For the past seven years, Marin Istvanic has gone from a freelance contractor to head of performance at Inspire Agency, and he's also a partner in a few of their in-house brands that he helped to scale. And he's also a two time geek out speaker and a one time affiliate World Asia speaker. Now, in the past 12 months, listen to this, he spent over $30 million on Facebook ads, and today he's going to share some of his go to Facebook ads, strategies and learnings, as well as some additional tips and tricks to help you do the same.
NOTE: Complete transcript available at the bottom of the page.
Screw The Commute Podcast Show Notes Episode 671
How To Automate Your Business – https://screwthecommute.com/automatefree/
Internet Marketing Training Center – https://imtcva.org/
Higher Education Webinar – https://screwthecommute.com/webinars
See Tom's Stuff – https://linktr.ee/antionandassociates[02:23] Tom's introduction to Marin Istvanic [06:00] The types of ads on Facebook (mostly video) [09:22] Advertising on YouTube and others [10:25] Some of the mistakes people are making with ads [12:00] Third party cookies and pixeling [17:03] These things will needlessly cost you money [20:06] Computer Science major and a soccer player [21:33] Sponsor message [23:06] A typical day for Marin
Higher Education Webinar – https://screwthecommute.com/webinars
Screw The Commute – https://screwthecommute.com/
Screw The Commute Podcast App – https://screwthecommute.com/app/
College Ripoff Quiz – https://imtcva.org/quiz
Know a young person for our Youth Episode Series? Send an email to Tom! – email@example.com
Have a Roku box? Find Tom's Public Speaking Channel there! – https://channelstore.roku.com/details/267358/the-public-speaking-channel
How To Automate Your Business – https://screwthecommute.com/automatefree/
Internet Marketing Retreat and Joint Venture Program – https://greatinternetmarketingtraining.com/
KickStartCart – http://www.kickstartcart.com/
Copywriting901 – https://copywriting901.com/
Disabilities Page – https://imtcva.org/disabilities/
Tom's Patreon Page – https://screwthecommute.com/patreon/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/IstvanicMarin
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/istvanic.marin
Email Tom: Tom@ScrewTheCommute.com
Internet Marketing Training Center – https://imtcva.org/
Nick Gray – https://screwthecommute.com/670/
I discovered a great new headline / subject line / subheading generator that will actually analyze which headlines and subject lines are best for your market. I negotiated a deal with the developer of this revolutionary and inexpensive software. Oh, and it's good on Mac and PC. Go here: http://jvz1.com/c/41743/183906
The WordPress Ecourse. Learn how to Make World Class Websites for $20 or less. https://screwthecommute.com/wordpressecourse/
Join our Private Facebook Group! One week trial for only a buck and then $37 a month, or save a ton with one payment of $297 for a year. Click the image to see all the details and sign up or go to https://www.greatinternetmarketing.com/screwthecommute/
After you sign up, check your email for instructions on getting in the group.
Want The Transcript for this episode?
Episode 671 – Marin Istvanic
[00:00:08] Welcome to Screw the Commute. The entrepreneurial podcast dedicated to getting you out of the car and into the money, with your host, lifelong entrepreneur and multimillionaire, Tom Antion.
[00:00:24] Hey, everybody, it's Tom here with episode 671 of Screw the Commute podcast. I'm here with Marin Istvanic and he's with the Inspire Agency. And we're going to discuss Facebook ads. And I'm going to throw in a little bit about their future because they lost a lot of money lately, so. Well, we'll bring him on in a minute. All right. I hope you didn't miss episode 670. That was Nick Gray, who started a crazy business called Museum Hacks up in New York and ended up selling that for millions of dollars. And then he wrote a book called The Two Hour Cocktail Party. I suggest you go get that and listen to that episode. It's all about networking through your own little cocktail parties, even if you hate to entertain. His book is just exact blueprint for how to Run a successful party that can bring you a lot of business. Okay, let's see. I want to thank all the Patreon folks. We are have a patron account set up to help fund our scholarship program for persons with disabilities. Starts as little as three bucks a month and you get a lot of perks with it. So also, if you really want to listen to a couple million dollars worth of free training, you can go to screwthecommute.com/training. And that's all our training episodes there. So it's been going on for four years and hundreds of topics.
