050: Debunking, Diversifying, and Diving into the Data of Paid Social Ads with Joseph Wolf (Office Hours)

C: Podcast

Explore the dynamic world of social media advertising with Joseph Wolf, Optidge’s Head of Paid Social. From diverse campaign strategies to understanding audience behaviors, uncover the importance of quality over quantity and the nuances of tracking for optimal results. Join us as we debunk common myths and gain insights into crafting effective social media campaigns.

An Optidge “Office Hours” Episode

Our Office Hours episodes are your go-to for details, how-to’s, and advice on specific marketing topics. Join our fellow Optidge team members, and sometimes even 1:1 teachings from Danny himself, in these shorter, marketing-focused episodes every few weeks. Get ready to get marketing!

Key Points + Topics

  • [01:38] Joseph Wolf’s interest in marketing was first piqued in an international business class in high school. He always knew he wanted to go into business but found accounting and finance less than interesting. After being introduced to marketing, he went to St. Edward’s University, where he got his Bachelor’s degree in marketing. His first job upon graduating was in business intelligence, where he learned many analytical skills. Then he joined the team at Optidge, and the rest is history! 
  • [03:13] Meta reps and big media buyers aren’t always right. In previous episodes, we’ve talked about manual and automated bid strategies for other platforms. Many big names and representatives advise people to let the algorithm be in control. Their recommendations are coming from a good place. They have seen success with these strategies. However, these are generally strategies best utilized when you have a large ad spend budget. Often, the success isn’t seen in low-budget or niche markets. The goal the reps are trying to achieve is to get your campaign into the learning phase as quickly as possible. If you don’t have the budget of a large media firm or well-known brand, you’ll need to come up with an alternative to massive spend and the ability to churn out high-quality creative rapidly. 
  • [06:20] The best recommendation for the average campaign with average ad spend is to diversify. The concept is the same as an investment portfolio. You want to diversify to mitigate the risk of being in a volatile market. This means having a diverse funnel, campaign types, content, click attribution strategies, and more. You want to make sure you’ve got top-of-funnel prospecting campaigns and that you utilize retargeting at an appropriate point in your overall timeline. 
  • [08:20] Another recommendation advertisers hear often is that audience size is a crucial element. This leads people to start out very broad in their targeting, perhaps just an age and gender block. We have very seldom seen success in campaigns that do so. This is a place where diversification is helpful. We target different demographics, geographic regions, interests, trends, competitors, and topics. The creative you use is going to be even more important here than if you had a broad audience. You need to have backup audiences, as sometimes, after performing well for a time, an audience will simply die out. The backup is there to be switched on when this happens. 
  • [11:55] Budgets vary widely across campaigns, clients, and platforms. If Joe is working with a campaign with a more limited budget, he focuses on how many ads he can reasonably run within that budget. Ultimately, his goal is to get four audiences with four ads each. Then they test. Then, Joe would ask, “What’s the priority? Retargeting or prospecting or some other goal?” If a client has a larger audience and they have historical data, then you can launch retargeting campaigns at the start of a strategy. Otherwise, Joe recommends starting with a prospecting campaign. Once that has gathered enough data, you can create a retargeting campaign from there. Ideally, the majority of the budget will always be in prospecting over retargeting. But the exact blend might shift over time from 80% prospecting : 20% retargeting to 60% prospecting : 40% retargeting. 
  • [15:50] Thinking back to the early twenty-teens, advertisers had the ability and access to hyper-target a given audience. Over time, we’ve lost more and more targeting options. This means the pendulum has swung from creative being someone unimportant (because you could target so precisely) to being quite important. Many advisors will say, “Creative does the targeting for you.” Joe believes there may be a modicum of truth to that sentiment, but ultimately, you need to have a plan for how you’re going to test creative assets. In the same way, as we recommended diversifying your funnel, you also can’t put all of your efforts into one element (incredible creative designs) and expect that to bring you long-term success. The world of paid social is different from paid search in that you must look beyond the initial launch when planning. You have to have steps two, three, and four already set up and in place. When planning creative assets, perfection is less important than creating variations. Each variation should be aimed at a different audience you’re targeting. Those variants will be how the creative finds its market. 
  • [22:00] How does an advertiser determine when an audience, piece of creative, or ad set has “died” and should be switched off? It depends on your statistical significance. If you have a high ad spend, you’ll have a shorter window to determine success or failure because you’re getting data more quickly. After about 7 days of performance, you can usually tell if a high-spend campaign needs to be turned off. For lower-spending campaigns, fourteen to thirty days is probably a more apt window. When starting out, you’ll define your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), and if those KPIs are double what you want, you need to consider shifting things around. If an audience has never performed well, Joe is more apt to turn it off. However, if an audience has seen success in the past and is just now starting to slow, he’ll try to revive it with new creative or new ad copy. Another way a diverse campaign is advantageous is because you can use audience response to creative pieces as a barometer. If a piece of creative isn’t working in any audience, you know to scrap that creative. If a piece is working in some audiences but not others, there might be some other levers you need to pull in those underperforming audiences. 
  • [27:00] The Optidge paid social team always ensures the setup and tracking are working smoothly before starting any campaigns. If your pixel is set up incorrectly, perhaps duplicated somewhere, then you’ll end up optimizing on invalid data. Advertisers should focus on quality control and always test – test – test their tracking. You have to trust the data you see on Facebook before you can start a campaign. 
  • [28:10] When it comes to defining success, many will simply go by the number of leads or the Cost-Per-Lead. Optidge has learned that quality is more important than quantity. If Joe is running a lead generation campaign, the lead quality review is the main metric they review. It means you must have a good relationship with the sales team and have set up automations to pull info into the company’s CRM. For example, imagine there are two audiences, one with a $5 CPL and the other with a $10 CPL. Upon review of the quality of those leads, you learn the average conversion value (e.g., how much those customers are spending with you) of the $10 CPL audience is three times that of the $5 group.  Then you know you’d rather target the $10 group. 
  • [29:32] A final common recommendation we hear is that bid caps, target CPA, or target ROAS are the only ways to run a campaign profitably. We’ve learned you can make this true, but it requires an incredible amount of effort. The general premise is to give Facebook a goal for cost-per-acquisition (CPA). Then, Facebook will only display your ads to users it believes will convert within that cost. This may mean your ad isn’t shown to anyone. If it is or isn’t, you’re still left to cycle through creative to see if you can find creative elements that appeal to this very limited audience. Joe recommends starting with max delivery or lowest cost, seeing what sort of values and leads come in at that level, and then optimizing from there. 

