How an E-Commerce Business Increased Their Top-line Revenue by a Record 43% with Facebook and Google Ads

Introduction

Many businesses start their online marketing efforts out with Google Ads (formerly Google AdWords).

And it's perfect when you see great results from it, because that means you’ve finally proven that your product can be sold online.

That’s the first step in cementing your business in the modern market. And as hard as it may be, it’s actually the easy part.

Eventually you’ll reach a point where you want more for your business. That’s where the hard part really starts.

Deep down you know that your business needs to grow beyond just one marketing platform. So you go out looking for other places to expand, like Facebook or Instagram.

And most business owners struggle at this very stage, either because they've already tried expanding to a platform with no success, or don't have the time or resources to do it from the start.

Whatever the option may be, the result is these businesses get stuck. And that's the most dangerous place to be as a business, because you can’t move forward while your competitors are gaining more of the market share.

Medical Plus sells home-use hospital beds online, targeted to people who have bedridden or injured loved ones at home. And as a business, they were stuck.

They had already been nailing Google Ads for years, peaking at over 3,000,000 THB in monthly revenue. However, results started stagnating (we’re going to explain why this was happening later on), and their average monthly online revenue dropped down to 2.6 mil.

The worst part was they could never reach or exceed their existing peak with Google Ads again.

But today, they’re increasing their top-line revenue by 43% to over 3,700,000THB a month on average by expanding to Facebook marketing.

And we’re going to show you exactly how Medical Plus did it. 


After you finish reading this case study, you'll learn these three key points that will take your business to the next level:

1. The difference between Facebook and Google Ads and what they can do for your business

2. Why most business owners struggle to add other platforms into their marketing mix

3. How you can implement all of this to your business' to maximize its potential with online performance marketing

Our in-house marketer specializes in Google Ads, so Facebook was a whole new ballpark for us. I thought about doing it myself, but Facebook requires intensive testing and rapid changes in creatives, I didn’t have the time to start. We finally agreed to find a professional partner to help us in this area.

Chalika Dok-jan

CEO & Co-founder at Medical Plus


Step 1

Understanding the Difference Between Google Ads and Facebook Ads

To understand how advertising on both these platforms works, it’s always best to take a step back and understand what drives these platforms in the first place: the people who use them.

Because there are billions of people online, it’s hard to grasp just how many of them are actually in your target market.

But here’s an easy-to-follow model that will help you make sense of all the different groups of people who are part of your audience:


The key point to note from this sales pyramid is this: Only 3% of your target audience are willing to buy your product right now.

The other 97% are a mix of people who (1) have problems that your product can solve but are still searching for what to buy, (2) those who are problem-aware but not actively searching and (3) those who aren’t problem-aware at all.

Let’s map this out for Medical Plus’ target audience, so you can get a better picture of what we mean:




Now of course it would be great if all 100% of your audience wants to buy your product right then and there. But I’m sure you know the world doesn’t work that way.

That’s why this sales pyramid (and understanding the people in each stage) is crucial to every business’ success, because it helps you map out who to target your advertising efforts to.

With this knowledge you’ll be able to manage your advertising budget and ensure you get the most returns.

It’s also the backbone of most successful marketing strategies, including ours for Medical Plus, and all of our other successful client stories here.

Understanding where your audience members are in terms of stages of the sales pyramid is the basis of understanding how Google and Facebook marketing work.

And now that we’ve got that sorted, let’s move on to how the two platforms work, and more importantly, how they can work together for your business’ growth.

Google Ads

When someone says they make Google Ads, it means they’re bidding on keywords that Google users generally search for to get what they want. 

When users press enter on a search engine after keying in the words, clickable ads come up in Google’s search results.

So if I’m googling something like insurance deals, for example, this is what comes up:




And when users click these ads, the advertiser pays Google per click. 

In terms of the sales pyramid, these users who key in their searches about your product or industry are part of the top 3% who are looking to buy right now, as well as the 17% who are actively searching for a solution. Why?

