5 Marketing Tactics That Helped Facebook Hit 2 Billion Users

Just thirteen years after it began as a side project in Mark Zuckerberg’s Harvard dorm room, Facebook recently announced a major milestone: 2 billion monthly active users.


While it might seem inevitable that the social network that everyone and their grandmom is on would hit these kinds of numbers, there was a lot of hard work going on behind the scenes to get to 2 billion.

Here’s five reasons Facebook pulled it off:

They’re Mad Scientists

According to Andy Johns, Facebook’s former Product Manager of Growth, the company makes heavy use of testing and experimentation. Anyone who uses the site knows they’re always testing out new features, but they also test things like page layout and design, button design and placement, website copy – all with the goal of making it easy for users to sign up, post and share.

By constantly running A/B tests and other conversion optimization tactics, they find out what users respond to and get rid of what doesn’t work, making the process of signing up for and using Facebook as seamless as possible.

They’re Accessible

Being a ubiquitous social network means being available to users anywhere, all the time. How does Facebook do it?

First, they knew that in order to get users around the world using Facebook, it needed to be available in different languages.

But instead of hiring teams of employees to translate the site, Facebook had their engineers build a translation app that allowed users to translate the app themselves.

With the explosion of smartphones and tablets, Facebook’s growth teams knew more and more users were visiting the site on mobile devices, so they designed their websites to be the perfect mobile experience. Did it work? As of May 2017, Facebook reported that mobile ads accounted for 85% of their billions of dollars of ad revenue.

Also, by acquiring mobile-first apps like Instagram and WhatsApp, Facebook gained access to hundreds of millions of smartphone users.

They’re Master Pirates (AARRR!)

Facebook has mastered the art of being a pirate, better known in tech startup circles as AARRR Metrics.

AARRR Metrics was a term popularized by angel investor and former PayPal employee Dave McClure, and no it doesn’t involve wearing an eye patch and walking around with a parrot on your shoulder (unfortunately). AARRR stands for the five metrics any startup should be measuring and constantly improving:

Acquisition – Getting new users to visit your website and sign up.

Activation – Getting new users to start using your product or service.

Retention – Keeping those users engaged and coming back.

Referral – Your users telling other people about your product.

Revenue – Monetizing your users.

Facebook has their AARRR’s down pat. The social network’s ubiquity constantly exposes them to users who don’t have Facebook yet, and their landing page and sign up process is simple (Acquisition).

Once you sign up, you’re encouraged to add/find friends and make posts, which fills your newsfeed up with content and gives you a reason to use the site (Activation), and users who sign up, but don’t start using the site are emailed and encouraged to browse and post.

Oh, and all those emails Facebook sends? They’re also useful for keeping users updated on what their friends are doing on Facebook, plus likes, comments on their posts and other social validation goodies to keep users coming back to the site (Retention).

How’d you find out about Facebook? Was it a TV commercial? A billboard on the highway? Did you get a pamphlet in the mail? If you’re like most people, you found out about Facebook through word of mouth (Referral). Because is designed to make it easy for people to share things and keep in touch with friends and family, it’s not surprising that people who aren’t already on Facebook still get exposed to Facebook posts, at which point they may decide they want to sign up, starting the acquisition part of the cycle all over again.

And, of course, Facebook isn’t giving us all a place to share our internet memes with grandma out of the kindness of their little hearts. They want to make money (Revenue). With all the data being provided through our goofy party photos and long thinkpieces about cats, Facebook has built an ad platform that brings in billions of dollars a year.

Proving, once and for all, that it pays to be a pirate. AARRR!

They Built A Culture That Values Growth

One reason why Facebook’s growth team was able to try all the crazy growth experiments they did was that the company leadership and other teams took growth into account.

As Andy Johns says in this excellent Quora post:

“Growth wasn’t mitigated to a sub-function of a higher function within the company like a Paid Search team might be a sub-function of the Marketing team within an e-commerce company. Growth was a horizontal layer across product like engineering/ops is a horizontal framework behind product. Not only would someone ask “What’s the performance impact on site speed or stability if we build and ship ‘X’?” it became common for people to ask “What’s the impact on growth if we build and ship ‘X’?”. The decision to make growth a canonical part of the product, engineering and operational discussion was a really important decision that the executives made. “

In other words, Facebook made growth a company-wide endeavor, and it paid off big time.

