Episode 82: Discover How Karen Was Able To Embrace Change To Become A Successful Ads Manager

Jody: Welcome to this episode of Online Confidential, where we

Jody Milward

Jody: Welcome to this episode of Online Confidential, where we take you behind the scenes of secret ad manager business. So today’s episode, I am super excited to introduce you to one of our Elite Ad Manager graduates, Karen. Karen Nelson from Karen Nelson digital. So Karen, it is great to have you here.

So in a couple of sentences, tell us who you are and what type of clients you love to run Facebook ads for?

Karen: I’m excited to be here and like you said, I’m Karen Nelson of Karen Nelson Digital. I have been doing Facebook ads since 2016. So it’s been a while. My favorite clients right now are coaches and course creators. Usually they both coach and course create, but I have some who just do courses and some who just do coaching.

I do a lot of lead gen for them and then launches periodically. I especially love helping education businesses. If they’re building courses or if they’re serving teachers or educators in some way, they’re some of my favorite clients to work with.

Jody: Awesome. I love that you had those particular niches that you’re interested in and you enjoy working with them because we always want to enjoy working with our clients.

So question number two, what do you like best about being an ad manager?

Karen: Oh, that was a tough one for me, but I’ve been thinking about it. I really like building the campaign. My favorite time of day is when it’s time to sit down and build a campaign and I can just go in the zone and figure out the audience, figure out the structure, decide the optimization, get the ads in there, and the break finding the exact permutation of the right creative is one of my favorite things. I really love that because you do a lot of as an ad manager.

Jody: That’s right. There’s a lot of these little things that bringing up the nerdiness to us, like those kind of details, which is fantastic. That’s what makes a great ad manager, looking at all these details.

Question number three, what do you find is the most frustrating thing about getting qualified leads from social media?

Karen: So I think it’s tricky because when it comes right down to it, sales is about relationship and it’s about interacting with people. It is really hard to build relationship with a social media ad, a social media post, or a Facebook ad because it is so one dimensional. You buy from people you trust and have a relationship with. It’s hard to get that right out of the gate with just an ad and I think that’s why it can be so tricky and why we can struggle with ads turning into profit.

But when you can find a client who knows how to take the ad as a starting point and nurture what comes from the ad into a relationship that they can then turn into a sale. I feel like that’s the kind of client who I have the most success with. They know how to build relationship in this online world where we rarely even meet face to face and they know how to take a introductory surface level ad relationship and take it to something more.

Jody: Excellent. It’s that trust factor, right. People buy from people..

Question number four is what is one significant insight that you would give business owners about Facebook ads?

Karen: So I would say that when you’re thinking about the ads, you have to be ready to embrace change. You have to be ready to pivot and think about different strategies and go in a different direction. Whether you’re managing ads for people, or if you are trying to run ads for your business. What worked a year ago, two years ago, last week may not work now. The ads are always changing. People are always changing. If you go in thinking, okay, I’ll do ads and then I’ll be set. And then it’ll be a fix it and forget it kind of thing. It’s just not going to work for anybody. You have to be willing to look at the new environment consistently and be like, what can we change? Especially in terms of creative. That’s one of the things I find my clients get tripped up with a lot is how frequently we actually need to change creative to keep performance up in certain campaigns.

So if you’re thinking about ads, you have to be ready to change because Facebook always changes the rules too. You have to be prepared to go with different rule changes and if you can just sort of embrace it and appreciate it and go, “this is fun, I’m learning, I’m evolving, I like to become better each time.” Then you can feel better about how the Facebook ad game works and how you show up in it.

Jody: Exactly. I love it’s not always just the destination. It’s the journey. Right. So embracing that and I love how you mentioned ads aren’t the same as they were even last week. It’s like they can change that quickly.

Karen: Even this week there’s a whole new thing out there that I’d never seen before, you know, and it just shows up and you’re like, what is this? And why is it here? And is it gonna be here next week too? Or is it gonnabe taken away?

Jody: Exactly. It’s, it’s constantly changing, like in our channels, we’ll see that, someone’s in this or someone’s in that.

And there will be accounts that, you know, certain features get tested on before things get rolled out. So yeah, it keeps us on our toes.

With that in mind, what is one significant insight that you would give other people who are interested in running ads for clients?

