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So you’ve got your Facebook ads to the point where you’re making consistent sales – profitably and you want to take over the world… I mean grow your business. What do you do next?

Scaling is up there with one of the most difficult aspects of Facebook ads, and there are many a ‘Guru’ swearing by 10% rules and every 2 days etc. But if you’ve ever actually tried to scale your ads you’ll know it’s never quite that simple.

So, what are horizontal and vertical scaling and which is best for your business?

Vertical Scaling

Vertical Scaling is what most people think of when talking about scaling your Facebook ads. It’s when you increase the budget on an already successful campaign or ad set. And yes, this is where increasing budgets slowly or every 2 days etc rules come into play.

Unfortunately, this does tend to work best with significantly larger budgets, I’m talking ad accounts spending $1000 a day at a bare minimum. Although can work on smaller budgets.

So how do you do vertical scaling? Simply find an ad/ad set/campaign that is working and increase the budget. There are many rules on how to do this, some of the most common are 10% every day, 50% every 2-3 days – every expert has their own ‘formula’ – my theory – increase by what you have available. These days “Facebook Learning” resets whether you increase the budget by 1 cent or $1000 so the actual difference in dollar spend doesn’t make to much difference. Instead increase the budget by what you have available to spend on testing an increased budget.

Things to take note of when using vertical scaling:

  • Don’t expect the same results – you might get close but with this kind of scaling you do expect a drop off. The goal with scaling is to increase your economies of scale which often is accompanied with a higher cost per purchase, but you should make more money in the long run if your business is set up properly.
  • It will take some time to reset and readjust before you start to see good results again all part of Facebooks “learning” – Scaling an existing campaign or ad set can ruin the good performance if the new budget doesn’t work.
  • Works best when you have higher margins so you can afford those higher cost per purchases
  • You’ll need to keep testing. You’ll never find a “winner” that will always work. You’ll still need to be constantly testing to find new audiences, new winners, and new creatives – you’ll just be spending more to do it now which does mean you’ll get results faster
  • Each audience will have a budget cap ie. a limit to how much budget it can support – this is more of a problem for smaller niche markets and smaller markets ie. local town, smaller countries etc.
  • You’ll burn through creative a lot faster. If you were replacing your images and copy every 2-3 weeks, you’ll now be doing it weekly or daily depending on how much you have increased your budget by – keep an eye on those frequencies!

Horizontal Scaling

Horizontal scaling is my personal favourite for small businesses – and honestly most businesses. It takes out nearly all of the risk, with the same benefits or vertical scaling.

The easiest way to explain is with an example. Say you have a Lookalike 30 days purchase audience that is doing really well and you want to scale. What you would then do, is duplicate that audience and try variations of that with your new budget ie. lookalike 5% instead of 1%, or try a 90 day purchase audience instead. Or if an interest based audience is your best performer, what’s a similar grouping of interests you can create? The idea here is two fold, firstly, testing new audiences to see if you can get a better performing one, and secondly, if both those audiences end up performing well – you’ve scaled your ads!

The benefit of this method of scaling is it doesn’t impact previous successes.

Things to take note of when using horizontal scaling:

  • It can be much slower than vertical scaling if you keep your ad set budgets the same
  • You can speed up the scaling by increasing the new ad set budget as well as creating that new audience – which is a hybrid of the two methods but without the same risks as vertical scaling
  • If you don’t have a lot of potential audience groupings it can max out quite quickly if you don’t have a lot of room to move horizontally – for instance if you’re in a niche market without a lot of targeting options. In this case I would try and max out your lookalike audiences as well

What’s the best way to scale for your business?

My preference is on horizontal scaling as it’s a safer way to scale, and more sustainable – however, there comes a time and place where you just need to spend more. A combination effort will work best for you here. Adjust budgets slowly, increase budgets where the performance allows and keep a close eye on what’s happening!

Happy scaling!

Dahna Borg

Author Dahna Borg

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