Dennis Yu

The Hidden, but Most Obvious Reason Your Campaigns Are Failing

Most people will guess it’s for a lack of goals, not having sufficient time/expertise, or having a crappy product.

The creatives will say it’s for poor content– weak landing pages and lame creatives.

The numbers geeks will say it’s conversion rate, quality score, insufficient budget, or some metric that’s off.

These are all good things to optimize, but there’s something even more fundamental than that.

I’m going to let you in on the “secret” that I use to get campaigns unstuck.

It works nearly all the time, and when it does, people often pretend it wasn’t so embarrassingly simple.

Are you ready?  Here it is.

Lack of iteration.

It’s that simple– not enough shots on goal.

That’s not the same as the Herculean effort, which involved slaving nonstop in building massive campaigns.
In fact, it’s the opposite– many small steps daily, like working out a little daily instead of a monster workout each month.

Social advertising allows us to take hundreds of shots on goal for a few dollars each.
There is little risk in trying a different target or creative—in the worst case, you lose a few dollars.

If you could guarantee the success of your business or client by making a single free-throw shot, would you do it?

What if I told you you had an hour to shoot as many free throws as you like without penalty for missed shots?
You need only make one shot.


  • You’re self-conscious about your shooting technique.
  • There are other people watching.
  • You’re too busy with something else.
  • The basketball isn’t inflated the way you like it.
  • You need to get permission from someone else.
  • You’re feeling sick today.
  • You heard someone else say that it’s impossible to make free throws.

Underlying all this is fear, which most people, no matter the age, fail to recognize.

When most people go about campaigns, they get stuck in a particular step.
Usually, that reason is not a stopper– it’s one you can easily work around, like a speed bump on the road.

I’ve run online campaigns for 20 years, and lack of iteration is still the number one challenge to overcome.

How to Diagnose This Problem

We have a simple tool to cut right through the excuses and fear to determine if iteration is actually happening.
It’s called MAA for Metrics > Analysis > Action.

You don’t need a fancy template or spreadsheet to do it– just 3 minutes to go through this logical sequence.

Metrics: Here are a couple of stats on our campaign performance that have gone up or down (usually CPC and conversion rate).

Analysis: Here’s why I think they’ve gone up or down (look for “because”).

Action: Therefore, this is what we can test next (look for the next action).

What you’re looking for is not how deep the analyst goes into the explanation or how many pages the report is.
You’re looking to see how many iteration cycles they have.


Cycle #1: Our overall CPA is too high, but our remarketing is going well. We need to increase remarketing pools by mid-funnel traffic.
Cycle #2: Landing Page A is doing better than the others probably because it is relevant to Audience B. Therefore, let’s drive more variants of Audience B to Landing Page A.
Cycle #3: Our Quality Scores are low in broad match terms. Why? Because we don’t have enough negatives or exact match. Therefore, add negatives and report again in a couple of days.
And so forth.

How many iterations have you done on your business or client in the last week?

The odds are you have just one, which corresponds to the frequency at which you have to report results.

The “final exam” procrastination mentality causes people to wait until the last second to make a tweak.

But if no time elapses between taking action, observing, and subsequent follow-up, there’s no iteration.
And then you don’t touch things for another week when it’s time to make that report or attend that meeting.

How to Fix This Problem

A smart “test and learn” (trial and error) optimizer runs a few “experiments” at the same time.

While it’s easy to say that to get change, you have to reason with your campaign folks so they aren’t paralyzed by fear or habit.

Here are some examples:

“I’m too busy”

This is the most common excuse by far.
You help them break through this mindset by teaching them how to do an iteration cycle in 5 minutes (see below).

“I’m waiting on person X to do something”

There is always some other action we can take to get around this or something else to test.
Perfect is the enemy of good. Done is better than perfect.

“We need more creatives”

This happens in larger companies where multiple agencies are involved.

Use the same image, but tweak multiple versions of the headline and body for each target.

