Teach yourself growth marketing: How to launch a paid acquisition channel


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Jonathan Martinez


Jonathan Martinez is a former YouTuber, UC Berkeley alum and growth marketing nerd who’s helped scale Uber, Postmates, Chime and various startups.

More posts from Jonathan Martinez

Without customers, there can be no business. So how can you drive new customers to your startup or keep existing ones engaged? The answer is simple: Growth marketing.

As a growth marketer who has honed this craft for the past decade, I’ve been exposed to countless courses, and I can confidently attest that working is the best way to learn.

I am not saying you need to immediately join a Series A startup or land a growth marketing role at a large corporation. Instead, I have broken down how you can teach yourself growth marketing in five easy steps:

  1. Setting up a landing page.
  2. Launching a paid acquisition channel.
  3. Booting up an email marketing campaign.
  4. A/B test growth experimentation.
  5. Deciding which metrics matter most for your startup.

In this second part of my five-part series, I will teach you how to set up a paid acquisition channel to drive online traffic and, ultimately, conversions (purchases) to a landing page. For the entirety of this series, we will assume we are working on a direct-to-consumer (DTC) athletic supplement brand.

Picking a paid acquisition channel

Even with the most premium product on the market, most consumers aren’t going to magically discover its existence on your website. This is where paid acquisition is most effective — educating and driving consumer interest in your products.

When deciding which paid acquisition channel to launch, there is one key aspect you must consider: your target demographic. Where are your target consumers spending their time online? Are they scrolling through TikTok or reading an article on LinkedIn? Once you can answer this question, it will make selecting the first channel to launch quite easy.

In the event that your target demographic is already on numerous acquisition channels, you can choose Facebook or Google as your first channel. These two platforms are considered the duopoly in paid acquisition and will be the best primer for learning how to manage paid social media and paid search channels.

For our athletic supplement brand, any paid social channel (Facebook, TikTok, etc.) would be an ideal place to showcase the product. Our target demographic is people between the ages of 22 and 40. With that in mind, let’s begin by building a Facebook campaign.

Setting up Facebook acquisition

If you’re just getting started performing a Facebook acquisition in 2022, the largest advantage is that so much of the targeting has become automated. Just a few years ago, much of the campaign creation relied on you having to input interests and behaviors of prospective customers so that Facebook would know which users to target.

During the years I spent at Postmates, I transitioned our Facebook account structure from 40 to 50 campaigns down to five. What gave me this ability was leveraging “open targeting,” which enables Facebook to find the best consumers without any user input.

Instead of a step-by-step guide to launching your first campaign, I’ll talk about what you should think about during the process. It’s vital to consider the following facets of your first campaign before launching it:

  • Creative best practices.
  • Strong messaging.

When consumers are scrolling through their Facebook feed, you have a few seconds to hook their attention with your creative messaging. This is what I believe to be the last remaining lever on Facebook that requires immense thought and attention to succeed.

What’s more, the messaging and creative tactics are constantly evolving as consumers eventually become numb to even the most original of advertising trends. Currently, user-generated content (UGC) is the prevailing and most performant type of creative on Facebook. These are the types of videos where people film themselves “selfie-style,” talking about their experiences with a product.

For your first few creative assets, be sure to leverage Facebook’s Ad Library to draw inspiration from your competitors. It’s much wiser to lean into trends that have likely already been battle tested. When looking through examples, pay close attention to the text they have used. It’s common to use emojis and it is downright imperative to include a clear call to action.

Continuing the athletic supplement example, we could consider having a few people create 15-second videos talking about how their lives have changed after taking the daily pills and using those as our assets. Platforms such as Billo or Backstage can help you find talent to film these videos for you.

Making sure attribution is perfect

Along with creative best practices, attribution consistently changes over time due to evolving privacy regulations coming from both governments and major companies such as Apple.

Thankfully, Facebook gives us a seamless method for setting up attribution in the “Events Manager” section of the Ads Manager. After you install the base pixel code on a landing page, choose the option to launch a tool that tags events based on button clicks or page views. Once this tool is launched, you simply run a few tests, confirm that the events have been published on Facebook and launch your first campaign.

Metrics to keep an eye on

It may seem daunting to see so many metrics in Facebook’s Ads Manager, so here are the most important ones to keep track of from the start:

  • Spend.
  • Click-through rate (CTR).
  • Conversion rate (CVR).
  • Cost per thousand impressions (CPM).
  • Cost per result.

Of all metrics on the dashboard, you’ll most likely be drawn to cost per result because it measures how much you are paying for each conversion. However, it’s equally important to look at some of the metrics that contribute to the cost per result, such as the CTR.

When you start to think about optimizing your ads, the CTR, CVR and CPM will help separate the winners from the losers. Maybe you have an ad that has a very high CTR (many consumers are clicking) but a very low CVR (those same consumers aren’t converting).

Is your ad misleading to the consumers? Do all your ads have similarly low CVRs? If so, perhaps the low conversion rate has something to do with your landing page. I ask these hypothetical questions to get you to start thinking about what you should be asking when you are finally running your own campaign.

I will leave you with some benchmark data from AdBraze about all the industries that buy ads on Facebook:

  • CTR: 0.91%.
  • CVR (ad click > conversion): 9.21%.

In part three of this series, we’ll go over how to boot up an email marketing campaign.

Teach yourself growth marketing: How to boot up an email marketing campaign

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