Justin Brooke 2

Justin Brooke 2

Justin uses inbound social media marketing for himself and his clients, but with a twist. He also pours fuel on his content in the form of paid advertising. Learn how Justin successfully combines two of the most powerful growth channels currently available.

Are FB Ads hitting max ad load? Justin Brooke is known as the “Traffic Guy Millionaires Recommend” and in this episode we talk about the future of FB ads, how to leverage the GDN for inexpensive+quality clicks, and how to structure winning campaigns.


  • He is an expert in marketing
  • He is the founder of DMB Online, a media-buying “code school” for marketing and growth
  • DMB Online is similar to a code school where people can learn and improve their skills in media buying
  • He was aware of the trend of Facebook reaching its maximum ad load in users’ newsfeeds
  • DMB Online is a media buying “code school” for marketing and growth
  • Facebook is reaching its maximum ad load in users’ newsfeeds, and it will likely drive up ad prices and increase revenue through other methods such as ads in groups
  • He mentions that max ad load is a way for Facebook to increase revenue
  • He suggests that businesses with high lifetime value will be able to sustain higher ad prices
  • Click prices are rising and it’s becoming harder for businesses to make their ads profitable
  • And a whole lot more





Bronson: Welcome to another episode of Growth Hacker TV, Bronson Taylor. And today I have Justin Brooke back with us again. Justin, how’s it going, man?

Justin: It’s good, man. Thanks for having me back.

Bronson: Absolutely. I remember the last time we talked. You just you have so much knowledge about marketing and the stuff you were saying was not the stuff everyone else was saying. That’s what I remember.

Justin: Like, you hope I can do it again.

Bronson: I know you will, because it’s just who you are. I mean, I remember after our last conversation, I couldn’t stop thinking about running page traffic to content. And that was like, now it’s a thing. It wasn’t a thing back then. This was years ago, you know what I mean?

Justin: And now everybody doing it.

Bronson: Everybody is doing it. But like you were the one saying, no, no, this is this is how you get, you know, stuff working right now. So anyway, for people that didn’t watch the last episode, Justin Brock is a legit marketer from all aspects of marketing from, you know, where to get the customers, what often drive them to how to convert them, how to provide value to them after the conversion. Like he really just has his head around the entire game. There’s a lot of people that follow him online, look to him to understand what the industry is doing, what’s changing in the industry. And there’s a lot of we’re going to talk about today is is what’s dying and what’s coming to life. You know, what are the trends we’re seeing? You can find out about Justin from his company DMB online dot com. And let me just give you a quick plug for what he does because it’s pretty amazing. So you guys know code school, right? You go to code school, you learn how to program. You want to, you know, get your programing chops up. You can subscribe and learn that kind of stuff. This is like that. But for media buying, so it’s like a code school for marketing and growth and that kind of stuff, which I think is just an amazing idea. I mean, anything else you want to tell us about DMB online?

Justin: Yeah. So when I had an agency, that’s when we spoke last time. The hard part for us hiring buyers, it was for a college degree or a Facebook ad degree. And so it was just very hard to find really well-trained people to hire. And so I got sick of it and I just said, you know, I’ll refer out all my clients. So I get a commission on all my clients still, and I’ll just build it. I’ll build the thing that’s training these people. And we’ve got 3500 students now. I started in May. It’s going great.

Bronson: That’s awesome, man. Well, you know, like I said before, you’re on the cusp. You’re on the edge of what’s happening. And there’s something you’ve been talking about for the last few months. And now other people are starting to be like, oh, this is this really happening? And it has to do with the Facebook Max ad load. Right? So first, tell us what that is, why it’s bad or good, what it means to us as marketers. Walk us through this trend that you know is coming.

