#140: Blended Traffic Mistakes (Cold Vs Warm Traffic)
This episode of the Ecommerce Coffee Break Podcast features a conversation with Leo Ebbert, founder and president of Exact Click Digital. We discuss blended traffic mistakes (cold vs warm traffic).
On the Show Today You’ll Learn:
- The biggest traffic mistakes people make
- Modeling conversion: what is it?
- Why don’t you need a third-party tracker
- Are AI campaigns for ads more effective than manual campaigns?
Links & Resources
About Our Podcast Guests: Leo Ebbert
Leo Ebbert is the founder and president of Exact Click Digital, a boutique agency specializing in paid ads management. He began his career as a Certified Public Accountant at Deloitte in Phoenix AZ. In 2007 he founded Exact Click Digital in his hometown of Knoxville, TN. Since founding Exact Click Digital, Leo and his team have helped dozens of brands drive over 1,000,000 conversions through paid advertising.
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Claus Lauter: [00:00:00] Hello. Welcome to another episode of the E-Commerce Coffee Break. A huge topic that we have not had on the podcast for. While it is traffic, now, having all the apps, all the AI in the world on your website doesn't help you. If you have the visitors, you have the traffic to your store, to your website.
So that's a topic we wanna talk about today and we wanna find out what. Are the biggest traffic mistakes people have. , we're talking about cold traffic, warm traffic, all of this with me on the show today isLeo Ebbert. He's the founder and president of Exact Click Digital, a boutique agency specializing in paid ads management.
He began his career as a Certified Public Accountant at Deloitte in Phoenix AZ. In 2007 he founded Exact Click Digital in his hometown of Knoxville, TN. Since founding Exact Click Digital, Leo and his team have helped dozens of brands drive over 1,000,000 conversions through paid advertising. So he definitely knows what he's talking about.
So let's welcome Leo to the show. Hi Leo. How are you today?
Leo Ebbert: Great. Excited to be
Claus Lauter: A lot of things have happened in the last 18 months when it comes to page traffic. Started with iOS [00:01:00] 14 and everything that happened then to Facebook and Google is sort of on the same train or on the same track in changing things.
So literally things will not become easier. So traffic is out there. Tons of traffic. The traffic always has been there, catching a traffic has become more difficult. Give a bit an overview from your perspective, what you think has happened and what's going to happen in the next couple of
Leo Ebbert: months. You pointed out the iOS 14 update.
That was kinda the initial salvo on this change regarding, you know, privacy, which of course impacts attribution massively, and that's really the issue. People like me and the people that I work with, like you point out, traffic is there, it's just what is converting and what is not.
Because no one wants to pay for traffic that doesn't convert or doesn't drive the action they need. , and if you don't have proper attribution, well, it's like, how do you manage that effectively? So, iOS 14 had a tremendous impact on attribution. , it kind of forced Facebook into a situation they didn't wanna be in, where they.
Forced to model conversions. [00:02:00] Okay. So they can't actually tell you with 100% certainty whether someone did an action that they think they did if that person flowed through the iOS. So if they're using their iPhone, okay. , or an iPad. So that creates some ambiguity. It forces Facebook to try to piece it together other ways.
They're modeling conversion. , because they have to, now there are ways to kind of mitigate that risk for the advertiser on whether they're modeling it correctly or not. , and we could talk about that if you'd like, but on the broader context, , you asked the question of where is this going?
Google is actually headed to the same place. They put out a guide just a few months ago talking about, I can't remember the term they used for it. It's a new form of tracking. Basically said the same thing. It's kind of buried in this, 30 page report. And they said, this is gonna lead us towards model conversions, which is the same thing basically doing.
And at first I was very surprised. I thought, why would Google push for this? You'd think they would use this as a [00:03:00] differentiator, , to say, Hey, we're not modeling, you know, we're more accurate than Facebook is. , but instead they're changing chrome privacy settings so that you won't be able to within, you know, a year or two or something.
You won't be able to track convers. The same way you used to. , and I think the reason is because, they like , this position where they can kind of take credit for whatever they wanna take credit for. You know what I mean? So if they say, Hey, we're modeling it, it's basically saying we're not accountable we can kind of say, Hey, , we think we're converting this much for you, even if they maybe aren't right.
But that is where the industry.
Claus Lauter: Okay. Very good point that you mentioned that obviously they are claiming the traffic is coming from them as a good reason that you spent more money on the platform. I think , that's the main purpose there. Now, when it comes to the attribution model, , a lot of merchants or a lot of, , platforms trying to go a sort of a different way and third party cookies falling away.
Now we are going into, , first party cookies and then really on a server-based landscape on the whole thing. That's a lot of technology for small and medium business to implement, , and to get their head around on how [00:04:00] that works. , what's your experience? What's happening there right now?