Because the input came from someone who was driven enough by a problem to search for a solution. 

And if your product is their solution, these people are most likely to buy. 

Although it’s not guaranteed that everyone searching for your product is going to buy then and there, these segments represent your highest-quality online audience at any point in time.

So your online marketing coverage with Google Ads will almost always look like this:





Google Ads’ bidding procedure also gives you clear insight on how well your products are doing. 

You can check out how much your keywords are bidding for, as well as how many clicks, impressions and purchases they received.

For example, we can check out the performance of keywords for Medical Plus’ industry here:


As a result, Google Ads can be incredibly profitable for businesses with products/services that have a lot of searches.

This naturally makes your Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) on Google Ads very high, because you’re reaching people who are most likely to buy your product.

That is until the amount of searches for your product or industry drop!

The downside of Google Ads is you have little to no control over the people who don’t key those words into the search engine, even if they just might be part of your target audience.

You’re targeting high-purchase-intent audiences, but your revenue will only be as good as the amount of searches you get per month.

And this is what happened with Medical Plus’ Google Ads campaigns. Their product was highly searchable, but they had no control over how to get more people to search.

That’s why their growth on the platform hit a peak and stagnated like we talked about in the introduction.


Facebook Marketing

Advertising on Facebook is fairly different from Google. For you as the advertiser, instead of paying per click like with Google Ads, you pay Facebook every time each of your ads gets displayed to your audience (pay per impression).

This means you have a lot more control over who you want to reach with Facebook ads, and you can reach more people than with Google ads.

In fact, you can reach almost every single person who uses Facebook or Instagram with your ads.

For example, let’s see your potential reach if you wanted to target every Facebook/Instagram user in Thailand possible:



Now let’s say we wanted to be more specific with our targeting. We want our ads to be shown to people in Thailand who are interested in online advertising, to find more clients for our marketing agency. 

This is what the potential reach would be like in this case:



Actual targeting on Facebook gets a little more detailed than that, but these capabilities mean you can reach virtually everyone in your sales pyramid.

From the 3% looking to buy now to the 37% who are still warming up to you, and even the 60% who don’t even know they need your product, this is what your coverage looks like with Facebook ads:




But with this huge reach comes Facebook marketing’s biggest downside: Your ROAS with Facebook will rarely be the same or higher than your marketing efforts with Google Ads right away.

That’s mainly because you aren’t targeting only the high-purchase-intent 3% anymore.

The further down in the sales pyramid, the more touch points you will need with the audience, because it just requires more effort to convert someone who isn’t ready to buy yet.

So how you approach someone who is problem-aware vs. someone who’s ready to buy, for example, requires different approaches (more on this below in the strategy we used for Medical Plus).

This means it’s much harder to get high returns with Facebook marketing because it needs way better marketing to pull it off. 

But reaching out to everyone in the sales pyramid ensures that people will always be thinking of your product or service. 

And more importantly, continuously being able to convert someone from one stage of the pyramid to another until they buy, ensures you can keep scaling your online sales revenue in the long run.

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Step 2

Why Most Business Owners Struggle to Add Other Platforms into Their Marketing Mix

It’s one thing to know the difference between Facebook and Google ads. It’s another thing to adopt the right mindset that really will help you learn how to use them together and unlock your business’ marketing potential.

And with all the information above, comes this crucial mindset change in understanding how Medical Plus (and any forward-thinking business owner) actually can go from being stuck with one platform to being able to expand on Facebook:

Don’t expect that both Google Ads and Facebook marketing will deliver the same returns for your business right away. Look at how they’re collectively generating more sales for you instead.

This reality check is a tough pill to swallow for most business owners. 

But the key to coming to terms with all of this is to understand that a higher ROAS doesn’t always mean more revenue for your business.

Let’s compare this to something more tangible, like going fishing.

Say you start out fishing in a small pond. Chances are you’re going to catch most of the fish in it with minimal effort.

But one day you realize that you’re getting similar amounts of fish every time you go to the pond.

