Entrepreneurship, marketing and growing a business. Morgan Williams interviews Elad Levy of Fixel.ai
#014 How to 3x Your Retargeting Campaigns Using AI-Segmentation
Welcome to the B2B sales tech podcast. This is the place where you’ll find real conversations with real sales leaders about how you can leverage sales technology to get ahead of the pack. Improve your sales numbers by taking advantage of emerging technology before your competitors get their first. They’ll share everything from the trends they’re seeing in the marketplace to actionable strategies that you can use to make more sales today. So, if you’re ready for a value-packed interview, listen on. Here’s your host, Morgan Williams.
Morgan: Welcome to the B2B sales tech podcast. I’m your host, Morgan Williams. And today I have the pleasure of interviewing Elad Levy. Elad is the head of growth at Fixel. Fixel is a fully automated segmentation tool that ranks your website audience according to their level of engagement. Their platform learns how users interact with your site. And by applying advanced machine learning algorithms, it highlights only those visitors that matter most. This way you can maximize the return on your remarketing budget. Elad, how are you doing today?
Elad: Great. Coming from you, it sounds real cool, I really want to use that tool.
Morgan: Awesome, awesome
Elad: I’m glad to be here.
Morgan: Awesome. Glad to have you on. Absolutely. Can you kind of walk us through your background and how it’s led to what you’re doing now at Fixel?
Elad: Sure, sure. I originally started as a kind of all-around marketer. I was working for a small company, small HR company, and kind of doing the entire marketing gig working directly either under their CEO. And at some point, I understood that I wanted to kind of go more in depth. So, I switched over to working at an agency, started working in SEO and analytics, and kinda really dug down into the depth of the technical SEO and technical kind of web analytics, really into the depth and breadth of what you can learn in there. And from that kind of place, I started expanding and started working more kind of widening strategic perspectives of clients, and started working on an expertise of, I’d say, tech B2B, which was my main kind of focus area and clientele. From that point, after a couple of years in working as a team leader, I decided to leave, moved to the client side, joined a high tech company and kind of founded their digital marketing from the ground up. And soon enough, the co-founders at Fixel, they rang me up and said they were starting Fixel, and we kind of thought this would be an interesting kind of journey to embark. And so I started doing that in the background while working full time at that company. And my main kind of focus there was being my expertise in web analytics. And then we kind of tried to crack down exactly what value we could bring. And when this group to be large enough, we were able to switch it from bootstrap mode into a kind of a full company and actually launched that and we were able to make that switch from working part-time and working kind of our day jobs to living our dream and building that startup. And today, this is where we are with our company and everything happening there.
Morgan: Absolutely. It’s a fascinating story. I see you guys are also in Atlanta, that’s my hometown.
Morgan: Yeah. How are you liking it over there?
Elad: To be honest, I didn’t find it…exciting
Morgan: Don’t answer that question.
Elad: Trick question there. But no, it’s good. It’s great weather, to be honest, and that’s really nice and it’s good people. I think that’s the most important thing when you’re kind of moving across different countries.
Morgan: Yeah, and I know they have a pretty up and coming tech scene there. So, I’m sure that’s interesting as well. As you kind of moved from SEO and analytics and expanding into working with different clients and then, you know, working for a tech company and kind of building their marketing from the ground up; what are some things that you kind of took away from that process of kind of starting from scratch and building something, a marketing program up like that?
Elad: I think the key kind of understanding that I got after working several years in this field, is that ultimately, you got to plan out and spend that time on strategy more than the actual execution. Because if you nail that right, then you’ll probably save yourself tons of time on the actual execution, on integrations and getting things right. And I think that’s the key understanding that I’ve been able to kind of bring these several years. And the famous saying, by Lincoln, if I remember correctly, that says if you give me six hours to chop down a tree, I’ll spend the first four sharpening the axe. And I think that’s correct for digital marketing. You got to do the basics because people think that you know, digital and that its not marketing or anything, but no, it’s marketing. Digital is just a channel, you know, the SEO or PPC or whatever. But you gotta nail the right targeting, the right messaging, the right everything, right. And you know, the execution will be digital, that’s fantastic. But you gotta do these foundations right before you start out anything else.
Morgan: Absolutely, absolutely. Taking what you learned at that company, when it comes to, you know, sharpening that axe and focusing on strategy kind of front-loading your labor strategy, making maybe not simpler, but a more efficient execution; how did you implement that at Fixel?
