How to Scale Meta (Facebook) Ads Without Killing Profit
Explore our essential Meta (Facebook) Ads scaling strategies, including vertical and horizontal scaling, creative testing, new ad formats, and expanded audience targeting. These techniques empower brands to maximise their ad campaigns and drive profitable growth.
So, you’ve decided to take the first step towards scaling your Meta (Facebook) Ad campaigns towards the moon (reading this blog). Before I get into it, I wanted to give you a bit of context behind what I mean when I say ‘scaling’, and why it’s important.
Scaling Meta Ads (formerly Facebook Ads) is a critical step when increasing the impact and reach of your advertising efforts across Meta. ‘Scaling’ refers to the process of growing your ad campaigns in order to reach a broader audience, raise your ad spend, and most importantly achieve more leads, revenue or whatever your desired results are.
Whether your goal is to increase the volume of purchases, the number of users who sign up for a free trial, or even just get more traffic through your campaigns – scaling your ad campaigns can produce immediate results; whereas your other channels like organic can take many months to grow.
At this point, the idea of ‘more purchases’ or ‘more leads’ sounds great – but outside of just getting ‘more’ from your main goal, there are other massive benefits when it comes to scaling your Meta (Facebook) Ads. Some of these include:
- Increased Reach:
Scaling allows you to extend the reach of your ads to a wider audience. By expanding your targeting parameters or testing new audience segments, you can tap into previously untapped markets and increase brand awareness amongst potential customers.
- Improved Ad Performance:
As your Meta (Facebook) Ads scale, you gain access to more data and insights about your audience’s preferences, behaviour, and engagement with your ads. Spending your budget across Paid Media platforms is never just ‘spending money’ – it’s best to think of it as ‘buying data’. This data can be used to refine the overall performance of your ads and further optimise your campaigns.
- Cost Efficiency:
Scaling Meta Ads could result in more efficient spend of your budget. As your campaigns expand and reach a broader audience, you may discover new segments that engage strongly with your ads at a lower cost per acquisition or conversion. This allows you to maximise your advertising budget more effectively, and ultimately get greater value for your money.
- Competitive Advantage:
Scaling Meta Ads can provide you with a competitive advantage by enabling you to dominate the advertising space in your industry or niche. By increasing the spend behind your campaigns, you can increase your share of voice in your category and establish your brand as a market leader.
- Business Growth:
Lastly, and arguably the most impactful benefit of scaling your Meta (Facebook) Ads, is growth in your business. By scaling your campaigns and generating more conversions, you stand to increase your customer base, generate more revenue, and drive growth in your business.
Now, whilst that all sounds fantastic, it is important to keep in mind that scaling should be done strategically and with care – monitoring your tests closely to ensure that the increased ad spend and reach actually achieve your original goals.
To ensure your scaling is actually working, you should conduct regular analysis, testing, and optimisation of your Meta (Facebook) Ads & campaigns.
Whilst it seems obvious that you need to be regularly analysing your strategy, it can be quite easy to get lost in the strategy and to place too much faith on ads that should be working well, rather than focusing on what is actually working.
The strategy you end up scaling to the moon may be completely different to the strategy you started with – so make sure you’re prepared to test and fail, but always keep testing.
In this blog, I will be exploring multiple topics to help you get the most out of scaling your Meta (Facebook) Ads. I’ll be covering topics such as:
- Key factors to consider before scaling Meta (Facebook) Ads (unit economics, MER)
- Correct Exclusions
- Two types of scaling strategies
- Creative testing
- Duplicating ad sets
- Testing new ad formats
- Exploring new placements
- Expanding your target audience
- Key metrics to track when scaling
Understand Your Unit Economics Before You Scale Meta (Facebook) Ads
Simply put, for e-commerce businesses we work with there is one north star metric we use to optimise, test, and scale Meta Ad campaigns – MER (Marketing Efficiency Ratio). MER is your total business revenue divided by the ad spend across all paid platforms.
For an in-depth explanation of how MER works and stacks up against other (inferior) platform metrics such as ROAS or CPA, one of our in-house wizards, Simon, has put together a fantastic blog which you can check out here. However, I’ll paraphrase where possible.
For businesses focusing on a lead generation objective, we recommend using customer acquisition cost (CAC), but for the purpose of this blog, we’re going to focus on MER (but just know that similar principles apply).
It might come as a surprise that in-platform metrics are not the most accurate at painting a picture of your customer’s journey. They find you on Meta (Facebook), search you up on Google, and then convert. Who’s going to claim ownership of that conversion? Well, both platforms and this is the problem!
Naturally, that is not an accurate measurement of the success of either platform. When you use MER as your primary metric, it paints a combined picture of the effectiveness of both platforms together. Gone are the days of attributing more budget to Meta (Facebook) because it said so – now you can understand the bottom line: is my overall marketing strategy working efficiently, or not?
