Akvile will be speaking on Paid Social at Engage 2020 which will be taking place March 12th and 13th at the Sentinel Hotel in Portland, Oregon. For more information or to purchase tickets, please click here.

1) Please give us your background and let us know what you do for a living.

Hello! I’m Akvile DeFazio, pronounced “ahk-vee-lah”. I am the President of AKvertise, Inc., a social media advertising agency that specializes in Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn Ads. We work with a variety of clients, big and small, ranging from Grammy-nominated artists to innovative companies right here in Portland like Indow Windows, to the on-demand mobile oil changing company based where I live, in the city of Paso Robles on the Central Coast of California.

In summary, my career path was an indirect but eventful one, plentiful in experience, adventure, discovery, trial and error, and hands-on education.

Long story long, prior to launching my agency, I went to school to go premed but later shifted towards becoming a physical therapist. As an immigrant from Lithuania during the Cold War, my family instilled on me that going into medicine would lead to secure and successful work, so I listened and followed that path. Upon graduating and working in the field as a PT aide while applying for graduate school to become fully licensed, I realized that I enjoyed the marketing tasks I dipped my toes into at the PT clinics I worked in much more. Upon realizing this, I left and sought out to obtain an MBA degree instead to get a marketing job. After one year of graduate school, I realized it wasn’t for me because there was only one marketing course during the three-year program and I yearned for more.

I officially got my start with an ecommerce marketing internship at evo, a Seattle based outdoor gear, and apparel company. I greatly enjoyed working there and was incredibly thrilled to have been hired after my internship concluded. Unfortunately, the 2008 recession hit not long after and some cutbacks took place since not many were purchasing new skis that year. I was incredibly grateful to have made the cut but after some time again, my school loans kicked in and I sadly had to leave as I needed to find a different job to help repay them. I then applied for and landed an internship at Trupanion, a pet health insurance company where my paid search experience truly took off. I was hired there and built their PPC campaigns from the ground up. Google, Bing, Yahoo…all of it! It was an exciting time. While there, I attended SMX Advanced with my team. It was my very first conference and it made a big impression on me as it further ignited my interest in online advertising. Later on when I relocated to California, I ended up working remotely for SMX, running their paid search, paid social, and organic social media marketing efforts along with doing advertising operations on Search Engine Land and Marketing Land for three years. Fast forward five years and here we are now, getting pumped to attend and share my knowledge and tactics with others at Engage in an effort to help their businesses and careers grow further using social ads.

2) Many in our audience will be small business owners. What 3 pieces of advice would you give them about Paid Social Advertising so they won’t make expensive mistakes?

1) Befriend the Funnel: The biggest piece of advice would be to familiarize yourself with sales funnels as they relate to social media advertising. Often times, clients we work with want to run conversion goal campaigns. In theory, that makes sense, however, in practice, they are lower-funnel campaigns that cost more than an introductory awareness, engagement, or website traffic campaign would. In addition, algorithms are favorable if your audience better matches where they are in the funnel to the campaign objective you select. One way to look at this is, in a real-world relationship-building scenario, you wouldn’t go up to someone you just met at a networking event and said “Hello, nice to meet you, now give me your wallet”. It takes time and multiple touchpoints before someone will develop trust with you or your business and make a purchase, similarly, how a funnel works.
2) Get a Head Start on Set-Up: Even if you aren’t yet ready to launch advertising campaigns, set up your Facebook Business Manager account and Ads Manager within it. Place the pixel, or the piece of code, on your website so that it can begin tracking what takes place on your website. Once you are ready to advertise, you will be steps ahead and have some data and be able to create custom audiences to target past website visitors within remarketing campaigns.
3) Keep it Seamless and Simple: When launching a campaign, create a strategy so that you are targeting the correct audience, at the right place in the funnel where they reside, and with the correct messaging. This way, your campaign will be more relevant, perform better as it will resonate with your audience, and social channels such as Facebook will reward you with lower click costs. For example, if you are looking to sell water bottles to a group of people who may not be aware of your brand yet, you will want to use a top of funnel campaign objective like awareness. In the ad set, you may want to target people that are interested in water, or hydration, or perhaps are interested in exercise. When creating your ad, put yourself in the target audiences place and compose ad copy that would resonate with them. Utilize imagery that complements the ad copy and use images or better yet, brief videos to show your product being used. If you are showcasing one particular product, make it easy for the person clicking the ad to purchase it and send them directly to that product page, rather than your home page or overall product page and expect them to find it.

3) ROAS on Paid Social isn’t always as clear as it is on Paid Search. Can you quantify why someone might be OK with a lower Paid Social ROAS because of its inherent reach and engagement?

Excellent question. While you can certainly drive leads and sales using social ads, it can be more challenging because people on social channels are there to socialize. They aren’t searching with intent like they are on search engines given the purpose of these platforms, however, don’t let that deter you from testing social ads as people just may not know about you yet and quite possibly, should, depending on who you are targeting and what your goals are.

Facebook and Instagram Ads are terrific introductory points to your target audience. Expanding your reach and increasing engagement on these platforms is currently the least expensive way via ads compared to most other channels and it’s an effective way to get new prospects into your funnel. People may learn about you via social ads, do some of their own research, shopping, and comparing, and come back to you through other channels or through a remarketing campaign right where they started on a social platform via an ad. Paid social is only a piece of the pie, however, it plays an important role in your holistic marketing strategy. Give it a test and see how it performs for your brand and your various goals.

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