Facebook ads have provided businesses (and individuals) a monumental advantage in reaching target audiences through awesome features such as interest-based targeting and more. And to really get the most of this advertising platform, eventually you will be faced with the difficult or confusing process of “scaling” your Facebook ads.
Let’s forget for a moment my longstanding issue with Facebook’s ambiguous algorithm (which you can read more about here) and let’s focus on the benefits of scaling your ad campaigns with Facebook in today’s post. Let’s begin by talking about what “scaling” is in the first place.
What is Scaling?
“Scaling” is the term I’m going to use to describe uninhibited growth in business. I say “uninhibited” in the sense that scaling keeps the relationship between cost and result the same while increasing the amount of results over a certain time frame. Sounds confusing, I know, but let’s break it down.
Here’s an example, let’s say I am running a profitable Facebook advertisement that has been shown to 100 people and resulted in 3 purchases. This is a 3% conversion rate.
Here’s where scaling comes into play. The question then becomes, “how can I make more money in less time?” Easy, I need to scale my ads to be shown to 1,000 people, or 10,000 people, or 100,000 people while ensuring the same conversion rate or amount which we already know is profitable.
This way, my profitable cost/conversion can remain the same while I am increasing the number of conversions total! This increases my revenue in a shorter time frame allowing for more total profit and a growing company.
Put simply, scaling of some kind is necessary for growth in business. Without the ability to scale your own advertisements, you’re going to be missing out on a lot of opportunity, and for virtually no extra cost (relative to increased revenue).
When it comes to running advertisements on any digital marketing platform, whether it be Facebook, Google, YouTube, etc., scaling is going to be the best way to increase revenue and optimize your advertising potential.
Why Scale your Facebook Ads?
Considering the benefits of scaling your Facebook ad campaigns, the better question might be “why wouldn’t you scale?!” To which, I don’t really have an answer. Scaling when possible is always the best option, unless you hate money.
When you scale, you are counting on the stability of your cost/conversion, ROAS, ROI, or any other metric you use to track profitability while increasing your audience size or impressions.
In other words, you are benefitting from a winning (profitable) advertisement by showing that ad to more people, thus increasing the scale of your campaign, and hopefully your profit as well. Therefore, you should always scale when possible.
With that being said, there is a right and a wrong way to scale your Facebook advertising campaigns. Let’s talk about knowing exactly when to start scaling next.
When Should You Scale FB Ads?
There are some simple, logical, steps you can take to determine whether to start the scaling process. These steps are going to be important when determining if you have an ad or ad set that is worth scaling in the first place.
First, you’ll have to determine whether you are running a successful campaign. In this case, I use the term “successful” campaign to represent one that is profitable.
You can use any of the following metrics to determine profitability:
Cost/Conversion: The advertising Cost/Conversion must be less than the cost of creating, promoting, and fulfilling the product. This means that you are spending less to advertise and fulfill than the revenue which you receive, resulting in profit.
ROAS/ROI (Return on Ad Spend): ROAS is a metric used to determine pure profitability. Put simply, your ROAS is the metric that determines the amount of revenue you receive per dollar you spend. Anything above a 1.0 is a profitable ROAS because 1.0 is the break-even point.
A ROAS of 2 means that, for every $1 you spend, you generate 2$ back in revenue.
Now that we know how to define and categorize your ads by winning/not-winning, we can focus on the probability of successfully scaling your ads based on their consistency in profitability.
There are generally two ways to determine proof of a winning campaign or ad set that is ripe for scaling.
- You’ve had multiple successful ad sets over a short time period (< a week).
- You’ve had few consistently successful ad sets, but over a longer time period (> a week).
Here’s a good way to remember this: The fewer (similar) ads you run, the longer you’ll want them to mature before scaling to ensure consistent ad performance. This ensures that your Facebook ads are indeed profitable and not merely a result of variable and turbulent market conditions, selective audiences, or mere chance.
All this does is prove that your ad sets are consistently profitable, which is a good sign for scaling.
- Frequency Rate <3, 3-6, >6
How Can you Scale Facebook Ads?
Now that we know when to scale our Facebook advertising campaigns, the question becomes “how?”
