Friday Jun 03, 2022

My Facebook ad account was banned! (and how it happened)EP-030

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Greg Marshall  0:00  

Blake Beus  0:01  
you're gonna start off.

Greg Marshall  0:02  
Let's do this three times get moving. So we were talking right before we started and we had a, we had a situation. What was this two years ago? Or is it three years? Yeah, I can't remember.

Blake Beus  0:14  
I do remember it was January 2020. Because it like kicked off the year. From Hell yes. For me, my business and millions and billions of other people, but it's what started 2020 For me,

Greg Marshall  0:33  
we shouldn't know.

Blake Beus  0:34  
We shouldn't know. It was a bad. Yeah,

Greg Marshall  0:37  
something was gonna throw

Blake Beus  0:38  
in the towel move out in the middle of nowhere for two years, and then finally come back to it and start over.

Greg Marshall  0:44  
Well, basically, what happened was, Blake and I have been running ads successfully for the whole year. 2019. Yeah,

Blake Beus  0:52  
well, actually, we started in May of 2019. Yeah. And we started so this was only from May to December. That's right. And,

Greg Marshall  1:01  
yeah, but we were having a good amount of success with our ads. They were pretty consistent. There were some times I'm up and down, of course, like, like, there always is with Facebook. But there was a particular time that we still refer to now. Yeah, that was like, I still remember. Because wasn't it? If it wasn't New Year's Eve, it was

Blake Beus  1:24  
around that time, it was New Year's Eve. New Year's Eve was the biggest single revenue day. I remember the specific numbers because we texted each other right after New Year, like the date. Oh, no, it was might have been right after midnight. Because I think,

Greg Marshall  1:42  
yeah, we I know for a fact we have both been drinking some champagne. Together. But at some point, because i That's why I think it wasn't a year, it was the

Blake Beus  1:51  
first day we were we were $5 Short of hitting us $5,000 in a single day. But here's a kick in sales. This is the kick on one product, this one digital product that spend a fortune that no worries, what was our ad spend 1500 bucks, I'd have to go back it was.

Greg Marshall  2:11  
I don't think we hit that for that day. I don't think we hit even maybe it came in higher than 1000.

Blake Beus  2:18  
Yeah, it was I mean, it gets a gap was I remember one day, I was like, wow, this is it was a huge thing. The return

Greg Marshall  2:24  
was was a mess. You know, we should go back and take a look. It might have been under $1,000. Because I remember the return on asthma was unbelievable, unreal, binary. I didn't actually believe it. I actually I remember reaching out to them saying like, Did you do a bunch of test purchases or something like because the revenue was really high. And then the infamous and I'm sure this half a lot of you guys out there especially ones that are getting great results. Yeah, our Ad Account got what banned, banned. And what?

Blake Beus  3:00  
They gave us the biggest generic reason whatsoever. They said there was my not their words, it was basically fishy activity. Like we've noticed some unusual activity on your account and banned us and then wouldn't unbanned us never. We had the we had to launch a brand new ad account and everything. And, and they banned us that first week. So it was the week of the January the first week of January is, is when we got banned, I got banned and then like got put back in and then banned and then permanently banned. And they said there's nothing you can do. We are never going to put this on ban your accounts, you just need to start a new account. And it was absolutely insane.

Greg Marshall  3:47  
I remember just kind of thinking, what kind of I guess response that was from Facebook saying, because I remember speaking with Blake and actually asking, like, did we put anything that's against Terms of Service in any shape or form because all we were doing was selling the calendar?

Blake Beus  4:07  
It was yeah, it was the I called it the social media content plan. It was just a two year social media calendar ever had with holidays. Delivery was instant. Like it's not like we were selling it and then not giving it to people like on the thank you page. You had a download link and we emailed you a download link in case you put your email in wrong.

Greg Marshall  4:29  
Like here's the odd thing about it, which we still to this day don't know actually what happened. No, we started a new ad account. That account has never been banned. Same product, same product and the product that they banned. We have been promoting for the previous at least together for six to eight months. Yeah. And we for that. You did it for another six months or so. Right?

