"Campaign suffocation" - When too much biddable media targeting kills performance

    3 minutes read
    Adam - 05.11.2015

    When building out paid social accounts, pinpointing those perfect customers with laser accuracy is what we're after. Getting the right message in front of the right person is half of the digital battle. But can too much biddable media targeting kill your campaign?

    We were recently asked to review a new clients account. It was performing to KPIs, but only just. There were huge daily fluctuations in key metrics like Cost Per Clicks, Conversion Rates and Cost Per Leads. On any given day, the conversions could come in from anywhere as little as £0.26 to the considerably larger (by 85 times!) £22. After analysing the account structure, what came to mind was:

    "This account is built like a baklava"

    The account was convoluted with far too many layers. This was hobbling the algorithms used for optimisation and making the performance erratic. The account had keyword targeting, Interest targeting, demographic targeting and custom audiences all built into a singular campaign. This amount of biddable media targeting is "campaign suffocation".

    It was geo-targeted at the UK with exclusions on 12 other countries to prevent spam, It was also set to deliver budget Monday through Friday between 9-5 to all devices. All this made sense logically, and on paper it should have been firing, but in practice it wasn't working. In efforts to build a super campaign the manager had forgotten the 3 basics of building a structure:

    1. Segment Your Data Sources
    2. Understand Your Algorithms
    3. Split Your Budgets Accordingly

    So let's look at these issues individually.

    Segmenting Your Data Sources

    Data is great but some data is more relevant than other data. If you don't understand your data then you won't progress your account. When running a campaign you need to have a clear segmented structure. This allows you to draw insights from each data source and more importantly stops your campaigns cannibalising each other!

    Some data will have higher response rates than others but you need to ensure you have a structure in place to interpret and utilise it. By segmenting and tagging your campaigns you can quickly and accurately see what works.  (Remember you can tag FB campaigns in the custom URL parameters - this is essential to optimising our account)

    You also need to ensure that you exclude your data sets from each other in your campaigns. If you are targeting specific audiences using multiple data sets there will be cross-over's. This will increase your costs as campaigns bid against each other to convert.

    Understand Your Algorithms

    The conversion algorithm on most paid social channels will always try to find the best audience to deliver your creative to. It will gain learning's from what your audience responds to and then finds similar patterns to deliver to.

    Facebook advertising Grain

    If you have multiple biddable media targeting layers, it will constantly be testing and trying different avenues to drive your set goals and will never find the sweet spot which converts. You need to give the system some room to breathe.  If you bombard it with different options you will begin to see fluctuations that no amount of analysis will be able to solve. Nothing is more awkward than telling a client "The campaign is working great... but we don't really know why".

    Split Your Budgets Accordingly

    The reality is, you have a finite amount of money in your campaign and be it your own, or your clients money, you can't afford to waste it. If you are not smart about where you place your budget you will choke your campaign performance.

    Budget suffocation can happen in 2 ways:

    1. You spread your budgets too thinly so converting campaigns don't have spend to perform.
    2. You apply budgets in bulk so bad creative's spend but don't convert and performing creative miss out on budget.

    Ideally you want an even budget split for the initial phases of a campaign. Once you see what is performing you can start to allocate more budget to this area whilst still keeping some in testing campaigns to find more converting terms.

    So What's The Solution for Biddable Media Targeting?

    Simply you need to de-clutter your campaigns to achieve great performance.  A great campaign structure is one that fully utilises your budget, allows you to gain clear insights and lets the platform perform. Facebook, Twitter and Google all want your campaigns to perform, because then you'll come back to them, again and again, spending more money. So utilise their algorithms as best you can.

    Structure your account in a clear linear fashion between content, data and other important variables (Device, Gender, Age) then ensure you have the budget split between performance and testing and you will truly drive performance for both you and your clients.


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