They’re Product Geeks

Testing out growth ideas was and is key to Facebook’s growth, but how do they know what ideas to experiment with in the first place? According to former Facebook VP Growth Chamath Palihapitiya:

“knowing true product value allows you to design the experiments necessary so that you can really isolate cause and effect.  as an example, at facebook, one thing we were able to determine early on was a key link between the number of friends you had in a given time and likelihood to churn. knowing this allowed us to do a lot to get new users to their “a-ha” moment quickly.  obviously, however, this required us to know what the “a-ha” moment was with a fair amount of certainty in the first place.”

The main takeaway is that Facebook grew so fast because they’re constantly testing new growth experiments and learning from those experiments. Even if you don’t have Facebook’s billion-dollar budget or huge teams of engineers and designers, you can still test things like your website copy, offers, new marketing channels, and optimizing your website for mobile devices. Have you had success running growth experiments in your business? I’d love to hear them in the comments!



Facebook Ads For Lead Generation: 8 Experts Share Their Best Tips

If you asked me what the Number 1 most awesome marketing superpower is, I’d say:

The ability to stop bullets with your mind.

(Pictured: Marketing, probably.)

But, if you asked me the next most awesome marketing superpower is, I’d say:

The ability to generate targeted leads on demand.

If you want to keep your business growing, you need to keep your pipeline filled with leads – people who’ve “raised their hand” and shown their interest in what you’re offering.

Online, this usually means email subscribers or people who visited your website and requested more information about your offer.

Facebook is currently one of the hottest opportunities around for getting new leads and subscribers online.

Aside from the fact that there are more people using Facebook than there are people living in the United States, their platform gives you a mind-boggling ability to target users by interests and demographics.

Facebook ads are also still relatively cheap compared to other platforms.

Still, if you don’t know what you’re doing, it’s easy to end up wasting money trying to generate leads with Facebook ads.

So I reached out to experts I know who are absolutely killing it with Facebook ads, and I asked them the following question:

“What’s your best tip for generating more leads or email subscribers with Facebook ads?”

Here’s what they said:

Amy Porterfield, Author of Facebook Marketing All-In-One For Dummies

“Say you already have an email list of at least 1,000 people. You can upload that email list to Facebook, Facebook will match your email list with their database and voila! You’ve got a targeting opportunity with your best, fastest-converting leads.”

Amy Porterfield is the author of Facebook Marketing All-In-One For Dummies and has been named by Forbes as one of the Top 50 Social Media Power Influencers. She is a sought-after speaker and hosts the Online Marketing Made Easy podcast.

Mari Smith, Author of Facebook Marketing: An Hour A Day

Mari Smith recommends optimizing your posts to maximize the number of people who see them.

“Highly shareable content is the holy grail of social media marketing, and doing your best to optimize for shares is my number-one content creation tip. As people scroll the Facebook news feed, your content has to make people pause and read. The promise of your content must be thumb-stopping. What you deliver has to inspire people to respond with, “OMG, I must share this now!”

The Facebook news feed algorithms reward active advertisers and engaging content. The more reactions, comments, and shares your posts get, the better their reach. This goes for both organic and paid (your advertising dollars will go further).”

Often referred to as “the Queen of Facebook,” Mari Smith is one of the world’s foremost experts on Facebook marketing. She is a Forbes’ perennial Top Social Media Power Influencer, author of The New Relationship Marketing and coauthor of Facebook Marketing: An Hour A Day.

Peg Samuel, Social Diva Media

Peg Samuel shared the primary benefits of Facebook ads: The ability to target the perfect demographic for your offer and you don’t need a big budget to do it.

“Facebook Ads is highly targeted for you to purposely gain attention of your desired demographic with guaranteed visibility. You don’t have to have deep pockets to have an impact with your ad campaign. When executed correctly the ROI can be very real.”

Peg Samuel is a speaker, successful entrepreneur, Professor at NYU and founder of the boutique agency Social Diva Media. Author of Amazon #1 Facebook Marketing Like I’m 5.