Guest + Episode Links

Full Episode Transcript

Danny Gavin Host 00:05

Today, our Guest  is Joseph Wolf, who’s the head of paid social at Optige. When it comes to marketing, Joseph is a veteran and is the longest-tenured employee at Optige. He’s currently in his sixth year. With a diverse background in B2C, Google Ads and Brand Strategy, Joe spearheaded and developed the paid social department, which he leads, and is also part of the leadership team, providing valuable input in the direction of where Optige is going. Outside of Optige, he recently joined the American Marketing Association of Houston’s board. Following his analytical thinking and creative knack, he directs the strategy, develops the creative and then analyzes and optimizes the performance of paid social ads. Along the way, he snapped up five crystal awards as well as two HIMA show and tell awards. Today, we’re going to be talking about meta reps and media buyers where they’re not always right about social ads.


Joe, how are you doing today? Doing great. Very excited to be here. It’s been a long time coming. Yep, I know we’ve done type podcasts for Odeo and different things like that, but I’m glad that we’re able to have you officially on the digital market mentor. Yeah, it’s a big deal. All right, let’s jump right in. Let’s first talk about where you went to school and what you studied.

Joseph Wolf Guest 01:40

Yeah, I went to St Edward’s, got a Bachelor’s in marketing. My passion for marketing really came about when I took an international business course in high school and had the marketing section. I knew that I wanted to do business, but I thought business, accounting and finance were boring. After I took that class and had experience in marketing, I knew that’s what I was going to do and went to St Edward’s, fell in love with it more there. My first job out of college was doing business intelligence. It wasn’t necessarily straight into marketing. It was more monetization and analysis, like imagine in-house business consulting. I got my analytical chops there and then ended up being able to come to Optage, where I got to actually work at a marketing agency.

Danny Gavin Host 02:27

I think the coolest part about you coming to Optage is I think I remember that when we interviewed you, the big thing that made you stand out from other candidates was the passion that you had. I know that since then, that’s been a really important aspect for us when we’re looking to hire someone. Are they passionate about what they do? Because even if maybe they don’t know everything yet, that passion is going to take them to learn new things, overcome challenges, and work with an agency. You definitely brought that really big gift to Optage.

Joseph Wolf Guest 03:00

Yeah, you definitely enhanced that with your passion too. That’s a big part of Optage is everyone’s supporting everyone’s passions and helping them achieve anything they want to dive into.

Danny Gavin Host 03:12

Let’s jump into the fact that meta reps and media buyers they’re not always right about social ads. In previous episodes, when it comes to Google ads, we’ve spoken about the concept of automated bid strategies versus manual bid strategies. We’re going to talk a little bit about that now. In the world of paid social, A lot of big names in the, I guess, the meta world or even in the paid social world, as well as reps themselves, are often pushing people to let the algorithm be in control. It’s about there’s only so much that you can do, but you really have to set it up in a way where Facebook or meta or any other platform where its algorithm can then go ahead and take what you have and do what’s necessary. What do you feel about that for this strategy, this initial concept when someone is approaching paid social? Do you think this is true? Do you think they missed the mark?

