Anton Elfimov:

Have you ever lost a pile of cash? At Uploadcare we did, to the tune of $50K on Google Ads. But rather than wallow in buyers’ remorse (that’s almost the price of a Tesla, right?), we decided to share our pain and insights so that you won’t make the same mistakes.

The irresistible allure of paid traffic for mature products

Uploadcare is an established SaaS product, so we’ve been harvesting the low-hanging fruit from organic and direct traffic for a while now. If you’re in a similar situation, you’ve probably reached the same conclusion: running paid ads is the next logical growth step for customer acquisition. But there can be serious hiccups if you don’t get some key things right, especially if your product is a more complex B2B solution like ours.

What we knew before we launched our Google Ads

Since we’re out $50K, you might be thinking, “Oh, these guys just dove into this without doing enough planning.” That’s the cautionary part of this tale. We had done a fair bit of planning, but we made some key assumptions that came back to haunt us. Here’s where things stood before we launched the Google Ads campaign.

Solid inbound traffic and net negative churn, check

Thanks to developers’ trust in our core infrastructure and their recommendations, we’re fortunate to have a constant and growing inbound flow of leads and net negative churn, meaning the value of usage-driven upgrades outweighs the loss in revenue from subscription cancellations. Seems like a perfect use case for investing in Google Ads to bring more folks to our funnel, right?