A Perspective on Advertising: 3 Tips to Guarantee Your Return on Ad Spend

Prepared by Klickly
By Klickly
Mar 10 2020
Time to read
5 min to read
People appreciate the possible positive outcomes of advertising but a common problem comes in the form of ever increasing costs and the lack of guaranteed results associated with it. The widely accepted advertising pricing model – whether via Facebook, AdRoll, or elsewhere – remains steadfast: put down money upfront, receive engagements such as clicks and impressions, and hope that they turn into sales.
Most marketers have complied with this reality, because "that's just the way it is" — it's been the standard way for so long. We have seen so many great marketers with a common issue: you're complacent that there is seldom a guarantee for actual revenue (or even solid performance), let alone assurance that your return on ad spend (ROAS) will yield results. You've settled for paying money 'up front,' hoping the ads will get sales.

We surveyed several top digitally native eCommerce brand, and the top complaints we heard were:

  1. "Wasted a ton of money on advertising, got a bunch of clicks, but only a few sales."
  2. "Ads worked great, but my CPC is through the roof!
  3. "My ads get people to my site, but the drop-off rate is crazy high!"

After assessing these grievances, we at Klickly set out on the grand task to create an advertising platform that addressed ALL of the 3 issues above. So, obviously we're quite biased, but we wanted to tell you about why we think it's so important to demand accountable advertising and how to make sure you get the most out of your ad spend.

While we'd never suggest leaving any platform that is having a positive impact on your bottom line, there are some things to take into consideration when thinking about your marketing efforts. As the current pricing model stands, most platforms have no incentive to work as hard as you for sales; they've already gotten your money. That money could have been better spent elsewhere on your business. Or could have gone to your luxury yacht fund ;).

If you're paying out on the traditional models above you're not alone. Here are 3 ways you can take back control of your ads:

  1. Only pay for ads that are performance-based (i.e. only pay when ads drive sales)
  2. Find an advertising platform that can guarantee or "lock-in" your ROAS (return on ad spend)
  3. Make your ad creative as efficient as possible

1. True performance-based advertising (hint: it's not CPC)

The most common form of this payment model is affiliate marketing. Affiliate sites can be enticing options for a few reasons:

  1. They can increase your revenue with little to no work
  2. They can moderately increase your sales within days of going live
  3. They have easy access to very specific niches

However, affiliate marketing has a natural ceiling: once their core audience has been reached, it's hard to grow from there. That's because affiliates do not actively promote your products to best-match consumers across millions of sites; they're simply showing your products directly to their network.

We believe an advertising platform should have all the aspects of the performance-based model brands love –– you only pay when you make a sale –– BUT while actively advertising your products on over 25 million quality websites (think ESPN, Vogue, Instyle, etc).

2. Demand some sort of guarantee on your ROAS

This is arguably the least predictable component of online marketing. How do you calculate return on advertising spend? What's a good ROAS? Let's try to get to the bottom of it.

When you're paying on CPM, CPC, etc., the returns or revenue you get are not certain. Traditionally, performance marketing agencies would be the only ones to run your advertising campaign and guarantee results. They are sometimes paid based on a percentage of sales they drive.

These agencies assume a lot of risk with this mode, so they only accept a few trending brands (usually selling niche products with exceptional margins). They also usually require you to agree to binding terms, with little-to-no ability to easily renegotiate changes. You may be required to work with the agency for a long period of time then split the revenues at a set 30% or higher.

After reviewing the pros and cons of this model, we tried to build Klickly around the good parts of a performance marketing agency. But with a key difference: Klickly lets you choose your terms effectively locking in your returns with the flexibility.

We've started to see that, since you have full control over your commission, smart marketers will use it to lock in your ROAS:

  1. If you want a guaranteed 3x ROAS (or a 3:1 return), set a 33% commission.
  2. If you want a guaranteed 5x ROAS (or a 5:1 return), set a 20% commission.

3. Use cutting-edge technology

Creating effective ads that accurately showcase your products as well as get consumers' attention is very difficult. People today have become relatively banner blind to word-heavy advertisements, with even some platforms only allowing a certain percent of your creatives to contain words.

When creating ads you obviously have several things to take into consideration: the overall goal of the ad, your audience, what part of the customer journey are they are in, and many more. When your ads are driving traffic directly to your page or product, you want to make sure that you're well equipped to ensure the customer is making their way down the funnel to complete a purchase — such as our friends at Searchanise ;)

That's what it boils down to — no matter how you accomplish it — the goal is simple: drive the customer from awareness to purchase. When talking about ads specifically, we are bombarded with promotions. And even if consumers click on an ad, trying to navigate to the website (often on mobile) to purchase is a pain-in-the-you-know-what.

For a growing brand, this makes it really hard to scale your business.

We wanted to take a radically different approach to ad creative … We created the first-ever buyable ads, where consumers can buy your products directly within the ads.

This lets the consumer purchase on the spot, without ever leaving the page they're reading. Now, your ads are basically functioning as millions of little "mini-site" around the web, and customers can purchase faster and easier than ever before.

As an interesting fact, $5 trillion (yes, with a "t" ;) of goods were abandoned in shopping carts in 2017 (eMarketer, Dec 2017). With Klickly ads, consumers don't get the chance to abandon the cart, since they can impulse-purchase directly in the ad.
Ad on Cosmopolitan Website


There are more online consumers today than ever before(read: a huge opportunity)! And that will only continue to grow! Unfortunately, we feel like a number of advertising options aren't properly aligned with brands; platforms aren't obligated to consistently deliver to the folks doing the ad buying. Using technology (some machine-learning and cool buyable ads), we're trying to change this –– by asking hard questions and giving suggestions, we're hoping we alter how brands think about buying advertising.

Hope you keep these 3 tips in mind when buying your future advertising. And if you ever do want to try a platform working really hard to innovate on the old traditional models in the industry … it takes 5 minutes to set up, no upfront spend, and we'd love to hear your thoughts on Klickly.

PS. As an awesome Searchanise brand, Klickly created a "skip-the-line" promo for you – get your ads live quickly for $0 upfront spend! (Because Klickly is a private, invite-only platform, this means you skip the vetting process + waiting list). To access Klickly & activate your promo, fill out our quick form.
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