Elad: I think at Fixel we were coming from being marketers to creating a solution for marketers. And in some way, this has been a great, I’d say, value for us. Because we were knowing, we were understanding the pain points of the people we were selling to it, that we were building the product for. And so as a marketer, and as a product owner, also, I was better able to understand where these people are coming from, which is fantastic. But on the other hand, I came to the table, you know, to the drawing table when we were designing the product, with specific assumptions that came from my work, from my understanding as being a web analytics analyst, which aren’t necessarily the ones that you know, the average Joe – that we’re selling to is working under the same assumptions. So, it’s kind of being a two sided sword in that sense because we were really knowledgeable about our audience. But we’re at the same time under specific dogma. There were specific kind of assumptions that we were coming from that were very hard to try and I’d say, mitigate and put aside some time, and it took us some time until we were able to really kind of understand what the actual problems, the actual issues that these people are facing and not, you know, necessarily throwing features and throwing different capabilities of our solution at them.
Morgan: Yeah, I can definitely see that just kind of implementing that feedback loop and trying to let the data or trying to let your customers or early users kind of have a hand in guiding you through the process it sounds like. Outstanding. Yeah. And when it comes to, you know, you’re obviously very close to technology, and data and analytics, of course, on a daily basis; what types of trends in marketing and sales technology are you seeing now in the marketplace?
Elad: I think we’re living in very, very interesting times. I think that today marketing becomes more and more digital, whether it’s, you know, the classic digital marketing that we’re aware of, and you know, the upcoming kind of they’re from smart TVs, and in such they’re also moving into the digital sphere. Everything is kind of being bulked up into these data platforms. We’ve previously had the DMPs and we’re now seeing a huge trend moving into the CDPs, the customer data platforms. And I think breaking the silos and trying to kind of you know, unify the different data points is something that’s very big, and something that’s for sure, going to be the hottest kind of buzzword for 2019-2020. And on the other hand, we’re seeing kind of a contradicting vector that are happening. We’re seeing things, you know, since the Zuckerberg hearing that people are very kind of strict about violating their privacy, which you can understand ultimately. And you can see that the kind of play field is being changed. You see the GDPR that’s come out in Europe, you see the California Privacy Act that’s coming out, you see Apple’s regulation crackdown on the ITP. And this is, you know, significantly changing the way that we as advertisers can act on users. So, we trying to bring in more data, but at the same time, we’re being limited more and more. So, it’s kind of a contradicting the thing that’s happening, but it’s somehow everything comes down to the data that you have.
Morgan: Yeah, absolutely. Those challenges, you mentioned, really breaking those silos. And of course, people being strict about valuing their privacy, and you know, for good reason, how have those points kind of guided or come into play in regards to building Fixel and kind of building out and the maturation of the product?
Elad: In our product, it’s been actually quite interesting because our initial product wasn’t what it is, today, we started, you know, like any classic startup we pivoted. We started out as a solution that we track engagement on e-commerce websites, and then it pushed the data out into Facebook Messenger. And some while back, Facebook changed their API and overnight, we weren’t able to create a product.
Elad: Yeah. So, it was back to the drawing board and we had another iteration along the way that didn’t kind of find the right product market fit. And at the end of the day, we decided to just keep the same kind of basic algorithm and just use the data itself differently and push it out into the ad platforms. And that choice in way enabled us to keep our platform completely, I’d say, data privacy compliant in that sense. Because we’re not collecting anything that’s personally identifiable, we’re looking only at the engagement of the users. And we’re piggybacking on top of the existing pixels on the Facebook and Google and whichever else. And so we make it their problem. They’re in charge of tying this user back to a specific identified person and showing the ads to them, which is what they do, and they do it well. They do it far better than we do. So in that sense, we’re staying compliant, and relying completely on Google and Facebook, which at the end of the day, will keep doing what they do, because that’s what makes them Google and Facebook.
Morgan: Yep, absolutely. I browse through the website as well and kind of looked at some of the use cases and it’s pretty fascinating and looks like things are kind of broken down into remarketing and kind of look alike, lookalike audiences. Can you kind of tell us how some of your customers are using Fixel and kind of– to give the listeners contexts into kind of how this tool can be used?