You want more fish, so you go to a huge lake with 5 times as many fish. The downside is the lake is 20 times bigger than the pond.

Although it takes you more time and effort to search the huge lake for fish (buying better fishing equipment, bait etc.), you end up getting more fish than you ever did at the small pond.

So if you want to catch more fish, you can’t fish in the same pond forever.

It’s the same thing with ROAS. If you’re already getting 10x returns from targeting the top 3% of your audience on Google, that’s great. 

But don’t forget that the remaining 97% of your audience can be targeted too. 

And even if your overall ROAS drops to 5x—half as much as the ROAS from the 3%—your overall revenue would still be higher than if you only kept targeting the 3%.

This phenomenon is why many businesses earn more revenue even though their marketing ROAS drops or changes over time.

And with this knowledge, it’s much easier to see the bigger picture of how both Google and Facebook ads work together to increase your revenue.

Google Ads are best at converting the top 3% of your sales pyramid who are most likely to buy your product. But it’s not the best tool for targeting people who aren’t actively searching for your product.

Facebook ads can step in there, and cultivate the remaining 97% of your audience who aren’t looking to buy right now. 

This assures your best bet of turning these people into your new buying 3% in the future.

Although Facebook ads can also convert your highest-buying 3%, the immediate ROAS will generally be less than Google because Facebook reaches more people overall.

To get a better idea of what I mean, our ROAS for Medical Plus’ Facebook performance marketing campaigns in the first month was 5.61x.

Before they started working with us, their average Google Ads ROAS across 3 months was 15x.

Of course our Facebook returns were improving every month. But seeing 2-3x less ROAS when you start out with a new platform can be very disheartening.

But what do you think would’ve happened if Medical Plus backed out of Facebook marketing in their first month of trying it out, because their Facebook ad revenue didn’t equal the 2.6 mil they got with Google Ads?

They would likely go back to not being able to grow as a business, and without a solution.

That’s why they didn’t see the comparatively fewer returns in the first month as a problem. 

Instead, they saw it as an increase in their top-line revenue for the first time as a business.

Finally they could take more control of their entire target market, from only being able to target the 3-20% of their audience who were googling them before. 

This mindset is what takes businesses out of their comfort zone and allows them to grow beyond their existing peaks with long-term success.

Be conscious about your marketing. If your business is already doing well with Google Ads, assume your audience is already on Facebook and Instagram, because most of the world already are.

And assume that you should be getting results there as well.

This will ensure you have a competitive mindset, so you’ll expect that your business must be driving nothing short of the top 10% of marketing results in your industry.

We’re not telling you all of this because we’re a marketing agency.

We’re telling you this because it’s the truth. At least for as long as Google and Facebook remain as popular as they are now.

Depending on your business, one platform might require more effort, manpower, time and money than the other.

But the other truth is most emerging companies can’t afford to do both Google and Facebook ads well at the same time.

If we met Medical Plus 3–4 years ago, they would surely still be fully-focused on driving sales with Google Ads. But there was no doubt that they had the potential to expand to Facebook from the start.

They knew their business had Facebook potential, both because their hospital beds already sold very well on Google, and because 20% of the Thai population is over the age of 60 (that’s about 13 million people).

So to determine where your business should start, you have to understand where most of your audience is, where and how they are buying and how you can target them.

Let’s revisit Medical Plus’ customer journey, but this time, let’s consider the targeting capabilities of Google and Facebook and see where they fit:




As you can see, you can target everyone at every stage with Facebook marketing, but it doesn’t mean everyone you target will be ready to buy then and there.

And for Google Ads, if your product or industry doesn’t have a lot of searches to begin with, it’s hard to be successful on it right off the bat.

So before you start with Google Ads, make sure whether your audience is actually looking for your product on Google.

If they’re not searching for it, you’re likely better off starting out on Facebook, showing the product directly to the audience in your ads. You can also build more search intent through your Facebook ads.