John Haydon, JohnHaydon.com

If you want to generate more leads from your posts, John Haydon explains how to give them a BOOST.

“Here are five tips for Boosting Posts with the BOOST method:

    • B – Boost Your Best
    • O – Observe Engaged Fans
    • O – Optimize Content
    • S – Synch Channels
    • T – Test and Measure

B – Boost Your Best

Decide which posts you’ll Boost, based on high engagement rate AND how relevant it is to your current marketing goals.

O – Observe Your Engaged Fans

You want to get your posts in front of people who:

  • Want to see it.
  • Won’t hide it.
  • Will comment, like and share it.

O – Optimize Your Content

There may be cases when your best performing updates aren’t directly related to your promotion. If so, simply edit the post description (or status update) and include a call-to-action and link to your campaign landing page. Make sure your edits feel natural and aren’t forced.

S – Synch With Other Marketing Channels

The best type of plan is a well-orchestrated plan.

    • SEND AN EMAIL: Send emails to a targeted group of subscribers.
    • BLOG ABOUT IT:  This kills two birds with one stone – creating more reach for the update while sourcing high-quality content for your blog.

T – Test and Measure

Developing a habit of testing various approaches to Boosting posts to find out what works best for your community.”

John Haydon is one of the most sought-after digital marketing experts for nonprofits and charities. He has helped hundreds of nonprofits achieve their best marketing and fundraising results.

John is a trainer, coach, consultant, speaker, and author of Facebook Marketing for Dummies

Brian Carter, The Brian Carter Group

Brian Carter emphasizes the importance of testing multiple ads and ad types, using lead magnets and having a solid email followup in place to convert your new leads into customers.

“Over the last few years. we’ve created Facebook ad lead gen programs for 20 clients in multiple industries. In our experience, there are multiple factors in Facebook ad lead gen success.

You need to choose an ad type: lead ads or conversion ads. One is not better than the other. If you want the lowest lead cost AND the high quality leads that convert into a customers, you should test both ad types- results will differ for every campaign. Often some of our ad targets perform better with lead ads and others do better with the conversion-ad-to-landing-page approach.

Lead ads require a piece of technology like Connectio or LeadBridge to get your leads into your email provider (Aweber, ActiveCampaign, MailChimp and the like).

If you use conversion ads we strongly recommend you split-test your landing pages with at least 3 variations (using a platform like LeadPages, Unbounce, Clickfunnels or other). Why? Because in our experience this generates 5x as many leads on average, without increasing your ad budget.

Whichever ad type you choose, you must test multiple ad targets (ideally 5-10) in separate ad sets. Why do you need multiple target audiences? Because on average, our best targets get 17x as many leads as the worst ones.

You need a lead magnet (ebook, checklist, cheatsheet, quiz, webinar, etc.) if you want people to cough up their contact info. Some lead magnet types get shared more than others. Some are better at low cost lead gen than lead quality. Some don’t yield a lot of confirmed emails. Some generate leads but not sales. Quizzes can be fun for your audience, are the most shared lead magnet type, especially on Facebook (http://briancartergroup.com/internet-marketing-strategy/quizzes-get-more-socialmedia-shares-than-other-kinds-of-lead-content-on-facebook/?hvid=2LEXh) and get you low-cost leads ($0.30 each is our best so far), but they can get you lower quality leads that don’t convert to customers. The lead magnet must start to do the job of the salesperson if you want a low cost-per-sale. Gigantic ultimate guide ebooks take months to create and if they don’t generate interest, that’s a lot of time wasted. Webinars also take a lot of time to create and hone- they are powerful, but a big time commitment. In our experience, the best-of-all-worlds lead magnet type is the 5 Mistakes/Myths/Lies Ebook, because it can be created relatively quickly and it starts to do the sales job for you ahead of time. I have a guide to how to create this ebook type here: http://briancartergroup.com/8-tips-for-lead-magnets-that-sell

Finally, you need an automatic email follow-up series that continues to push why they should contact you or buy. Create a series of 5 messages to do this, and create a similar retargeting ad campaign for those who don’t open the emails. This will maximize your sales value from the leads you’ve harvested.

