You Can’t Outsmart the Facebook Algorithm … and You Shouldn’t Try
“Facebook switched the game on who has the intelligence.” Near the end of this episode of Rising Tides, Kevin Prewett thinks he stumped me, because I don’t know if you can target specific Facebook groups. But that’s the wrong question. You may think you know a specific group is likely to be a warm market for your ads … but the Facebook algorithm might actually know better! The smart internet marketers of today don’t try to outsmart the Facebook algorithm, because it knows more about our warm customers than we can ever hope too.
We delve into the difference between the “Facebook algorithm” and the “Google algorithm.” Yes, they are both algorithms, but Google’s algorithm is more about SEO … which you can completely bypass with paid ads, which are much easier to scale.
We also talk about:
- Why ads that promise “Cheat Codes to Facebook Advertising” are dishonest.
- What “MVP” means to entrepreneurs, and why you need one.
- Why I am obsessed with the number 23.
About the Show: Kevin Prewett is the host of the Rising Tides.
Kevin Prewett: This is Kevin Prewett with Rising Tide Startups. My guest today is Dylan Ogline. Dylan, thanks for joining us on “Rising Tide.”
Dylan Ogline: Thanks so much for having me. I’m glad to be here.
Kevin Prewett: So I’d like you to share just a little bit about yourself with our listeners.
Dylan Ogline: Sure. So, yeah, right now I own a digital marketing agency called Ogline Digital. And basically we focus on direct response digital marketing solutions, which that’s the fancy way of putting it that we manage people’s Facebook and Google ads. That’s what we’re doing for our clients. And then I also have an education company where I have a training program where I teach people how to start and grow their own digital agency. And that’s pretty much what I’m focused on right now, and yeah, let you take it from there I guess.
Kevin Prewett: Well, you kind of skipped over a whole lot of…
Dylan Ogline: I know. I don’t know how much into the back story you want to dive into.
Kevin Prewett: Because I think they’re going to find this really interesting. I mean it’s not like you just woke up at 22 and just somebody had handed you a new MacBook and you were off and running. So walk us through kind of the quick recap of the earlier days.
Dylan Ogline: Sure. Sure. The quick recap, started my first business when I was 14 selling cellphones on eBay. This is back, for context, I’m 31. This is 2003ish, 2004. This is when pre-iPhone, all that stuff. This is when the best cellphones were in Europe, and like America for some reason we were really lacking. So all the smartphones were from Europe, and as like a nerd when I was that age, I really wanted one. And I don’t know, I stumbled upon this wholesale company. I applied to be a wholesaler and they approved me somehow some way. So I was able to buy these European smartphones for wholesale price, ship them to the United States, pay all the fees and whatnot, and then flip them on eBay and make $50 to $100.
Kevin Prewett: And these were unlocked and they were GSM or whatever the standard was? They actually worked in the U.S.?
Dylan Ogline: Yeah, they worked in the U.S. I mean technology has changed so much since then. I don’t think you had to deal with the unlocked issue at the time. I could be wrong. I mean I know back then you just had like the standard SIM card and it was as simple as just slap it in your SIM card. Like that was pretty much it.
Kevin Prewett: And these were like Motorola RAZRs and that era?
Dylan Ogline: Yeah. Motorola RAZR was like the number one seller.
Kevin Prewett: I had one of those in Europe.
Dylan Ogline: I had like three of them. Sony Ericsson I think made a really…
Kevin Prewett: Nokia had their own versions yeah.
Dylan Ogline: This is 16 years ago.
Kevin Prewett: Yeah. It is.
Dylan Ogline: This is a long time ago. So yeah, that was the very first business.
Kevin Prewett: That came to a crashing halt that I seem to remember when somebody found out that maybe we weren’t the age of necessity to open an account or something like that. Am I making that up?
Dylan Ogline: No. No. That’s pretty much. It wasn’t the wholesale company, it was my merchant account. I forget who it was through, but you had to do like the tax form or whatnot. And I put my date of birth and they were like, “Uh, you’re a little too young for this.” So they shut down my merchant account.
Kevin Prewett: Come back in four years.
