Episode 73: If You Struggle With Ads, It’s Because You Care About The Buttons

Do you struggle to get your ads to perform?

There are so many options to choose from when it comes to ads, and I get questions every day about how someone can improve their ads. I hear questions like this…

“Should I put more towards my ad budget each day?”

“Should I try a lookalike audience or create an audience based on my pixel?

The list of questions is endless, but my response is always the same

“Let me see your ad.”

See, when you don’t have a great ad, the technical things and all the options in your ads dashboard don’t do much to improve the ad’s performance. The technical aspect of advertising is constantly changing, but the one thing that has remained constant over decades is the need to have a great creative first.

We have to focus on connecting with the audience first. We have to learn to use humor, be more persuasive, and have a great offer. 

Think about Billy Gene. He’s been called the G.O.A.T of video ads because he creates persuasive, humorous ads that connect with his audience. He relies on his creative ability instead of the buttons in his ads dashboard to make his ads perform.

We often focus so much on systems that we forget to build the skills that make those systems work. The bottom line is no matter how great your product or service is, if you can’t sell it, it doesn’t matter how great it is.

In this episode, I am going to cover:

  • Why ad creative is more important than the technical aspect of the ad
  • Why you need to focus on building your skills to create a great ad first
  • Why it’s crucial to learn ad skills yourself instead of outsourcing those tasks

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Are you struggling with ads, Facebook ads, YouTube ads, whatever ads? It’s because you care far too much about the buttons that you press. That is what we’re going to talk about in today’s episode.

All right, everybody, I’m going to get real with you. I’m going to get super, super, super real because I can’t be any other way. I have no desire to create some sort of; “It’s just a simple system that you can blah blah blah.” Like, I just I’ve outgrown that. And so I gotta be real. I gotta be completely real with you. If you’re struggling with Facebook ads, if you’re struggling with YouTube ads, let’s just talk about Facebook because that’s what everybody always complains about.

I’ve worked with hundreds and hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people on Facebook ads, people that low-level, high-level, beginner level, and it always comes back to the same thing. You care about the buttons, right? Somebody makes a blog post and talks about lookalike audiences or lookalike audience stacking, or an iOS, dah, dah, dah, dah, and you freak out, and you just go nuts on the buttons, right?

I mean, the question, I’ll get a question from somebody that says, you know, “Well, Dan, should I do $5 a day, should I do $10 a day? Should I split it out amongst multiple this, audience that? Should I stack audience lookalike audiences? Should I do an audience on my pixel? Or should I upload an email list? Should I combine them?” And like all these technical buttons pressing things. And then I say, “Well, you know what, let me see your ad.” And I look at the ad, and it’s terrible. And I’m like, why are you worried about what buttons you’re pressing if you don’t even know how to make a great creative? Because I’ll be honest with you. Take my boy, Billy Jean, right? I love Billy Jean. He’s a really great friend of mine.

And I remember having conversations with him about his ads. And it’s so funny because his ads are so effective. You know, if you ever see the Oompa-Loompas ads or the ad he did with where he was doing a scene out of Wolf of Wall Street, these are really creative, really funny ads. And I remember talking to him about some more the techie stuff. I said, “Hey, man, do you ever get into like the real, crazy tech stuff? You know, the stacking and the lookalike audiences and this and that? And he’s like, “Nah, not really. The ads are so good, they just, they take care of all that.” And I’m like, “Yeah.” And it was refreshing to hear because oftentimes, we make this thing too complicated with advertising. We don’t realize that at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what buttons you press. If you don’t have a great creative, if you’re not entertaining, if you’re not, you know, persuasive or funny, or polarizing, none of that button stuff matters.

I mean, yeah, maybe there are some cool things you can do in the YouTube dashboard or the Facebook dashboard that work a little bit better than the other. And I’ve seen people say that. I’ve seen people say, “Well, I tried this, and it worked a little bit better, but then it stopped working. Well, then I try this …” But you know, the one thing that always works no matter what?

A great ad. A great ad. Like, think about that, you know, think about that. People are putting effort into the wrong things. They’re trying to learn. You know, they put so much effort into learning the technical, which the technical aspect changes every couple of weeks, but you know what doesn’t change? Being funny, being persuasive, being entertaining, having a great offer, that does not change. And hasn’t changed for decades upon decades, upon decades, upon decades, yet people don’t put the effort into that. They’re like, well, let me throw up an image of a cat and then let me stack 17 lookalike audiences at $3 a day because I read it in this blog post and blah, blah, blah. It’s like, yeah, or you could just have a really great ad.

