New Years Evolutions
It’s December. That means next month is January. That means next month starts the new year.
You’re probably thinking about your New Year’s resolutions.
Just kidding, I know my subscribers aren’t normal people and they started their ‘resolutions’ two months ago.
Some of you think they’re just bullshit for normal people to circlejerk about how much they’re going to improve next year while going right back to their old habits by March.
But I’ve gotten to thinking about goal setting recently; more so than usual. Partly because of the resolution thing, but also because businesses need to project their income for the next year.
My company has hit some serious snags throughout the year. Our customer acquisition cost went so far up that we were completely unable to meet our growth projections. This cost increase was due to the fact that our business is like 80% Facebook ads, and Facebook ads have gotten much more expensive for most marketers.
However, that’s not something that was unexpected. We’ve been seeing the costs rise since early 2017. They rose slowly, but yet they rose. We knew we had a chink in our armor, so to speak, when it came to the business’s vulnerability to cost increases.
The budget’s main expense is Facebook ads. There have been months where I’ve spent more than the entire team’s salary’s worth on Facebook. This isn’t to brag, but more to explain just how vulnerable the business is to price shocks.
I was hired to manage the Facebook ad account, and seeing customer acquisition cost increase so fast felt like a personal failure. It sometimes felt like it was my fault. As an ad buyer, I need to work around these things so to speak.
Of course, it wasn’t for lack of trying. New tests go live literally every single day. There have been some short term successes but in the long term, our customer acquisition cost has been pretty much consistently high.
Even getting our ads to astronomical CTRs, contributing to improvements on pages throughout our funnel, launching brand new ways of marketing... all of it was buffeted by the continuous increase in costs. And it hasn’t stopped.
But here’s the reality about advertising costs. As long as the advertising is working for SOMEONE, the costs will never stop rising.
Facebook’s job as a business is to make as much money as possible. There’s no way they can grow their user base since they’ve got pretty much everyone on the planet with a smartphone as a user. Use of Facebook has been declining, too, and their constant scandals have made Facebook a less attractive place to spend time.
Facebook needs to stay in business despite this. So, they increase costs for advertisers and try to figure out the ‘profit maximizing’ price of ad space.
For this reason, increases in ad costs must always be accounted for in projections. Estimating the magnitude of these increases, however, is damn near impossible.
As an ad buyer, though, your job is to continually work around it. Move as fast as humanly possible, and know your numbers by heart. We know our numbers, and we know when something’s not working. For that reason, we’ve spent the better part of this year learning about other platforms, other ways of marketing, and other markets we can target.
Businesses that don’t know their numbers could be losing literal millions right now and they won’t know until they look closely at their financials!
If you don’t know your numbers, how can you set goals?
In our lives, there are a lot of problem areas that we often ignore. Maybe you’re getting a little heavy. Maybe you’re not exercising much, or at all. Maybe your wife and kids are growing distant and you’re not sure why. Maybe your budget is a mess, or you’re having trouble sticking to one.
These problems are not so simple as making a resolution and saying ‘I’m totally gonna do this!’ There is usually a reason behind these situations.
These situations are often quite scary to confront. Taking responsibility for them usually means a combination of admitting you were wrong, and deciding to do the hard thing and take responsibility for it out of a desire to continue to be happier and better adjusted.
Losing weight is less about giving up tasty food and more about admitting to yourself that you are literally killing yourself with food, and you need to stop, otherwise your life is going to get considerably worse (or end tragically). How’s that for a painful reality?
Sticking to a budget is less about cutting coupons and not drinking Starbucks and more about admitting that you’re actually more broke than you thought you were, your mental accounting is failing your life, and that you’re putting yourself in a vulnerable position by letting your budget falter to lack of discipline. Not sticking to that budget keeps you ‘one something from homeless’.
Improving your relationship with your wife and kids isn’t just about taking the little bastards out to the park on the weekends or talking to your wife about her feelings. It’s more about admitting that your behavior is driving your wife away and causing your kids to become worse, more cynical peope, and that very behavior may cause you to lose them (and thus lose the reason you were even doing any of this stuff in the first place).
These are hard realities. They sound cynical and harsh. But the beauty of them is that you can take them into your hands as a challenge, and build yourself (and the world around you) up by being willing to put in the daily effort to keep them up.
By confronting these realities, you learn key things about yourself. You learn that you’re stronger than you think. You learn that you’re bigger than your problems. You learn that yes: you CAN win.
P.S. Next post is gonna be a big one, and for subscribers only. If you want to subscribe, or gift a subscription to someone, go here: https://jtads.substack.com/subscribe