Do You Make These Paid Marketing Mistakes?

PLUS: Growth funnels, local newsletters, sponsor ad copy, how to calculate LTV, and more

Welcome to The Newsletter Operator!

In today’s email:

  • The most common paid marketing mistakes – and how to fix them

  • Breakdowns of the fastest-growing local newsletter

  • A growth funnel with huge ROAS opportunities

  • How to write newsletter sponsor copy

  • And much more…

Let’s dive in!

Deep Dive

Are You Making These Paid Marketing Mistakes? Here’s What To Do When Your Ads Aren’t Working

If you’ve tried Facebook, TikTok, or Twitter ads to grow your newsletter – and you aren’t getting the results you want…

Here’s what you need to know.

There are 5 main factors that affect your CPA (your ad results)

These are:

  • CPC (Cost Per Click) - The average cost for each click

  • CPM (Cost Per Mille) - Your cost per 1,000 impressions

  • Frequency - The average number of times a user saw your ad

  • CTR (Click Through Rate) - The percentage of times people saw your ad and clicked

  • CVR - (Conversion Rate) - What percent of users that click your ad subscribed (aka your landing page or lead form conversion rate, if you’re using instant forms)

You can see these metrics by creating customized columns in your FB, TikTok, or Twitter ads manager. Here’s how to create these columns in FB ads.

The process is similar for Twitter and TikTok ads. If you watch the video above you’ll be able to do this for other ad platforms too.

Here are what benchmarks you should be shooting for:

  • CVR - >35%

  • CPC - <$1.20

  • CTR - >1.50%

  • CPM - <$20.00

  • Frequency - <1.30

If your ads are not at or better than these target benchmarks, here’s the issue:

1. If your CVR is under 35% – your landing page or lead form is bad.

You need to improve this page or form to increase it. Here are my recommendations to fix your landing page and your lead form.

2. If your CTR is below 1.50% – your ad creative is bad.

Create and test better ads to fix this. Here are my recommendations to make better image ads and better video ads.

3. If your CPM is over $20 – try this:

  • Test bigger audiences. Your audience size could be too narrow. Test audiences with 10M+ people. Also, test “super broad” audiences that target 18+ only (your audience size will be 100M+). Let the algorithms do the work to find subscribers for you.

  • Check your Account Quality - If you have ads rejected appeal them. If they are not reversed, delete them. Don’t leave rejected ads in your account.

  • Make better creative - If your CTR is also low focus on making better ad creative. CPMs will get lower when more users are interacting and clicking your ads.

  • If you try all of the above and your CPM is still high – create a new ad account and test an ad campaign there. Sometimes your CPM will be drastically different in a different ad account.

4. If your Frequency is over 1.30 – your targeting is too narrow.

Try bigger audiences (10-20M+).

If you’re retargeting, it’s okay to have a higher Frequency. I recommend trying to keep it under 2-3 in this case. If it goes over that you need to test bigger retargeting audiences or lower your daily spend.

5. If CPC is over $1.20 – See #2 and #3

Your CPC is a factor of CTR and CPM. Improve those metrics and your CPC will get lower.

It’s that simple. If your CPA is bad, check those metrics and make changes to improve the metrics that don’t meet the benchmarks.

If you’re able to reach or beat those metric benchmarks, your CPA (cost per subscriber) should be <$2.00-$3.00

The Most Common Ad Mistakes I See

Here’s a checklist of common mistakes when running ads and how to fix them.

Make sure these are fixed before you try and improve the metrics above.

1. Campaign type

Your Campaign type (aka objective) should be leads or conversion.

If your goal is to get newsletter subscribers from these ads – this is the only campaign type you should be using.

A common mistake I see is using the “Traffic” campaign type. This will drive lots of low cost clicks that don’t convert to subscribers.

2. Budget

You don't need a fortune to run ads.

However, your daily budget in an ad set should be set to a minimum of $25-$50.

For your ads to be optimized, you need a minimum of 50 conversions per week.

With a CPA of <$4.20, you’ll get 50+ conversions per week with a $30 daily budget. And that's just hypothetical. In reality, your CPA should be below $4.20.

3. Targeting

Beginners often make their audiences too small or too big.

  • For FB ads, your audience size should be at least 5M.

  • For Twitter and TikTok ads, your audience size should be at least 10M.

Your audience size should be no larger than 100M.

However, as your pixel gets more data and conversions bigger audiences will work better. I recommend getting 1000+ conversions on your pixel before testing audience sizes over 50M.

4. Bidding

Always use auto bidding.

5. Locations and Age

  • Pick 1 to 4 counties. Don’t target worldwide. Of course, these locations depend on your business objectives. (Most newsletters I work with only target the US and CA).

  • Age should be 18+.

However, there are some expectations. If your newsletter mostly appeals to an age group you could set an age cap - but don’t make it too narrow.

  • Older audience: 23+

  • Younger audience: 18-55

6. Ad creative

You should test a minimum of 3 creatives at a time in each ad set – and a maximum of 6.

Use the same creatives across all your ad sets.

7. Check your ad comments

Negative comments on your ads could be hurting your CPA. Check the comments on all your ads weekly and hide or delete negative comments.

📈 Growth

Interview with 6AM CITY, the fastest-growing newsletter-first local media company in the US (link)

A deep dive into 6AM City’s tech stack, audience strategy, and unit economics (link)

How Daphne Gomez grew her email list to over 100k subscribers in 3 years (link)

How Jeremy Enns went from 100 to 1000 email subscribers per month (link)

Results from Jay Clouse’s newsletter growth experiments (link)

Richard Patey’s newsletter growth funnel (link)

🎨 Design

An awesome newsletter design example (link)

💰 Monetization

How Stacked Marketer writes great newsletter sponsor copy (link)

Framework for writing a great newsletter ad in 61 minutes with minimal effort (link)

📰 Newsletter News

Beehiiv drops a tool to help you calculate LTV, CAC, Ad Rates, and more (link)

More details on ConvertKit's Creator Network that’s launching soon (link)Need more help with ads?

1. I created a ~1 hour course that covers everything you need to grow your newsletter with FB ads.

Share this newsletter with the referral program below to get access.

2. If you have 50k-100k+ subscribers and want me to manage your FB, TikTok, and Twitter ads for you

Learn more about my agency here.


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