Joseph Wolf Guest 04:01

I really do think they’re coming from a good place. They’ve had success with these strategies. When I say these strategies, basically, in some scenarios they’re like don’t use any targeting, let the creative dudes work. In that scenario it can work, but you have to be spending a ton of money. Meta is just pushing this a lot just because they want to let people, they want the barrier to entry to be dropped so that anyone can really advertise on it. For small business owners, that can work to some extent. But really where this does work is when you have tons of money, you have tons of creative, you’re an established brand. If you don’t have those aspects, it makes it really hard to basically let Meta just take the algorithm and run with it. There’s definitely some scenarios where it does play out and it can work really well. But where they’ve had success is not where people who have lower spend have really niche audiences and they really need to be able to target the right people. That is a lot harder to do Joe?

Danny Gavin Host 05:00

Are you basically trying to say that the point here is that the big media buyers, or Meta, they’re not necessarily wrong, but the advice that they’re giving on an overall level is not suited for every situation?

Joseph Wolf Guest 05:11

Yeah, exactly, it really just comes down to your brand, the amount of money you have and your ability to cringel creative Most advertisers unless you’re what we’re talking about here, the big names you have to come up with an alternative strategy that’s going to make it possible for you to target the right people with not having a massive creative arsenal to go to and really to be able to hit the learning phase where all this comes from.


They want you to be able to hit the learning phase, which is 50 conversions in a seven-day window. If your cost per purchase, for example, is $100, you need to be spending $50,000 in a seven-day cherry. It becomes really impossible for some of these businesses to do that. Yeah, there are some scenarios where it works, but most of the time in our experience, you have to do a lot of different strategies, diversification in your targeting, testing and have a really good plan to be able to make it work when you don’t have that high level of spend In order to activate the automation, you need to get to a point where you’re seeing a lot of conversions, you’re spending a lot of money and your average person may never even get to that level.

Danny Gavin Host 06:17

You mentioned the concept of diversifying your campaign when you’re not able to reach that automation stage. What does it mean that you’re diversifying your campaign in order to see results?

Joseph Wolf Guest 06:27

Really, diversification means having a diverse funnel. Some scenarios you want to be able to split your budget in prospecting, for example, between top of funnel collateral pieces maybe quizzes, and then getting people in that way because they’re not ready to make a purchase. You also need to have a purchase campaign if you’re doing e-com in prospecting and then also having retargeting really dialed in having a warm audience, which would be people who may be engaged on Facebook or Meta but haven’t gone to the site yet. Having people who’ve been to the site but haven’t converted on your end goal, and then people who’ve maybe added to cart or initiated checkout but haven’t purchased, and having those all segmented. Having a diverse campaign is important, not just at a funnel level, but making sure you test different campaign types. Like I mentioned, doing the quiz is a different campaign type than purchases. Then also, within that, having different audiences, not relying on just one big one, for example, having different strategies, maybe different click attribution strategies and those sort of things.


The implication really just means having a structure that isn’t relying on one thing. If you think about it, it’s like a portfolio. So in an investing portfolio you’re not going to be putting all your money into one section of the market. You’re going to be having different sections because some might do four at one point and some might do really well at another point. But if you don’t have a diversified, you know you could do really well and then really bad.

Danny Gavin Host 07:49

But does that mean that if you did have tons of money, then you don’t have to diversify?

Joseph Wolf Guest 07:54

That’s a tricky question because theoretically it makes it easier. When you just have more money you’re able to get that learning phase to work. So theoretically you can have less diversification, but you still need to have some diversity and that could be testing different products, you know, having different funnels for separate products, having different campaign types if you want to do top of funnel stuff, and then always having the retargeting broken out. So you can have less diversification when you have a lot of budget but you still need it, no matter what Most meta reps will recommend only launching campaigns when you’re working with an audience of a certain size.

Danny Gavin Host 08:27

I also like teaching this at the university level. The question is always does an audience have to be a certain size? Can you use a smaller size? You know, we know. We don’t want it to be too big, we don’t want to be too small. What do you say about that? When it comes to considering audience size?

Joseph Wolf Guest 08:42

The claim here is that go broad and when I say broad it means literally use like age and gender maybe, and that’s all you do and some people again have had success with this, but in our experience it is very, very seldom successful. What we try to do is also diversify here. So we’ll try big audiences, we’ll try audiences that are like a million or even into the $500,000 area, depending on if it’s like a local campaign or a national campaign. But really the point here is you don’t want to just go broad, you want to make sure that you have a diversified audience, especially going after using an interest target.


