484: Paid Ad Predictions & Strategies To Leverage Now – 2023 Marketing Mastery #5

It’s day 5 and the last day of my 2023 Marketing Mastery series! I think I’ve saved the best for last…predictions and strategies for running paid ads this year. 

One of the most common questions I hear in the digital marketing space is, “do Facebook ads still work?” In short, YES! In fact, I believe that Facebook and Instagram ads will still dominate this year. They are time proven and great places to start when it comes to paid ads. 

BUT, there are other platforms, too. If you’ve considered expanding where you are running ads (or if you’ve never run a single ad and don’t know where to start!), you’re going to want to tune in. I’ve got the information you need to decide where you should be putting your money and what will benefit your business the most. Listen in!


Honestly, we’re more than a marketing team — we’re a tactical partner who will care about your business growth just as much as YOU (maybe even more)! We’re here to play the long game and help you create a powerful impact!


Thanks for tuning into this week’s episode of the Not For Lazy Marketers Podcast! If this podcast has added value and helped you in your business journey, please head over to iTunes, subscribe to the show, and leave us an honest review. Your reviews and feedback will not only help us continue to deliver great, helpful content, but it will also help us reach even more amazing entrepreneurs just like you.



Emily Hirsh:

Paid ad cost is down. And that means businesses who are willing and able to leverage paid ads, and I don’t just obviously say this because we do this for clients. I mean, I stand by this in my own business. There isn’t a day that goes by that I’m not investing in ads because I know that what I do today as it comes to my paid ads and, and being able to generate more audience and leads is gonna impact my business in the many months to come.

You are listening to the Not for Lazy Marketers Podcast, episode number 484.

Hello everybody and happy Friday if you’re listening to this episode when it comes out live. We are on the fifth episode of this week’s series. I have had so much fun doing this series and I hope you guys have gotten a lot of value out of it. If you haven’t got up on the episodes, just go back into the previous four episodes that came out all this week, all around 2023 Marketing Mastery. And I really laid out a very holistic view of marketing from organic content to sales funnel strategies to email marketing, and then on the first day mistakes that you don’t wanna be making this year. So today we’re gonna talk about paid ads and I do have quite a lot of points that I wanna talk about and I had even more, but I had to condense it down a little bit.

And as with always in any of my episodes, I want you to walk away with one major takeaway. So if you’re listening to this and you get like seven ideas, I want you to have one thing you are going to go implement. And this episode will be relevant for you if you’re currently running ads or not, because it’s really important that you know these things. And some of the things I’m gonna share will potentially help you plan out ads if you’re planning on running them in the near future. So if you’re currently not running ads or you’re like, I’m maybe three, six months out for running ads, that’s okay. This might also convince you to do it sooner, and to to get ready for paid ads sooner. So let’s dive into kind of my paid ad predictions for this year as well as strategies and tactics that you can be leveraging right now if you’re not already doing that.

Okay, so first of all, if we’re talking about predictions, I get asked this question all the time of like, do Facebook ads still work? Should I still even be doing Facebook ads? I’ve heard that they haven’t worked. I’ve gotten this less lately, but in the last couple of years I get asked this question at least once a month. And so my prediction is that this year for the rest of the year, Instagram and Facebook are still gonna dom dominate. They are still the number one used social media platform by people. And so as long as that is the case, then that means the majority of businesses, audiences are on Facebook and Instagram. And so therefore it will probably be a platform that dominates. Now if you have thought about like do I run Facebook or Instagram ads, do I run YouTube, do I run TikTok?

I’m gonna talk more about these things, but I typically recommend. Now there are definitely unique scenarios that I would say otherwise, but I typically recommend that people start with Facebook and Instagram ads because your audience is likely there. They are very proven to run. There’s a lot of nuances with TikTok and YouTube ads that it’s hard to master. It’s, it’s not as easy to put up an ad on YouTube and see success as it is Facebook and Instagram. And so Facebook and Instagram are a great place to start and are where a lot of companies spend majority of their ad budget and then they start to expand out of into other platforms. So this is why our middle tier done for you agency package. We focus all on Facebook and Instagram ads and then our higher level package. We help clients expand out into different platforms and we do it very strategically.

