Giving Away Our Facebook Ads Course [Part 2]

Last Updated April 26, 2021

This post is part of an ongoing experiment we're documenting. If you haven't seen it yet, check out part 1!

Just over a month ago, our team made the decision to completely un-gate our Facebook Ads course, "Traction & Scale". The migration of the course content, all 20 modules, took longer than expected but it was worth the wait!

Bringing the course content live

First, let's talk a little about the content presentation.

We published the entire course using customized templates over the HubSpot COS ("content optimization system"). It's HubSpot's version of a CMS that ties into the rest of our marketing stack. 

You might recall that one of our goals in this experiment was to increase organic traffic through search, so we took the time to:

  • Transcribe each video using Rev
  • Embed the video module using YouTube
  • Break up text and add visuals throughout the transcript to increase "scannability"
module with visuals 

It's too early to measure any kind of SEO impact, but we know there's more work to be done on this front:

SEO Focused To-Dos

  • Create a sub-navigation for the course for the sidebar
  • Create stronger internal links from blog content to reference specific video modules
  • New sitemap created and submitted to Google Search Console
  • Drive more "deep-linked" traffic from Facebook and LinkedIn to create strong UX engagement signals

Promoting the course (while having some fun)

We decided the best way to start promoting the course was to get the word out with a video.

To build on the #ScrewTheGuru basis of our campaign, we ran with the theme that not everything is the way it seems...

Here is the ad:

Screen Shot 2018-10-30 at 10.11.03 AM

Here's the actual video: 

 We deployed a light promotion on Facebook and YouTube.

The main goal here is a brand awareness play, so our targeting was heavily focused on reaching cold (new) audiences.

For Facebook, our audiences were divvied up into four main segments within the United States and Canada:

  1. eCommerce store owners
  2. Startup founders
  3. Inbound marketing interests
  4. General FB ad interests

Early Results on Facebook

At the time of this writing, we're 4 days into promoting the video on Facebook. We've spent $277 on a video view objective and have accumulated just shy of 25,000 views. (Actual views are over 50k but we're ignoring the 3 second views. More on this later).

Total unique reach across all of the audiences is 49,250.

FB video views

At this stage in campaign, about 40% of the views are from organic shares (we expect that percentage to rise sharply after the initial paid promotion finishes).

Anyone who has run video ads on Facebook in the past has probably been disappointed by the video watch percentages. It's hard to maintain attention in the newsfeed!

Two things worked in our favor here: one is that Facebook now allows you to optimize for "thru plays", which are complete views, and the other...well, people were just curious to see if I (Josh) could finish the bottle of "bourbon".

thru plays

Our cost for a ThruPlay (at least 15 secs) of the 60 second video is only $0.02 on average! This is an INCREDIBLE value, especially for reaching a cold audience.

The longer play here is to retarget the users who engaged significantly with the video content to bring them deeper into the funnel.

custom audience

We'll start retargeting the custom audience above with a sequence this week (the week after the initial launch). 

Early Results on YouTube

Let's take a look at YouTube. 

For YouTube we decided to target those engaging with Facebook "how to" videos along with users who engage with videos from...well...gurus (not going to name and names :).

YT results

The biggest difference between Facebook and YouTube at this point? The organic/"earned" views on our content. 

We think the biggest reason for the disparity of organic reach between the two platforms is that our YouTube campaign is interruptive (via in-stream ad placement), while the Facebook placements are inherently more social and allow for additional reach through commenting, sharing and reactions in the newsfeed.

From an engagement standpoint, we're pleased with YouTube at a 21.5% completion rate and 45% watching at least 15 seconds of the video.

Early Results on LinkedIn

We'll keep this section brief because the video has only been live on LinkedIn for under 24 hours and it has not been promoted at all.

That said, it's one of the most promising channels thus far when it comes to direct lead generation (not the primary KPI we're going for right now).

I decided to post this from my profile, assuming that my immediate network would be more apt to engage in conversation (and help us out with a few shares :) and jumpstart the LinkedIn algorithm.


This is a good start, considering my modest LinkedIn network and 100% organic sharing.

The unexpected bonus is that this has already produced one lead and one sales opportunity inside of 24 hours!

Getting Conversational

Yes, the course is un-gated, but that doesn't mean we aren't aiming to get folks to venture deeper into our funnel!

You may have already noticed on this post that we're using Drift for our site chat.

We still have a lot of work to do here. But the overall strategy is to send targeted messages to visitors engaging with the course.

Just to get SOMETHING ready for the launch, we triggered the following message after 5 seconds to anyone engaging with the course content:

drift playbook

This has produced zero opt-ins. Nada. Goose egg!

On one hand, we haven't started driving loads of traffic to the course content. On the other, this offer and CTA for "updates" kind of sucks.

We have a few ideas up our sleeves for how to generate opt-ins...but those will come in the next update :)

Follow This Experiment

We'll update you with the results and key takeaways


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