EP114 – Unraveling the Evolution of Paid Media with Byron Marr – Part 2

Author Sarah Hailwood 23 min read time

Welcome back to the second part of our podcast miniseries with guest Byron Marr where we delve deeper into the ever-evolving world of Paid Media. In our first installment, we discussed how setting up campaigns has become easier, but achieving high-performance results has become more challenging. 

In this exciting episode, Byron offers valuable insights into the evolving landscape of Paid Media and provides actionable recommendations for those managing Paid Media campaigns. Tune in as he shares tips on maximizing campaign performance, navigating plateaus, and scaling for success.

If you missed part one, make sure to catch up before we get started.

Subscribe links:

Evolving Landscape of Paid Media: Navigating the User Journey and Scaling Success

Over the past few years, Paid Media has undergone significant advancements and become an essential tool for businesses to effectively connect with and captivate their desired audiences. However, the landscape of Paid Media is constantly developing, and businesses need to continuously adapt to stay ahead of the game.

A notable change is the growing importance of understanding the user journey beyond the initial click on an ad. In the past, marketers may have considered their job done once they successfully drove traffic to a landing page or website. But now, that’s just the beginning of the story. What happens after the click is just as crucial, if not more so, in ensuring a campaign’s success.

To truly capitalise on Paid Media campaigns, marketers must have a clear understanding of what happens after a user clicks on an ad. This involves tracking user behavior, analysing their interactions, and identifying potential pain points or barriers to conversion. By gaining insight into the user journey, marketers can optimize the entire conversion process, creating a seamless and engaging experience that leads to higher conversion rates.

Another significant change in the world of Paid Media is how marketers view campaign plateaus. In the past, a plateau might have been seen as a sign of failure or stagnation. However, experienced marketers now recognize plateaus as signs of a well-oiled machine that has achieved a certain level of efficiency and success and an opportunity to explore new markets, test new audiences, or expand into new territories. Scaling a successful campaign to reach a broader audience can lead to significant growth and increased revenue.

The world of Paid Media has evolved, and marketers must adapt their strategies to navigate this ever-changing landscape successfully. Understanding the user journey beyond the initial click and optimizing the conversion process are now vital components of a winning strategy.

Don’t let your Paid Media campaigns plateau or miss out on potential growth opportunities. Contact Overdrive Digital today to supercharge your performance marketing strategy.


Jon: Hello and welcome back to the Marketing Freaks Podcast. In this week’s episode, we are on part two of our mini series with special guest Byron Marr. We’re gonna be talking about generally what’s going on in the world of Paid Media, what’s good, what’s bad, and some of the key recommendations for making the most out of the bigger platforms. If you haven’t listened to part one, go and do that. Now. We’re on all the obvious usual podcast places like Spotify, Apple Podcasts, anywhere you listen to podcasts, we will be there. So do subscribe, listen to part one and let’s get started with part two. Welcome back to part two.

Byron: Thanks for having me

Jon: You are more than welcome. So in part one, we were talking a little bit about how Paid Media’s changed over the last couple of years, four, five years, you know, since you’ve been doing it. Talking quite a bit about automation. This episode we’re gonna talk about kind of, I guess what’s working, what the current challenges are for people, like the tangible stuff, the outlook for the rest of the year, all of those kinds of things. So I’m looking forward to digging into that. Yeah, let’s go for it. We’ll get the crystal ball out and make some predictions. But I guess first off, how do you feel about the current state of Paid Media or where Paid Media’s at? Because with all of those changes we’re talking about in part one, which if you haven’t listened to, you should definitely listen to. But with all those changes we’re losing visibility on stuff on data, the granular levers of control have gone or in some degree, have gone. Some of that I think is positive, some of it’s negative. What’s your take? Like, do you think we’re in a good place with Paid Media as it stands?

