AdSkills: The Power Of Social Media Advertising with John Belcher

It’s great to have a podcast, it’s great to have a blog. All those things are fantastic in working to get organic traffic, but at some point, you got to start paying for stuff and the ones that are doing better are paying. While working for the Google AdWords team, John Belcher saw a gap between the average company’s advertising goals and their ability to leverage paid traffic to make them profitably. John is the genius behind AdSkills, a company that not only teaches people how to place ads and make money placing ads, but also helps to certify ad buyers. He says talking to the right people at the right time with the right message, and getting them the right particular product or pricing based on where it is they’re at is what’s going to turn paid into paying traffic. John shares the steps people have to think about prior to starting ad campaigns and talks about how AdSkills teaches people how to get the two Cs, confidence and cash flow.

We have a really cool guest on this episode who is a Google AdWords guy who helped form it so he knows exactly how it works. John Belcher is his name. He got to start working on the Google AdWords team. He really saw an opportunity while he was working there, a gap between the average companies’ advertising goals and their ability to leverage paid traffic to make them money. He has managed millions and millions in ad spend, not only while at Google but after that as a consultant. He’s left Google for a number of years now and started another company called AdSkills. It is a really cool company because it not only teaches people how to place ads and make money placing ads, but it also helps to certify those what they call ad buyers. People who do this as a profession, whether you’re in a marketing far more in a big corporation like Coca-Cola or a Macy’s or whatever the company might be that you’re working for and that’s your job. You can’t be losing the company money.

I think he referred to it sometimes as a media buyer. Not just in ads or media and different industries may call it different things. What’s incredible about AdSkills, and you’re going to hear it from John, is that he’s created this curriculum and some of it is free or you can pay whatever you want to pay for it, whatever you think it’s worth. He has other paid programs, but to just start to dive into it and go through his 101 series doesn’t cost anything. He is providing a tremendous service here. We are always about these rookie errors that cost you tons of money and tons of time. When we find somebody who’s providing a service to help you that has truly insider secrets, not those faux gurus with the insider secrets where they just say that, but truly ones that work, truly ones that came from the inside understanding how something functions and works and helps you avoid the dumb mistakes. Those are the people we want to bring to you. That’s why we invited John on the show.


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AdSkills: The Power Of Social Media Advertising with John Belcher

John, thank so much for joining us. I’m excited to share with our audience your knowledge or some of your knowledge and a real resource for something we get a lot of questions about. We get questions like this all the time and it is one of the advice that we give people, John, that it’s great to have a podcast, it’s great to have a blog. All those things are fantastic and working to get organic traffic, but at some point, you got to start paying for stuff and the ones that are doing better are paying. Let’s talk about some paid ads, but first tell us a little bit about how you got into this because you came out of Google.

The big thing for me is I was working at Google on the AdWords team trying to help advertisers figure out how to get started and scale up their businesses using Google. I love the ability to go in, strategize, and figure out and say, “Here are all the different things we could use.” We can talk about the Google display network, search ads, and YouTube advertising, Gmail advertising. There are so many different options within Google. We’d go through and put together this plan and start to execute. People were not able to turn paid traffic into paying traffic. They couldn’t turn clicks into customers. That was a really big problem for me. I saw the opportunity of what pay traffic could do for people, but they just didn’t have the resources, the education, the information to figure out how to make that convert.

There’s a big opportunity here. Google is a big company. It’s moving fast. They have to keep hitting their quarterly numbers. That’s how public companies work. They can’t slow down and teach people, but I can’t. Luckily, when I came out I decided to straight up quit my job, and go start teaching people. I ran into my business partner, Justin Brooke. His nickname is The Traffic Guy that millionaires trust. He’s run millions of dollars in ads for really large companies. Snuggie is one of his big clients. He did a bunch of advertising with them. We teamed up. We’ve got a combined seventeen years and over $20 million in personal ad spend experience. We understand how the stuff works and we teach people everything from the basics all the way up to how professionals buy media. The biggest thing that I like to talk about is it’s so easy to buy clicks. All you have to do is go in, open your account, swipe your credit card, and you can place ads.

It’s way too easy. I’m going through right now and redoing one of our courses to talk about all the profit is created before you ever spend a single cent. It’s going back to the Sun Tzu quotes of like, “Every battle is won or lost before it’s ever fought.” That’s exactly what happens with paid traffic. If you haven’t thought about your customers, the things that you’re offering them and what we call your stages of awareness. There are five stages of awareness and if you’re not talking to the right people at the right time with the right message, getting them the right particular product or pricing based on where it is that they’re at, you’re not going to be able to turn paid into paying traffic. There are all these steps that you have to think about prior to starting your ad campaigns and most people say, “I want instant gratification. I’m going to turn on the ads and I want traffic.” It doesn’t work that way. You’re never going to see your ROI.