So based on where their audience is, based on what’s best for their offer, what’s best for their strategy, we will have them run YouTube or TikTok or Google Ads. And so we start everybody on Facebook and Instagram because that allows you to prove the things that matter outside of the ads. So the messaging, the strategy, and all of those components. So this year, probably into next year, I think Instagram and Facebook are still gonna be dominating. If I was to choose the second best platform for you to consider with paid ads, if you’re considering expanding out testing different platforms or if you just want to know what that is, I would say YouTube. I think that YouTube both organic and paid is going to see a lot of growth in the next few years. And I think YouTube is definitely really worth testing. But if you have a super small budget or you’re just starting out, I still stand by, start with Facebook and Instagram ads and then expand.

Okay, and next are TikTok ads. So a lot of people ask me about TikTok ads, and TikTok obviously blew up and has been one of the only social media platforms that has even stood a chance next to Facebook and Instagram. So TikTok ads can be great, but here’s the thing, I’ve tested them, we are running them for some clients and have also tested them on clients that we ended up turning them off. It’s very specific. Tiktok is going to do well, but only for certain brands and for those that can successfully blend their ad content into TikTok, and that is the hardest part. So people, users use TikTok very much for like entertainment and the types of videos that are on TikTok are related to entertainment and storytelling and content that is not the same as Facebook and Instagram and it’s not business friendly yet.

And so a lot of times when you’re scrolling and you see an ad, it stands out significantly. And I talked about this earlier in the week, that if you have a piece of content or you have an ad that does not blend in the feed and feel like organic content feel like something that I should naturally see as I’m scrolling this platform and using it, then likely people are not going to engage with it and they’re gonna scroll right past it. So I’ve seen success and personally had success with e-commerce brands and TikTok. I think that it’s very possible to make a TikTok video that checks those boxes of entertainment and storytelling and really native to the feed when you have a product. I have also seen it successful for people who specifically target a younger audience or have the personality and the creativity for these TikTok videos of something funny or something really creative or storytelling.

It takes a lot to do that. And even if you have the best people create you scripts and tell you what to do, like ultimately you have to record the video, right? And if that doesn’t feel authentic to you and you really struggle with that, it’s going to stand out. Tiktok is still a very young audience. I think the stat is like 70% or this was a few months ago, but 70% of the users are below their thirties. That still leaves 30%, which is quite a lot with how many users TikTok has that are in that older age range, but it’s just not there yet in terms of being the same as Facebook and Instagram ads. It could be worth testing. And again, if you have a product business, especially a product business that targets a younger audience, it’s probably definitely worth testing. In terms of cost, TikTok is cheaper.

 The actual like CPMs of on TikTok have been known to be cheaper and it’s set up very similar to Facebook ads. The actual backend, the ads manager, how it works is really, really similar. We have a client who is in the e-commerce space using TikTok and that’s really successful and the cost is actually pretty similar, but I’d say TikTok is a little less expensive, but I think the actual return on ads been really ends up working out. And that’s the thing is like you could have cheaper quote ads, but if they don’t convert or the quality isn’t there, then that’s not really a good thing in the long run. And so remembering that is really important when you’re considering or thinking, oh, TikTok is this kind of like shiny object. Okay, I think, and here’s another prediction that I have. So I’ve shared this in the, in the last couple of months on here a few times, but ad costs are actually way down right now on Facebook and Instagram.