Justin: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. I’m not saying the sky is falling or I’m not making anything up. You can go Google the Q2 earnings call for Facebook and you can listen to the investors constantly asking, what are you guys going to do about max ad load, max, ad load, max, ad move? They keep talking about it. What it is, is for years, the way Facebook has been showing its shareholders an increase in profit, increase in revenue, they’ve just been showing more ads. You guys have seen it. If you go look at your news feed now, there is an ad almost every to post link. And so max ad load is we can’t jack it up any more like, you know, before long it’s just going to be all ads. So it’s rumored to be coming in quarter one of 2017. We’re almost frickin there. So and so what they’re the only other way that they’re going to be able to make money is they’re going to start driving up quick prices. And you probably already starting to see this. We used to get used to hear people talking about 10%, 20 cent, 40 cent place. Now we’re like, yay, I’m still getting my clicks under a dollar, you know? And so it happens. It happens with every ad network. I’ve been around for 11 years. I’ve seen it happen with Google. It’s happening with Facebook now. They are they do have other measures. They’re adding ads to groups and now they have FB marketplaces and they have the audience partner network. So there are other things, but you can see it click prices are going up, it happens everywhere.

Bronson: So I’m glad you’re saying that because honestly, the last few months I’ve been in, they’re running ads and they’re just not performing. I mean, I can’t get the clicks cheap enough to make it work. And I thought, man, am I losing my touch? Like, am I like out of touch with, like, how to hit the nerve with my marketing message? Is the value prop not there? And you’re saying, no, it’s a bigger systemic problem in that there’s only a certain number of humans and there’s only so many times you can show those humans an ad. Therefore, the only way for them to increase their revenue is through jacking up the click prices. Right?

Justin: Right. Yeah. Until they can figure out how to get more inventory, basically how they can copy Google with Google Display Network. Then they’re going to have to raise quick prices. And I CEO, we have 3500 students in Dubai. And so I see this price rising over and over again. People are coming to me like click prices are $7, my good prices are $3. How do you help me? So we see it. We see it coming.

Bronson: Yeah, absolutely. You know, we had a guest on before, I think it was Gog and beyond. And he said, you know, paid traffic is essentially a business model competition. Whoever can spend the most on the click wins because they they have the margin to sustain it. Is this just making that more clear that if you don’t have real margin, if you don’t have real value, a high lifetime value, then you just don’t get to play the paid game like you used to.

Justin: Yes, absolutely. That’s the way you win. Everybody thinks the way you win is finding cheaper clicks. But that’s not true because usually the cheap clicks are the garbage clicks. You win it this game when you can outspend your competitor, whoever can buy more bullets wins the war, basically. But there is another thing. If you can stay ahead of the curve and know where the cheap clicks are, you can still you can still play the game. And so that’s kind of what I wanted to jump on here and talk about is that there is a move over Google and you’re starting to see more blog posts. All of a sudden, Facebook versus Google. Google versus Facebook, which one should you be using? And in not talking about Google AdWords, because those click prices are sky high. But I’m talking about Google Display Network, you’re still seeing 20, 40, 60% clicks all day, every day over there. And it used to be that Facebook had better targeting, and they did for a long time. They had interest based targeting. They had custom audiences. Everybody has that now. Even Twitter ads has custom audiences, you know, so you can do the custom audiences, lookalike audiences, interest targeting on Google display. But another thing that you can do on Google Display is they have in-market targeting. And so because Google has Android and Chrome browser and Google knows everything about everybody, I mean, they know when a wife is pregnant before the husband does, you know, so the in-market audiences is Google saying, we know that these people are in the market for a car, for TV, for business services, for pet food. Like I had a client one time who was selling like high end premium freeze dried dog food for the people that like super, super love their dogs. We were able to create ads targeting people that were on dog food websites and were in the market for pet food. You don’t get more targeted than that.

Bronson: Yeah, it’s crazy. So, you know, tell me if I’m wrong. It seems like, you know, back in the day it was AdWords and then we kind of all migrated to Facebook ads and now we’re going back to Google in the form of display network. So we’re just kind of moving, you know, back and forth. So if we’re in display network now, how does someone have to change the way they think? Let’s say they’ve been in Facebook land and they’ve been creating ads for Facebook and they’ve been thinking about the traffic on Facebook. What are they going have to shift mentally to make the jump over to display network to make it work for them?

