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Ads Case Study – How not to waste money on your ads!

ads casestudy

Spending Money on Ads Cases study

Spending money on a digital ads program should be a no brainer. It should generate sales and have a clear line on return. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen.

Case study

The most common reasons I see a business for review and assessment on their ads program is either:

1.       Lack of results

2.       They are not clear on whether the ads are having any impact.

Let me give you an example. I started working with an online retailer. They had invested a large amount of money over a 6-month period in Facebook and Instagram ads.

Reviewing these ads, they were focused purely on social channels. I could see that the set-up and structure of the ads on Facebook/ Instagram were good (they were using a FB Ads Specialist). The creative was good. It was just that the …well results were more than disappointing (average of 1.08% conversion rate for sales across all traffic).

Not only that, the reporting from their ads specialist was not transparent, so the business was a little at sea to understand what exactly the ads were achieving for them.

A deep dive into the ads and traffic statistics revealed these key problems.  ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

  1. The ads were generating good website traffic but no sales

  2. They had spent $10,000 over a 6 month period with a conversion rate of 0.23% for the social channels - the sales did not even cover a fraction of the budget spent⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

  3. The ads were being optimised and measuring for engagement and traffic, NOT sales.

The Solution.

The business had a product that really needed a two-pronged approach, and a mix of media spend across different channels. Putting all the budget into just Facebook was not effective to drive sales. Their audience, while spending time on social media, did not have a strong propensity to purchase from social media. We knew this because of the data from the ads already run, and the traffic behaviour on the website.

We also established with analysis of their market and website traffic, that people were people actively searching for their product but also actively comparing and browsing options available. The activity on social media, while was generating good awareness but it was not converting to sales.

What we were able to see from the behavior was an initial interest - generated on the Facebook, and then active researching and browsing the options available on the market - which happened on Google.

Armed with this insight into the behavior, we changed their channel mix to include search ads, taking the same budget but splitting across the two channels.

We also set up their website analytics so they had transparency on the dollars spent and the sales generated, and directly attributable to the ads. A dashboard that is properly configured is like multiple 'aha moments' every time you open up the reports!⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀


It's kind of ridiculous to be saying this but they had over 100% increase in 'conversions' or sales as a result of their advertising with the conversion rate increasing to 2.18%, which translated into a 122.18% increase in revenue.

Tips to do your own ads audit 

  1. Look at the traffic to sales conversion rate to firstly understand overall success ie. are you getting traffic? are you getting traffic but they don’t go beyond the landing page or do they stay and look around but don’t buy. You probably know without looking that you are not getting ‘sales’, but the additional information is helpful to start to understand how to structure your ads.

  2. Analyse what people do once they are on your website by looking at the content they looked at, whether there are repeat visits, and where they exit from the site. Also, look at what other channels are bringing traffic to your site. You may need to set up your analytics properly to get these insights (see this easy to follow guide here).

  3. Get into the mindset of your customer and understand the difference between intent and affinity. When engaging on social media for the first time, it’s more than likely about affinity ie. they are not looking for your ‘offering’, instead they have an interest or affinity for what you offer. Then do some keyword analysis to understand if they have intent ie. actively searching for your product.

  4. Armed with this information, review the current set up of your ads checking off:

    1. Are you targeting the right people?

    2. Are you using the right channel/platform mix?

    3. Are you providing the right information, creative and messaging in your ads and landing pages? ⠀⠀⠀⠀

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