Fortunately, scaling is not very difficult to accomplish, but it must be done carefully and strategically. There are two primary ways that you can scale your Facebook Advertisements: Horizontal Scaling and Vertical Scaling.
Horizontal Scaling occurs when you diversify your ad testing across multiple ad sets, audiences, or creative work. Let’s say I have a winning product/ad. I can horizontally scale that ad by creating separate ad groups with different audiences to send that ad to. The result is an increase in total market value based on an increase in net market size.
Vertical Scaling occurs when you focus on a single winning ad set and scale up until you reach the point of diminishing returns. This means that you maintain the same audience but increase the ad spend so your ad is shown more often to that audience. This also increases a metric called frequency, which we’ll discuss further on.
It should be noted that horizontal scaling is almost always preferred to vertical scaling. This is because with vertical scaling you have the potential to reach a resource deficit. In other words, with vertical scaling, there is a probability that you over-advertise to a single audience or niche, thus finding your ads played out and underperforming over time.
Both Horizontal and Vertical scaling hold their respective pros and cons. Let’s look into each of these scaling methods and discover how you can use them in your own Facebook advertising campaigns!
As stated above, horizontal scaling is used to display ads over a larger array of audiences. This means that your advertisement is likely to be shown to new unique individuals as opposed to re-displaying your ad to the same individuals.
The reason that horizontal scaling is often preferred is because it organically increases the size of your potential total audience. And for a quality advertisement, an increase in your audience size can be representative of an increase in potential market value.
One of the hidden benefits of horizontal scaling is the added control you can achieve over your ad campaign. Horizontal scaling allows you to change ad copy, ad creative, and more to a variety of unique audiences, as opposed to a single existing audience such as in vertical scaling.
Horizontal Scaling Pros:
- Greater total audience size
- More customizable
- Audience Testing
- Diversity Between Ad Sets
Horizontal Scaling Cons:
- Differences in Audience Behavior/Customization.
How To Horizontally Scale Your Facebook Ads
Here are some ways that you can scale your Facebook ads horizontally. We’re going to be looking into the following points.
- Increase Your Geographic Area
- Increase Your Audience Lookalike Range
- Diversify Ads and Campaign Objectives
Let’s look into how you can scale your Facebook ads horizontally by increasing the size of your geographic targeting.
Increase Your Geographic Area
One of the easiest ways to scale a Facebook Ads campaign is to merely extend the geographic range of your advertising.
Obviously, your unique business model will make the real decision here. You can’t extend the geographic range of a product or service that must be sold or experienced in person. For example, extending the range of your ads won’t help you if you can’t provide the product or service.
That being said, if you had the ability to fulfill orders over greater distances, than extending the range of your advertisements through Facebook’s audience portal is a surefire way to scale effectively as long as your demographics remain the same.
Increase Your Audience Lookalike Size
In tandem with your geographic range, increasing the audience lookalike range will help you reach greater amounts of people. Although, this point has some potentially adverse effects which we’ll talk about now.
Most Facebook marketers use lookalike audiences of some kind. Lookalike audiences are an excellent way to categorize and profile your ideal consumers. That being said, increasing the range of your lookalike (for example, from 1% to 10%) also increases the likelihood that your ads are shown to people outside of your ideal audience.
The range of your lookalike audiences are based on a scale of accuracy to your existing customers. Put simply, the lower the range, the more similar the audience will be to your pre-existing customers. The greater the range, the less similar they will be.
It’s worth doing some A/B testing to determine how receptive a greater lookalike range will be to your ads. This is another good way to potentially increase audience size without much extra effort. Just keep an eye out for the point of diminishing returns.
Diversify Your Ads and Campaign Objectives (To match the stage of Funnel)
When you present your brand to consumers, you must ensure that your messaging reflects their interests and awareness of your offer. After all, no business will be successful without properly targeting consumers based on their position in the sales funnel.
Here’s an example: Consumers don’t often purchase unless they are first aware of the issue they have (and that they want to solve). This is the broad-top awareness stage of the sales funnel.
