For those that have been managing campaigns on Facebook, you may remember the push for automation that Facebook was focused on in 2019. For those that have started on the platform after automatic placements, just know that you couldn’t talk to a Facebook representative without hearing about implementing the audience network and consolidating your ad sets. This was known as the Power 5, and while some of this is still relevant, it can be challenging to know what aspects of automation should be incorporated into your strategy and how to scale your account once you’ve incorporated basic best practices. In this post, I’ll discuss some of the tactics we have used across our client accounts to increase their ad spend while maintaining KPI efficiency.
Where to Start Scaling
With brands that have struggled to scale in the past or aren’t seeing their desired return from increased investment, I always start with the following items. Most commonly, they are looking to drive conversions, but the following is relevant for upper-funnel KPIs as well.
1. Set Your Target KPIs
This is an absolute requirement for working towards increased ad spend you can stand behind. The goal of this process is to increase ad spend while your KPIs stay consistent, not to improve the performance of the KPI MoM or YoY. While hopefully the latter also occurs, it is not the primary focus.
2. Build a Campaign Map
Review the overall account structure. Was it originally built to prioritize automation? For a budget 5x less than the current goal? For limited creative resources? With little to no brand awareness? If the answer to any of those questions was yes, you might need to do a bit of restructuring. As a visual person, I always start by building a campaign map (I prefer to use Lucidchart, and you can read more about that here). This map should be built with growth in mind, even if you will be implementing it in phases. Below is an example pulled from the previous link.
3. Map Your Upper-Funnel Content Streams
I recommend building out the top of the funnel and working your way down. The most important part of campaign mapping for scale is to have clear differentiators between campaigns and audiences. If what you build out is too similar, it may work in the short term but be difficult to scale due to overlap. The best way to do this is to build out your campaigns into clear content streams. Segment your audiences into groups based on the content most likely to appeal to them so you can tailor their experience with your brand. Think location, age, and known areas of interest.
I want to clarify that this is the opposite of segmenting your audiences into specific groups and serving them all the same ad creative for testing purposes. Scaling is about using customization to reach new audiences that return your target KPIs, not drilling down to determine which audience returns the highest KPIs.
4. Map Your Lower-Funnel Content Streams
By using this tailored approach to upper-funnel content, you have an opportunity to expand your retargeting beyond general platform and site signals. For example, instead of creating one retargeting audience for everyone that has watched your videos, you can create individual audiences for each video.
As with the upper-funnel streams, it is important that the ad creative served to these audiences is tailored to their experience. Additionally, how you build out these audiences depends on size. When I mentioned that this might be a multi-phase launch, this may be an area that comes later.
There is no one-size-fits-all model for scaling your ad account, but testing is important regardless of industry or business model. Without the dedication to testing and the creative resources to act on your findings, scaling while maintaining KPIs will be challenging. As a rule at Portent, we give all tests at least seven days to deliver before making significant strategy decisions.
Scaling in Practice
One of our clients—a documentary streaming platform—came to us with aggressive growth goals and, as such, needed a concrete way to scale efficiently and quickly. They offer a large variety of programming genres, resulting in a wide range of ‘products’ that appeal to many different types of users. Prior to building out this strategy to scale, we had been squarely focused on driving conversions at a specific CPA within their budget allotment. The strategy relied on using lookalike audiences based on top-performing signals and delivering creative that was proven to be most popular across a wide range of viewers. We went from one overarching account structure that looked like this:
To a structure that we duplicated many times:
As you can see, these are very similar, and both rely on some automation. The major difference is that by splitting the content streams and removing some of the automation, ad relevance increases significantly.
We implemented this strategy for our client in mid-May and saw results within the first month. Looking at July performance, our target CPA was down 49%, our spend was up 97%, and our traffic was up 181%. Testing is easier because we know exactly who we are creating content for, and where to dedicate our creative resources each month.
Although the example I gave was for a media company with clear content streams, scaling Facebook campaigns is replicable across multiple industries with a bit of brain power.
As I mentioned, scaling typically takes a significant investment into tailored ad creative production. It’s possible to execute without it, but your results will likely plateau and decline over time. Building out your campaigns according to this structure not only increases reach, it increases relevancy.
Scaling also requires significant investment in the top of the funnel. Each time you launch a new content stream, there will be a data collection period required to build out the (typically) more profitable lower funnel audiences. Keep in mind that this may require additional investment up front before the return is realized down the funnel.