“Not enough data/budget to be statistically significant”

Look at earlier indicators instead of waiting to get X conversions: CPC instead of conversion rate or CTR instead of CPC
If they say they need to wait weeks to let the test run, note that it’s how much data you gather, not the time elapsed, that matters.

“I already did X and it didn’t work”

They perhaps ran one ad to one target but didn’t go any further in testing.

Have them quantitatively break down what didn’t work, isolating whether it’s the creative or the targeting since an ad combines these two.

The net result is that you want your folks to complete an iteration cycle in 5 minutes and move on to the next project.

If you work out at the gym, you know there are people who spend 2 hours there but get in only 5 or 6 sets.

They spend so much time between cycles resting, getting water, chit-chatting with others, admiring their muscles in the mirror, and so forth.

But efficient folks can get in and out in 30 minutes by working another muscle set while one is resting.

Maybe they alternate the bench with lat pulldowns or quads with abs.

I learned this from Paul Sokol, who is the top mind in automation (not just campaign building), in my opinion.

It’s how many sets you do; not how long you’re in the gym, or Paul’s own words:

“Time does NOT equal value and most people miss this. Especially when building and iterating their marketing! Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither are ROI-producing campaigns. Once version 1 is out the door, that’s the hardest part. From there, if you focus on measuring the right metrics, you can progressively make tiny, informed, non-time-consuming tweaks and build toward something amazing!”

The Iteration Cycle

Let’s break down MAA further into the mechanics to show how a set can take 5 minutes instead of 5 hours.



Sort by total spending in the last week by spending descending clicks descending, and conversions descending.
Look at the top 5 each time or the top 10 if you have more time– we call this Top N.


Why are certain keywords/targets or creatives/pages performing well?
Look at metrics in pairs since there is always a counterbalance—CPC vs. conversion rate, CTR vs. average position, audience size vs. performance, etc…


What’s the one thing to tweak most likely to address the WHY of analysis?
In increasing order of impact, but also effort are these tweaks: bidding, targeting, ad creative, landing page, and strategy.

When people get used to iterating quickly, they might take 30 minutes at first, but that’s okay.
The more “corporate” mindsets are conditioned to believe that everything happens in chunks of hours.
Might be a one-hour meeting or 8 hours to build a campaign.

Break them of that habit.

Steady Operations via CID

Your company is only as good as the various folks you have iterating (optimizing) together.

Use CID in addition to the basics of project management (tracking tasks according to project plans, following up on meeting action items, etc.).

CID is Communicate > Iterate > Delegate.

Communication is the foundation of CID, that people are reliably responding.
When a thread drops, you have a “weakest link” problem, causing a sequence to break and a project to fail.

As basic as reliable response is, this is the most fundamental and common issue in organizations.
People feel overloaded, ignore messages, and don’t have general organizational skills.

We use boomerang, which is a Gmail plugin to make sure we don’t drop things or lose cycles chasing people.

The RACI project management model is also a powerful tool to ensure not everyone is copied on everything.
Role clarity ensures the right people are in the right conversations– so we don’t have either overflow or blockage.

We use Basecamp for project management, as well as Slack and Skype for communication.
Every team member must update the internal team roster with their contact info and add other team members at the start of any project.

Every iteration step requires communication– that way the chain isn’t broken.
Then, it’s easy for anyone to tell where projects are– there is no hiding.
But more than a monitoring tool to catch slackers, iteration/communication eliminates wasteful status meetings.
Use the meetings to make decisions, not read updates to one another.

When communication and iteration are solid, then delegation can take place.
It’s the logical “next step” from the Action of MAA, where that action requires someone else to assist.

So when CID breaks, you generate company politics.

We define politics as the withholding of communication, intentional or not.

People get cut out of the loop, parasites can hide, good people don’t get rewarded, team members aren’t sure who’s doing what, and confusion ensues.