What we really focus on at AdSkills is teaching people how to get what we call the two Cs, confidence and cashflow. At the start, you put up your blinders. It’s so easy to listen to people talk about Facebook or is Facebook advertising, Instagram advertising, YouTube, Google AdWords. You should be doing this, you should be doing that. You have to put your blinders on. You have to say, “What am I trying to accomplish, who am I trying to help, and what do I have to offer them?” Once you figured that out, now you have the ability to go through start creating campaigns, planning them out, testing, and saying, “I actually have a game plan I can go in with. When you have a game plan, you’re way more confident. As you start to tweak and see things going, you start to build cashflow. Once you build cashflow, you were excited about paid traffic. You can see how much of a difference it can make. That’s what we’re all about. We want to build the foundation that you can have those steps to walk through and not feel overwhelmed. I just see way too many people get overwhelmed with paid traffic.

AdSkills: Too many people get overwhelmed with paid traffic.


People will come to us all the time and they know they need to be engaging in a paid marketing program and it is online social media, that’s where it’s at now. You’re not advertising there your yesterday. They don’t know where to begin. It is so complex and they probably are even more confused because they’re always bumping into a different “expert” who tells them something different. “It’s Facebook, it’s Instagram, it’s this.” Your courses really cover all these different platforms.

What we do is we’ve got three starter courses that really focus on what it takes to be successful with paid traffic. Our first one is called Traffic Traps. My business partner and I had seventeen years, $20 million in ad spend. We have made every mistake in the book. What we’ve done is say, “Here’s the seven mistakes that cause people profits with paid advertising. We’re going to give that to you. It’s a pay what you want course. You could literally pay anything that you want.” “Here are the seven things that we learned in seventeen years that you can learn in 45 minutes. This is where most people go wrong.” He said, “Before your start winning, you have to stop losing.” That is what we’re trying to teach in that course. It’s like, “Here’s what you have to stop losing before you can start winning at anything.

It resonates here because we also run another podcast called Product Launch Hazzards. We talk about the hazards of product launching and it’s exactly the same thing there. There are these traps that insiders know that are rookie errors. They just happened. I’m so glad you put those up front because that’s what we try to do as well because it’s so important to stop losing.

You have to stop losing before you can start winning. We want to make sure that’s front and center. Here’s what it takes. I was just watching The Founder recently, the story about Ray Kroc and the guys that started McDonald’s. What was really interesting to me is one of the McDonald’s brothers says, “We are an overnight success, 30 years in the making.” That’s what’s really important with paid traffic is it takes time. You have to go through and plan things out. You have to do math. You have to figure out what you can afford in order to be able to say, “Should I even spend money here?” Your business generates a certain amount of lifetime value from your customers, you have to know what you can afford to spend to generate new ones or if you can’t afford it, you shouldn’t even do it. It’s really important to go through all of the pieces, have your game plan together to build that competence and start building net cash flow.

We start with the Traffic Traps, the big errors that people make, then we get into customer research and then we get into tracking. Tracking is everyone’s least favorite topic. If I asked you about Google Analytics, UTM codes, pixels and conversions, people’s eyes glaze over. The thing that I really pride myself on is I like to be the nerd you need to know when it comes to paid traffic. The reason that people need to know about me is not because I’m the smartest guy in the room, it’s because I really spend a lot of time breaking down very complex topics to talk about them in plain English. I talk about cookies, I talk about actual sugar cookies and UTM tracking is putting sprinkles on top, so you can understand where people are coming from.

You have to create an opportunity for yourself to actually make money. Share on X

Your conversions are cookie monsters that are trying to eat those conversions and tell you what’s working. It’s trying to break down these super complex topics into something very simple because the second you start to become confident with stuff, then you can actually try it out and say, “I can take this little baby step, I can start to move forward.” That’s where you really start to build that confidence, be successful, and start to build cashflow. To get back to your question, our courses start with those basics. You can pay whatever you want for those courses. We just want to make sure that you get started down the right path. With the rest of our courses, we go through and start covering the specifics of the individual ad networks.

