April 20, 2024
How to spend your first $10K on paid ads | TechCrunch


This was the question I had to answer when kickstarting the first paid acquisition campaigns at Postmates back in 2018. Long before we received our massive funding infusion, eventually totaling to $763 million through six rounds, I was responsible for creating a strategy that would provide us with valuable learnings and be as efficient as possible.

Today we have a plethora of channels where we can send our advertising dollars in hopes of landing loyal customers for our startups.

The questions then become:

  • Which channels should a startup leverage?
  • How should a budget be created?
  • Which tests are the most important in the early stages?

I’m here to answer these and other questions while also creating a mock $10,000 budget for the start of your paid acquisition efforts.

Which channel to start with

Without knowing anything about your startup or what it seeks to sell, I can confidently say that either Google or Meta will make for excellent paid channels for initial testing. They represent the duopoly of paid advertising for a multitude of reasons, including that they both contain robust targeting capabilities, varied campaign types and the audiences to go along with them.

In the early days of your startup, it’s important to be as efficient as possible, not only with this $10K budget, but also with your time.

For the sake of not making any further assumptions, I’ve compiled a list of questions you should ask yourself when determining which channel to select for your startup:

  1. Within which channel can my target audience be found?
  2. Is my product or service discovery-based?

Let’s assume you own a marketplace startup, where people sell their luxury watches from brands like Rolex or Patek Philippe. The target audience for watch buyers can be found on Meta or Google, and this marketplace is not discovery-based.

An example of a discovery-based startup would be a new type of sock that contains pockets. It’s an extreme example, but it’s used to showcase the fact that someone will not be searching for this, and you must throw it to the front of their social media feed for them to “discover” it.

Now that you’ve got your channels selected, let’s walk through a mock example of spending your first $10,000.

How to allocate your mock $10K marketing budget

Allocating your first $10,000 in ad spend is not overly complicated, but there are a few variables you need to keep in mind to take this money further. It’s imperative to ensure the $10,000 includes the following:



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