Gary Vaynerchuk + Facebook Dark Posts = My Best Performing Ad So Far

I’m not going to pretend that this technique will work for everyone, not even close. But my hope is that it’ll inspire you to think outside the Facebook ad box and break away from writing the same old ad copy for every campaign you run. (It might affect what you’ve got planned in the editorial calendar as well!)

Right now I’m spending $5 per day and targeting a very specific group of people with ads about my free guide to Facebook ads. (#Inception.) Here’s the breakdown of this audience:


Yes, that’s right. I’m only including one interest: Gary Vaynerchuk.

Why him? Because while listening to his podcast/YouTube show #AskGaryVee, I noticed he kept repeating the same thing over and over: “use Facebook dark posts to market your business.”

“Dark posts” is a term that popped up a few years ago when Facebook was revamping their advertising platform. This was the only way you could run ads in the News Feed without first publishing something to your page first.

Nowadays dark posts are simply run-of-the-mill Facebook ads shown in the News Feed. They’re the exact ads I teach you to make in Absolute FB Ads (and pretty much everything that’s on this blog).

So here’s the one ad I’m showing to this audience:


As you can see, the copy speaks specifically to people who follow Gary. He’s got die-hard fans and I assumed that lots of them would get the reference to dark posts.

Check out these results:


To give you some context, my cost per lead for this opt-in has varied from about $1 to close to $4 at different times in the past year. So a $0.97 average cost per lead is pretty damn good in my book.

I just checked yesterday’s stats and those 10 conversions came in at just $0.50 each. So this campaign is still getting optimized by Facebook. 

This is the first time I’ve played with a small daily budget, and I’m really happy with the results. As usual I noticed a drop-off in clicks last Friday, so I paused the ads until Monday. (This is a big trend I’m seeing with my audience; they don’t tend to convert on Fridays or Saturdays, so I don’t run ads those days.)

I did something similar with a blog post that I “boosted” back in March. Instead of my usual tactic of driving traffic straight to my opt-in page, I spent just $4 on getting this post in front of another very specific audience: Laura Roeder’s.

I used the interest “LKR Social Media” when I turned this Facebook posts into an ad:


Here are the results:


Even though this ad drove traffic to a blog post, it still generated 6 new sign ups to my list! And for just $0.67 each.

Why did I stop this ad after only spending $4? I wish I could tell you! The post was part of the pre-launch content I wrote in preparation for the launch of Landing Pages that Convert, and the costs were starting to add up. I’m pretty sure I set the budget for $4 and then forgot it.

Lesson learned? Pay attention to your results, even when running ads for a blog post!

How to Try This For Yourself

Like I said, my Gary Vee technique certainly won’t work for everyone. I’m lucky that someone with a huge and engaged following recommends a marketing technique that I can teach people how to employ.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t target a specific audience with an insanely relevant message. Try this:

  1. Go into the Audiences section of your Facebook ad account and click the green Create Audience button at the top left.
  2. Choose Saved Target Group. blog-garyv-createaudience
  3. Explore your possibilities under “interests.” What prominent business, organization or personality could you feature in a blog post? Who else is teaching something that’s directly related to your free opt-in content?
  4. Make an “interest list” of potential interests for you to target, and close the audience window. You don’t need to actually finish creating the audience now, but you can if you want.
  5. Open up whatever doc or list that you use to keep track of ideas for blog posts, podcast episodes, videos, etc. and see if you can tie any of your ideas to one of the people or businesses on your interest list.

If you want to try a list building campaign like my Gary Vee one, jot down ideas for copy that could tie your opt-in to someone on your interest list. For example:

  • Love MarieTV? Launch your own video marketing campaign with this free step-by-step guide. (Interest you would target: Marie Forleo)
  • Thinking about attending World Domination Summit? I can’t go so I’m giving away my ticket for FREE! Click here and grab your chance to win: (Interests you would target: Chris Guillebeau, Art of Non-Conformity)

I’ll be honest: it’s really challenging to write ad copy like this that doesn’t come off as creepy (“how do you know I like MarieTv??” or just plain awkward. It’s why I don’t use this technique very often. I recommend you try it with a blog post first instead of your opt-in landing page.

So tell me: do you love it or hate it? Can you see yourself incorporating this kind of targeted messaging into your ad strategy?

Let me know right here in the comments!