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Nanigans Review: 40% Lower CPAs, 76% Time Savings

Blue Mango Interactive — named as one of 2013′s best managed companies of medium and large enterprises in the Netherlands by Deloitte  – recently reviewed Nanigans, comparing our advertising automation platform, Ad Engine, to Facebook’s Power Editor. Author Dirk de Klein, Online Marketer at Blue Mango cited data points around how our tool drastically dropped CPAs month over month and delivered significant time savings in the process.

Review: Nanigans Facebook advertising tool

Setting up a large social advertising campaign with a wide range of ad variants and segments can be very time consuming. And monitoring and optimization options often leave much to be desired. Fortunately, there are a variety of tools available to make your life a bit easier. In this article we’ll examine one of them: Nanigans. You’ll see that it is a completely different way of doing Facebook advertising.

In-house advertising tools

The majority of social media campaigns are set up using the tools provided by the social platforms themselves. LinkedIn has Campaign Manager and Twitter also has a dedicated section for setting up advertising campaigns.  Facebook offers two types of tools for building and managing campaigns: Ads Manager and Power Editor. Ads Manager is the more basic of the two, while Power Editor provides more advanced capabilities in terms of ad types and targeting.

From driving a car to flying a spaceship

We tested Nanigans as an alternative to Facebook Ads Manager or Power Editor. Based in Boston, Massachusetts (USA), Nanigans specializes in Facebook advertising tools. The company was founded in 2010 by Ric Calvillo and Claude Denton, two veterans from the data and performance marketing sectors.

The first thing you’ll notice about Nanigans is the wide variety of settings compared to Power Editor and Ads Manager. There are an amazing number of ‘dials’ you can turn. You can compare it to the transition between driving a car and flying a spaceship. If you want to get started with Nanigans, it helps to have a thorough understanding of Power Editor. Nanigans works on a range of assumptions, many of which are based in Power Editor. If you’re missing this foundation, it greatly increases the probability that your first campaigns will fail.

Once you start flying, you’ll need to figure out how to keep your spaceship under control. What happens if you turn that dial? Or push this button? It is a long process of experimenting and analyzing what works best. But there is a lot to be gained in terms of campaign results. All in all, learning to successfully steer Nanigans is a major time investment – especially compared to Ads Manager or Power Editor.

Conversion optimization

A fundamental difference between the standard Facebook tools and Nanigans has to do with optimization.  With Facebook’s default tools it is possible to place ads based on cost per thousand impressions (CPM), cost per click (CPC) or cost per conversion using a pixel placed on the landing page. Nanigans gives you the additional option of optimizing multiple types of conversions at the same time. For example, if ‘transactions’ are your most important type of conversion, wouldn’t it also be logical to look at the performance of individual ads during the intermediate steps? Consider website visits, 15-second visits, visits to product detail pages or adding something to the cart. Nanigans lets you optimize the entire sales funnel.

Lower cost per acquisition (CPA)

For a selection of our clients, we tested the Nanigans’ cost per acquisition (CPA) performance compared to Facebook’s Power Editor. Our hypothesis was that using Nanigans would reduce the overall CPA. And it worked! For a Vodafone ‘page like’ campaign, we were able to generate four times more ‘likes’ for the same daily budget by lowering the CPA. For the Staatsloterij (Dutch State Lottery), we tested Power Editor’s standard optimization method versus Nanigans. The results? Nanigans delivered a 25% lower CPA than Power Editor. But the longer-term effect was just as interesting. From the very start, Nanigans enabled us to keep reducing the month-on-month CPA. By the third month, we had achieved a reduction of 40% compared to the first month of using Nanigans.

Dutch State Lottery drawings by month

Blue Mango Reduction in CPA 

Less time

Our second hypothesis was that we thought we would spend less time setting up campaigns by using Nanigans. An intelligent campaign in Power Editor with various A/B tests is generally built in Excel. This Excel file needs to be imported into Power Editor, often leading to error messages. Nanigans allows you to set up these tests directly within the tool, without the Excel import. As a result, it takes 76% less time to build a campaign in Nanigans compared to Power Editor. This extra time could be used to set up additional tests and further optimize the campaign.

In addition, the optimization process is immediately much easier with Nanigans. Anyone who has optimized campaigns with Power Editor knows about exporting data into Excel. There the campaigns are dissected and arranged into pivot tables. Pivot tables provide information about how the various images, messages and audiences are performing. With Nanigans, pivot tables are included by default, making exports completely unnecessary. This is one more way Nanigans saves time.

After experimenting with Nanigans for half a year, we’ve reached the following conclusions:

  • It saves time building and monitoring campaigns
  • Optimization is easier
  • It’s easy to set up in-depth tests
  • Better campaign results
  • Major time investment to get to grips with the tool

In summary, Nanigans is a social advertising product that offers an enormous range of additional possibilities. But the tool is only as good as its driver – if your astronaut isn’t capable, your spaceship might crash.

Dirk de Klein is an online marketer at Blue Mango Interactive, an agency that specializes in conversion-driven online marketing. BMI’s clients include Vodafone, Philips and Maxi Cosi, for which it operates in several markets worldwide. As part of the social team, social advertising is a key focus for Dirk. His other projects relate to content marketing and social innovation. In the past, Dirk was active as an online entrepreneur and he has also worked as a web analyst at Philips and Nestlé Nespresso. 

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