Justin: There is definitely a shift. It’s not as big of a shift as most people would think. We often refer to Facebook as Facebook ads, so we think that Facebook ads are different. But in all reality, Facebook ads are just a display. They’re just a different type of banner ad just like any other banner ad. It’s a little square on your screen that you click on. That’s a banner ad, you know, just because it looks different. And so it’s still a display and so it still works very much the same. The difference is, is with Facebook, you have room to write up at the top and then you have an image and it can only be 20% text and you have buttons. And so where on Google Display Network you have text ads and you have image ads and now they have something new called responsive ads, which is kind of like a hybrid. So a lot of it carries over. But you really just have to understand now you’re playing with different sizes of ads. So like you have horizontal ones and vertical ones and square ones and and then now the responsive ones, you know, changed all the different sizes. And so that’s really the only difference now is it’s you still going to use like the same messaging, it’s still going to use a lot of the same concepts. You don’t have a 20% text rule anymore, but you have a lot of different sizes that you have to be aware of.

Bronson: Yeah, it’s actually comforting to hear that, you know, that the fundamentals of marketing stay the same, but really just talking about technical specifications changing and that’s the easy stuff. It’s easy to create a skyscraper instead of. The Square on Facebook like we can handle that. It’s as long as the basics are still there. So, you know, with the Google Display Network, we were talking before the call and you said something, it was kind of mind blowing that you’ve actually gotten 14,000 customers through the Google Display Network. And so, of course, you know, this is growth actor TV. I mean, we have to drill in on something like that, right? So I want to know, not just at a high level, what’s the difference is Facebook has max ad load going on. Gideon is where the action is like. Tell us what you’re actually doing in there to drive 14,000 customers.

Justin: Okay. So the first thing I want to say, you got to have good offer. Yeah. Like you got to have something that people are going to want to buy. There’s not some magical button that I pushed in Google display that made that happen. So the client came to me with a good offer. It was a newsletter about learning stock. Mark I think it was gold investing actually. And we’re in a time right now in the world where people are really shaky about the currency in gold. So it’s a good offer, a good price and a good time. That’s key. You also got to have that first beyond that. So they hired me because they had a Google account that used to be banned and they just got it back and everybody was kind of scared to touch it because they didn’t want to get banned again. They want to get shut down. Well, I’ll take it. Yeah.

Bronson: That’s all.

Justin: And I knew they had big pockets, too. So the way that I charged was, you know, percent of ad spending. So at first, our goal was just, you know, if you can get this thing to 100 sales a day, we’ll we’ll keep it, you know. And so I went in there and I did the things that I knew how to do. This was a couple of years ago. So my skill level at that time, 100, 100 sales a day was pretty sizable for me. And I did it within 30 days. I did all my tricks. I did all the things that I know how to do, you know, you know, good, solid ads. You know, one thing that people should know is a good ad in Google display. The top half is an image. Right below that, you’re going to have like a headline and then to the right, it’s hard to, you know, there’s nothing to draw on right now. But to the right. At the bottom is a little blue. Learn more link. So it looks like an article teaser that’s what a good strong display. And I see people making banner ads that look like the banner ads and they’re all shiny and beautiful. Those don’t work. I’ve tested them a million times. They just don’t work.

Bronson: And the idea they’re the same reason, like you came in last time and said, look, run, pay traffic to content because people connect with content. You’re kind of doing the same hack, making the ad feel like a headline to really drive them further down into the offer.

Justin: Right. Well, you got to think about the frame of mind when somebody sees one of these ads. They’re on a piece of content now because they’re when you’re using Google Display Network, your ads are showing up on a website somewhere, usually a page, where somebody is reading an article about something. And so they’re on a piece of content and they’re trained to ignore what most ads look like. What do most ads look like? They look like banner ads, you know. So if your ad looks like a traditional banner ad, their subconscious brain is so trained that they literally they’ve done science tests. They don’t see those.

Bronson: Okay. Let me ask you this. I see these ads all the time. You know, I’m a woman who joined Dollar Shave Club and you’ll never believe what happened, right? That kind of thing. Or there’s another one, too. It’s like but it’s very much like they’re going to teach me something interesting. Piqued my curiosity. I think I’m going through to an article and I am, but it’s an article hosted on their website, and of course it’s to sell their service. Is that what they’re doing? The same idea?

Justin: Yes. Yes. Yeah.

Bronson: Is it what they’re doing it?

