5 mins

Friday Feature: Gunnar Holm (FB Ad Expert @ GrowJoy.co)

7 Top Tips from a FB Ad Expert to Grow Your Newsletter Faster—while spending less.

Dylan Redekop

7 Top Tips from a FB Ad Expert to Grow Your Newsletter Faster—while spending less.

One of the most popular ways to scale newsletter growth is with Facebook Ads.

And while the concept is simple, running a successful Facebook Ads campaign is not. 

That’s why we invited Gunnar Holm to chat with us on the Send & Grow podcast

Gunnar runs GrowJoy.co, a newsletter growth agency that handles $10-20k in daily ad spend on social platforms—primarily Meta (FB & IG). GrowJoy has driven hundreds of thousands of subscribers to newsletter clients in the past 6 months alone. 

And in a twist on your typical Friday Feature, we’ve taken our chat with Gunnar and shared his top tips for optimizing your Meta ads to crush CPAs and scale growth. 

But first…

Why Facebook Ads? 

Simply: Meta (Facebook & Instagram) is a goldmine of potential subscribers. Gunnar allocates 80-90% of his clients’ ad budgets to Meta. Meta’s audience is both vast and varied making it a great channel for growth. 

Not only that, Meta’s Ad Manager is one of the easiest to use and also most customizable, making it the go-to for a media buyers (like GrowJoy). 

While Twitter can provide low CPAs, Gunnar finds the platform too risky and “volatile,” making it less appealing. Even when Twitter ads perform well, the platform's unpredictability and difficulties in scaling campaigns make it less attractive for growing newsletters.

With that out of the way, let’s dive in. 

FB Ad Tip #1 - Nail the Ad Creative

If your ad creative sucks, so will your results. 

Gunnar says, “It used to be possible to drive results with the right type of targeting, but these days it's usually the ad creative.” 

How to Improve Ad Creative

Step 1 → Make ad creative look like content that belongs on the platform. 

What does that mean? 

It has to look user-generated. UGC-style posts—those that look like something a friend might post—are your ticket here.

“There are rare occasions we’ve created an ad that looks like an ad and also does well in terms of CPAs”. 

Translation: the more organic your ad can look to the platform, the better it will perform and the lower CPA (cost-per-acquisition) you’ll pay. 

Here’s a quick way to test if your ad feels organic: if you’re not comfortable sharing the same ad creative as a regular post from your account, then it’s not going to work as an ad. 

“Do my ads need to be videos?” 

Nope! Gunnar has found recent success with “static ads” — aka images. Here’s an example →

As an added bonus, static image ads are approx. half the CPM compared to videos. 

Step 2 → The copy needs to talk to your audience.

You need to call our your ideal reader—ideally, within the first few seconds.

“I always start every single UGC ad by calling out the audience in the first second. You have less than a second to catch someone's attention. So if you're not calling out your audience in the first second, It's not going to work.”

Check out this tutorial on how to to make the “perfect” UGC ad →

FB Ad Tip #2 - Experiment With Multiple CTAs

Your call-to-action (CTA) drives the conversion on your ads. 

But what CTAs work best?

The boring answer: it depends. What works for one ad might not work for another. 

Gunnar’s biggest piece of advice with CTAs? Test out different variations and let Meta decide.

Here are a few CTAs Gunnar tests…

  • Subscribe for free 
  • Join 10,000 readers (← insert your own subscriber count)
  • Join 10,000 CMOs (← insert your own target reader)
  • Become a part of the community
  • Become a Top 1% CFO

Then let Meta decide which CTA works best during the ‘learning’ phase of the ads.

WARNING: whatever you do, don’t attempt to “hack” the algorithm. It’s smarter than you are and will serve the best ad. In other words: Meta knows best.

Be patient and let the algorithm do its thing. 

FB Ad Tip #3 - Bigger Budget = Faster Results

“How much should I spend on ads??”

How much you should spend depends on a number of factors: how fast you want to grow, how much you can afford to spend, etc. 

But more important is to understand this: the more you spend, the quicker you’re likely to see results and reach your target CPA. 


More budget means more ads served per day (all else equal, a $50/day budget will serve 2.5x more ads per day than a $20/day budget). Which means the quicker Meta will figure out which ads are working and which aren’t. 