Blake Beus  4:54  
Well, it was it once I started selling it. It was pretty. It was scaled pretty fast. I remember I launched it the like may 2 of 2019. And I remember that day specifically just because at a call with a friend before, and he's like, why have you launched this yet? I think you're afraid to have success. Yeah, are afraid of failure. And I was like, Okay, fine, I'm gonna put it out there. And I started, I started making sales. And so I knew it was the first week of May. And then in January is when it had been, but in between that time, we had done over $300,000 in sales, which was kind of mind blowing to me. Yeah, on this one product. And it was literally just me. And then I hired Greg to help manage my anxieties, my advertising anxiety, but he would help run the ads. And I brought you in to help I think about a month and a half or two months after I started selling it, because I wasn't sleeping at night. Yeah,

Greg Marshall  5:51  
well, it's because that's, that's a marketers world. You're constantly thinking and you know, you want to make sure everything works out well. And so you get concerned. But think of it we have sold this product without anything getting banned, with the exception of the time that it was absolutely crushing it for us. Yeah. And so we really, what are your thoughts on what really happened because I had this happen to one other client, where his ad account got banned. And it was absolutely crushing it. So what is the incentive you think, for an ad platform to shut you down? And then I'm going to share what I heard on a podcast that would make this make sense. Okay. So my,

Blake Beus  6:44  
I mean, I thought about, like, it was so maddening, because I felt like, we did it, Greg, we cracked the code, all we need to do is like do scaling up keep scaling, I wouldn't even care if we just kept it at 5000 measly dollars. Yeah. Right? Because it was just me, I had a VA helped me with customer support. And you yep, that's great. We'll just keep kind of very profitable. Obviously, it's fantastic, right, like keep overhead low, no need to go nuts. And so I've thought a lot, a lot a lot about it. So one of the changes we made in December, I feel like was something that had triggered this impact. So one of the strategic decisions we made, decided to act on in about November was to basically launched the calendar worldwide got an include holidays from like, the most active top 20 or 30 countries that are active on Facebook, right. So we did some research, I put together holiday lists so that people could pick holidays relevant for their countries. And I didn't do any translations. But I did record a video on how people could translate the calendar very quickly using an add on in Google Sheets in two different languages, so they could adapt it quite easily. But we launched those changes to a worldwide audience. The middle of December, yep. And what we saw was that our cost per purchase dropped dramatically by the last week of December. So our average cost per purchase was around 20 to $30, depending on ad group, and depending on country, and we were targeting at this time we were targeting Australia, United States, Canada, and then a couple of English speaking Europe, European countries, right. So UK and whatever, just nothing too crazy. But when we launched it worldwide, our cost per purchase went down to like $3. And the average order value was like 55 $60. Yep. And our upsell, right. Yeah, we had we had some upsells afterwards or whatever. And my guess is that Facebook algorithm somewhere was like, There's no way they could have that big of an improvement. They must be cheating. We don't know how. But this is impossible. So they're cheating. Banham. Got it. That's the only thing I can come up with, because we didn't change anything else. Yeah,

Greg Marshall  9:12  
I mean, the ACA was said even the ad we use the same ad was the same app

Blake Beus  9:16  
we've been. We've been running that ad for like six months. Yeah. It had it had like 150,000 likes. Oh, yeah.

Greg Marshall  9:25  
Yeah. Who knows how many shares? I mean, this thing was,

Blake Beus  9:30  
how many millions? Yeah, freshmen. It's probably like three and we weren't making like outrageous claims, right? Sometimes you get banned for saying, you know, 10 10x, your investment FS or whatever. It wasn't that it wasn't

Greg Marshall  9:42  
even a money return, like get a return on your investment. None of that. It was literally this is a content calendar. So we're gonna help us on social

Blake Beus  9:50  
media. That's it and we did say in order to get followers you need to post consistently and this calendar helps you post consistently so we kind of connected the dots there. We didn't guarantee your promise followers or anything like that. But that's the only thing I can think of is that it triggered some sort of thing in their algorithm. And then they looked at and they're like, We don't know what these guys are doing, but they're definitely cheating because that's impossible. So and bandas

Greg Marshall  10:14  
here's here's kind of, so I listened to a podcast. One of my favorite podcasts is shout out to the perpetual traffic. It's

Blake Beus  10:21  
a good one. Is it? Is it Molly? Molly's no luck.