I created a gigantic post about this topic called 5 Lead Gen Mistakes: http://briancartergroup.com/lead-gen/the-5-biggest-lead-generation-mistakes/ and did a Facebook live training on it: http://briancartergroup.com/advertising/replay-5-biggest-lead-gen-mistakes-facebook-live-show/

Brian Carter
Internationally Best-Selling Author, Speaker and Consultant

The Carter Group: http://briancartergroup.com
The Science of Digital Marketing: http://scienceofdigitalmarketing.com
Books and Free E-Books: http://bit.ly/brianreading2

Brian Carter is a 15-year digital marketing veteran and popular keynote speaker 
(with clients like NBC and Microsoft, but also small businesses and franchises) 
who delivers entertainment, motivation and practical takeaways. His Brian Carter 
Group offers results-focused implementation, ideation and innovation to 
boost profits for growth-minded businesses

 Jake Rush, ToneDen
Jake Rush of ToneDen says you should start with getting your audience data game on point by testing different audiences to find out which audience produces the most high quality leads for the least cost. 

“You need to get your ad in front of the right audience. In Facebook ads, not all audiences are created equal. Test different data sources to examine which one will generate the most leads for your business.

There is an abundance of information about people that care about your product or brand all over the internet. From website visitors to Facebook Page engagement, utilize all of this data to find the target audience that performs best with you ad campaign.

Testing only one audience or guessing which audience is best for your campaign will have you leaving leads on the table. By split testing target audiences and re-allocating your ad spend toward the best one, you can generate more leads for less money.”

Jake is an experienced Advertising Operations Engineer at ToneDen.io, a social marketing platform for marketers everywhere. He is certified as a Facebook Blueprint Planning Professional and is skilled in social advertising, product marketing, and customer success for B2B SaaS.

Ian Cleary, RazorSocial
Ian Cleary of RazorSocial recommends a two-step approach to lead generation using videos, retargeting and landing page optimization.

“Create a valuable video with content that is related to your email optin.  Build an audience of people that watched at least 50% of the video and retarget with an ad that drives people to your optin page.  Use a highly optimized landing page and split test it.  By doing the two step approach you’ll get advertising to a more relevant audience so you’ll get a better click through rate and lower price ads.  By optimizing you landing page you’ll get a better conversion.

Although you have a two step process with payment required for the video ad and your normal ad you’ll end up with lower cost overall.”

Ian Cleary is the founder of RazorSocial, a content marketing and social media consulting firm. He is also a sought-after keynote speaker and his blog was awarded best social media blog by Social Media Examiner for three years in a row. He writes on social media and content marketing topics for Entrepreneur and Forbes.

Andrew Hubbard, Andrewhubbard.co
Like Ian above, Andrew Hubbard is big on using video content to boost conversions on Facebook – specifically, using Facebook Live and retargeting to get people to opt-in to your email list.

“One of the most effective strategies I’m seeing right now is using video to deliver free, highly relevant content to your audience before asking for an email address. More specifically, delivering content via regular Facebook Live broadcasts. Facebook is favoring Facebook Live heavily when it comes to free organic reach at the moment, and they can be easily turned into ads as well.

Your goal is to ‘warm up’ cold audiences with your live videos, and then retarget those video viewers with ads designed to get them to join your email list. By using this strategy you’re building trust with your audience by giving them free content before you ask for anything from them.

Here’s how you can implement this in your own business today:
  • Start doing regular Facebook Live broadcasts from your business page delivering content that is relevant to your target audience
  • Turn those broadcasts in to ads with the ‘Video Views’ objective
  • Re-target people who have viewed at least 25% of your video with conversion objective ads where you promote a lead magnet (also test 10s views, 50% views, and 75% views)
Just remember, the key here is to do regular Facebook Live videos and to test lots of different ones. You’ll find some videos will be much more popular with your audience than others, and those are the ones you really want to promote.”

 Andrew is a Facebook ad strategist who works with leading online entrepreneurs to scale up their lead generation and sales using Facebook advertising. You can learn more about Andrew at AndrewHubbard.co

So there you go, 8 tips for why and how to use Facebook ads for lead generation. Are you using Facebook to bring in new leads already? Do you have a favorite strategy or tactic? Let me know in the comments!