This also ties into in-platform metrics that you may consider along the way such as ROAS.
Often, it can be easy to make the call that an ad isn’t working when something such as ROAS decreases. But when scaling, you’ll find ROAS doesn’t increase. It will usually go down, as you begin to spend more budget to reach new users and acquire new customers or leads.
This is all part of the scaling journey, and as long as MER is above target, then don’t get bogged down in platform attribution as it will hold you back. It’s important to note, that as revenue increases, your MER target typically slides down (your revenue grows but your operating expenses don’t so your marketing doesn’t need to work as hard!)
Before hitting the scale button on your campaigns, understand your unit economics, crunch some numbers and come up with a Marketing Efficiency Ratio that aligns with your business.
Having the correct exclusions in place before scaling is necessary to improve audience relevance, optimise your budget, enhance ad performance, and manage ad frequency.
By carefully refining your targeting through exclusions, you can ensure that your ads are reaching the right people no matter how you scale your Meta (Facebook) Ads. Some audiences to be mindful of include:
- Age range exclusions:
Make sure these are consistent with your other campaigns before you scale them up. Accidentally including an age range you haven’t targeted before can quickly chew through your budget and reduce performance. Of course, targeting a new age range may be a part of your Meta (Facebook) Ad scaling strategy.
- Funnel exclusions:
It’s easy to forget to exclude users who have engaged with the business before – but if your goal is to reach new users, then make sure these audiences are excluded from your ad sets. Whilst the traffic may be more qualified, your scaling ad creatives & strategy may not be relevant to users who have visited your site before.
Some examples of a typical e-commerce campaign structure on Meta may be:
TOF – Interest-based & lookalike audiences; excluding all MOF/BOF audiences (website visitors, add-to-carts, view content, past purchasers).
MOF – View content, add-to-carts, website/page visitors, and email sign-ups; excluding past purchasers.
BOF – Past purchasers/users who purchased specific product categories, and customer lists.
- Location exclusions:
Just another checklist item – make sure you’re not including any brand-new locations, unless that’s your scaling goal.
Two Types of Meta Ads Scaling Strategies
When it comes to scaling your campaigns across Meta (Facebook) Ads, there are two distinct strategies to consider; a vertical scaling strategy, or a horizontal scaling strategy (or both).
A vertical scaling strategy includes increasing the budget, and occasionally bids, for existing ad sets in order to expand the reach and impact of your existing campaigns. You are scaling what you already have upwards; inflating your existing campaigns with additional budget, as well as more audiences and creative tests.
A horizontal scaling strategy involves expanding the reach of your advertising by duplicating ad sets and campaigns to reach new segments, demographics and audiences. Often, horizontal scaling occurs before scaling vertically – as you are taking a formulaic approach to reach new and potentially high-converting audiences.
Vertical Scaling Strategies
Scale Meta (Facebook) Ads by Increasing Budgets
Scaling your campaigns vertically involves gradually increasing the budget dedicated to existing ad sets; enabling you to reach a larger portion of the target audience and generate more impressions, clicks, and conversions.
Your goal is to maximise the impact of already successful ad sets and boost campaign performance by reaching new segments of users that can be found within your top-performing audiences.
When it comes to scaling your campaigns vertically, there are several factors to consider initially and throughout the scaling process.
One key factor to consider is the frequency you make adjustments, and how significant your adjustments are. If you have a top-performing ad set, resisting the urge to triple spend overnight can be difficult; however, through extensive and thorough testing, we are definitely able to advise you that this is not the best way to scale.
Vertical scaling is typically implemented gradually, through incremental adjustments made over an extended period of time. This is the best way to ensure your ad sets and campaigns have enough time to adjust to new budgets and new users within your targeted segments.
A rule of thumb is to not increase the budget by more than 20% when you’re incrementally scaling ad sets and campaigns. Whilst this doesn’t always apply – such as if you’re entering a sale period or launching a new product – keeping budget adjustments to 10%-20% is effective in ensuring the campaigns and ad sets don’t have to re-enter a learning phase.
Scale Meta (Facebook) Ads by Duplicating Ad sets
In Meta Ads, duplicating ad sets can be a highly effective and efficient way of scaling advertising efforts, especially when compared to waiting to increase budgets on existing ad sets. When you duplicate an ad set, you essentially create an identical copy of a successful ad set that has shown promising results in terms of performance and engagement. However, you can start the ad set at a much higher budget than the existing one, scaling quicker.
This approach allows you to maintain the effective targeting and parameters that have proven to work well, while also giving you the freedom to experiment with increased budgets on the duplicated sets. By doing so, you can simultaneously reach a broader audience and potentially achieve better results, all without risking the performance of your original ad sets.
Waiting to increase budgets on existing ad sets might lead to slower growth, and it could limit your ability to test new strategies efficiently.