Which means you can allocate more budget towards higher-converting ads and grow faster while lowering your CPA.

Minimum daily budget spend?

As a general rule, Gunnar recommends starting between $20-50 per day to see faster results. 

FB Ad Tip #4 - Target Broader Audiences—at first

Meta’s ad manager lets you get hyper focused with targeting. But don’t do that—at least not right away.

Gunnar recommends first targeting a broader audience (unless you’re a local newsletter or something geo-restricted). 

Do that by using the Advantage+ targeting option in Meta’s ad manager.

How It Works

Advantage+ allows you to target millions of users while giving Meta some direction on who you’re trying to reach.

It’s like a super boost button for Meta ads. 

Gunnar gives the following example:

“You can specify an audience of men in the 30-55 age range who are interested in technology. But instead of limiting your audience to that criteria, the algorithm uses that as a feedback loop when [your ads] go out to a large pool of readers.” 

Here’s how FB ad expert Dara Denney sets up one of these campaigns → 

FB Ad Tip #5 - Track Individual Ad Performance

Your ads are live and are converting — hurrah!

One problem though. 

You don’t know which ads drive the most engaged subscribers.

Gunnar highly recommends tracking ads and subscribers with UTM parameters. This allows you to analyze subscriber quality for each type of ad.

Broader targeting drives down CPA which is great for your budget!—but not always ideal for subscriber quality. 

“A low CPA doesn't equal a high-quality subscriber.” — Gunnar Holm

So it’s important to know which ads are driving the best subscribers.

Here’s a quick primer on how to set up UTM tracking in your ad manager →

FB Ad Tip #6 - Drive Ads to a Dedicated Landing Page

Don’t waste precious (and costly) ad clicks on a landing page that isn’t optimized for ad traffic. 

It might be tempting (ie. easy) to direct ad traffic to your generic newsletter landing page—but if the content, style, and messaging from the ad don’t translate on your newsletter sign-up page, your conversion rate and CPA will suffer. 

Gunnar advises, “if your landing page does not speak to what [the user] was sold on in the ad, they’re not going to convert.”

How To Solve This

Step 1 → Review the ad creative and ensure the landing page uses the same words, tone, and style. 

Step 2 → Use a title/headline that speaks directly to the target audience. Use big, bold letters . Make the header text on your landing page impossible to miss. Optimize for smartphone screens (over 80% of ad traffic is via mobile, according to Gunnar). 

Step 3 → Include social proof. Examples like “Join 15k content marketers” or “Read by employees at X,Y,Z companies.” 

Step 4 → Include testimonials from readers who love your newsletter.

Step 5 → Include an example of the content. 

BONUS TIP: Include your face on the sign-up page. “People buy from people. People want to read content from people. What we usually see is newsletter clients that have a personal brand or like an actual face on the brand get higher conversion rates on their landing pages.” — Gunnar Holm

FB Ad Tip #7 - Recoup Ad Spend With Paid Recommendations

What’s better than acquiring new subscribers via paid ads and hitting your target CPA? 

Getting some of that target CPA—or ALL of it—back in your pocket. 

That’s exactly what you can do—and what Gunnar has been doing with SparkLoop and paid recommendations.

“For every dollar some clients are spending, they're getting 50 to 100% back using SparkLoop.”

Gunnar works with his clients to set up SparkLoop’s Upscribe paid recommendations widget on their landing page. 

Doing so offers Gunnar’s clients the potential to earn $1-10 with every new subscriber. In some cases, they earn back a majority of their ad spend:

How It Works

Step 1 → Create a FREE SparkLoop account and get approved to run paid recommendations

Step 2 → Connect your newsletter with two clicks

Step 3 → Paste our widget onto your newsletter landing page

Step 4 → Start earnin’!

Wrapping Up

These expert tips from Gunnar Holm could be the turning point for your newsletter growth.

But if you’re still unsure about doing this all yourself, GrowJoy.co is ready to help.  Remember, they’ve driven hundreds of thousands of subscribers to their newsletter clients in the past 6 months alone—and can do the same for yours.

Here are 3 things to do next:

  1. Connect with Gunnar and check out GrowJoy.co if you haven’t already →
  2. Start earning easy revenue with SparkLoop’s Paid Recommendations →
  3. Check out our whole conversation with Gunnar…
    1. Video → 
    2. Audio → 

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