If as an advertiser you’ve been building your performance marketing program for some time, you may run into a positive challenge: it’s no longer time to build — it’s time to scale. But to do it right, you want to be sure you have the strategy, team, and resources in place to succeed. In this blog post, we discuss what you should consider when scaling your performance marketing program.
First: Are You Ready?
Here’s the thing: many people scale too soon. Thought leader Charles Ngo recommends ensuring your campaigns have at least a 50% ROI before you scale them higher. The last thing you want to do is spend money on an under-performing campaign, because when you start scaling every single dollar is amplified — and even a few percentage points can make an exponential difference dollar-wise.
If your campaigns are struggling to get to the 50% benchmark, consider cutting bad placements and/or partners. Not everything you test is going to do well, so if some campaigns or partners have been struggling, don’t see if more money and scale will help. Invest only in the ones that perform well with a small amount of budget first. You can also uplevel poor performance by improving your targeting and optimization for campaigns. Test different audiences, ads, landing pages, and CTAs. Small adjustments can make a big difference, and it’s best to find out what works before going big.
How to Scale Your Performance Marketing Program
When you’re ready to scale, you can scale vertically, which means you expand your campaigns with existing traffic sources, or you can scale horizontally, which means expanding outwardly with new audiences.
Here are the most popular ways to scale:
- Bid higher: Increase your spend to increase impressions or clicks.
- Go international: If it makes sense for your brand, consider testing in new markets. You’ll want to pay close attention to cultural nuances and taboos, but if your product or service does well in one country, chances are there are at least a few others with similar cultures and/or languages where similar ads will also do well.
- Improve your CTR: The higher your click-through rate, the more traffic you’ll get for the same amount of money. People become blind to repeated ads, so you’ll want to have a process in place for testing, uploading, and measuring the effectiveness of new ads. As you get more sophisticated, you can also test personalization to see how customers react to ads designed just for them.
- Test different types of ads: Many platforms offer multiple types of ads. Instagram, for example, runs ads in both feeds and in Stories. Facebook runs ads in news feeds and as banners on the right-hand side of feeds. If one format performs well for you, try another and see how it compares.
- Consider niche advertisers. Yes, everyone is advertising on Facebook and Google. But there are tons of other advertisers and publishers out there with untapped audiences. Research where your audience reads, shops, visits, or hangs out in their spare time. You just might find a whole new set of customers that you would have never reached via the duopoly and other major platforms.
Before scaling your performance marketing program, consider a few things about your platform and processes, too.
- Is your measurement dialed in? There’s no point in scaling if your measurement isn’t absolutely on point. Otherwise small amounts of money could be falling through the cracks here and there, adding up to thousands or even millions of dollars per year.
- How much can one person handle? If you’re scaling your budget, you may want to consider scaling your team. What one person could handle will change as more audiences, ads, and platforms come into the mix. You also want to ensure your team has enough time to stay on top of industry trends and test new opportunities.
- What’s the opportunity cost? Every campaign requires a certain level of attention. As such, you want to measure whether it’s worth tending to a few larger campaigns, or a lot of smaller ones. Only your data will reveal the best path for your team.
- Do you have the technology to scale? With more ads, money, and measurement inherently come more opportunities for human error. As such, it’s important to let technology do what it can with the heavy lifting. Prioritize getting all of your campaigns, partners, and metrics into one platform that lets you analyze, iterate, and optimize in real time.
Marketing Like a Champ
Scaling will reveal not only how much money your campaigns can make and how fast your business can grow, but where the opportunities are for improvement in your process, systems, and team.
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Becky is the Senior Content Marketing Manager at TUNE. Before TUNE, she led a variety of marketing and communications projects at San Francisco startups. Becky received her bachelor's degree in English from Wake Forest University. After living nearly a decade in San Francisco and Seattle, she has returned to her home of Charleston, SC, where you can find her enjoying the sun and salt water with her family.