Leading social ad creative studio and user acquisition platform expands services and SaaS platform for mobile advertisers, reveals over $1 billion in social advertising spent on Facebook and Google UAC for some of the world’s largest mobile games and apps.

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – January 22, 2019 – ConsumerAcquisition.com today announced they’re offering social advertisers fully managed user acquisition and creative services for Google Universal App Campaigns (UAC) in addition to Facebook and Instagram. For a limited time, new clients receive a 50% reduction in fees for managed spend on Google UAC, and creative is all-inclusive in this offer.

Optimization algorithms for Facebook and Google UAC dramatically improved over 2018, leveling the playing field between advertisers both large and small. To be successful, social advertisers must focus on creative optimization and workflow automation. As such, Consumer Acquisition launched new workflow automation features in its AdRules self-service platform, which makes it far easier to build ads quickly. AdRules works in parallel with Facebook’s and Google’s optimization algorithms to simplify repetitive tasks, giving users the ability to generate thousands of audiences, quickly launch ads and source new creatives through the Creative Studio.

Brian Bowman, CEO of Consumer Acquisition, said: “We’re excited to announce that we now offer managed service support for Google UAC and we’ve expanded our AdRules platform to offer enhanced workflow automation. This makes it even easier for advertisers to launch campaigns quickly and keep them continuously fresh with creative concepts from the elite team we’ve assembled in our Creative Studio. We’ve listened to the market and we’re the first company to offer tiered managed services designed to support startups, SMB and high spending social advertisers.”

Eric White, Vice President, Mobile Marketing at Ebates, said: “AdRules saves us a ton of time with its simple workflow for creating and cloning many ads. It eliminates repetitive tasks so our team can spend more time focused on strategy. Their advanced reporting uncovers high ROI creative and audiences that helps us scale faster.”

 

New Tiered Managed Services For Advertisers Of All Budget Sizes

As the app ecosystem is growing with companies in all stages (startup, mid-sized and enterprise), Consumer Acquisition launched a new tiered model of managed services to address the wide range of needs across all sized companies. Managed services offer media buying, campaign optimization, and access to an elite in-house creative team with vast experience in storytelling, animation, visual effects, and user acquisition. Service tiers include:

Fully Managed Services: social advertisers spending more than $100,000 per month with significant creative demands.

Managed SMB: social advertisers spending less than $50,000 per month seeking guidance with customer acquisition and creative production.

Managed Start Up: startups spending up to $25,000 per month, seeking an inexpensive, guided solution to social advertising.

Tiered Pricing Model for Every Level:

Fully Managed Services: greater of $15,000 or 15% of monthly media spend, 90-day agreement.

Managed SMB: greater of $5,000 or 20% of monthly media spend, 60-day agreement.

Managed Start Up: greater of $2,500 or 20% of monthly media spend, 30-day agreement.

 

AdRules New Workflow Automation Features the most efficient way to a simplified workflow and advanced creative reporting:

Advanced Reporting: designed for social advertisers to test creative and iterate new designs based on performance; see reports with rolled up data, receive automatic recommendations to optimize poor-performing creatives and audiences.

Creative Reviews and Approvals: simplify creative approvals through an easy-to-use, drag-and-drop UI that gathers and centralizes creative feedback, tasks and actions items.

AdBuilder Express: quickly launch and test hundreds of ads; easily identify winning ads and audiences in just a few clicks, then swap in fresh videos, and build new audiences and ad copy into new combinations.

Audience Builder Express: build thousands of Custom Audiences and Lookalike Audiences on Facebook faster than ever before! In less than one minute, create hundreds of custom audiences by choosing App Events and Lookback windows, generate thousands of Lookalikes in just a few clicks by choosing Lookalike Ranges and Countries, and AdRules will do the rest.

Pricing: New customers receive a 60-day free trial, and then it’s only 0.7% of spend afterwards. Advanced Reporting is only $99/month.

 

Facebook® is a registered trademark of Facebook Inc.

Google® is a registered trademark of Google LLC.