Dylan Ogline: Yeah. So that got shut down. And, yeah, so fast forward 12 years and I spent a lot of time bouncing around from the shiniest object to the next shiny object. Just bouncing around, not getting anywhere. I was always doing kind of the because I had experience in like building my own websites, or when I was 14, like I had to create my own logo so I did that. Because I had that kind of experience I would get jobs building websites, doing the logo. I was doing everything for everybody. You needed a logo, I was your guy. You needed a PowerPoint, talk to me, I could get it done for you. You needed banners, boom, I could get it for you. I did everything for everybody. And I also dropped out of high school so I didn’t have a back-up plan to fall back on.
Kevin Prewett: Well you were too busy flipping phones. Who has time for school?
Dylan Ogline: Yeah. I was hawking phones on eBay. So yeah, I quit school, which was not smart. Don’t do that, kids. Stay in school. Yeah, so then I bounced around. I had a Kindle publishing company. That one is kind of embarrassing because it was we focused on Amish romance novels. You know what, I’m actually kind of proud of this. For a period of time, I was the number one publishing company in the world for Amish romance novels on Kindle. Like boom, that was me.
Kevin Prewett: You should get a tattoo that says that.
Dylan Ogline: I’m going to add that to like my LinkedIn page or something. So yeah, so I was bouncing around, getting nowhere, making nothing, and it was like at the end of 2016, had a conversation with a long-term mentor. And the basics of the conversation were focus on one single thing, stop going in so many different directions, that’s why you’re not getting anywhere. And the thing that you focus on, make sure that it can scale up, and that it’s high profit margin. You don’t want to be be playing around in Kindle publishing where the profit margin’s pretty low. So I scrapped everything and I just focused on my agency work and just focused on one single service, which was the digital marketing management.
Kevin Prewett: And this was what year approximately?
Dylan Ogline: It’s the end of 2016. And I was just obsessed with hitting six figures. Had never hit six figures at that point. 2017 I hit multiple six figures. And then 2018 is the first year I did seven figures.
Kevin Prewett: I’m curious. So it’s easy to look back at kind of the journey you’ve taken, and it’s okay, I landed on some, my mentor gave me some advice, I drilled down, I focused on something and it’s kind of paid off exponentially, obviously. Kind of hockey stick growth up into the rock here.
Dylan Ogline: 100%. Yeah.
Kevin Prewett: But if you started today, would you do the same thing? I mean because the world has shifted even with, say Google ads, and Facebook ads, and how you market in those spaces. Is there something else that you would consider in lieu of looking at those?
Dylan Ogline: Well, I mean that’s tough to say. If I were to start today with all the knowledge I have, absolutely I would be doing what I’m doing. Because I believe COVID just ramped things up to a hundred with more people buying online, being at home, everything. So like this has been the best year for my business. We broke our record for best year last month, so we’re going to have good growth this year. It doesn’t require much of my time, it’s a fantastic business, I absolutely love it. If I spend an hour or two a week on it I would be surprised if it’s that.
Kevin Prewett: Wow.
Dylan Ogline: So yeah, I would absolutely be doing what I am doing right now. But go back five years ago if you were to say that this is what I would be doing, absolutely not, that’s there’s no way. So yeah, I don’t think I’d change it.
Kevin Prewett: So how have you seen the change in the last four years in those particular spaces? I mean how has Facebook marketing changed? How has Google Adwords changed? And the follow-up question might be so what’s the next ting? What’s the next big space of ads?
Dylan Ogline: Good question. Good question. So Google probably just gets a little bit better, slight tweaks, I mean they’ve been around for so long, so it just gets a little bit better. But not much has changed with Google I don’t think. Facebook’s algorithm, which is where the real magic sauce is with Facebook, it’s not about targeting that you can do, it’s about the targeting that the algorithm does, the AI does. It gets better and better every single day. It’s ridiculous.
Most people that have maybe played around with Facebook ads have kind of a rough concept of like, “Oh, because Facebook knows everything about you, you can target specifically soccer moms in Western Pennsylvania.”
Kevin Prewett: Right. That write Amish novels.
Dylan Ogline: That are Conservative. That write Amish novels. Yeah, you can get very targeted with that, and for me, since I’ve spent so much time on it, and so much money in it, and I truly have a good understanding of it, it’s not that stuff, it’s the targeting that the algorithm does. Where you can’t even guess the specifics of who you’re targeting. That has become extremely powerful. It was powerful four years ago, but now it just keeps getting better and better.