Google AdWords, YouTube advertising, Google Display, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, native advertising. We can get deeper into tracking. That’s where we try and focus the bulk of our time to say, “Here’s what works, here are examples of what works, here’s the systems and processes we use, and then here’s very specific things on each one of these ad networks.” Every ad network has what I call a growth hacking hole in it. I rarely run into people who’ve tried paid advertising. If they haven’t cracked the code yet, they say, “I tried. It doesn’t work for me. I lost a lot of money.” I hear that all the time. Unfortunately, the reason that a lot of people lost money is because they didn’t spend their money on what they actually wanted to be advertising. To give you an example instead of Google AdWords or when you’re doing search advertising, they ask you to type in the keywords that you want to be advertising on, but when you type something in like any normal human being would, that’s actually a type of a match that’s called broad match, which is just absolute garbage. It’s going to take the words that you’ve said, “I want to advertise on these,” break them apart, and say if a search term contains any part of this, we’re going to show your ad for it.

I had a really unfortunate experience recently. There was a woman that I was trying to help with her account and she wanted to be advertising on the term job posting. Like what I just told you, broad match allows Google to say, we can show your ad on anything that says job or anything that says posting. I got into her account and I showed her keywords actually aren’t what’s important. What’s called Search Terms is what is important. I was looking at the search term report, we’re looking through it, and I can see her getting visibly upset as I’m scrolling through the page. I stopped at one point and she’d spent $252 on a term that was an adult term of a job. I’ll just leave it at that. It’s one of those things where she was very visibly upset.

The hard part is, she doesn’t have millions of dollars to spend like some advertisers, that she can spend all this money on ads. She’s got a set budget that’s very important or it’s precious to her and just because she didn’t know one of these little details inside of these traffic networks, these growth hacking holes, their sole purpose is to generate more revenue for the ad networks. If you don’t know what you’re doing, it’s very easy to fall into these holes. Long story short, I know I spent a lot of time talking about this, this whole vision. This is why I’m so passionate about is I hate seeing people lose their money to things like this. That’s what we really try and cover in our courses, that’s what we’re all about, and that’s what we help people cover.

AdSkills: If you don’t know what you’re doing, it’s very easy to fall into holes.


I imagine if you knew what to do, a pretty simple way to make sure that your ads are going to go to people searching on both of those words together instead of potentially individually.

You can make it very specific. I only want to advertise on literally the term job posting, job post in New York, or job post in Chicago, you can make it very specific. Leads are called growth hacking holes, it’s because ad networks employ really smart engineers and their job is to go figure out ways to build the platform to make the ad network for money. Unfortunately, a friend of mine, Mike Rhodes, he literally wrote the book on Google AdWords. He calls it the stupidity tax. To me more of the ignorance, the rookie tax of you didn’t study to figure out where you could be losing money, and that’s the cost of playing the game. It’s really unfortunate to see that. That’s where we’re really try and say, “Here’s where you can go wrong and here’s what you need to do it the right way.

It’s like my initial foray into Facebook ads manager and then the business manager. Honestly, until just a couple of days ago, I didn’t even know there was a business manager. I don’t do a lot of that personally. I’m not managing mount ads, I have hired a company that I do trust to do that but I needed to get them registered properly in business manager. This is why I hired somebody to help me with this but not everybody can hire a firm to handle this stuff for them. I honestly think that we’d probably be better customers if we were a little better educated.

I think that the second part of what you started talking about is that you were mentioning the dialing into the different social platforms and things. This is where I think most people are jumping too soon and you probably see this as well. I’m curious to know what you think. I think people jump in and they’re like, “Facebook ads is the hot thing, I’m just going to Facebook add.” I look at their business and I go, “I don’t think this is right for you. That’s really where we’ve been way more cautious and encouraged caution, especially to our podcasters and making sure that they give their show a chance before they start running paid ads to understand who their customer is. You talked about, you have a research section. Talk a little bit about that for us.

Customer research is everything. A lot of people when I say that, they’ll say, “We have our customer Avatar, we’re good. We saw something. We have to do this or we did that and we’ve got our customer persona down.” If you’ve already done that, that’s awesome. Where we found what really makes the difference is it’s very easy to say, “Here are some demographic information about the people that I want to be reaching.” What we try and do is create a revenue potential opportunity that is skewed in your favor. We call it a profitable population density. We want to try and say this group of people is people that you can actually make money off of if you advertise in them. If you take every person between the ages of 25 and 45, that’s a marketer and try and spend ads to attract those people, you cannot make money back.

