Tag Archive for: ad spend

A person budget planning for digital ad spend

5 Channels to Diversify Your Digital Ad Spend

A person budget planning for digital ad spend

The great thing about the internet and how we consume content is that it’s constantly changing. This gives us growth marketers a perfect chance to test new channels and tactics regularly and make sure that we’re exploring new ways to use our digital ad spend. If you’re already running paid ads and are looking for ways to improve your channel diversification, you’ve come to the right place. 

It can be daunting to start fresh on a brand new platform, especially if you’ve had success on traditional digital channels such as Google and Meta (Facebook and Instagram). Different platforms and tactics are constantly emerging, and provide great options for your advertising efforts, depending on your goals, budget, and target audience. 

TikTok

At Tuff, we’ve been able to drive incredible results for our partners on TikTok.  While B2C opportunities on the platform are well known, we’ve also explored the ever-expanding B2B targeting options when applicable.

Since TikTok is a video platform, it provides a great space to break out the creative chops and showcase your brand in a native storytelling format. Plus, since the majority of videos on TikTok are relatively low-fi, it’s easy to create new assets to test on the reg. If you’re wanting to take some of your Facebook digital ad spend and put it to a new channel, Tik Tok is perfect for you. 

Plus, did you know that TikTok is the most popular website in the world as of 2021? If you’ve been putting off testing it for your advertising efforts – you should give it a spin.

 

Pros: Huge audience of daily users, lots of targeting options, fun way to engage users

Cons: Clunky ad manager, ad disapprovals

Perfect For: Businesses trying to generate demand via storytelling

 

Programmatic

Programmatic” has been a buzzword for a while and we’ve certainly been hearing more and more partners who are interested in testing it out as of late.

In essence, programmatic advertising allows advertisers to reach very specific audiences outside of Google and Facebook/Instagram.  Notable programmatic platforms include StackAdapt, The Trade Desk, and Criteo, though there are many others.

Ad types include standard display, video, CTV, audio, and native display, making it easy to repurpose assets used on other channels before investing into platform-specific creatives.  Using benchmark data from legacy platforms will help inform early optimizations and the overall effectiveness of the strategy. If you’re looking to tap into a platform that can massively scale your digital ad spend, programmatic may be just the thing for you. 

 

Pros: Variety of ad formats, lots of creative options, massive reach of users, effective targeting options.

Cons: Easy to get lost in the weeds, easy to overspend on ineffective placements and channels.

Perfect For: A business in scaleup mode trying to diversify from the “major” players. 

 

Nextdoor

Nextdoor advertising has become an attractive option for many advertisers, with 1-in–3 of US households being present on the platform.  Data indicates that these users make 90% of their purchases within 15 miles of their work or home, and predominantly from local businesses.  

When Tuff works with partners that have more of a local target audience, Nextdoor is one of the first non-traditional PPC tactics we explore. 

While Nextdoor is a great emerging channel for diversifying your digital ad spend, we do run the disclaimer that it likely won’t be a major part of your media budget. With limited placements and a growing userbase, it’s hard to spend a large amount of money on Nextdoor in any given month – although this could change in the near future as they continue to grow. 

Pros: Hyperlocal targeting, affordable CPMs, engaged local audiences

Cons: Smaller userbase, limited placements

Perfect For: Businesses with local presences

 

Pinterest

Pinterest can be a great option for advertisers, especially for ones that already possess a strong paid search strategy.  This is because the Pinterest platform allows you to use keyword targeting.  Since Pinterest is used as a search engine, this makes sense and can allow for incredibly targeted advertising.

The platform also has other traditional targeting methods that mirror Facebook, Instagram, and Google audience targeting, such as interest-based targeting.

Pinterest is a largely untapped platform, especially for ecommerce brands and service businesses. Since Pinterest users are planners, we recommend using their larger attribution windows (30 / 30 / 30) and using it as a mid-funnel tactic to increase consideration for your brand, and having it be a smaller part of your digital ad spend. 