[00:01:49] So check that out and let's see, make sure you pick up a copy of our podcast app at screwthecommute.com/app. And also pick up a copy of our automation E book. This book is say just one of the tips in the book has saved me 8 million keystrokes. We actually estimated it the a macro program and and it has a whole bunch of stuff in this book on how I automate myself to take care of customers and prospects lightning fast. So pick up your copy of that at screwthecommute.com/automatefree.
[00:02:25] All right let's get to the main event. For the past seven years, Marin Istvanic has gone from a freelance contractor to head of performance at Inspire Agency, and he's also a partner in a few of their in-house brands that he helped to scale. And he's also a two time geek out speaker and a one time affiliate World Asia speaker. Now, in the past 12 months, listen to this, he spent over $30 million on Facebook ads, and today he's going to share some of his go to Facebook ads, strategies and learnings, as well as some additional tips and tricks to help you do the same. So, Marin, are you ready to screw? The commute?
[00:03:06] I'm totally ready, Tom.
[00:03:08] All right. How are you doing, man? Where are you today?
[00:03:11] It's really good. Pretty good. I'm currently based in Croatia.
[00:03:16] Yeah, Croatia. Yeah. So it's a long way from here, but Facebook has a wide reach. Now, your company primarily concentrates on Facebook advertising for ecommerce stores. But the first thing I want to hit you up with is because, I mean, we were supposed to do this, I don't know, last week sometime, and my computer pooped out after 666 episodes. Hey, isn't that funny? Six, six, six is the Antichrist. Yeah, that's the day my computer broke. So the news came out that day that Facebook had lost $11 billion. Their stock price was down 71% from its peak. And this meta thing is just just tanked terribly. So do you do any other ads or do you still think Facebook is viable for this?
[00:04:09] So yeah, Meta is kind of like not not interesting to the majority of people. And we know that Facebook still earns most of most of its money through advertising, right? I'm still primarily focused on Facebook because none of the other platforms can cannot compete with the robust system that Facebook has and all of the details that it has about about its users. I did some other advertising on some other platforms like Pinterest, Snapchat. TikTok. TikTok is kind of like Golden child. Now people are switching to TikTok. It is doing pretty good. Pinterest is not. Pinterest is not a great fit for our for our clients, which are primarily e-com brands. And I would say Snapchat was good to two or three years ago, but now not much people are using, so it's really not a good fit.
[00:05:09] So Facebook is still hanging in there. Then.
[00:05:12] Yeah, Facebook is still kind of what majority of people using what users have users complete on Facebook has most buying power, let's say, compared to TikTok, where the audience is younger. So they then don't have much money to buy some some of the stuff that our clients are selling. So I would say despite the the drop in Facebook revenue, it is still the our favorite our favorite platform for advertising.
[00:05:45] All right. So what are some of the formats that are the most popular that have worked out for e commerce so much? There's a lot of variation on how you can advertise, right?
[00:05:58] So you mean in terms of the ads or.
[00:06:01] What types of ads are people putting on? Are they video or are they static? What parts of Facebook are they concentrating on? So forth.
[00:06:13] So when you're advertising on Facebook, you're automatically advertising on Instagram as well. I would say that majority of the ads are video format. There are certainly static images that are kind of easier to produce, cheaper to produce, and they still they still can be pretty effective. But we find out that like this platform and everything is going to into like video only like TikTok is video only. Facebook is trying to replicate. It's easier to to tell a story through the video. So it kind of makes sense that the majority of the ads are also video ads.
[00:06:52] Now, are they vertical, horizontal or what? Or both.
[00:06:58] So that's a great question. Usually the format on the feed, which is kind of like taking majority of the Facebook placement is one by one. So it is kind of a squared format. But if you want to advertise on Instagram story or Instagram real, then the format is vertical. That's nine by 16 because that's a native format. And like when you are advertising, you want your ads to be to look as as a native post. You don't want to be like when someone sees an ad that says, Oh, this is the ad like because people are people are not. So I mean, they they want they they are on the platform because they want to engage with other people that they are not there to see the ads. So if you make your ads as native as possible, that kind of like gets them to click. So obviously, if you're advertising on Instagram story on Instagram real, you want to have nine by 16 vertical video which would feel native to to that placement.