There are people that have no money, that have a laptop sitting in their house but can’t afford to buy anything. If you’re trying to market to those people, just because Facebook said marketer, that’s going to include entrepreneurs, people with great marketing backgrounds, and you’ve got wantrepreneurs, people that are sitting in a corner with no money that are trying to make something happen. I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with each one of those markets, it’s just the fact that you have to create an opportunity for yourself to actually make money. You have to go in what we call Angel and Demon Personas. You’ve got the people that can lift your business to new heights, those are your angels. You’ve got people that if you spend time marketing to them, they’re just going to bring your business down because you’re going to spend ad money on those people and they’re never going to give you any money back.

It’s important to go through and find the distinction of this is who we want to be marketing to. A great example is in the supplements business, you have two different types of people from the supplements world. You’ve got people they like to weight train and be healthy, but they have a family life and they want a wholesome product. They want something that’s beneficial for their entire health. Then you’ve got people that are bodybuilders. If you said, we want to market to people who are interested in supplements, you can’t cater to both of those markets at once. You have to pick one or the other.

For every business, either the kind of everyday fitness person is your angel and you’re the bodybuilders are demon, or the other way around. If you try and market to both, it’s just not going to work. From the perspective of your audience, don’t try and talk to a broad audience, dial in deep and understand very detailed about the people that we actually want to be speaking to, that we can make money from. That’s what’s so important is just trying to figure out, this is the group that we can actually have a financial advantage if we speak to them, earn their trust, and help them get to where they want to go.

That would be a really interesting area even for our audience, who are podcasters and they all have businesses and they all want to be speaking to a certain kind of audience. I wonder if some of the starter courses here would be helpful for them to learn and understand how to even determine what the audiences are that are out there that they could be tailoring their shows toward or tailoring their shows in a way to meet their business goals. Let’s use the example, and maybe John can weigh in on this. When we did our very first podcast years ago, it’s in the 3D printing world. It’s called WTFFF 3D Printing. FFF is Fused Filament Fabrication, which is the geeky term for 3D printing. We chose it because we wanted people in the know and we didn’t pay for any ads. We just started straight into podcasting and within four months we had 25,000 listeners. We were really happy with the results of how it launched and what happened for us.

When we went into it, we specifically said we’re not targeting male engineers with CAD skills who might be between the ages of 35 and 60 or whatever it was. We didn’t do that. We said, “We don’t know who our show’s going to appeal to, but we want people who know enough to know that they’re interested in learning about 3D printing.” That’s why we chose the name we chose. Then we’re just going to keep our content really broad in terms of that is to appeal to all ages, all skill sets but we wanted them to be new to it. That was the only criteria and it worked really well for us. Over time we started to realize, we actually have like niche segments that are really valuable and important to us. We have a gigantic group of educators on our listeners. We now have 100,000 listeners. Educators are a big part of it because they’re the ones who are thrown into this, “We want to offer 3D printing in the school, figure out what to do.” There was no place to learn. It taught us that there was no place to learn, we can develop product around that. We started with the podcast first and then figured out what products to make because we learned our audience. That’s what I think you’re saying, Tom, is that similarly someone could start their show, learn about this ad model, and start to really understand who’s being drawn into their show and develop more content, more services, and more things around it.

AdSkills: Define your customer segments better and better as you move on.


I think whether you’re starting a podcast and you don’t know who your audience is going to be, but you start to learn that over time and then dial content in specifically for them or others have an idea of who they do want to attract for their show or the type of customers they want to have. Maybe it’s what they want to market to the audience. I think the reality of advertising today is using one or more of the social media platforms to reach them. That’s the mismatch though that you said there, John. That’s what I want to highlight right there. The mismatch that I see happen so often is that they start their show, they think it’s going to be attractive, they already have an established business or something they’re selling, some type of consulting services in whatever industry. They start their show and then they get subscribers and/or email list to build around the show. They take that show and they create a look-a-like audience on Facebook or wherever they do it. They spend money because they’re like, “People are listening to my show and they spend a lot of money based on that.” Yet the product that they have to offer doesn’t resonate that, so it doesn’t translate into cashflow that you put it into that page. They get clicks but they don’t get that conversion.

The biggest thing that both of you said in that discussion was the two words over time. What’s important is you define your customer segments better and better and better as you move on. What was great when you started is you knew that you wanted to cater to people in the 3D printing market, the FFF, you already knew who you were catering to on a small level. That’s where we started to say this persona is going to evolve as you move through things. I used to run an agency by myself or I was trying to take on clients all the time. It got to the point after three years of doing this, I was like, “I don’t like working with 95% of these people. I want to focus on what I’m really good at, which is YouTube advertising with companies that have big budgets and products that cater to millions of people. That’s what I love to do.

