In 2021, it’s becoming increasingly more important for you to be able to optimise and scale consistently across all digital marketing platforms, but mainly Facebook and Instagram.
Facebook and Instagram are very unique platforms – Social Ads campaigns are very unique, in general, because, when you are targeting individuals on social media platforms, you are reaching out to the audience based on targets and interest. So you are reaching out to your audience rather than your audience searching or looking for something and then finding you.
Facebook Ads Management has changed considerably over the years in terms of the actual platform too.
This is the big difference between Google Ads management and Facebook and Instagram Ads. It’s a kind of outbound marketing strategy where you’re reaching out to individuals who fit a certain demographic and then showing them creatives. With that, a really unique approach is required to how you have to structure the campaigns in order to be able to scale.
In this blog, we’re going to give you a few examples in terms of strategic and applicable optimisation strategies that will allow you to scale.
Initially, let’s look at some main points about the Facebook and Instagram Ads platform itself.
Creatives Are King
Right off the bat, creatives are king. This is because it’s an outreach platform and you’re reaching out to audiences that are, in some cases, cold traffic – so they’ve never seen your brand before. It’s important that you actually take time to understand what effective creatives are, how they work, the different timeframes and, ultimately, A/B test all of the creatives against each other.
This will allow you to find the winners, the losers and then amplify what is performing well and cut down on what isn’t performing well.
With that being said, there are many different opportunities as the creative side of things is unique to your individual business.
What we advise that you do if you’re unsure and inexperienced potentially is take a look at the Facebook Ad Library and see what some of the most successful brands in the world are doing right now in terms of creatives.
This will then, ultimately, determine what your creatives should look like. If larger competitors in your industry are approaching their audience a certain way, that audience is exactly the same for you and you will know that because certain creatives have been running for a specific period of time, that that sort of approach may well be proved to be very effective for you.
So take a look at the Facebook Ads Library, look at competitors, and then determine what your creatives should look like.
Your creatives should be optimised for the three different sizes, which Facebook and Instagram ads require in order to seamlessly fill all ad creative sizes.
Audience Planner and Thinking Outside The Box
When you’re looking at targeting your audiences, Facebook has its own audience planner and there are other third-party tools that you can use in order to build audiences, but it’s important that you think outside of the box.
So, there are going to be other brands that you can target that are similar to yours, but what other things are people interested in? Here’s an example of a business that you would think outside the box of:
Let’s say you were a holiday provider and you wanted to target people who were interested in holidays.
Yes, you would target other businesses such as Ryanair, Love Holidays and so on.
However, you might want to start looking at businesses that target suntanning, sunbeds, frequent travellers, interested in travel, active individuals, people who are interested in fine dining – these sorts of things.
We’d recommend testing those audiences amongst your current audiences in order to make sure that you have the correct funnel. That will ultimately assist with scaling because it’ll help you find out the top-performing audiences quicker.
Funnel Set Up
Your funnel needs to be set up in such a way that it hoovers up all traffic from cold audiences to recent visitors and even recent purchasers. Then you can focus on trying to upsell and cross-sell to them.
There are many, many ways to manage campaigns, but this is one of the simplest ways.
One of the most effective ways for you to be able to do this is, start your campaigns off with an ABO and then start with each individual ad set having a smaller budget than what you would want to spend overall.
So, let’s say you’ve got a £7,500 a month budget. Instead of going into a £7,500 ad spend without understanding where these areas are, you can build out your funnel so that you have cold audiences, middle of funnel retargeting, and then short term retargeting.
Short term retargeting will include audiences such as 14-day add to carts etc.
If your funnel is built out effectively, what we then need to do is find more high converting audiences at the top of funnel that will directly contribute to ROI to give you a positive ROI up at the top for cold individuals who have never seen your brand before, but also put more relevant people into the funnel further down.
This method will then put more relevant people in at the top, which will mean more people go through the funnel into the middle.
There’ll then be more relevant users in there, and there’ll be more relevant users at the bottom too. The technique for actually looking at that setup would be 15 to 20 audiences using an ABO with a £5-£10 a day budget for you to be able to scope out some sales. You can do this in two ways…
The consistent approach requires you to consistently evolve around 10 audiences (scale this up depending on budget if necessary) at a time that you’re running whilst constantly trying to identify winners.
You’ll then swap out and change audiences as winners and losers are determined. The poor performing audiences get cut whilst high performing audiences get pushed onto the next level.
The Facebook Ads management “shotgun approach” is where you go very heavy and set a specific budget. You might set a budget of £250 or £2,500 a day (for example) and then you would run that over a short period of time, depending on what your budget is.
You would test potentially hundreds of different audiences at once in order to find the winners. Whatever way you decide to go about that is up to you and you can decide whatever suits your business.
If you decide that the shotgun approach is better to get you further down the road quicker, then you can do that. If you decide that playing the consistent approach of taking it easy and running with a smaller budget – 20 audiences at £5 a day – you can then look at how things progress from there, that’s your decision but we generally go with the more consistent approach to Facebook Ads management for smaller businesses.