Scale Meta (Facebook) Ads Using a CBO Scaling Campaign
Using a CBO (Campaign Budget Optimization) campaign for scaling Meta Ads is our preferred method of scaling validated creatives.
When you have identified your top-performing creatives through a testing campaign (this is typically done with an ABO campaign), leveraging CBO allows you to maximise their impact across various audiences.
By inserting these high-performing creatives into all your audiences within the CBO campaign, the algorithm can automatically distribute the budget to the most promising ad sets based on real-time performance data. This means that the algorithm will identify the audiences where the creatives resonate the most, ensuring that your budget is allocated efficiently to yield the best results.
CBO optimises and learns from the campaign’s performance, leading to increased efficiency in reaching and engaging relevant audiences.
Scaling with CBO also reduces the manual effort of managing individual ad sets and budgets, providing advertisers more time to focus on creative development and overall strategy. As a result, using a CBO campaign to scale with your top-performing creatives can lead to significant improvements in return on ad spend (ROAS) and overall campaign success on the Meta Ads platform.
Here’s an example of what the Meta (Facebook) ad account structure looks like:
Horizontal Scaling Strategies
Scale Meta (Facebook) Ads With Creative Testing
The biggest needle mover when it comes to scaling Meta Ads is your creative. As you increase your ad budget, it is crucial to proportionally increase the resources dedicated to creative development. With higher ad spend, the turnover of creatives rises, and failing to boost your creative testing frequency can lead to ad fatigue, higher CPMs, and decreased marketing efficiency.
It’s important to define the number of additional creative tests you need to run when scaling your Meta Ads. The number of tests needed will depend on your goals, available resources, and the scope of your ad campaigns. Before determining how many creatives you need, here are some considerations to keep in mind:
- Creative Iteration Optimisation:
Iterative testing should be the first thing you do when it comes to creative testing. Don’t re-invent the wheel with brand new concepts until you’ve maximised the opportunity that exists within already validated creative angles/hooks.
It’s recommended to regularly assess the need for additional creative tests based on the performance data and engagement from your audience. Your all-time top-performing creative could end up being an iteration of your current top-performing creative! Consider testing new hooks, openers and copy to see what your audiences are engaging with the most.
We are big fans of the creative Pilot produce. They do a brilliant job at making sure every ad is iterated on; whether different headline text, hooks in the first 5-10 seconds of their videos or even the ad text itself.
- Target Audience Segments:
Evaluate the different segments within your target audience. Each segment may engage differently with your creatives. If you have distinct audience segments based on demographics, interests, or buying behaviour, it’s essential to tailor your creative tests to each different segment.
- Ad Formats and Variations:
Consider the variety of ad formats and variations you want to test. Meta (Facebook) offers a wide range of ad formats, such as image ads, video ads, and carousel ads. Each format may require slightly different creative assets and messaging to ensure you’re being consistent. Additionally, you can test variations of headlines, call-to-action buttons, visuals, and ad copy. The more formats and variations you want to explore, the greater the number of creative tests required.
When testing your new creatives, make sure you do so in your validated audiences as outlined in the testing structure in vertical scaling strategies. You don’t want to have two new variables when testing otherwise you won’t know exactly why something is over/underperforming.
Scale Meta (Facebook) Ads by Testing New Audiences
To implement a horizontal scaling strategy, the first step is to make copies of your existing ad sets.
Duplicating your ad sets includes replicating the original ad set’s targeting, creative assets, and settings. By duplicating the ad set, you keep your campaign structure consistent while allowing for targeting variations. After duplicating the ad sets, you will need to change the targeting parameters to reach new audiences. This might include adjusting demographics, interests, behaviours, or geographic locations.
The idea is to expand your reach and expose your ads to new prospects who may be interested in your products or services by targeting different segments.
Lastly, you’ll need to consider the budget you’re allocating to these tests. More budget dedicated to scaling ad sets means you’ll get indications of performance earlier; but as you are probably aware, Meta (Facebook) Ads tend to work very differently the longer you give certain ad sets & creatives to perform.
As a result, it’s best to ensure a portion of your budget is still being used to fuel your ‘ongoing’ or ‘core’ campaigns & ad sets. When it comes to scaling horizontally, dedicating 15%-30% of your budget will ensure you are getting sufficient exposure and reach for your new audience and creative tests while leaving the majority of the budget towards validated audiences.
ScaleMeta (Facebook) Ads by Testing New Ad Formats
Testing new ad formats is a key component of scaling Meta (Facebook) Ads as it allows you to experiment with new creative possibilities and leverage new methods to engage with your target audience – but is often overlooked when it comes to considering the strategy as a whole.
For example, you may know that carousels work super well for your brand – but have you considered turning your carousel into a video? Perhaps you could even run the cards as individual static image ads!