An example of Pinterest ads

Pros: Visually appealing ad formats, very active userbase, lots of targeting options (intent + demographic)

Cons: Low last-click activity, longer attribution windows

Perfect For: Businesses trying to reach users in the consideration stage of the funnel

 

Spotify

Spotify should definitely be considered when attempting to diversify ad spend and reach new audiences.  As one of the largest podcast and music streaming services in the world, the reach is massive and the audio ad-format adds another method of communicating with your target audience.

However, the targeting on Spotify can seem somewhat limited when compared to other platforms. Though reduced targeting options may cause an advertiser to shy away from the platform, it is still worth testing as a top-of-funnel awareness play due to its tremendous reach. 

 

Pros: Good ad formats, affordable CPMs

Cons: Limited targeting options, secondary platform

Perfect For: Businesses trying to scale top of funnel reach

Things to Avoid While Diversifying Digital Ad Spend

While testing new channels and tactics for your digital ad spend, it’s important to remember that channel diversification can take many forms and isn’t a one-size fits all. It’s also not a panacea – testing a new channel and finding a strategy that works for you will take time. You shouldn’t expect to see immediate results on a new channel by copying the strategy you have on one of your primary channels – it will take testing, learning, and refining to find the right tactic for you.

Here are some common mistakes we see in digital ad spend diversification that you should try to mitigate: 

It takes time to optimize

Most tests and experiments on new channels don’t work in the sense that they are a completely new tactic, and take time to master. Don’t try to diversify ad spend and expect to get the same results you’re seeing on other channels in week, or even month one. 

Don’t forget to account for extra management

Adding new channels can increase the complexity of reporting, optimization, and overall management. Instead of checking Google Ads, Facebook Ads, and Google Analytics, for example, now you’ve got to learn how to incorporate new channels’ data and reporting dashboards into your existing systems and processes. 

Don’t over-diversify

While diversification of spend and strategy is a great idea, over-diversification is a thing and can present issues of its own.  If spend is spread too thinly across multiple new channels or platforms (or even multiple campaigns or ad creatives in one platform), it will take longer to gather actionable data and will be much more difficult to gauge the effectiveness of.

Want to Diversify Your Digital Ad Spend?

Tuff has managed ads on just about every platform imaginable, with budgets from partners ranging from a few thousand dollars, to one million-plus a month. Whether you’re in scale-up mode and wanting to try some new tactics or channels, or you want to optimize your advertising efforts on your existing channels, we can help. Let’s talk!

working to increase budgets on different ad platforms

How To Scale Ad Spend Quickly (Without Spiking Costs)

working to increase budgets on different ad platforms

Scaling effectively is one of the hardest things to do with your Facebook ads. As a growth marketing agency, one of the problems potential partners come to us most often with is that they’ve gained some sort of traction with their Facebook ads, but don’t know how to efficiently ramp up spend. 

To someone not well versed in Facebook advertising, this seems like an easy solution. You’ve got campaigns that are working, so just jack up your daily budgets and start counting your profits! Makes sense right?

If only it were that easy….

Anyone who has experience running Facebook ads knows just how fragile account performance can be. A number of different factors can take your performance for a roller coaster ride, and changing ad spend is one of the largest ones. Growth Marketers are on a seemingly endless quest for stability and predictable results. While that quest will likely never be completed, being mindful of how we adjust our spending on Facebook and our other ad channels will get us one step closer to the promised land of steady results.

Before you can begin increasing your spend on Facebook you need to answer an important question.

Is my ad account ready to start scaling?

One thing we really stress here at Tuff when looking at budgets for our social ads channels is that adding additional budget at an underperforming channel or campaign won’t help your results. There are many problems in life that can be solved by throwing money at them, but poor advertising results isn’t one of them. 

There are three stages to running campaigns on Facebook when you’re looking to achieve success at scale:

  1. Traction 
  2. Scale
  3. Profit

To sum these steps up, traction is where you put in the work to achieve consistent profitable results, scale is where you increase budgets steadily while still maintaining profitability, and profit is where you swim in your money Scrooge McDuck style.