My customer persona has evolved as I’ve worked through this to say, “This is my skill set, this is what I’m really good at. I’m great at running traffic and I can get to that point with, I know this is a product that people want, that I’m very good at selling.” That’s probably what you did as well as you started with a passion. I had a passion about doing paid traffic and analytics for people and it evolved as I went through. I love teaching, that’s why it worked, that’s why we have AdSkills because I love to teach. I don’t love running traffic as much. When I run traffic, it’s very specific things. For your podcast, you want to attract anyone that likes something with 3D printing, but as you move through it, you found those little niches where you can develop products. You have multiple customer personas. You started with one and it turned into four or five and here’s your different little segments that you can create products, upsells, and offers to, that’s how our business evolves.

I think the biggest thing is, “We’re an overnight success, 30 years in the making.” This is the piece for you guys have, “We started with something we kept investing in, we kept working on it, we kept talking to customers. I can’t say how many businesses don’t talk to their own customers. Look-a-like audiences are amazing, if you’re doing advertising in a proven funnel. I use them all the time and we just crushed it with them. That’s because we’ve really done a lot of work and understanding who we’re selling to. If you’re starting something new and you’re saying, “Look–a-like, I want to go promote this to people.” Just because you’re getting people that are subscribing or joining your email list, or following your podcast, what’s really important is do you like the people that are subscribing to you?

Once you’re out who those people are, that’s what you want to build look-a-likes off. Until you talk to those people and have dialogues, and understand if you can solve their problem, it’s something you enjoy and you’re not dealing with a bunch of complainers, refunders and people like that, that’s what this is all about. We’ve changed AdSkills multiple times to cater to people. We say, “We want to cater to people who’ve lost money with online advertising before, who want to know they have this burning desire to figure it out. They haven’t found a teacher that can help them. That’s exactly who we want to work with.”

That’s exactly our podcasts model. That’s why we have our DIY course or do it yourself course. It’s practically free because we want that. We’re like, “If you want to do this yourself, go right ahead.” I’m going to teach you everything we do because I know at the end of the day, if you’re serious you’re going to come back and go, “It’s not worth it.” I don’t have the time to do it all myself. You’d have to hire five years to do it all. What’s grate is always having people ask us at different networking events, conferences, trade shows, who do you know that can handle an online marketing campaign for me, an advertising campaign? Who do you know who does a good job at that? I don’t have enough experience with that myself to be able to refer somebody to someone that I know will do a good job. I think that now I feel like we have a very good resource to give people to say, here’s where you can go get educated either yourself to then hire someone with a little more knowledge so you don’t make a mistake or maybe trained somebody internally at your company to handle it for you. That’s a couple options there.

Everybody wants to be famous but nobody wants to put in the work. Share on X

John, in your experience, those that are running significant, I would call them bloggers, direct marketers, people who have been doing this for quite some time. People like us who podcast plus blog. We’re really dialed in to use the term focus keywords. We really understand we’re not going to do something general like job posting. How to podcast is not even one of the keywords we ever even talk about. It’s always dialed in deeper than that. We have a lot of data and a lot of information and yet I feel so often companies don’t even realize they have that. You talked about people’s eyes glaze over in tracking but I love the analytics side personally because it shows me what’s working and if it’s working I want to do more of it. So few people actually look at that.

That’s that piece when we talk about weight loss stuff. They say the easiest way to tell it to lose weight is to track what you eat. Nobody does it. No one wants to sit there and write down, “This is what my food journal looks like.” You watched the people that are very fit, you look at bodybuilders, they write down everything they eat. They’re done with all their sets. They can go back, look, and see the trends. That’s just something that they are committed to that most people aren’t. What I love at the end of the day, like I said, with my consulting clients, I go in and build custom dashboards for all of their ad spend into a single dashboard that shows them their cost per acquisition for each one of these traffic channels.

It’s really fun because I’ve come back to them, I had to go through and set everything up and tell them from the tracking side, “You go do this and make this happen. Give me access to these different ad networks and pull it together.” That’s really fun though when you come back to them and say, “Look at all the things we did, now we need to go do this, this and this because this is what the data points are telling us.” I’m with you 100%. The problem is a lot of people don’t want to put in the work. Kevin Hart, the comedian, he starts on his show, he said, “Everybody wants to be famous but nobody wants to put in the work.” That’s really what it comes down to, these pieces of tracking and research. You have to do these things.

