Procter & Gamble is the largest advertiser in the world, by a mile. 

Last year alone, in 2022, they spent about $7.9 billion in total on ads. Yep, with a “b.”

…And do you wanna know something freaky? 

Back in 2017, P&G cut their digital ad spend to the bone, saving a jaw-dropping $200 million. 

But despite that, their customer acquisition stayed the same. 

There was no reduction at all. That’s wild even to think about.

And here’s why I’m telling you this:

If you are currently using ads to grow your business, or you’re thinking about dipping your toes into paid traffic, then you might be asking yourself if it’s worth it.

You’re probably wondering…

Cartoon illustration of a red car smoking, hood open. ROIVid, The Draw Shop's mascot character, stands nearby holding out a wrench to the man fixing the car (only the man's arm is visible from under the hood)

“Do paid ads even work anymore?”

This question is not as ridiculous as it sounds on the surface.

Today’s digital ad ecosystem is a hot mess, to use a scientific term. Even though the global ad spend hit $793.25 billion in 2022 (according to this report from Statista), the return on that investment, if any, is less than definitive.

I mean, consider the crushing odds stacked against online ads today:

  • Estimates vary, but anywhere from 27 to 40% of internet users employ ad blocking software, if you go by different consumer surveys
  • Negative attitudes towards online advertising are at an all-time high, with 41% of consumers admitting they find digital ads annoying (Statista Consumer Insights, 2022)
  • The average web user sees hundreds of digital ads (or even up to 10,000 according to higher-end estimates!).

Oof. Looking at this list, which is by no means exhaustive, it’s easy to conclude that most digital ads have pretty much zero chance to reach and convert their intended audience.

After all, if even P&G could waste as much as $200 million on ads that weren’t doing anything — despite being able to afford the world’s best creative and the world’s best marketers…

…how on earth are small and medium business owners supposed to do better?

Well, I can’t speak to the entire digital ad ecosystem, but I can talk to you about one thing I know: video ads.

So if you’re an eagle-eyed, cost-conscious marketer or entrepreneur who abhors wasting money on campaigns that don’t produce any ROI, and you’re wondering if video ads are still effective for growing your business — read on.

Because below, I’m going to share with you 5 key insights that will help you squeeze the most bang out of each hard-earned video advertising buck.

Sound good? Then let’s start at the beginning.

Remember I said how hard it was for video ads to even be seen in the current ecosystem? Well, let’s talk about what you can do to beat those long, looong odds…

Snap viewers to attention with pattern interrupts

When you deploy video ads to generate leads for your business, know this:

Your ad is never going to be someone’s first ad of the day.

In fact, assume that any lead coming across your video has already seen 10+ other ads that day. Or more likely, 100+.

Also — assume that even your ideal customer doesn’t want to watch any ads, yours included. 

And finally…

Assume that they will put up with your video only for as long as it takes for their thumb to tap the “skip” button, if there is one. (If there isn’t one, they will probably just wander off to make a cup of Bulletproof coffee.)

In those precious few seconds between your ad starting and them skipping it as fast as they can… you have to give your viewers a reason to keep watching.

Your ad has to interrupt their well-established pattern and jolt them into paying attention. It has to stand out from all the ads they’ve seen before — that day or ideally, ever.

No pressure, right? *nervous chuckle*

To make sure your video hits like a freight train stacked end-to-end with wrecking balls made of lead, use pattern interrupts. I’ve talked about them last week, but basically, they are a persuasion technique that purposefully makes your message sound, look, and feel as striking and as different as possible from everybody else’s.

E.g. take this ad by Dollar Shave Club, which has become legendary by now:


Be smart (and a little ruthless) about ad targeting

You decide where your video ad plays, and who has a chance to see it. But don’t forget: your goal is not to show the ad to as many people as possible.

Your goal is for the right people, and only the right people, to see your message.

Which means that targeting is your best friend. Smart, strategic targeting is what makes the difference between an ad funnel that drives healthy ROI — and blowing millions of dollars on ads that are even less effective than those 80s PSAs on television used to be.

If you want your video ads to perform at the level you need, consider these strategies:

  • Use negative targeting: exclude certain categories of viewers from seeing your ads. For example, if someone has already seen your video, you can leave them out and save money!
  • Limit where the ad shows up: when it comes to displaying your video ad online, less is more. E.g. if your video shows up across the Google Display Network, you might want to audit those placements and ditch the low performers.
  • Leverage psychographics: age, marital status, location, income level etc. are way less useful for targeting than you think. Instead of demographics, prioritize targeting people by interests, keywords they search, media they interact with, and other psychographics.

Follow these basic principles, and your video ad will have a much higher chance of being shown to the right people, AKA — those who are willing and able to buy your product or service! 

Test your video ads with a minimum viable budget

Whenever business owners complain about digital ads being a waste of money, there’s usually one reason behind it.

And that reason is:

They hit Publish on a slapdash funnel that nobody actually tested beforehand.