Byron:Yeah, I think so. Everything’s become more commercially focused and I think whilst challenging stuff like attribution dropping out and those kind of things happening, it kind of creates the opportunity for new conversations, new ways of doing things, and it kind of steers people back. It almost goes full circle with the more automation and machine learning that’s come in, it almost forces you to have those broader business conversations of, “let’s take a more holistic view of what are we spending”, “what are we returning over the month as a business?” Yeah. Overall.

Jon: Yes.

Byron: As opposed to kind of looking into the granularity of “Well GA says this”, so that’s the P&L. You have to take a much more broader scope on it now.

Jon: I actually think that’s a really positive side effect of these changes is that you can no longer just go and look at the ROAS in Google ads or Facebook ads and that’s what you’re looking at. You have to look at, well how is that actually impacting my growth? Like, is the chart going up? If not, why not? What’s the P&L view? Like you said, like total marketing spend, total revenue, how does that look? Is that improving? Is that profitable? If you cannot just look at the platforms anymore. You have to take a bigger business view and that’s definitely not a bad thing.

Byron: No, for sure. I think it actually the Profit & Loss view’s your real source of truth view on stuff and I think there’s been a lot of different channels with different formats of various things. Like Facebook remarketing was a great example. Klaviyo pop ups, anything that comes in and is like a more of an acquisition driver. It’s more of an attribution taker in the customer journey, if that makes sense, you know? Yeah. So like you’ve got your paid campaigns on, you’ve got search coming to the website, popup comes up, drops a cookie that’s now taking full credit for the sale that happened and paid is taking full credit for the sale that happened. And potentially Facebook’s taking credit for the one sale that’s happened. Yeah. So you’ve then got that over reporting of three sales and one actual sale. And I think having that broader Profit & Loss view enables you to look at something from like that, that helicopter perspective to go, you know, there’s an extraordinary claim over here that this is 10 x revenue overnight by implementing this is the actual business seeing that, because it’s not about perfection, but you will see the line go up if that’s genuinely happened, yes.
You would be seeing the line go up and the business would be going, what have you done? Because we are really busy and it’s great. So yeah, I think being slightly more that way minded is helpful anyway because it sort of reduces silos of different channels and it brings things to that holistic perspective to go, yeah, is the business actually growing or is it not? Yeah. Also brings with it the challenges that you’re gonna have to have different conversations with that in mind and, you know, your point of contact, your team might not be used to having those types of conversations. So you’ve got that challenge that there’s an education piece to happen alongside the change, if that makes sense.

Jon: Yeah. Big time. We were talking about it before, weren’t we about, it’s not just a platform series of changes. It’s like the mindset has to shift with it, otherwise you get totally left behind and just not working with it. That’s not a good thing. So I think we’re both in agreement that actually it’s, we’re in a positive place with it all for sure. Yeah. but where are people getting stuck? Like what, what do you see as the most common challenges when you’re talking to brands or clients? Or just people in general?

Byron: Yeah, so I think the biggest challenge that I still see in paid is what happens post click. So it’s not so much the campaigns themselves. I don’t think it ever has been to some extent either. You know, targeting and copying stuff is obviously an important factor, but generally speaking that’s not the, the bigger lever to pull. It’s what happens when they get to the website. Is the page relevant? Is the copy clear? Is the proposition clear? What’s the pricing? You know, like what objections do people have when they come to this website from the campaign than also more broadly in general to the business. Yeah. And one of the things which I find is like a really useful exercise for all businesses to go through is to put like Hot Jar Microsoft Clarity on the site and start to try and ask the data some of those questions to go, you know, people have come to the site, we know the targeting’s relevant in the campaign, so let’s take like searches as a great example.
Someone’s actively searching for the product. You’ve captured that person’s click, they’re coming through to your website. They are qualified to at least some degree to buy the product or service that you’re offering on the site. Yep. However, they are gonna have buying objections, hesitations, doubts, et cetera. Then what? You know, so like do you know what they are and if not, how can you capture that data to find out what they are? How can you present that stuff so that if someone has a hesitation when the page loads typical stuff, you know, when am I gonna get it? Is it trusted? What we don’t like it? If I wanna send it back? Is that stuff clear on the page? Because if it’s not, people will just bounce and they’ll go to different supplier. And what you tend to find then is, you know, you can be looking under the Paid Media lamp post to some extent for the solution to why performance isn’t working, but actually the answer’s over here quite a lot of the time. Yeah. And again, that is a different way of thinking and a different type of experience that you’d need to have to do that. So I think people come across that problem a lot because actually creating campaigns now has never been easier, but getting performance has got a lot harder. Yeah.

