Scaling Facebook ads won’t be easy. But it also shouldn’t be a nightmare. Here you’ll learn how to do it right.
You’ve managed to build a high-performing Facebook ad campaign. Your ads are finally reaching your goals, and the CPA looks good. It’s time to scale.
Unfortunately, it’s not that simple.
If you’ve ever tried to scale your ad campaigns, you might have seen every time you push your budgets, the performance fluctuates. Sounds familiar?
Good news: there are a few ways to scale Facebook ads without ruining performance. Want to learn how? Read on.
What’s the problem with scaling Facebook advertising campaigns?
When you scale an ad campaign, you want to invest more money in your ads and expect them to generate a return at the same levels as they did on a smaller budget.
What might go wrong when you scale up?
Here’s the first scenario.
A paid acquisition expert – let’s call him Mike – sees his advertising campaigns are delivering quality leads for the target CPL. Mike wants to scale and chooses to duplicate his lead generation campaigns.
Once he does so, the campaign CPA skyrockets. With a $100 budget per day, Mike used to generate 10 leads with a $10 CPA. After increasing the budget to $500, Mike’s campaigns are still driving 10-15 leads a day, but the CPA has increased almost 5 times.
It might also happen that ads just stop delivering conversions – this is the second scenario.
An affiliate marketer – let’s call her Susan – has noticed her ads started to convert like crazy. Suzy doesn’t want to miss out on the opportunity to get the most out of her paid campaigns.
She doubles the campaign budget to grow reach and get twice as many conversions. But something goes wrong. Instead of driving more conversions, campaigns hardly deliver any at all.
Now, let’s highlight the most common issues that prevent your campaigns from showing exceptional performance metrics when you try to scale your Facebook ads:
- When you target a niche audience, you can’t scale because you don’t have much room to grow.
- Increasing campaign budgets too quickly results in poor performance as Facebook algorithms need time to learn and optimize for ads’ performance.
- When duplicating best-performing ads, you might start targeting overlapping audiences, meaning your reach doesn’t grow at all.
- If you start testing different Facebook audiences when scaling your ads, the CPA and the quality of leads will inevitably fluctuate.
How much should your ads cost?
Do you have a revenue goal you want to reach? Want to know how much you need to spend on your next ad campaign to achieve it?
Use the FREE Facebook Ad Cost Calculator to find out!
There’s no need to reinvent the wheel to scale your Facebook ads successfully. Basically, there are just two strategies you should choose between:
- Horizontal scaling
- Vertical scaling
Horizontal scaling involves duplicating existing campaigns or adding ad sets in order to reach larger audiences.
The horizontal scaling strategy works best when you need to scale ads immediately. If you do it right, you can increase your investment by as many times as you want without the need to patiently scale your budget bit by bit, as vertical scaling requires.
The problem with horizontal scaling is that when you clone campaigns, audience overlap may occur, and your campaigns will compete against each other.
To avoid it, you’ll need to target different audiences with every ad set. Using lookalike audiences is the most common technique when it comes to horizontal scaling. It’s important that you don’t change any other element of your winning ads, including ad copy, landing page, campaign schedule, placements, etc. as the setup has already proved effective.
Action plan: How to scale your Facebook ads horizontally
- First, you need to select the ad sets that have shown the best results.
- Click ‘Duplicate’ and specify the number of copies you want to get.
- Next, you need to edit ad targeting for every new ad test. The preferred targeting options will depend on what audience you’ve been using originally.
Here are a few tactics for avoiding audience overlap with your new ad sets:
#1 Explore interest-based audiences
If you’ve been successfully targeting interest-based audiences, you might want to select new interests to target.But if you choose new targeting options randomly, chances are you won’t see great results. Therefore, we recommend that you check Facebook Audience Insights before making any decisions.
Say you’ve been seeing great results from targeting people interested in interior design. In the Audience Insights section, type in this interest and switch to the Page Likes tab.
Now, you see a list of pages people interested in interior design are also interested in it on Facebook.
Based on the Relevance Score, audience size, the Affinity Score (the measure of how likely your audience is to like a given page compared to everyone on Facebook), and the content of the page itself, choose the most relevant one to specify in the targeting settings of your newly-created ad set.
