March 22, 2019


Fighting high CPMs. 600M passwords exposed?

Looks like we are going to end this week with another news on FB data breach: 200M to 600M users’ passwords has been exposed to FB employees. End-of-the-quarter high CPMs are just a myth? Or do they really exist? Also, you can now start a thread on Messenger.

End-of-the-quarter CPM increase

Do you think that CPMs increase and the ad delivery starts to go down at the end of every quarter? Or have you experienced it?

According to Chris Colvard, the reason is big brands spend more money on Facebook Ads at the end of a quarter.

How can you fight this cost increase and poor delivery? Chris Colvard suggests to adopt manual bidding and chose a bid cap as much as 10 times your CPA. Most of the times, it will reset your ad delivery back to normal.

That’s a possible solution to this problem. We wanted to do more research is the reason behind it. Why do CPMs really increase at the end of every quarter?

One explanation is that agencies and marketing teams generally receive quarterly budgets and run campaigns to fit those calendar quarters.

Agencies who had bid conservatively during the quarter will increase bids to maximise the use of their budget before the quarter ends. This results in higher competition in the auction aka higher CPMs and fewer results.

But there is also a positive side to it: As the quarter ends and a new one starts, CPMs tends to drop again.

Something you might want to take advantage of. You can also act opposite to what these big brands do. Be conservative at the end of the quarter. And be more aggressive in the beginning. Allowing you to get maximum results within your budget.

New message threads in Messenger

Messenger launched a new feature: Message Replies. This makes it easier to respond to your friends’ text!

Just like on WhatsApp, you’ll just have to long-press on the text you want to reply to and tap on the Reply icon.

Another small effort by FB to make Messenger a better experience!

Just another Facebook data leak

Yesterday, FB confirmed that it stored 200M to 600M of account passwords in plaintext for years. So the passwords were readable and still worse, this information was accessible to Facebook employees.

Cybersecurity blog KrebsOnSecurity reported that the passwords were accessible to as many as 20,000 Facebook employees and dated back as early as 2012.

The discovery was made in January, said Facebook’s Pedro Canahuati, as part of a routine security review. Though, the passwords weren’t visible to anyone outside Facebook.

Why did they take so long to address this issue? FB didn’t comment on it but declared that they will notify the users affected by this bug.

Did you receive any such notification yet? 600M users is one-fifth of the whole FB users base.


Amazon becomes a threat to Google and Facebook for video ads too

Amazon is planning the roll out of video ads in mobile-app search results. Currently, all search results show a graphical ad unit at the top and video ads for relevant products will appear in those same positions.

But here’s the deal!

As per Bloomberg, Amazon will require a minimum commitment of $35k in ad budget at 5 cents per view to run the ads for 60 days. Also, prices might vary by category and not everyone will pay a fixed rate.

And according to a recent survey, marketers have already been shifting budgets from search and social to Amazon Ads. With this roll out, more marketers can be expected to join in soon.

Zoom In

Well, Amazon has been aggressively building its advertising portfolio over the last few years with new offerings and advancements for marketers. Its advertising business exceeded $10B in 2018. It is the third largest ad platform in the US, behind Google and Facebook.

More people are now performing product searches on Amazon than on Google. Plus, these new video ads might see high engagement and performance because of high buyer intent.

The minimum budget is a sign that Amazon wants to test this out with bigger brands for now. We can expect this to be available for more advertisers in the near future probably.


Top 100 Lifetime Seller Rank unravels Amazon mysteries for your weekend delight

Ladies and gents, we have a weekend treat for you! Episode 2 of the Stacked Marketing Show is now available. Our guest is Howard Thai, aka Professor of Amazon

Howard is a Top 100 Lifetime Seller on Amazon based in Shenzhen, China – the heart of global e-commerce. He ranks high with many of his own products and consults 7+ figure businesses on improving their listings as well.

