Facebook Ads – Beyond the Boost


For many business owners, boosting a post on Facebook is their only experience with online ads. Boosting a post is very convenient, but so is getting dinner from a drive-thru instead of making a healthy meal at home.

So it goes with time spent making a “real” Facebook ad. As we’ll show in the following article, targeted ads produce better results, and cost 50 – 80% less.

Boosting a Post Vs. Creating a Facebook ad

Boosting a post means paying to have a single piece of content from your Facebook page shown to more people (also known as reach). Boosting is okay for awareness campaigns like letting people know about your underwater clean-up, free DSD weekend, or other public event. But for something you’re trying to sell (a dive computer, open water class, etc) boosting is a not the best option.

Boosting offers minimal targeting, no conversion tracking, and no ad testing (among other things). Not to mention: a single Facebook post probably isn’t going to sell someone on a multi-hundred dollar dive computer or scuba class. For that, you want people to call or visit your website.

Using the Many Features of Facebook Ads Triples Sales
There are many many ways to use Facebook ads and it’s hard to know where to start. Below is a short list of ideas with real-life examples.

Our case study features Pocket Weights, a company that sells dive weights online and via brick-and-mortar retailers. Like many small businesses, Pocket Weights wanted to reach a lot of new customers but only had a small budget ($2-$3 per day). This doesn’t go very far when you’re trying to reach all the scuba divers in the U.S. To get the most clicks for the money, we used refined targeting, tested multiple ads and other Facebook features to triple their sales.

Multiple Ad Testing
One useful feature of Facebook ads is the ability to try different images and text. It’s fun, a bit like running a mini-experiment.

The ads below targeted Facebook users who were interested in scuba diving and SCUBAPRO (they had to like both). Can you guess which of the ads below received 50% more clicks than the others? Or which one received only one click in three weeks?


The large, close-up shot of the BC pocket  received more than 100 clicks, while the ad on the far right, received only one click in the same time period. Why? Your guess is as good as mine.

Interestingly, when we used the same images targeting Aqua Lung fans, the most-clicked ad was entirely different. Aqua Lung fans liked the smaller ad with the blue “Free Shipping” stripe. It  received seven times more clicks than the next most popular ad.

Refine Your Audience and Pay 50% – 80% Less
As described above, we ran the same group of ads to people interested in scuba diving and a manufacturer. The use had to express interest in both in order to be shown the ad.

Facebook determines how much to charge based on an auction system. Numerous companies with large budgets want to show ads to scuba divers – the demand is high. A fair number of companies also want to show ads to people who like Aqua Lung, SCUBAPRO, and other manufacturers. Presumably there is little demand for the audience who likes both scuba diving and a manufacturer. Low demand equals a lower cost.

When you Boost a post, you can only target one Interest group. You may also be targeting the same group of people over and over. Choosing a smaller piece of the pie (refined interest) means better targeting and lower cost.

Cost comparison: single interest vs. refined interest

  • Interested in scuba: 87 cents per click
    $9.69 per thousand  (reach)

  • Interesed in manufacturer: 32 – 43 cents per click
    $7.40 – $8.16 per thousand (reach)

  • Scuba + manufacturer: 15 cents per click
    $6.07 per thousand (reach)


Refining the target audience for your ads is especially good when selling dive travel. Let’s say you’re trying to fill spots on a Galapagos trip. Target your ads to people who are interested in both scuba diving and The Galapagos. Not just people who are interested scuba diving OR The Galapagos. You can also refine by behavior: an interest in scuba and a frequent international traveler.

Other ways to target your Facebook ads:

– Target people who already like your page, or friends of people who like your page. When your ad appears to someone who doesn’t follow your page, they see the smiling faces of everyone they know who are already your fans.  

If you’re running an ad to fill open water classes, why not leverage the social karma you’ve already built?



– Have you ever thought of uploading your email contact list to Facebook? Target your newsletter subscribers with a special offer, or invite them to an event. Not every email will be a match, but it’s free to upload a list. In regards to privacy, Facebook says, “your information will be encrypted to protect customer relationships and you’ll be set to reach more people on Facebook.”

– Facebook can also create a “Lookalike audience” based on your email subscriber list, or the demographics of people who Like your page. This is a good option if you’re running ads to attract new Open Water sign ups as the people in the Lookalike audience won’t necessarily be divers. They will, however, be similar in age, income and geographic location to current customers.

Other Facebook ad options:

Carousel ads – these ads use multiple, square images and often perform better than single-image ads. They’re a good choice for promoting dive trips. How can you sum up Cozumel, The Philippines, or Raja Ampat in just one image? Carousel ads are also good for promoting multiple products.

Split testing (also known as A/B testing) allows you to show Group A one version of an ad and Group B a different version. With Pocket Weights, we used split testing prior to launching a Black Friday special.

We wanted to know whether the 20% discount offered in years past was successful simply because it was a discount. Would  a lower discount like 10% entice just as many people to buy? The split test was important because we didn’t want some customers to buy at 10% off then later see the 20% discount and get upset.

