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  • Writer's pictureJason Burlin

Your Ads are not the problem, it’s your product!

Updated: Sep 3, 2023

Nobody likes to take responsibility for failures and everybody likes to point fingers. It’s human nature. People only want to take credit for success, and the same is true for advertisers. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people say that Facebook and Instagram ads don’t work. My first response to that statement is always, “What do you mean they don’t work? Are you saying that they don’t allow you to advertise on their platform? People are not clicking on your ads? You’re not getting any traffic to your website? What doesn’t work?” Then the answer is always something along the lines of, “I mean that they are not profitable – the results are bad.” This drives me crazy!

What kind of world do we live in where people actually think that making money online is that easy? 

I’ve managed thousands of different campaigns. I’ve seen advertisers get rich quick and I’ve seen people lose their businesses. And I am still amazed by how people who spend money on ad platforms have such a poor understanding of how online advertising works. Let me break it down for you: Google, Facebook, Instagram, and any other major platforms are only for advertising. they don’t sell your product or service for you. It’s a place for you to show your ads to relevant people and hope those people are interested and click on your ads. With even a small budget, these platforms can match your ads with the most relevant audience. That’s impressive as it is – everything else is a bonus! 

Every click and every impression is analyzed to provide you the most accurate results. Think about it this way, if you have a product or service that you would like to advertise, and you take $100 and use that money in any big city around the world, how likely are you to make a sale? The chances are slim. Yet with Facebook and Google, I already lost count of the number of times I’ve seen advertisers not only get relevant traffic with their first $100 spend, but actually get sales and leads!

So let me tell you a little secret, unless your campaigns are set up terribly wrong (which probably isn’t the case), and you are getting clicks but no purchases or leads, the problem usually lies within your product or offer. 

One of the side effects of the internet era, where you can launch a website or a complete online store in about an hour, is that it can attract the wrong type of entrepreneurs who want to make easy money online. Yes, just like not all people are meant to be doctors or police officers, online businesses are not for everyone. When I talk to future clients I try to be transparent about this. So many times I’ve talked to people who rush to create their first campaigns because they want to make their first dollar quick. The two issues with that are that they don’t take the time to understand the basics of advertising online, and they don’t take time to evaluate their product. What happens? They spend hours trying to figure out what’s not working, and they lose thousands of dollars along the way. 

Evaluate Your Product Or Offer First

Market research will help you determine a few things. Is your product unique? If not, what’s the market price for it? How much are other stores selling it for? Do you know approximately how much of this product has sold online recently? Is there a market for it? Do some investigating first.

The same goes for services. What are your competitors or similar industries offering? How does your offer compare to theirs?

Unless you are lucky, you will probably always be in a competitive or soon-to-be-competitive market. The best way to gain insight is by following your competitors. Sign up for their newsletters, sign up on their website and follow everything they do. If your competitors are larger, you can probably assume that a lot of what they do is based on a/b testing and data. Get ideas and inspiration from what they do, and make sure you have all the important elements. 

The Ad vs. Price Tes

If you’re hoping your product will be viral instantly and you’ll receive massive amounts of free traffic, it’s time to take a step back. Understand that advertising today is not free. In order to reach someone by advertisement, email, or message, you will have to pay for it. Businesses that have done really well with a strong past customer base are struggling to expand their business because they don’t have a business model that allows them to pay a lot for traffic. Almost every expert will tell you that products sold online need to have decent margins to allow room for advertising spend.

That amount depends on what you’re going to sell and how much you want to grow your business, but marketing spend normally accounts for anywhere from 10-50% of your margins. That’s right, some businesses pay a 50% ad cost from their margins and still make massive profits. Ensuring that you will have room for ad spend in your business model is crucial for advertising and making money online. 

Final Polish…

Just like they won’t let you leave the carwash without giving your car the final touch, the same should be done for your product or service. Before launching your ad and spending money, you should go through it and make sure the details are complete. Product name, descriptions, price, website information, and most importantly, your creatives – everything should always be tripled checked to ensure that you are good to go. Always run a test order to actually see how it looks to your customer and to ensure everything works. 

The truth is, not all products can be sold online. Some products just don’t do well online while others sell like hotcakes. Products with high or low margins usually compete for similar audiences, and it’s more like 10-20% of products online that account for 80% of the global sales, so you really need to have a good product to get massive sales. 

In Summary:

If you spent a lot of money trying to sell your product or service with little success, understand that it’s not usually the campaigns that are to blame – it’s probably your product. Launching your website should be a thoughtful process based on market research, analysis, and critical thinking. Understand that not all products will sell well online, and it’s a small percentage of products online that make up most of the sales around the world.

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Jason Burlin

A seasoned marketer with more than a decade of experience in online paid advertising. Managed more than $150M in ad spend and worked with more than 500+ brands. He is known as the unconventional marketer.

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