Jon: Big time. Yeah, absolutely agree with that. I think we see a lot of challenges or people getting stuck with things like just not understanding how the data imports work or how, what data you really need to get a campaign working and running properly or how to optimize the shopping feed properly or those types of things that get left behind a little bit. Because people still are just focused on the individual campaigns or the platform tactics. And I think understanding the full spectrum of stuff that you need to get right in order to have success is actually quite, it’s pretty challenging.

Jon: It’s not an easy task.

Byron: No. And I think one of the other interesting things that’s happened with machine learning and automation is that a lot of historic ways of thinking about even just simple stuff like metrics has changed. So the way you think needs to change as well as what you think. So to give you an example, you know, five, six years ago you’d reason by analogy that the more impressions we get, the more clicks we’ll get, the more clicks we’ll get, the more sales we’ll get. Yeah. So you then find yourself optimizing to get the most possible impressions in a campaign, which now when you enable a smart bidding strategy, the bidding strategy is trying to go, what’s the fewest amount of clicks I can get? Because every time we pay for a click, we’re incurring cost. So I only want to bid on the people that have the highest chance of buy-in. Yep. So you see some inverse in the metrics sometimes where, you know, you start to write up these types of campaigns and you go, well, you know, clicks, impressions went down, but actually sales went up cause the conversion rate increased. And that kind of defies our common sense about how campaigns should perform

Jon: More. There. Then more there. Then more there, then more there. And it’s not the same, is it?

Byron: No, it’s not at all. You know, like same with average CPC historically you think, right, well if we can get click costs down, then cost per acquisition will come down and ROAS will increase. Yeah. But you might see the same thing now where you get a higher cpc, but if it’s offset by a higher conversion rate, it’s irrelevant. What matters is the sales and the cost per acquisition at the end of it.

Jon: So yeah, definitely. I think there’s a big challenge there around very carefully considering your objectives. And what I mean by that is it’s very easy to have conflicting objectives that on the surface make total sense. I’d like to get more sales, which means more revenue. Yep. So I’m gonna target that on ROAS or CPA, but I’d also like to get more traffic than I did have last year. And I’d like to get more people just engaging with the site and more eyeballs on the brand. And actually exactly what you said there, and I think this has been the case with meta for quite a long time actually and is now a big part of Google Ads, is that if you are targeting ROAS, let’s call it ROAS or you know, sales, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re gonna get more traffic. No. And you would set a campaign up and optimize a campaign in a completely different way if you wanted more traffic and often more sales means more expensive traffic because you’re being more focused on the traffic that is more likely to buy. So you pay a premium for that and they conflict. And it’s weird because more should mean more, but it doesn’t always mean more. Yeah.

Byron: That’s the thing, like it defies our idea of what common sense was in Paid like 7/10 years ago because it doesn’t fit into that classic linear way of thinking. And that’s difficult, because sometimes it does though as well. There are times where you increase the budget, the impressions and the clicks go up and the sales go up.

Jon: But it’s not always the same.

Byron: Yeah. So I think in those instances as well, it’s why you need to have the ability to have those more strategic conversations to say, okay, if you do want more engagement or more traffic to the website, like what’s the highest purpose of that? Like what is that extra traffic from last year for? Yeah. Because we want more people to come and see our products. What’s the highest purpose of people coming to see more of your products because we need to get more sales because we need to get more revenue. You can almost always distill it back into the same outputs that the campaign is trying to optimize for in terms of sales and revenue. But again, to have that conversation and to bring that, you know, constructive challenge to a business is not always the easiest thing to do.

