- The Marketer's Playbook
- Making Middle Of Funnel Better
Making Middle Of Funnel Better
It's MOFU, But Glowed Up.
I've been spending some time lately thinking about how I'm building my Middle-Of-Funnel (MOFU, moving forward) campaigns. I feel like I've always kind of had the same structure that I lean on for more conversion-focused accounts, and it doesn't really 'hit' the way that I want it to.
Depending on the account, this might be consolidated or split out, or the look-back windows might be longer, but this is what I usually build:
IG Engagers - Last 30-days
FB Engagers - Last 30-days
Website Visitors - Last 30-days
Excluding all View Content, Add To Cart, Initiate Checkout, and Purchases - Last 30-days, just to keep it clean and overlap between the next stage of the funnel low
That structure is probably fine - As far as I know, most other people build their MOFU similarly. That said, I've been thinking about I can expand upon this. Is there something that I'm missing that might help me better maximize performance here? The answer: I think so.
Pause: Before we move further, I should note that while I am using Meta Ads Manager as the reference point of this story, the real thinking here is around marketing funnels in general. The mechanics of how I am explaining this is around the functionality available to us for building audiences in Meta Ads Manager, however this line of think can/should be applied when building funnels across all platforms. For that reason, I think even those outside of the Meta Ads Manager world can benefit from this.
Typically, I build my MOFU social engager lists using the standard Custom Audience option of 'Everyone who engaged with this professional account'. Using this option essentially grabs every single action that could be considered an engagement with an ad - note the actions considered 'engagements' in the screenshot below. Interestingly, there is an action missing from here that is still included in this audience - video viewers with a duration of at least 3 seconds. Okay, so they are including even more people than listed, that sounds like a positive thing, so why not use this?
The problem that I am beginning to see here lies within our constant desire to optimize for Thumbstop. Yes, the reason I've been rethinking how I build my MOFU audiences is because of a mechanism used to build better creative.
THE GOLDEN THUMBSTOP RATIO
Thumbstop, for those who haven't heard of this before, is a metric that measures how effective a piece of creative is at getting someone to stop scrolling on their feed when served an impression. Put in other words, how eye-catching is it? Did it make someone stop scrolling with the their? (get it?). You can build it in your own Meta Ads Manager dashboard now to start monitoring this now with the following formula:
Impressions / 3-second video views
Worth keeping in mind here is that the lower your Thumbstop is, the better. Anyway, where were we? Right - engagement audiences.
After thinking about this a bit more, I have started to see the problem with building my MOFU audiences using this first option. The reason for that is that as I work to improve my Thumbstop, the amount of 'engagers' gets closer and closer to the number of impressions served. In this way, the audience becomes more and more unlikely to be a meaningful engager.
In other words, the audience is getting bigger, because leveraging better hooks in the ads is getting more people to self qualify themselves as 'engagers'. However, it doesn't necessarily mean that this larger audience is also of higher-purchase intent than before.
You're probably thinking: "What's wrong with making your retargeting audiences bigger?"
Well, there isn't anything inherently wrong with that, so long as the audience is actually valuable. For example, targeting Website Visitors is only valuable if your viewers have a reasonable Time-On-Site, as opposed to bots who only land long enough for the pixel to fire then leave. In the latter example, your money will be quickly burned running retargeting campaigns to this audience. A retargeting audience is only valuable if there is value in the audience you are retargeting. Sounds obvious, right?
Hypothetically, if you can perfectly maximize your Thumbstop Ratio to a rate of 1:1, then using this engagement list for retargeting is the equivalent of adding all prospecting impressions to your MOFU campaign.
So, what can we do about the problem? Well, I'm glad you asked. Thankfully, I thought about this, too.
Instead of creating my social engager audiences using the first option of 'Everyone who engaged with this professional account', I am hypothesizing that it might be more efficient to break that audience down a bit more.
Getting more granular might be the path to success here. What does that look like, exactly? I'm currently imagining something like this, but as usual this is likely to change over time:
FB: 'People who currently like or follow your page'
IG: 'Anyone who visited this professional account's profile'
50% or 75% Video Viewers (built from your active prospecting ads)
The first two additions are to address the problem noted above by removing the inclusion of video views. These two audiences will include anyone who has visited or followed either or your social pages, which is a higher-intent action than just a like on a post.
The last addition is the interesting one. This is the solution to the problem. Instead of including all video viewers, we can control which video viewers we want to include. 50% video viewers will have a larger but less qualified audience than the 75% video viewer audience, however both will address the problem by weeding out the 3-second video viewers (assuming your ads are more than 6-seconds long total).
Unfortunately, none of these options directly include those who commented, liked, shared, etc., however most people who comment are at least 50% video viewers, so it's likely there is plenty of overlap there. If we want to expand the above to include a few stragglers, we can add the following:
FB: 'Anyone who visited your page'
FB: 'People who sent a message to your page'
IG: 'Anyone who visited this professional account's profile'
IG: 'People who sent a message to this professional account'
THAT'S ALL SHE WROTE
As usual, this is a thought experiment and there is no guarantee that any one structure will work on every account for every brand. Regardless of how this MOFU revision pans out in terms of performance for your account, the fundamentals here are what's most important - understand your marketing funnels, understand the tools you have available to build within those, and understand the mechanisms that determine your ability to reach people within their respective stage of the funnel.
When you arm yourself with a deep understanding of your concepts and platforms, the easier it is for you to pivot to address issues and strategize new campaigns.