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Nick Edwards the CEO of Feed – a website that allows you to effortlessly grow your audiences on Facebook & Instagram with efficient PPC advertising – is our first guest on our brand new AmplifyYou Q&A series.

Amplify.link is integrated with Feed so you can easily use Amplify.link pages as part of your advertising campaigns to grow your audience with Feed. The reason we like Feed and integrated with it, is that it produces results, allows you to effortlessly carry out PPC advertising campaigns and you don’t have to engage with the horror show that is Facebooks Ad Manager.

What led you to set up Feed?

Joshua and I had known each other for years – he was always sketching out interesting product ideas he wanted to build and I was ready to get out of the investing/economics world and use those skills somewhere (anywhere!) else. 

We saw the huge growth in the number of creative entrepreneurs – musicians, people selling their designs on Etsy, podcasters etc – and thought this movement was super exciting. Now it’s called the creator economy, but back then it was less defined.

But everyone we spoke to was running into the same problem: building an audience online and growing their business, especially with limited resources, no marketing expertise and no time.

The digital advertising tools out there were built for marketers with specialist knowledge and larger budgets, who had the time to think about adsets, CPMs, bidding etc.

Joshua and I thought between us we had the skills to build a tool that could fill the gap and – after a bit of R&D, road testing and a brief detour in setting up an independent record label – we started building Feed about two and half years ago.

You have a background in marketing, what was it and how has this influenced your product?

Joshua’s background was running digital campaigns at record labels (Warp, Transgressive). What he noticed was that time and time again it was the natural-feeling, organic content in the artists’ own voice that resonated most with audiences – both new and existing.

In other words, not the super-slick professional ads that look too much like marketing.

This was the basis for Feed, which only lets you promote posts (and stories) that you’ve actually posted organically to Instagram or Facebook. We want our customers to amplify their authentic voices by promoting every day, organic content. That’s what gets the best results.

(Our data now backs this up by the way – natural feeling posts perform ~100% better than ‘sales-y’ content)

Also, working in marketing meant having to use Facebook Ads Manager. And we didn’t want to do that (if you’ve tried it you’ll know why – think of the worst UX ever and then sprinkle a dose of chaos on it = Ads Manager). 

So we started to build something that would automate Joshua out of his old job 😅

What makes Feed different and more effective than just running PPC campaigns yourself?

Feed is designed as a set-and-forget tool so it really doesn’t take up any time. You connect Feed to Facebook & Instagram, set an objective and a budget… and that’s kind of all you need to do. It will do its thing in the background while you get on with other things.

If you’re interested in finding out how to use Feed, checkout the founders Nick and Josh explaining the setup process in their own words here.

“Do its thing” means A/B testing your posts to see which one gets the best response and making sure your budget is allocated to the content that resonates. Feed takes the guesswork out – in reality, no one has time to A/B test as much as they should… but Feed can and does 🤖

Plus we have a bunch of cool insights that tell you what is working, so you can learn, iterate and improve. 

Not to brag (I’m going to) – we also get better results than our customers’ other ads. We’ll let the data do the talking 😀 

Ah man – we’ve been a fan of Amplify pages for a long time. The first thing is great design and clear CTAs. The person lands on a nice looking landing page and they know exactly what they need to do. Without that in place, you could have the best advertising set-up ever but your ads will still perform terribly. 

Sounds obvious, but it’s not a given. Look at the design of the average Linktree page!

The second thing is making data transfer seamless – being able to accurately report things like page views, mailing list sign-ups etc is really handy for us and lets our users see how their ads are performing in more detail. 

From the creator’s perspective, the UX to set up a page is also super simple, so we feel Amplify is doing for landing pages what we’re doing for digital advertising.

How have you noticed the online landscape changing for creators in the past few years? What are the new opportunities, and what’s getting more challenging?

The opportunities have definitely increased… in theory. There’s now such a range of great tools built to help creators: from the creating itself through to marketing, networking, tax etc. These tools – and we count Feed among them – also make it more affordable for creators to outsource work like finance and digital advertising.

It’s also easier (again, in theory) to reach billions of people directly on platforms like Instagram, YouTube and TikTok than it was even a few years ago. 

In terms of challenges, it seems increasingly competitive out there for everyone. Lots of people are writing newsletters, recording podcasts, minting NFTs… and building apps! Although there are fewer gatekeepers, carving out your niche, finding your audience, tribe, customer base, true fans – whatever you call it – is even more important now. 

Challenges specific to what we do at Feed include things like Apple iOS privacy rules: while benefiting consumers, they hurt creators and small businesses because you often have less information about what people do on your website and can’t retarget them as accurately. Big companies can implement workarounds, but for creators, it makes it harder to grow things like sales and mailing list signups. The solution is a more technical implementation of things like Facebook’s conversion API – which luckily Amplify and Feed both work with!

Any tips you can offer to creators looking to get their audience to the places that matter – whether that’s a streaming site or merch store?

  1. We always bang on about the importance of thinking about your audience’s journey (in marketing speak: your marketing funnel). This is the journey you take your audience on, from discovering you to purchasing something, signing up to a mailing list or whatever. 

There are likely many touchpoints along that journey and someone will probably need to see at least 4 pieces of content before they become fans or customers. In practice, this means a process of reaching people and then retargeting them multiple times (something that Feed automates). 

  1. With a small or medium-sized audience, you might need to alternate between periods of ‘selling’ (getting people onto your merch store) with audience growth. Trying for months on end to convince the same group of people to buy merch may not work, and you could just end up annoying them.

We wrote about this idea on our blog: the Grow > Sell > Grow accordion.

  1. Making sure your website and landing pages are super clear, with nice design and UX, is an easy win. As I mentioned above, not nailing this can really make things fall down.
  1. Getting your set-up right is also key: is your landing page talking to Facebook nicely (via a Facebook pixel or Facebook’s conversions API)? Is Mailchimp integrated? Those sorts of things are important.
  1. First-party data and owning your customer relationships. While building an audience on Instagram is great, you might want to move people onto a mailing list at some point so you own the contact with them. Plus mailing lists generally convert really well.

That was a bit of a stream of consciousness, but hopefully useful and not too rambling. 

How can the AmplifyYou community get involved?

We’d love to have you try Feed!

Sign up using the link below and we’ll be in touch to offer you [£50] of ad credit and a demo of the platform!

Join here to get £50 of ad credit free: https://app.tryfeed.co/join?code=SB184

If you’re interested in finding out how to use Feed, check out founders Nick and Josh explaining the setup process in their own words here.

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