Elad: For sure, for sure. I think our basic understanding as marketers is that engagement correlates with purchase intent. And by being able to gauge the engagement level of a specific user, we can then understand how valuable he is or isn’t and then act on them accordingly. So, in that sense, as marketers, we can easily identify anyone who’s taking a strict action on the website. If we’re looking at ecommerce websites, you have the top audience, which is people that have added to cart but haven’t completed their purchase. And then you know, most probably be acting on these people and getting them back to your website because they’re most likely to convert. That’s a great audience and I’m sure you know, most marketers would agree with that. But the downside to it, that it’s around eight to maybe 15% of the visitors on your website. So, you’re leaving about 92 to 85% of the users out there and you’re not addressing them. And if you’re trying to address all of them, or you’re trying to adjust maybe just the product viewers, you’re most probably targeting to wid an audience. And we’ve been looking for other engagement signals and we’ve developed Fixel to be able to kind of slice these unengaged users, the ones who haven’t taken any strict action and really put that in context and understand which users are more down funnel and which users are more up funnel. And so the end result would be creating a campaign for example, remarketing campaign that targets the level that is above the cart abandonment, they haven’t taken a strict action, but they’re still highly engaged, these people are really looking to purchase your product. And by creating remarketing campaigns where it even dynamic remarketing campaigns within the e-commerce scenario, you have audiences that are scaling about three to four times the size of the cart abandonment, and are still driving the same return on ad spend, which is fantastic. And that’s money on the table for advertisers. And so I think that’s the classics scenario in which advertisers use us and it’s quite similar for B2B as well. Because in B2B, instead of, you know, adding to a cart, you’d have people that have started to fill out a form or started, you know, whatever signing process you have, but have abandoned it down the line.
Morgan: Yeah, I could definitely see how that kind of plays in the realm of B2B. If a company’s interested in kind of implementing this into their marketing strategy, what are some key things they should have in place, and make sure they’re doing to make this more effective?
Elad: I think you need to understand first and foremost, even before Fixel, the key kind of pages and the key actions within the user journey that are tied to a conversion. Now, in some cases, these might be people that are looking at your product demo or some video on your website. And in some cases, this might be people that are browsing through your pricing page, and looking at your FAQ questions that are over there. You need to identify these little kind of moments there. That are the ones that are telling you that this user is of high engagement that we’d want to re-engage with these people. I think you should understand that regardless of using the tools such as Fixel. And now once you have that audience, you’d want to understand which other people want to go after and which other messages you’d want to convey to these people and maybe push them further down the funnel. They’re not you know, engaged enough yet. And the key, I’d say thing here is to have a significant enough volume. Surely when we’re talking about B2B advertisers, for the most B2B websites, unlike B2B with a have a smaller kind of traffic volume, on the one hand. On the other hand, if you’re looking at platforms such as LinkedIn, and others, I say LinkedIn, which is the main kind of B2B place to be, you’re getting a very low reach because people aren’t on that platform. If you’re targeting, I don’t know, 10K people, 20K people that you get a far smaller audience. You’d get at most, you know, a third or a fourth of that amount of people ultimately, that you’re able to actually reach and engage with. And these skills, you can’t be too picky about who you put within that bucket. But if you’re taking that audience and putting it back into Facebook, you’d want to be able to be more kind of specific and target the right people using that specific engagement level signals. And I think that’s a great place to put Fixel and use that on.
Morgan: Yeah, for sure. In B2B companies advertising, you know, whether people who come to you and become customers, and they tell you kind of about their pain points, their problems they’re having, or with just kind of other companies, you’re seeing how they’re advertising. What are some of the biggest mistakes that companies who are buying ads are making, in addition to the kind of the couple that you had mentioned, in terms of like targeting and reach?
Elad: I think there is two inherent problems, I’d say. Usually there’s a some sort of mismatch in terms of working the specific funnel that people aren’t building that funnel for you. For example, I work with a great a website builder. That’s what we build our marketing website on and it’s fantastic, it’s great, I love it, and I recommend it to all my friends. But at the same time, I’m constantly seeing their ads for me to sign up. Okay, guys, I’m nervous, I’m using this platform, you have my email, you can exclude me at any time, but you’re not doing so and it’s a complete waste of money. You need to know where your people or where your audience is, and kind of tailor that message. So, if I’m using your product and I’m advocating for it, or even just using that product, I’m sure you can get that understanding. It didn’t pitch me new features, pitch me other stuff, but don’t get me to sign up again, that won’t happen. That’s, you know, money down the drain. Then I think that’s one part. The other part is people just being plain lazy, okay. I’ve looked into a solution, I think it’s CloudIO. And I’ve researched their website for something and since then, I’ve been seeing their ads on LinkedIn. And LinkedIn has a high CPM, okay, they’re a paying tons of money for these ads. But they’re putting up some, you know, lame kind of image with some granular kind of stuff there, you can’t really make out what they’re trying to say, or anything. Like dudes, like invest a few minutes, put the right kind of, you know, creative and effort into it, test different creatives. I mean, don’t just do ads for sake of doing ads, okay. And don’t create a marketing strategy if you’re not investing anything that creative. So I think, you know, people are doing things for sake of doing and they’re not really investing the kind of extra effort into it. And I think that’s a great shame without, you know, going to greater kind of, you know, strategic or even tactical, kind of a breakdowns of things.
