Are Facebook costs going up? Yes.

Is it because of the new iOS updates? No.

Can you still be profitable, even though it’s more expensive? Heck yes!

The truth is, we’ve entered a new era in the digital marketing world. One in which the cost of advertising on Facebook has been increasing over the last couple of years, and you can no longer get away with not having a solid marketing foundation.

Hopping over to another platform isn’t going to save you. Facebook is still the cheapest and most effective way to advertise online.

I’m diving into the rising Facebook ad costs, what it means for your marketing, and the two key components of your marketing that you MUST master if you want to continue leveraging the most powerful online advertising platform (that’s Facebook 100%) to accelerate your results.

You either step up and pivot to accommodate the changes of this new era, or you might as well sit down because your business won’t last.

Tune in and share your biggest takeaways with me over on Instagram (@emilyhirsh)!

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Emily Hirsh:

Hello my friends. How are you guys doing? It’s actually been awhile for me since I recorded a podcast, but I know for you guys, I’ve been still showing up twice a week in your ears. But I have had, April just flew by. I came home from my trip in Colorado in March, and I feel like since then I’ve been nonstop, like it’s Monday and it’s Friday, and it’s Monday and it’s Friday. It’s the craziest thing. We had all three birthdays, my husband, two out of three of my kids. So that contributed to it. Then I just have had so much content and collaboration meetings, and team members I’m helping train, but I feel like I’m coming up for air now, which is nice. There’s always seasons, and April was just one of those months where I don’t know what happened to it, but I’m so excited for everything we’ve been working on and creating and everything that’s happening on our end.

So I was inspired to do this episode because I’ve been messaged probably about seven or eight times in the last week with people asking me, what are we seeing on the iOS updates, and are Facebook ad costs going up? And just an overall like panic that I’m sensing. Maybe not even panic, just kind of fear, or worry, or concern about Facebook ads. People always turn to me to see what I’m seeing, because we have the backend of so many accounts and things that we are seeing. 

First of all, recently in the last week, the iOS updates did officially roll out from Apple. To be honest, we really didn’t see that big of an impact, which is good because most of the impact happened a couple months ago as Facebook prepared for it. So when they started rolling out, making sure that you verified your domains, and change the attribution window, and made updates to the standard events that you could use, that’s when we saw the big impact, which really was like a couple of months ago. The good news is it’s officially rolled out and we have not seen a major issue. There’s some more notifications and things inside of the back end of accounts that basically just say, “hey, if people opt out for tracking you might not see the person.” 

So there are a few of our accounts that we are seeing some tracking issues, particularly e-commerce seems to be struggling more. I think because a lot of times the actual purchase of a product people are doing within the app, even if it’s a website, it can open up within the app versus going to a webinar landing page or something that you’re still being tracked. There are a couple scenarios, but I’d say it’s less than 10% of our clients where we are actually struggling with attribution and tracking. And we are working on some scenarios and different software, just testing things out before I make recommendations on how to solve that in those cases of you’re somebody who is struggling with that. I might have a solution for you in the coming weeks, but right now, one of the most important things you can do is pay attention to the other metrics, and then as much as you can set up separate links and tags for your Facebook ads, the better it gets to verify things. 

But the other thing on top of the iOS updates, I got this message the other day from someone who was like, I heard that even for successful influencers and business owners that Facebook ad costs are just completely jacked up and super expensive. And she’s like, what do you do? What do we do about that? What do I tell my clients? And to be honest, I don’t think that over like a week, or even two weeks, or there’s like this switch that flipped and Facebook ad costs have gone up. This has been happening for the last year, and yes, Facebook ad costs have gone up, but no, iOS updates did not just jack up the cost of Facebook ads. Which is kind of like this… some people I think have that idea that that is what happened. 

So here’s the reality. Facebook ad costs have absolutely gone up and I’m not going to lie and say that they haven’t, but it’s not different than it was three months ago, or two months ago. Actually, I would argue it was more expensive at the end of last year with the elections, and the holidays, and all of that was definitely more expensive then than it is right now, currently. And this is what I keep telling everybody. The reality is Facebook ads have gone up. Four years ago when I was running ads for clients, it was way cheaper and you could get away as a business owner with not having great messaging, and not having optimized landing pages, and not having a solid strategy, and just kind of doing things 75%, not intentionally. Because it’s hard to create a really solid marketing strategy, and all of the assets and pieces that go with that, and then launch that, and then optimize that, and then hopefully scale that. It’s hard. It’s hard for one person to do that. It’s hard for two or three people to do that in a company. And so four years ago, when Facebook ads were cheaper, you could get away with that, right? You could get away and put up a landing page that was like meh, like okay, and still get conversions and leads and sales because the industry was not as saturated because Facebook ads were cheaper.