The second part of your question: where are things going? I purposely try not to guess. I try not to play in the newest things. Probably because I spent so much time in my past life with all of my failures chasing the shiniest object. If you were to ask me this two years ago it would probably be like, “Well, maybe this Snapchat thing.” But like nobody’s really good at Snapchat ads yet. Now you’ve got like TikTok. TikTok’s more like just getting influencers and just like randomly hitting a homerun.
Kevin Prewett: Yup.
Dylan Ogline: We do manage some YouTube ads. I feel video is going to continue to grow, and grow, and grow. But still, personally, I try to stick with the things that are tried and true that have been around for a few years that I can learn form other people and not just try to… The people who are profitable with TikTok right now, they just randomly went to bat and hit a homerun. It was just lucky. With Facebook and Google, pretty much anybody if you follow somebody else who like knows what they’re doing, pretty much anybody could step into those spaces and have a very positive ROI.
Kevin Prewett: I’m surprised you didn’t mention Instagram at all.
Dylan Ogline: With the brands that I’m working with, me personally, I don’t play with Instagram. If you were like a clothing brand, or a consumer product type of brand, yes Instagram can be very powerful. It’s just not a space that I play in.
Kevin Prewett: So it’s interesting. Because I’ve interviewed a number of people, and they’ve talked about using Adwords and digital marketing space. And when I hear the word algorithm, I most often hear that associated with Google versus Facebook. So it’s interesting that you’ve used that in Facebook because they always talk about how Google changed the algorithm, and I date myself here, and go back to Panda, and Penguin, and those ships that occurred in Google and how it just blew people’s SEO up. Or it shut their site down, or they went from a thousand hits a day to ten hits a day in one day. So how do you kind of understand without Facebook just sending you a “here’s our brand new document on our algorithm”? How do you understand that from a marketing standpoint?
Dylan Ogline: So I would add this as context. When I say algorithm and AI, I’m kind of using those interchangeably. So for like a deeper understanding here, when people are talking about the algorithm with Google, they’re talking about how Google picks your search results.
Kevin Prewett: That’s more specific. Okay.
Dylan Ogline: Yes. So if you type in “dentist Orlando”-- I'm from Orlando-- if you type in “dentist Orlando,” the organic search results that you see is chosen by an algorithm. I don’t play in that space. That’s a lot of SEO. While SEO is smart, you want to certainly make sure your website is SEO-friendly and whatnot. I don’t like some people they plan ahead based on their SEO results. They’re banking on those results, but the algorithm can randomly change.
Kevin Prewett: Right.
Dylan Ogline: I’m playing in the paid advertising space. So somebody types in “Orlando dentist,” the first result is going to be an ad. That you always have control over. As long as you’re not getting banned or something or doing something stupid, like you have control of being first there. When it comes to the organic results, you don’t have control of that. So, like you said, somebody could be getting a thousand hits a day and then randomly Google changes the algorithm, and now you’re getting ten.
So it’s smart to take advantage of SEO best practices, maybe have a blog and do guest posts, et cetera et cetera. But you’re kind of just you don’t know if you’re going to get growth from that, you can’t scale it up whenever you want. I don’t think planning your growth based on SEO is very smart.
Kevin Prewett: Yeah.
Dylan Ogline: Did that answer your question?
Kevin Prewett: Absolutely. And it was a great clarification between how we may use terms interchangeably that may be meaning different things.
Dylan Ogline: Sure.
Kevin Prewett: So you mentioned a second ago about-- go ahead and finish, you had something else to add.
Dylan Ogline: No. I just remember now when I’m talking about the Facebook algorithm, or the Facebook AI-- again, I’m using those term interchangeably. How do I want to quickly explain this best? Most people understand whenever you’re targeting an ad, let’s say you’re a dentist in Orlando and you want to create a dental ad on Facebook. It used to be that you could get really specific and target-- they kind of changed the targeting options-- but you could target women that have children that are Republican between the ages of 40 and 60. That’s a random…
Kevin Prewett: Certain zip code, geographic areas, yeah.