Morgan: Yep, I see that a lot, too with companies. I’m already a customer of getting serve those ads still. It seems like it could be fixed maybe that easily, but somewhat simply, but yeah.
Elad: It’s B2C 101.
Morgan: For sure. When it comes to, you know, making sure that you are making the most of your ad dollars and being intentional with the type of advertising that you’re showing to visitors depending on where they’re at, in the funnel, the buyer’s journey, what is at a high level your philosophy or methodology between or methodology for what types of ads or creatives you should be showing, or offers, you should be showing to prospects and when it comes to like map to cross your funnel?
Elad: I think it’s a very tricky question. I think the only thing that is, I’d say solid truth in that is anyone is down the funnel, you know, push into direct response. There’s no arguing about that. Anything that’s upper funnel, it’s a kind of great debate there. Because if I’m looking at Fixel, I’m looking at a solution for again, this is close to me, so I can relate to it and explain it. But we’re trying to educate the market about what we do because there isn’t necessarily a similar solution out there, there’s other alternatives. You can do Tag Manager, you can use Adroll, you can do Criteo. But these are inherently a different solution altogether, we’re not direct competition in that sense. So, we’re trying to educate to what is Fixel. And so at the very high touch point, our conversation goes to even understand why you would need to segment your audience, why it isn’t good to go after anyone who visited your website or why you were leaving money on the table if you’re going after too narrow an audience. And you’d usually start at a very, very kind of wide angle, on the one hand, trying to really educate and the audience that you’re speaking to, but on the other hand, you wouldn’t want to go too wide because you wouldn’t want, you know, people that aren’t relevant to be showing your ads. So, I’d usually try to prepare a wide message, something you know about money on the table or something that’s kind of broader in that sense. But at the same time, use some sort of a cryptic a professional acronym. So, I’d be talking about CPMs, I’d be talking about ROAS, I’d be talking about something that if my mom saw it, she wouldn’t click on it.
Morgan: Yeah, right.
Elad: If someone from the industry would see ROAS, okay, that would spark some interest. So, you really want to kind of try and understand the pain point and the specific things that would kind of get them interested in clicking it. And anyone who’s, you know, inside the mid funnel, that’s also something that I question. Because being a B2B marketer, I’ve been told that you need seven to eight touch points, and people are going back and forth through your website, and people, it will be touching it several times, and so on and so forth. But reality is that usually you’d have you know, one chance two chances to shine, and they’re not going to be coming too much back to your website, okay. You have the ones that are coming seven, eight times, and that’s great and act on these people. But the most common use case is people that are coming briefly in your website, and you have a very short window there to kind of give it your best. And trying to really put that too long of a journey there wouldn’t be efficient. It’s got to be something that’s much shorter on a shorter kind of both, I’d say timeline in terms if you’re going for the email drip or a such; both in terms of the actual kind of touch points to the conversion. So they’d be seen some sort of ungated content and then push to a gated one. Or they’d be seeing, something that’s more kind of educational and again, pushing the conversion. You can’t expect people to be traveling through that journey that you’ve created because they’re not thinking in that same linear manner or fashion that you are. So, you can’t really expect that that is the behavior you’d see on your website.
Morgan: Yep, definitely agree. This is more of a tactical question, but call to actions. I was reading some information the other day about a company who was having much more success with call to actions, B2B call to actions that were around more passive consumption, like either watching a video, maybe even joining a webinar. But essentially, it was doing something like asking someone to watch a video, they were seeing higher conversions, then you know, getting them to schedule a demo. And I feel like a lot of B2B call to actions are, hey, schedule a demo or you know, hey, download a white paper. Of course, those are foundational, right? Part of sales process, you need to get in touch with the prospect. But when it comes to getting someone to take action, and actually engage with your company, are there any call to actions specifically that are feel are more beneficial in B2B or feel that encourage more prospects in a positive way to take action that you’ve seen?
