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Balancing Positive Impact with High Return on Ad Spend

In recent times, more and more businesses have seen the importance of trying to be sustainable and ethical, so it’s no surprise that brands are trying to manage this while also balancing it with a high ROAS. 

The truth is that if brands want to survive, they need to pay more attention to the impact that they are having on the world, and make a conscious effort to have that impact be positive rather than negative. 

At my paid ads agency, Snowball Creations, we’ve worked with countless positive impact companies over the years, so I have a unique insight into the challenges that companies face when trying to balance these two elements. And today, I want to share the secret formula to making paid ads work for your eco-friendly, sustainable, or positive impact business. 

The harsh truth 

I’m not the type of person to sugarcoat things. I like to say it as it is, which is why I’m going to start by telling you that you’re probably going about this all wrong. I know – it’s not fun to hear, but if you want to improve, you first need to understand where you are failing. 

When it comes to running paid ads for a positive impact business, the key is connecting with customers on an emotional rather than financial level. Therefore, many positive impact businesses write their ad copy from this perspective; with a view of selling their positive impact message. 

Theoretically, this makes sense. After all, if you are a sustainable company, then that’s your unique selling point, so it makes sense to frame your messaging around this. Sadly, that doesn’t work . . . but why???

Humans are selfish 

Here’s the thing: humans are selfish. We can try our best to work around this, but in the end, most of the population is looking out for one thing and one thing only – their own best interests. 

So, quite frankly, a lot of people don’t care whether or not your business is sustainable. They care about what you have to offer them. Therefore, you need to make sure that you are focusing on the customer’s selfishness first. Cater to their wants and tailor your ads to highlight how your product or service can better their life. Make sure that your copy and creatives are highlighting their desires first and foremost. 

While this may seem counterintuitive if you are a positive impact business, this will help your business scale and therefore increase your impact in the long term. 

So . . . what do you do?

I’m not going to tell you that your current strategy isn’t working and then just leave you hanging. Instead, I’m going to put my years of experience managing ad campaigns for sustainable businesses to use by telling you what you can do to make sure that you are pushing your positive impact while still being profitable. 

You need to look at marketing from a psychological viewpoint. As a positive impact brand, your instinct is to highlight your selfless value. That would work . . . if humans weren’t selfish beings. But as we’ve already discovered, they are. 

Therefore, you should flip things around and focus on the selfish part first. Make people want your product regardless of whether it’s eco-friendly or not. Lead with their pain points and your solution, and once you have them hooked, then and only then it’s time to incorporate your positive angle. 

You need to have two parts to your message. The first one is the selfish focus, and then after that, you hit them with the selfless reason why they should use your products. For example, if you sell items made with recyclable materials, lead by pitching the products, and then bring them home by mentioning that they are good for the environment. 

I’ve tested this across multiple companies and ad campaigns, so I can say with certainty that it’s the most effective strategy. It also works across all platforms, especially big ones like Google and Meta

Remember your “why”

It can be easy to feel like a sell-out or a fraud if you do this. However, you need to remember why you want to get customers. You want to have a positive impact, right? And the more money you can bring in, the bigger the impact will be. 

If your business goes under, you’ll have zero impact on the world. But if you are scaling your business, then your impact will expand so much more. If you get a sale, that’s a step in the right direction – regardless of whether that person made the sale for selfish or selfless reasons. 

In conclusion 

There you have it! The key to balancing your positive impact with a high ROAS is simply to cater to humans’ selfish natures before you try to get them to do the ethical thing.


Today’s guest post is written by Max Sinclair. Max is based in London, UK and is the founder of Snowball Creations (a paid advertising agency) and Forzeit (an intuitive digital planner).

Want me to review your copy to see if you’re balancing things the right way? Email me at max@snowballcreations.com.