Mastering Facebook Ads with Shenny Neveceral

On episode 93 of the Cemoh Marketing Podcast, Simon chats with Shenny Neveceral, owner & Facebook Advertising Specialist at Spunky Monkey Media about improving Facebook advertising for businesses.

Show Notes

Shenny is a Certified Facebook Media Buyer with over 25 years in Marketing & Business. Spunky Monkey Media offers social media management for small businesses with Facebook and Instagram social media platforms.

You can contact Shenny Neveceral here.


Simon Dell: Welcome to the Cemoh Marketing Podcast, Shenny Neveceral. Thank you for coming today.

Shenny Neveceral: You’re welcome.

Simon Dell: You’re down on the Gold Coast, aren’t you?

Shenny Neveceral: I’m in the Sunny Gold Coast, where today is a little bit cloudy, but we have amazing weather.

Simon Dell: Cool, whereabouts on the Gold Coast?

Shenny Neveceral: I’m in South Port, which is basically five minutes from surfers, so I’ve got a beach down the end of my street, five minutes to surfers in the car, nice place to be.

Simon Dell: Lovely. Now, your company is called Spunky Monkey Media. We’re going to have a quick discussion about how you came up with that name. Give us a little bit about your background. Before you did what you’re going to talk about today, tell us where you came from.

Shenny Neveceral: I’ve actually been in business for 30 years. You wouldn’t think so, but I’ve been through so many businesses. We actually had a really large business in the natural skincare industry back in Melbourne. I came from Melbourne, and yeah, that business was turning over around $10 million a year. It was probably one of the first pioneering natural skincare brands in Australia, and it started around 2003. It started really early in the piece, and it grew really quickly and we’re in around 3,000 health food shops and pharmacies.

That took a lot of time and effort on our part. We sold out and came up here, and we’ve had businesses. Different businesses I’ve had, larger ones like that to medium ones, to small ones. I guess I’ve had a lot of background and experience in business, so it’s not just Facebook advertising or marketing, it’s actually like a holistic approach that I take to Facebook advertising, and it’s actually about the business, rather than just marketing or selling a product, if that makes sense.

Simon Dell: It does. I’ll ask you a little bit about the skincare company, because that’s what you did, build a business and sell it, is hopefully what a lot of people listening to this aspire to do. The question I got for you on that is: When did you decide it was time to sell it? Was there a point where you went, “Right, let’s get out of this?” Was there a trigger for that?

Shenny Neveceral: It was actually a trigger, yeah, unexpected trigger, a shareholder dispute in the company. So, it was a forced thing, but it was probably one of the best decisions that we’ve made. Just after that, we had the 2008 stock market crash. We actually sold on a high, which was a good thing.

Simon Dell: Were you the minor shareholder and they wanted to do something else?

Shenny Neveceral: A little bit like that, yeah. We actually did start the company, so yeah, it was a little bit messy. It was a hard time. The lawyers got a lot of money out of it, but at the end of the day, we were paid out to what we needed. It was all good.

Simon Dell: Now, you’re doing Facebook ads. Tell me Spunky Monkey Media. Tell me, Shenny, where that name came from.

Shenny Neveceral: I was thinking of a name that needed to stop people, like what we talk about in Facebook advertising – stopping the scroll. Well, I thought, “I have to start a business and it’s going to have to stop people.” It was actually just before I started the business, and I went to Cairns with two girlfriends. We had an amazing time there. We just went wild for about three days. But my mission on that trip was to finalize a name for my business because I was going to come back and I was starting it. And there is nothing, really. There was no Spunky Monkey there. There were no monkeys there at all, it was just something that came out. I tried 101 different names and that’s the one that came out.

Simon Dell: Why Facebook ads? What made you want to go from skincare, to whatever businesses you did? What made you go down that Facebook ads route?