Facebook has over 2.27 billion global monthly active users according to a recent report by Statista. With so many users, it’s no surprise that Facebook is also the world’s largest advertising platform and a great place to find prospective customers for your business. However, social advertising certainly has its nuances, and your team needs to take this into account to fully capitalize on the full potential of Facebook to drive acquisition efforts.

The details matter. The effectiveness of the ads you place, audiences you target, bidding structure of your campaigns, and the creative you deploy all affect the success of your campaigns. Let’s take a look at a few best practices you can use to accelerate your user acquisition efforts in Q1 of 2019.

 

Understand Your Objective

The Facebook platform has three different advertising objectives that can be used for mobile application ads: App installs, traffic, and conversions. For customer acquisition purposes, consider mobile app install ads, which immediately direct users to the Apple App Store or Google Play Store to download and install your app. You can also deliver ads to consumers who are most likely to take action after installing your app with Facebook’s App Event Optimization feature. This way, you can track both installs and conversions using one objective.

Pro tip: When using the mobile app installs objective, make sure to implement Facebook SDK and mobile app events within your application. By implementing these features, you’ll be able to track installs, re-engage existing users, and drive conversions.

 

Build on the Right Campaign Structure

Choosing the right campaign structure can make or break a Facebook advertising campaign. A platform best practice is to have the smallest number of campaigns in the account as possible with limited or no overlapping audience targets. In accomplishing this, it is also best to create campaigns that are tied to a particular geography, buying type and bidding type to minimize overlap and competition between ads.

When choosing a buying type, you have two options:

  1. Auction
  2. Reach & frequency

With the mobile app installs objective, it is best to use “auction” as your buying type, as it will give you more control over the target audience and duration of your ad, as well as ad budgeting.

Make sure to choose the right audience and avoid audience overlap between ad sets to minimize ad competition. With acquisitions, we want to target potential new users who are likely to be interested in your content. A great way to do this is to create Lookalike Audiences. This allows you to reach potential new users that are similar to your high-value customers and thus likely to be interested in your content. You can target audiences geographically to ensure languages are optimized as well.

Our user acquisition experts have determined that the best way to maximize Facebook ROAS is to optimize creative and test. It is a best practice to create many ad sets that target specific audiences (that do not overlap), have different campaign objectives, and employ different bid types. This will allow you to efficiently release user-specific ads, drive minimum auction competition, and scale ads at volume.

 

Use Automation to Manage Ads

The Facebook algorithm allows for auto-bidding, auto placement, and auto budget. This allows you to let automation work in your favor, limiting the need for daily interactions and changes.

  • Auto bidding lets advertisers train Facebook on which users are most valuable, the algorithm then performs real-time bid changes for you so less time is spent on intraday bid changes.
  • Auto placement allows Facebook’s optimization system to spend your ad set’s budget based on performance across placements, putting the right ad, in front of the right audience, at the right time and on the right device.
  • Auto budget allows Facebook to increase and decrease your budget based on ad performance metrics and rules for increased performance in real-time.

Automation makes advertising easier for marketers, allowing you to focus on what matters most: creative.

 

Employ Optimized Creative 

Facebook’s advertising and automation features have leveled the playing field for advertisers, leaving creative (and testing creative) as the primary competitive advantage on the platform. Our research found that 95% of direct response creative fails to outperform a portfolio’s best ad – the control. This means that you have to continually test a large quantity of high-quality creative to find the 5% of winning creative that will help you achieve your business goals, without reaching creative fatigue. For every 20 new video concepts you create, only 1 will be successful.

There are two Facebook features that you can deploy to help you determine your best creative: dynamic creative optimization (DCO) and split testing.

  • DCO allows you to test multiple ad components like the headline, ad copy, calls-to-action, and image at the same time. Facebook then will determine the winning combination of elements to drive your best ad. This feature allows you to drive continuous testing and optimization to make sure your campaigns are functioning at their best.
  • Split Testing allows you to run A|B tests between creative to avoid showing the same creative to the same people while simplifying the creative testing process and helping uncover winning creative elements.

Leveraging a creative studio to develop ads at scale will allow you to have quality creative at your fingertips.