[00:08:01] Right. And and people aren't trying to convert videos right they wouldn't they shoot the same ad vertically and horizontally if if they wanted to make it look as good as they could natively.
[00:08:14] So basically when advertising on Facebook, we have an option to choose which placement on which placement. We want to run ads. So I can say, okay, if I'm showing my ad on a feed, I'm going to show one by one format. But if I'm showing my ad on a. On a story on a real I will show vertical vertical format.
[00:08:39] Usually one by one. Not not widescreen.
[00:08:43] No, no, no. Widescreen is like, outdated. It's I would say it's only good for YouTube because like with our ad, we want to capture as much as screen as possible. So like I would say, 80% of the traffic comes from mobile user. So when you have a vertical video on a mobile or one by one, it is capturing more screen than if you run a horizontal video. If you're on a horizontal video, it just captured, like I would say, half of your screen and it is not as effective as it was like, I don't know, five years ago. So we are definitely going into that video first direction now.
[00:09:23] Have you done any advertising on YouTube?
[00:09:29] So in our agency, we are covering different different platforms, different source of advertising. So let's say I'm handling all Facebook, Instagram and TikTok, but we have other person that is handling YouTube and Google because YouTube is under Google jurisdiction. And also it kind of like the approach totally changes because with Facebook we are mostly prospecting. We are try to reach some people that never heard of us while so basically we are creating the demand, but the Google is capturing the demand. That's kind of a difference.
[00:10:08] I've been teaching. One of the best bargains is is YouTube in stream ads? Because they can click the skip button before 30 seconds and then you don't have to pay anything. So so it's you can get a lot of branding in without actually spend any money. What are some of the mistakes that you think? Well, another thing I'll throw out to you is because I've been telling people that never to boost something because that's specifically there for people that are idiots and don't know any better.
[00:10:42] Yeah. Well, yeah, very well. Sad. I think that Facebook made that boost button for everybody that doesn't know how to properly advertise. Exactly. They want to kind of like get get a little bit more exposure so they made it easy for them. I would definitely recommend not to use that boost button. So like Facebook is pretty good at giving you what you want. Like it's a super interesting, but if you optimize, let's say for a traffic and you want people like you would get people only that would click on the ad and land on your website and that's it. If you optimize for video view, you would get people only that that are going to view your video and are not going to do anything after that. If you optimize, let's say for add to cart, you would get like this is super interesting but you would get only people that will add to CART but they would not end up buying. So that's why for our clients we are always optimizing for purchase because that's the end goal. We want a user come to our website to see the product and eventually buys it because that's kind of, that's generating the revenue. So like whatever your goal is, if you optimize for that, Facebook is pretty good in giving you what you optimize for.
[00:12:00] Okay. Now I've been reading some stuff and hearing some scuttlebutt about third party cookies going away. Is that going to apply to Pixel and so forth and explain to the people what pixels is.
[00:12:14] So basically, Pixel is a piece of code that that each advertiser get from Facebook and then you add that code to your website. It basically allows Facebook to match the user with the action the user did. So basically, digital marketing is great because everything is trackable, everything is measurable. So let's say if I click on the ad, I go to to some of the websites I add to Cart. Then when I'm in the advertising platform, I can see, okay, this ad generated a user X who added to CART. So I know this ad is generating the demand. Someone because of because of this ad someone is interested enough to buy. Then based on the metrics that I have, I can see, okay, this ad generated five cards. This generated only one, so I get to keep only. Only this one that generated five cards because it has much more. Let's say there's a much more opportunity that the sale would come from this ad. Mm hmm.
[00:13:25] But so. So it's not the pixel is not going to go away when cookies go away.
[00:13:32] No, no, it won't go away. Obviously, like a year ago, we had that famous iOS 14.5 update. Right. Which kind of like made our life as an advertiser a bit tougher. A bit harder because users could opt out of the tracking. So basically user could say, I don't want my I don't want my data to be tracked. So that means that even if someone adds to CART, I cannot see that in my platform, which is making my decision, which is making my decision making a bit harder because I don't have a data. Facebook cannot optimize and I don't know whether someone bought from my ad or they didn't bought from my ad, but in my perspective, like not just because of my advertiser, but I do not suggest user opting out because they're going to start to see less and less relevant ads. So basically, if you give enough data to Facebook, he's going to show you all the things that you would want to see, whether it is an ad or organic posts. But if Facebook has a lot less data on you, you would see super random ads. So like I always say, ad is annoying only if it's not relevant.