Lookalikes are important, but really we see interest targeting do great. You can’t really rely on what we see, like some of these big media buyers say let the creative do the targeting for you. That’s a big part of it. Creative is the most important part. But you do need to have different audience sizes so you can test different audiences in terms of interest targeting. You could target different brands that are competitor shears or general topics that Facebook has, and some of those general topics are going to be really big, but some of those brands are going to be smaller, but they’re exactly if they’re looking at those brands, they’re going to be interested in your products. So it’s not always about bigger. It’s more about like searing in on your audience and using what Facebook has and testing a ton of different options, because you’ll have an audience that could do well and just die out. So you need to have backup audiences, you need to be able to go to those and you need to just test. And that is the big key here is testing.

Danny Gavin Host 10:10

Yeah. So I think just to step back a second to sort of explain to the audience who isn’t aware. So, obviously, if you’re spending a lot of money and you’re getting a lot of conversions and you play into Facebook’s algorithm so Facebook, that practically means that Facebook or Meta they’re able to then you know they see, okay, these 20 people purchased, or these 20 people you know filled out a lead form. Now we know who they are and now we can go find more of them. And since you’re leaning into that, your targeting is not as important. Like Joe said, you know you could just target all you know, 30 to 40 year olds who are male, and Facebook can do its thing. But the problem is most people don’t have enough conversions or enough money in order to reach those conversions, in order to lean into that. So that’s why we have to then go ahead and can’t rely on that, but we have to find other ways to find. You know, the best, the best clients, the best people are actually going to convert Exactly.

Joseph Wolf Guest 11:10

And just the only other note would be like this also comes down to how much data you have on your site. So some of these big media buyers, like they have huge brands that are going to have a ton of data that’s going to give feedback to Facebook and be able to optimize really well and that can help a lot when you’re looking at lookalike audiences. But if you’re kind of just starting out or you have low amounts of traffic on the site, like you’re not going to be passing a bunch of data back to Facebook and sometimes even the data like with iOS 14, 17, like it’s getting skewed and skewed more every day. That’s another part of this is you want to be able to use Facebook’s interest targeting to be able to find that audience when you don’t have an insane amount of data or budget to be able to rely on, to be able to, like, inform the algorithm completely.

Danny Gavin Host 11:52

Of course, a bigger budget makes things easier, but there are plenty of times, especially when you’re dealing with small to medium sized businesses, where a budget is limited. How do you go about testing new strategies, audience and campaigns in those cases? And I would say, maybe prioritize right. Like definitely we know that ideally we’d want to have a lot of ads and a lot of campaign types, but how would you approach it for number one, setting up a campaign but then also testing things when I think about splitting out budget.

Joseph Wolf Guest 12:20

You know if you have a smaller budget you have to think about how many ads you can even have on right. So you have to minimize the number of ads. You have to go to like maybe four ads at a time when you’re testing. So when you launch a campaign you’ll test that four ads and that will dictate how many audiences you can do. So if you have a ton of creativity and you do want to go to like six ads, you need to limit the number of audiences that you’re testing.


But usually what we’ll do is minimize it to four ads so that we can test other audiences and say we have a really small budget, we’re testing like two audiences. But really like the idea would be, when you want, you want to get to like four audiences with four ads in each and kind of let the algorithm go and find which one’s going to work best so that you can turn off what’s not working. That’s why it’s really important to have like all these audiences as backups, because you’re going to find, you know, maybe one of those four work and you know the creative isn’t always going to be perfect, so you’re going to have to turn off some of that creative and introduce new creative, and you need to be able to introduce new audience as well.

Danny Gavin Host 13:17

So with a smaller budget, a lot of companies or a lot of agencies need to really think about where’s the priority. So do you have any recommendations? When it comes to investing in retargeting or prospecting, is there a perfect mix that you like to recommend?

Joseph Wolf Guest 13:32

So, yeah, what I like to do to start is basically it depends on if you have a big audience and if this company has been running for a while, right, if it has a pixel and it has data, you’re going to be able to launch a retargeting audience right away. Or they ran campaigns before, but usually at the beginning of a campaign you’re prioritizing the prospecting audience and we won’t even launch with necessarily a retargeting audience to start. But once we get that retargeting audience going from prospecting and you can do that faster or slower depending on the creative you have if you have videos, you can get that going way faster. You can use engagement to retarget. But then we’ll start breaking out retargeting and so that budget will then have to filter from prospecting into retargeting and then you need to prioritize how you want to split up that retargeting. If you’re saying in month three and you have like that big engagement audience or video views audience, you’re going to want to just kind of combine that and you’ll throw in website visitors, it’ll be a smaller audience. But then you get to month six and now you have a really good website audience.


You have people who’ve taken other steps, like add to cart or initiate checkout or have done some other step right before they convert on that end goal that you’re looking for. And then you start splitting those out from warm and you start excluding them from the prospecting audience and the warm audience and start splitting out website visitors and those higher intent actions like add to cart or initiate checkout, and then you can even go into different time frames. So that’s kind of like the last step is in website visitors. You’re probably looking to convert the people that are most recent. So you can split out by days to do seven day retargeting on websites, 30 day website visitors and even do that with add to carts and initiate checkout when you have time or when you have that length of time. That’ll give you that audience.