That’s like neatly stacking your entire digital advertising budget in an open field somewhere, pouring 30-year-old Scotch over it, and setting it on fire — only less wasteful (because at least it’s faster!).

Whenever you deploy a brand-new video ad and funnel, always start with a “minimum viable budget.” Set your daily ad spend to a number you’re comfortable with losing, e.g. $5 / day, and determine if your new video ad can generate any valuable leads and sales for you.

Only once you’ve confirmed that it actually produces results, you can scale it up gradually.

This is one of those cases where going slow helps you to speed up later, and produce dramatically better results, faster. That’s why every paid traffic expert I know tests new funnels before committing any significant ad money to them.

(Yes, even the biggest names in the game — or especially the biggest names in the game, I should say. Because they know all too well how time- and money-consuming the opposite “strategy” can be!)

Instead of capturing new leads, RE-capture old ones

What if I told you there was a sub-type of paid ads that cost way less, AND worked much better for generating qualified leads for your business?

Well, I’m telling you now! Remarketing, also known as retargeting ads, don’t focus on ice-cold traffic — instead, they target leads who previously interacted with your brand but didn’t convert.

I.e. warm leads and, let’s call them “lukewarm,” leads.

Think about it:

  • All those new website visitors who bounce without subscribing to your email list.
  • First-time almost-buyers who abandon cart, costing ecommerce businesses $260 billion a year globally.
  • Even social media followers / YouTube subscribers who already interact with your brand and just need an extra nudge towards a buying decision.

You can reach those leads and prospects who would otherwise slip through the cracks, possibly for good, with retargeting ads. And you can do it for a fraction of the cost of “normal” video ads.

Plus, because all these people have already heard about your brand — or even were a few keystrokes away from buying — your messages have a much higher chance of securing that last-ditch conversion.

Even if you are convinced that paying for cold traffic is not the right move for your business, remarketing / retargeting ads can still be an awesome addition to an otherwise fully organic marketing strategy.

Optimize your entire funnel — not just the video ad

Your video ad is just the first touchpoint in a much longer customer journey. 

Even if it’s a masterpiece of persuasion, most people still won’t buy after one short ad.

Its #1 goal is not to get the sale… but simply to nudge your viewer one step further down your funnel. And if the next step in the funnel fails to do its job, then the ad itself will fail to generate the ROI you need — no matter how amazing it is!

That’s why you also want to look beyond the video itself, and to the next 1-2 links in the conversion “chain” (at least).

For example:

Let’s say you run a video ad on YouTube offering a free lead magnet to your target customers. You’re asking them to visit your website, but you don’t have a clickable CTA — you only show the URL on the screen.

Or maybe you do have a clickable call to action in the form of an info card. Great! …But when the viewer clicks through, they end up on your homepage with no idea where to go next.

Well, let’s say you fix that and point the CTA to a targeted landing page that promises the lead magnet in exchange for their email.

But what happens after the viewer converts on that landing page?

Will your thank-you page and confirmation email deliver the lead magnet they signed up for — and explain what to expect from your brand in the future?

Or maybe, the thank-you page might fail to mention the lead magnet at all, and the confirmation email will only feature some boilerplate copy like…

“Hey [First Name], thank you for subscribing — here’s the download you requested: [link]” 

…utterly failing to make a good first impression on your newest lead.

You get the idea. Bottom line is, for your video ad to deliver the results you want, your entire funnel should be congruent with the ad and designed with conversions in mind.

And if you’d like to build and launch a funnel like that in your business, then allow me to share something that could help.

We want to build a profitable video-powered funnel for your business

One of the most important lessons I’ve learned in 12 years in the “trenches” of video production and marketing is this:

Your video is only as effective as the funnel behind it.

Whether you rely on paid traffic or organic traffic to generate leads and drive sales, all the elements of your funnel must be designed with conversions in mind — not just the videos. Everything, from your landing pages to your nurturing emails should work together to deliver a unified, crystal-clear, confident message.

And that’s exactly what we want to create for you.

My team and I want to build a high-performing video-powered funnel for your business, from start to finish. You won’t have to lift a finger, or even show up in front of a camera — we’ll build all the assets, produce all the content, and even set up the entire thing for you!

Check out all the assets you will get as part of your brand-new, shiny, revenue-generating funnel:

  • 2 prospect-pulling video ads to drive targeted traffic to your site
  • Powerful explainer video that captures the life-altering value of your offer
  • Personalized video-powered landing page that converts (plus a thank-you page!)
  • Custom 5-part nurturing email sequence to convert prospects into buyers

Plus, you’ll get:

  • 1-on-1 marketing audit where we’ll deep-dive into your business and strategize how to create a funnel that supports your goals.
  • And hands-on tech support and implementation — so you can deploy your new funnel and start generating revenue as quickly as possible!

Interested? Then head over to this page to learn more and book a free, no-strings-attached appointment:

Click here to explore our Video Marketing Funnel solutions and book your free appointment