This team will be able to develop fresh creative concepts and variations of successful content to run across different social networks, and they will be able to optimize future creative to help you achieve business goals more efficiently.

 

Final Thoughts

According to Statista, there are 2.1 million apps on the Google Play store and 2 million apps available on the Apple App Store.

With so many applications available for download, app companies must employ user acquisition best practices to drive downloads and usage. When tested and executed correctly, Facebook advertising can drive business profitability and lead to the achievement of financial objectives. Don’t risk falling behind other developers, use these tips to accelerate mobile app installs, increase conversions, and reach your business goals in Q1.

As seen on Venture Beat.

Consumer Acquisition said it believes Facebook and Google third-party adtech is dead. Or perhaps the way to say it is, “Atech is dead. Long live adtech.”

During 2018, the optimization algorithms for Facebook and Google Universal App Campaigns (UAC) have dramatically improved, leveling the playing field between advertisers both large and small.

The duopoly’s native adtech has improved such that advantages once held by third-party software-as-a-service adtech providers has significantly diminished. Brian Bowman, CEO of Consumer Acquisition, said in an interview with VentureBeat that his company saw the writing on the wall and decided to change.

Consumer Acquisition is a Facebook and Instagram marketing partner, and it works with Google UAC, Snapchat, Pinterest and IAC. So it kind of sounds like the company is saying that its own business is dead. But it’s not quite that.

To be successful, social advertising technology companies must focus on cross-platform campaign management, advanced creative reporting, and workflow automation, Bowman said. In other words, the bar is higher for being useful as a third-part adtech company.

In direct response to this year’s optimization algorithm improvements from Facebook and Google UAC, Consumer Acquisition has reduced the cost of its platform to 0.7% of media spend with a maximum monthly cap of $15,000.

“It takes a mental leap of faith that this is in your best interest, but their algorithms are more efficient,” Bowman said.

In addition, the company’s AdRules self-service platform now supports Google UAC reporting, which offers mobile app advertisers and lead generators a self-service media buying solution and advanced reporting platform.

Back in February, Bowman said that the company found that the Facebook optimization algorithm
was better, and that the native tools for both Facebook and Google UAC had gotten much easier to use.

“People refer to Facebook and Google UAC as the duopoly, but I think what they are trying to do is lower the skills required for successful advertising, and, in doing so, level the playing field between very larger advertisers and very small advertisers,” Bowman said.

The companies simplified how advertisers managed media buying and bidding, he said. And so Consumer Acquisition shifted to focus on the creative marketplace and software that helps advertisers identify and resolve creative fatigue and audience saturation, he said.

“We’re so confident in our approach and the direction that the industry is headed that we’ve radically dropped the fee we’re charging for our self-service software,” Bowman said.

Consumer Acquisition isn’t the only company cutting prices for social campaign management software in the adtech market. Marin Software, a public company offering a digital marketing software for  performance-driven advertisers and agencies, also recently announced shifting their model to a flat platform fee, rather than using traditional pricing as a percentage of digital ad spend.

“I wouldn’t go so far to say adtech is dead,” said Jessica Hasenplaugh, head of user acquisition at Berlin-based mobile game publisher Wooga (which was just acquired by Playtika), in an interview with VentureBeat.

Wooga is a customer of Consumer Acquisition, but Hasenplaugh acknowledged things are changing.

“I would definitely say we are saying a lot of automation within the work we have historically done within the two biggest ad networks, Google and Facebook,” she said. “We are focusing on things that can be done, like focusing on creative. Creative is one of the things that can’t be automated by the big ad networks. There are other things that we do like leveraging our data, which is getting better, and better understanding our user base. We find where we are wasting and eliminate that, and we deal with ad fraud. We focus on other networks where we can benefit if we put some time and effort in.”

She acknowledged that you won’t have to make so many campaigns for a single game and change those campaigns on the fly as much as in the past.

Bowman believes that any adtech company that simply tries to keep up with Facebook and Google native tools capabilities, or those that have built proprietary optimization or AI algorithms, will see the value of their solutions rapidly drop to near zero.

