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The ABCs of Efficient Campaign Pacing: Part One

Written by: Erik Mansur, VP, Product and Engineering

We’ve all been through it. Days of meticulous planning and hours of meetings have all led up to launch day, and you’ve got your campaign ready-to-go. Ads pushed, impressions and clicks pouring in – success!

Four hours later and you’ve burned through the entirety of your day’s budget. What was supposed to last a full 24 hours is now gone; no more ad spend until tomorrow. Where did it all go wrong? What do you do to make sure it doesn’t happen again?

Sadly, this is a not-uncommon occurrence in the world of online marketing, mostly because people forget that old saying of “everything in moderation.” The average campaign manager is far more concerned about underspending as opposed to overspending, so they “turn it up to 11” when they launch their ads for the first time. And it’s not just an early-days problem. The launch of any new initiative within an existing campaign — whether it be a new creative paradigm, or opening things up to a new set of audiences — could lead to blowing through your daily budget far earlier than you’d like.

So, how do we prevent that from happening? I think it comes down to a combination of common sense and making use of some of the features within Nanigans’ Ad Automation software. In this three-part series, we’ll talk about the “ABCs” of making sure your campaign daily budget is paced properly throughout the day. First up:

“A” is for Active Ads

One of the biggest pitfalls that the average campaign manager will fall into is that the amount of ads that they have active in the marketplace is far too many for their daily budget allocation. As I mentioned before, our natural reaction is to shotgun-blast our audiences with as many ads as we possibly can, because we’re terrified of not being able to spend the entirety of that daily nut. In reality, less is actually more when it comes to active ads, mostly because you want to let the creative “breathe,” and you want to build and iterate on your audiences gradually.

From a higher level, you really need to ask yourself these questions before you hit “go” on your campaign:

  • If amortized evenly across all of your active ads, how much could each ad conceivably spend?
  • Say you have 100 active ads against a $1,000 daily budget. How much data do you think you could get in a given day if each ad could only realistically spend $10.00 per day?
  • And how quickly would that $10.00 per ad disappear under normal circumstances?

In that light, you shouldn’t push more ads than your budget can bear, and that might mean limiting your campaign to 10-20 active ads for every $1,000 in daily budget allocated.

So how do we limit the number of active ads? Well, common sense says “don’t activate so many at the same time,” but Nanigans Ad Automation software has some pretty interesting algorithms to help assist with that process.

For example, if you’ve got a lot of active audiences, and a lot of ad copy/images to test within those audiences, it makes sense to make use of our Creative Tester tool. This feature will automatically conduct multivariate creative testing within each individual audience that you create, ensuring that only the best ads continue running, and the lackluster ads find themselves in a paused state. The settings within our user interface allow you to customize how many ads per audience are actually active and being tested against one another, for how long those ads are tested for, the metric that they’re tested against, and even how many ads can actually “win” the comparison. If you’re only running ads within a few audiences, you can increase the number of active ads per audience. But as you iterate on your targeting, you can reduce your number of ads in testing, to make sure that your campaign is still pacing to its daily budget, and your number of active ads still passes the “eye test” above.

You should also pull the plug on ads that aren’t doing so well, protecting that daily budget from bad-spenders. Making adjustments to your Stop Loss settings will help you shut down underperforming ads before things get out of hand, since the only thing worse than spending your daily budget too quickly, is spending that money on ads and audiences that don’t back out.

For more on making sure your campaigns don’t blow through their daily budget  too early, check back for B, C, and D!

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