Leo Ebbert: Yeah. So that it does introduce complexity and it makes the ad platform further out of reach for the most basic users, right?
and Facebook, they try to cater the intro user people that are beginning or they don't have the money to pay someone like me. the problem is when they add this complexity, it makes that even further out of reach for those people. But you know, really, I don't even think you necessarily need a third party tracker.
I think the better approach is, especially if you know you're trying to keep it a lean advertising operation, is rely on UTM codes. , because what that'll give you is the data inside of Google Analytics where you can see the actual click traffic and the click conversions. Okay. You don't get the visibility on view through, but view through was always kind of nebulous anyway, right?
We never really were sure with view through data, is it really driving the conversions or with those people that have converted anyway. , what most advertisers or, brand owners especially [00:05:00] care about is what did the clickers do? Did they come to my website and convert? And you can really solve that problem with UTM codes without worrying too much about, any kind of complicated third party.
Claus Lauter: Interesting topic. , there with u t M codes working with that and I wanna know a little bit more on how you do that. Obviously it's, multi-touch nowadays omni-channel marketing, multi-touch, and somebody who sees your ad. On one platform does not necessarily buy theirs, but goes all the way and buys from somewhere else.
, how do you do the attribution there? I mean, you had like 1 million conversions tracked. What's your experience? What's the best way to find out where's actually , the first point of contact and where do they convert?
Leo Ebbert: Did someone see your website on Facebook, and then go to Google and search you.
And then did they come in through an organic link or did they come in , through the paid itself, or they do all three of those, right? to kinda find a way to, break those up. , and that's why I think, if you rely on the UTM code, let it flow. , Google Analytics, you, you get some of that visibility and there will always be an [00:06:00] open question.
There will always be that question of how many touches did they get and which one really drove the result. Even if the last one got the lion share of the attribution, was it really the one at the front end that drove that conversion? Part of that is just getting a sense for where your traffic is coming from and knowing that, okay, if I'm, getting most of my traffic through, My initial traffic, I should say, even if I see further conversions down in the funnel coming from Google, but I'm not driving as much paid as there, that's a good indication that Facebook's the primary driver.
, another way is just looking at engagement. If the traffic from Facebook spends more on time on the site, if they do more pages, if they tend to add things to the cart at a higher rate, those are all indications that that traffic is of a higher. And there are also metrics within Google Analytics.
They call it, value per page visit, or value per page. Click something like that and it'll say, you know, for all the revenue that came through the, or all the traffic that came through this source from Facebook ads or Google Ads, whatever the source is, we tracked X number of dollars.
So we're gonna [00:07:00] divide those two, , and give you kinda a value per page view from that source. And that's a really important metric cause get a really clear picture of, okay. You know, looking at the law of averages, I'm getting a higher return on my ads spend outta Facebook versus Google or, organic or whatever.
Claus Lauter: okay. I wanna take one step back and have a bit of a broader view, , with Exact Click Digital. You are boutique marketing agency, and how does your strategy apply to warm traffic, cold traffic? How do you blend that?
Leo Ebbert: That's a really important, , question when it comes to paid ads.
Cause of course you have cold traffic. Everybody wants , to scale. The only way you scale is with cold traffic, right? It has to be people that don't know you exist. Then you have your warm traffic, people within your funnel that already know who you are. They maybe bought from you before, or they, maybe you're just getting acquainted.
So there are a lot of, , , important ways to make sure you're maximizing the returns from both of those market segment. I always encourage people, you start from the bottom of the funnel and you build up from there. It does not make sense , if you think of like pouring liquid into a funnel [00:08:00] and if the funnel has, leaks and holes all over it and you, you're just pouring into the top, you're gonna lose a lot of stuff at the size, right?
So you clean up the funnel first, and the way you do that is you start with the people most interested, and that's people who have added to the cart but didn't buy, or it's people who have bought from you. Or it's people who have shown a high level of engagement recently. Someone that added to the cart and abandoned it six months ago and hasn't been back to the site, they're not that valuable to you, right?
But if , they did that five days ago, they're very valuable. Cause you've got a really, you're in that window where they're thinking about it, they're serious. Can you close that gap? So you build out a funnel around that group of people and you build up from there. Okay? So , you compare that group, I just mention.
To someone who has maybe engaged with you on social media, or maybe they've, browsed a page or two on your site. They're higher up that funnel, right? They're not as deep, but they're still showing engagement. They're still showing interest. So you don't ignore them, but you don't, assign as much value to the people up here in your [00:09:00] file as you do the people down here in your funnel.
And that's really the key. You have to think of every set of eyeballs anywhere along that funnel. As having a value, they are worth something to you on the average. Okay? Not all of them will convert, but on the average, they're gonna be worth something to you. So you have to figure out what that value is, and then you maximize the results within that part of your funnel all the way down.