And so what’s happened over the last especially year, really like probably a year and a half, as some Facebook ads costs have gone up is it’s just weeded out the businesses who aren’t willing to do the work to have the great messaging, to stand out with their ads, to stand out with their strategy, to have the optimized landing pages, to put the time and investment and in, and to actually get the result. So it’s not, yes, they’ve gotten more expensive, but not to the point where it’s not profitable. That’s what I said back to this person who messaged me specifically was I was like Facebook ad costs have been going up for the last year and a half, and they’re not rising, it’s again, it’s not like a switch is flipped that it’s like, “oh, iOS updates equals hijacked.” Facebook costs, they’ve been going up, which means you have to adapt to that. 

But I fully believe because I’ve tested other marketing platforms and things that Facebook and Instagram ads are still 100% the least expensive and the most effective way to advertise for most businesses. Someday in the near future in my company, I would like to offer Google and YouTube ads. They are still more expensive than Facebook ads and they are not as effective, because what other platform out there does somebody go on every day and scroll and you have ad space to put in front of them? There is no other platform that does that, that allows advertising. You could argue, okay, Clubhouse. Yeah, but people are not on Clubhouse. As much as Facebook, people are not on YouTube as much as Facebook people aren’t on Google as much, you know? So it’s still the category king, and it probably will always be. So whatever’s happening on Facebook, if you want to keep marketing, if you want to keep getting traffic and you want to keep getting leads and sales from that traffic, you have to pivot and adjust, and you have to be able to sustain your marketing on there. 

So what does that mean? What does it mean with Facebook ad costs way up? It means a few things. Number one, you have to have amazing messaging. Now you cannot get away with not having that because this is so essential. And because this has caused so many problems, we actually have added, number one, we added a messaging workshop for our students where they can come and just focus on who their ideal customer is, how to write better ad copy, how to have better messaging. Then we’ve also added workshops for our clients where if we are struggling with angles and we have to pull out of them more about their ideal customer, we have workshops with our in-house copywriting team and ads team to pull that out because it’s so critical. So we’ve upleveled the amount of work we’re doing on messaging because we’ve seen how important that is. And so for you, you have to do the same thing. So number one, you have to have amazing messaging. Now you can not afford to not have that. That means you need to know your ideal customer, you need to have angles and unique selling points and messaging that evokes emotion, that stands out, that is better than anything else people are going to see on the feed. If you can do that, you will be successful. Okay. 

So that’s number one. Number two, even more so now than ever, you have to pay attention to your numbers and you have to know what you can afford with Facebook ads. So can you afford a $10 cost per lead with your sales conversion or not? And if not, how are you going to get that down? Or do you have to raise your price, or increase your average cart value, or improve your sales conversion? Like knowing that reality, I sometimes think as entrepreneurs and, you know, I’ve been guilty for this in other ways, it’s like, we just kind of hope it works out. And so sometimes people would just start spending money on Facebook ads and they’re like, “well, hopefully it’ll just work out. Hopefully I’ll just make my money back.” And it pretty much never works out like that. You’ve gotta be intentional. So even more so today, is it important to know your numbers, to know what’s the max you can afford to pay cost per lead, and what’s the max you can pay or you need as a sales conversion, what’s the least amount can you get away with and still be profitable? And you need to know that kind of break even threshold so that you go into that with your ads.

Now there’s some industries, we have some clients in the education space or the health and wellness space, I mean, they are still getting dollar cost per leads and super cheap traffic, inexpensive traffic, cause it’s still quality. And they’re getting those sales and that hasn’t changed a lot, the consumer side of things. Where I’ve seen the bigger shift is in the B2B, is in, especially, the digital space with webinars and business coaches or coaches. That’s just gotten more and more and more crowded, which means if you don’t stand out, you are going to be drowned in the competition. And so yes, Facebook ad costs have gone up, but yes, they are still 100% profitable. I’m saying that with backed data. I you look at our Ads Intel monthly reports that we put out, you’ll see the average amount we spend, how much we make. We’re still getting clients two, three, four X return on their ad spend. So that’s only possible if you have the core components. And so as things change online, those core components become even more important. 

