May 22, 2024

10 Mar 2020Ezra Firestone did ecommerce long before Facebook became the preferred channel.

He discussed the keys to success in business today, how marketing has changed, and what entrepreneurs need to focus on for 2020.

Here’s the TL;DR five-point version if you’re running out of time:

1. Today’s algorithms are so intelligent that you don’t have to worry much about audience or placement optimization. Ad creative is what you should be focusing on.

2. Cash-flow businesses do not create true wealth. Liquidation of assets is the only way to create true wealth.

3. To succeed in 2020, focus on creative and campaign objectives optimization.

4. To play the long game, you need a business liquidity cushion of 12 months. Most businesses only have a 30- to 60-day cushion.

5. Avoid burnout by setting boundaries and investing in your relationships, health, and social life.

Start Yours is an ecommerce podcast that covers dropshipping and everything related to starting a business.

Learn how entrepreneurs have survived and thrived despite the challenges of running online stores.

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David: Welcome, Ezra Firestone! We are excited to have Ezra Firestone on Start Yours today to discuss Facebook Advertising because you’ve been marketing ecommerce shops long before Facebook became a major player. You have a decade of positive experience in the ecommerce world, which is a century. We’ll dig deeper into this background in a moment.

Before we look back at the past, let’s start looking ahead and ask what excites you most about Facebook marketing in 2020 and Instagram Marketing. Let me know if you are excited about new tools, trends, or tactics. What should people be excited about in 2020 regarding Facebook and Instagram?

Opportunity to Scale

Ezra Firestone: Hey man, thank you for having me. You know, it’s a different game now. In the last 24 months, a lot has changed. Previously, scaling was all about optimizing your targeted audiences. You could run a single creative piece for up to a full year. You used to be able to target the people you wanted your ads to reach, but now that has changed.

The algorithm is smart enough to handle your audience and placement scaling. It would be best if you focused on optimizing your creativity. Creativity is the most critical aspect of advertising. Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube are contextual advertising. Google ads or Amazon or Pinterest are search-based or query-based advertising. This is how advertising began, with search intents and queries.

There was no contextual advertising when I first started playing the game. With contextual advertising, we have data on the people. Facebook knows thousands of details about you. They know what you do, your friends and family, and where you go. We, as advertisers, can then aggregate these data points to create groups of people that we can target with messages.

This shift in online advertising has changed how brands scale because you no longer have to wait for people to search for things. It’s a little problematic because contextual advertising interruption advertising. This is similar to ads placed in magazines or newspapers when someone reads the magazine or newspaper. It’s the online equivalent.

It would be best if you were good at telling stories and creating videos. You also need to create ads that will grab people’s interest. This is exciting because you can set yourself up. You can set yourself apart from the competition if you’re good at it.

For example, I have a campaign that spends $22,000 per day on Facebook to increase awareness of me. This results in a return on advertising investment of 2x.

In 2020, my Facebook advertising was performing better than ever. It’s because creativity is now more critical than ever before; I am good at story-telling and understand the wants and experiences of my customers, and I talk to them about it.

Ezra Firestone’s Take on Ecommerce Marketing ten years ago

David: At the end of this podcast, I will ask you exactly the opposite question I asked you just now: What makes you anxious about Facebook Marketing for 2020? Let’s just put a pin on that for now. I want to know more about your background.

You said that you have been in this business for some time. I think you started ecommerce in 2007. In 2010, you launched Boom by Cindy Joseph, a cosmetics brand you helped scale. You sold your first store in 2012. Since then, you have been able to keep things moving.

It’s incredible to think that you already had five years of experience in ecommerce by 2012. You were at the forefront of many channels, now taken for granted. It’s cool because it makes understanding the present much more accessible. So I won’t be asking you to break that ’07-’12 era down year by year. You could give us an idea of how digital marketing looked in those days. What was the foundation of a good paid marketing mix in 2010?

Ezra Firestone: Yeah, man, I got into this game in 2005. I sold cheese on Commission Junction.

David: Okay. You were short-changed, okay?

Ezra Firestone: Yes, I was there. In the first era of advertising, as I mentioned, there were two types of visibility. Google AdWords was a pay-per-click system where you paid for users who searched for Google queries. Was a search engine optimization where you ranked on Google.

We didn’t have a href= “”>Facebook Pixel/a>; you couldn’t retarget people. You couldn’t retarget people because we didn’t use Facebook pixels. You couldn’t build audiences on social media because there were no fan pages or messenger subscribers.

You didn’t own anything other than your email list. The game consisted of optimizing your brand to make Google think you were the most relevant search result for a particular query and then collecting email addresses so you could send people an email. It was an easier time. It was great.

You were only allowed to use query-based traffic. Insofar as contextual advertising was possible, you could still run ads. Back then, Google called it the content network. You could… which is now called the display network. You could send an ad, but all you knew about them was what type of webpage they were on.

You can run a cat ad if they are on a cat page. It wasn’t easy to make contextual ads work in the past. It was an excellent time for ecommerce. AliExpress and Alibaba didn’t exist. Dropshipping was only possible with American suppliers.

I started around the same time as Wayfair. Do you know about Wayfair?

Ezra Firestone Everyone says, “I am too late in the game, and things change every month.” But, it’s more like, “No. Here’s what you’re looking for.” You’re welcome. I will share with you tips on how to succeed in business.

You need to create a genuinely exceptional product, such as products that will help people and that they like.

You need to provide good support, which means you have to reply… You also have to be available via live chat like a a href= “”>Facebook chatbot/a>. You must have excellent support, which means that you need to respond… You need to be able to reach people via live chat, just like a chatbot. You must be reachable via phone or email. You should respond within one hour during business hours.

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