Shenny Neveceral: We actually had a skincare company as well when we moved up here. That’s where I started Facebook advertising in the skincare company. When I did that and I really mastered it, and I’ve concentrated and invested a lot in it, I got 3,000 new customers in three months. When I got that, I’m like, “Wow, this Facebook thing is powerful.” It took our business at a really good place and really good growth. It was amazing because it was like a numbers game – it is a number game. That’s when I did that. And then I really actually enjoyed it. I’ve got an accounting degree. Let’s backtrack.

30 years ago when I did my accounting degree, I came out after doing it. I worked at an accounting firm, and I got excited when the phone would ring. It was like, “Oh crap, this is not for me.” I’m too outgoing. It was just boring sitting at a desk. And so, I did four years and worked as an accountant for about three months. 

Simon Dell: That’s like me. I did a law degree for three years and never even bothered picking up another law book. Didn’t enjoy that.

Shenny Neveceral: What a waste, eh? But it wasn’t a waste, absolutely not, because it’s helped me all along in my business career. Absolutely. I’m sure it’s helped you along, too.

Simon Dell: No, but anyway. [laughs]

Shenny Neveceral: [laughs]

Simon Dell: I look back and go, “Do you know what? I think there could’ve been 20 different things that I should’ve done instead of a law degree.” Anyway, let’s not talk about that.

Shenny Neveceral: Fast forward, why did I do Facebook advertising? I guess it is really, my background is marketing and a lot of figures. In Facebook advertising, it’s not just about marketing, it’s actually a lot of data interpretation as well and applying that data and seeing what it means in a campaign. That came naturally to me because of my accounting background.

Simon Dell: Let’s talk about Facebook advertising. There are 1,001 questions that people will have about Facebook advertising, but the biggest one is: Why bother? What is it about Facebook advertising that you would turn around to people and say, “Look, you have to be doing this for your business.” I’m going to make that a two-part question. The second part of that question is, “Is it for every business?”

Shenny Neveceral: Firstly, I always tell people a little bit of background about Facebook advertising. 8, 10 years ago when Facebook started, if you had 10,000 followers in your business page, and you had a product or service you wanted to promote on the weekend, you put a post on your business page, and all of those 10,000 people would see it. At that time, a lot of people made a lot of money very quickly and very cheaply. But Facebook had a long-term plan. They were trying to get more people onto the platform to make it more popular, and then obviously they have a long-term plan to make money out of it. Remember, it’s free. It’s a free platform and all these people aren’t going to put a whole lot of work and energy into it to gain nothing.

But they were very smart. Very, very smart. They had a long-term goal. Fast forward 5 years ago, if you had 10,000 followers on your business page and you had something on the weekend and you wanted to post your product or service, you put it on your business page. Probably only around 5,000 people would see it, half of them. Fast forward 2 years ago, if you had those 10,000 followers, 2,000 people would see it. In 2020, where we are right now if you’ve got 10,000 followers on your business page and you post something on your business page, only around 3.91% would see or 391 people would see it.

Simon Dell: Which, to me, still seems a lot compared to what I think most people think it is or I think it is. I’m sure those numbers are correct.

Shenny Neveceral: Yeah. These are off stats. 4% is not a lot of people. I mean, we’re talking 10,000 people. If you only have 1,000 people on your page, what’s that? 4% is 40 people are seeing it. That’s absolutely nothing. And I guess it comes to the point that now, in 2020, we’ve been forced to actually advertise on Facebook because organic posts just aren’t working like they used to. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t be doing organic on your business page, but to actually make some impact in your business, to actually get those new customers, we don’t have a choice. We have to go. We have to pay money, pay-for-play, basically.

Simon Dell: Is there anything particular type of business that Facebook is more suited to? Your background is skincare and accounting. They are vastly different industries. Most people would understand, yes, skincare, get that. But accounting, should accounting be advertising on Facebook?

Shenny Neveceral: Absolutely. I think every single business can advertise on Facebook and do well. People say to me, “My clients aren’t on Facebook.” You know what? Everyone is on Facebook or Instagram. Nearly everyone. I don’t know the stats, but it’s a very large percentage of people. You even think about the older generation. They’re on Facebook and Instagram as well. So, all of our customers are on Facebook and Instagram. I think the big question is whether you can actually attract your ideal customer or get them to stop to scroll and take action on your ad. That’s the big challenge that businesses have.

