean, that’s part of it, to show you that I actually know what I’m doing, right? So one of the ways that you, in this industry, display that you know what you’re doing is you show your numbers, “Hey, look, I spent this much, I made this much,” you know, that kind of thing, which gives you social proof and authority, so that is designed to do that.

But also, the reason I brought up how much we spent versus how much we made is because the question that I get is, “What have you seen across all this data? Where are you putting your attention in 2018?” So, in 2018, my big sort of viewpoint and statement is that video is still king and queen for 2018. Video is still where it’s at. If you’re not paying money to amplify video that engages people in a conversation and engages them in content that is about your brand and the story that your brand is telling, you’re not gonna be as effective as you could be in growing your brand or selling whatever it is you have to sell.

Let’s say you are a, you know, coach or a speaker or an author or whatever. You need video content that’s relevant, that’s engaging, that tells the story of what you’re up to in the world, and you need to put it in front of the people who are potentially interested in it. The other thing that I see a lot of people not doing is optimizing it for all placements. So, on Facebook, we’ll run a video that’s like four to six minutes long because some people will watch four to six minutes of video, so why not give them the option? But we’ve got one-minute versions for Instagram and 15-second versions we’re creating for Instagram stories, right? So optimize those videos for the placements they’re running in which is gonna be like the Facebook News Feed and it’s gonna be then Instagram, Instagram stories, and then based on the first time they’re seeing you, the second time they’re seeing you, the third time they’re seeing you.

My wife just told me a story. She bought some really cool stuff from this really cool brand where this brand targeted her for months. She must have seen 20 or 30 ads from that brand and she finally made a purchase of like $300. And she was like, “Yeah, I had the whole phase of like, ‘Who are these people are they actually cool? Do I like them? Do their products look good? Nah, I don’t like them.'” The whole thing. And it’s like so fascinating that the more consistently you’re in someone’s field of view, there’s much more likely there is gonna buy from you.

And then spend consistently. So this is something that people aren’t doing is they’re not spending consistently. What happens is I look at a lot of brand owners and what they do is they spend a whole bunch and then they stop and they regroup and they look at it, and then they spend a bunch and then they stop. You have to think of your business like a plant. If you dump a bunch of water on a plant and then you don’t water it for a month, and then you dump a bunch of water on it, it’s gonna die. You don’t want that. It needs consistency. You have to consistently amplify your business every single day.

I recommend 10%-30% of your top line revenue numbers. If you made a million dollars in 2017 in your business, take $100 grand or, you know, between 100 and 300 and commit that to a daily advertising budget. You’re gonna spend, you know, $500 a day or $1000 a day every single day. The beauty of that is that you end up being forced to make your ad processes better because you’re spending money, so you want it to be as effective as it can.

So you then optimize your ads and you optimize your structure, but like dump water, nothing, dump water, nothing, is not effective. It’ll work to some degree but it will not work near as well as if you commit to a budget, you spend that budget consistently every single day. Do not miss a day of amplification for your brand. And that’s how you grow something and it works really, really well. I mean, it’s what has really helped us as we’ve just committed to spending every day and so we’ve gotten much better at amplification over the last four years and it’s been like amazing.