Jon: No it’s not. But you, it’s a really important point and we do see a lot of people getting stuck just on that bit alone. So in terms of what you see working, what would your, like two, three, you can pick the number, what would your biggest recommendations be for someone running either paid social or paid search this year? Like what would you say like right here are the biggest things you’d recommend.

Byron: Try as much as possible to start with audiences that have some degree of intent to purchase. Yeah. sounds obvious on the face of it, but it’s not always the case. There’s so many options of audiences, campaign formats, channels to run that sometimes you can want to just, let’s try everything and then see what works afterwards. Yeah, yeah. Pick your battles. Yeah. You know, like start with, what are the product searches? Are they being captured? Is that converting? Because if that’s not converting an interested audience on Facebook, you’re probably gonna struggle even harder because you don’t even have that qualification level on the user. So I think you’ve gotta start where, where you’ve got some degree of qualification that will enable you to troubleshoot website experience and just find out, you know, if, if I’ve got qualified customers coming to the site and they’re not buying, can we solve those problems first and then build out and expand afterwards?
The other thing that I think is useful at the moment as well is to not get too focused on trying to push for like, so let’s say you’ve got an account, whether it’s meta or Google in your core market. You will naturally get to a plateau of performance where revenue return is stable and you’re struggling to scale it. And I think at that point, my personal approach then is to go, how do we start setting up again next to it? How do we go to a new territory? How do we add a new product into the mix? What are people looking for that’s associated and try and build next to it and just ring fence that performance and protect it. Because sometimes fighting so hard to get like an extra 5% on something that’s already working when it’s reached that plateau, you can burn a lot of spending testing when actually getting set up in a different market can bring a lot of new revenue into the business. And yeah. Grow that way.

Jon: That’s really about knowing when to not hold or fold, but this is where experience kicks in, isn’t it? Because you’ll know when you’ve hit that ceiling and you need to do something else. But also it’s really bad if you haven’t hit that ceiling and you are getting, you’ve got something that’s working, you’re not maximizing it. Maximizing it and then you’re branching out beforehand. That’s not ideal. You’re not being efficient either. So knowing when that point kicks in and being able to recognize that is a big skill.

Byron: Yeah, for sure. And I think it’s that thing, again, it goes back to strategy. It’s the difference between having a plan and having a strategy. Like being able to say we could do this here and we could fight for that extra 5% and we’re aware that we could do that or we could go and do this. And they’re both opportunities and they’re both potentially problems to not take at the same time. But what’s the better problem to have? Do you wanna spend a load of time, resource, focus, ad spend, whatever it might be on trying to get that 5% or is it more valuable to the business to try and get established in a new market like us, Australia, Ireland, wherever it might be. Yeah. and the answer varies and that’s for, obviously that’s the discussion to have, but you can’t see there’s not a right or wrong thing to do. It’s that approach of like, I know there’s five more percent here, but it’s gonna take however long of time, months, energy and ad spend to try and get that extra 5%. When actually we could build to 60 over here. Yeah. Based on, based on what we’ve already learned here as well. Yeah. So yeah,

Jon: But it’s just so nuanced isn’t it? And just plays into that point. No ad account is ever the same and you have to really learn and test and experiment to find out what’s gonna work on each individual account. It’s just always different. So how do you see the rest of the year playing out? Like what do you think Q4 is going to be like this year because there’s not really been a quote unquote normal year for a while. Like covid then e-commerce went crazy. Cost of living, there’s just loads of stuff isn’t there always going on to say, what do you think, what’s your prediction for Q4 this year?

Byron:  Genuinely as unhelpful as this is an answer, I literally dunno what to expect. I think based on what I have seen the last couple years, Black Friday, every year seems to be something that declines in terms of performance. You’ll see an uplift. Yeah. But it’s not as mental as it was. You know I think people shop around more. I think people are savvy to big discounts on products and they’re not that concerned anymore. It’s more about what’s the best product to buy? Why would I buy from this business? Like normal purchase objections as opposed to just the cheapest price. So I think as always, every year I think now is the time to start planning what you’re gonna do because you want campaigns at least mapped out by the start of September. Campaigns created to avoid rushes.