Dylan Ogline: Zip code, you could get really specific, okay? And now you still can get really specific, but they’ve kind of taken the options back a little bit. What we do is we’ll create multiple ad variations, multiple pictures, multiple ad copy and then we’ll select like 20 different audiences. So I just gave that example, the women between such and such age, and then maybe a different one, women between such and such age, same geographic region that have an interest in Oprah, okay? We’ll throw up like 600 different versions of ads, which is that might sound like a lot of work, but it’s not because you’re copying a lot of things. And then the algorithm, the Facebook AI will then target specific people based on those different variations. And then you just narrow down whichever ones are the most profitable.
And I’m giving a really, really simple quick explanation of what that is, so it might not make total sense. But how powerful that is that you can throw up 600 variations of an ad and let the algorithm, the AI basically figure out the targeting.
Kevin Prewett: Absolutely. Yeah.
Dylan Ogline: I cant even begin to describe how impactful that is when it comes to marketing.
Kevin Prewett: And just to add to that, I was listening to another interview you had done earlier, and you said, “Once we figure that out, we can just add a zero to it,” and virtually you’re just scaling something that you have more than anecdotal evidence that it’s working. And you can kind of focus on the ones that are the most profitable.
Dylan Ogline: 100%. Absolutely. And like when we were talking with SEO, as an example. You can’t scale up SEO. Once you’ve proven your Facebook ad, or your Google ad, these tried and true methods, you just double your budget, or you triple your budget, or you add a zero and boom, you’re ten times bigger. And that’s oversimplifying it, there is a little bit of work there, but relatively speaking that’s what you do. And you can just crank up the growth and purchase more growth for your business.
Kevin Prewett: Now, statistically, you talk about kind of a control group, and you have to have a credible number of people to have a really substantive result. So let’s say you’ve thrown up 600 different ads out there and five of them have really shown pretty significant results. Is it just a matter of scaling or are your results credible enough that you can just double down on that or is it five people responded to it and it looks like it’s really active. You understand kind of the question? It’s are there enough people that are responding even to the ones that look successful to really cause you to say, “Man, we’re going all in on these now.”
Dylan Ogline: You definitely want to take it a little slower than just 10xing your budget. Unless you have the money. But, yeah, it’s more common that if you had an ad that is, say you had 3x return-- just throwing that number out there—you did those 600 ads and ten of them got a 3x return and they’re profitable. If you just copy those ads and you increase the budget on those few ads, you’re probably going to get the same results going as you scale up.
Kevin Prewett: That answers my question, yeah.
Dylan Ogline: Yeah. Again, it’s a little bit more complicated than just add in a zero.
Kevin Prewett: Right.
Dylan Ogline: But in relative terms, that’s basically what you’re doing.
Kevin Prewett: And are the results different? Like if you look at two different ads, and the results are relatively the same, is one that you may have been a lot more specific on versus one you’ve been a lot more general on, is the specific ad worth more, in essence, than the one that’s a little more general? Even if it’s the same return on investment?
Dylan Ogline: What do you mean by specific?
Kevin Prewett: Well, like, let’s say that you have ten factors that you’ve used as a demographic targeting factors…
Dylan Ogline: Your targeting factors?
Kevin Prewett: …versus say three. But both of those ads had a 3x return. So is the ten virtually more valuable because it’s more specific than the other one?
Dylan Ogline: Well, generally speaking, what we practice is keeping them more broad than specific. Especially if you’re doing certain regions. If you’re doing saying the whole nation, then you probably should get a little bit more specific. But we try to keep it relatively broad. And typically, say you’re testing, say you have ten different ads that were profitable, the number of things that we target is probably the same across the board.
Kevin Prewett: Right. Right. And that would add to the credibility of the results too. I mean it’s easier to compare those if they’re similar. Just kind of like an A/B testing type thing.
Dylan Ogline: Yeah. So one thing I would add there is when people are thinking of targeting, like the random stuff I just shouted out-- age, women, that have kids that are Republican, like that’s just broad sense targeting that most people are thinking of. Facebook is tracking like as you’re scrolling through your phone, how fast you scroll.
Kevin Prewett: Wow.