Greg Marshall  10:25  
And so it's funny because she ran. She started it, though she did, but now she's the CEO of smart marketer when she still comes on though. Right. But Ralph, and Qassam, okay, so listen to them a whole lot. Here's a funny thing about what you just said. So Qassam is very sensitive to people bringing you up. Because someone left like a really bad review. Other ones like, Who is this hack? Volley was way better? Raise it up brutal. People can be but I really liked their content. I like both. Both the gentlemen Anna Casa brought up a point. And he was I can't remember if he was talking with his business partner or another data guy. But they had mentioned how there's cost of traffic restrictions. Okay, I'm gonna go and meet either. And they had mentioned like, that Google who? So he didn't mention Facebook, but I kind of thought of Facebook as well, that Google has some level of the traffic cannot be below XML. Really? Yes. And so it's, it's some level of cost control, like they wouldn't give give you like Penny clicks, and you know, like $1 conversions, because I would be like, to barely

Blake Beus  11:47  
be losing money at that point, or whatever, you're basically saying that there's no cost control, I would say protecting our profits, right, we can't give, we can't give traffic away that cheap, because we built an infrastructure and to generate this traffic and

Greg Marshall  12:03  
exact Okay, so that's basically saying is there some level, he didn't mention what it is, but that there's some level of a cost control that you can't go below. And that made me think of our scenario with the counters? Is it that the costs became so low that they banned the account, because we have basically figured out how to get traffic really low? Because that would make sense. The other ad account that I was referring to, we were getting free, I mean, for the average order value we're getting, we're getting really low cost at scale. So they're spending about $1,000 A day at our peak, and we were getting cost of purchase that. I want to say they're around 13 or $14 for like a $70 average order value, cold traffic. Really, yeah, call and consistent area at that cost. And then they finally just like shuts down. And so

Blake Beus  13:01  
was that a physical product or digital product? Okay,

Greg Marshall  13:05  
so the question I have, or maybe that's what we ran into? Maybe that's like the answer to what happened is maybe the cost control, maybe we got it to be too low. Yeah. And so that's what ended up getting us banned. And maybe there is some kind of internal, like, the traffic must cost this. Yeah, no matter what. Or we can't sell it.

Blake Beus  13:29  
Yeah. I mean, looking back. We should have launched worldwide on a different ad account. Yeah. You know, deepest thoughts about that. Yeah. So here's, I ran into the same problem, probably because we, because it was such a huge, we had we had built all of this good data on the account and based on these countries, right, United States, Canada, Australia, UK, that those countries, even though there's a lot of differences, there's a lot of similarities. Probably in the social media world, between the country, those countries and the data you're getting from those countries, right? And when you go worldwide, it's it's so much more diverse. And it was I mean, literally, we were just saying anywhere in the world, like our ad ad targeting was anywhere in the world. For people that are interested in social media, like I think that was it, it was so broad. I mean, our audience size was like 50 million or something like that. I think it was even bigger. It was a bear that I was hundreds of millions, like it was huge. But our cost per traffic. I mean, one of the main reasons we dropped the cost per acquisition so low is our CPMs. Yeah, our CPMs went from I don't know the exact numbers, but it was probably like $20

Greg Marshall  14:48  
in the US. It was we were averaging 26 CPM, okay, on a high day before,

Blake Beus  14:55  
okay, but then we went worldwide, the CPMs went down to like a buck. Yeah. And so you're probably right, because that's I mean, that's the metric that they use to determine how much we need to pay Facebook. Right? That's, that's the key metric that they use to determine how much we pay. And so far CPMs go from 20 to 40, down to $1. I'm sure they're like, what's going on? What's going on here? And have we launched that on a separate ad account and built new data surrounding that? Right, because I would have been more stable and our our, our CPMs, probably wouldn't have been a buck. But they probably would have been two or three, which is still great. Yep.