Simon Dell: We’ll talk about the creative side of the ad and all those bits later on. What’s the way of stopping the scroll? Is it outrageous pictures? Do you have to use video? Is it a carousel banner? What should we be doing?

Shenny Neveceral: What I say is basically, with Facebook ads, it’s 80% strategy and 20% in-ads manager. There’s a lot of businesses that actually just go on Facebook and Instagram and go, “Oh, I need to put an ad onto my Facebook page because I need to get more customers.” So, I get in there and I just go and slapdash, and I don’t even know whether it’s successful or not. I just put anything there. With Facebook ads, it’s 80% strategy and 20% ads manager. And when I say strategy, there’s a whole lot of things that contribute to that strategy. It’s not just one thing. I mean, we’re talking about the script. The script has got to be very, very succinct.

There’s a lot of terms of service that you need to abide by. There are marketing rules that you need to abide by. There’s getting all the information that you need to get out there, et cetera. So, you’ve got things like the script. You’ve got your audience. You’ve got a laser tag for your right audiences. There are so many audiences that you can create on Facebook that are awesome. They’re super powerful audiences. 

If you can get the right audience, in front of the right audience, the more you can do that, the better that your ad is going to resonate. And then of course, like you said before, images, videos, very, very important to whether it’s actually going to stop the scroll or get your customer or your audience to keep looking at what you’re offering.

Even little things like the call-to-action, then the bottom, your little call-to-action, what your heading is. Little tiny things will make your ad either successful or not successful. When you say, “Oh, you should do this or that.” There’s a lot of things that go in combination to actually get that right.

Simon Dell: Are you suggesting people should be creating multiple versions of single ads and see which works better, that kind of thing, or is there some hard and fast rules about what people should and shouldn’t do?

Shenny Neveceral: Absolutely. You need to test everything. I say to people, “If I knew exactly what to do with every client’s ads that are going to make them a million dollars, I wouldn’t be here.” In marketing, just like in every other marketing… Even in marketing in newspapers, 5 years and 10 years ago, what we needed to do as marketers is to test, test, test. The fact is, we don’t know what our audience is going to resonate. 

Now, the great thing about Facebook and Instagram advertising or digital marketing advertising as a whole is that we have data that’s shown to us about our ad. Now, remember, 10 years ago, if you had an ad in the newspaper and you had an audience of 200,000-300,000, you had no idea if people were going to go in. Did they call? Unless you actually had a coupon that they brought in, you actually didn’t have any data on how successful that ad was. 

Sure, you could probably think, “Oh yeah, our sales have increased a little bit. Yeah, people have been calling” but you didn’t know exactly what that. And I think that’s the powerful thing that we realize about Facebook, is that we know exactly how many people are clicking on our link, exactly how many people are purchasing, exactly how many people are adding to cart, whatever it is. Facebook has that information. They can give it to us, and that’s how we determine whether an ad is successful or not.

So, what I would recommend and I do this with all my clients, is that we test different things. We actually test the audiences. We test different ads. We test different images. We test different scripts. We test a whole lot of things and let the data tell us what’s working and what’s not.

Simon Dell: Around the image thing, just on that, is video better than an image? People making sure that they’re spending a little bit of money, just making sure there’s a video instead of an image or is an image still going to get you the same sort of result? Does it not matter? Does it depend entirely on what it is you’re putting in there?

Shenny Neveceral: Good question. When people ask me these questions, I always say, “Here’s what you need to do. You need to test and let the data tell you.” And the algorithm changes a lot as well in Facebook. Video is very, very popular, yes it is, but I’ve personally found in my accounts, just even in the last 3 to 6 months, that images are starting to become more popular. And when I tested video and an image, the images actually become more popular. But in some ad accounts, the video is more popular. 