If you’re going in with the mindset of, “I want to get rich overnight,” wrong fit. We tell people that right up front in our courses. If you think this is something you’re just going to come and push a couple buttons, go watch a YouTube video, waste some money, and then come back and talk to us. It’s not how this works. When we really talk about marketing, marketing is an investment, the same thing as stocks and bonds, it’s not a guarantee. What we really love about paid traffic is you actually have the chance to influence the outcome. If you do a good job influencing the outcome, your income is going to be influenced because of that.

Let’s talk a little bit about the channels though and what you’re seeing. You spend a lot of time on YouTube and I saw in some of the topic areas you’re talking about. Let’s talk a little bit about what’s going on in YouTube.

The first thing before we jump into YouTube itself, where I just wanted to cover very quickly, is we talked earlier about people say, “You should do Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, AdWords, GDN, or whatever all these different things are, the problem is I think everyone thinks that every ad network is like a Swiss army knife. It’s like, “I can just go try and do this. I’ll do everything on Facebook.” What we really work hard is, one of the things we teach people, there’s an famous copywriter, his name is Eugene Schwartz, wrote a book called Breakthrough Advertising. You try and buy it now, it’s $400 for the book. It’s worth every penny. You don’t see many books that cost $400. He came up with this model when he was writing copy. It’s called the Five Stages of Awareness. Going all the way from totally unaware down to the what he calls most aware or what we call offer aware.

What he is talking about is not even about the, at the bottom level, they already know about you, your business, and what it is that you’re selling, they just need a reason to buy. Up at the top, they don’t even know they have a problem. What’s really important, and we talk about what this framework is the whole way through, is every ad network basically talk says they have the same ability to target people. They have all the same options, interests, topics, keywords, retargeting, look-a-likes. Every one of them has some flavor of that, but only some of them, some of those targeting options are super powers for some and really big weaknesses for others.

I think that’s the biggest piece is understanding which of the ad networks work well to try and reach each one of those stages. Then you put together ads and offers that help convert those. Google is a great network because of their search heads. Google is the number one search engine. YouTube is the number two search engine in the world. There’s a ton of search data that you compare and say, “We can target people who are in the market for these things if they’re actively reading blogs about these things or they’re watching YouTube videos about these things,” whenever it’s the search intent. YouTube really hits those levels further down in the search funnels. The people looking at keywords, the videos, those pieces.

AdSkills: What we love about paid traffic is you actually have the chance to influence the outcome.

Facebook is really good at further up points talking about interests targeting because people are expressing everyday liking, commenting, and sharing. Facebook doesn’t necessarily know as much about your search intent when you’re actively looking for something. Further on up, when we’re talking about the totally unaware of problem or stages, Facebook is incredible at that. I think that’s the big thing is don’t view an ad network like a Swiss army knife where it can do everything. You want to look at it like a spoon or a knife or a fork. You’re not going to try and eat soup with a knife. It’s not a good fit. You’re not going to try and cut steak with a spoon. It’s really just trying to figure out which levels of awareness are you catering to, what’s the offer, what kind of ads do you to have, and which ad network is really good at that. I just wanted to preface that because I think that helps people get an idea of, “I see now. Google AdWords is good for lower in the funnel because people are actively searching for this.” If they have no idea but their problem, AdWords is a terrible network for that. I think it’s really important to categorize this.

We’re going to ask some questions about maybe a couple of the different platforms. Your point is you know what a good campaign may involve several of these platforms at different points because of what they make sense for or the unique aspects of the campaign or the funnel you’re doing.

I’ll share a resource with you, it’s a PDF that we put together. It’s called the Network Funnel. It talks about the five stages of awareness, “Here’s the type of targeting that you can utilize and here’s the best networks for that.” I’ll share that with you and we could have that for your audience.

You talked about something called the Organic Halo Effect of YouTube. What does that mean?

My nickname for YouTube is the Three-card Monte ad platform. For anyone that doesn’t know the three-card Monte, if you go to New Orleans or any big city, they basically will go out and set up a cardboard box and they’ll have three cards and they’ll put a marble underneath one of them. They’ll move the cards around it’s your job to pick out the marble. They’ll have a person there, they set up at the beginning. You’re the idiot that they’re trying to get and they’ll have some other guy playing and he’ll point out and he’ll get it right three times. Then they call on you and you’re like, “It’s under the middle card,” and it’s never under the middle card. You’re going to lose your money every time because you don’t know where to look.