Dylan Ogline: How fast you type. The language you’re using. And, listen, it’s not like Mark Zuckerberg sitting behind a computer like, “Oh, this person is very aggressive.”
Kevin Prewett: Crazy guy in Virginia. You know what he’s looking at.
Dylan Ogline: Yeah. That’s not what’s going on here. But Facebook’s racking all this stuff and they know they’re just they’re comparing you and your psychological profile to other people. And they don’t even understand. They don’t even grasp what is happening. But they allow the AI, artificial intelligence, to kind of connect the dots and be like, “These ten people were shown your ad and they all clicked on it. We’re going to find the next 1,000 people within the 100,000 people that you’re targeting that are most like those other ten people.” If that makes sense.
Kevin Prewett: Yeah. Yup.
Dylan Ogline: So they don’t even know why they are most like those ten people. Again, it’s not Mark Zuckerberg sitting behind his computer being like, “Well, let’s show the ad to these ten people.” It’s all just the AI, the algorithm, looking at your entire psychological profile, and being like, “We think these 1,000 people are most similar to these ten people. And we’re going to show this ad that worked to these ten people to these other 1,000 people.” That’s a game-changer when it comes to marketing.
Kevin Prewett: And does the ad cost like per click or whatever per person go up the more refined, the deeper you get in the process with Facebook?
Dylan Ogline: If you get more targeted, typically, yes. It does get a little bit more expensive. But the algorithm getting better doesn’t typically cost you anymore.
Kevin Prewett: And I would have a feeling that in the last four years you’ve kind of learned some things too. You’re probably not, I would hate to use the term “wasting money.” You’re probably not wasting ad spend as much as you were previously because you know kind of tricks, and tips, and ways to try to target specific markets that are lot more cost effective.
Dylan Ogline: I mean, personally, yeah I do consider myself to have gotten better. But I would add this, you mentioned like tips and tricks. When I’m teaching somebody Facebook ads, or Google ads, or anything like that I tell people you want to focus on I’m really big into 80/20 method. You want to focus on the 20% of your efforts that are going to get you 80% of the results, and then just keep doing that over and over and over again. So I just focus on getting better at the fundamentals. Are there tips and tricks and cheat codes to Facebook or Google?
Kevin Prewett: Oh I didn’t go quite that far. Maybe learnings is a better word.
Dylan Ogline: But literally I’ve seen an ad where it was something like “the cheat code to Facebook ads.” And I’m like, “Dude, there is no cheat code.” And maybe some person figured out some setting or something that got them results, but it was probably they just randomly went to bat and hit a home run. They probably can’t duplicate that with other people. But if you focus on the fundamentals, you can duplicate that over and over and over again. And as you continue to duplicate it, you get better and better. That’s the stuff that I focus on.
Kevin Prewett: It’s actually you mention the Pareto Principle, which is an 80/20 rule. So but I have a feeling, and I’m not trying to push back here on this, but I have a feeling that you understand your 20 than you did four years ago.
Dylan Ogline: Oh, 100%, yeah. Yeah. But that’s the point is you get better and better at it.
Kevin Prewett: Exactly.
Dylan Ogline: I just kept beating on the fundamentals over and over and over again. I get feedback from students and they’re like, “I can’t write good copy. Or what’s the secret to writing good copy? What’s the secret to writing a good ad?” And I’m like, “It’s really simple. Just keep writing ads over and over and over again and you’ll get better and better and better.” Like that’s it, there’s nothing fancy, it’s just the reason I can write…
Kevin Prewett: Spell your words right.
Dylan Ogline: Spell your words right. But just keep doing it. Like how did you get better at riding a bike? Like you probably went out there, and you fell down a few times, and then you got back up and you just kept riding the bike, and now you can ride a bike with your eyes closed. Probably not recommended, but that’s how you got better, you just kept doing it, and doing it, and doing it. Very few people have natural-born talent at anything. Nobody is born and they’re like, “He’s a great copywriter.” That doesn’t happen. The only way you get better at these things is just continuously beating on your craft over and over and over again, and then you get better.
Kevin Prewett: You mentioned something earlier in the conversation about mentor, and people you’ve learned from, and you mentioned something on another interview too about a mentor telling you something like the airline industry versus drilling for oil. You want to unpack that a little bit?