[00:14:51] Mm hmm. Yeah, that's a good saying. Yeah. Now, did you see the cost per thousand fluctuating quite a bit when the iOS 14, because I saw it at like a little less than $4 up to over $7 during that time period. Is that smoothed out?
[00:15:10] So it really depends like what's the kind of like just average.
[00:15:16] Average cost per thousand? Not not specific.
[00:15:20] So it really depends what you optimize for. If you want just video views, you would pay a couple of bucks. But if you want people who are going to convert, you can you can pay up to know 60 bucks. It also depends what what is what is your targeting. So let's say if you want to if you want to reach women that are interested in no weight loss and they are older than 40, that's kind of like super niche audience And like a lot there's a lot of competitors around that audience. So you're going to pay more then compare, let's say, men between 18 and 30 that are interested in football because like there's not much people advertising in that space. So it really depends who you want to reach and how many competition is there.
[00:16:09] But did you see the just overall prices rise everywhere when that iOS 14 thing came out?
[00:16:18] So it did spike a bit, but I would say it kind of like leveled out the. Yeah, the the most expensive CPMs. So that kind of cost per thousand impression is during November because of the Black Friday. And they're like a lot of people who do not like usually advertise. They start advertising in November because that people are more inclined to buy. So everybody want to advertise. So during November, especially like that last week, week before Black Friday, we see a massive, massive increase in CPM. I would say like double if your usual is 20, you could end up like on the verge of 40.
[00:17:02] Yeah. Now what? What do you see? Like a lot of people try to do this themselves. What do you, what are some of the biggest mistakes they make that really cost them a lot of money?
[00:17:14] So first is like not not choosing a right objective. So I audit like at least 50 add account per per year. And I see like a lot of people optimizing, let's say, for traffic and then they complain why I'm not getting a sale. As I said, Facebook is pretty good in giving you what you want, so make sure to optimize towards conversion if your end goal is purchase. Also, people are not treating the different level of audiences differently. So let's say if you never, never heard about me and I want to show you an ad I want to get you to buy. I will show you some product demonstration video. So when someone is using the product, explaining the features, explaining the benefits, if you potentially watch, I don't know, 50% of my video or maybe like the video because it looked fine to you, but you did not end up buying. I would show you, let's say, unboxing video or testimonial video where you would see some other customer talking about how he bought our product, how the product is cool, how it helps him, maybe potentially you. It would get you to click, you would end up on our website, but you would not buy. So then I would use some objection handling ads. Let's say we offer a free shipping. There is a hassle free return. I would again potentially show some testimonial. So basically on. Based on what level of, let's say, interest you are, The messaging is different and that's that's pretty crucial in the in digital advertising.
[00:18:56] Are you is your company creating the ads or you just advising the vendors on what ads need to be created?
[00:19:07] So we kind of like advise them what need to be created. There are certain there like there are video agency that produce video ads. So basically we tell them, okay, guys, we need one product demonstration to unboxing videos, three testimonial to objection handling videos. We provide like some best practices, like what would be good if they say what would be good if they include, then they communicate with the video agencies. Sometimes we do this directly with your agents, with the video agency, because when you spend like so much money, you see some patterns. You know what's working, you know what when, what users are kind of reacting and what kind of makes sense to run as a video ad. So we provide that instruction, the video agency provide us the video back, and then we start to run that as a as an ad.
[00:20:05] Got it. Got it. So now I know you are a computer science major. I saw that on LinkedIn, but I also noticed that it says you were a soccer player for five years. Were you a professional soccer player?
[00:20:19] So actually, I played soccer since my son, six years old, and I played it until I think 26. So basically I was playing for 20 years. I was a semi-pro. That was the second Croatian division. And while I was yeah, while I was, I was a semi-pro while while I was in college. So but somehow in the middle of that, I stumbled upon digital marketing. So I stopped with soccer. I stopped with with computer science. I did finished the college, I graduated, but I did not end up working like not even one day in that in that area. Yeah.
[00:21:02] Now, as a semi-pro soccer player in Croatia, could you actually make a living?