And that’s really where you start splitting up budget a lot and you kind of have to prioritize and work with the client on where they’re willing to split that budget up, because you still have to feed that funnel. You need to have the majority of your budget in prospecting. So initially, like in month three, you’ll have 80% of the prospecting budget and then 20% in retargeting and then we’ll go to maybe 70% in prospecting, 30% in retargeting and sometimes it goes down to 60% in prospecting, 40% in retargeting. It all depends on the progression your audience size in retargeting, but that’s how you know. Beyond prospecting and how you’re splitting between audiences, you do need to consider how you split the budget up into retargeting.

Danny Gavin Host 15:48

So in the pre-pandemic world which we’re talking about, like the late 2010s on Facebook and, you know, paid social in general, we had the ability to hyper-target. Literally, I could target people who ordered mochas at Starbucks. But as iOS 14 came along, targeting became a lot not as precise and became a little bit more general. A lot of the options and interests that were available to us went away.


I feel like the paid social world, like there was like a pendulum swing and it’s like okay, before you know you could have really bad creative. You know it made no difference, but because we could target people exactly, it works well. But now, like I said, that pendulum has swung the opposite way and people say that creative does the targeting for you. Right, like we said before, general targeting, you don’t really have to worry about it. As long as you have a good creative, it’s going to work. Kind of like going back to, like you know, traditional media where it’s like you know, product commercial for the Super Bowl and even though a bunch of people it’s not relevant to, but because the creative is so good, it’s going to do well. So how do you feel about that claim that creative does the targeting for you?

Joseph Wolf Guest 16:54

So I definitely don’t think it’s true. There is some combination of truth to it. But really you need good creative, no matter what. You need to invest time into it, but you know you’re never going to have like the creative muscle that some of these big companies or agencies have. So you need to be able to again test those audiences, but you need to, like, come up with a plan for your creative testing.


The main thing here is you know the creative isn’t going to do this arguing for you. You need to have a plan on how you’re going to progress and test that creative. So, like, for example, we’ll start by testing imagery and video, for example, and then all those assets will be very different concepts so that we can really zero in on which concept is working and that could be the value proposition. It could be the type of ad meaning it has a lifestyle in it. It’s maybe more focused on cartoon style ads, but the main point here is that you can’t rely on like, for example, putting all your eggs again in one basket of like. Let’s go and put together the best creative asset we possibly can and only rely on that one. You need to be able to have multiple creative assets and you do need to put time into it, but you need a progression and a plan for how you’re going to test that creative.

Danny Gavin Host 18:02

And that’s why paid social is a totally different word than like paid search, because in Google ads you’re bidding on certain keywords, you have ads. I’m not saying that you can’t make those ads better, but pretty much when you set something up it lasts pretty well and it does well. But in the world of paid social, the lifetime or I guess the life cycle of a piece creative it could do well for a while but it could die out really quickly as well. So imagine if you’re in this big agency and you’re running these campaigns and you’ve spent all this time on this creative, these four creative pieces, and suddenly they die out and they just don’t work and you don’t know what’s next. It doesn’t work, it’s not going to work that way and it’s a lot harder than, let’s say, a Google ad where you could write up an ad.


I think this point that you talk about, like planning and execution, right. You can’t just look at the here and now, this initial launch, but the question also like what’s step two, three and four? You kind of have to have that in place first. Does that make sense?

Joseph Wolf Guest 18:59

Absolutely. Yeah, you have to have that in place. The thing that I’m looking at is what is the hypothesis we’re trying to prove or disprove when we have a creative asset, we’re looking at what is something we’re trying to learn from this, and then we have backup assets that are relevant to that that we can kind of rotate in based on performance from a winning concept, and then you just try to iterate on that and continue to have like variations on that winning concept. Basically, the way I like to see if an ad died out, for example, is to try it. If it died out in one audience and you try it with another audience and it works like that ad is not dead, you’re basically still going to be able to use it.


But when you tried in multiple audiences, you even tried retargeting and it’s not working anymore. That means like the audience is seeing it too much and you have to pivot. But that concept that you saw do well can still work. You just need a variation on it. You can even use different copy with that creative asset and see if that aligns differently with performance. But really you’re trying to find what works and then, if it dies off, having variations on what did work, so you can continue to find winning assets and push that into other audiences.

Danny Gavin Host 20:03

And I feel that, because variations are so important, getting that one piece of creative perfect kind of not worth it, right? Because in your eyes it might be perfect but maybe to the audiences it’s not. And therefore it’s more important to have those variations than having the one thing that is like the perfect ad, the perfect creative.

