Scaling Facebook Ads: 6 Lessons Learned From A Campaign That Spent $74,574.11 Last Month

by Corey Philip
September 7, 2022

August 2022 was ‘all-around’ a big month for my lead generation business. More specifically though, it was a really big month for one of my Facebook Ads campaigns…. it spent $109,000.

That’s the largest ever one month spend in a single campaign… for a single offer.

Here’s the proof.

(Yes I have covered up the name of my conversion event.)

Now I am going to share with you some of my lessons learned along the way!

You Need A Defined & Valuable Conversion Event

This may seem like marketing 101 but many of the business owners I talk to fail right off of the get go.

“What if I spend all that money and get no return from it?” is usually the line I hear.

Or “some months my Facebook ads get a great return but other times it is awful”.

In either one of those scenarios they are afraid to scale because they do not have a valuable conversion event, or confidence in their numbers establishing the value. And righteously so, that is scary.

As the business owner that wants to scale, you have to be able to say a conversion event is worth $X to me. The end.

Common problems & solutions with conversion events…

For offline businesses that are generating leads, problems often arise with lead quality or seasonality in which purchase behavior. The solution is questionnaires with conditional conversion events that indicate a higher level of intent, and analyzing sales data over a 12m period of time.

For businesses that transact online the common problem is the average order values may vary wildly, or customers may buy low margin products. The solution to that is setting conversions to trigger only for specific product purchases, or average order values above a specified amount.

In my case, I know that a conversion is worth $50 in gross profit to me (on average).

Because I know that, and operate with conviction to the average, I can effectively spend $49.99 infinently without losing money.

Vertical & Horizontal Is Bullshit

If you’re at this post, you’ve certainly heard about vertical scaling and horizontal scaling.

I personally don’t like those terms, and I really don’t even like the term ‘scaling’… I prefer cranking it up. If my ads are working, I crank it up. Literally it’s pretty simply.

I don’t duplicate things around. I don’t test a hundred different audiences. I don’t turn my ads on and off by the hour.

Go Broad & Keep It Simple

If you reviewed the campaign screen shot above, you may have noticed there are only two ad sets, both with a name containing ‘no-targeting’. That’s correct, I am using no targeting options at all.

For this campaign, I have two ad sets broken up by age groups, targeting the entire United States, utilizing no other targeting. The audiences sizes are well above 10,000,000 people.

While you might hear that the riches are in the niches, if you want to scale you need a big audience of potential customers.

While I have used more narrow targeting, I have found much more success giving Facebook a huge audience and letting their algorithm find the conversions.

Spend Money, Get A Sample Size, Let The Algorithm Work

One of the things I hear and see frequently, particularly in Facebook groups, is similar to the following…

I turned my campaign on at $20/day and got 2 conversions on day one, the next day it got no conversions so I killed it and duplicated it, now it as gotten no conversions on day 3. What Should I do?

Rando in a FB Group

What’s the problem with what this person did? They never let Facebook get a large enough sample size of data to analyze. Sure it got 2 conversions on day 1, but not getting any conversions on day 2 is not a problem. There will be good days and bad days with Facebook ads.

To actually benefit from algorithm Facebook needs at least 50 conversions in a week, and you need at least that much data to draw any statistical conclusions of your own.

This means that you need to let Facebook spend your ad money, and get a sample size, without making any changes at all.

When I launch a new campaign, I start small to simply wait for some evidence that everything is functioning properly; my links are working, my land pages look fine, the conversion triggers as it should, and then I turn the budget up to an estimate amount to get at least those 50 conversions in a week.

For that week, I don’t even bother looking at the campaign performance.

Focus On Video

Yes images can be effective with Facebook advertising, but nailing video can really knock things out of the park. Think about it like this, if an image ad can stop a scroll, how much better could an ad with motion and audio do?

It’s much easer to hook your audience with video and inform them of your offer. With video you no longer have to rely on them reading the ad and comprehending it, instead you can just ‘show’ them.

For this reason, I find that landing pages from video ads can be more simple and to the point.

Use Dynamic Creative

Rather than taking the time to create a bajillion different ads, dynamic creative lets you simply input your creative elements, such as images, videos, body text, headings, and uses the algorithm to find the best combination for each user.

When this feature first rolled out in Feb 2017, I wasn’t a big of it as I felt it ultimately reduced my control. However, after split testing it on an offer where I felt like I had the individual ads dialed in, I became a fan. It absolutely smoked the performance of my individuals.

Pro tip: when using dynamic creative, don’t worry about keeping all your images and ads concise. Go wild and give a lot of variation. Some of the combinations it generates may be ‘non-sensical’, but ultimately Facebook will figured out what works correctly.

Use Target Cost Bidding

You may have noticed in my performance screen shot, that the daily budget on each ad set was $10,000…. but the campaign did not spend any where close to $620,000. That’s because a target cost (formally cost per goal) of $25 was applied to each ad set.

My actual cost per conversion was $25.22 — pretty much right on target.

Without the target cost, Facebook ads would spend all of my budget and generate results and an undetermined cost.

This ties back to my first point: You Need A Defined & Valuable Conversion Event.

In my case I know that the average gross profit of the conversion is $50. With the target CPA set at $25 I know I am going to get my intended 2x return on ad spend and I am comfortable setting a basically infinite daily budget.

2 important notes:

1 . My cost varies wildly on a day-to-day basis so I never look at daily performance. Only a period of at least 7 days. Over a 7 day period it stays pretty close to the target. Over a 30 day period it stays VERY close to the target.

2. When starting the campaigns, I usually run without a set cost per goal until it gets 50+ conversions. In this post I cover more about using cost targets on Google Ads, but the same principles apply to FB as well.

Other Details

I’ll keep this area open as I know questions will arise…

  • This campaign is NOT using conversion API…. pixel only. In testing I have the conversion API to capture no further data.

About the author

Corey Philip

Corey Philip is a small business owner / investor with a focus on home service businesses.

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