Attempting to promote your offer is useless without considering that your audience may be unaware of their need for the product in the first place. This is why your FB ad diversity is important.
Match your ad messaging based on what the consumer needs to hear based on their stage in the funnel. Here’s a quick run-down on how to do this.
TOF (Top of Funnel): Focus on instigating pain points and building awareness around the problem your consumers have. Lightly introduce your product as a solution.
MOF (Middle of Funnel): Now that the consumer is aware of their problem, you need to overcome their objection to purchase. Provide the consumer info, social proof, product details, evidence, testimonials, guarantees, sales, or anything that overcomes their objections and ensure that the product or service will truly resolve their problems.
BOF (Bottom of Funnel): Once a purchase decision has been made, be sure to keep up-to-date with the consumer to ensure that their problems were solved and that they are happy with your product or service. A business that puts their consumers first almost guarantees consumer loyalty.
Vertical Scaling occurs when you try and optimize a pre-existing audience. This occurs when you attempt to show ads to either a) more people in your existing audience, or b) to the same people more often.
Vertical scaling is an excellent way to make the most of a small audience or tight niche. Often, a crafty digital marketer will use horizontal scaling first to determine whether an audience is immediately profitable, then use vertical scaling to optimize each profitable audience they discover.
One of the benefits of vertical scaling is that it’s by far the easiest way to scale. No custom defined audiences or specialty ad groups/campaigns are needed. Often, the only way to scale vertically is to increase your Facebook marketing budget.
The biggest drawback to vertical scaling is the minimal audience sizes and the various negatives that go along with that. For example, increase in frequency and potential audience deficits. Put simply, you’ll run out of people to advertise to.
- More Focused Optimization
- Easier to do
- Resource Deficits
How To Vertically Scale Your Facebook Ads
There’s realistically only one way to vertically scale your Facebook ads, and it relies on the idea that your existing audience hasn’t been tapped out for potential buyers. To vertically scale your Facebook ads, you’ll have to increase your budget.
Increase Your Budget
If you are running a profitable campaign (“profitable” defined by one of the metrics we mentioned earlier in the article) than it may seem logical to increase your ad budget every 3-5 days.
This is a perfectly fine way to scale your Facebook ads for a certain amount of time, at least until you realize that your profitable audience may be dwindling in numbers.
It comes to reason that, in a world with a finite amount of people, your audience will reach its limit at one point. Eventually, you won’t be able to advertise to anyone new. We often see this issue arise in advertising strategies that have extremely niche, targeted audiences with few people.
At some point, doing nothing but increasing your Facebook ad campaign (or ad set) budget will result in diminishing returns, and at that point, you’ll have to resort to horizontal scaling to grow further.
Increasing your campaign (or ad set) budget will cause FB ads to do one of two main things: 1) show your ads to more people in the audience (reach), or 2) show your ads more often to the same people in your audience (frequency). Unless you are running a reach and frequency campaign (which is good for building awareness) the Facebook algorithm will determine the balance between reach and frequency for you.
Begin vertically scaling your Facebook ads by increasing your ad budget by 20%-30% at a time and monitor the effects of your changes for a 3-5 day period. If your profitability metrics/KPIs (mentioned earlier in the article) remain the same, or change marginally, you can repeat the process.
Obviously, if your profitability metrics are thrown off by your increased budget, take a step back and begin looking into your audiences to determine the reason why.
Ultimately, to scale your Facebook Ads, you’ll have to decide whether to scale horizontally or vertically at first. Each has benefits and disadvantages.
You can choose to scale vertically at first if you know that you haven’t nearly exhausted your audience size, or you can choose to scale horizontally and increase the audience pool as a whole. Either way, scaling your advertisements is fairly simple and can be acted upon immediately if you are running a reliably profitable advertising campaign on Facebook!
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-Austin Denison is a management consultant and coach from Southern California and founder/CEO of Denison Success Systems LLC. He is the author of The Essential Change Management Guidebook: Master The Art of Organizational Change as well as The Potential Dichotomy: The Philosophy of a Fulfilling Life, and, the Best-Selling book, KICK*SS Content Marketing, How to Boost Your Brand and Gather a Following.