The Simplistic Genius of AppSumo's Facebook Ads - Rick Mulready

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The Simplistic Genius of AppSumo’s Facebook Ads

May 27, 2014

Noah Kagan ad 1

Ever heard of AppSumo?

If not, get ready to give me a virtual high-five because it’s pretty rad.

AppSumo is kinda like a Groupon for entrepreneurs. It has daily deals that help entrepreneurs succeed in their business — everything from apps to courses to WordPress plug-ins.

It’s the brain-child of Noah Kagan who was Facebook’s 30th employee and the #4 employee at

Noah’s the real deal and someone whose work online I pay attention to — especially since he’s built a list of 750,000 people at AppSumo.  Yes, you read that right — 750,000!

(By the way, if you want to hear a killer interview with him, check out when he was on my buddy Pat Flynn’s SmartPassiveIncome podcast.  It’s an episode with wall-to-wall actionable tips & strategies).

What I want to talk to you about today, though, is not about the actual AppSumo service. It’s the Facebook ads that Noah and his team run to promote their AppSumo “How to Make a $1,000 a Month Business” program.

Their ads have been catching my attention for a while now and the above ad caught my eye most recently, when I was scrolling through my News Feed last week.

Pretty great ad, right?

Yea it is.

Granted, I have no inside knowledge of how this ad performs for them.

But I do know this: since I see this ad quite often, I know it’s converting for them.  Noah and his team are too smart to keep running an ad that’s not giving them a return on their investment.

Here’s specifically what I like about the ad and how you might want to model what they’re doing…


You’ve heard of K.I.S.S., right?  No, not the classic Gene Simmons, crazy face paint and spiky shoes hair band.

I’m talking Keep It Simple Stupid.

The simplicity of this ad is what makes it so appealing.

Ad Copy

The copy is short and to the point.  It also hits a pain point — “Financial freedom from your job is hard” — which catches peoples attention.

The headline below the image is also brilliant — “Make a $1,000 Business.”

Not only does it highlight what the course is about, but it’s also a realistic amount that people can wrap their heads around.  If the course was “how to create a 7-figure business” people might consider it unrealistic and just keep scrolling past the ad.

Then, in the Description area, they use social proof by saying “See why over 2,500 people are starting their own businesses today.”

Simple works.


When you’re choosing an ad image, you gotta consider the mindset of people who are on Facebook.

They’re there to talk to and share pictures and videos with their friends and family.

So, the more personal and “real-life” you can make your image, the more you’re likely to see good results.

In addition to an image of yourself, consider an image of you helping a customer or a customer using your product.

In the above ad image, it’s simply Noah smiling.  It was probably taken with a smartphone. Nothing fancy, but it’s a great image that’s going to catch your attention as you scroll through the News Feed.

Here are two other versions of the ad that I’ve seen.  Again, great images that catch attention.

Noah Kagan ad 3













Noah Kagan ad 2













With this collage image here — it might be one of my more favorite ad images I’ve seen on Facebook.

It captures the essence of what Facebook is all about, connecting with other people.  It’s real and simple as it profiles people who are in the course.

Landing Page

The page you land on after clicking on the ad is consistent with the ad itself.  It’s super simple and uses social proof with student testimonials and pictures.

Here’s a screenshot of the top of the landing page:

Noah Kagan landing page










The headline is consistent with the ad, the copy appeals to a pain point “Have you failed…” and there’s a great little video of Noah taking you through the course.


Like I said above, I have no inside knowledge about this ad.  But, I’m going to make an assumption about one type of targeting they’re using — a Custom Audience of their email list.

Here’s why I think that:

Normally on Facebook, if you want to sell a higher priced course like “How to Make A $1000 Business in a Month”, your ads would offer a “free” giveaway in exchange for someone’s email address.

You’d then might send them a series of emails full of value so you can build trust with them and they can get to know you a bit.

THEN, you can offer them the sale once you’ve established the rapport.

But since Noah and his team are driving people directly to the sales page, my guess is these ads are targeted using a Custom Audience of their email list — people who are ALREADY familiar with AppSumo and Noah. Remember, they have 750,000+ people on their list.

Again, just a guess on my part and I could be completely wrong here, but a good lesson nonetheless.

Using These Lessons for Your Own Facebook Ads

If you’re serious about using Facebook ads to grow your business, and since you’re reading my blog here I hope you are, a great trick is to follow what others are doing on Facebook.

Grab screenshots of ads that catch your attention in your own News Feed and stick them in a Dropbox or Evernote folder so you can reference them later when you want inspiration for your own ads.

Pay special attention to those ads that you see over and over again, like I’ve seen with Noah’s ads.

Those are the ads that are gold because that very likely means they’re converting. Otherwise, why would they continue running, right?

Remember, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel.

Now it’s your turn to take action.  Here are the best practices from Noah’s ad campaign that you should be using in your own ads.  You’ll be setting yourself up for success when you do.

  1. Ad Copy: People are scrolling through their News Feed quickly.  Be as brief as possible with your ad copy while catching their attention and “hooking” them.  Social proof is often helpful too.
  2. Ad Image: Be natural and have fun with your image. Think about catching people’s attention. What pictures have you taken or people have taken of you that you could use?  Oh, and the recommended image upload size is 1200×627.  Huge, I know, but it will scale down to the right ad image size for you.
  3. Landing Page: Be consistent with your copy so that when someone clicks on your ad, there are no surprises when they get to the landing page. Social proof and giving people an “inside look” at your product or service can be really effective in increasing the “know, like and trust” factor for people who don’t already know you. Thus, they’re more likely to buy from you.
  4. Targeting: If you want to sell directly from your ads, consider targeting your ads to a Custom Audience made up of your email addresses.  They are already familiar with you and more likely to buy right from your ad. More about Custom Audiences in a different article.

What best practices are working for you in your ads?  Share them in the Comments below.

Rick Mulready writes about how you can use Facebook advertising and marketing to grow your business. If you enjoyed this article, you’ll love his free 4-part email series all about the 4 Biggest Mistakes Businesses are Making with their Facebook ads…and How YOU Can Avoid Them.  Just click here to get Free access to the series


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