16 Ad lessons from experts to crush your SaaS ads

Read a curated list of Google Ads lessons with examples for your SaaS from Google Ads experts and SaaS Founders.

16 Ad lessons from experts to crush your SaaS ads
We curated the best lessons learned from experts running ads for your SaaS. Let’s go!
Note: SaaSwrites is a curated growth marketing hub and resource built to help SaaS founders grow their products. We sincerely thank all our experts for their constant value addition to this world.
Updated on: 06/07/2022

Dante St James shares one of his biggest learnings from running ads:

1. Ads and funnels are dying

17-step funnels and nurturing campaigns are dying. We're waking up to the hooks and scams.
So what's next?
  • Better-researched creative video ads
  • Understanding that multi-channel is better than single-channel
  • Asking customers what they want before advertising to them

Sebastian Esqueda shares a tip that works for any type of ad run for your SaaS.

2. Know what you are doing

The trick to becoming great at TikTok ads, Fb ads, google ads, any platform is to test more than you currently know.
If you have a strategy that’s decent, expand on it and come up with new stuff to test. It is what will differentiate you from every other advertiser

Harpal Singh spent more than $1.1m on YouTube Ads and shares 7 things you need to do to scale your YouTube Ads game

3. Choose your targeting wisely

Many ways to achieve good TOF results, but 2 targeting options stand out:
  • Custom intent = targeting ppl based on search queries, i.e. competitors, questions etc.
  • Similar audiences = lookalikes, i.e. high-value customer segments.

4. Connect your Google Merchant Center feed.

You’ll need to apply 4-6 products per ad group.
Ensure that your creative in each is relevant to all of the products you’ll show.

5. Choose your bid strategy.

Typically, for TOF I’ll choose Max Conversions and select Add To Cart as the main conversion event.
For BoF, I’ll choose Max Conversions and Purchases as the conversion event.
After 30 sales, I’ll typically change bud strategy to Target CPA.

6. Choose your initial creative.

Ideally, you’ll need 4-6 ads per ad group for BOF.
For TOF, the same - but move your best performers into their own campaigns.

7. Optimize your ad creative.

After a few weeks, optimise your winners.
  • Hook: Question-based hooks work best for most products.
  • Ad length: Get your ads down to <40s.
  • Subs: Add subs to all your ads.
  • Sound: Test music vs. narration.
  • CTA: Optimise your offer.

8. Add exclusions

Since Google bundled GDN with YouTube, the effectiveness of custom intent has been diluted, so make sure you’re adding relevant exclusions across your campaigns.
Look at the placements report - is the YouTube content your ads are serving against relevant

9. Measure incrementality

For TOF, all I care about is Add To Cart %. Compare this to your FB TOF campaigns using the GA shopping behavior report.
I also look at click & view based reporting in the Google Ads attribution report.
For BoF, it’s all about ROAS.

John Luke grew a SaaS to $28k in MRR in less than 90 days using only Facebook Ads.
That was the end of 2020.
Here's what he'd do today:

10. Find creator content

The first thing you should do is find creators to produce content for your SaaS
The goal: Push video on creators’ account and re-purpose for Paid Ads
Inspiration for content:
  • Platform Walkthrough
  • Benefit Display
  • Skits
But how can you find creators?
Option 1: Reach out to them yourselves
Go on TikTok and search keywords in your niche to find creators posting about relevant topics
Option 2: These influencer/creator experts have resources & tools to help you crush

11. Use Different Style Creatives

We only used static images when scaling to $28k MRR
Now, you should double down on diversifying content
  • UGC Content
  • Explainer Videos
  • Motion Graphics

12. Take Advantage of TikTok

While TikTok was super new and we didn't use it on this SaaS, but now you can crush it.

Kelvin Brown thinks that HOOKS are important but they are NOT.
Let me explain to you with 3 reasons that will change your thoughts about Hooks.

13. Take notice of watch time

For what do you need a good Hook is you can’t do your best to make people watch your video until the end?
TikTok push videos to the FYP based on their watch time.
You can say during the video “The best part is at the end” or “Wait till you see it”

14. Don’t have more than 10 transitions.

This is relevant to entertaining your audience.
The more frames you have on your creative the more engaged and entertained will be your audience.

15. Have good lighting and camera quality

Most content creators don’t know that users like creatives with amazing quality and lighting.
Have you ever liked a video or stayed at the end of this, because of the good quality that it has? Yes no?
So make sure that your creatives are GREAT!
Tobias Holm suggests how you can create ads and ad videos
UGC Creators how are you recording your videos?
This is the UGC video format we use for our creators:
  • Record 2-3 hooks
  • Record 2-3 CTAs
  • The UGC video itself (w/o hook + CTA)
1 video becomes 4-9 separate videos
More variants = Higher chances of finding a winning video!

16. How to breakdown competitor ad runs

James camp shares Grammarly’s ad spend story.
Grammarly spent 38 million dollars on ONE YouTube video ad
How would u know that?
Let me show you how you can spy on your ecom, SAAS or info-product competitors
And discover what ad angles they’re running, plus how much they’re spending on each ad
Quick background info: online ad platforms give you almost instant feedback about ad performance
So if Grammarly runs an ad for 1+ year and spent 38M and counting
You know the ad is profitable
If it wasn't, they would've turned it off and allocated their budget to another ad...
What can you learn from Grammarly's massive 38M investment into this ad?
I'll tell you right now, copying it won't work, since you're not them
But breaking down WHY it works by deconstructing its format, pace & hook?
Now that's a profitable analysis you can easily perform...
Analyzing a high performance SaaS ad
Analyzing a high performance SaaS ad
Everyone tells you to:
  • study other ads
  • build a swipe file
  • mystery shop your competition
  • hand copy old ads
The Problem is... how do you know you're studying and learning from ads that actually crushed?
Or said differently, how do I know Grammarly spent 38 million?...

How to spy on YouTube ads

Just happens it’s a free tool, and it’s where I found that Grammarly ad
That’s how I can tell you they've spent nearly 38M to get almost 800 million people to view this ad...
You can use the Facebook Ad Library to get insights on FaceBook and Instagram ads
While you can't get the ad spend on there, it shows you how long an ad has been running
The longer an ad's been running, the likelier it is to be performing well If it wasn't profitable, it'd get turned off.

Written by

Qayyum Rajan
Qayyum Rajan

Qayyum (”Q”) is a serial builder with more than 5 startups to his name with 3 exits. He specializes in shipping products fast, and early with an focus on driving traffic across the marketing funnels