How To Scale Facebook Ads For Ecommerce Brands

If you want the secret behind how to scale Facebook ads, then you just struck gold. That’s because I can say with all honesty that 99% of articles on this topic are dead wrong, especially for ecommerce brands.

You see, I happen to be the founder of SupplyDrop.

We’re an agency that specializes in scaling ecommerce brands with high performance ad creative and social media content. This means we get to see what actually drives results regardless if you sell peanut butter, you’re selling the next Beats by Dre, or even if you’re in the hyper difficult CBD space.

So I’m writing this article to not just dispel some myths…

But to reveal the TRUTH about how to scale Facebook ads for ecommerce.

Let’s get started…

What To Do Before Scaling Facebook Ads For Shopify 

Everyone has a million and one questions about how to grow with ads, but what no one tells you is the first step has nothing to do with any of the buttons on your ads manager. In fact, before you do anything, you need to analyze the math behind success.

What is your target CPA?
What is your target ROAS?

This matters because scaling an ecommerce business comes down to if the math works. If the math doesn’t work, there’s no amount of LLA’s you can do to make your Facebook ads work at scale. Which leads to my next critical point…

You want your business to work on the lowest ROAS possible.

The biggest problem with scaling an ecommerce business with ads is that the more you grow, the more it will cost to acquire a customer. So if you’re currently spending $15 to acquire a customer, eventually it’ll jump up to $30 or more depending on your ad budget. Naturally, this means you won’t be seeing your 3-5X ROAS anymore. 

This is also why most ecommerce businesses at scale will be around 1.5X – 2.5X.

At your current position, can you still be profitable with that ROAS?

If not, this is where you need to start. You need to dive deep into all of the costs that influences the final ROAS you need to be profitable. This includes AOV, number of units per order, COGS, payment processor fees, merchant account fees, pick & pack fees, shipping costs, and the target margin you’re after.

If your business revolves around high priced, one-off purchases, you’ll want to be on the higher end of the spectrum. If your business revolves around low priced, subscription purchases, you’ll end up on the lower half and make it up within the next few weeks.

This is why some categories are actually better than others for ecommerce.

For example, trying to grow a supplement company with ads is probably going to work better than trying to grow a subscription box, unless you have really good retention rates. Another example is trying to grow a makeup line versus growing a streetwear brand. Makeup is going to be easier. And then there are categories that can do well on the front-end, like starting a candle brand, but will need to be expanded into other products to work with ads.

In all cases though, luxury brands or even premium brands tend to do better.

Once you make the numbers work, then and only then does anything else matter.

How To Increase Budget On Facebook Ads

So you’ve got the numbers worked out and realized that if you do scale, your ecommerce business will still be profitable. Perfect. The next step is to actually start scaling your efforts. 

The easiest to do that? Add 0’s to your budget.

The problem? That will screw your returns.

You see, Facebook works based on its AI. This has only increased in the past few years. So if you do anything that makes it hard on the AI to do its job, it’s going to reflect in your ads manager. And one easy way to do damage is to increase your budget too fast. Why? Because your budget is an indicator of how many people you are targeting.

The fix is to only increase your budget every 3-4 days.

Ideally, you’re only increasing by up to 20% every time.

Don’t believe me though. This advice comes directly from Facebook. They personally recommend this stair step approach because it allows their AI to accurately find the right customers for you. Otherwise, you’ll end up reaching people who are much less likely to want to buy right now, which in turn means a less efficient ad spend.

The one downside to this approach is because it will eventually cap out.

In other words, even if you give the AI the time it needs to recalibrate accurately every single time, there are still only so many “hot prospects” for you to target. Eventually, you will be forced to target “colder” audiences who are less likely to buy. This is only sustainable up to a point.

Luckily, this is not the only way to scale Facebook ads.

There is a way to grow while keeping your target CPA.

The Horizontal Scaling Facebook Ads Strategy

In the previous section, we talked about increasing ad budget, which is considered vertical scaling. In this section though, we’re going to talk about horizontal scaling.

