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“Hey Meg, when are you going to do an ad campaign? You know, most *real* business owners are desperate to sell their sitting inventory, and ads help!” -Ben Chestnut, MailChimp CEO

“MEG! How’s it going? How much inventory are you sitting on? What about that ad campaign we talked about? What’s your budget? How much did you make yesterday? You can’t take orders to the bank!” (insert Mr. Burns emoji) -Tom Klein, MailChimp CMO

Meg talks to Ben and Tom about the store

I felt intimidated by the process of setting up and running an ad campaign. I worried that it’d be confusing to do and I’d mess it up or I’d lose tons of money and make no real payoff. But after enough harassment from our executive team, and with my impending long vacation looming, I eventually realized I needed to buck up and get it done. Embiggened (that’s for you, Tom) by this newly discovered confidence, I sat down at my computer and pulled up my Facebook Ads account. After staring at the page for a few minutes, I looked back down at my “To-Do Before Vacation” list. Still lots to be done, and it was getting late.

Suddenly, Melissa passed by my desk. So I yelled at her.

“Melissa! How am I going to get this done before I leave?”

Next thing I knew, she’d grabbed a pencil out of my pen cup and we were marking things off my checklist.

For longer than an hour, we stood at my desk trying to tackle the ads. Inside Facebook Ads Manager, we made a Facebook ad and an Instagram ad. We brainstormed copy, decided on which images and gifs to use, and settled on an amount we’d be willing to spend ($2,000 per ad). We decided to let the ads run until the budget ran out and made our best guesses about the types of audiences we wanted to reach. It was easy enough to figure out, if a little convoluted. I definitely shouldn’t have been as intimidated as I was. Essentially, it’s just a string of decisions you have to make, one by one, until you finally work up the courage to hit “Confirm.”

Facebook ad results

When I returned from my time off, I checked our stats ASAP to find out that we’d reached more than 400,000 people! Then I continued reading to see that the report says we had more than 16,000 conversions. I’m not sure where that number came from because the number of orders in the last two weeks is fewer than than 400. So I reached out to Kanitha, our team’s marketing analyst and the one who helped me set up our Facebook Ads account in the first place.

Total conversions

Kanitha took a look at our results and came to the conclusion that even though we’d selected purchases as our conversion of choice, the data was still only tracking pageviews. When we set up the Facebook pixel that allows Facebook to collect data on your ads, we put it in the header of our website’s code, so it tracked clicks to every single page. We think that if we’d put the pixel only on the “Purchase Confirmed” page, the numbers would have been accurate. We’re going to try to figure this out for our next campaign, if we do it again.

Also, I know that the Freddie giveaway probably earned us a lot more sales, regardless of how the post was promoted. People go nuts for those toys, so it’s hard to figure out where the benefits from the toys stop and the benefits from the ads start.

My big takeaway is that while setting up an ad is fairly straightforward, it’s the drawing conclusions part that gets tricky. All in all, a paid ad will definitely get more eyes on your website, but you’ll have to be diligent about testing different variables to make sure that every ad campaign you run is more successful than the last.

-meg

P.S. We sold out of our first item! M/L Meaps are officially gone. A bit sad for all you folks with medium/large feet who were holding out for this variant, but exciting for us to be able to say we burned through a single SKU’s inventory! I can’t wait to tell Tom.

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