2150% – Disecting a successful ad campaign

Thought it would be an interesting thing to share publicly (minus some confidential bits) a breakdown of a campaign I ran for a local business.

Note* This actually happened a while back, and I made these notes at the time, which is why the language makes it sound very recent.


My client runs a facility that specialises in helping people recover from pain/injury – they offer massage, personal training, osteopathy, and other services in the same vein.

He’d run FB ads before with mixed success; some had been profitable (especially early on in the business), some hadn’t. Recently he hadn’t been able to get much in the way of results.

A couple of months back, he was speaking to a mutual friend of ours (also a marketer). He was told to “stop fannying about and pay a pro to run some ads” – I was the person our mutual friend recommended.

So this campaign was looking to get paying clients in for a specific type of treatment.


We had discussed the numbers and knew that the average client for this ends up being worth around £300 to the business.

SIDE NOTE: He was hesitant to talk about his clients in this “inhuman” way, referring to them simply as a certain amount of profit. His business has been build on seriously high levels of care, and I could sense he was uncomfortable with this data-first approach.

But knowing the numbers, specifically the LTV (Lifetime Value of a client) is absolutely KEY whenever you’re dealing with direct marketing – you NEED to be able to know if a campaign is working or not, and the only way to do that is to be on top of your numbers.

So, with numbers & targets in place and the offer sorted, I started creating and testing adverts.


Over the course of the month, we ended up bringing in 43 new leads. That’s 43 people signing up for a paid initial session at their facility.

The cost per lead was less than half the cost (to the client) of that first session. This isn’t always the case – and isn’t a problem when it’s no – that why we know the numbers so that we can know what an acceptable cost per lead is.

My client turned out to be excellent at converting* these leads into clients.

*Again, not a lovely warm term, but knowing that conversion rate from lead to paying client it VITAL because it allows you to work out the cost per acquisition.

In fact, I’ve never before had a client be as good as he was, which played a big part in the results of this campaign looking quite so impressive. He converted roughly 90% of these leads.

How did he do that?

As the business owner, (rather than the person fulfilling the service) he was able to respond VERY quickly to new leads.

He is also knowledgeable about the service, and VERY passionate about his staff.

Finally, he really grasped the concept that these weren’t “sales calls” – these people had already signed up and agreed to pay, his job was to just confirm the booking and help them choose a time that works (often people get caught up in trying to ‘sell’ rather than just keeping it simple).

LESSON ONE – the ability to convert clients is HUGE, I need to make sure I give my clients all the tools/help/support/training that I can to help them turn these potential results into as little wastage as possible.

All the above meant that after our £540 ad spend, we brought in an expected £11610 in lifetime value to the business.

A whopping 2150% ROI

Analysing the results:

What I want to see is patterns that I can learn from.

In total we ran 8 different adverts over the month, testing different aspects to get the best results.

This is quite a low number, but we hit on a winning combination early and then just tweaked things rather than running whole new adverts.

Here are my takeaways:

Long Vs Short – Traditionally, I’ve used (and advocated using) simple, short advert copy – “say who you’re talking to, what you’ve got on offer, why they should care, and what to do next”

But recently, I’ve seen a trend in longer (300-400 words, not very long) ad copy doing well, and this was something I tested.

Not only did the longer ads get better results here – they did MUCH better – the short ads were to worst performing of all the variations

LESSON TWO – don’t be afraid of longer copy – I took the time to create ad copy that went into detail about the subject, covering objections, offering social proof, going into detail of what they could expect, and painting a picture of what life would be like after using the service.

(I think this is especially key when you’re putting out a paid offer – if it was a freebie, then quick n dirty might actually get better results – as its more of an impulse ‘purchase’ than a considered one – getting to the point asap is key there.

Images – this is an area where we actually could’ve done better in my opinion – the client didn’t have great images from his practice, and I think it hurt the results slightly.

However, from our tests – the image that performed best (20% better than the next best) has 2 clear features.

  1. It stood out on the news feed – Bold, high contrast, and an unusual angle)
  2. it spoke to the pain we were targeting (the next-best performing image was of a consultation taking place, we didn’t have one off the actual treatment being done)

We also tried a ‘profile style’ image of the therapist but didn’t get great results.

This wasn’t the exact image that performed best – but it was similar in style and content.

LESSON THREE – Test images that depict different aspects, this could be the type of person you’re speaking to, the pain/problem/desire they have, the process offing your thing, or the result they’ll get.

Offer – We tried 2 different offers – and the best performing one was a 50% discount.

If you offer a freebie – you can expect more leads, but of lower quality on average.

There’s some debate about whether offering something as free is a stronger position for a business to take than discounting it.

You could argue that saying “we’re so confident in what we do that you can try it for free” is a better position in terms of being seen as strong, compared to a discount (people know that they can’t get the service for free forever, but give a discount away and they might want more and more discounts in future.

Metrics – I set my business manager up so that I can see all of the metrics at play. here’s what sticks out:

  • CPC – lower CPC (cost per click) didn’t align with cheaper leads. The best performing ads had higher CPC’s.
  • CTR – Click through rate wasn’t a signifier of a good ad either – in fact, the two best performing ads had the lowest CTR of all 8 ads
  • Relevance score – A low relevance score is a bad signal – but 7+ is fine, and my best-performing ads got 7, with a couple of others getting 8&9 but doing worse.

LESSON FOUR – Focus on the important metric: cost per lead, don’t let others get you off-track.


So for me – there are a couple of takeaways here that I will keep in mind with future clients.

– The importance of having quality images needs to be super-clear – it rankles with me that we might’ve been able to do better.

– Keep investing in copywriting skills -the long copy was the big winner here, and I think a part of that is the time I’ve been putting in recently to get better and better at copywriting, its also why I’ve been looking at brining a copywriter onboard to help me out.


There’s a hidden LESSON FIVE here that I almost didn’t mention.

You see, I actually ran 2 campaigns for this client this month – the other was for a different service. And whilst we brought in lots of leads- just shy of 50 for under £400 – not as many of them became paying clients.

Yes, a big part of the reason why is that the personal trainer himself was calling these leads, and wasn’t as hot at getting them booked in…

But for me, the big differentiator was the quality of the offer.

Our offer for personal training was too generic, we aimed quite wide, and whilst we got the leads in, the quality wasn’t as high.

The generic offer got people interested, but ultimately they just signed up for the freebie rather than for ‘the transformation’ that we were offering.

I didn’t find out this was the case until too late in the month, but it’s a big reminder to me.

LESSON FIVE – FB ads live and die on the quality of the offer, and for the offer to be great, you have to really understand and define your exact target customer.

Dissection over – feel free to ask any questions in the comments.