Scaling your business, whilst maintaining efficiency, is possibly one of the hardest things to do in performance advertising. The reason for that is down to the way the platforms are set up.
There are two traditional scaling methods – horizontal scaling and vertical scaling
Vertical scaling increases the daily spend on each of the ads. As an example, you could start off at £10 a day and push that up to £1000 or £10,000 per day. This used to work, but things have changes and now it’s pretty difficult to do unless you’ve got an amazing advert and performance.
Instead of increasing daily spend from, for example, £10 to £1000 per day, you run 10 different £10- a-day ads to get you to that £1000 per day total spend. To scale horizontally you need to create more adverts rather than just increasing the daily spend.
You will see much better performance from horizontal scaling when you use rules to incrementally increase daily budgets, rather than massively increasing them over a given time frame.
You can set up automatic rules; if your target is 3 times your return on ad spend, you can tell Facebook to automatically increase the daily budget by 10 or 15% if your ad is hitting that target and this is probably the most effective way to scale vertically.
Comparability between accounts and platforms
There is a huge advantage to outsourcing your performance marketing as not only do you get access to a specialist but also the advantage of that agency being able to compare against other brands in other locations, and potentially even brands in similar verticals
For example, if we can see that the CPM’s are really high in the US and this is consistent throughout, this identifies a universal trend across the platform. If you are only working on one brand and one ad account, it would be almost impossible to make those sorts of assumptions with such limited data. With multiple clients, you can study overall performance and whether specific ad platforms are broken or have been down for a period of time. This insight can then be offered to the client and changes suggested to their plan or strategy based on this evidence.
Interest-based versus lookalikes
New clients often haven’t had a pixel setup implemented, so there is no pre-existing data to work from. This means that from an audience perspective, you have to target cold or upper funnel audiences, and the way to do that is through interest-based audiences. On most platforms, you can target people based on their interests, age, and in some cases, financial information. Using some of our bike brands as an example, we have generic bike audiences which are really broad- those who have an interest in cycling, cycling teams, the Tour de France and so on, but we also have a specific audience in cycling publications which have similar attributes.
In addition, you can also create persona-based audiences. These are created based on different interests but instead of getting everyone interested in cycling (from the previous example), we would target someone of a certain age group. We can then use this customer profile and target your ideal customer through their interests; this is really effective.
Once you have over 100 conversions through the pixel, or if you’re working with a client who has pre-existing data, you are then able to create lookalike audiences and these audiences are your best performers
What is a lookalike audience?
If you have 100 customers, Google will then duplicate that audience by targeting people with similar characteristics to your customers, based on aspects such as finance or demographics. Your existing audience has already bought your product so by duplicating it, you have doubled your audience. Therefore, on a paid social, the lookalike audience will probably be your best-performing audience.
You can also stack lookalikes. Instead of targeting one lookalike audience, you can put lookalike audiences together, creating an even wider reach.
Brands love to hit people with offers because they are a good converter. If you offer a 20% discount on your product, you’ll get a much higher clickthrough rate and probably a conversion. One of the problems that we see over and over is that brands are only trading on discounts. As a first interaction with your brand, customers are likely to make a purchase because people like the offer and want to buy it ‘now’, but this means you are only trading on one messaging style. To avoid this, it’s better to tailor the copy or the type of creative specifically, depending on where people are within the funnel.
In the upper funnel, videos explaining the proposition of the brand and the USP of the product are effective, making sure that you are educating your audience about your brand and offering so that even if they don’t purchase, they will know more about you, and you will have infiltrated their subliminal radar.
In your lower funnel, your audience is already educated about your brand, and this allows you to push the sales boundaries and provide them with an offer because they’ve already been through multiple touchpoints. So your final right hook could be a 5 or 10% offer.
The results from these methods will be your guide on what is working and what to avoid but regular tweaks and refinement are key. And your safest bet? The advice of an expert who does this morning, noon and night – it’s a minefield out there!