Then as your audience expands, you’ll earn enough money to reinvest it back into expanding your marketing efforts on both platforms and beyond.

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Northstar’s transparency in letting us see everything that's going on in our account makes me believe that we really aren't just paying them to run ads; I'm very satisfied with the results so far.

Chalika Dok-jan

CEO & Co-founder at Medical Plus

Step 3

The Facebook Strategy We Used to Increase Medical Plus’ Revenue by 43%

Now it’s time to understand how Medical Plus can now expand to Facebook marketing, so you can apply this strategy to your business as well.

The first thing we did with Medical Plus’ founder was we worked together to align expectations and work towards a common goal.

They wanted to get started with Facebook marketing because their revenue with Google Ads was stagnating.

But their main problem was their in-house marketer was specialized in driving results with Google Ads, not with Facebook ads.

They didn’t have the in-house expertise, plus the workload for Google Ads was already a lot to handle on their side.

And when business owners don’t have the manpower to do it, the first thing they often decide to do is step back into operations and become their own marketing director.

But that ends up doing even more damage to their businesses in the long-run. Why?

The more time you spend as the marketing director, the less time you spend as the actual CEO.

CEOs need to make important decisions to drive the company forward. 

You’re your company’s best leader, and that means you shouldn’t spare time to do the marketing work yourself.

To move forward, your marketing work must be delegated. It just becomes a problem when you don’t know who to delegate it to.

That’s why there was 1 key goal for Medical Plus’ Facebook marketing campaigns with us to measure success:

Validate that Facebook marketing works for them by first earning more revenue from the campaigns.

If this goal was met, the CEO would have her Facebook marketing issues sorted, plus she would be gaining a long-term strategic partner who can work together with their team to help drive the company forward out of stagnation.

With all that being said, here's everything you need to know about Medical Plus' success story, and how you can apply these valuable points to your business as well:


The Facebook Performance Marketing Strategy


One of the most powerful tools in Facebook marketing is the platform’s ability to separate those who already know who you are from those who have never heard of you before.

This is perfect for targeting people at different levels of the sales pyramid, and that’s precisely what we did.

For Medical Plus’ Facebook ads, we split audience targeting based on 2 types of audiences: 

  • Cold Audiences, or people who do not know about Medical Plus. Compared to the sales pyramid, these people are primarily problem-aware, and secondarily non-problem-aware (60 - 80% of your total potential audience).
  • Re-targeting or Remarketing Audiences, which are people who already do know about Medical Plus. These people are a mix of the audience who are ready to buy now (3%) and those who are actively searching for a solution (17%). 

These people also included those who searched on Google but didn’t buy, as this would be a second attempt at converting them.

Here’s the gist of the strategy: We showed Facebook ads with Cold approaches to people who didn’t know about Medical Plus. 

And if they still didn’t buy, we hit them with ads that used Remarketing approaches to ensure these people would buy.

In doing that, we would be continuously turning the majority of the audience into the 3% who are willing to buy.

Specifically for Medical Plus, we focused on re-targeting first because they had received a strong amount of traffic from Google that didn’t directly convert yet. So the interest was already there; the audience just needed a little more convincing with remarketing ads.

And here’s the difference between cold and remarketing ads:

Cold ads focus more on an educational angle to inform and persuade the audience why Medical Plus’ home-use hospital beds matter to them.

Here’s what a cold ad looks like:


The ad clearly focuses on an audience pain point, that care for senior citizens can get very expensive.

It compares turning 20,000 THB in senior care expenses a month into a once-off payment for a home-use hospital bed instead.

At this stage the audience likely doesn’t know or care who Medical Plus are. They just have a problem on their hands and it would be really great if they could have it solved.

So instead of leading with a company introduction, we instead lead with a pain point that matters to the audience first.

Remarketing ads, on the other hand, are designed to convince people who have already seen your product, but aren’t entirely convinced yet.

