Fail Campaign Friday: Ray Lewis SB Ads

by Mike Chiasson on March 15, 2013 · 3 comments

So a long time ago I ran a few instances on this blog I called ‘Fail Friday’ where each Friday I would share a failed campaign with people. It was pretty fun discussing failures of epic proportions or showcasing a stupid niche you thought might work but never did. It got a lot of great feedback and I thought it would be fun to bring back.

The Campaign

In the early part of the 2012 NFL season I had some easy money coming in every Monday from Football ads on Facebook. It was a really cheesy campaign to get people to sign up for a NFL Jersey email submit. The offers ranged from $1.25-$3.00 per lead from various networks, eventually finding a network’s offer that worked. This was really important because I tested nearly identical offers from 6 networks, until eventually finding one I could average a $0.19 EPC on.

Example of an NFL email submit

Example of an NFL email submit

These leads kind of dried up after a few weeks and so I stopped running campaigns like this. Then when the Super Bowl was coming at the beginning of February of this year I thought it would be a great time to ramp this campaign back up by running more ads on Facebook.

From running similar campaigns I was aware that with enough volume I could get to a low $0.10 CPC with this US based traffic.

The Ads

So here is what I did, basically grabbed a few different pictures of Ray Lewis from the Baltimore Ravens crying like the little baby he is. Threw some colored bars with text over it and then created multiple variations of the ads.

I KNEW from previous ads, that you need a KILLER CTR on Facebook for a campaign like this to be profitable. So I used some custom software I build to auto generate ads for me.

What was really cool is I needed each ad to do a few specific things.

  • Target ONLY Men in the United States (sorry ladies, not everyone is Amanda Orson)
  • Make a UNIQUE ad for every single NFL team’s fans.
  • Target each ad to only those fans and use a usable name in the ad.

Fortunately for me, like I mentioned the other day, I have a really great Facebook Bulk Uploader that I made that can do all of this for me. I simply uploaded my images, set my specs, and then entered each Likes & Interest,  IE: #New England Patriots, #New York Giants, #Philadelphia Eagles, etc. Then I opted to place the team names in both the Ad Titles and the Ad Body, so instead of the ads saying “Hey #New England Patriots Fans”, it would read “Hey Patriots Fans”.

Mike's Auto Generated Ads

Mike’s Auto Generated Ads

Thanks to my uploader I was able to have all these ads generated in about 30 seconds or so. In total I generated over 300 ads to try and find ones that would work.

Why Upload So Many Ads?

Well there really wasn’t a need for so many variations, but bottom line, the timeline for this niche to be successful was probably going to be under 24 hours. So I had to have every single ad submitted before the Super Bowl even took place and then optimize once I started the campaign.

So for those wondering, I also whipped up a variation of ads in case the Ravens lost!

Ray Lewis loses ad revisions

Ray Lewis loses ad revisions

The Results

The ultimate failure of this campaign had nothing to with the ads or the offer. I made  a critical mistake when launching the campaign.

Ad Variation Results in Facebook

Ad Variation Results in Facebook

As you can see all the ads had AMAZING CTR. They were definitely on a quick path to being below $.10 CPCs. I’m sure the FB experts can quickly spot the issue I ran into.


So although I had all these other team variations, a lot of them were not getting impressions because Facebook wanted to keep sending impressions to the top ads in the campaign. With the Super Bowl getting over sometime close to 10:00-11:00PM EST (I can’t remember the exact time) it wasn’t too good of an idea to be sending your impressions to east coast markets.

The campaign was instantly profitable but I was unable to optimize as I was at a friend’s house watching the game. Then as impressions dragged on the campaign hung out overnight as it was struggling to deliver east coast impressions while leaving all my others sitting at zero impressions.

The next day, CPCs started climbing and the offer stopped converting.

Campaign dead.

Moving Forward

From this experience, I learned the hard truth that I’ve had people always tell me, separate ads into separate campaigns. This has never been a problem for me because I typically don’t have so many different interest targeting parameters in a single campaign. Usually my biggest modifier is different images/titles. If one image is performing awesome so the others don’t get impressions, well, that works for me!

I’ve since modified my Facebook Uploader to allow users the option of generating new campaigns for each targeting group, age groups, zip codes, subid, etc. Hopefully I won’t miss out again on such a short timed niche.

My Uploader

I know people are going to be asking about my super awesome uploader. Well its almost ready everyone. I have high level affiliates using it right now and giving me amazing feedback. I’ll probably send out some beta invites to my email list members in the next few weeks before I officially launch the program for public use. If you were interested in staying up to date, be sure to sign up for my email list below.

About the author

Mike Chiasson Mike Chiasson is the Director of IT for a publicly traded company by day and an Internet Marketer by night. He absolutely hates the words 'serial entrepreneur' but loves discussions about business. You can follow him on Twitter.

Adrien March 16, 2013 at 10:49 pm

Hi Mike,

Thanks for such a good case study!

Did you use any landing pages? Coz I think it would be quite difficult to connect your ad text to the offer page.

Look forward to your reply!

Mike Chiasson March 17, 2013 at 2:34 pm

Nope no landing page. Without a doubt the offer text is slightly misleading to us as marketers, but I think to the average consumer they interpret the free jersey as an available prize. I tested several different offer texts on prior campaigns in the 2012 season and that one did the best for this direct linked campaign.

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