There’s no guarantee that the performance of the ad set targeting HomeGoods fans will be as strong as the original ad set, but it’s 100% better than choosing a random audience.
Finally, go back to the ad set settings and choose the selected page in the detailed targeting section.
#2 Expand lookalike audiences
While it’s not a good idea to test completely new audiences when scaling your campaigns, going broader with lookalike audiences is an option.
Many advertisers choose to target a 1% lookalike of previous customers to ensure their campaigns reach the best prospects. But when it comes to scaling, it’s better to target broader groups.
By expanding your lookalike audiences to 3%–5%, you’ll be able to scale your ad budget without the risk of exhausting the same audience.
Whether you explore new interest-based audiences or expand lookalikes, use the Audience Overlap tool to identify and exclude overlapping audiences. It’s recommended that you avoid overlaps of 20-30%.
The strategy involves scaling within the original campaign. To scale performance, an advertiser increases ad spend without making any adjustments to the campaign’s structure.
This is the most straightforward and least risky Facebook ad scaling strategy. However, it also has some pitfalls.
If you boost your ad spend too quickly, the ROAS is very likely to drop, contrary to your expectations. The issue happens for one of the two reasons: your campaign has either already reached its maximum potential, or Facebook’s algorithms need more time to collect and process the performance data that’s used for optimizing your campaigns.
The problem can be easily prevented by increasing ad spend steadily.
Action plan: How to scale your Facebook ads vertically
Vertical scaling takes patience.
Increasing your ad spend by 20% every 3–5 days is the least risky way to scale your campaigns.
Start here if you’re not very confident you’ll manage to scale your Facebook ads horizontally.
While scaling vertically, keep a close eye on your ROAS. If it’s staying the same, this may indicate that your ad set is about to reach its maximum potential. In this case, you’ll need to increase the size of your audience.
Horizontal vs. vertical scaling
So, which strategy should you go for?
A vertical scaling strategy is the preferred approach of most advertisers. The argument that speaks in its favor is that once you’ve managed to build a setup that works, you don’t want to make any adjustments that might ruin your performance.
With horizontal scaling, you toggle between audience targeting options, and you don’t know whether they’re going to perform very well. And for those who are still learning to run profitable Facebook ad campaigns, it’s not the safest practice to try.
On the other hand, horizontal scaling brings in more opportunities for skilled Facebook marketing experts able to build the right campaign structure.
As has already been said, by scaling your campaigns horizontally, you can boost your Facebook ad spend to any level almost immediately – this is what appeals to advertising professionals the most.
What we can say for sure is that you shouldn’t try to combine these two. If you create duplicate ad sets that target different audiences and increase the budget for every single ad set, you won’t be able to evaluate the results of your actions. Were you too hasty to triple ad spend within one ad set, or is it a lookalike audience that doesn’t perform well for you? You’ll never know unless you split the scaling strategies.
Expand to different advertising channels
‘As customers communicate through diverse digital marketing channels, especially now people are leading an enhanced digital lifestyle, marketers feel more driven to connect them across all the channels customers frequent the most,’ noted Charit Anchan, Digital Marketing Manager at Amazon, when sharing his thoughts on today’s advertising trends.
Once Facebook ads provide good returns, you’ll want to scale them as much as possible. Inevitably, you’ll reach a point where the need to diversify your advertising efforts comes in.
Cross-channel advertising is a great way to increase your reach, launch more effective retargeting campaigns, and even reduce campaign costs. Think of it as your next step for taking your successful Facebook ad campaigns to the next level.
Scaling Facebook ads won’t be easy. But it also shouldn’t be a nightmare.
By choosing a strategy and sticking to it, you’ll build a consistent growth model. When something goes wrong, it’s most likely there’s one of the top three reasons behind an issue:
- Your campaign doesn’t have much room for growth;
- You boosted your ad spend too fast and didn’t give Facebook’s algorithms enough time to learn;
- You’re targeting overlapping audiences.
Just make sure you keep an eye on your campaigns after you make any changes and address performance issues promptly.
Adelina is a content marketer at Joinative, a native advertising agency and SaaS. She is responsible for building marketing partnerships, establishing content collaborations, and developing actionable resources for advertisers.