Once that's clean, once you know the funnel, the ads funnel is converting well, it's driving the return you needed to drive, now you can pour stuff into the top right, because you pour that cold traffic in, they're gonna need multiple touche. And they're gonna need to go through an as funnel that's clean and tight and very effective.
And that's how you maximize your top of funnel traffic. Really, you do it by making sure , your middle and bottom of funnel traffic are good and clean and, and strong.
Claus Lauter: No, makes perfect sense When it comes to spending money on paid ads, specifically in the e-commerce space, Shopify areas, what's the experience in regards of budgeting?
Because unpaid advertising is getting more and more expensive.[00:10:00] , the good times like. Six, seven years ago when there was Teespring around and the conversion was like, two, $3. These are over and they will not come back. What should be like the minimum average order value or in that range, , where it really makes sense to spend money on ads?
Leo Ebbert: Yeah, good question. So it's the average order value or aov, , has a huge impact on your ads results. You mentioned Teespring, right? So if you're selling t-shirts and your AOV is like 14 bucks or something, you're gonna have a really tough time. It's just really, really hard. As you mentioned, those $2 and $3 conversions are gone and we'll never return.
, now we might see a dip in ad costs over the next year or so, I think possibly, but it won't be anything like what you just pointed out, right? So you have to find a way to raise the average order value. Really. It's kinda like minimum you kind of earn that $50. You have a pretty good shot at making things work, but obviously the higher the better.
Now we actually specialize in e-commerce stores that have a higher AOB than average. So anything that's in like that, two to 300 [00:11:00] plus range, we have a really good system built around that because , we know how to make it work , on Facebook as especially, and the reason is you get kind of these, , economies of scale, the ad costs.
, even if you're selling a $50 thing or a $300 thing, you may not see much of a difference in the ad cost. , and if your conversion rate is relatively close right between those two, then you're gonna make out like a bandit with an AOB at two to $300 versus $50. Okay? So it has a huge impact. , it's not everything, margins of course, are important.
You can , of course improve on messaging and some targeting and stuff like that, but yeah, it makes my job for someone like me, it makes it a lot easier if we have a healthy, average order value and a healthy margin backing it up to give room to really play and find what's gonna work.
Claus Lauter: Yeah. Google came up with Google Performance Max a while ago. , I see something similar, correct me if I'm wrong. , in Facebook right now they have like, advantage Shopping Plus or something like that. , gimme an overview. What [00:12:00] do you think are these AI tools that sort of should make it easier for a user doing the ads by itself compared to a manual setup?
, where are the advantages or disadvantages?
Leo Ebbert: Yeah. Well, both platforms are heavily, heavily pushing, The disadvantage of not using their we'll call 'em smart campaigns. , in a sense, swimming against the current? Okay, so face, Facebook and Google, both, they want more of that traffic.
They favor in a sense campaigns that are using them. , and it's not that every account we use sees better performance with those campaigns. I will say like two years ago, , almost none of my clients did better with smart campaigns versus manual. It's kind of flipped now.
It's now that almost none of my clients are better with manual versus smart campaigns. So the smart campaigns are getting better. , they're getting more and more effective. There's still nuance in it. Shockingly, you know, you'd think, okay, it's a smart campaign. I can just like set it up and let it run.
That's not really true. There's still quite a bit of nuance. , even within smart campaigns, you can test [00:13:00] different kind of mini objectives within it, and I can have a huge impact on results. , so I think that will always exist to a degree, as hard as they will try to simplify things. Overall it's a good thing to.
But there will always be nuance to it. There'll always be ways to improve it, , and test it modified in a way that that's gonna make, make it better than if you just use kinda the , outta the box solution. But I don't see that trend reversing anytime. Steven. I think these smart campaigns are just getting started.
Gonna continue to shift that Okay.
Claus Lauter: I'm a big fan of diversification of your ad spend. Obviously there are the two big ones. There's Google Ads, , there's Facebook ads and there's others there. What's your experience there? How would you split for one of your customers, the brands that you work with, , their ad spend on not only these two platforms, but maybe also others?
And if yes, which platforms would you prefer there?
Leo Ebbert: in my experience, far and away, the best you're gonna get, you're most likely to succeed there and get the returns you want, , compared to others. And it depends a little bit on who your target demographic is.
Like TikTok or, , Snapchat for example, tends [00:14:00] to be a much younger demographic. , if that's your demo, yeah, you should be on there , and try to find ways to make it work. If it's not, I would not push it. , unless you. Really maximizing Google and Facebook already, and you've got, a good kind of creative behind you that is kind of tailored, for example, for TikTok, right?
It will depend a lot on demographic, whereas Facebook and Google doesn't really matter who your demographic is. They're on both of those channels, right? Twitter, I actually think Twitter might be starting to turn a corner, and historically it's just been horrific for.