So I feel like we’re entering this kind of new era, where companies who don’t have that, who don’t have their foundation, they don’t have their clear messaging, they don’t have a unique offer or a unique selling point to that offer, they don’t have clarity around the impact they’re going to make, they’re not willing to provide value, they’re not in it for the long game…  Companies who don’t have that, maybe they shouldn’t run Facebook ads because it probably will be a waste of money. But people, and companies, and entrepreneurs who are willing to do the work to have those things will still absolutely create success with their ads. I’ve kind of observed something really, really, I want to share this because I’ve observed something interesting in the last, I don’t know, quarter where we have started working more and more with some clients who are in more kind of traditional businesses.

So we have a client who sells like refinancing loans. We have a client who is selling in California people who are doing their retirement fund. We have a client who sells like investment pieces to clients. So service businesses that are more traditional. I also have higher client base of coaches and people in the digital space selling digital products or services in that way. One thing I have observed that’s just very interesting, and if you are in the digital space you can learn from, is these clients that have come from this service industry. I have multiple who came to us because of COVID and they had to figure out how to market online because they had previously marketed in person, a lot of them would literally go out to dinner or go to actual physical places and make sales presentations. And they have a different perspective then these online digital entrepreneurs, and I just have found it so interesting because you will compare your marketing, any effort you make to what you know right? 

And so these traditional businesses, for them, they’re only options were billboards, magazines, in-person meetings, things that are really difficult and very hard to track the success of. So now coming online, getting Facebook ad leads, and getting calls booked from Facebook ads, to them even with the higher costs in some of them. Especially in investment when one of our clients is limited to just California, I mean, they pay a pretty high cost per lead to a webinar training, but he is still very profitable because to him, compared to wining and dining clients like he did before COVID, it’s way cheaper, and he has that perspective.

And so I think that there is a gap in the online space, in this entrepreneurial space that’s come from this place of like, set a funnel and forget it, one funnel way, you know, that it’s easy. Like I shouldn’t have to pay a lot of money, I should be able to convert my leads right away. This place, it has caused this disconnect where people think that those cheap costs are the reality. When the reality is, those are not what you can expect today, and they were like a short term thing four years ago. It’s just been interesting to kind of observe these really different industries, and yes, their product prices are probably different, or their service prices are different so they have that ability to pay more. But still, if you can compare, and if you’re thinking like, “oh, Facebook ads, the cost does go up so I shouldn’t run ads,” it’s like, well, what else are you going to do to generate traffic and leads? 

I believe every business needs to have a marketing budget, so whether that goes to Facebook ads or not for you then that’s fine, but you need to have a plan, right? It’s not just like, “oh, Facebook ads have gotten more expensive. People are saying this, so I’m afraid. So I’m not going to run ads.” Okay, if you’re not going to run ads, what are you going to go do? How are you going to generate traffic and leads? Because you can not take your foot off the gas in your business, or you’re going to be going backwards. There is no such thing really as like just maintaining, because you always need to be bringing in new audiences and customers in every industry, in every business.

So you need to have that plan of what are you going to go do? And the reality is right now, like iOS updates, it’s not just going to impact Facebook. iOS updates is an iOS update. Every single app is going to be impacted. It’s the new era, right? And so the people, like it’s interesting too to be in the game this long now and kind of see this turning point and we’ll have more, you know, in four or five years from now who knows what it will be. And the question is when this happens, it’s the businesses who are in it for the long game and are willing to kind of do what it takes to figure it out, which comes down to knowing your numbers, mastering your messaging, doing that foundational work, standing out, stepping up. Those are the companies that are still going to be here in four years from now, when we go into the next thing. Right? 

And so I’m challenging you to not have that, if you have it, to not have that kind of limited mind thinking where you can blame a platform, because even if Facebook ad costs go up, the reality is they’re still the best way to market. I know I’m biased, but the reason I have a Facebook ad agency is because they are the most inexpensive and effective way to market. If there was another way out there that was the best way to market, I’d be doing that. I’m still doing Facebook and Instagram ads because they are still the best. Yes, costs have gone up. So you better adapt. You better adapt your numbers. You better know your numbers. You better improve your messaging. You cannot afford not to anymore. So that’s my answer. When people send that, and I actually wanted to record this so I can just send it to all the people messaging me, who I love so much. But I want to have my answer official. And so we have been pivoting really for the last year with this and focusing in on what’s important. And as a result, we still have many, many, many, many clients and students who are profitable because they still absolutely work, but you’re going to have to step up and adjust to the times. All right everybody, we’ll talk to you next time.

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