I remember one time I had an ad that was I don’t use it anymore ’cause it was for a product I no longer sell, but it was called “How To Get Better Results For Your Clients.” And it was specifically for people who had Facebook ad clients. And, you know, I had this ad, and I taught something, and it was just really great value. And then I said, “Hey, if you’d like to learn more about this stuff and you got value out of this, go watch my webinar.”

And it was one of my best ads. And I recall, and this was kind of funny. I made a mistake in the ads dashboard, and I literally accidentally ran one of the ad sets with just like 18 to 45 United States. And I forgot to put in any lookalike audiences, any interests. I literally just ran it. If you had two arms and two legs and you lived in the United States, and you were between the ages of 18 and 45, you got served this ad. And most people would think that would be Facebook ad suicide. You know, and I just did it ’cause I wasn’t paying attention. I was quickly creating audiences, and I missed that one. And I remember, you know, like a week or two later looking at that ad and going, wow, this one’s doing really well.

And the reach was high. And I was like, this is interesting. So I went in, and I looked at it, and sure enough, I’m like, wait a minute. This can’t be right. And I literally saw that you know, I didn’t have any targeting whatsoever. It was just a really great ad. I let that run for quite a while. Now I tried to replicate that several times and I was unable to make that a thing, you know, because again, my offer is not a wide offer, but for some reason, that one ad just did really well. It connected. And you also have to remember that a lot of these ad platforms, they have built-in optimization where if a certain type of people start reacting and engaging with it, you know, it shows it to more of those type of people. So you sort of have a built-in targeting if you have a great ad.

Anyway, the point is that in 10 years, in five years in 20 years, we’re probably not even going to have Facebook ads. Probably 20 years, right? There’ll be some new platform. I heard that Apple is now going to do ads. You know, there’s going to be new platforms. There’s going to be new ways to advertise, but you know what the difference between the advertising now and then, or advertising now, and 20 years ago in terms of creatives, not much. If you go back and you look at some of the Coca-Cola commercials and just, you know, creatives from before there even was a Facebook. You will see a lot of striking similarities. And the problem is that we often try to focus so much on systems that we forget to build the skills that make those systems work.

You can come up with the greatest script for a play, but if the actors can’t act, it just doesn’t matter. You can come up with the greatest screenplay for a movie. But if the people you cast are terrible performers and actors, it doesn’t matter. You can write the greatest song ever known, but if the person performing it is not a good singer or performer, it doesn’t matter. It’s still going to be terrible. And I want to encourage all of you to try to put at least twice, preferably10 times, but at least two to three times the effort. Gosh, I shouldn’t say that. I should at least say five. Yeah. Let me redact that. Try to put at least five times the effort into learning the little technical stuff into the art of having a great ad.

I mean, learn how to be better at copywriting. Learn how to be funny. Go watch stand-up comedy, go read books about how to connect people. Go put in the effort, because if you don’t put in the effort and you just say, well, I want a template, I want a this, you don’t care enough about your business to deserve what other people, who do care, get as a result. I learned, I personally learned the skills I needed to learn to make my business grow. I didn’t sit there and say over and over, well, I’ll just outsource it. Well, I’ll just let somebody else take care of it. Because ultimately, you are the master of your own destiny.

And advertising, marketing, sales, all that, if you can’t, you might have a great product, but if you can’t sell it, it means nothing, right? If you have an engine that runs on air or water, but a big oil company buys, it puts it in a desk and seals it, and you can never sell it doesn’t matter how great or innovative it was. If you can’t sell it, it doesn’t matter. We put effort into creating great products, but you’ve got to put effort into the ability to sell them because you will, you know, “I can hire an agency. I can hire this guy or that guy.” That’s great, but they come and go. If you learn how to do it, if you understand how to make great advertising, then you are the master of your own destiny. You will wield that sword forever.

I mean, look at some of the greatest companies that have come out quickly. They literally are; I mean, I don’t know how else to say it. You know, Steve Jobs. Steve Jobs built Apple. Do you think Steve Jobs …, what would have happened if Steve Jobs said, Oh, I’ll just hire somebody else to sell Apple. No. Steve took control and learned his market. He learned how to position. He did. He was the one that did it. He was the one that made people want to buy.

So I hope this has been helpful. Don’t forget to subscribe to all that jazz, and I’ll see you in the next one.

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