You’ve got to walk before you can run. The traction phase is where you define what profitability looks like from an account results standpoint. This benchmark will vary greatly depending on your business model. It could be a specific cost per lead, ROAS number or cost per new customer. Whatever it is, you need to understand this tipping point before considering scaling up your budget. This should really be figured out before running ads at all, but that’s for another blog post.

Once you’ve defined your profitability metrics, you’ve got to go out and hit them. Go test audiences, ad creative, and copy combinations until you’ve determined the targeting and messaging needed to hit your profitability metrics.

Before you start scaling, you’ll want to be sure you’re hitting these numbers with some consistency. With how volatile Facebook advertising can be, it’s very likely that you can hit these goals one day, and not even come close the next. You’ll want to see results above your profitability threshold for a significant amount of time before you begin scaling. The amount of time will be different depending on what budget level you start at, but a good rule of thumb is 2-3 weeks of hitting KPIs before increasing your budget.

So now that we’ve got traction, it’s time to look at increasing our budgets, which is the whole reason you’re reading this article. As I mentioned earlier, scaling up too quickly can shock the Facebook algorithm and tank your results, so we always look to scale methodically to avoid that. There are two methods of scaling that we use, which we refer to as vertical scaling and horizontal scaling. We use a combination of these to increase overall budget. Let’s get into what they are. 

Scaling vertically

Vertical scaling is the easiest way to increase your ad spend on Facebook. When you scale vertically you’re taking your existing campaign structure and increasing the daily budgets for those campaigns or ad sets. In reality, this is just fancy marketing speak for taking your budget and making it larger, but there is some nuance involved.

It is possible to kick your ad sets back into the “Learning Phase” if you increase your budgets too quickly. An ad set being in the learning phase is an indicator that the algorithm is still working to stabilize your results. While in this state you can expect more volatility and higher than normal costs per action. An ad set leaves the learning phase after about 50 conversion events, at which point performance stabilizes a bit.

Needless to say we want to get out of the learning phase as quickly as possible and stay out of it.

learning phase in ads manager

“Large edits” to a campaign or ad sets will move ad sets back into the learning phase, with large increases to budget being one of those possible edits. Specifically, more than a 20% increase in spend to a campaign or ad set will be enough to get sent back to learning phase time out. 

All of this is to say keep your daily spend increases to 19% or less of your budget if your ad sets are out of the learning phase. If your ad sets aren’t out of learning just yet, it’s probably a good idea to wait for that to happen before increasing spend.

Scaling horizontally 

There is always going to be a point when scaling your existing structure starts to yield diminishing returns. As much as we’d like to scale effective campaigns and ad sets to infinity, there comes a point where you’ve maxed out the amount of spend you can pump into a campaign structure before you have to expand outward to find new efficiencies.

Horizontal scaling is where you look for opportunities outside of your existing structure, usually in the form of new audiences, to spend budget. Audience testing is a huge part of being successful with Facebook advertising and chances are if you’ve made it to the point where you are scaling up your budget, you’ve done your fair share of audience testing already (remember finding traction?)

You’re definitely going to want to find these avenues of potential scale before you need to, so as you’re scaling vertically, it’s always a good idea to test new audiences to see if you can gain traction outside of your existing structure. 

When introducing new ad sets, it’s generally best to set the daily budget equal or lower than what your other campaigns/ad sets are at. The last thing you want to do is introduce a new audience at a really high daily budget only to see no traction and burn through a significant amount of ad spend without much return.

Once you see traction from a new audience, you can apply the vertical scaling principals I outlined earlier in the article, rinse and repeat.

Conclusion

Facebook loves consistency when it comes to running an ad account. Want to make a big change to an existing campaign? You’re usually going to get punished in the form of higher costs for a period of time. When scaling up your spend, make sure to stay below that 20% per day threshold to avoid having your ad sets get kicked back into the Learning Phase. Seeing rising costs as you’re scaling your existing structure? It’s probably time to look to scale horizontally with some new audiences.

Want to learn more about how we help our partners achieve results at scale? Set up a call with our team to discuss how we can apply our growth marketing expertise to your business! We’d love to hear from you!