I think that’s the biggest thing with YouTube is the Organic Halo Effect where I see a lot of people be unsuccessful. What I call the big YouTube problem is people have made something work on Facebook and they would say, “We’ve got these videos that are working on Facebook, they’re killing it. Let’s move over to YouTube and just double down, and we’ll be able to make a bunch of money.” They are very disappointed because they say, “My cost per view on YouTube is more expensive and my clicks are ten times more expensive. It just doesn’t work. What I always talk with people about is understanding the difference between the networks. On Facebook, you’re looking for a distraction, you’re literally scrolling, trying to find something you care about. On YouTube, you came there for a reason to watch a video. There are two reasons people come to YouTube, to be educated or to be entertained.

If you’re being educated, you’re watching a how-to video. I’m not clicking away from that, I’m not going to click on an ad. I came here to learn how to fix my radiator or put my car back on my tire or any reason that you came there to learn how to do something or you came there for entertainment. There are YouTube shows. I watch football replays. YouTube was the number one online streaming platform for music until very recently. It was bigger than all the other streaming platforms combined. People go to YouTube, listen to music. They’re there for a reason. Even if you have a great ad, you think of the best ads, the Dollar Shave Club’s, the Potpourris the Squatty Potty, those are the very famous ones. Those are great ads. People did not click on those ads, they were still there for a reason. What they do is they open a new tab and they searched for it and that’s because they are still on YouTube, I want to get the answer to whatever I came here for.

Don't view an ad network like a Swiss army knife where it can do everything. Look at it like a spoon or a knife or a fork. Share on X

If I open up a new tab and I searched for it, that’s going to show up in the organic traffic bucket. The organic halo that I talk about is when people watch a YouTube ad most of the time they’ll open up a new tab, search for it, and all of the results that you’re getting from YouTube are showing up in your organic or direct traffic. That’s where that’s going to show up inside of that Halo. It’s really important to understand that or otherwise you’re going to be extremely disappointed. You’re comparing Facebook to YouTube, which I say is like comparing apples to Japanese. That’s piece of having the right expectations, going in and knowing where you need to look for your results is extremely important if you ever want to be successful with paid advertising.

What I really want to do is make sure that we’re leaving our audience with an understanding of how broad the services and education you can give them. You not only take them from this very, very beginning, but you can take them all the way to building their own internal team. Could you just talk a little bit about what it is you call it a Media Buyer, which is a term many of us aren’t used to. What does that mean to become a Certified Media Buyer?

What we really try and do at AdSkills, we want to turn out people who are professionally trained to buy advertising which is another name for buying advertising as a media buyer. Even if that’s you with your own business, you’re still going to be trained like a professional in the fact that you understand how professionals do it. If you get to the point where you’re being successful, you’ve got competence and cashflow, you’re going to hire somebody else, that’s totally fine. You’ll have the skills and the knowledge to be able to hire effectively. What we really try and do is we know that there are a lot of businesses out there that are currently working with agencies that don’t like the agency model. They don’t want to have to pay the overhead, the retainers, the ongoing fees, the percentage of ad spends. They would like to build an internal team that they have employees that are doing their ads for them, that are educated and have access whenever they don’t know the answer to something and to talk to people who do this for a living.

That’s what we’re building in AdSkills. We’re trying to build a university for media buyers. You can come in, get the education that you need to have the systems and processes. We say amateurs make amateur mistakes because they don’t have processes and systems. We’re giving you the professional systems and processes to understand how professionals do that, the planning that we put in. We do math, we do planning, we do research, we go through and put together a campaign plan, and then we execute efficiently. If you have someone on your team that you want to get trained, they can come in, become a Ninja at what they do and be able to turn around and make a huge profit for you.

That’s really what we work for. The biggest thing is just fun having people understand there’s a lot of money out there for agencies. All you have to have is a computer and a phone to run an agency. That to us can be a threat to a lot of people, a lot of businesses. We can work with for agencies and if you do work with the good ones, they are really expensive. It’s trying to find a happy medium in there. We’ve got really good people that work for you so that way it’s a fixed cost instead of our variable cost. You have the opportunity to scale up on what you’re doing.

It makes a lot of sense and gets you started thinking about that process. I think the only other question I want to have a coach with this, for those that are thinking about the growth pace of their business, how long should you really allow for someone to really train, become ready, or for yourself if you’re launching a brand or a business? How long should you allow through that training and early research stage of dialing things and getting it right?