There are three key components when it comes to testing new ad formats, and why something that is so under-utilised can be a powerful tool in the success of your scaling strategy.
- Diversified messaging:
Different ad formats enable you to communicate your marketing messages in a multitude of ways. Video ads, for example, allow you to convey narratives or demonstrate product features, whereas carousel ads allow you to showcase multiple products or highlight various benefits. Testing new formats allows you to diversify your messaging strategies and discover the most effective methods of communicating with your audience.
- Optimising your performance:
Testing new ad formats may provide important data about what resonates best with your target audience. You can identify which ad formats are driving the desired results by analysing the difference in performance across your variety of creatives. This information enables you to optimise your campaigns and allocate your budget to the most effective creative formats to maximise your ROI.
- Remaining competitive:
New ad formats and features are introduced regularly as the digital advertising landscape evolves. By experimenting with these formats, you can stay ahead of the competition and capitalise on the latest advertising trends and innovations. This adaptability keeps your campaigns relevant, fresh, and appealing to your target audience.
Scale Meta (Facebook) Ads by Exploring New Placements
Exploring new placements is an important – and also often overlooked – strategy for scaling Meta (Facebook) Ads because it allows you to broaden the reach and visibility of your campaigns across various platforms and placements within the Meta (Facebook) ecosystem.
Exploring new placements allows you to optimise your ad placements based on the engagement and behaviour of your target audience. By analysing performance data and user insights from various placements, you can determine where your ads are most effective and make informed decisions about which placements to prioritise. For example, you may come to understand that your audience converts extremely well on Instagram Stories, but not so much on Meta (Facebook) Feed ads. This will begin to inform the process for your creative development – in favour of story placements. This optimisation then enables you to maximise the impact of your campaigns and achieve a better return on your investment.
Measuring The Success of Your Meta (Facebook) Ads Scaling Strategy
When it comes to measuring the performance of your scaling strategies, you need to outline which metrics you will use to determine what success looks like in and out of the platform. .
It’s important to review softer metrics such as CPM (cost per 1,000 impressions), CTR (click-through rate) or TSR (thumb-stop-rate) as an indicator of creative performance, Additionally, look at harder metrics such as ROAS (return on ad spend), CPA (cost per acquisition), revenue and MER as your performance metrics.
Additionally, whilst looking at the performance of your campaigns and ad sets in-platform can help determine the performance of specific strategies, you will need to consider monitoring performance as a whole to understand the impact of scaling your Meta (Facebook) Ads.
When scaling, consider measuring the incremental lift in key metrics such as overall sales, website traffic, or brand awareness. Brand awareness can be a hard one to measure – it’s hard to go off of ‘vibes’ sometimes – but look at factors such as an uplift in middle funnel traffic, an increase in ‘direct’ traffic to your website, and an increase in branded search terms across your other paid media platforms.
By comparing the performance of your scaled campaigns to previous benchmarks outside of Meta (Facebook) Ads, you can begin to assess the overall impact of your strategy and make more informed decisions about how to optimise your campaigns in the future.
Remember, before you scale make sure you review your business health first to ensure you’re protecting your bottom line. As you scale, your ROAS or MER doesn’t need to work as hard and be as high on smaller spending as you’re making more gross profit.
Scaling your Meta (Facebook) Ads is an important step in expanding the impact and reach of your marketing efforts. It involves reaching a wider audience, optimising ad performance, developing a competitive advantage, and driving business growth. Scaling should be approached strategically, taking into account factors such as unit economics, correct exclusions, and the need for additional creative tests.
Scaling Meta (Facebook) Ads’ success requires a careful examination of key performance indicators. Return on ad spend (ROAS), cost per acquisition (CPA), conversion rate, click-through rate (CTR), and cost per 1,000 impressions (CPM) are metrics that can help you understand the effectiveness and efficiency of your scaled campaigns. Furthermore, measuring incremental lift in various metrics and aligning campaign-specific goals plays a role in determining the overall impact of your scaling efforts.
To effectively measure success, analyse performance data regularly, conduct A/B testing, and optimise campaigns based on the results. Keep in mind that success metrics can differ depending on your company’s goals, industry, and campaign objectives. The ultimate goal is to achieve positive revenue generation, customer acquisition, and business growth results.
I hope I have left you with some ideas on how you can take your Meta (Facebook) Ad campaigns to the next level! As you’ve come to know, scaling Meta (Facebook) Ads is a continuous process that necessitates ongoing monitoring, testing, and optimisation. You can effectively expand your advertising reach, connect with new audiences, and achieve your desired objectives by understanding the importance of scaling, implementing the right strategies, and accurately measuring the success metrics that best fit the objectives of your brand.
Harry is the king of cool space facts nobody asked for and you’ll find him working across paid media platforms you never knew existed and using all remaining brain cells on creative strategy.
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