What I learned this week:
Most of my week was spent running ads, and here are the main lessons learned.
One, I've heard very varying testimonials on Reddit ads. I'm not a regular Reddit user, so the community is foreign to me, but because the platform hates self promotion my ad went poorly. It was a simple banner ad on the top of r/entrepreneur and r/sweatystartup, and all it said was "I experiment with entrepreneurship, live. :)" - I got 1 downvote, one nasty comment, one sassy comment, and a very expensive CPC. Maybe my ad was too self promotional? I've heard CPC can go under $0.05, if you do it right, but clearly I didn't. Oh well, lesson learned. We might go back to those ads eventually, and maybe even try to implement some social proof to start the ad off with some upvotes.
Two, Google Search ads will suck you dry if you're not careful. I haven't been able to find a way to set a CPC spend limit, and that's where it gets scary. Whatever your spend is set to, just like every other ads manager, it will spend it all. However, it won't optimize that, because if your search terms are even remotely niche, you're not going to have a lot of clicks simply because the traffic is low. On other platforms, most of the time, traffic isn't an issue - traffic is saturated. But when I ran ads on my Twitch account for people searching terms like "learn entrepreneurship" and "how to become an entrepreneur" the traffic was super limited - but Google still spent the entire budget.
I was running similar ads for a client, and they wanted to really max out conversions, so they copied a prior campaign and pumped 5x the money into it. We were unaware that Google Search ads don't limit spend, so it still spend all of that cash on the limited amount of engagement, and our CPC was triple that of the previous, and practically identical, campaign
This makes things a little weird if you're targeting niche keywords (And I would assume most marketers are). It seems like the right approach, so you don't get screwed, is to start with a super low spend on your campaign, then slowly increase it until you max out on engagement. If the CPC starts rising at any point, drop spend back down, otherwise you're spending more money for no added benefit. When I ran my campaign on a few super niche keywords, at a budget of $10 per day, my CPC was almost $3.50. Compare that to the $0.03 CPC I got on Quora, and you see the problem.
As a last point, Snapchat seems to be super picky with the ad creatives you submit, but that's pretty much everything I've learned thus far. I didn't try LinkedIn ads because they're insanely expensive, and I didn't try Twitter ads because I have no presence there, and I figured if I wanted to do Twitter ads they would be to promote my profile. I think I'll eventually try TikTok ads and a new fancy little service called Taboola, which looks super promising, but for now I'm going to move on to next week's experiment --> Content Sharing. (which is likely how you found this post)
P.S. It's important to note that running ads is not hard, and it's a great skill to have- it takes about a day to learn. If you put $5 into the Facebook ads manager, just to test and experiment, you've officially learned how to run ads on every single other platform. Twitter, LinkedIn, Quora - they all have almost the exact same structure, and for me, Quora worked out unexpectedly well.