From a digital marketing perspective, we do a mix for our clients, depending on their size. If clients come in with a £100,000 budget a month, then we will run with a £30,000 – £40,000 a month budget as an initial shotgun attempt, and then also carry out perpetual testing.
The general rule of thumb for most businesses is that the consistent, slower way is going to be the best way for you to determine which audiences have performed well, and ultimately have the potential to be scaled.
We’ve run our ABO campaigns, whatever way you have gone around it.
We have started running the campaigns from a perspective of an ABO and that, in turn, has ultimately determined some winners.
Let’s say we have 10 audiences that are now winners over a certain period of time. We then take those 10 audiences and pull them out and add 3 or 4 of them together into campaign budget optimisation campaigns.
Pro tip: keep an eye on the audience sizes to ensure that you’re matching similar-sized audiences to one another, otherwise the CBO may favour the larger audience regardless of performance.
The difference between an ABO and CBO is that you set the budget at the ad set level and it will spend on that exact audience every single day.
So you’ll have all those audiences out there with that set budget and it will spend on that audience.
Campaign budget optimisation (CBO) allows Facebook and the Facebook Pixel to determine where the budget should be spent based on what it considers to be the most effective and most positive ROI potential.
If we found the winners in small audiences with small budgets, then we put them into a campaign budget optimisation campaign and scaled the budget significantly.
You then go from spending £5 a day on 4 audiences to setting a budget of £250 a day or whatever suits your budget into that CBO with the winning audiences that you have.
What you will see from here is those successful audiences will get more exposure, traffic, traction, and you will see whether those audiences are scalable very, very quickly.
We’d recommend that you give it 48 hours before you even look at performance with any real scrutiny because it takes time for the Facebook Ads algorithm to be able to understand how that performance is actually generated.
From there, you are in a situation where you can actually sit down, look and decide whether these audiences have worked. If they haven’t worked, cut them out.
From that perspective, you’ve already weeded out poorer quality audiences. The CBOs generally should perform to some level but you will find that some audiences simply are not scalable to that level.
Pro tip: Mix up the CBO budget so that you can actually monitor & manage the levels you’re trying to scale to. For example: If you’re testing CBO’s with £250/day, test it at £125/day and see if you see more traction.
Up & Running
Now, it’s either going to go to the Moon and you’re going to be generating consistent revenue from here on out, or it’s going to flop and those audiences aren’t going to be scalable.
Obviously, if things go well, it’s all said and done for that initial phase – but if it doesn’t go well, generally we’d give it 4/5 days minimum, pause the campaign. Check the audiences out, switch them up and then you will have new audiences from your perpetual ABO campaign running.
You can pull out those new audiences that you have, put them into a new CBO and test again. Facebook is the fastest platform for scalability available on the market. There is no other platform that can scale this infinitely, and the reason for that is because its audience diversification.
The amount of people that use Facebook is frightening so people fall in and out of different audiences that we’re going to be testing on a consistent basis. There is a huge potential for you to scale very quickly if you get your ABO campaign set up correctly, then ultimately flip that into the CBO campaigns.
Finally, once that’s done, you have a funnel. You have a campaign that is set and testing never stops, and it’s constantly accompanied by your performance on the middle and bottom of funnel.
So, the more you spend at the top, the more people come through so your middle and bottom of funnel will start to hoover up more individuals on a consistent basis.
In terms of budget splits across the funnel, generally speaking, you’d be at 60% top of funnel and then you would dilute the rest to around 25%, then 15% at the bottom of funnel because of the user size of the audiences.
This is important to note because, as you raise your top of funnel budgets for the CBO, you’re going to need to increase your middle of funnel and bottom of funnel retargeting because you’re not going to be showing enough otherwise.
Now, the key thing to look at when you’re looking at ABOs, CBOs, budget increases and audience funnels is the frequency of your creatives.
You need to make sure that you’re not raising your CBO budget past a level that doesn’t provide you with any additional benefits so you hit diminishing returns because there are not enough people in that audience for you to show.
Other things to just keep an eye out on are obviously creative exhaustion. Make sure you don’t overuse the creatives – you will need to freshen up and test new creatives at the ABO level consistently too.
Once you have an extremely profitable CBO campaign, and you have scaled it up from an ABO, you’ve gone from spending £5 a day on ad sets to £250 a day on your CBO, it has 4 profitable audiences, you’ve checked the frequency of the ads to make sure that the ads aren’t becoming too diluted.
You then end up then in a situation where you want to keep spending more on those CBOs.
You do not increase the budget of that CBO rapidly. We recommend slowly increasing the budgets by 15%, every 4-5 days for safety.
We always play it safe with our scaling of clients from this point, especially if they’re spending upwards of £2,500 a day on specific audiences. So when you actually look at that sector and you end up in that situation, it’s really important that you only incrementally raise your budgets from there for those audiences.
Ultimately, scaling a Facebook campaign requires a lot of attention, a lot of work, a lot of optimisation, but starting with an ABO campaign with small budgets, finding the winners, and then attempting to scale with a CBO whilst keeping your funnel intact is one of the quickest ways for you to be able to scale your Facebook ads campaigns from the outset and throughout.