007 - Why Ads Fail

I launched a new funnel for my book, The Moat.

It’s one of those free + shipping offers where you only have to pay $9.95 to cover the cost of shipping.

It’s funny:

People think that’s “bullshit.”

“So, I gUeSs ItS nOt FrEe ThEn, HuH?”

Correct, it’s not.

I actually have to pay $12.86 in printing, shipping, and processing fees to Lulu to get the book into a customer’s hands. I also have to pay a credit card processing fee (2.9% + $0.30) so I’m going $4 into my own pocket with every “sale” I make.

It’s all good tho.

Because there are some upsells and an order bump. They’re good products, but I kind of rushed through the copy and I know I have a fuck ton of testing and tweaking ahead of my to get the economics of this funnel to convert at a ROAS I’m happy with…


The reason I’m telling you this is because although I just launched this funnel a couple of days ago on 𝕏… and we’ve got conversions!

The best part is:

The buyers:

  • Weren’t on my email list

  • Weren’t following me

  • Own e-commerce brands (I googled their names/profiles and found links to their stores… so they fit the ICP)

Which means the ads are working, as intended.

Yes, I’m negative ROAS on the funnel itself, since I’m still figuring out the order bump + upsell flow.

But if we take the printing, shipping, and processing costs out of the equation, the ads are at a 0.5x ROAS. (spending $20/day)

Back when I had my Scale While You Sleep book funnel running on Meta (a couple of years ago) I was typically getting a 0.5-0.8x ROAS as well, which I was happy with, due to the economics of my funnel and my rate of repeat purchases.

I promised I’d share my results as I go. So even if YOU don’t have a book funnel, I figured it’d be useful for me to dive into my thinking around advertising THIS funnel in particular… because you might learn a thing or two.

Why Ads Fail (And Why They Sometimes Succeed)

If advertising were easy, everyone would be a millionaire.

It’s hard work.

But, at the end of the day, it comes down to nailing three things:

  1. List

  2. Offer

  3. Copy


Are you putting your ads in front of the right people? Gary Halbert said the greatest advantage you can have in business is the attention of a starving crowd.

Are people starving for what you have to offer?

Demand capture is typically easier than demand generation.

What existing desire do your customers have? How does your product scratch that itch?

If your people don’t want or need your product… you’re not going to sell anything on any platform.

It might be a problem with your product… or you might need to do some research and dial in your targeting so you DO find an audience of people who have a “bleeding neck” problem in their life that your product can be the solution for.

On X, this means you’ve gotta be granular with your targeting.

If you’re advertising to Gen Z broccoli heads but 60% of your buyers are Boomers… then maybe change your targeting and “fish where they fish are biting.”


If I ran a free + shipping book funnel for a book titled:

“Why I like e-commerce”

Nobody would buy that.

Nobody gives a fuck, that title is terrible. There’s no solution there.

Contrast with:

The Moat:

How to build a durable, profitable e-commerce brand that can last forever

This^^ has a benefit statement.

This is a dumb example, but you can see that the THING you’re offering is going to effect the performance of your ads.

I have a client right now (skincare brand) who had two products in their product line that weren’t selling well. They were even struggling to make sales from their list for these two products.

Instead of rolling out ads for these losing products… we decided to focus on building ad funnels around the three best selling SKUs.


This isn’t rocket science.

Sell what people are buying.

Sell what they enjoy buying.

Success leaves clues.

Don’t be like Sisyphus, trying to roll a shitty offer uphill.

Fight downhill battles, leaning into the existing desires of your market.


If you’ve got a good list and you’ve got a hot offer, then the punching up your creative is the next piece to focus on.

I’m going to lump the actual text of an ad (the copy) in with the creative assets (static and/or video), for the sake of this discussion.

The copy in my free + shipping book ad isn’t the best copy I’ve ever written. But I wanted to get a “control” ad up with a basic pitch to see if it’d work.

Now that I know it sells with super simple copy… I can work to create some sexier variations. That’s the next phase for me, as well.

Wrapping It Up

There’s a million variables that can affect an ad campaign. You oftentimes have very little control over most of them.

Control what you can control.

Use data and small tests to find audiences that work.

Test different offers (bait on the hook) to see which grabs the attention and interest of your best prospects.

Test ad angles and creative elements until you have some winners that can run.

Give it a shot and let me know how it goes.

Chris Orzechowski


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