Joseph Wolf Guest 20:22

Yeah, and then there’s an in-between with that. So if you have a good asset and maybe it has all the things that you wanted, it’s showing the value proposition really well, but maybe that hook is just not working. So you can take components of what you think is a good ad and just try different variations on the hook. You can try different lengths, shortening it, maybe even making it longer. There is a max that you want to go to of 30 seconds. Sometimes you want to look at 10 seconds, but that’s really one thing you can do is you do want to put time into it. Video assets especially take a lot of time. But if you see something that you’re really pumped about and it doesn’t perform right away, you don’t want to give up on it. You want to see what maybe was wrong with it and look at KPIs like thumb hold ratio. Did they actually stop and look at it? Did they completely just scroll past it? That would indicate the hook is a problem. So, theoretically, if you’re getting conversions on it, don’t give up on that creative asset. Just make variations on it. Have a different hook, but you do want to put some time into it.


But the variations are really important. You have to learn from what you’re testing and look at the KPIs and see what maybe the drop off is. If it’s on the back end, you have good front end numbers, meaning click the rates, hold rates. It could be something to do with your conversion rates and really looking at the landing page, is that an issue? Is there a bad customer journey? Is the product not what they’re looking for? Because that’s a big part of this too is you’re highlighting specific products and you’re creative. If it’s, for example, an e-commerce business that has multiple products, you kind of are testing products at some point. If it’s a service, you’re trying to show multiple value propositions in it, so that can get a little bit more complex. But you’re looking at a lot of different things in the KPIs and seeing where the problem is.

Danny Gavin Host 22:03

So you can address it. So just to give our listeners an idea, because we’re talking a lot about either campaigns, audiences or ad sets that are dying out what time limit do you kind of give to things to say, oh, this is dead? Are you looking at 30 days to decide whether something doesn’t work anymore? Is it seven days? Is there a rule of thumb? I don’t know if it’s different between ads versus audiences, but any advice there?

Joseph Wolf Guest 22:27

Yeah. So it really depends on your statistical significance. So you have to let it run for a certain period of time. If it’s high spending, I’ll do seven days, but if it’s a lower spending client, you got to give it 14 to 30 days. And really what I’m looking at is basically the cost per lead or the cost per acquisition, cost per purchase, if it’s double or triple what you’re looking for, or what the average in the account is for that 30 days or seven days, and even really looking at where it is in the funnel.


If your prospecting KPIs are going to be different than your retargeting KPIs and you have to look at everything in these segmented ways. But really, for example, if you have a prospecting ad or audience that is basically double or triple your KPIs that you’re looking for, that means it’s not doing well and if it’s spent double what your KPIs, then you definitely know it’s not a good one. Without a conversion you need to turn it off. So it does really depend on the statistical significance and how much budget you do have. But if something goes to that double or triple KPIs that you’re looking for, it’s time to move on.

Danny Gavin Host 23:27

But how do you know when to move on or just, oh, let’s try to be more creative? Is there a fork in the road to make that decision?

Joseph Wolf Guest 23:32

Yeah. So really, if an audience has done well in the past and it starts to sign off, we will try to put some new creative in there and we’ll try to make it work. And that does definitely work. But when you see new creative is going in there and that creative that you launched in another campaign is doing really well for our audience, then you know that that is a big problem with this audience. And if it’s been running for a long time, then that’s a big indication that that audience is saturated and you can look at the impression share and see, okay, this has hit 40% of our audience. It’s a 60% and you know that there’s definitely a problem with it and you can either hold off on it, retire it, go to another audience.


But that’s really what I’m looking at is does creative? If you have an audience that did well and there’s creative that is working in other audiences, if it doesn’t work in that audience, then that’s when we’re making that decision. You don’t want to give up on an audience right away just because it has really bad numbers, especially if it did well in the past. You do want to try to get some creative in there and try to really make sure that it is not going to work. But there are times where, if you do have other audiences that are doing really well that’s another consideration it could be on the edge and it could be barely worse than the other ones, but that’s. Another big consideration on budget is, if I have one that’s doing really well and this one’s doing okay, I’d probably need to turn it off because I can allocate that budget to something that’s doing really well.

Danny Gavin Host 24:49

There’s a real golden nugget there, because basically what we’re saying here is there’s a huge advantage of having multiple audiences and multiple ad sets right, exactly Because not only you know if one dies out then you’ve got others, but it’s actually you’re able to take creative and it’s kind of like a barometer and indicator right. It allows you to really know is the creative working or is it not working right? If you just had one audience, you would never know, but if you have more, you can say, okay, if it’s working there, it’s not working here, then there’s a problem. That’s funny, because I never really thought that way.

Joseph Wolf Guest 25:21

Yeah, and we look at creative across multiple audiences. We’re looking at it in generally end at the audience level too, so you’ll have a creative that can go in prospecting across multiple audiences, or even sometimes you’re using it in prospecting and retargeting, with different copy and prospecting being longer, for example, because you’re giving more information, and in retargeting it’s less. But we’re looking at that creative across everything and seeing how it’s doing, and if it’s doing really well across everything but not in one audience, there’s a problem there and vice versa.