So it really depends on your actual campaign to what’s actually better. With an image though, it does need to stand out. It does need to stop the scroll and you do need to have, I believe, a lot of bright colours. The beautiful Instagram flat-like image is lovely for your Instagram feed, but it’s actually not good for a Facebook or Instagram paid post, because it blends in too much. What you need to do is you need to stand out, and stop the scroll, and get your audience going, “Oh, what’s that?” sort of thing. A lot of bright colours do usually do that.

Simon Dell: One thing we discovered doing our own Facebook ads and client ads, we actually ran a four-minute video as an advert. We’ve traditionally done 15-second short grabs about us and who we are, what we do, and we ran a four-minute one. Surprisingly, first didn’t get a lot of people watching it all the way through. As you would know, you can get data on how far people have watched through the video. We didn’t get a massive amount of people watching. It was basically a video of me talking. Maybe that was the reason. It was me doing 10 business tips.

We did that, then I ran the same video but I did it with the… You know when you do a landscape video and you run it with the black bars at the top and bottom. Do you call that anything in particular?

Shenny Neveceral: Just borders.

Simon Dell: Yeah, when you got the black border at the top and bottom and you put text over those borders. The text remains static on the video whilst the video is playing. Amazingly got a much, much broader amount of people, a larger amount of people watching the video all the way to the end.

Shenny Neveceral: Absolutely. Something like that can make a huge amount of difference. You’re absolutely right. It was only one little change, and to you, it didn’t make that much difference. But we don’t know what our audience is going to resonate with. You did it right because you allowed the data to tell you, “Look at the difference. We made one change.” And when I say to clients, when we do make changes, we try to make one thing at a time, because you can attribute it like you did.

You go, “The only thing that we changed was putting the borders at the top and the bottom.” And that attracted the attention of the people, and that’s what made the difference in the data. With video, it’s really really important to put subtitles in, and I’m sure that you did do that as well. Because 95% of us are watching these things on our mobile phones. When you’re watching your mobile phone in the middle of the night, you don’t want to have it going really loud. So, subtitles are really important.

Simon Dell: It’s funny. We ran another campaign last year for a client, some with subtitles and the same video without subtitles. Bizarrely, the one without the subtitles actually had a better engagement.

Shenny Neveceral: There you go.

Simon Dell: Go figure.

Shenny Neveceral: Exactly. That’s what I say.

Simon Dell: Let’s talk about audiences. You’re completely right. There are thousands of different variations of audiences there. I always think that audiences, to me, is always the crux of the success of a Facebook ad. But obviously, there’s a lot to do with the Facebook ad. Any tips or thoughts on how to best narrow those audiences down or how to pick the best one? I know you’re going to say test as well. I hit you off before you pass. Again, is there any that you see work really well already?

Shenny Neveceral: What I actually say to my clients, and with anyone that I on board as well and coach, is that we actually do a customer avatar before we start advertising. Because the more you know about the customer and the more you know about what they think, and feel, and do in their spare time, and what their passions are, what their fears are, the more you can understand your client or your customer avatar, and then the better you can laser target your audiences.

There are definitely different types of audiences. Laser-targeting your interest and behaviours, for example, it doesn’t necessarily be – I guess if you’re in skincare, for example, it doesn’t necessarily only just have to be an audience based on skincare. If you actually know who your ideal client is, and it might be a 40-year-old female with two kids in school who’s married, who works part-time, et cetera, then you can have a look at some of the other aspirations. One of them might be, say, keeping the house nicely, decorating and things like that.

Some of your targetings could not only just be skincare, but it could be things like better homes and gardens, or any home garden magazine or anything like that. And you think, “Well, what’s that got to do with skincare?” But it is because me, as a 40-year-old female with two kids, I’m also interested in that. So, yeah, you’ve got audiences like that, and obviously, you would’ve heard of audiences like lookalike audiences. That’s probably what you’re going to be asking me next, where Facebook is absolutely powerful.

Facebook, as a personal user, know a lot about us. They know how long we’re on Facebook, what we buy, what pages we like, what friends we like, what do our friends like, what does our partner like, what do our kids like, how old are our kids. There’s so much that Facebook knows about us, and it can be a little bit daunting as a personal user.