Justin: That one sounds like it would probably work. I mean, I’d have to actually see the banner, but chances are they’re probably using a pattern to interrupt a woman’s face with a razor blade next to it. You’re probably like, What’s going on there? Yeah, the other trick is diagonal lines. Your brain is so trained to see perfect. Like, I’m looking at your background and my background and the square. Everything. Everything is always a square that you look at our laptops and square lines. So whenever there’s a diagonal line, your subconscious mind has to analyze it. Even it’s a nanosecond, but it cannot ignore a diagonal line or circles. Yeah. So, yes, I went in there.

Bronson: I took the entourage.

Justin: Yeah, I went in there. I did these things. I made some good ads. I did, you know, basic good targeting their audience. They had a good offer. We got 200 sales a day, they said. They called me up, said, Great job. We have a new goal for this. Can you do 1000 sales a day? And of course. Yes, sure, absolutely. No problem. Meanwhile, I’m freaking out. My knees are wiggling. I just did everything I knew how to do to get to 100 sales a day. How am I possibly going to get to a thousand calories a day? What I knew after I hung up the phone is what I what I did to get to 100 wasn’t going to get me to 1000. I was going to need like a whole new system. I was going to I was out of room, you know, so I needed to rethink the whole thing. So I came up with something called Operation Nowhere to Hide, and I love it. I’ve got this big over here, actually. There’s an eight foot whiteboard and I filled this whiteboard with every possible place that I thought their audience could be online. And what it really came down to was about, I think, four or five categories. So they’re financial people, people looking for financial advice, basically. So they’re hanging out on U.S. news websites. They’re hanging out on like survival type websites because these are gold buyers as well. So their.

Bronson: Preparation.

Justin: Yeah, yeah. So they’re yeah, they’re preppers. They’re hanging out on financial type websites. You know, what is the price of gold? What is the price of copper type stuff? They’re also hanging out on type of like scandal type of pages, you know, various political scandals and news scandals. And then the other one was just political websites. So these are the and then we extrapolated that. So there’s four different ways to target and Google. You have keywords, you have placements which are websites, you have topics. And then you have. Interests, you know. So first we came up with. So we took our campaign, which was just keyword targeting. And so we had our banner ads and we had five different ad groups in there. So one ad group was political keywords. One ad group was scandal keywords. One ad group was survival keywords. One ad group was currency keywords. And then another ad group was U.S. News. Keywords. Okay. And then the way we grew, that is, we took that to placements as well. So websites about scandals, websites about gold, websites about. We just took those five topics that they could be and we put it on all of them. So from then we went to topics. So gold topics and scandal topics. And then we went to interest. Interest is like affinity. There’s interest is pretty broad in Google, despite you have remarketing interest. So people that have already been to your website. Mm hmm. People that are similar to bend to your website, then you have affinity targeting. Affinity is Google knows that they visit these types of websites. So like there’s one called news junkie affinity. They know that these people visit a lot of news websites and then there’s like business affinity. They know they visit entrepreneur and Forbes. So and then there’s in-market, which is another interest level. And so we basically took these five categories, we created four campaigns, and then each one one was targeting at keywords. One was targeting topics. One was targeting placements. One was targeting interest for. So we went from one campaign to four campaigns. And then we I ran out of room there. We got to about 200 sales a day, 250 sales a day there. And I kind of ran out of steam again. And I actually paid one of my buddies, Tommy Powers, who does a lot of consulting for 500 startups. He helps them with their digital marketing. Call him up and say, Dude, look at my campaigns. How can I get more, you know, juice out of here? And he told me to separate image and text ads into two separate campaigns because they both work image ads convert. Text ads convert. But if you put them both in the same campaign, they’ll cannibalize each other. So they’ll compete against each other because the text ads are now it’s called responsive ads. They can fit in any different size. And so they’ll usually win. But image ads work just as well. So that tip alone doubled. You know, right away we went from 200 sales a day to like 400 sales a day. It’s crazy, stupid little things like that and mean that. All the difference. Yeah. And then the next thing that we ended up doing so now we had eight campaigns. We had four. We went to eight. And then the next thing we ended up doing is males and females were working. But again, just the way that the system tries to optimize, optimize with their algorithm, we split it up into males and females. Okay. So 16 campaigns is something like 350 AdSense and but like ever I didn’t start there. I started with the one campaign and I grew it and that’s that’s how you scale, that’s how you get big. Everybody thinks that you just going to go in there and you’re going to launch this monster campaign. No, you start with something. You get it to work. And then you grow it and you grow it and you grow it. So we ended up the goal was 1000 sales a day. I ended up getting to about 500 sales a day and then they changed the offer. I can’t talk too much. It was with like a political person and because they’re in office, they had to take you know, they did stop the offer, but we got to 500 sales a day or I thought 100 cents a day was the best that I could do. It was awesome.

