Brian Meert was working as a unpaid intern at an LA entertainment company when he had an idea for an online ticketing system for movie studios. “I went to the president of the company and said ‘I can build this new system for you that would help make things better,’” recalls Meert. But the president declined. Why change something that had been working relatively well for years? “Why?” indeed. Meert decided to start his own company, GoFoBo.com, to pursue the idea, and two and a half years later he sold it. The buyer: his former boss.
GoFoBo was not Meert’s first company, nor would it be his last. In college, he and a partner built an app called Pocket Goals. Meert used his cafeteria money to buy ads and while revenue was inconsistent, he learned a lot about the world of digital advertising. He had also co-created an online marketplace where up-and-coming handbag designers could sell their products. But the company fizzled out when it failed to get funding.
Through his work at his own companies and in marketing roles at various others, Meert discovered that he was not only good at digital marketing, but he also loved it. While he was vice president of internet marketing at American Bullion, in 2012, Facebook began allowing companies to place ads directly in newsfeeds. American Bullion had a $1 million monthly digital ad budget and Meert decided to allocate some of that money to experimenting with Facebook ads.
“I realized almost immediately this was big,” he recalls. “There weren’t a lot of people who understood how it worked and this was going to be a huge, massive advertising platform.” He had a strong hunch he could build a business around helping companies leverage Facebook advertising. So he went to his boss with a proposal: he wanted to start his own business, but he would continue to manage American Bullion’s Facebook ad spending. “That’s how I got my first client and began moving forward,” he says.
"[Newsweek Expert Forum] is “an outlet to share your expertise as a thought leader in your industry.”
When he started AdvertiseMint eight years ago, Meert says there was very little competition. But he knew that wouldn’t last for long. In order to move to the top of Google search rankings for Facebook ad agencies — and stay there — he started writing content. “I realized that it was going to be a big industry, and I wanted to be in the front of the pack,” he recalls. “So I took money that I could have spent on a nicer car or nicer things and put it into hiring a full-time blogger.” The result: AdvertiseMint has enjoyed top Google rankings for Facebook advertising agencies for the past eight years.
As Meert built his team, he worked with a variety of large and small clients simply to gain experience and credibility. Now, AdvertiseMint works mostly with larger companies such as Coca Cola and AstraZeneca and with celebrities including Anthony Robbins and Grant Cardone. There’s also the occasional Kickstarter campaign or Amazon author looking to build a fan base.
Meert estimates that his agency has worked with 1,000 different clients to date. Some do well on Facebook while others are more successful on other platforms such as Google, Amazon, and Tik Tok. “On the backend, it’s incredible because we get to see what works and what doesn’t,” says Meert. “Some of the companies we work with are doing millions in revenue and they have just one or two employees.” In the future, he predicts that Facebook’s AR and VR headsets will “open up a lot of new advertising channels. I think that’s an area that could really explode as a new way to get in front of people.”
Meert’s Newsweek Expert Forum membership affords him the opportunity to answer questions via Expert Panels, which gives him and his company increased visibility and credibility. He also values the ability to write long form articles that explore some big topics relevant to his industry. “Facebook, over the last couple years, has had some rocky moments, between elections and consumer privacy,” he says. “Just being right in there and working with them, I'm able to see both sides.” Newsweek Expert Forum, he says, is “an outlet to share your expertise as a thought leader in your industry.” Additionally, Meert says “I've had multiple clients that have come our way after reading a [Newsweek Expert Forum] article. I've had other agencies reach out to me and say ‘we don't do what you do and we want to partner with you because you do this better than we ever will.’”