[00:21:09] Potentially. I mean, I would not say that you can make a living. You can earn up to I know 1 to 2 k USD, but that's, that's kind of like. Yeah, per month.
[00:21:23] Yeah. Okay. Well it's at least. So you did it on the side or what you said.
[00:21:27] Yeah, I did it on a side like alongside with, with university.
[00:21:33] Beautiful. Beautiful. All right, well, we got to take a brief sponsored break, and when we come back, we'll ask Marin what's a typical day look like for him? And let's see. Yeah, that's so let's see. We've been hearing so much about morning routines and stuff, and I don't really have one other than the dogs. Make me get up, take them out so they don't poop on the floor. So folks, I have the only license. Dedicated Internet and digital marketing school in the country, probably the world. And we've got a scholarship program going for persons with disabilities because it's a distance learning school and it's and it's high quality distance learning, not kind of pandemic. Throw you in front of a zoom thing, distance learning. And we're doing a pilot program to get these persons with disabilities either hired by companies or in their own business or both. And so then I'm going to I took a grant writing course and I'm going to roll it out really big to get lots of big companies to help lots and lots of these people. So I'd love to have your help with this. We have a Go Fund Me account and the Patreon account for this podcast. Every nickel other than the Patreon and Go Fund Me Fees goes to the scholarship program. So we'd love to have your help and you can find the Patreon at screwthecommute.com/patreon and then the Go Fund Me account is screwthecommute.com/disabilities. So I'd love to have your help on that.
[00:23:07] All right. So let's get back to the main event. We've got Marin Istvanic here from Croatia and he knows a heck of a lot about paid ads. But now we want to hear about him a little bit more. So what's a typical day like look like for you? Do you get up early? Do you work out? What do you eat? What's your life like as an entrepreneur?
[00:23:28] So I am a morning type, so I get up around like 637, something like that. I do not like wasting my time. So right away, straight from the bat I have a breakfast, I check sport news and Twitter to kind of like be updated about everything in this paid social space and usually like under 30 minutes. I'm ready to go to the office as it is getting a bit colder here in Croatia now because we are heading into winter. I do some deep work at at my at my home before I before I go to the office.
[00:24:08] So what kind of work?
[00:24:11] Like probably some of the tasks that are most important to me during the days during the day that I know like require a bit more attention or thinking or something like that. After that, I like to check all of my emails, slack and Skype messages because I want to be updated about everything, what's happening, so I can potentially delegate some of my tasks and know what to focus next.
[00:24:37] So you're still using Skype over there, huh?
[00:24:41] There are some clients that require that kind of like use Skype, so I just go along with it. But like I would say that 90% of the clients communication is over an email or Slack. Yeah. As I said, I delegate some of the tasks that do not need my attention. I then I jump into into the accounts and see what was performance for my clients yesterday. Is there something that needs my attention if something is not going okay, if some if some of the client has potential upcoming promotion or new product launch that I need to get dedicate more time and I'm at the office until probably something around 4 p.m. I go home, I do some workout, go to the gym and then in the evening I usually spend time with my girlfriend or watching some TV shows or series or with some soccer game or something like that.
[00:25:40] Beautiful. Yeah. And you you're are you calling it soccer just to be nice to us?
[00:25:45] Marin Yeah, exactly. Because we are calling it football here, but I know you're not a fan of that, so I'm calling it soccer.
[00:25:54] Okay, So how do they, how do they get a hold of you?
[00:25:59] So people can reach out to me on Twitter. We can potentially leave a link.
[00:26:06] Yeah. And yeah, I'm I'm most active on Twitter, but you can reach me on Facebook and on LinkedIn as well. But on Twitter, I'm kind of like sharing tips and tricks around Facebook ads and some of the more in depth strategies.
[00:26:21] Oh, great. And you buddies with Elon Musk.
[00:26:26] I wish.
[00:26:28] So. Okay. Well, thanks so much, Marin. Good insights on Facebook ads that are still hanging in there, I guess, because when I saw all that stock loss and losing $11 billion in a day, I thought, oh, so better switch to some other platform, but I will not boost so I won't be an idiot. And and we will check out your agency. So thanks so much for coming on, man.
[00:26:54] Thank you. Thank you so much for having me, Tom.
[00:26:56] Okay. All right, everybody. We will catch you on the next episode. See you later.