So what is horizontal scaling?

It’s when you scale your number of campaigns.

For example, let’s say you’re running a campaign that currently spends $1,000/day and you’ve reached your minimum allowable CPA. So what do you do? You make a new campaign and increase the budget on that one until your hit your target CPA. Then when that one caps out, you do it again and again.

In other words, if you want to scale to $5,000/month in ad spend, then horizontal scaling will lead you to end up with 5 campaigns @ $1,000/month rather than 1 campaign @ $5,000/month.

And if you want to take it up a notch, you test new things in those campaigns.

Some examples include…

New audience interests
Creating lookalike audiences
Creating new ad angles

…etc

The one you pick will come down to what the ad account needs. This is where the media buyer in you comes in with some critical thinking skills to make decisions. With that said, you will ultimately test them all as you grow.

But, let’s say you’re not a media buyer.

The simplest way to use horizontal scaling is to duplicate your ad set. The question is, is that a smart move?

Duplicate Ad Or Increase Budget? That Is The Question.

Like most things in life, the real answer to most marketing questions is “it depends”. However, I’m going to assume you’re looking for the simplest answer possible and give you my thought process so that you can apply that process in any situation.

So with that said, if you’re wondering how to scale Facebook ads, should you…

1/ Increase your ad budget

OR

2/ Duplicate ad set

The answer is actually simpler than you think. Remember, eventually all campaigns will cap because you have a target CPA you need to keep at all costs. Otherwise, you become unprofitable, which is no fun for either the business owner or media buyer. At the same time though, the most straightforward way to scale is by increasing the budget.

So what do you do?

First, you scale vertically by increasing the ad budget. Remember to increase it slowly by 20% every 3-5 days. This will result in an easier growth trajectory with ad creative that is already proven to work. Then, once you are getting close to hitting your target CPA, you scale horizontally by duplicating your ad set. This will let you spend more money per month without surpassing your target CPA.

One warning though…

Generally speaking, you don’t just want to duplicate ad sets.

Some tactics you want to try may include duplicate AND increasing the budget, expanding your audience, and more. In all cases though, the same though process applies. First focus on vertical scaling, then horizontal scaling.

The Best Way To Scale Facebook Ads? 

Everyone loves scaling tactics, but the truth is that only leads to 20% of the results. If you want any of the strategies I talked about today to work, you need ads that convert.

This means you need lots of videos and images to test as ads.

There are multiple critical reasons why this is true. The first is that ads are what make the sale. If you just put a white background and random text, no one is even going to know what you’re selling, let alone actually buy. But if you make the next “Think Different”, you’re going to make millions even if you suck as an ad buyer. 

The second is that Facebook’s AI is designed to use ad creative to find new, untapped audiences rather than your own manual targeting. So if you just put a few ads out there, you’re limiting your own ability to actually scale. But with a seasoned pixel and lots of ads using different angles and offers, you’ll scale much more efficiently.

Lastly, to find your winning ads, you’re going to have to test a lot of ads to them. This is especially true as you scale. You’re going to need lots of campaigns to grow while keeping your CPA targets. This means you need lots of ad creative to keep up with your new campaigns and the testing you’re going to be doing along the way.

Now, there are only 3 ways you can get this done.

1/ Do it yourself. 

If you happen to be a videographer or photographer who knows editing, this is a viable path. You’ll save money, but spend a lot of time.

2/ Hire freelancers.

Freelancers are budget friendly, but they generally have less experience and can only help you so much before they only have so much time in the day. 

3/ Hire agencies

Agencies are the ideal option because they have the people and processes to come up with great new creative every single month, like clockwork. This means if you’re serious about scaling, you need to find the right agency partner.

Unfortunately, most ad agencies don’t offer creative.

And the few who do don’t really treat it as priority.

That’s why I founded SupplyDrop.

We specialize specifically in high performance ad creative and social media content for ecommerce brands. In fact, people love our work so much, both business owners AND agency owners actually hire us to do all the creative work for them.

So if you’re ready to scale your brand, schedule a call with us.

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