Danny Gavin Host 25:50

So would you say, the days of making specific creative for a specific audience or specific ads that are kind of over, you kind of need to create creative that’s gonna work over multiple audiences, because getting that intel on how the creative is doing across multiple audiences is gonna be a lot more valuable, definitely yeah, I think there’s times where you need retargeting, specific creative, like you need unboxing videos, for sure, in retargeting CEOs talking about their business and retargeting, but really, like in prospecting, you want this creative to go across multiple audiences.

Joseph Wolf Guest 26:22

There are some times where if you have a specific product, for example, that is aligned with a specific gender for example, like we do a campaign for Brian Gavin  Diamonds where we’re looking for engagement rings Now we have like a telephone campaign that is like a quiz and that has men and women in it, but when we’re looking for purchases, we are going straight after men in that we are talking to them specifically about buying it for your future spouse. So in that scenario, we still need to talk to men, but we still have audiences that we’re going. We have different audiences for men that it needs to apply to across all of those.

Danny Gavin Host 26:56

So I know you and your team spend a lot of time making sure you have good tracking and, just in general, that the accounts are set up in a good way. Why is that so important?

Joseph Wolf Guest 27:05

before launching Besides just having good research and a good creative element, you need to have your pixel on the site and tracking well.


We’ve seen scenarios where there’s duplicate events that are happening and like the data that we’re getting might be overinflated.


You know, if that’s because your pixel is set up incorrectly, it can really lead to you optimizing incorrectly. Setting it up to start in, like testing it and making sure doing quality control on that is super important and not just like only relying on what you see in Facebook. You need to go in the backend and you need to go into Google Analytics, shopify, triple whale, any attribution tool that you have that’s going to validate what you see in the platform itself. That’s really important. But this all starts with trusting what you see in Facebook and putting time and effort into really making sure that the pixel is firing correctly and it’s on your site before you even start the campaign, because you want to have Facebook being able to take that data and find people who are gonna be doing similar things to that and the audiences are gonna help you a lot. But you really do need to have that pixel working well with Facebook to optimize directly and make decisions off it.

Danny Gavin Host 28:10

So we know in any sort of paid advertising at first glance people are going to look at success on how many leads they got and what that cost per lead was. But we know at Optige and other agencies that it’s not just about the number of leads or the cost of that lead but it’s also about the quality. Can you share with the audience a little bit more of why it’s so important to look in the backend and to see the quality of those leads?

Joseph Wolf Guest 28:33

From a lead generation standpoint, it is the most crucial thing you can do.


So what we’ll do is we have a Xavier connection, going into a Google Sheep, for example, or even going into HubSpot, and we’re able to see which audience and creative was driven for that lead and we’re able to see the quality of that lead and what converted.


So it does take time to get this data and you need to really have a good relationship with the sales team. But being able to go and see which audience in an ad is delivering the best quality is absolutely crucial, because you can see really good numbers on Facebook, but those numbers might not be a good example of what quality is. So if you have, for example, a $5 cost per lead in Facebook and then an audience that’s a $10 cost per lead, but you go into the backend and see that the audience that added $10 cost per lead is actually converting at double the conversion rate of the one that has a lower cost per lead, you’re going to want to double down on that one that has a better conversion rate. So if you don’t have that information or aren’t looking at that, you literally cannot make that decision correctly.

Danny Gavin Host 29:32

One other controversy that comes up is a lot of people claim that using bid caps and target CPA or ROAS is the only way to control costs and run Facebook ads profitably. So if you first translate that for the more of the basic user, what does it mean using bid caps and target CPAs? And then, is that true or is it not true?

Joseph Wolf Guest 29:51

There are definitely times where you can make this work. It just requires so much effort. To be able to do this you need different pipelines. But really the general concept would be that you give Facebook a goal for the cost per purchase that you need, for example, and if that goal for making your ads profitable is $100, for example, facebook will only show those ads to people that think they are going to be converting at that cost.


Number one it means that you might basically not be able to spend anything. You might have to come up with different product pipelines, meaning you need to look at like we need to come up with a pipeline for and funnel for, this specific product and have creative and test creative. You have to cycle through a bunch of creative to see if that creative and audience is going to work with that cost cap. You end up just in a situation where you can not spend anything. That comes down to like. If you have really good numbers in terms of conversion events and have that feeding back to Facebook really well and you have amazing creative and have a bunch of offers and pipelines that you can create, like you can make it work.


But what I usually like to do is start with max delivery or lowest cost and then see what those numbers are giving us, because usually they’ll be a little bit higher than where you can get to and optimize to.


