May 27, 2019

Facebook ads is not easy and not cheap

SumanJung @sumanjung

To counter what seems to be the flavour of the last few years: yeah, Facebook ads is definitely lucrative if you get it right and have the right product. I’ve personally seen ad campaigns with a return on ad spend (ROAS) of 20.00+ before - rarely - and more commonly, 2.00-3.00 - when successful.

But a lot of people don’t do Facebook ads well. From the metrics they look at, to the creative they use, to the audiences they choose, to the way they name their campaigns: I’d say that there’s a lot of misinformation about the best way to do Facebook campaigns. No, I’m not about to sell a course.

Common flaws in beginners’ expectations:

“Facebook ads will work without spending that much.” Trust me, it totally won’t. Even spending $5,000+ (as I have) by trying to figure things out yourself, you still won’t necessarily figure things out until you’ve got a great funnel and system for optimising.

“Lookalike audiences always work.” It’s true that these are extremely profitable when done right. But LLAs again aren’t a magic cure. They can, and will, sometimes fail. They are also extremely data hungry, so lack of data - perhaps from lack of advertising funds - also makes these useless.

“Facebook ads is easy.” There’s actually a considerable amount of nuance to doing Facebook ads well.

“Facebook ads will definitely succeed.” Look, it can — but consider whether interrupted targeted marketing like Facebook is right for you. Google Ads are really lucrative in some situations and convert better. And it would also be wise to use free ways to test product-market fit, before staggering lazily towards paid methods in attempt to prove people will buy your product.

“There is a single best approach for fb ads.” I’ve actually seen so many people succeed by doing completely different things, and so many people fail by attempting to replicate what the successful people are doing.

Facebook ads is certainly an incredible tool. But rather than swinging a sword or shooting an arrow, it’s more like a building a watch: you have to make many pieces come together well for anything to work properly. When it does, it’s super cool.

But it takes a lot of effort and practice. This post isn’t meant to dissuade anyone or stroke my ego - I’ve definitely had my rough patches attempting Facebook ads too and spent a lot of money doing stupid stuff (though in the name of data collection). It’s just meant to serve as a warning to those who are just starting out with it, that: it’s rare to succeed immediately with it, and there’s other places which can be easier. And it definitely works for some.

  1. 1

    SumanJung, in light of all this, would you recommend hiring out your Facebook ad management?

    It seems to be worth a $750/mo service fee to an experienced FB contractor or small agency since they're likely to be waaay further along in their understanding of what works and what doesn't, and you'll likely make back the $750 by not misspending your money on the ads. And, you save all the time you'd otherwise invest in trying to learn effective FB advertising, which, as you point out, is a lot of time.

  2. 1

    This is spot on! Entrepreneurs don't fully understand it. A lot of great SaaS companies don't even use Facebook Ads or Google Ads because it's a channel that's often not suited to attract their customers. But people are still using it to validate SaaS product market fit, when Ads in general was made for companies WITH product-market fit figured out but need to scale.