“Before February, our old strategy was running high number of ads, and we were doing may five to 10 changes per ad per day,” Bowman said. “That technique no longer worked. It was both good and bad, as it radically simplified the way we were running on Facebook.”

Making frequent changes using third-party tools was no longer efficient.

“Before February, it was about how smart your quantitative folks were at changing things,” Bowman said. “Now it’s easier to run the ads. So that means creative is the most important part of advertising. You can control that. In the past, most adtech partners were not creative platform partners. They were not good at it. Now there’s less value in the adtech stacks. So the creative has to step up.”

One byproduct of that is Consumer Acquisition is hiring more talent that is good at creative advertising, rather than simply focus on AI to improve creative materials.

“This is going to be a human-driven business for five to 10 years,” he said. “We brought in 50 editors and trained them. For the foreseeable future, humans will do the work in creative analytics. The opportunity is to become good at creativity. The question is how you evolve your creative thinking.”

Hasenplaugh added, “You might try to automate things, but that will just open up questions, and the people who work on this will try to find answers to the questions. I don’t see AI eliminating our jobs.”

Consumer Acquisition’s AdRules software optimizes the social advertising processes with workflow automation, bulk ad creation, bulk audience creation and creative development at scale.

Advertisers can reduce time spent on competitive tasks like building ads and adjusting bids and managing budgets due to AdRules’ automated capabilities.

AdRules also offers a creative analytics solution with reporting views not available in Facebook or Google’s native tools. Advertisers can see images, videos and graphs with rolled up data, cohort reporting and advanced tagging as well as view key performance indicators (KPIs) from multiple sources in one dashboard, including APIs, measurement partners and proprietary business intelligence data.

Additionally, to maintaining financial performance, the platform can deliver fresh videos and images sourced through its Creative Marketplace.

Consumer Acquisition was founded in 2013, and its customers have used its tools to create more than 300,000 videos and acquire more than 150 million app installs. Its customers include Glu Mobile, Wooga, Ember Entertainment, Ford, Checkout51, Autogravity, and more.

This article was also covered in Marketing Interactive.

Nothing lasts forever. Especially in advertising.  Creative fatigue – when an ad’s performance declines because people have seen it too many times – affects every ad eventually.

On Facebook, it happens especially fast. Even an unusually successful ad will start showing performance declines after a week or two.

How Spending Affects Ad Fatigue

The rate of ad fatigue depends in part on how much its advertiser is spending. This isn’t some penalty enacted by Facebook; it’s simply human nature. Each member of the audience being advertised to will notice a new ad only a couple of times. After that, they’ll start screening the ad out – ignoring it.

Ad fatigue can begin in as little as three to four days for a campaign with a very large budget, because that budget lets the advertiser reach so many people. Or it could take as long as one to two weeks for a campaign with a much smaller budget.

After managing over $100 million in Facebook advertising campaigns, we see this pattern every time: As spending increases, ad fatigue sets in and performance drops.

The chart below shows the typical cycle. On the far left of the chart, you see the initial launch of the ad. It does well – very well – and so it gets fed a lot of budget. But almost as soon as the budget increases, the ad’s performance begins to taper off.

It’s still a top-performing ad (compared to the other ads that never performed well enough to be given this much budget), but creative fatigue has already set in. Over the next few days, the ad’s performance slowly drifts down, until there’s a new creative win and the performance spikes again. But just like before, as the spend for the newer ad goes up, it begins its slow decline.

This sine wave of performance and spending goes on indefinitely. It’s why advertisers need to keep producing new Facebook ad creative.

But spending isn’t the only thing that can accelerate ad fatigue. Having a limited number of creative assets can accelerate it, too.

How Limited Assets Accelerate Facebook Ad Fatigue

Here’s an example of how this works:

  • Advertiser A is spending $1,000,000 with three videos.
  • Advertiser B is spending $1,000,000 with six videos.

Advertiser A’s creative will fatigue two times faster than advertiser B’s, because they’re buying twice as many impressions for those videos.