Take the advice of Geoff Woods, who coaches people on finding their mentors and entrepreneurship:

At the end of the day, you will have questions implementing these strategies.  The question is, what are you going to do about it?  Will you be like most people who just give up, or will you do what the most successful people do? Reach out to those who have done it before and ask for help!You are not alone in this journey. Surround yourself with like-minded individuals and ask for help. After all, in today’s market competition is dead. Collaboration is the new way of doing business.

When CID and MAA are working in sync, then you’re resolving dependencies directly– not needing meetings to discuss each time.
You’ve got the optimization engine of MAA in tune with the project organization cycle of CID to drive your company.


Dennis Yu

Dennis Yu is co-author of the #1 best selling book on Amazon in social media, The Definitive Guide to TikTok Ads. He has spent a billion dollars on Facebook ads across his agencies and agencies he advises. Mr. Yu is the "million jobs" guy-- on a mission to create one million jobs via hands-on social media training, partnering with universities and professional organizations. You can find him quoted in major publications and on television such as CNN, the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, NPR, and LA Times. Clients have included Nike, Red Bull, the Golden State Warriors, Ashley Furniture, Quiznos-- down to local service businesses like real estate agents and dentists. He's spoken at over 750 conferences in 20 countries, having flown over 6 million miles in the last 30 years to train up young adults and business owners. He speaks for free as long as the organization believes in the job-creation mission and covers business class travel. You can find him hiking tall mountains, eating chicken wings, and taking Kaqun oxygen baths-- likely in a city near you.
I'm a member of Blitzmetrics Academy and a friend of Dennis to boot. Not only is Dennis highly intelligent and full of great and creative ideas, he's also incredibly generous with both his knowledge and his time. Success couldn't come to a better guy. Thank you for all that you do for the world, Dennis! 🙏

Michael Pacheco


Thanks 🙏 for being shining light in this industry. Love what your building for works overseas too network for jobs so innovative. Dennis helped me navigate having bad experiences with marketing agencies and doing dollar a day marketing which has helped my personal brand tremendously. Highly recommend.

Eric Skeldon

Founder at Kingdom Broker

Working with Dennis has been a delightful experience. After meeting him in 2015 I got to collaborate with him on countless occasions. His understanding for state-of-the-art marketing, his implementation, and his leadership put him into the top 0.01% of marketers and mentors.

Jan Koch

Ihr kompetenter Partner für innovative KI-Strategien.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Dennis for my podcast in 2021 and since then we have maintained a friendship that grows with each interaction. I have seen Dennis' devotion to his friends and clients firsthand, and our conversations often result in us talking about how we can provide more value to the people around us. He is someone whom I can ask questions on a technical level, and look to on a personal level. If you have any hesitancy about hiring him, get over yourself and do it!

Isaac Mashman

Help scaling personal brands.

Geez, where do I start recommending Dennis? First, he is an absolutely brilliant marketer who understands where marketing is today and where it's going tomorrow. He also has an incredible passion for the International Worker community. The lessons he has taught me from his almost 20 years of experience hiring International Workers have been immense. Most importantly though. Dennis Yu is someone who wants the absolute best for you and is willing to tell you the truth. Dennis sat with me at a point in my business where I was floundering but did not want to admit it. He asked some very straight forward questions to get me to admit my issues, highlighted the issues, and then helped me create a roadmap to success.

Atiba de Souza

International Keynote Speaker | Video Content Superman | Superconnector |

Dennis, which I had the pleasure of working with is one of the most giving, honest and tell you as it is person I ever know. The knowledge this man has is remarkable and he just gives it out freely. He is not pretentious and always entertain anyone big or small in the industry always willing to help. If you ever get a golden opportunity to work with him or mentored by him say YES!. You will notr regret Dennis, which I had the pleasure of working with is one of the most giving, honest and tell you as it is person I ever know. The knowledge this man has is remarkable and he just gives it out freely. He is not pretentious and always entertain anyone big or small in the industry always willing to help. If you ever get a golden opportunity to work with him or mentored by him say YES!. You will not regret

Nixon Lee

The PR Whisperer

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