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December 10, 2015

Interview with Cédric Rainotte, Digital Therapist


Cédric Rainotte is many things: serial entrepreneur, Belgian, digital evangelist, public speaker and member of the CREA DIGITAL school in Geneva.

One of the things he’s pretty good at is Facebook advertising. So, we thought we’d ask him some questions about Facebook and other related matters.

And, being the good guy that he is, he agreed, and offered some tips on how to optimise your ad campaigns.

Note: this interview is aimed at ‘semi-expert’ level.

Happy reading!

  • Hi Cédric! On Google, your name is associated with ‘Digital Therapy’: who is it that you’re looking to cure?

I first had the idea several years ago when a big agency came to me to ask me to bring their account managers up to speed. There was a big lack of understanding and the idea was to start from a ‘speed learning’ format which would help them to reach the level required (there’s a key nuance between acting on know-how and having know-how). Since then, I’ve held sessions in many big agencies and groups all over Europe.

(You can find out more about Digital Therapy here and find the covers for the first sessions of the current 4th series here – ed.)

  • In 2010, you wrote an open letter to Mark Zuckerberg on a blog. In it, you criticised (in a somewhat tongue in cheek manner) some of Facebook’s functions. What would you write or say to Mark now if you had the chance?

Hmmm… If I were to write to him, I’d say “Nice move Mark, you managed everything like a king!”

Seriously though, I do think Facebook is the best platform today, in terms of targeting and optimisation. No other platform even comes close on these. When you know how to use it (and, more than anything, your brain), the potential it offers is quite extraordinary. You also need to dissociate what’s organic from what’s paid. You don’t need a community manager to be able to extract the maximum benefits from Facebook in terms of targeted advertising and campaign performance.

Now it just remains to be seen whether they’ll be able to stay on track…

  • We won’t go into the debate between Google AdWords and Facebook Ads. These two advertising channels both have pros and cons, depending on the aim of the advertiser. But what’s interesting is the advertising revenue generated by Facebook and Google respectively. Facebook (active in advertising since 2009) brought in 10 billion in 2014, and the prediction for 2015 was 15 billion. Google generated 60 billion in 2014 thanks to Google AdWords (active since 2000), and predicted that they would bring in even more this year. What sort of consequences might we imagine from such an evolution?

The linkage between Facebook Ads and Google Ads is vital. In the most recent studies carried out, we note that a campaign, directed on Google Ads and Facebook Ads, increased the conversion rate by 16%, more or less (the main explanation for this is the phenomenon of assisted conversion, and social channels are the main player in this). 

Google Ads have more ‘reach’, but targeting is richer with Facebook Ads (ID-Based).

  • What do you think are the key ingredients for a successful Facebook campaign?

Creativity – using different formats and considering numerous possibilities. As soon as you start to take a more scientific approach and ‘test’ different combinations, it all gets exciting! And in fact it’s this permanent quest for optimisation which means that we’re now training big companies (a little shout out for our Master Class, why not ;-)).

The main issue is if you use Facebook media without understanding its workings and operation. And believe me, this is a problem in many media groups/agencies (oh yes, it certainly is! – ed.).

  • Okay, so now the technical question: ‘Carousel’-type ads (where you can display 5 images within a single ad unit, in rotation – ed.) increased by 55% in the 3rd quarter of 2015. What sort of companies do you think should use this format?

Well, you can actually now display up to 10 images, but Facebook will only display the 5 most effective. You can also put videos in the place of images. Videos are ideal if you want to promote a conference – you can have a little extract of a few seconds showing each key speaker, for example.

It’s a pretty effective format, but be careful: it generates quite a lot of clicks and clients often don’t understand why the number of clicks stated isn’t the same on Analytics. It’s often with this format that you encounter the biggest difference. The reason for this is simple – they’re not dealing with the same thing. Facebook gives you clicks and Analytics deals with sessions (remember: one session is 30 minutes).

So, if a user clicks on each image in the carousel ad to see the different information, that constitutes 5 clicks on Facebook but 1 session on Analytics.


  • Can we have a tip from the Super Therapist to help us create a spectacular campaign?

Test, test and test again! Test out different campaign objectives, different bids, and find out what works best. After all, nothing can take the place of experience.

A simple but effective tip is, when you’re creating your lookalike audience, avoid going through its whole database, but instead go for a segment, the most effective one (seed audience). This enables Facebook to search for similar profiles amongst your best clients.

  • Advertising on Instagram is something that’s now accessible to everyone, and you can manage it directly from your Facebook page. Have you had a chance to test it out?

We were lucky enough to be able to start testing it this August, as a sneak preview. The issue is reach (if you think about Belgium). The available volume is smaller and the costs are always higher than those for a Facebook campaign. So it’s something to try, but be careful, and always keep your final objective firmly in mind.

  • What changes/functions would you like to see on Facebook for 2016?

Oh, I’d need a couple of days to be able to answer you properly ;-)

  • A therapist owes it to himself to do his own therapy: what sites or blogs to you follow to stay up to date?

It’s a pretty secret list. You’ll have to torture me to find out what’s on it ;-)

But, here are a few good sites to begin with:

A big thanks to Cedric for speaking to us. You can find him on LinkedIn and Twitter but also on the Facebook page Wow Effect !