Bronson: It’s awesome. Thanks for taking us through the inside of how that works because we get to see you hit a roadblock. So you figured out a tweak. So you you know, and I love what you said, that you don’t start with the end in mind. You can’t build Rome in a day, nor should you try. You know, it’s almost like you’re pruning a tree. Like there’s a brand that’s working. Let’s see if we get some more branches down that path. A branch isn’t working. Let’s cut it off. Let’s stop going that direction until eventually you really have something to show for it. I mean, that’s crazy. All right. So another question I had is you mentioned something before this call also that I was like, we’ve got to talk about. It was just save and talk about it on the episode. So I don’t know or know what the hack is. We’ll talk about later. So you said that in Google Display Network, one of the hacks that you’ve been doing is to actually target people’s inboxes right now. Tell me, what do you mean by that and unpack it a little bit for us.

Justin: Okay. So what I mean by that and only work for Gmail, but some people. You’ve been sending me screenshots of seeing in Yahoo, so there must be some kind of partnership there. But basically placements is one of the targeting options inside Google Display. One of the placements that you can target is mail dot google.com. And so you can yeah, you can. It’s called Gmail sponsored promotions like there is you got your inbox and then you got your social box and then the promotions tab will these ads will show up in the promotions tab. It will look just like an email. It will have the little picture and the from them and like a subject line. And when you click into it, it opens up like an email, but it’s actually an act and you have the ability to format it however you want. You can make a full landing page in the state. You can make it look like a full if you know how to get in there and do all the code and everything I just make mine. Simple is like an image, a headline, a description and a link. But yes, so you can target people’s inboxes and the way that it works is by keyword. So let’s say your competitor has a product name widgets 3000 and you want to show up in anybody’s inboxes that like if they’ve ever had an email with the word widgets 3000 in it you can show up in that person’s and.

Bronson: They won’t have that email because they got on the trial or they’re a current customer or they’re subscribed to the blog or something. So, you know, they’re a targeted customer based on their email, which might be more specific than other ways you might target them to reach them.

Justin: Right. And another keyword that you can do is somebody domain name. So if you were maybe you were a flop box and you were trying to target people who had the Dropbox dot com in their inboxes somewhere, you could put Dropbox dot com as a target. Now, like, I’m not a lawyer. I don’t know about free of charge, you know. Yeah, whatever. But currently, this is something that you can do. It’s working really well for me. I’ll tell you, I have one kid. I have one campaign with a couple of different ad groups. So one of the ad groups is like our own brand keyword. So just in Brock can DM behind our product names showing up in those inboxes. Then we have another one which is like topic keywords. So Facebook ads, Google ads, AdWords native ads. That one is getting a lot of clicks, but it’s not really doing the conversions. And it’s it’s just not targeted enough. Mm hmm. So maybe I need a different offer for that one. But the one that’s working really well is the competitor keywords. That one is killing it for us. I mean, on $100 product, we’re sometimes seeing acquisition cost of $5, $9. It’s.

Bronson: That’s awesome. Let me ask you this. You’ve set up and ran so many campaigns on so many networks. You know what? If you had to pull a number of thin air, what’s the hit rate like? If you set up five campaigns, are four of them going to fail? Or if you set up five, four of them are going to work. Like maybe what’s your hit rate? And then what should we expect? Because it seems like it’s a little bit of science and a little bit of art, a little bit of physics and a little bit of alchemy. It’s like you can’t just make it win every time. Like you just said, you got one that’s not really working.

Justin: You know?

Bronson: Are you okay with that? Is that just abnormal or, you know, how should we think about this?