In our 50-minutes conversation we talked about:

  • Amazon FBA vs Dropshipping.
  • What niches are good for Amazon FBA.
  • What makes Chinese sellers so successful on Amazon.
  • What sort of exit can you expect for an Amazon business.
  • How Amazon leverages its power for their advertising platform.
  • What you can do against Amazon stealing your products.

If you have questions for Howard, leave them in the comments or reply to this email.

Now go check out the full interview on YouTube right hereDon’t forget to subscribe to our channel!

PS: If you’re a fan of audio-only, you can listen to it on SoundCloud here.

PPS: We’re absolutely aware of the light issue, so much so that it became meme material.


From $15k to $140k monthly ad spend and $520k revenue

Despite 2018 being a tough year for FB advertisers, there were others who figured out what worked best for them. And made it rain unconditionally.

Here’s one such case study from Deividas Mikočionis’ agency. They helped an e-commerce brand to drive $520k+/month in revenue with a 3.79x ROAS throughout the funnel.

Let’s look at some of the key points from Deividas’ case study.

Customer-Centric Marketing Funnel

Not all website visitors are the same. Some are ready to buy, others have their objections.

How do you discover what they want?

Heatmaps, comments, messages to the Facebook Page. Once Deividas Mikočionis discovered the customers’ objections, he addressed them using DPAs, Video Ads and on the website.

Testing Strategy: PPE vs Conversion Campaign

Deividas Mikočionis saw some great results when shifting from PPE to Conversion campaigns, even during the testing phase.

That’s because even if the target audience stays the same, when you go for Conversions, FB will show your ads to an audience more likely to purchase. Thus, you will see better stats from the beginning and gather higher quality data from day1.

Using CBO as the main engine of sales

To make CBO work, there are some guidelines you should follow:

  • The more ad sets you have, the more your budget is spread, hence less data to work with. Start with a higher budget ($500+) to generate more data in less time.
  • Use audiences that you’ve already tested.
  • Start with a higher number of ad sets and reduce them quickly to the best-performing ones.
  • Add new but already tested ads to the best performing ad sets. This gives FB more options to choose from and at the same time, reduces the risk of ad fatigue.

Waterfall method to test creatives

Every Monday, his team looked at the best performing creatives. And based on that, they created similar ones for the next week.

What to test in these new creatives?

  • 3-5 different angles for every creative.
  • 1:1 and 16:9 aspect ratios for creatives.
  • The creative itself: Video ads, Buzzfeed style video ads, images, carousels.
  • Thumbnails, buttons and headlines.

The metrics they used to make conclusions were: Add to Carts and Purchases.

Scaling strategies

Here is the procedure he used to scale:

  • Find the audiences that are already converting well and combine them with the best performing creatives for this particular audience. Use 3-5 ad sets.
  • Create a new CBO campaign for each of the already working ad sets.
  • Create 8-14 ad sets for each one of the audiences you choose. Start with 2x your target CPA up to 14x on manual bid.
  • Set budgets at 10x of your target CPA. If you chose to go all the way up to 14x CPA manual bid, the budget should go up accordingly to 12-14x of your target CPA.
  • If it works well, scale aggressively. Deividas said they were increasing the budget by 20-30% twice per day for 2-3 days.

The value of branding

Having a brand in 2018 turned out to be a vital part of this business. Page engagement, customer service, products: Everything matters now!

There we are. There are more takeaways from this case study. However, one crucial part that stood out for Deividas was the quality of creatives.

The brand they advertised for was providing them with high quality creatives every month. And that was a vital ingredient for the success of his campaigns.

These, according to us, are the main takeaways. Though, if you want to discover more, you can head here.


Audience Insights to test new audiences. Google’s Webspam report for 2018

A few weeks ago, we had a look at some strategies to use audience combinations for running ad campaigns on Google Display Network (GDN). Today, we will look at using Google’s own Audience Insights tool.

Moving on from ad campaigns to link building practices for SEO, Google released its Webspam report. We will see the findings of the report and what’s changing in 2019.