Conversion focus has been more of kinda a branding or awareness thing. It's just, Hey, I've got ad dollars and I wanna say I'm on all the major channels, so I'll throw some budget towards Twitter. Right. But I think that might actually shift, they actually have a demographic that's more in line with kinda the older crowd, the more people that tend to have more money disposable income.
, so I think you might see some ad dollars shipped there. , it's really kind of Google and Facebook. I dunno if dark horse candidate is the right [00:15:00] word, but I think people, minimize the importance of being on Microsoft slash Bing.
It's not that it's gonna make your day or make your quarter, but it's a steady kind of mar or incremental, source per traffic and conversions that people discount, especially if you have an older demographic. It tends to be older and older people have a lot of disposable income, so if that's your demographic, You're not advertising on Bing slash Microsoft, then probably a missed opportunity for some low-hanging fruit.
Again, you're not gonna make anybody's day or quarter by getting them on Bing, but it's just steady kind of convertible trap.
Claus Lauter: I think that's a gold nugget that you gave away. Bing , for a long time, sort of a hidden secret. it won't make you rich, but again, every dollar counts.
So they definitely should have a look into it. I, I understand that exactly. Digital is a, , boutique agency. , a lot of versions that I speak with, they have at some point , in their business being burnt by agencies, , in one way or the other. Where do you differentiate through a normal agency?
Leo Ebbert: I appreciate you asking that. And I see that all the [00:16:00] time. , we do a lot of audits. You know, people will come and say, can you look at what's going on in the account? Tell us if this is the good, the bad, the ugly, all that. And sometimes I'm amazed when we see an account run by even very expensive agencies.
I think it comes down to people that just do not care, frankly. You have someone running the ad account. You're just a number to 'em, or they're just checking off boxes. They're not really thinking about your account.
that tends to happen with bigger agencies, right? You're dealing with, there's a lot of turnover. You might get moved from one account manager to the next. Sometimes you don't even realize you've been moved. , but then the other side you have freelancers. And if I had to choose personally, I would lean towards freelancers.
The downside to freelancers is that, , they only have so much time today, right? They tend to get over. , it's hard for them to turn down new work because, they're a freelancer that impacts their bottom line. , a lot of it goes straight to the bottom line. So they tend to get spread thin.
They might take on more clients than they need to, or should or can't. , so I try to kind of strike a middle path between them. I quarterback all of my client accounts. I know every single one of my clients what their needs are, what [00:17:00] their objectives are, and how their accounts are doing. But I have staff that help me implement.
So I think That's kind of a nice middle ground that, we've carved out, and I know that that will limit kind of our top end growth. I'm personally okay with that. It's a strategic decision that we've made to make sure that I'm the industry vet. I've been doing it almost 15 years now.
, so you can really leverage my knowledge and my understanding. But I can then leverage my knowledge and understanding by having people behind me that will implement the things in the way that I want them implemented and still, get the results my clients want. So we're kinda the best of both worlds is the way we pitch it and perceive it.
You get the scale of an agency, but you get the personal touch and of high quality knowledge of a.
Claus Lauter: Okay. Yeah. Doing this for 15 years, real time's, like 90 years in internet years. So that's a long time. , right? . Where can people find out more about Exec Click Digital and
Leo Ebbert: what you provide?
Yeah. Go to my website exactly. digital.com. , you can obviously book a call if you'd like. I also have some [00:18:00] free guides there. There are two of them. One is the top five mistakes. Your digital marketer is probably. , and the other one is how to audit your digital Marker. Okay, so if you just wanted to know how's my digital marketer doing?
You just don't even know where to look. It's a very simple, five or six lessons. They're short videos, about five minutes long each. It'll show you exactly where to look, things you wanna watch out for red flags. Now if you get in there and do that and digital market is checking off all those boxes, congratulations, you're one of the lucky ones.
You might wanna hang on to that digital marketer, but if not, give us a call. We'd be happy to. We could do a more in-depth audit. We'll show you the good, the bad, the ugly, we'll be totally honest with you and let you know how we can or cannot help you. So yes, go to exact click digital.com. And you can book that call there or, download or watch those guys.
Okay, I will
Claus Lauter: definitely look into the guides myself. I wanna know where I'm standing there, so that's something I do. I will put the links in a show notes as always than you, just one click away. , Leo, thanks so much for giving an overview about what's happening right now in the world of paid advertising.
I think we can agree [00:19:00] that we are always chasing a moving target there. It never gets boring. , it's always changing , I hope that some people will. When they listen to these episodes, go to your website, download the guides, and get some more weld out of that. Great. Thanks class. Thanks so much for your time.
Have a great day.
Leo Ebbert: You too.
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