Justin: I’m so glad you asked me that question. Everybody always I go into every campaign expecting it to fail. Every single one. I’ve built over 5000 campaigns. I’ve been doing this 11 years. I’ve spent over $10 million. Every time I create a campaign, I’m expecting it to fail at least 80%. I know that 80% of what I put in there is going to fail, but I know that 20% is going to succeed. And my job isn’t to try and make 100% to succeed. My job is to put as much in there as I can so that I test everything. You know, like most people put one ad, one landing page, one campaign. I put three campaigns, five ad groups. Each ad group has three different ads. I’m testing three different landing pages. Maybe I’m testing two different offers. I put as much in there as possible. And I know that that initial round, I’m not spending my money on our lab. I’m hoping and praying that it happens out of 5000 campaigns. I can still count the ones that worked out the gate on like one hand. Yeah. You know, and so my goal is to be buying data with that first round. So you spend 500, you spend a thousand, whatever it is, and then you go and look which ones actually which ads work, which landing page work, turn off all the losers, put all your money on the winners, then you start making money. Yeah, that’s how it works. No that’s also does that a rookie does it.

Bronson: Yeah. And a pro probably has peace of mind going in with the expectation that it’s not going to work and they’re buying data and 20% they’ll double down on the rest they’ll lose when a rookie goes in sees that gets discouraged says oh Google the play network doesn’t work Facebook ads don’t work.

Justin: Yeah, I’ve actually said this in an interview before. You have learn more about media by reading a poker book than you want a book about marketing because you you have a bankroll and you can’t be emotional about that bankroll that those those dollars you’re putting in that’s just like points in the game of how you play. You got to stay unemotional. You got to be scientific. What I do, everybody thinks like what I do is I’m like creating some wizard ad that’s super clever. No, my nose is in spreadsheets and calculators all day. Like, it’s. It’s math, it’s science. What I do. It’s a learnable skill. Just like being a. It’s not about magic. Clever ads.

Bronson: Yeah, that’s awesome. I love that. Well, I got two questions I always enjoy interviews with. Now they’re kind of fun. So the first one is, What are you doing today? As soon as this interview is over, whether it’s eating lunch, taking a walk, whatever it is, or whether it’s some crazy meeting that’s going to change the world. What do you do when you hang out?

Justin: All right. So we’re kind of in launch mode right now. We’re launching a new course. So we got pizza coming. I think I can actually smell it. I think it just got delivered. So after this, I’m going to go eat some pizza and then get back to launch mode. And then later on, I’ll play some overwatch, my new favorite video game.

Bronson: Nice. All right, last question. I’ve been in this one forever. What’s the best advice you have for any startup that’s trying to grow?

Justin: Don’t quit. Anybody who doesn’t quit makes it right. I love it. There’s, like, this weird thing that, like, if you stay with it for a year, like a year and a day, it’s almost like some magical barrier of entry you pass through. But everybody who quits too early to stick with it, man, you will eventually get it.

Bronson: You know, it’s so funny you say that. Like I was. I remember walking on the beach and this is like four or five years ago, you know, I was just starting out, you know, doing stuff. And this random couple was on the beach and the guy comes over and we start talkin. And he ran a chocolate factory in, like, some European country. Right. And he’s like, what do you do as well? I just started my business, whatever. He goes, Just don’t quit. He’s like, That’s what he said. He was like, Just don’t quit. He’s like, Yeah, I want to quit. And you think you should quit if you just don’t quit? You can have everything you want in life. And that was that stayed with me.

Justin: So many times, you know, I’ve told my wife, we’ve been doing it and we’re working together for all these years, and I quit for today. That’s all I do, you know? And I go cry into a pillow and then play some video games and eat some pizza, and then you right back at it tomorrow. That’s it for today.

Bronson: That’s the difference. And the people that make it and the people that make it have grit, they’re not necessarily smarter. They’re not necessarily better. They just have enough grit or not be able to just give up. And then they end up getting what they want and they make progress. I mean, I think grit is this like amazing, you know, power source for entrepreneurs. And if you don’t have grit, I would say quit because you’re going to eventually anyway. Yeah. You know. Oh, Justin, this has been awesome, man. I mean, I loved it last time you’re on. I love it this time. Let’s get something on the schedule for, you know, a few months, have you back. And let’s just get into whatever the new trend is, Bill.

Justin: Absolutely, man. Thanks for having.

Bronson: Me. I absolutely take it easy for.

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