But again, you know thinking about like five years ago there was a point where if your Black Friday campaigns weren’t made the week before Black Friday, they wouldn’t get through ad approval. Yeah. And that was always fun. Yeah. I’m not saying that for a long time, but you know, just being prepared I guess and then like being prepared to pivot as well if something’s not working. My approach for peak is always to build big and then cut during peak period. Let’s say it’s Black Friday weekend rather than trying to build new stuff. Because every time something goes into approval you’ve got four to six hours at least to wait and you’re just missing out on opportunity. So I tend to, to make a massive campaign if it’s meta with every possible eventuality that I think might work on it. And then I’m just turning stuff off and just cutting off what’s not working rather than trying to implement new stuff, you know?

Jon: Yeah. I think that scenario planning is really key because I think this year will be lots of different products or sectors will, I think they’re all, it’s gonna be a real variety and mixed bag and being able to adapt really quickly I think is the most important thing. So yeah. Having scenarios for, okay, it’s going better than we thought. How do we scale this and make the most of it is not quite going as well as we thought. What do we do? That I think is big thing because it’s gonna be different, that’s for sure. And like you say, I think Black Friday is not quite as big as it was or it’s more extended. It’s more slightly more drawn out. So the massive spike isn’t quite as pronounced, it’s more of a,

Byron: It’s like a couple of weeks now, isn’t it? More of a…

Jon: Hill.

Byron: Yeah, it’s, it is. And then you see it like more into the start of December I think as well. Just general peak periods. As opposed to before it was like the massive boom and then would just really tail off. It’s more of just a gradual tool sort of shipping time to start for Christmas really, isn’t it? Generally speaking.

Jon: Yeah. I also wonder how many retailers will decide not to do it this year. Because if you look at, obviously there’s the cost of advertising, reduced margins, because if you wanna stand out on Black Friday, your discount has got to be decent, otherwise no one’s gonna bother. So when you take everything like that into account is it worth it? And I think if you’ve got e-comm brands or retailers who are, you know, looking at tighter budgets this year, the margins are already squeezed cuz of increased costs and you know, everything else that’s going on. Will there be more brands not partaking?

Byron: Yeah. Potentially.

Jon: I think over that particular weekend.

Byron: Yeah. I think as well, just to add on top of that, even though it’s enough to deal with on its own, is you are at a place now because of automation where everyone’s gonna be running a Google ads performance max campaign, a catalog campaign in Meta… everyone’s got Shopify, everyone’s got Klaviyo. You’ve got so much comparable tech stack and tactics that the person that’s gonna compete best is the person that understands the customer the most. Yeah. Which has gone full circle back to traditional marketing because that is where you’re going to compete. Because you have all the same tools as everybody else now. You know, those who are gonna win the win the most are gonna be the ones that understand the customer when they come to the site, what they’re buying objections, how do we address them in the best possible way to

Jon: Yeah. You know, and having planned all that and dealt with that all beforehand before,

Byron: Before peak Yeah.,

Jon: Absolutely. But it’ll be interesting and kind of look at the trends this year versus last year and see what’s kind of working. But look, Byron, thank you so much again for popping down for two brilliant chats. I’m sure everyone really enjoyed it. And hope to see you at some sort of event or shindig or something soon.

Byron: Yeah. Hopefully. See you again soon. Thanks for having me down. I really appreciate it. And it’s been great to see you in person again. It’s been a while.

Jon: It’s been too long, It’s been way too long. But yeah, thank you so much. And yeah, really hope everyone who’s listened to these two episodes has enjoyed them. Please do subscribe and we’ll see you next time. Thank you so much for listening. If you enjoyed that episode, please do come and subscribe. Join us for future episodes where we talk about the ins and outs of running Paid Media and driving improved conversions and revenue for your business. See you next time.