Facebook Ads: Exploring the cutting edge Dark Posts strategy with John Hagan (episode 034)

by April Buencamino-dy

John was recently head of growth at Purelei (just named fastest growing Shopify store in Germany in 2020) and is also co-founder at Volt, a Facebook Ads agency that specialises in Dark Posting.

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John history with Facebook Ads

John worked with Snow Teeth Whitening in his early years as a digital marketer, and working with the owner made him really cut his teeth into Facebook ads.

He then went on to work with Purelei, a German company that was looking into getting into the United States.

What’s at the core of dark posts

A dark post is the marriage of paid social advertising and influencer marketing. What you’re doing is gaining access to an influencer’s personal brand and the trust they’ve gained from their audience, and use these to leverage your business through the partnership.

It’s adding an entire level of data to your digital marketing strategy with new customer demographic and customer base accessed through the collaboration.

Taking advantage of dark posts

John states that a dark post can run longer for more than just a few months, because there really is longevity in this strategy.

For example, an influencer’s story can last for only 24 hours, or a post will be jammed down the feed that nobody looks at. So influencer organic posts last for 24 hours while an influencer dark post can last forever. 

Additionally, as long as a contract is set up as such, not only do you put the ad in front of your influencer’s audience and your own audience, but you also have the creative freedom to put that ad in front of the entire customer base of Facebook.

Four types of dark posts

  • Founder dark posts
    • Leveraging on the business founder’s likeness
  • Micro-influencer dark posts
    • Leveraging on the micro-influencer’s user-generated content which people generally like
  • Macro-influencer dark posts
    • Working with macro influencers where the stakes are high, but if successful, can generate massive pay-off
  • Brand dark posts
    • Leverage on the brand who has the authority in this space, like what they did with Purelei and Glossybox

John says it’s important to take note of the first two types and to test dark posts with these two first because going for the third or fourth options will be expensive for you when executed incorrectly and deemed ineffective.

Insider Tips

If we’ve inspired someone to take their first step with Facebook Ads Marketing – what do they need to know to give themselves the best chance of success?

John’s advice is to find someone you can trust who is able and willing to teach you about Facebook Ads, because this is essentially an intimidating platform to walk into with a novice understanding.

Finding the right person will catalyze the learning process and help you move along the right direction as a new Facebook marketer.

Once you’ve started of course you’ve got to ‘keep optimising’! So what’s your favourite way to improve Facebook ads marketing performance?

John suggests implementing a process of opening new campaigns utilizing elements that worked in past campaigns, and mixing in one or two new variables.

It’s impossible to improve our marketing unless we’re monitoring the performance – but the list of stuff we could monitor can be overwhelming. So what, for you is the number one Facebook ads marketing KPI?

John recommends the following:

  • Good, free information via YouTube videos
  • Opening up your own personal ads manager that will cost you roughly 10 dollars and to play around with that
  • For a paid course, he will go with Ezra Firestone’s beginner’s course on Facebook advertising, which he himself took when he was starting out

Crystal ball time – what’s coming up in the next 6-12 months that we should be getting ready for in Facebook ads marketing?

For John, it’s iOS 14. He says that evolution is inevitable, and iOS 14 is going to be an interesting pivot or change to the landscape for all eCommerce and digital marketing.

He also mentions his favorite quote: “As marketers, we’re called to be surgeons, not doctors” which essentially says to your clients that you may not know exactly what the implications are going to be, but we will figure it out.

Interview Links

John on Social media:

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