You have to understand who you're selling to before you can move on to creating offers. Share on X

We really work from the timeframe perspective. What I’ve found with people is if you can get started and you go through the basics, really understanding, these are where most people fail and these are the things that you need to do. I’m putting together a roadmap right now for people that are struggling to figure out how to prioritize paid traffic. You can do step one, step two, step three, step four, and until you check these off, we can’t move on to the next one. You have to have your customer persona before you can move onto creating offers. You have to understand who you’re selling to, but what’s really important, as long as you’re willing to dedicate to actually putting these things together. To me, you can get a lot of the basics put into place, on a basic level in a month. You can get all of it done in a month.

It’s something you just spend an hour a day going in and figuring out, “I’m just going to spend a little time researching on Facebook that people who follow me and these are people who are buying from me and I can understand a little bit more about them, what they look like, what’s the demographic, what do they do? Do they have families? You can just start to understand more about people and you don’t have to spend a ton of time doing this, but a little bit everyday will help you get to that point where you’ve got the basics in place. What you start to do is put together campaigns, you can execute those. What’s really important to me is the planning process takes the most time. Execution is very simple. We’ve given you a framework, you go in, you execute, and you’re able to run your campaigns. You can tell within three days if things are moving in the right direction. That’s where you start to just progressed slowly.

The whole goal here is to build confidence and cash flow. What’s fun is as you start to see that success, you’re going to get more excited about it and you’re going to start saying, “We’re doing well on Facebook, how can we try out AdWords? How can we try out YouTube? How can we try out Twitter?” to continue to expand what you’re doing. It’s a snowball effect. If you held a gun to my head and said, “How long will it take for someone to get trained?” To be pretty good, it will probably take them about six months to really feel confident like they understand what they’re doing and they’re really able to generate a big positive return for your business. You can get started and be successful within six weeks of just understanding the basics and not being the idiot out there. As we talked about the idiot tax, I don’t want you to have to pay the idiot tax you. It’s going to take you more than reading a single blog post, but I spend hours boiling down these complex things that we’ve learned over seventeen years into very digestible bites in order to help you get there quickly.

Thank you for so much for sharing all of this with us, John. We really appreciate you being on our show.

I loved being here. Thank you so much. If you’ll have any back, we’ll talk some more about YouTube. There are some cool stuff.

AdSkills: The Power Of Social Media Advertising – Final Thoughts

I want to take AdSkills. I think every business owner that has a need to actually advertise on Facebook, YouTube, any of these places should. It’s not because I intend to place ads or do any of that myself, but I feel like you can’t. I’m the Chief Marketing Officer of Brandcasters. I’m a CMO and my role here is to make sure that we aren’t hiring the wrong experts. Some of the things John said make me question our experts, make me question the process. This is just advice and it’s a little casual. I want to dive deeper in because I’m a researcher and I like to know the details. It’s going to make me better able to guide that process and better able to hire the right resources to accomplish my goal. That would be a better use of our funds.

I was very impressed with John, not only with what he has done with his company and what’s available there for people. Since we have recorded this, we’ve actually recommended other people we know in business, to go to into AdSkills and take some of his courses. We’ve definitely recommended it to people and we do need to follow up with them and see what their experience has been. I think we should also follow up after our own experience. I’m about to head out to do a keynote and so my intention is to spend a month actually diving into AdSkills. I will report back. I’ll do a follow-up episode to let you know what I found and what I found valuable. I also want to make sure that we realized that we’re putting out a second episode.

We need to let everybody know what’s coming because after we ended the interview with John, we had some discussion off air. We had it a little bit on air where you hear that he teases about some YouTube tips. YouTube is important to so many of our videocasters out there. Many of our podcasters are utilizing YouTube in various ways, we are personally putting in a YouTube ad strategy as a part of our marketing plan. We were so excited that he offered us a whole extra amount of time to talk about YouTube. We decided to separate it and put it in its own episode. There’s more to come from John. Thank you so much for joining Feed Your Brand. You can find us anywhere on social media, @FeedYourBrand.

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Picture of John Belcher

John Belcher

John got his start working at Google on the AdWords team. While there John saw a gap between the average company’s advertising goals and their actual ability to leverage paid traffic to achieve them profitably. John has personally managed over $5MM in ad spend, consulted on another $20MM, helped clients raise Series A funding, 5x MRR in 8 short months, and implement tracking and analytics systems to understand which marketing channels are driving results for their businesses.
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