The actual cost for your ads, like we are seeing, you know, webinar registrations at like three, four, $5 again in the B2B space, which was just absolutely unheard of, especially in like 2021, early 2021 when the iOS updates hit. Like we have not seen costs like this since that initial bubble of Covid O V I D when costs went way down. And I think the reason behind this is I think that there has been a significant amount of companies who have either had to pull back some of their ad spend or can’t even afford to run ads because of the recession and the economy. And that is a good thing for a lot of other companies cuz it makes ad cost cheaper. And I also think Facebook has figured out its algorithm post iOS updates. And I think that they’ve figured out targeting and tracking and all of those things after the iOS updates to the extent that iOS updates, I mean we don’t really notice it anymore in terms of neg a negative impact, which was not the case a few years ago.

So paid ad costs is down and that means businesses who are willing and able to leverage paid ads, and I don’t just obviously say this because we do this for clients. I mean, I stand by this in my own business. There isn’t a day that goes by that I’m not investing in ads because I know that what I do today as it comes to my paid ads and, and being able to generate more audience and leads is gonna impact my business in the many months to come. And so I really think that this year the businesses who prioritize investing in paid ads, which means before you invest in paid ads, you have to have a lot of the things that we’ve talked about this week in place, your strategy, your messaging, your offer positioning, like those foundational things. But the companies that invest in paid ads and consistently grow their list and consistently leverage paid ads to reach new people every single day are going to win in the long run and are especially going to win in the next few years of the recession.

And I really want you guys to understand this, when I’ve never personally been through a recession in, in my business, like I didn’t have my business back in 2008 and when that happened. And so a lot of this has been new for me. And if you would’ve asked me like a year ago, I would’ve been a lot more afraid of what the recession meant. And like a year ago in really into the summer, so maybe more like eight months ago, historically my company has not always grown as much in the summer. And so I was a lot more afraid, but today, now I don’t even notice the recession. Like there are things that kind of tilt the scale so that it all evens out. Yes, buyer hesitancy is higher because people are more hesitant and people are you know, just more cautious how they spend their money.

But ad costs is down and people are still buying things. Like we just had a client literally today, the day that I’m recording this episode, who did a webinar and made $20,000. And this is not a client who is like already at the status level of Amy Porterfield or Marie Forlio, like I’m talking about an everyday business owner who prior to working with us, had only spent a couple hundred dollars in ads, had never had a six figure launch, and then just did $20,000 in a day. In a B2B industry, in an industry that you could argue is being impacted by the recession, like things are still very successful, people still need their problems solved, people are still spending money, people are still buying things. And don’t let that like fearmongering of the recession make you afraid. But even more importantly, don’t let it cut costs in your business that you should not cut.

So if you, you know, operate from that place of like, well everybody’s saying that it’s a recession and we have to be careful and like we’re not gonna be successful and things are gonna be hard, that will come true for you and things will be hard and you will start to operate and make decisions from that place, which means you might not invest in your business growth. Whether that means paid ads, whether that means hiring support as it relates to organic marketing or getting on guest podcasts, like whatever your main traffic source is going to be to grow your business. You don’t wanna operate from that place of fear where you’re already deciding things are gonna be hard because then you’re gonna make decisions as the CEO who believes that things are gonna be hard and you’re not gonna make enough money. Instead go at it from, no, I’m gonna grow during this time period.

I’m gonna solve my audience’s problems, I’m gonna pivot as I need to. I am gonna create success no matter what during this time period because there is no other option. And so therefore then what would that CEO do? What would that ceo, what decisions would they make about ads? Would they go at it from a place of fear or would they go at it from a place of abundance and wanting to grow their audience and their list? And so I really think that paid ads this year, next year and probably the year after, the businesses who leverage them are going to be ahead because there will be so many other businesses who don’t and those who grow their audience and their leads during this harder time. But I’m not really saying it’s harder, but others are, are going to come out ahead and, you know, overall paid ads.

The reason why I love them so much and the reason why my entire business is built around them is because they just fast track your success. Like you could literally get the results that it would take you three months or more to get organically in a couple of days with paid ads because you’re paying for reach, because you’re paying to reach your ideal customer to get your brand out there, to grow your email list, to grow your audience. And it just fast tracks your success now to get results. Like paid ads are not the end all be all. Like they’re not gonna solve and come in in a business that is just not working and not selling their offer or doesn’t have a strategy. You can’t just expect paid ads to come and save you. They have to be based on a solid foundation and they’re gonna amplify that foundation, which is why we spend the first month with every single client building these strongest foundation, but they can amplify things so much faster than if you weren’t using them.

