Once you found a working ad (or even ad set), your goal is to scale up ad spend to bring in more revenue for the business. But… How do you scale? What should your process look like? That is what we are going to cover in this post.
Firstly, What Is Scaling?
Scaling is trying to spend more money or increase the ROI of an ad account. That way the more money you spend in the ad account, the revenue you see coming out is proportional. What makes scaling hard is that it happens in phases and is never an overnight success. You need to remember to stay focused and pay attention to the details (KPIs) in your ad account.
Making sure your ad account stabilizes and has a consistent set of metrics can make all the difference when trying to scale. Scaling too early can kill your efforts and work to date. Generally we wait until we see 10 – 20 days of stable performance (used to be 7 – 14 days per-iOS 14.5) before we try to increase ad spend.
Once we make a change, we give the ad account another 3 – 5 days to stabilize and monitor performance. If everything looks solid, then we look at scaling either vertically or horizontally. Which scaling method works best for your brand?
What Is Vertical Scaling?
This is just putting more money into what is already working in your ad account. It’s the easiest type of scaling to do but also limits your growth in the long run. Some key points to consider:
- You found winning ads or ad sets
- Consistent conversions before scaling
- Easiest type of scaling
- Danger of scaling too fast
- Danger of scaling too soon
- Patience is key
- Increase budgets 20% every 2 – 3 days
What Is Horizontal Scaling?
This is where you focus on going out and finding new audiences for your brand. It’s the hardest type of scaling to do but can also help your brand’s growth in the long term. Some key points to consider:
- You found winning ad sets & audiences but now you are going out and finding more audiences to test your ads against
- Hardest type of scaling as it’s unpredictable
- Increase budgets 20% every 2 – 3 days (as long as performance maintains)
One thing we don’t do is duplicate campaigns or ad sets and increase budgets. The reason we don’t do this is because you are competing with yourself if you have two ad sets running against the same audience. You are also spreading out social proof across a number of different ads.
Common Scaling Issues
There are four main reasons why you may not be able to scale your ad accounts. Some ad accounts suffer from one issue and some ad accounts suffer from all 4 issues. The key is understanding what issues are affecting your ad accounts and solving it.
KPIs & Metrics
Reading & measuring the wrong KPIs is a huge issue. If you measure the wrong metric, then you have no hope of scaling. If you think your issue is conversions but you are looking at your clickthrough-rate (CTR), well then you won’t fix your issue. Making sure you’re reading the right KPIs and metric is important.
Sometimes there is also not enough monitoring of what is going on (daily for large accounts) in an ad account. Pay attention to the ebbs and flows of the ad account will help in your success. Part of this means looking at your historic data for KPIs and metrics to know what has been happening in the past. You can’t measure future success if you don’t know what’s happened in the past.
Not having enough money really limits your ability to experiment and make sure you are on the right path. Many brands will try to scale with a small budget, which leads to the issue of not having enough data and information coming into your ad accounts.
You can also have too much money and put that money into the wrong opportunities. Not all opportunities are created equal. People put more money into a CBO vs ABO structured campaign, even when the ABO is actually performing better than the CBO one. Setting and forgetting has never worked but it’s even become impossible to do in a post iOS 14.5 world.
Niche targeting and going after interest audiences that are too small has a litany of problems. Anything under 10K people can be too small to work (unless it’s a remarketing audience). If the same people are seeing the same ads over and over again, are they really going to buy on the 6th time seeing that ad?
Fatigue has set in but audiences haven’t changed. What makes ad fatigue happen is people don’t understand that not everyone spends everyday on Facebook. 1 million audience isn’t a 1 million audience…. Say what!? Some people are only on Facebook weekly or monthly. Which means not everyone in your audience of 1 million will see your ads potentially.
The biggest issue brands face, and this was an issue before Apple’s iSO 14.5 release. Most brands do not have enough ad creative. You can never have too much. Now, one more time for the people in back. You cannot over communicate, and you cannot have too much creative. You want to have an….
That means making sure you are using different ad formats & ad styles to capture people as you scale, and having a variety of creative for different stages of the funnel. What you show a prospecting audience shouldn’t be what you show a remarketing audience.
Cycling in the same ad creative in different parts of the funnel and expecting the same results is like trying to get blood from a stone. That is not going to work. When frequency hits 3x and your KPIs start declining quickly, creative burnout is starting to take hold.
Understanding if your brand has one of these 4 issues while trying to scale will save you tons of headache.
What Is Working Now
Across all our brands and ad accounts. This is what we are seeing work and helping us stay focused on results. Hopefully you find something helpful here. This is not the end but the beginning as Google goes cookieless in 2023.
Reporting & Monitoring
We are spending even more time on reporting and monitoring performance to catch winning ads even faster to help us put more ad spend into those opportunities. Some things to keep in mind:
- Still taking over ad accounts that don’t have UTMs set up? We are spending more time in Google Analytics and Motion each day to compare against Facebook’s ad manager. Make sure your UTMs are set up correctly and collecting the data you need.
- Look at 1 day click vs 7 days to monitor over all performance
- Look at CTR, first impression rate and other softer metrics to see what is going on
- Talking with clients more often on what is and is not working across email and other channels.
Creative & Ad Copy
More creative, more often. You can never have too much ad creative, you can only have not enough. Always get your design team to over deliver on ad creative, and getting it to us at a faster rate.
- Testing offers and ad copy even more. If a client isn’t strong in getting us creative, using new ad copy to give a piece of creative a longer shelf life.
- Keeping ads with social proof. We may be in a new phase but social proof is still something we see help and make ads succeed
- Smaller and more micro influencers are working. Not all brands can afford household names but if someone has a decent following that can be even better. Quality over quantity with spreading your brand out there
- Customer review 50/50 and Top 5 Reason why style ads are doing amazing. Give people the reasons why they need what you are selling. If you are wondeing what we’re talking about, we have an article on 10 converting ad types for Facebook. It goes over it here.
Targeting & Ad Account
Some things change but some things stay the same.
- Can be hit or miss in the USA but outside the USA, we find interest targeting is still doing way better than broad. We make sure to match the creative & ad copy to the targeting. Don’t forget to think of adjacent, loosely connected interested to your obvious interests you would target
- Go broader on retargeting up to even 180 days. You need a large enough pool in an audience to make it work. This is not new and FB has been talking about it but some ad accounts didn’t get the memo
- Spend more time looking at what worked 18 – 24 months ago, why did it work and what made it work. Can you replicate that?
- Breaking out IG story ads or running IG story poll ads can do really well still
Every brand, ad account and product is different but this is what we have found working across our clients. The goal for any team should be to find what works for the brand they are working on. It is usually pretty unique to each brand and client. There is no real one size fits all solution.