But as a business, this information is powerful, something that we’ve never had in history. Basically, what Facebook can do is you can create something that we call a lookalike audience, where you might have a database of some of your customers, or leads, or anything like that. And if you have a minimum of 100, you can actually upload those emails into Facebook and say, “Hey, Facebook, go and find an audience that looks like my customers.” They are powerful audiences.

Simon Dell: We use the lookalike ones a lot. They’re really good. What about a B2B strategy? Again, for those who don’t know and for those who do know, you can search in audiences for things like business owners, CEO, all those kind of things. When I go through them, they always feel like a bit slapdash, like Facebook’s put those audiences together as a last-minute thought right the end of the day. They don’t necessarily align with my concept of who I would be targeting. I’m interested to hear your thoughts on that.

Shenny Neveceral: Facebook is actually very, very good with their algorithms. I always actually say your interest and behaviours, audience, you might not be 100% spot-on who you actually want to. You might have digital marketer or Facebook user, or Facebook business page owner. Yes, it is very generic, but I would say two things in that. Number one: Facebook’s algorithm is amazing at finding the right people who would be interested in what you have to say. Number two, your script. You could have a huge audience, and your script is going to filter out the right people and the wrong people.

You’re not really interested in the wrong people. Let them go. But your script will. I’ll give you an example. I had my ads going. I do Facebook ads webinars. And in the beginning, I said, “Business owners.” And one of the opening line in my script is, “If you’re a business owner, do you need to learn Facebook advertising?” And I found in my webinars that I was getting people who were startups. They hadn’t even started up, but really, they were basically a business that may be only a month or two old.

I’ve got my webinars and my client base. I wanted people who are a little bit more established. So, what I actually did is I just changed the first line in my ad to say, “Are you a business owner that’s struggling, that’s been in business for a while and struggling with Facebook ads?” That just filtered out those people who hadn’t been in business for a while, because they’re thinking, “Well, this is not for me.” And straightaway, I got a different type of audience to my webinars.

Simon Dell: Again, test and see what the results are out of that.

Shenny Neveceral: Absolutely. You can see the difference straight away when you’re looking at the data and the data is telling you what’s happening. You can see the difference as well.

Simon Dell: Is there anything else? We’ve talked about audiences and getting the ads right, the copyright, the images right, and all those kind of things. Is there anything else, little tricks that get better results? I’ve heard people in the past, in previous podcasts, about manipulating the budget sometimes in order to get different results from Facebook. Are those things still relevant?

Shenny Neveceral: They change all the time. We’ve got horizontal scaling, vertical scaling, and it’s a little bit of Facebook marketers jargon, but these things really do change a lot. Even with the objectives before a year ago, you’d use the traffic objective and it would give you amazing traffic to your website. Basically, traffic is saying, “Hey Facebook, find the people who are going to go to my website.” And it was probably 6 to 12 months ago now, the traffic that was actually coming to your website was rubbish.

What we’ve actually had to do is change it around a little bit and do different objectives, getting the same type of outcome we want. Things change all the time, and I think the challenge that a lot of businesses have in Facebook advertising is that they can’t keep up with all the changes, because what worked yesterday might not work tomorrow. It is a little bit of a challenge. Are there any little secrets? I really go back to basics. I always say… And this is what I always come back to. It’s 80% strategy, 20% ads manager. Because if you spend the time on your strategy, on actually getting every single part right, and that is your audience, your script, your image, your offer. 

Your offer is absolutely huge. And I’m not talking – it doesn’t necessarily mean discount or dollar, but it has to be a bait that’s going to stop people and make them want to take action. All of these in combination are really going to create a good ad. Yeah, you could manipulate this. You could start talking about your little tricks that go on and things like that, all the different audiences that you could have, a few tricks here and there about audiences. Yeah, sure. But I think if you haven’t got the first part right, it doesn’t matter what you do on the second part. It’s not going to get the success that you need.

Simon Dell: A couple of other final questions for you today. Landing page, how important is that?