Okay. Okay, now I’m gonna get into a little bit more tactical things here to, to wrap up kind of the second half of this episode. Okay, so this is coming straight from my team and this is more around ad creative. And what is doing the best? So we recently talked about this on my team and it’s really interesting. This has always been the answer of like, is it video, is it images, is it reels, is it carousels? And it can be any of those things. And that’s always been my answer. Now I will say over half the time, videos and reels outperform images. Now there are some cases and some industries where actual images outperform videos. And this is why people who tell you like, oh, it has to be all videos and or it has to be this and like, it’s just this black and white kind of advice are never right.

Like they’re not speaking off of true data. I have data of hundreds of ads, hundreds of thousands of dollars of ads spend every single month. And I’m telling you that it’s very dependent on a couple of things. One, the business itself, somebody who either really excels on video or doesn’t, obviously that’s gonna play a part in it. Two, also the audience and the niche that somebody’s in. So my best practice for ads, and this is what we do with all of our clients, is we always, always, always test videos and reels against images and we try to, to determine which one does better and then we narrow in on that. So which one has better click through rates, which one gets better results? And then we try to narrow down doing more video, doing more reels or doing more images. But even then we always incorporate both into our campaigns.

The other type of creative that has done well for some brands is the carousel ads. So those are, you know, where you can scroll through and there’s multiple slides. This also works well organically too. I love doing this with a retargeting ad that has like social proof screenshots or maybe it’s an offer that has like multiple parts to it or it’s a three part video training or something that kind of can create a story within the carousel. So those can also do really well. We’ve tested them and they haven’t done well, but we’ve also tested them and they’ve done really well. So it could be worth it to test a carousel ad for your ads if you haven’t yet. And then the most important takeaway from this is if you are running your ads or an agency is running your ads, the amount and importance of copying creative, I cannot say enough, it is probably half the success of the ads.

I would say maybe not quite half, but I would say like the strategy is half the ad that copying creative is 25% and then targeting an actual like ads management techniques is 25%. But copy and creative on the ads itself plays a massive part in the success. And when I get a client where we look at like what a past agency did or what they did in their ads in the past, most of the time I see that there was not enough testing done. With copy and creative there was like maybe one image, one video, not enough testing being done and then not enough refreshes happening. Most of our clients get fresh ad copy and creative every single month unless we make a strategic decision not to do that. And those who spend even more money and spend, you know, in the 10, 20, 30 plus thousand dollars get probably every week to two weeks fresh copy and creative.

And that’s one of the biggest things that contributes to people having two expensive ad costs is a lack of enough quality copy and creative. Okay a couple more like things around this is organic looking videos and reels are very important with ads. Just because it’s an ad doesn’t mean you wanna make it look like an ad. So I talked about this in the content episode, but this is also really relevant for paid ads. If you’re doing a video, if you’re making a reel, it doesn’t have to be over produced, it doesn’t have to be made with a really fancy camera. People want to feel like they’re, you’re their friend and they’re, you know, seeing you in their feed very organically. We’ve tested this so many times and pretty much every single time the organic looking videos and reels outperform the highly edited ones.

Also, another ad that we’ve been using a lot more and seeing success with is text-based ads. So actually having an image with a lot of text in it and having it primarily be text in like a headline within the image has done well across multiple client accounts in multiple different niches. And so it could be worth testing that. It’s funny, Facebook used to have that like warning of like, 20% of your graphic is text. And I, I actually don’t know if they still have that, but that is not an issue anymore of your ad, you know, not showing or not doing well because of that. So we’ve tested a lot of very strong headlines as text based ads, like the image is text base and it doesn’t actually have an image. It’s just like a color with a, a headline and it really stands out and those have been doing really well.

