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The Vertical: Setting up the right foundation

The Vertical: Setting up the right foundation for your small business with guest speaker Joe Kim

Watch the full episode here.

On this episode of the Vertical, we discuss the process of setting up the right foundation for your small business when looking into running ads. It’s possible to set up ads all by yourself- but it’s not easy. We have guest speaker and ads expert Joe Kim from Frontside Consulting dive into what ads can do for your business and how the process works.  

  • Vertical Ledge is still a fairly new company, so there have been a few snags along the way with ads. This is where Joe came in for us and helped us set up the right tracking for Pinterest ads.  
  • We want to share our personal experience with you so that you don’t make the same mistakes we did when first running ads. Ads can be a great source of traffic for your business, but only if they’re set up right.

We had Joe answer some questions to help you get started:

  • At what point in your business should you start looking to run ads?
      • You don’t ever really know if you need ads until you run them. Running ads can accelerate traffic to your website much faster than if you were to let it happen organically. Once you experiment with ads, you will be able to tell if they’re working or not.
  • What’s a good conversion rate?
      • A good conversion rate with ads typically depends on the kind of product you’re selling. With ecommerce, 1-2% is a good rate to aim for if your average order value is around $50.
  • Do you suggest people experiment with ads on their own?
      • “I protect my clients from the ad platforms”. Joe cautions against setting up ads all on your own because most (if not all) ads platforms are designed for you to spend the most amount of money up front. 
      • Before attempting to run ads on your own, make sure you understand the platform you are using- read into it, ask questions. It’s not impossible to do it on your own, but it is time consuming and requires plenty of energy.
      • These automated google ads are a good starting point if you’re looking to yield results on your own:
      • If you see these campaigns yield results and collect enough data- you can then take that to an ads expert and grow your campaigns even more.
  • Shopify
      • Naturally, if your small business is already on shopify, it’s easy to plug in ads tracking from there. Joe’s process ensures that all his ads are performance based. You can’t optimize anything if you’re not measuring it. 
      • Getting tracking set up through Shopify is the first step in making sure your analytics will work in the process of running ads. 
  • Setting up tracking-
      • While being on Shopify is the first step- you need multiple perspectives on what’s generating revenue to see what’s working. That’s why Joe suggests setting up Google analytics to track your business across all channels. 
        • Google is aware of social, paid search ads, referral traffic, etc.
        • Google analytics is based on website traffic.
        • Google analytics is unaware of anything that happens off the website- phone calls, ad views, personal connections, etc.
  • What is ROAS?
      • ROAS is Return on Ads Spent. If you’re going to run ads, it’s always an investment. It’s important to keep track of ads to see if that investment is paying off for your business. 
      • Your ROAS depends on your business’s profit margins and goals. If you’re looking to shift up your average order value, be strategic about how you’re selling. Ideally you want less orders but with a higher dollar amount per order.
  • Understand which campaign generates high AOV
      • Keep track of all your orders to understand which customers buy what.
  • What is a good ROAS % to aim for?
      • VL is between 4-7%
  • How long does it take to build out audiences on google?
      • You can infer what the customer is looking for based on your product.
      • With google- ads are targeted through key words- their search query such as “conditioner for curly hair”.
      • The search query for X is this # amount- develop customer profile via popular keyword searches and continue to refine based on what your customer clicks on.
      • The time it takes depends on your budget- you need a budget to acquire data.
      • Around 100 clicks for a good start to tracking- 100 clicks for a 1% conversion rate.
      • Refine keywords to test what works.
      • 3 months is premature to see real results- it takes time to refine keywords, copy, and landing pages.
  • The amount of engagement with an ad helps it perform better
      • The more engagement the longer it can perform.
  • What are 3 of the biggest errors you see when people set up their ads on their own?
    • Not having tracking set up- you need google analytics.
      • Targeting- picking correct keywords on google or geography/ demographics on Facebook. Where and who is your target demographic?
      • Targeting the wrong demographic- are your customers male vs female? 18-25 years old or 40-55 years old?
    • Having a systematic approach to optimizing.
      • An ads agency can never guarantee results.
      • They can provide a roadmap for what might work to test your audience.
      • Audience vs. Creative- find out what kind of messaging works with what audience.
      • Understand the strategy.
      • People may have IG boosted ads not properly set up on google merchant, thinking they can do it themselves.
      • Knowing what is bad content for ads vs good content.
  • Do you still offer support for small businesses?
    • Start-up package to set up the right foundation/ baseline for ads.
    • Charges a flat fee for set-up and advice for next steps.


  • What services do you offer for small businesses? 
    • Paid search, Google and Bing ads
    • Pinterest, Linkedin
    • Analytics- traffic data and ecommerce data
    • Setting up platform coding- tracking
    • Reporting- google data studio to track spend and revenue across all channels 
    • Copywriting
    • Graphic design and video editing
  • Learn more about Frontside Consulting here.

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