Launching a successful media campaign is not always an easy job. Especially if you’re launching a product (or/and a company) that doesn’t yet exist.
That being said, most startup founders will turn to PR agencies and their established connections with media. But is that really worth tens of thousands of dollars?
This case study reveals how to launch a media campaign with Facebook ads & get published on 500+ media outlets all over the world including MTV, Huffington Post, Daily Mail and others.
How it all began?
In late 2015 we met Ivan Malic, experienced entrepreneur with an engineering background, extensive C-level experience and a crazy idea to build mobile hostels.
At first, it was quite confusing – how to create a story for mass hardware that doesn’t yet exist and get the word out – after all, we’re just advertisers coming from the cold world of pay-per-click.
But then we started researching and realized something amazing;
Nobody ever built a truly mobile hostel.
Where to enter the market?
Next thing that we needed was a market, and after an extensive research – we’ve chosen festivals for 3 simple reasons;
1. Demand for accommodation on big events raises in 4-figure percentages
2. Price/quality ratio while those events last go down drastically as locals tend to get greedy and raise prices by 3-figure percentages
3. Since there’s not enough bed (even overpriced-ones) only alternative is to sleep in a tent, sleeping bag or if you’re lucky and the weather is good – beach.
The best way to find out something is… to ask. So we asked festival visitors what do they want from their accommodation and they all said basically the same thing;
1. It needs to be close.
2. It must be comfortable.
3. Price should be affordable.
Ok, what’s next?
We defined our go-to-market strategy and USP. Next question was what’s the best place to launch the campaign in order to get the response from our audience, possible customers and investors?
After some thinking, idea popped up – why not crowdfunding?
Although, if you’re in mass hardware business and you’re trying to sell something that doesn’t yet exist – don’t put your hopes in raising money on Kickstarter or Indiegogo.
Producing content and launch date
Festival season begins in late March, early April. First next peek in crowdfunding popularity which could align with our timeline was march. We decided to launch in 2nd half of March. Before the launch we needed to;
– Design the website
– Produce the video
– Design Indiegogo crowdfunding page
Not to bother you with details, content creation was lots of fun. Since it’s not a thing we usually do, it was quite challenging.
Video was viewed over 200 000 times and it played a major role in explaining our story.
Note: We did not use Youtube ads.
Finally – Facebook ads
Once we finished the content production, got all small elements in place, it was time to launch. Finally something we were good at – content distribution.
Since cold emailing journalists converts at around 0.1% (1 in 1000) or even at 0.01% (1 in 10 000) we decided to go with Facebook ads.
To understand the actual psychology behind successful Facebook campaigns and how can Facebook ads be used to advertise merely EVERY product, service or a company we must first understand the context of Facebook;
A) Facebook is a content platform – People on Facebook create, share and consume content.
B) Facebook is a social network – People come to Facebook to connect with new people and communicate with their friends and family.
Facebook is a place where people spend their free time
Now let’s take a second to think about that – on a lazy Sunday afternoon you’re lying on your couch, scrolling through news feed on your smartphone. You’re relaxed. Not just you, your brain is on relax-mode as well. While scrolling, interesting post pops up. You click. You’re scrolling through some website.
Few moments later you’re clicking on checkout button. Your Paypal data is already entered.
Five minutes later you get an email saying that your order has been confirmed. You just bought brand new splitting axe. Stainless steel. Ergonomic handle. It has lifetime warranty and only today – free shipping within US. Amazing deal.
But wait, something’s wrong. You live in apartment. Last time you went camping was in junior high.
Your brain wakes up and that little voice in your head says “Oops!”. You can ask for a refund.. but it’s already too late. Your ego will not let you admit you’re wrong. You’ll rather declare your life goal is to become a lumberjack that admit being sold to. Even if your revolutionary splitting axe is low-quality made in china product, from now on, well – call me Lumberjack.
What ingredients do you need for a successful Facebook campaign?
1) Targeting, or in other words – people who will see the ad.
You get this wrong; you get the whole thing wrong. To maximize the effect of your advertising budget you need to show the right message to the right person at the right time.
We started by identifying the key influencers in festival niche that can be reached with Facebook ads – journalists. Journalists that know how’s it’s like on festivals, who understand that you can’t get a decent place to sleep on festivals. Journalists who know how’s it’s like to sleep in a tent for 3 days, not being able to take a shower or getting ripped off by locals.
To maximize the effect, we’ve decided to go with both male and female journalists, aged 18-40, interested in festivals and electronic music.
You can check out Facebook targeting options here.
2) Advert – the message you’re communicating to your audience.
Your ad has only one purpose – to tell your story. Your ad isn’t here to create a desire or a need. It’s here to fulfill it and inform your audience that your product solves their problem.
Facebook gives you two option when it comes to multimedia – image or video.
For this campaign, we’ve chosen video. Not just because Facebook favors video in the terms of media buying prices, but for the purpose of telling a story.
The best way to tell a story is through a video for a simple reasons – it’s easier than reading and it feeds your brain with information for different senses – which makes it, of course – easier to understand.
Here’s what we did;
For little less than $500 in budget we managed to get 200+ interview/statement inquires. Luckily, we already had press release in place.
What did the media say?
Nearby’s story got published on over 500 media outlets, including news portals, blogs and TV stations. Here’s what they’ve said;
“But thanks to some absolute legends in Croatia, you may never have to sleep in a tent at a festival again.”
“What if you could rent a little room with a real bed, heat, ac, and easy access to a proper bathroom – right on the festival grounds? There are a few festivals that provide onsite cabins, but these are rare and usually sell out right away if they are available at all. A startup called Nearby is trying to change all of that.”
“The ultimate festival accommodation? The ‘world’s first mobile hostel’ comes with fold-up beds, WiFi… and sound-proofing”
– Daily Mail
Even world famous DJ Steve Aoki mentioned Nearby Hostel on his official website and said:
“Nearby could change how we sleep at festivals”
Tremendous support from our target audience
One of the best thing Nearby got from this campaign is audience feedback. People just love Nearby Hostel.
First page Google ranking
Nearby’s media campaign pushed www.nearby-hostel.com to the first page of Google on a strong keywords like nearby hostel or mobile hostel.
To sum up, Nearby Hostel campaign generated;
- 500+ media publications
- 200K+ video views on Youtube
- 25K+ video views on Facebook (combined)
- 4K+ likes on Facebook Page (organic)
- 700+ Instagram Followers
- 400+ inquiries including 40 inquiries from festival organizers
First Nearby hostel is currently being built in Croatia and will be finished in early 2017.