Greg Marshall  15:43  
So that's actually a great point. And maybe that's where we can receive some closure and peace of mind. To know that, because of that, big CPM drop, maybe that's the cause of and the other thing, so here's a higher level question. So my guess is that's probably what happened. So because I know de peche talks about having separating ad accounts, based on not just like, like tier one and tier two coaches. Right, right. He talks about that. I can't remember where but I know him saying that. This year, I remember thinking like, why would I do that? Why don't I just keep it all on account. But now that makes sense. Yeah. The other thing? What's the incentive for? Like, if, let's say, for example, you figure out how to get really low cost per purchases, and you'd like really getting great results. What's the incentive for an app platform to essentially penalize you for that? What's, why would they want to do that? I guess, is my question. Yeah, I'm like, like you're almost to success.

Blake Beus  16:54  
So this is something that's mystifying to a lot of people until you really start to think think about it. So here's, here's how I view it. Let's talk about Facebook, specifically, because this was a Facebook issue, most of our ad spend was going into Facebook, we did have some traffic, some ads in Google, but most of it was going into Facebook. I'm if I'm getting traffic so cheap. I'm stealing eyeballs, from other advertisers that aren't able to get get it that cheap. Therefore, if I'm getting CPMs for a buck, but everybody else is paying two or three. Facebook is basically could could two or 3x, their return on their investment by banning my account and giving the traffic to other advertisers? Right. And so at the end of the day, even at $1,000 a day, from a Facebook standpoint, that's peanuts. Yeah. Like that's the crumbs on the floor. They don't even care about my ad spend. Yep. They care about well, we're giving this guy $1 CPMs. Everybody else is paying us three or four? Yeah, why wouldn't we just 3x that and then ban this account? And give them some vague reason? Because we don't care? Yep. And we take them out a lot. Yeah, make them realize, when we re launched, we never could replicate those results. Yep. Like, it was almost like they had tagged us saying, don't don't give these guys because even if you realize your ad account is tied to my Facebook account. So even if I have a new ad account, they're like, well, this guy's relaunching the same thing. It's the same ad, whatever, don't give him the same results, whatever. Right? And I don't know

Greg Marshall  18:30  
what's interesting about what you're saying is this one other client that we like, really get down to, it's the same thing, it's almost like, our CPMs have not been able to even come close to even like, there's even other ad accounts that have the low, much lower CPMs. And this one, no matter what we do with it. So it's like, it's almost like you are tagged

Blake Beus  18:56  
somehow. It's, it's gotta be and whether that's an intentional thing or an unintentional thing. Who knows? Who knows? But the fact of the matter is, is algorithmically, it's not too terribly hard to say, well, this person has had an ad account banned. Yep. So that's part of the algorithm on who I get the CCF. Yep. And, and we were never able to replicate that plus and then and then 2020 20 Hit like people's buying behaviors changed. Yep. Big time. Yep. Right. People started staying home. Initially, we saw a little bit of a bump. Yeah, back in February, March, we saw a bump in sales. Because a lot of people are working from home and we're thinking, well, I need a social media presence. They kind of realized a few things. And so we bought saw a bit of a bump, but by May June, like when things were really getting locked down and a lot of countries especially when we say worldwide control, right, like in America, things were still whatever but in other countries around the world, there was like hard lock downs, and people were were struggling financially and buying a social media calendar was not top They're lists. And if you remember, it was hard to get in many countries is hard to get food. Yep, in America here was hard to get toilet paper out, because that makes sense. I don't understand. Right, like, and it just wasn't on people's minds. And so. So that was, you know, the domino effect. And we ended up shifting the business model and kind of turning it into what we have now, which is SM three, which is a subscription where people can get help over time and be part of a community to help with things. But

Greg Marshall  20:29  
but interesting, right? I mean, yeah, like, in fact, going through this story, I just realized, I have three clients like that, oh, really is another client, but we have gotten her to bounce back. But I think the reason is because we're implementing Facebook wants, you know, on on app purchases, because we're using that that's where I think we're getting on app purchases.