Karen: So I would go with that same thing and say that you need to be prepared to change. My advice, if you’re looking at learning to run ads for clients, don’t be afraid to start by running ads in an agency environment or in an environment where you can learn from other people because there’s just so much to learn. I like to say that the more I learn about Facebook ads, the more I learn that there is to learn and then for a while, it’d be like every day there would be something new to learn outside of the changes that Facebook was throwing at us week by week.

But that slowed down a little bit since I’ve been doing it for such a long time, but there’s always more to learn and you’re going to show up as a brand new ad manager and be like “I know how to run ads, I’m a rock star, I set up a campaign because  it feels really hard and complicated.” And in fact, it turns out that you know this much about Facebook ads, even when you can launch a campaign. Being around other people and being able to learn from them and being open to the growth is what I think makes a successful ads manager. It allows you to be flexible and embrace that change that comes as part of the platform and just keep learning. Also because no two ads managers do something the same way at all. I talk to a lot of ads managers all day long, and we all set up our campaigns differently. We all have different audiences. We have different ways that we approach the platform. When you’re constantly engaging with other people in an agency setting, or even just in like an Eite setting where we are all together talking to each other, you run better ads because you are pulling ideas in from other people. You’re able to take their best idea and combine it with your best idea to give an even better idea.

Jody: Exactly. Like you said, there are so many ways to do things. And that’s why being an ad educator is challenging because people are going to be talking about it and doing things different ways. And it’s like, well, this is the way that I’ve done it, and this is the way that’s worked well for me and my clients, et cetera. And that’s it. There’s always going to be that room for adaptation, testing, that’s the name of the game with Facebook ads. It’s always testing, right? This is how we would do it, test, fiddle around various things.

I’m not surprised by now, but I will go and look at other people’s ad accounts and you know, I’ll see, you’ve set this up completely not the way that I would, or you’ve used this kind of campaign. Whereas I used this and it’s working, so don’t touch. Right?

Karen: I showed up in another account this week. I took over from another ads manager and I showed up and I was like, the audience structure was something that I never would’ve done. And I’ve watched since I took over the account, I haven’t touched her audiences and they’ve slowly dropped over the last three weeks to their, like a quarter of what they were with this whole other audience structure that I would never have done on my own.

And it’s turned out to be absolutely brilliant. And now I’m going to go take that and I’m using it in the client that I took over and I’m gonna go adapt it to a different client that I have where I’m like, you know what? I can copy this structure and it’ll work really well with this whole other product over here that I’m selling.

Jody: Fantastic. I love that. Find something that’s working and then replicate. There’s no guarantees that’s going to work in the other account, but at least it’s more knowledge that you have and other things that you can try and draw on to make things work in this ever-changing world of Facebook ads.

Question number six and possibly the most important question. Now I see something sort of on your shoulder there. So I might have the answer already. Are you a dog or a cat person or neither?

Karen: That’s a good question and you would think based on my background that it would be cat. I do like cats and I was a cat person. I didn’t know dogs until I was 40 years old. And then I got my first puppy and I’ve been hooked ever since. I just love my puppy and dogs. I was scared of them until I got my puppy, which is exactly why I got a puppy so that I could learn not to be scared of it when it was little, because my puppy is now seven years old. He won me over. I do like the dogs, he pays more attention to me than Dan does. Dan is sitting in the background and is sleeping most of the day. Logan’s sleeps, but then he talks and he pets and he greets me and brings me toys.

Jody: That’s right. Love that companionship. So what kind of dog is Logan?

Karen: Logan is a half golden retriever, half Cocker spaniel. Beautiful. He was the first generation of what they call a mini golden or a miniature golden retriever.

Jody: They’re gorgeous dogs. Awesome. Well, even though you’re not a cat person. You know, that’s fine. I’m cool with that. Dogs are awesome as well.

So Karen, thanks for being on the show today. Where can people learn more about you?

Karen: You can go to my website, or find me at Instagram or LinkedIn with that same handle @Karennelsondigital.

Jody: Awesome. Well, thank you so much for being here with us today and for answering our six questions.


I love to share practical information to help you improve your skills, learn something new or help you avoid the mistakes that many Ad Managers and I have made to help fast-track you on your journey as a well-paid and in-demand Ad Manager.