Here’s a remarketing ad, shown to people who already knew Medical Plus were:


Instead of leading with a key pain point, this remarketing ad primarily focused on Medical Plus being the first company in Thailand to sell home-use hospital beds that prevent pressure sores.

The objective of doing this is to convince people who already know Medical Plus to make a purchasing decision.

This turns a problem-aware person into a buying customer.


By now you may be wondering whether these ideas are just theories and concepts. You may have even heard them several times before.

But here’s how we made sure all of this really worked: We recorded everything in KPI sheets for Medical Plus.

You can’t measure progress without a reference point. 

That’s why we agreed with Medical Plus’ team to fill in KPI sheets on a daily basis.

And this was crucial especially for them, because it was the best way they would know whether our Facebook ads were generating more sales.

Our primary KPI for Medical Plus’ Facebook performance marketing was to increase the amount of high purchase-intent direct messages to their Facebook inbox

Medical Plus’ team would then be responsible for converting these people who sent messages into customers.

(If you want to know why we optimized all our ads for messages instead of direct purchases, check out this success story on how we drove 1 mil in revenue with 100K ad spend a month using the power of messages on Facebook here.)

We as the agency would fill out the total ad budget spent per day and the amount of messages received. Medical Plus’ team would then fill out the number of overall confirmed orders and revenue for the day.

That way we always knew whether what we did was working or not. If sales were increasing from our efforts, we were on the right track.

If not, we tested with other approaches based on the data gathered from what we did before.

And the best part was the founder had full transparency on whether we were doing a good job or dropping the ball at any given point.

So now that we’ve played down all of the info above, here are the results of all that hard work leading up to Medical Plus’ Facebook marketing strategy:

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Step 4

The Results of Medical Plus’ Facebook Marketing Campaigns

Here are the results of all the work from steps 1-3:

With Google Ads alone, Medical Plus’ revenue peaked at 3,000,000 THB, and their average monthly revenue till now has been 2,600,000 THB.

By expanding to Facebook marketing with our marketing campaigns, they have now successfully expanded their top-line monthly sales revenue to 3,700,000 baht for the first time in their history!


And to get a better picture of Medical Plus’ revenue growth, here are the results of their first 3 months doing Facebook marketing too:


On Facebook alone, the sales revenue from our marketing campaigns has grown over 245% from month 1 to month 3, which means we helped validate that their products can be sold on other platforms as well.

And the best part is that while the Facebook ads increase Medical Plus’ top-line revenue, the ads—specifically the cold ads—can work to help increase their revenue from Google Ads too.

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We can now see so many opportunities to expand on Facebook; I truly regret not starting this sooner. Northstar has even saved time for us internally as a company.

Chalika Dok-jan

CEO & Co-founder at Medical Plus

Step 5

What Can You Take Away from All This?


1. Due to the differences between Google Ads and Facebook marketing, business owners who invested in one tool before should not expect the same result from the other right away.

If you have been successful on Google Ads, with a really good ROAS, your Facebook campaigns will likely never match your margins on Google in the first cycle.

It might take longer for Facebook to warm the audience up to buy higher-priced products, for example.

The key is to understand the benefits of each platform and how they contribute to your overall sales.

The benefit of Facebook is that it allows you to keep retargeting your audience, which can potentially help your business become the top-of-mind brand for them, so they will eventually buy in the future.

Although these are costs that businesses have to accept if they want to scale, understanding how both platforms work for your business is one of the most important—and lucrative—strengths any modern business can have.

2. Don’t wait until it’s too late for your business.

Both Google and Facebook’s ads are displayed based on bidding. The slower you are to the party, the more competing companies in your sector are going to catch on and take more market share.

You will need a different mindset to continue your success with Facebook ads.

Use high-level common sense. Assume your audience is already on Facebook and Instagram (because most of the world already are), and assume that you should be getting results there as well.

This will ensure you have a competitive mindset, so you’ll expect that your team must drive nothing short of the top 10% of marketing results in your industry.

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Curious how much more revenue your business could be generating from better optimized digital marketing efforts?