In the end, the 10% offer received zero response in our test. We ultimately rolled out the  20% off holiday promotion to all our contacts.

Capture email addressesFacebook Lead Ads help grow your database by inviting potential customers to share their contact details in exchange for information. For example, an IDC Center might promote a PDF guide to “How to Become a Scuba Instructor in Six Months.” Interested Facebook users click the ad and fill out a form to request the guide. Facebook conveniently pre-populates much of the form and sends it to the IDC Center.

After receiving the new customer’s name, email, location (the form is highly customizable) The IDC Center sends the prospect their guide. The store can then follow up using MailChimp, Constant Contact, phone, Facebook messenger, etc.

In the case of Pocket Weights, we created a Guide to Scuba Weighting eBook. Anyone who completed the Lead Ads form was automatically added to a our MailChimp contacts and sent a special promo code to buy Pocket Weights in addition to the eBook.

Below are the results of a 30-day ad spend on Facebook in 1st Quarter 2017. Though the eBook results were low (only three people filled out a form) the conversions were good – not to mention the low cost per click.

Though convenient, choosing to Boost a post on Facebook isn’t a healthy use of your advertising budget. Utilizing just one of the many Facebook Ad features can bring in better results at a lower cost. Try Facebook ads, and if you get stuck, just do a google search for the issue you’re experiencing; there’s a video tutorial for just about anything these days.


Plan a Rescue Diver Workshop

PADI Rescue Diver

Written by John Kinsella 

The Rescue Diver course is consistently described as one of the most challenging and yet rewarding courses in the entire PADI system of diver education. Capitalize on what divers love about the PADI Rescue Diver Course and seriously consider hosting an annual (or more frequent) Rescue Diver Workshop. Here are five reasons why this is a great idea:

  1. It’s a powerful way to highlight your business and your place in the local community. A Rescue Diver Workshop is about as close as diving is ever going to get to a spectator sport. The sight of divers sprinting across the beach, plunging into the water and dragging a “victim” out while administering mouth to mouth never fails to get attention. Lots of orange gear helps too. Just make absolutely sure you have clearly visible signage explaining that this is an exercise, and, double absolutely, make sure you let the local emergency services know what you’re doing.
  1. It’s a great way to get to know, and get known by, local emergency services. Consider inviting these experts to participate; emergency services practice regularly too. And if there’s anything that elevates the spectacle of a coordinated diver rescue to the next level, it’s a demonstration helicopter airlift. You might be surprised at the reception you receive if you simply ask politely.
  1. It’s a great way to promote continuing education. Invite everybody. Among other things, a rescue diver workshop is a great excuse for a day out. And having Open Water Divers about can really add to scenario realism if you get them involved. I have yet to meet one who didn’t delight in being used as a victim, in spite of all the inhaled water.
  1. It’s one of the best ways to keep skills current. Hopefully, you don’t practice rescues too often in the real world. This is the perfect opportunity to keep skills current, update certifications (There will, naturally, be a concurrent EFR course). This applies to divers, and professionals, at all levels. Make a point of encouraging full staff participation, reaching out to divers who haven’t been active in a while and basically letting everyone you can know about the event. It’s not hard to keep them busy.
  1. Why not? You’re doing the work already (every time you run a Rescue Diver Course) and it doesn’t take much to turn the Rescue Diver Scenarios (an integral part of that course) into the focus of a Rescue Diver Workshop. It’s a no brainer to integrate the two.

Plan a Rescue Diver Workshop today, there’s really no reason not to.

How Good is Your Emergency Action Plan?

Article written by DAN staff

In the middle of an emergency is not the time to think about how you’ll respond or whether your emergency action plan (EAP) is up to snuff. An effective EAP can be a powerful tool when an emergency arises.

Breathing Check

As a busy dive professional, you have to keep track of students and their individual needs, prepare for and organize training logistics, evaluate water conditions, etc. Adding the burden of responding to an emergency is task loading, but with an entire class of students in the water you need to make sure your emergency response plan is mentally and physically engrained. Knowing the dive site and having the appropriate equipment to deal with the emergency are necessary steps in setting you up for success. When was the last time you stepped back and considered the logistics of managing a real emergency?

DAN_EAPflowCommit Your Plan to Memory

Having a plan on paper is great, but you also need to know your plan and be ready to act on it under pressure. Use DAN’s EAP guideline to create your plan and practice it until it becomes an automatic response. By the time you identify the need to deal with an injured diver, you don’t have to think about your response – your EAP training should automate your response to evaluate the situation and continue down the planned steps.

Manage the Scene

Once an emergency occurs and you respond, it’s vital to your safety and the safety of the injured diver that you effectively manage the scene. Be aware of bystanders, boat or car traffic, or anyone who may be interfering with your response. Emergency response requires firm but respectful commands. Control the crowd and have a perimeter created around the injured diver so you have a safe space in which to provide care and prevent further harm to everyone involved. Use direct orders to get specific bystanders to contact emergency services, block traffic or help you move the patient. Talking to a crowd rather than an individual is confusing. Task specific people in order to get an effective response.