So you, by turning off ads and audiences that are not performing well, you can decrease that cost for purchase and get it to where you need to be without impacting your delivery and coming up with all these really, really intricate funnels and things that make it really hard to operate on a day to day. In scenarios where we do want to use this, it’s where we get that initial cost for purchase and we’re able to kind of work with that with lowest cost, and we see what that cost for purchase is, and then we’ll try using that cost for purchase on a cost cap on an audience that we know did well. So we’ll test it. But we need to find what that base cost for purchase is going to be, because it might not align with what the business goals are right away and we can get that cost for purchase down without using cost caps.

Danny Gavin Host 31:47

Well, Joe, thank you so much for debunking some of these myths or things that we’re hearing all the time from experts and from those meta reps themselves. Now it’s time for our lightning round. I’m going to give you a category and I’d love to hear who you think about when I talk about this? Who are some influencers, or who is the top influencer that you like to follow? So I really like Nick Shackleford.

Joseph Wolf Guest 32:08

He’s really knowledgeable on a wide range of things. You know he doesn’t rely on certain things like cost caps. He’s very diversified in strategies Mason Little, john Taylor, holiday. David Herman is kind of like a legacy guy in the business. He really kind of is really good at pushing the. Not every strategy is going to work for everyone and you need paid social this is the biggest takeaway is art. You need to test a bunch of different things. You need to see what works for your campaign and he really does push that in a great way. Maxwell Finn is a great on like bigger strategies in Ecom, andrew Ferris, ackville Defazio, molly Pittman, ezra Firestone. So there’s a ton of different people that you can go look up and follow on Twitter. I follow them on Twitter, linkedin, everywhere I can to consume as much information from them as possible. But those are some of the people I follow.

Danny Gavin Host 33:01

Superhead. For those who don’t know, ackvilla was actually a Guest  on the podcast and we’ll put a link to her episode below. Absolutely Talking about podcasts, so what are some podcasts that you like to follow? It could be either in the world of paid social or just what you like to listen to.

Joseph Wolf Guest 33:16

So I really like this kind of startup company called the Dispatch, for like current events, I like how I build this with Guy Raz. It really shows business strategy and some of the biggest businesses out there where they’ve had success and failures and how they were able to make their business work in the end. For some of the paid media stuff, I would recommend Perpetual Traffic Social Media Marketing Talk Show, the E-commerce Influence Podcast, Ad Spend, which is Ash, Milana Milani and E-commerce Titan. So some of those are the ones that I listened to to just get into the know on strategies for paid social. That’s awesome.

Danny Gavin Host 33:52

Those are really good recommendations. What about TV show or streaming show?

Joseph Wolf Guest 33:56

So right now, like I was just watching the David Beckham documentary on Netflix, I thought that was great. I’m really into documentaries, honestly 

Danny Gavin Host 34:03

And then, finally, sports. I know we didn’t talk about this at the beginning of the episode, but you did a little bit of college sports, so what sort of sports are you into now?

Joseph Wolf Guest 34:11

So yeah, I played rugby in college and high school. I’ve been following the Rugby World Cup. I’m a big fan of Ireland and they just lost in the quarterfinals and they’ve never gotten past that when they’re the number one team in the world. So that was sad. And then watching the Astros and ALCS, and that is also sad because they’ve lost the first two games out and I don’t know how that’s going to go. But hopefully they turn it around when they go to the Rangers field.

Danny Gavin Host 34:33

Yeah, and we’ll see. When this episode airs, we’ll see who’s in the World Series.

Joseph Wolf Guest 34:37

Hopefully the Astros.

Danny Gavin Host 34:38

Yeah, that’s true. So, Joe, where can listeners learn more about you and the different things you do in paid social?

Joseph Wolf Guest 34:43

On the Optige sites. On the Optige LinkedIn page, I have an email at Joseph@optigecom that you can reach out to at any time. We push out content all the time. We have blogs, we have topics and discussion. We go over, so you can find it anywhere.

Danny Gavin Host 35:01

And what would you say is your next big project that you’re working on? It could be personal or for the department.

Joseph Wolf Guest 35:06

So the next project that we’re working on that’s pretty big is for a company called Recognition Media. It’s the Tele Awards. We do basically all of their awards. They have multiple ones. They’re part of the Webby Award Group and this one’s focused on television and media and video development. So that one is a pretty big spending project and I’m really looking forward to that one. We’re going to be able to test a lot of different things and we’ve had success with them in the past, so looking for another great season there, love it.

Danny Gavin Host 35:34

Yeah, people don’t realize that Joe is an expert in the world of award shows and paid social. So, hey, Oscars and Emmys, if you’re looking for something to do, your paid social, Joe’s man, we would love to do it. All right. Well, this has been a wonderful conversation, a lot of golden nuggets, and I’m sure everyone who listens is going to really walk away with good next steps and a good perspective on what to listen to when it comes to paid social. 

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