If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Paid advertising on channels such as Facebook and Google can be a great option for growing your business. And from what you’re probably hearing about paid ads, it can seem like they’re akin to turning on a “magic” switch that “instantly” creates:
So many leads!
So many sales!!
Reality: it takes time to build a positive ROI from paid advertising.
How much time? Four to six months.
Running paid ads is a marketing expense that you pay before a sale is made, and like all similar expenses in your business, you want that spend to create a positive ROI, or Return on Investment.
How long it will take your ads to generate a positive ROI is dependent upon many factors including:
- how competitive your market or niche is
- your advertising goals (leads, sales or both)
- the length of your sales process (immediate, days, weeks or months)
- the price point of your offer(s)
- your current level of brand visibility
- your budget
But no matter the amazing stories you’ve heard about or seen on social media from other business owners and marketing gurus, rarely does a consistent positive ROI from paid advertising occur in fewer than 4-6 months.
Learning is time-dependent.
There are two types of learning that must occur before your advertising can really begin to deliver strong results and generate a positive ROI:
- Human learning
- Machine learning
The time required for the human side of the learning equation can be greatly reduced by working with experts, like the ConvertMORE ads team, for whom creating, placing, tracking and optimizing paid ads is WHAT they do, day in and day out. Advertising experts know the systems and understand the strategies and tactics that deliver results. Sure, you could get lucky and pin that tail right on the donkey’s @ss with your first attempt, but luck is not a sustainable strategy.
Advertising platforms, such as Facebook and Google, want you to be successful because that is what keeps you spending money with them. The way the system works is with complex algorithms that are built into the advertising platform’s backend which learn, within the audience(s) you’ve selected, the data points that match up to success for your ad(s).
If you do not give this learning curve sufficient time to work and you bounce from one short promotion to the next “trying to figure out” which audience works for you, you’ll end up both frustrated and broke.
Since Facebook is by far the most popular platform for our clients, here are some specific tips for optimizing Facebook’s learning:
Begin with an offer that is ongoing so you can set your campaign then let it run.
Expect that you will have some weeks/months that deliver strong results and some that do not, but it’s the result over time that matters. You’ll want to set a budget that you absorb over the long term – usually just a few dollars a day.
It’s ok to make slight adjustments in your audiences during this time (slight being the operative word), but if your audience is getting results, even if those results are not yet AS high as you want it, DO NOT TOUCH. Let Facebook do its thing. You can’t outsmart it, so give Facebook the time it needs to help you be successful.
Success with short term or time-dependent offers.
The greatest success with short term offers will come, of course, by running them to the tried and true audiences you’ve curated using the long term strategy noted above. If you don’t have those audiences ready to go, your best chance at success for an untested, short term offer is to provide at LEAST 3 weeks of run time.
You’ll also need to put a significant budget behind the ads because you need to give Facebook the impetus to SHOW that ad. The higher placement concentration will expedite Facebook’s learning and (fingers crossed) deliver reasonable results.
Beware: apples and elephants.
Last note about the strategies you choose re: timing and budget for your Facebook ads, do not compare two different businesses and expect similar results. Just because one business gets results from doing X does not mean that you will get results using the exact same tactics. No two businesses are the same when it comes to generating strong results with paid ads, not even two businesses that do the same thing. Every business needs to make decisions based on the data their business’s ads are bringing in.