Elad: From my understanding, and this is something that we’ve tried to analyze through tools like Hotjar and Google Analytics on our own website and we have on the top fold on our homepage, a sign up for a free demo and a scheduled demo. And these two don’t get click. They’re above their fold, they’re big, they’re bold, and yellow. But at the same time, people don’t care. That’s direct response and fantastic but literally, people don’t care. And what we do see is that people are going to two main pages on the website, they’re going to how it works, but the most popular page, actually, and I’ll give you the opportunity to guess what it is, what’s your bet?
Elad: Pricing. About is the third popular one.
Morgan: I see, okay. Yeah.
Elad: Pricing, yeah. And people spend quite a lot of time on it and that’s why we went for really optimizing that page and trying to answer the different questions and relieve the different kinds of, you know, doubts that people might have, things that are related to pricing, but things that are even unrelated to it, like privacy or other kinds of stuff that might come along. I think that calls to actions are good and it’s something that should be considered, but I don’t think that there’s any silver bullet in that sense. But it’s actually understanding how people navigate through your website. And we try to build some sort of linear flow that we’re taking people from what it is how it works in a sense, and then transferring them into the different use cases of remarketing, lookalikes, and then moving them into the actual kind of case studies. And hey, let’s schedule a demo or try it on your own. But ultimately, people you know, will browse through in whichever way and whichever nonlinear way. So, we really can’t control it, we can try and nudge them in the right direction through these calls to actions and we do try to put them strategically across the website. And I think the main thing that I’ve implemented there, which, again, can go against a lot of, you know, B2B best practices, is keeping all of our case studies ungated. Put that out there, come take it, read about it, if it makes sense to you, fantastic. Let’s talk. We did put on top of it a HubSpot redirect link so we know if someone’s been through it because ultimately, it’s a PDF, you can’t really understand if people went through it, but we can identify that they’ve opened it and that’s important. Nothing you know, strikes that kind of signal for us that we can tell that this person has looked at a B2B used case or a know Facebook, advertising, ecommerce, whatever else and kind of come to the sales call with a better understanding of what these people care about.
Morgan: Absolutely, makes sense. What’s on the table for Fixel in the next 12 to 24 months? Where’s your team’s focus at right now and where do you see the company going?
Elad: Well, I wish I could think in in time lapses of 12 months. We’re looking unfortunately, by the way, we’re looking at more tactical kind of times in quarters or even six months. And we’re trying to make the fastest, I’d say wins that we can. Because ultimately we’re a startup with growth stage, we need to prove to our investors that we’re able to scale fast enough and that’s you know, someone has a light under your ass so you gotta kind of work that. For example, I’m an SEO person, but I don’t do much SEO for Fixel. And when we’re trying to achieve our SEO targets, we found that it’s easier to try and piggyback on other websites. So, for example, we were researching the best retargeting tools and found an article that it was outdated, a leading article by the way that was ranking first for that fantastic keyword. And we just reached out and told the person who wrote it that we’d be happy to update their outdated article. And they let us and we’re now ranking first for best retargeting tools there. So, we’re really trying to– Yeah, these little hacks and tricks and they’ve worked, we get a steady stream of signups from there in. So, we’re looking for things that can be done and optimized on the shorter term. Same goes for PPC campaigns, which are, for sure, a short thing kind of play there. And going forward, we’re trying to build more things that will bring value to users. We’re trying to build some calculators, we’re trying to build all kinds of different great content pieces that again won’t necessarily sit on our website and position ourselves as the kind of alternative to the great tools out there. They’re the tools that are provided by Facebook, the tools that are provided by Google, the tools that are provided by Criteo, Adroll, and such. So, we’re top of mind when it comes to audience engagement, segmentation. And you know, it’s an uphill battle but we’re getting there, slowly but surely.
Morgan: Nice. That’s good to hear. Well, you know, it’s been so great speaking with you today, you know, how can people get in touch with you to learn more about things you’ve mentioned on this episode or to discuss working with Pixel?
Elad: For sure. So, I’m on LinkedIn, I’m on Twitter, I also have my blog on Medium where I share all my kind of tips and tricks and dirty little hacks that I do. So, you’re welcome to find me there as well. And I really tried to kind of share all this knowledge and thing that I am able to accumulate along the way. Because I think it’s something that’s fun, it’s something that I’ve learned from other people and I really want to pass it onwards.
Morgan: For sure, for sure. Well, thanks so much for joining me today on episode, Elad. I really do appreciate it.
Elad: Thanks for having me. It was a pleasure.
Morgan: Yep. Bye-bye.
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