Pulled from '8 Things Learned in 2020'
Welcome to the first micro-dispatch!
Today I'm breaking down larger points made in the monthly newsletter that dropped on 1/5 last week. If you haven't read that, check it out here.
The three that I'm pulling from are Avatars, Offers, and Journeys.
So, today we'll be looking at Avatars within Paid Media.
The brunt of this micro-dispatch can be summed up in a single phrase:
If your advertising tries to appeal to everyone,
it actually ends up appealing to no-one.
Now, when we talk Avatars, we're not talking bitmoji's and all that jazz, we're talking about persona's (which is most likely the term you've heard it called).
The core reason we still focus on this in paid media is that I believe it's a fundamental of advertising. And, as I'm sure you're seeing, especially with iOS coming up, these fundamentals will never go away.
Rather than walk you through a checklist of how to build an Avatar, I'm going to walk you through how we use it to define creative and paid media flows. The caution before diving into any of this is to make sure that your Avatars are real.
Don't just throw some info at the wall and say okay, here's my ideal customer.
Most brands are absolute shit at this and when money is on the table, it becomes really clear that their “ideal” Avatars were just shots in the dark.
When we think through Avatars, we really are using them for 3 Key Things:
Creative, Copy, and Targeting.
So let's hit that 1st part and I promise I’ll tie it all in at the end.
Avatars to Guide Creative
Avatars help guide creative because it gives you guardrails on what ads are being pushed out throughout the entire funnel.
This means I'm not running a Gen Z style ad with TikTok trends to someone over 55. This also means that the 45-55 yo male in financial services that I'm trying to target isn't seeing an ad for a 20-year-old female who's into hot yoga.
I think you get the idea there. Start thinking through this stuff and at the very least test if these new frameworks help your business.
So many take a shotgun approach to advertising but when you're wanting to scale past $500k to $1M, these are the things that will help an account get there (and fast).
The best part, this is literally the framework for your ad funnels.
While we might be losing some data which may result in less personalization, the #1 thing we can continue to do to mimic that personalization, is speaking directly to a consumer (back to those fundamentals).
At the end of this, I’ll show you how this breaks down in an account.
Avatars to Guide Ad Copy
The next area we use Avatars for is to guide ad copy.
Think of it the same way I just mentioned for creative.
Use the new Avatar based creative to build copy SOLELY for that ad. Not just for your brand/business but for the specific piece of creative.
There are key reasons people scroll past overtly generalized ads?
Copy and Creative are the first pieces that push you away.
Not the product.
Think back to old-school print style ads, right? When that beautiful copy was placed in an ad, it spoke to someone specifically. Because they took the time to research what avatar that copy was speaking directly to.
Again, these are advertising fundamentals that will never, ever, go away. And while we’re refraining from speaking in absolute truths moving forward, I stand by this one.
I’m also a sucker for the beautiful copy. And while I love beautiful creative as well, when copy hits home for someone, it’s truly powerful.
I challenge you to take a look at ads running in your accounts.
Are you just serving this shotgun approach and sending out creative that generalizes the brand? If so, maybe take this info and act on it.
Avatars to Guide Targeting
This is where we tie it all together. Again, I haven’t put out much with iOS 14 and the state of digital advertising going forward but it’s clear that broader audiences will be key moving forward.
And while that’s been a trend for some time now, we’ve all fallen into the Lookalike world on FB Ads.
Because that option was there for us and it worked. And it still works by the way.
That data won’t be leaving the platforms.
But now, you’re going to have to pull some of these more “old-school” setups out of the toolbelt and resharpen them, in my opinion.
So, once we have Avatar specific creative, and copy, the beauty is that we can then feel confident enough when we send that out to a broader audience.
Of course, we’re still doing interests, age, etc breakdowns but this will allow your ads to hit a broader market, yet still speak directly to that Avatar.
The biggest thing when scaling is getting capped on reach.
That becomes less of an issue when you’re going 100% wide open and using specific funnels for each Avatar.
So, how does this all look within a platform?
Of course, this is super general and has been edited for this example but I’ll walk you through it all. So, here’s our account…
As you can see, in the example for this account, we’re working with 3 key Avatars over the next 3 months.
A Fitness Avatar, an Outdoor Avatar, and an Avatar around Motherhood.
And the account is then structured entirely around this.
Our Top of Funnel (TOF) is broken out with a campaign for each Avatar. Within that campaign, we can have 4-5 Ad Sets (or more) for each version or “theme” for creative.
And with that, we don’t really give a shit about audience overlap (since it’s going away anyway). We can sprinkle in an interest for each, or just for one. We can do a Lookalike, or we can just run broad on each theme.
We don’t have to stick to 4-5 Ad Sets, is basically what I’m saying.
Especially since we’ll run this on ABO (Ad Set Budgets).
For this example, within 01_TOF, we’ll have 4 Ad Sets broken down as such:
Fitness Challenger, Fitness Fanatic, Fitness Weekender, and Fitness Meh.
Each one of those Ad Sets will have creative around its theme.
For Fitness Challenger, 4-6 Ad creatives that speak directly to that theme and subset within the main Avatar. These are hardcore fitness enthusiasts who won’t respond to the creative made for those that just choose to do fitness on the weekend.
While all of these are technically going to a Main Fitness Avatar at 18-35, we’re breaking that down further to help guide targeting even more.
Then when we get down into the Middle of Funnel (MOF), we’ll build retargeting on the subsets with the main campaign.
Fitness Fanatic will get it’s own retarget setup (up until a certain drop-off window). Once that funnel has been completed, they will enter into a more generalized funnel for the entire Avatar of Fitness. Once that’s completed, they’ll enter into a more generalized funnel for the brand.
This means that I can then serve UGC and testimonials created specifically for this subset of my main Avatar. I can speak directly to the Fitness Fanatic on retargeting as well. Show the product being used by customers that look like them. Show them testimonials and reviews from their own Fitness Fanatic community.
I don’t think that I’ll break it down any further than that, but it gets nuanced.
And again, this is helpful especially when we’re going to lose personalization data. We’re going to be able to fill that data void with the fundamentals of advertising. If any OG people are reading this, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.
And, while we don’t run this on every account, the accounts we’re taking from $500k to $1M in spend, this is what it takes for us. There are undoubtedly 9,231 other ways to get there and I’m sure a course or agency has told you allllllllllllllll about them.
This is just our approach ;) (for some accounts).
The other key piece of this, from an agency standpoint, is that this makes creative requests SO MUCH EASIER. We land on our Avatars, we choose the themes for the month or cycle (3 months) and then we go create for each one of these subsets. The calendar literally gets built from these Avatars.
I think it can also be really helpful to freelancers or smaller ops people who are asking their partners/clients for creative. Even if you don’t build this into an ad platform, it can help guide what’s being shipped to you, in terms of creative.
So, there you have it. A micro-dispatch on Avatars.
There’s so much more that I wanted to add here but keeping in the spirit of micro, we’ll call it there.
Next week we’ll be taking these Avatars and building Offers. And it’s something that I absolutely geek out on.
Until next time.
Jake the Ad Nerd 🤙
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