Facebook Ad Buying: Beginner VS. Pro
Written by Matas Kemzūra
Chief Growth Officer
July 7, 2022
During my time as a Senior Ad Buyer, my obsession has always been challenging myself and pushing myself to be able to manipulate the algorithm into giving me better costs of the traffic or better quality of the traffic. At the end of the day, ads are just an auction & bidding against each other, so my primary goal has always been asking myself, how can I win over others even if we have the same level of ads.
Being a part of an aggressive team within Sugatan’s performance-driven scaling tactics I became a badass pro Ad Buyer. I’ve managed to scale our clients from $50K monthly revenue to $1MM monthly revenue while maintaining a target EBITDA of 15%. And on my own, I’ve spent $2M per month on Facebook ad spend.
Since then I’ve been vetting hundreds of businesses and ad accounts in the past year and there’s a trend that I’m seeing in 90% of accounts that come to us.
Amateur Ad Buying
Or, as I like to call it, LAZY Ad Buying by self-proclaimed Ad Buyers 😤 . And this type of Ad Buying is the biggest trigger for Pro Ad Buyers like myself.
My goal here is to explain the gap that exists between Amateur Ad Buying VS Advanced Ad Buying so that you can tell the difference. It’s important you know because it has a severe impact on the health of your business. So let’s get into it.
The Marriage between Ad Buying and Creatives
Whenever I vet a business and ad account, the first thing I see is that the account structures, campaign structures and ad buying setups themselves, look really basic.
And what I mean by basic is their mindset is ‘yes, I can scale if you give me a viral ad, but if I don’t have a viral ad I need to downscale because the creative in the ad is the most important thing.
This is the wrong approach.
Sure, when you get the viral ad, the ad buying becomes easier, which means scaling is faster, higher, and easier. But successful ROI-Positive scaling that’s sustainable requires a perfect marriage of Ad Buying and Creatives. 50% of Ad Buying and 50% of Creatives, and then other strategies where we combine specific Ad Buying strategy with specific Creative Strategy with specific funnel strategy in order to maximize the scaling potential which I’ll get into.
But what are you going to do in between the viral ads to sustain monthly revenue performance?
Sooner or later, the viral ad will begin to die especially if you’re pushing crazy scaling like doubling or tripling your spend every single day for weeks. Sooner or later, the ad is going to get saturated and that’s where Advanced Ad Buying steps in and brings balance.
Your primary objective is to “strike oil” in Ads Manager i.e. find the vein of high-quality traffic at the right cost for a profitable acquisition that brings you purchases over and over again, even on subpar creatives.
Ad Buying everyday multiple times a day VS Ad Buying once a day or every other day.
The Ad Buyer needs to understand patterns in order to stay on top of the many factors that are dynamically changing such as:
- The market’s buying intent fluctuating throughout the day, throughout the week, throughout the month
- The algorithm fluctuations throughout the day, week, and month
- The velocity of purchases on a specific theme of creatives
- CPM fluctuations
- Monitoring the pace of creatives dying
- New parameters that Facebook releases
- Signals that Facebook is under-investing in their Ad-Tech by watching for algorithm-quality deteriorations
Use a 3rd party software for Ads Manager attribution VS using Ads Manager for attribution.
eCommerce attribution is a black hole in and of itself and we learned that in order to lock attributions perfectly, you need to hire an entire data team. We realized early on inside Sugatan that the most critical element for attributing & analyzing any action’s impact inside Ads Manager is when the reporting platform provides consistency in the quality of its data pulls & data reporting. Prior to the iOS release, Ads Manager was consistent, but post iOS it suffered heavily.
It’s virtually impossible to measure your efforts inside Ads Manager & make high-quality decisions solely because the reporting is complete trash.
We use HYROS, last-click attribution because it reports all Ads Manager results in real-time and provides that stable data environment we need in order to measure our efforts accordingly to make high-quality Ad Buying decisions from.
Click-only attribution VS Using default 7c1v attribution windows (7-day click, 1-day view).
Removing view-only in your targeting optimizes for higher quality traffic. While the iOS release rocked us for a moment, Facebook’s algorithm has recalibrated to still deliver relevant ads to the platform users, even when they’ve opted out of tracking. Click-only attribution:
- Retrieves higher quality traffic
- Gives reliable data quality for reporting
Blending TOF, MOF, BOF into 1 Campaign/Adset VS Campaigns/Adsets structured TOF, MOF, BOF separately.