Communication and Logistics

Effective communications between all parties involved in an emergency can decrease stress and improve patient outcomes. Improving your communication with emergency medical personnel can increase the effectiveness and speed of their response, and help relay valuable patient information to the receiving physician. Whether you supply handheld radios to your staff, carry a satellite phone on a remote expedition, or have a fluent native speaker relay information to healthcare personnel to avoid translation issues, make sure that your communication is short, gets directly to the point and is as clear as possible.

For more information on EAPs and safe diving practices, visit DAN.org



2017 PADI Marketing Tool Kit is Now Available

PADI Americas is sending out announcements from now through June with instructions on how to custom order your free annual tool kit. In the kit you’ll find new, innovative and effective marketing collateral to help recruit new divers, keep current divers diving and encourage active divers to go pro.

Marketing kits can be mailed to PADI Dive Centers and Resorts operating in the 50 US States and Territories. If your dive center or resort is outside of these areas or currently uses a PO Box or FPO/APO address for mail services, please contact your PADI Regional Training Consultant to request the materials.

Click the link below to learn how you can use the kit to drive more divers through your dive shop doors.


Why You Need the EVE Complete System

In last month’s Surface Interval™, you learned about EVE Complete System components and how EVE has revolutionized the way a dive center operates, is managed and communicates with customers. Now let’s look at an example of how EVE can help you guide the journey of a potential new diver.


The customer contacts you – whether via email, your website, social media, telephone or a physical store visit – and you enter the customer’s details into EVE as an enquiry.

EVE Agent then sends that potential diver automated emails based on the new diver marketing criteria you’ve set up. Each email contains new content and fresh imagery designed to drive the customer to your website or to the click the “Buy Now” link.

If your website was create using EVE Website, the customer will see information pulled automatically from your EVE in-store system to your EVE Online Store, including:

  • Expanded information about the PADI® Open Water Diver course
  • Your upcoming course dates
  • Your course price
  • Buy Now links and options
  • Related products – perhaps a Discover Scuba® Diving experience or a mask, fins and snorkel package

Receiving consistent and regular messages, the customer is far more likely to act on the Buy Now message and sign up for the course.

After the customer enrolls in the course, another set of regular email messages can go out including:

  • “Course starting soon”
  • “Course starts tomorrow”
  • “Now that you’ve started your course…”
  • “It’s time for your open water dives”

These organized and automated emails can be a combination of practical information, chances to purchase equipment or messages that sow the seeds of continuing education. And, that’s only the start of the marketing cycle. When the course is completed, you can continue to promote the next steps to the diver, such as:

  • Travel
  • Continuing Education
  • Equipment

Because you set up all the marketing steps, the only manual effort in this scenario would have been entering the enquiry into EVE. The rest of the actions are automatic. This cycle applies to every diver for every course you offer, which is why the EVE Complete System is so beneficial to any dive business.

Act now and go to www.evediving.com to find out more, or contact info@evediving.com to learn how you can use the EVE Complete System to upgrade your dive business today.

PADI Business Academy Next Stop: PADI Americas

padibusinessLooking for the chance to visit PADI® Americas Regional Headquarters in Rancho Santa Margarita, California?

Come join PADI staff for the next PADI Business Academy (PBA), scheduled 3-4 May 2017, just days before the annual Scuba Show in Long Beach, California. Whether you are a PADI Dive Center or Resort owner, manager or employee, or an individual PADI Member, the new PBA will provide you with the motivation and knowledge needed to grow your operation.

Day Month Location
03-04 May Rancho Santa Margarita, CA, USA – at PADI Americas

For more information or to register, log in to the PADI Pros’ Site today.

PADI Events Calendar

Register to attend the PADI® events located near you.

Day(s) Month Event Location Registration Link
01-03 May PADI Swim School Instructor Program Cranford, New Jersey Register Now
03-04 May PADI Business Academy at PADI Headquarters Rancho Santa Margarita, California Register Now
11 May PADI Business Academy Lite Santiago, Chile Register Now
16 May PADI Business Academy Lite Lima, Peru Register Now
 19 May  PADI Swim School Instructor Program  Bolingbrook, Illinois  Register Now
02 June PADI Business Academy Lite Seattle, Washington Register Now
22 June PADI Business Academy Lite Cozumel, Mexico Register Now
26-27 June PADI Business Academy Playa Del Carmen, Mexico Register Now
20-21 July PADI Business Academy Punta Cana, Dominican Republic Register Now
08-09 August PADI Business Academy Bogota, Colombia Register Now
24 August PADI Business Academy Lite Utila, Honduras Register Now
28 August PADI Business Academy Lite Roatan, Honduras Register Now
12 September PADI Business Academy Lite San Pedro, Belize Register Now
20 September PADI Business Academy Lite Raleigh, North Carolina Register Now
18 October PADI Business Academy Lite Denver, Colorado Register Now