Audience Insights tool

For those who have not used this tool before, Audience Insights tool can be found under Menu→Audience Manager→Audience Insights section of your Google Ad accounts.

Now, let’s look at the data.

  • By default, the audience data available here is “All Users – Last 90 days”. This means Google will show you a list of top In-market and Affinity audiences based on all your users over the last 90 days.
  • You can then change the “Audience to get insights on” option to a variety of other audiences. Such as top In-market audiences and Affinity audiences based on your current converters, subscribers or any other conversions you are tracking.
  • You will also be able to find similar audiences based on your existing audience profiles.

PS: You cannot review an audience unless they have at least 1,000 users.

Now, finding In-market and Affinity audiences’ information on your current audiences is great, but how do you make sure the audience recommendations are legit? 

  • Use longer date ranges to get audience insights on. An In-market audience based on your converters for the last 30 days may not be as accurate as the audience based on your converters for the last 90 days.
  • Look for patterns of common audiences. If the same In-market or Affinity audiences are showing up over and over again, the odds are users within those audiences might be interested in your products or services too.

If your account has built up enough users to create a variety of audience data, you will mostly see an overlap of audiences for users who converted in the past as well as subscribed to your blog or filled a form on the website.

  • Keep checking the tool for new audience insights. User behaviour changes over time and so will your audience data. Check back every once in a while to see if you should switch up your audience targeting.

Want to revisit the above process with more visuals and screenshots of each audience building process, check out this article here.

Webspam Report for 2018

Google recently released its Webspam report for 2018 and how the company dealt with it.

Link spam is one of three types of spam discussed in the report. Other standouts include spam on hacked sites and user-generated spam.

Link Spam: Any type of link building practice that violates Google’s webmaster guidelines falls under link spam. Google says it will continue to protect the value of authoritative and relevant links as an important ranking signal for Search. A number of bad linking practices were made less effective for manipulating rankings.

We continue to remind website owners that if you simply stay away from building links mainly as an attempt to rank better and focus on creating great content, you should not have to worry.

We think that one of the best ways of fighting spam of all types is by encouraging website owners to just create great quality content.

Here’s a quick recap of other key highlights from the report:

  • Less than 1% of results visited by users are for spammy pages.
  • 80% reduction on the impact of user-generated spam on search users.
  • In 2018, Google received over 180,000 search spam user’s reports.
  • Google took action on 64% of the reports it processed.
  • Google sent over 186M messages to websites’ owners regarding their site’s appearance in search results.
  • Around 4M messages sent were related to manual actions.

Zoom In

Basically, Google is making a lot of bad link building practices less effective at manipulating rankings. If your sole reason for building links is to improve rankings, irrespective of the actual relevance and quality of those links, you might be looking at getting your websites penalized.

A focus on creating quality content was and continues to be the best way to fight spam and to avoid getting penalized.


Cool tech, (funny) business, lifestyle and all the other things affiliates like to chat about while sipping cocktails by the pool.

“The ad, the ad, the ad is on fire…”

In what is, by now, typical Burger King fashion, their next marketing campaigns fires at competitors’ ads. Almost literally.

They are not telling people to burn down billboards… But they are telling people to use the Burger King app to “burn” the ads with augmented reality.

Those who do this get a voucher for a free Whopper, the fast-food chain’s signature burger (though The WTAFF Crew prefers the Big King ¯\_(ツ)_/¯).

Before you rush to burn down ads though, we have to tell you this is only available in Brazil.

What’s the lesson here? There’s more than one:

  • Competitors are not something to never name. You can take a page out of Burger King’s marketing book and “call them out”.
  • Companies can add personality to their brand, instead of being boring and corporate.
  • This whole augmented reality thing can allow for some cool ads in the near future!

Wanna enjoy a burger with The Crew? Tell your friends about WHAT THE AFF and we’ll see you in Vienna! Instructions below.


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