With over eight years in paid ads, we took some time to reflect on what lessons we've learned from working with over 200 brands on paid ads strategies. It's been a whirlwind experience! Not only have we challenged so many of our assumptions, we've also tested new ideas, seen brands 10x their profit, and hit some bumps along the way. As any business owner knows, social media often shows the highlights without the crazy map it took to achieve success. Consider this our very public tell all, showcasing exactly what has worked... and what hasn't panned out the way we thought it would.
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There's no better feeling than perfecting a strategy that brings a client an above average return on their ad spend (and their investment with our ads management house!) but very early on, we realised that what makes one approach perfect for a brand can actually sabotage optimal results for another brand. Even brands within the same industry can deeply benefit from custom ad strategy! This led us to present a custom, data backed approach with each and every client. Although it requires more brainstorming, strategizing and planning, it has consistently lead us to above industry average results.
We've had many potential clients come to us asking just for Instagram ads, because they believed that's where their audience spent time. But what they didn't realise is that although their audience used Instagram for entertainment and engaged with the brand on Instagram, when it came time to pull out their wallets, they actually relied on Google search results to decide on a purchase. Not only does intimately knowing your audience often reveal how valuable more than one platform can be, it also has other benefits. When iOS 14 was released in 2020, many e-commerce brands were actually experiencing incredible sales. Thanks to consumers staying at home during the pandemic, purchasing was up. Redecorating your living room or elevating your work from home wardrobe suddenly became a priority and drove sales, because what else was there to do? But those profits from paid ads campaigns took an unexpected turn. When iOS 14 came along, it completely changed how platforms like Facebook and Google could see someone's online interests, which drastically affected how ads could target consumers. Just one year after its release, approximately 62% of iPhone users had opted out of sharing their information. At that point, our clients relied on multi-use platforms for their ads because it allows for a deeper audience connection by re-enforcing key messages. We were already advocating for a multi-platform approach, but it became essential for our clients after the release of iOS14.
One of the hardest lessons learned has come through clients who don't have a stellar product/market fit. Whether the product is lacking in quality, customer service, branding or another area, a product your audience wants is essential to success. Even the most thoughtful, data backed ads funnel cannot build sustainable profits if the customers aren't happy, and that's a tough lesson for everyone. Quality matters, from the ground up. We've learned to quickly vet the product/market fit by asking prospective clients, "What problem does this solve?" and "What does the data say?". We're so fortunate to now be in a place where brands that want to work with us value products of integrity and it's rarely an issue. But all that to say, trust but verify. (And have an excellent contract to shield you from liability outside of your control!)
When it comes to running a service based business (like an ads management house!), there's so much you learn as you go. Each of these lessons from working with over 200 brands on paid ad strategies often came with a tough learning curve, but goodness, our expertise skyrocketed after each obstacle. If you're considering starting your own business or simply curious about what it takes to become an expert in ads, we're here to share and hope these tips will boost your own knowledge bank.