Blake Beus  20:55  
So you're actually listing the product inside of Facebook, and you're selling it inside of Facebook. Is it a physical product? Again? Is it a physical product,

Greg Marshall  21:04  
and they're the big push is Shopify stores, Facebook sends out $3,000 Free ads, man, with the caveat, it has to be on app purchase. So my guess is Facebook is in heavy development right now. How to bypass ever forever, any other platforms, Apple or some computer, whatever, banning them from being able to optimize for purchases. So right, my guess is Facebook has probably got this dialed in, and getting closer and closer that probably by next year, we'll see more like, Hey, you can get really low cost for purchases. Yeah, if you just do everything,

Blake Beus  21:43  
I think they want to be a fully fledged e commerce platform, in addition to social media. Yep. And you can see that in Instagram, which is owned by Facebook and Instagram products. And that was only to a limited group of people for a long time. But in the last six to eight months, yep. Basically, anybody can can launch and make Instagram, your, your ecommerce platform. And it's interesting, they're going that way. Me personally, I really struggled with it, because we got banned. Yeah, if my whole store and my whole revenue model depends on Facebook, and then they ban you and give you well, you violated some terms and conditions, without any recourse on how to how to get that back. That's a pretty brittle business model.

Greg Marshall  22:27  
And fully a business. No, it's channel, it's a channel channel.

Blake Beus  22:33  
It's a channel and the same thing with like, Amazon's been doing this for a long time with E commerce. There's there's people that have, you've probably seen the courses too if you're if you're on Facebook, like hey, sorry, Amazon FBA says door right, like do this. You can, it's easy, they'll even hold the products for you. But that whole supply chain was basically owned by Amazon, you could hold the products in an Amazon warehouse, listed on Amazon, sell it on Amazon. But that whole model is pretty brittle, brittle. Because if Amazon ends up not liking you, yep, we'll see you later. Or Amazon chooses to take your product and say, well, that's a great product, we're gonna make an Amazon Basics version of that, and then sell it for

Greg Marshall  23:11  
less he did, and that how pay us your money for their market research, their market

Blake Beus  23:16  
research and everything. And so that's a brutal position. So if you do something like that, realize this is a house of cards. Yeah. And it's an OK way to get started to maybe get some capital to kind of expand into other channels. But one of the things I've started to see is that even though Facebook and Amazon are kind of trying to scoop up as much as the era commerce market, since we're talking about, you know, physical products, I've seen a lot more businesses say we need our own channel. Yeah, we need our own email list. And we need to own this whole process ourself. And I've seen consumers too, especially those consumers that are a little bit more progressive, a little bit more tech savvy or whatever, actively trying to buy from a company's store site instead of on Amazon, even if they're lifted listed in both places. I, my boy, he was telling me he turned 16 This week, and he's starting to get into airsoft. So he's been researching airsoft guns, and he saw some on Amazon. And we hopped over to the company's website. And they're like 30%, less on Amazon on their on their own websites than they are on Amazon. And that makes sense because Amazon takes like 30% of your sale. Yep. So

Greg Marshall  24:36  
Well, I think you know, the the future is, you know, I think it's going to shift like always digital marketing is always going to shift but we just wanted to basically share the story. Yeah, I have to tell you that. If you do run into this, don't feel bad.

Blake Beus  24:50  
Don't reach out. Reach out to Greg it happened. He's he's a good therapist. You can lay down on his couch,

Greg Marshall  24:57  
lay down on the couch and we'll discuss how Facebook is deadly wrong. Again, Facebook's Like a bad relationship. Oh, it

Blake Beus  25:04  
is a toxic relationship. But it is worth pointing out, like expanded a diff different channels find a way to make different channels. If we had not been leaning so heavily on just Facebook, if this wouldn't have had as big of an impact, it still would have sucked. But it wouldn't have been as big of an impact. And it's hard. It's hard to do that. Because you're, you're pulled in so many different directions. But start thinking about that start expanding start thinking of ways to, to do it. And yeah, that's well, hopefully

Greg Marshall  25:32  
you guys enjoyed today's story. You know, we'd love to hear from you if you've experienced this yourself, because I know there's plenty of ad Facebook advertisers out there that run into this problem. Oh, absolutely. And we're not the only one. So. But yeah, so Blake, how can people get a hold of

Blake Beus  25:49  
you just go to Blake We already kind of mentioned the SM3 group that Greg's hopped on board with that. But that's the place where you get direct access to me in the community surrounding just social media marketing, including organic marketing tactics and advertising tactics. And there's some courses included and things like that, but keep an eye on that for sure.

Greg Marshall  26:07  
Yeah. And if you want to get in touch with me, Greg You can book a free strategy session. And we'll go from there. Until next time,

Blake Beus  26:14  
I'll catch you guys later. We'll see it


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