Dylan Ogline: Yeah, so this was the conversation I had at the end of 2016 with a mentor. And just a little bit more context, at the time I had like ten business projects, was going nowhere. Remember I mentioned I was chasing the shiniest object. And what I said about like focusing on the high profit margin, his specific advice was stop trying to build an airline, and instead drill for oil. And he goes on to explain that like the smartest business people in the world get into the airline industry, and they still lose money. Because it’s just a notoriously difficult industry to make money in.
And the people that do make money, they just so happen to hit a homerun. They were smart, but they just were in the right place at the right time, they chose the right market, and it was a lot of luck. And instead you want to focus on something like the oil industry, which is a little bit more difficult to make money in now. But you could just be okay in that industry put in the work and you’re probably going to make a lot of money. And if you end up being exceptionally great you’re going to be ridiculously rich. Whereas even if you’re exceptionally great in the airline industry, you might not even make money.
So he’s like, “I wasn’t building airlines or drilling for oil.” I’ll break it down a little bit more. So I mentioned like the Kindle publishing, right? Well, I learned to do that because I took somebody’s training program. And the training program I took, the guy who taught it was making like $10,000 a month. He was making six figures off of this Kindle stuff. Well, he was just really, really good at it. Like he just so happened to be exceptionally good at it. Like he hit a homerun and he just ran with it. Well, I was probably just going to end up being okay at it, which I was just okay at it. So I never made more than like $1,000 a month off it.
Kevin Prewett: Hey, hey, hey, you were number one.
Dylan Ogline: I was really good…
Kevin Prewett: We’re number one.
Dylan Ogline: Amish romance novels. That was my claim to fame right there. But even then, barely made any money off of it. Whereas like with the agency, with the digital marketing management, it’s a high profit margin business. And like 2017 now I hit multiple six figures, I still wasn’t that good at it yet, but I would still hit my financial goal. So the lesson there was simple, it was focus on a business that is you could end up just being okay at or just kind of good at and still hit your financial goal.
Kevin Prewett: Which is $1,923 a week.
Dylan Ogline: $1,923 per week will get you to six figures, which was… For those of you, I’ve talked about this before, so the listeners out there who don’t know, I used to keep a spreadsheet because I didn’t want to trick myself. Like, say I sold a website, I might randomly get a check one week for $3,000. Well, great, I’m on pace for six figures. No, I really wanted to be on pace for six figures. So I kept this spreadsheet that tracked my previous 23-week rolling average revenue. And 23 weeks because I’m obsessed with the number 23, and it’s almost six months. And I just had it written down that I wanted to hit $1,923 in rolling average of revenue, which would mean that I’m on pace for six figure. I had that spreadsheet for the longest time, and then I think it was like March of 2017 is when it finally went over $1,923. And I cried.
Kevin Prewett: Tears of joy.
Dylan Ogline: It was tears of joy. I remember I still had a bucket because I didn’t spend the money yet to buy a chair. I still had a bucket that I sat on in my basement office, then I put in that week’s revenue, and it probably went over like $2,000, but it was like, “Oh my God, I went over. I’m over on pace for six figures,” and I cried.
Kevin Prewett: So the 23, it’s either Michael Jordan, or some Pittsburgh Penguin hockey player.
Dylan Ogline: I still play hockey, but in high school I got to choose either 28 or 23, and I was like, “Oh, I’m going to go with 23 because it’s Michael Jordan.”
Kevin Prewett: Absolutely.
Dylan Ogline: And I had the best year of my hockey “career.” “Career” for those of you who can’t see. So since then I’ve been obsessed with 23.
Kevin Prewett: There you go. There you go, well, I’m interested as you kind of talk about the specifics of how you launched your marketing agency, and kind of wrap it up today, let’s drill down really to speaking directly to the audience about if they’re thinking about launching something. And you used the term MVM, which is minimum viable marketing, I think in another chat you were having. And it’s the same principle as kind of the MVP, the minimum viable product or minimum viable service or whatever. So unpack that just a little bit for somebody that is just thinking about starting and how you would kind of mentor them through the process of drilling down on the idea and launching whatever their service or product is.
Dylan Ogline: Sure. So this is any kind of product or service?