This is really just a different symptom of the same underlying issue we saw before: The members of the advertising audience will notice an ad when it’s new. But after seeing an ad a couple of times, it isn’t new anymore. And so they don’t pay as much attention to it. The ad fades back into all the other advertising noise.

The advertiser with six videos had their ads last longer because only half as many people were seeing each of their ads. If $1 bought an ad impression, here how it would work out:

Budget Impressions bought Video ads Impressions per ad
Advertiser A USD$1,000,000 1,000,000 3 333,333
Advertiser B USD$1,000,000 1,000,000 6 166,666

 

So it isn’t a question of if ad fatigue will happen. It’s when it will happen.

Which means the next question to ask is…

How to Manage Creative Fatigue

If ads are going to wear out so quickly, what’s an advertiser to do?

They have two options: Expand their audience (which will only delay creative fatigue) or create new ads. Creating new ads is the more effective approach, and it’s the one we’ll focus on for the rest of this article.

As we saw earlier in the example of the two advertisers: The larger your advertising budget, the more creative you’re going to need.

An advertiser spending $1 million per month needs ten times as much creative as an advertiser who spends $100,000. That’s because – all other things being equal – advertiser A is buying ten times as many impressions.

Once again, this is just another way of measuring the same principle of ad fatigue: The advertiser’s audience will pay attention to a new ad for only so long. As soon as that window is passed, ad performance drops.

Why Creative (and Testing Creative) is the Last Real Competitive Advantage on Facebook

So why all this focus on creative? Well, because it’s the only real way to beat your competition. As Facebook’s advertising features have gotten better and better, the playing field of advertising has largely been leveled.

If someone is reasonably competent at Facebook advertising, they can now get the same results that only super-sophisticated marketers used to be able to get.

This became especially true after February 19th of 2018, when Facebook retooled their advertising algorithm, and started offering ad features that basically made the native tools in the Facebook advertising platform on par with the most sophisticated (and expensive) third-party advertising tools around.

The native advertising tools in Facebook (and in Google) have gotten so good now that third-party tools aren’t so much of an advantage.

And so – because the advertising technology field is becoming increasingly flat – having advanced Facebook advertising and quantitative skills and tools is becoming less and less of an advantage.

As the Facebook optimization algorithm continues to improve, the only real control advertisers will have is developing better creative and showing it to new audiences.

Creative has become the primary differentiator for performance.

What it Means for Creative to Be the Last Competitive Edge

Creative may be the last competitive advantage, but it’s not an advantage that comes easy. Ask any advertiser or agency and they’ll tell you: It’s difficult to impossible to keep up with the need for new creative.

Why? Because advertisers don’t just have to come up with enough creative to stay ahead of creative fatigue.

They have to come up with twenty times that.

This is because the vast majority of new advertising creative will fail. In our experience creating and testing 300,000 different ads, only about 5% of ads perform well enough to replace the old best-performing ad (aka the “control”).

Nineteen out of twenty new ads will fail.

Here are two graphs that illustrate how unusual high-performing ads are. The charts show two different clients: one in e-commerce, the other in gaming. They (vertical) axis shows how much advertising budget was spent on each individual ad. The x (horizontal) axis shows how many ads were created.

As you can see, the vast majority of ad creative never performed well enough to merit much budget. Only a very slim percentage of ads did well enough to spend real money on.

 

So what does this mean for you? It means you need an efficient, systematic way to create and test ads. Because there’s an enormous amount of work to do.

For example, let’s assume you spend a medium amount on Facebook every week. Ad fatigue takes down your top-performing ad only once a week.

To replace that one winning piece of creative, you need to create twenty pieces of new creative. Twenty ads a week is no small task, but it can definitely be done.

But that’s not all you have to do. You’ll want to have your winning ad run on more than one social media platform, right? So you’ll need to make versions of that winning ad for each platform.

And then you’ll need to make variations of that ad for all the different ad sizes.

But that’s not the end, either. The best creative is optimized for how prospects use Facebook – whether they tend to be “on the go” users checking Facebook for  updates, or “lean forward” users accessing it from a desktop, or “lean back” users watching long-form video.

