As the digital marketing ecosystem continues to evolve, the amount of time that can be allotted to manual campaign management each day continues to decline. With the ever-evolving number of platforms, channels, and placements it’s a challenge not only faced by marketers and advertisers, but also by businesses and institutions investing in these channels for growth, brand awareness, and/or lead generation. In a nutshell, we ALL should be adjusting each day to when and how we invest and manage marketing dollars.
Marketing automation, as defined by Marketo, is a category of technology that allows companies to streamline, automate, and measure marketing tasks and workflows, so they can increase operational efficiency and grow revenue faster. Using automated tools built into marketing platforms and digital channels can therefore streamline account efficiency, lead to profitability, and free valuable time necessary to dedicate to other tasks that lack automated capabilities.
Each platform offers its own series of automated capabilities and has its own level of progressiveness, though Facebook has been an industry leader in the space of automated marketing. While there are MANY options for automation and reliance upon machine-learning, here are some of my recommended levers to pull to automate and improve efficiency on the Facebook and Instagram ad platform:
Campaign Budget Optimization
Budgets on Facebook have traditionally been set at the ad set level, however, Facebook has implemented Campaign Budget Optimization (CBO) to allow advertisers to condense and automate budgets at the campaign level. In doing so, the Facebook algorithm is able to work with a larger total budget to dedicate to active ad sets within the campaign. This automation tool is essential for budget management and can lead to more results at a cheaper cost than when budgets were dedicated to individual ad sets.
Investing in Automatic Placements
At the ad set level, opting into the ‘Automatic Placements’ feature and allowing Facebook to optimize your campaigns for Facebook, Instagram, the Audience Network, and Messenger is vital for optimum efficiency and management. Facebook operates their delivery system using a concept known as ‘The Breakdown Effect’ and relies upon machine learning to adjust delivery of active ads to placements where you will receive the most results at the lowest cost. By opting into all placements (in correlation with CBO), you are allowing Facebook to shift your budget between the family of platforms and deliver ads where aggregate performance is holistically maximized.
While the example above depicts a possible shift in budget to a different placement as a result of climbing costs, the same Breakdown Effect serves true for how CBO would shift budget to better performing ad sets.
Outside of the standard Facebook campaign settings and structure, there are tools that allow for automated and scheduled adjustments to campaigns as a result of performance trends and thresholds. By using automated rules, you have the ability to turn campaigns on/off, adjust budgets, and/or receive email notifications around trends in the account. For example, you could set an automated rule to send an email notification and increase budget by 5% if Cost Per Result is below a certain threshold. Implementing these rules reduces much of the manual account management needed to optimize campaigns and is a great tool for receiving updates on performance directly to your inbox.
As more competition moves into the digital space, improving efficiency must be a major focus to generate more results and maintain or decrease the cost associated with marketing. The days of manually creating several Facebook campaigns with even more ad sets are behind us and account simplification with signal-based marketing tactics is the strategy of the present and future. What does this mean? Condensing campaigns and audiences with a similar structure will allow for marketing dollars to be allocated in a more profitable manner. Ideally, individual campaigns should be broken out by program and/or objective while audiences should only be broken out by the type of audience being used – interest-based, lookalike, or custom audience. While this may sound counter-intuitive since segmentation and visibility into specific audiences may be sacrificed, the elimination of audience overlap and wasted ad spend will quickly justify the shift in strategy.
Automating account structure and settings can be daunting at first, but the results that follow these opportunities can be extremely rewarding. Each of the above optimizations build upon the others and collectively streamline your account for easier management, more results, and profitability. In a future blog, we’ll look at additional automation opportunities across publishers, though if you have any questions or comments in the meantime, feel free to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.