Kevin Prewett: Anything. Yeah, just you’re speaking to people are just wanting to get in the game.
Dylan Ogline: Awesome. Okay. So the minimum viable product, minimum viable marketing, all that stuff is very related. And essentially I’m really big into keeping things lean, mean, and scrappy. So you want to in the beginning prove that you have product market fit as fast as humanly possible. The best way to do that is to actually just do some marketing and sell your product or service typically before it’s ever built.
So if you have a training program like I do, don’t spend six months, a year, two years building out your training program and then go to sell it and find out that nobody wants it. So if you have an idea, you have a concept for a training program, and you haven’t started building it yet, great. Go and sell it. Like go out to who you think your ideal market is, your ideal client, and actually sell it. Use Google ads, use Facebook ads, that’s the fastest way. Yes, it’s going to cost you money, but it is worth it to get feedback from the marketplace.
So maybe you have this training program and you need to take it in a different direction. So you need to do a pivot. We always talk about pivots in startups in the tech space, right? Well, if you’ve spent six months, a year, two years building out your training program, and you need to pivot, that’s going to be very painful. You’re going to resist that. But if you’ve never built it, and you’re trying to sell it, and you find out from your ideal clients that you need to pivot into a different direction, you’re not going to have resistance to it because you haven’t spent any time building it.
Kevin Prewett: Right.
Dylan Ogline: So actually get out there and sell your product or your service ideally before you ever build it. And be honest with people, we’re not scamming people here. I like to add that context. Like say you’re doing the training program, tell people, “Hey, I’m going to be starting the actual program four weeks from now, next month,” okay. Well then you’ve got four weeks to build it if you actually sell it. If you don’t end up building it, something happens, you just refund the people’s money. No harm no foul. But it’s much better to do that than to spend two years creating this concept in your head of the ideal product only to find out that the market’s like, “Eh, we actually don’t need that product or service.”
Kevin Prewett: Yeah, just crickets. Yeah, crickets are expensive.
Dylan Ogline: Yes.
Kevin Prewett: They are certainly expensive. Well, Dylan, this has been great. As a Facebook kind of novice, I mean I’m obviously a user of Facebook, but Facebook ads novice. So can you drill down to the point where I know you’re kind of targeting specific say users, but can you target groups? Like if you have a group of 50,000 people out there, can you shoot an ad directly into that group using Facebook ads or is it more just the algorithm just has to somehow cross reference those group members into what you’re looking for?
Dylan Ogline: I’m going to try to answer this as best I can because I think I understand what you’re asking. Wait, let me back up. So give me a little bit more context here so I can properly answer.
Kevin Prewett: Let’s say you have Amish writers that has a 50,000 member group out there and you can see the group, you’re not necessarily a member of it, you can see it. Can you buy an ad that specifically targets that group and it goes to all their members?
Dylan Ogline: If there is an interest. Man, I don’t even know what it’s called, I just know what it looks like in the Facebook ads when you’re setting it. You target a certain interest so it can be target people who like Tim Ferriss or something like that. And when you’re setting up your ad it will tell you how many people are in there. If there is a large enough amount of people, and I don’t know what the specific number is, I believe it’s like over 100,000 people have to either like a page or something for them to allow it to be an interest. If that interest is there, then yes, you could create an ad that will target that entire group of Amish romance novel writers.
Kevin Prewett: I’m talking about a specific closed group on Facebook.
Dylan Ogline: Oh, okay, okay. So a specific closed.
Kevin Prewett: Yeah, like I set up a group, I’ve got 49,999 other people out there that love the same thing I do, they’re in my Facebook group, and you come along and you see my group online. Can you buy an ad in Facebook that targets my group? That my group just all of a sudden in their feed they’ll get that ad. Is it that granular?
Dylan Ogline: To be honest, I don’t have an answer for that because I’ve never done it.
Kevin Prewett: I’ll have to edit this out now that I’ve kind of stumped the expert here so. That wasn’t intentional. Sorry.
Dylan Ogline: No. No. This is actually a good thing because it shows like I don’t know all the specifics. I focus more on the fundamentals. So this is something that’s outside of my space. I’ve never wanted or needed to do that. I would be very surprised if you can’t. I’m trying to envision in my head.