Shenny Neveceral: Oh, so important, absolutely. I always say, you’ve got Facebook ads and you’ve got your landing page/website, and that’s what’s going to equal success. You can get as much traffic as you want to your website. You’ve got thousands and thousands of people to your website. But if your landing page or your website’s not going to sell, you might as well just forget it. You’re just wasting your money.

And people are using landing pages now more than ever before rather than a website, because the landing page, especially for a Facebook ad, is very specific. And what I always say is, if you’ve got a pink dress that you’re showing on your Facebook page, you need to have a landing page with that pink dress. Because if you actually don’t have that pink dress, if you have an orange or green dress, you’re going to confuse people and they’re going to confusion list in action. They’ll go, “Hang on, I was looking at the pink dress. Where is it?”

So many people, some people have their ad, then it goes to their homepage. If you’re lost, you’re gone. Attention span in this generation is basically nil. And I always say to people, within three seconds of landing on your website or your landing page, people should know what you’re selling, what they need to do, and what action they need to take. If they can’t find that in three seconds, they’re probably lost.

Simon Dell: Two more questions. Audience network, worth doing? I always switch it off. Just to explain to everybody, audience network is the Facebook network outside of Facebook. Is that right? 

Shenny Neveceral: That’s right.

Simon Dell: But not including Instagram, which has its own…

Shenny Neveceral: It’s sort of like they never even tell us exactly where it goes to, but it is Facebook and Instagram.

Simon Dell: Which is why I switch it off. I’ve actually seen it appearing. I think TikTok was part of the Facebook audience, and it may still be part of the Facebook audience network. I know TikTok has its own ads manager, which I’ve been playing around with, but I get a feeling it was also part of the Facebook network as well.

Shenny Neveceral: You get things like on Gumtree and things like that where it comes up and everything like that. That’s what you call audience network. You know what I always say? I always test, obviously, but the audience network is not very good for a cold audience. But it actually has been seen to be okay in a warm audience. Because remember, you’re retargeting them. They’ve already seen you before, so when they come up in Gumtree, they’re going, “Oh yeah, I saw them before.” If they’re coming up somewhere, I’ve seen them before.

But because it’s such a small type of ad, it is a reminder. But if they’ve never heard of you before and they don’t know what you’re going on about, they’re going to take no notice. But it actually can be a good retargeting, keeping it in your retargeting campaigns.

Simon Dell: Last question. Accuracy of the data, this is one of my big bugbears, it’s about how accurate Facebook’s data and reporting data actually is. What do you think? Would you give them an A+?

Shenny Neveceral: Not quite an A+, maybe a B or a C. It’s there. It does differ sometimes to what you get in other areas of your data. Obviously, you’ve got to test it, your pixel’s working and everything’s all okay. In that case, it can be different things that it’s attributed to. It could be a customer that comes straight to your website rather than going through Facebook, et cetera. There are different attributes.

But overall, we are where we are. We can’t change it. We’ve really got to look at the data that we have and make decisions unless it’s way off and there’s a huge problem, then I won’t be addressing. Obviously, if it’s just like everyone else, you just got to take it.

Simon Dell: I normally say Facebook’s data is a good guide as to what has happened.

Shenny Neveceral: That’s a nice summary.

Simon Dell: And leave it like that.

Shenny Neveceral: Absolutely, and it’s better than no data at all, so there you go.

Simon Dell: That is 100% true. Shenny, thank you very much for your time on the show today. Really appreciate your insights and thoughts. If anybody wants to get a hold of you, what’s the best way of tracking you down?

Shenny Neveceral: You can go to my website, You can search around LinkedIn or Facebook. I’m everywhere.

Simon Dell: Cool, she’s everywhere. Look at your window now. Wherever you’re listening to this, look out your window because Shanny is there.

Shenny Neveceral: You might see a spunky monkey out there.

Simon Dell: She’s like god: she’s everywhere and nowhere. Thank you very much for being on the show. It’s been fantastic. I hope everybody out there has found it useful. Enjoy your weekend!

Shenny Neveceral: Yes, you too! Thanks for your time.

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