How to Generate 1,200% ROI on a $50 Facebook Ad [CASE STUDY]

Have you considered Facebook ads but just weren't sure if they would produce results for you?  Do you wonder if your small budget is too small to compete with mega-brands for ad space?

This case study of a local business who achieved a stunning 1,200% return on investment (ROI) on an ad of $50 will prove it's possible for small businesses with no experience in running Facebook ads to generate significant revenue from them.

Meet Bradley Cummings, Photographer

Bradley Cummings is a member and the owner of Bradley Cummings Photography in Canberra, Australia.  He specializes in workshops, portraits, and location photography, and like most private business owners, wears many hats.  He handles marketing, books photography sessions, travels to photo locations and conducts the photo shoot, and teaches workshops.

Bradley Cummings earned a 1,200% return on his investment in Facebook ads

Bradley's goal was to generate revenue during a normally slow season.  He wasn't focusing on Likes or engagement, but increasing his bottom line.  Because he was investing money in Facebook ads, he expected an increase in revenue in return.  Specifically, Bradley wanted to fill  his photography workshops.

Bradley's Road to Success with Facebook Ads

Bradley admits that his first attempt at creating Facebook ads was a frustrating experience.  His ad was rejected for having too much text (images on your ads can have only 20% text) and then he received notification that there was "dubious" activity on his PayPal account.  Facebook asked him to provide identification and send it to them. Once all that was resolved, he created a second ad, and here are his results:

  • Doubled the amount of traffic to his website
  • Filled his photography workshops during a normally slow season
  • Spent $50 (AUD) on Facebook ads and earned $600 additional revenue in workshop registrations
  • Achieved a 1,200% return on his $50 investment

Will Facebook Ads Work for Your Business?

Some businesses do better with Facebook ads than others.  Those include:

Local businesses

Local businesses do well with Facebook ads.  Anything local catches Facebook users' attention, so if you're a local business, be sure to use your town's name in your ads or posts.  Also, since you're paying for the ad to appear in a limited area only,  your overall cost will be lower.

Businesses who invest in quality images

Facebook is a visual medium, so any business that's invested in high quality photography of its founders and offerings will make an excellent first impression and be more likely to achieve a higher ROI on an ad.

Those who are persistent

Creating a Facebook ad requires being comfortable with images, resizing them if necessary, and using Facebook's ad manager.  Bradley admits that he was frustrated by his first attempts, but he persisted and achieved eventual success.

However, even if you don't fit neatly into one of those categories, you can still achieve success with Facebook ads.

Bradley's Facebook Page

Bradley Cumming Photography's business page:

Bradley's Timeline cover excels at delivering an excellent first impression and being crystal clear on what he offers.  Take a look:

Bradley’s Timeline cover gives visitors a full picture of what he offers

Here's a sample post Bradley used for one of his post ads.  He uses a photo taken by one of his previous workshop participants along with specific details about the workshop, allowing visitors to see themselves achieving similar success:

Sample post Bradley used for his ad. Notice the details that allow visitors to visualize their own success.

How to Achieve a 1,200% ROI on a Facebook Ad: Your Action Items

  1. Start with a visually compelling Facebook Timeline cover and a professional headshot of your founder.
  2. Don't be deterred by initial setbacks.  Creating your first ad won't feel comfortable, but stick with it.   
  3. Use colorful, attention-grabbing images in your ads.  Be prepared to resize your images (or hire someone to do it).
  4. Include a call-to-action in your ad that sends people to your website.  Send them to a page that allows them to purchase online or talk to someone who can answer their questions immediately.
  5. Make a limited-time offer.  Bradley wanted to fill upcoming workshops, so people had to act soon to get a seat.
  6. Offer details of what buyers will get: Bradley offered details of his workshop and described it as "the best value around".
  7. Experiment with different ad types to see which offers the highest ROI.  Bradley used both page promotion ads and post promotion ads, which yielded different results. The page promotion ad doubled his Likes from 25 to 50 (a great boost for those just starting a business page).  The post promotion ad increased traffic to his website, and ultimately registrations in his workshops.

Facebook Ad Cheat Sheet

Ctrl-click or Right-click to download your cheat sheet:


Maria Peagler is the founder of Maria Peagler Digital, a serial entrepreneur, and award-winning author/publisher of nine books. She is an award-winning artist in both watercolor and quilting. She is married to her husband of 30 years, mom to two adult sons, and enjoys hiking in the north Georgia mountains.

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