Kevin Prewett: It may be very expensive because it’s so targeted.
Dylan Ogline: Well, the expense, it depends what’s the competition.
Kevin Prewett: And we are talking Amish romance writers.
Dylan Ogline: Yeah, so there’s probably not going to be that many people that are. But this is actually a good example because maybe, for some really weird reason, Red Bull-- I'm trying to think of a random brand here-- Red Bull, the algorithm has figured out that, dude, Amish romance novel writers always click on Red Bull ads for some reason. So you might be competing with Red Bull, and Monster, and Starbucks and not even realize it.
Kevin Prewett: Yeah, they’re spending a ton of money.
Dylan Ogline: Because for some reason, the algorithm figured out that those people really click on those ads.
Kevin Prewett: I love it.
Dylan Ogline: That’s how Facebook works.
Kevin Prewett: I love it.
Dylan Ogline: So I wish I could give you a better answer, but unfortunately, I don’t. Again, I’m trying to think in my head like what all the settings are. I would be very surprised if you can’t. Depends on the size.
Kevin Prewett: If you had a product that was so targeted to a specific group that would be a great opportunity to advertise to a very focused, like 98% interest. You knew that they were interested in the product you are trying to sell them type thing. At least it matches their interest.
Dylan Ogline: That is true. However, what Facebook did is it flipped who the intelligence is. It used to be like the companies that knew the most about their clients, they could target specific radio stations, or they could target people in certain areas, geographic areas because they just knew a lot of that stuff. Facebook switches that so that now Facebook knows. So you might think this one Facebook group would really convert well for some reason. Well, Facebook might know better. So you might put out your ad and it ends up being you’re targeting Amish romance novel writers, and those people might click on your ad, but it might be Pittsburgh Steeler fans. For some odd reason, they love your product or service.
Kevin Prewett: Right. Right.
Dylan Ogline: So the algorithm switches and says, “Hey, so these ten people clicked on your ad, we’re looking for the next 10,000 people that are most similar, and they all just so happen to be male Pittsburgh Steeler fans from Texas.”
Kevin Prewett: That secretly read Amish romance novels.
Dylan Ogline: That secretly read Amish romance novels.
Kevin Prewett: As a Dallas Cowboy fan, I’ve thought that for years. That Pittsburgh Steeler fans do have a habit of reading…
Dylan Ogline: Oh, of course, I had to be talking to a Cowboys fan.
Kevin Prewett: …Amish romance novels. We’ve thought it for years.
Dylan Ogline: We’re just reading “How to Win,” and we do that.
Kevin Prewett: That’s right. Speaking from 25 years of misery, yes, I understand. Yes, it still pains me.
Dylan Ogline: Yeah, we know how to win, so.
Kevin Prewett: Hey, man, this has been a great conversation. Is there anything that we haven’t touched on that you kind of want to close out with? And just to remind people where the best place to find you online?
Dylan Ogline: Sure. Anything to close out on. Since we just mostly talked about like Facebook ads, and Google ads, and stuff.
Kevin Prewett: And you redeemed yourself at the end there with that whole Facebook algorithm thing. I mean you far out you answered my question that you think I stumped you with.
Dylan Ogline: Good. I’m glad. I’m glad. No, since people are probably going to be thinking a lot about that is don’t look for the secret sauce or something like that. The secret to Facebook, Google, et cetera is stick t the fundamentals and just keep getting better and better and better. And the best way to do that is just put things out into the marketplace and continuously reiterate, and continuously get better and better and better. I think that would be my final takeaway. And you asked like where to find more about me?
Kevin Prewett: Yeah, where’s the best place to catch you online?
Dylan Ogline: My website: dylanogline.com. Pretty simple.
Kevin Prewett: We’ll make sure and have those in the show notes. And, Dylan, it’s been a pleasure to just circle back, and hear your back story, and just I really appreciate you taking the time and just walking our audience through, especially at the end there, just this idea of how to kind of narrow down and figure out how you can be successful in whatever you want to launch. Because that’s really the whole premise behind this is our “Rising Tide Startups” is just helping each other, doing your part to help each other rise and rising tide. Dylan, thanks again.
Dylan Ogline: Absolutely. Thanks so much for having me.