Andrew Faris is the former CEO of 4×400, an ecommerce aggregator. He left that job in 2021 and now consults with merchants and manages their advertising campaigns, mostly on Meta. I asked him for his keys to successful Meta ads, having spent nine years on that platform.
“The best ad managers are writers,” he told me. And “there’s no reason a brand under $50 million in revenue needs an attribution tool.”
Faris first appeared on this podcast in early 2022. In this recent discussion, he addressed the joys of solo freelancing, working with entrepreneurs, and, yes, how to run high-performing Meta ads.
The entire audio of our conversation is embedded below. The transcript is edited for clarity and length.
Eric Bandholz: What are you doing?
Andrew Faris: I left 4×400, an ecommerce aggregator, at the end of 2021. We owned six ecommerce brands at the time. Then freelance consulting fell into my lap. A couple of folks reached out to me. One is a dream client called Driveline Baseball. They train professional baseball players. Mookie Betts is an example.
I also started working with Simple Modern, a direct-to-consumer producer of mugs and water bottles. They were an excellent fit, too.
In the year and a half after leaving 4×400, I’ve shaped my business to where my skills are. I know exactly the right client and fit. It’s been a super good time, and I am grateful.
Bandholz: Tell us about your ideal client.
Faris: I love growing ecommerce brands, especially those that are performance-oriented. I focus on brands with annual revenue of $2 to $20 million. It involves working directly with the entrepreneur — somebody who had a dream and started a company in their living room.
I offered many services when I first went solo and realized my strength is Meta Ads management. I could help large brands, those that spend hundreds of thousands of dollars monthly with Meta. I’ve been the CEO of companies that size. But I can make more impact on smaller, founder-driven businesses.
I coach my clients and advise on landmines they could potentially experience, such as inventory risk and cash flow management. I help them set up the infrastructure they need to grow profitability — and then, ultimately, how Meta Ads fits into that.
Bandholz: What are the core strategies for successful ads on Meta?
Faris: When I started in Facebook ads nine years ago, everyone talked about micro-targeting. Those days are gone. Meta ads now target automatically. Attempting to target is a waste of time. It’s incredible how good Meta is now at finding the right person for your ads. Advertisers target with their creative, not manually inputting the targeting. Audiences respond to creative differently. Meta is good at aligning your creative with the individuals who will engage with it. My experience is to give Meta as much leeway as possible. Trust its machine learning.
The best ad managers on Meta are writers. The hardest thing to do in advertising is communicating ideas. The core skill set is a person who can communicate ideas clearly and compellingly. That is exceptionally difficult. It’s hard to be a clear communicator and thinker. Writing is thinking, and good writers excel at getting their thoughts down onto a page and using the act of writing to develop their thinking further. The writer is the quarterback of ads and can call the plays for others.
I’m not a proponent of tracking attribution. There’s no reason a brand under $50 million in revenue needs an attribution tool. It’s doubtful the brand’s media mix is challenging enough to need it. I even question whether companies over $50 million need an attribution tool.
Meta’s dashboard is as accurate as third-party tools, if not more so, in attributing modeling for its own platform. Most Meta advertisers should use one-day click optimization. In my experience, most brands don’t sell products with long consumer-consideration cycles. Longer consideration requires optimizing over an extended period.
For example, I worked with a furniture brand with a $3,000 average order. Most folks don’t spend $3,000 without researching. I know I’m not dropping several grand on furniture without thinking about it. I think that’s true for most customers. A seven-day click window can help.
Still, always keep in your Meta Ads dashboard on the 28-day click setting. You have to set this up. Closely monitor what happens after someone clicks. Is she buying at some point? Most consumers will buy quickly — less than seven days, but some may click today and buy in three weeks.
So a longer attribution window can be beneficial. I lean on one-day click optimization and then track across the entire 28 days for attribution. The distinction is optimizing versus attributing. Both count.
Bandholz: Where can people follow you?