Campaigns structured as separate TOF, MOF, BOF is a sign of an Ad Buyer who is very new to the game and/or doesn’t care enough to innovate. Instead, campaigns need to blend the stages of the funnel because of the following:
- Gives faster optimization towards the high-quality traffic
- It lowers the risk and increases the chances of getting a return on the dollar spent
- Unlocks scalability
Broad VS LAL & Interest targeting.
The most common opinion is that Broad only works best right now and it can partially be true if you dig deeper into identifying best setups within that 1 audience targeting method (see Tactic 6 for more clarity around setup building).
On the other hand, being able to diversify your targeting into multiple methods increases your reward and decreases your risks. Now to put it blindly LAL or Interest targeting does not work if you go by default basic ad buying tactics, but if you are able to see beyond default options, you can find specific methods of how to still utilize LAL’s or Interest Targeting and even if that’s not going to top scaling setup, it can still push you up by 20-25% up in your daily spend without any big effort.
One example that I can give you is that Interest Targeting works better than Broad or LAL’s specifically in REELS targeting strategies.
So my logic is not settling down for just one or few things and instead protecting yourself and your account by identifying multiple levers to pull when the time is right.
Testing unique combination of parameters VS using Facebook’s “default” recommendations.
A very common trend with the majority of ad buyers and majority of accounts that I’ve vetted is that almost all of the ad sets are built on the default options.
And the majority of the ad buyers will focus on gender, age, audience and location because they think that’s the most important part of building a campaign or ad sets.
As a Pro Ad Buyer, you should be testing attribution, optimization for ad delivery, placements or biddings.
And more so, testing multiple combinations of these parameters, on multiple levels. For example, what campaign type works best with what attribution, what optimization for ad delivery.
Most Ad Buyers settle for the default option.
While there are many paths you can take to begin testing unique combinations of parameters, here’s what I recommend as your starting point.
From my experience, the most important parameter levels are:
- Campaign type
- Attribution window
- Optimization for Ad Delivery
Too many Beginner Ad Buyers are testing things like conversions versus value only. And most of these Beginner Ad Buyers are missing the mark. They’re not seeing building their setups into a methodical sequence of tests based on combining the parameters.
From there, figure out what attribution works best with what placements or what campaign type.
And what optimization for ad delivery works best with what campaign type or what attribution.
Here’s an example:
Most common setups that can work across the board:
- CBO | Value | 1c – Open Adsets
- Open Adset – an adset that does not have any targeted or excluded/included audience, both genders, all age groups, auto placements and the only selected parameters are attribution window (1c) & optimisation for ad delivery (Highest Value).
- ABO | Conversions | 7c – Targeted Adsets
- Targeted Adsets are usual type of adsets going after broad, LAL or interest targeting.
What we need to focus on is what type of multi-level parameters selection setup is gonna work. It’s not about a single parameter that you select. And it’s never going to be a default setting.
You need to understand that if you’re going only off of default parameters, you’re just limiting yourself to very limited combinations of setups.
So while it’s always important to test conversions versus value, if you set up your cap in the right way and you prioritize purchase for 4 value buckets, then your chances of making value work increases.
And it’s not really about making value work. It’s finding the right setup of how this combination of multiple parameters, including the value will work.
Your goal should be to minimize risk for the business and protect the investment as much as possible.
So when Beginner Ad Buyers stick to the default option, they increase risk by not testing unique combinations.
To see this in real action on a real account, watch this video
Ditch the default and innovate yourself
So how do you start scaling eCommerce businesses on steroids?
The main aim is to outbid, outscale and out-test your competition. And you’re not going to get it right by being a lazy, default Ad Buyer.
Take it from someone who has just recently scaled an account x4 in monthly revenue in just a few months.
Just do more, don’t settle for defaults, don’t settle for whatever everyone is doing. Innovate yourself. You don’t want to be one or three steps behind those who are leading.
If you’re not innovating yourself, you’ll never be in the front line. You’re always behind.
Make sure that you start understanding these multiple levels of setups and take advantage of that.