So it is something that is maybe worth testing for you. Okay, so that’s really my majority of ads strategies and different things around ads and the different platforms and things to consider. And I think, like, I just kind of mentioned this, but I wanna reiterate this one more time before I wrap this episode up, which is your ad strategy has to be backed by a really good funnel strategy by a really good overall holistic marketing strategy. And where people make the biggest mistake is they think that the answer is just, oh, if I just get this Facebook ad up, the sales and the leads are gonna follow. And what happens before and after the ads, meaning what happens around your messaging, around your offer positioning, around your audience building, and then what happens after somebody goes from the ad to your landing page or to your sales page and enters into that customer journey and enters into that email sequence matters more than the ad itself.

And when I look at our agency as a whole, ads are just such a small part of what we do, the strategy, the messaging, the copy, the creative, the funnel work. That is more of what we do than the ads. And there’s a reason why this episode is coming last in the series. There’s a reason why paid ads is the last step in your marketing. It’s because it it, it’s gonna amplify everything you did before. Now that doesn’t mean wait six, 12 months to run ads, it just means spend a week or two weeks. It doesn’t take that long. But spend time having a solid foundation before you go run ads. And then don’t look at your ads as being this like magical like shiny object saving grace for your company. Just know it’s gonna amplify what you have. So if you have a sales funnel strategy that’s not complete, that’s not fully fleshed out, if you don’t have an email sequence attached to it like I talked about yesterday, that really creates a customer journey and an experience, then your ads are only gonna do so well.

You can bring in all the leads, but if you don’t convert them or you don’t bring them on a really good experience that ends up converting them, you are leaving money on the table. You may still be able to create success, but you’re still missing out on opportunity. And that’s why, you know, there’s a big reason that we spend so much time in strategy and messaging and copying creative because ads are gonna amplify all those things. So just keep that in mind always. And then like I said, another important thing is that you don’t wait too long to run ads because I also see this a lot like people expect. It’s kind of like with any big thing in life, you’re never fully ready and nothing is ever gonna be fully perfect to be able to run ads. You need to have this foundation in place, you need to have these boxes checked, but then ads just becomes partly an experiment.

You try things, this works, this doesn’t, you do more of that, you do less of that. And if you wait for that perfect moment, you’re probably never gonna do it and you’re likely gonna massively hinder your growth because right now, unless you have a solid traffic strategy by organic or earned media of, you know, guest podcasting or something, what are you doing to grow your audience? And if it’s truly not growing every day and new people are seeing your business, that’s a massive problem that paid ads can solve. When done the right way, you guys know where to find my, me and my team. If that is something you wanna even just explore, like we will tell you if you’re ready for paid ads or not, we will tell you no, you have to go do this before and come back and we’ve done that many times and had people come back, you know, six months later when they were ready.

But most of the time people are ready sooner than they think they are because they don’t really have other options in growing their business. So if you wanna go to help my strategy.com, you can fill out our application, jump on a call, see if you are a right fit, if your business is ready, and you know, make sure you have a strategy, some sort of strategy to grow your audience, to grow your list and make sure your business is reaching those new people. All right everybody, thank you so much for tuning in to this series this week. I had so much fun doing this, putting this content together as usual. I really love it. If you enjoyed it, I would love if you would share it and tag me on social media so I can thank you for that. Otherwise, I will see you guys back here for regular tuning Tuesday, Thursday podcast next week.

Thanks for listening to the Not for Lazy Marketers podcast. If you love this episode and want deeper support with your marketing, head over to helpmystrategy.com to see how Hirsh Marketing can help take your marketing to the next level no matter where you’re at today. We help our clients scale faster than ever, find hidden leaks in their funnel, experiment with new creative marketing strategies, and help their business explode and be more profitable than they ever dreamed possible. Head over to helpmystrategy.com and see if you qualify for a free strategy audit with Team Hirsh.