You may also want to optimize for a user’s location, or even optimize ads for the app the ads will be advertised in.

So yes, there’s a lot of work to do. And we haven’t even gotten into the testing required to find that new top-performing ad.

But what’s it worth to you to turn Facebook into a river of new customers?

As seen on Clickz.

Facebook has two features to help determine which creative is best: Dynamic Creative Optimization (DCO), and split testing to run A/B comparisons.

As Facebook has automated its bidding, creative has quickly become the driver for the best financial performance. Advertisers can now optimize Facebook creative to match the user’s experience, location, and device. Video templates assist with the creation of generic creative and dynamic pricing; however, non-templatized creative cannot be generated with AI or machine learning — yet!

How Much Facebook Creative Do You Need?

Our experience in spending over $150M indicated that 95% of direct response creative fails to outperform a portfolio’s best ad. Thus, a large volume of quality creative is needed to find that 5% of winning creative to achieve and sustain return on advertising spend (ROAS). Since creative rapidly fatigues with increased spend and audience reach, constant creative testing is necessary to produce wins to offset fatigue.

Facebook Features to Help Determine Which Creative is Best

You should always be A|B testing your creative to optimize on spend, and Facebook has released two new features to help determine which creative is the best. Dynamic Creative Optimization (DCO) selects the best elements to put into an ad based on audience segments to deliver in real-time the right ad, right copy, right audience, right time, right language, right placement and right device. Further, DCO offers both creative delivery at scale as well as testing with endless experimentation, all without human intervention required to drive continuous testing and optimization. It’s also possible to enable language testing through DCO to deliver the most efficient language based on performance.

Their second innovation is a simple split test that allows advertisers to efficiently to run A|B comparisons between videos, images, ad copy, and more. The real innovation here is that Facebook will split the traffic on the back end to avoid overlap. For example, if you have an audience of 1,000,000 and you want to test five videos, Facebook will show each video to an audience of up to 200,000 people. This new feature, has radically simplified creative testing of ads for Facebook and allows for much more efficient media spend.

You should configure split tests in a dedicated campaign to eliminate the likelihood of incurring a significant loss to your regular structure. Once a winner is identified, you can roll it out and scale using your dedicated scale campaigns ad sets. If you are testing new audiences, and an ad set performs well, use the ad set continuously and add new ad creative over time to offset audience fatigue. If the audience does not perform, pause and abandon it.

All of your split testing should have an end date. Facebook recommends that you now use daily budgets instead of lifetime budgets. Once a winner is identified, you should pause the split test contestants and re-launch an ad set with a dedicated unique audience.

Campaign Budget Optimization (CBO)

CBO vs. non-CBO: By placing a single campaign budget and allowing Facebook to dynamically adjust ad set budgets, you give control to Facebook for budget optimization. This also allows top ad sets to scale volume without triggering a significant edit, putting less risk on high-value ad sets.

Dynamic Language Optimization (DLO)

DLO vs. non-DLO: DLO is particularly useful for targeting multilingual audiences in a single location. By allowing Facebook to determine which ad and which language to serve, you hand more control to Facebook to surface the winning ads automatically.

It’s important to note that DLO performance seems to fluctuate significantly and it is possible that non-DLO ads can outperform DLO ads during any given month. In general, language targeting requires continual testing with a focus on refreshing copy, creative, and audience. Also, country targeting appears to make a significant difference. For example, targeting worldwide French speakers may produce different results compared to targeting French speakers in France, Canada, etc., and vice versa.

Dynamic Creative Optimization (DCO)

DCO vs. non-DCO: DCO automatically optimizes ad creative based on multivariate testing. By running DCO, Facebook has control over which creative is served and can more quickly optimize a high volume of creative combinations versus just running many ads per ad set.

Split Testing

Split Testing vs. CBO vs. Neither: Use split testing for creative, audience and placement testing to optimize your campaigns.

Final Thoughts: Always Test Your Ads

Regardless of the size of your ad spend on Facebook, continuous creative testing of copy, video, and images is imperative to help you reach your campaign objectives. By using a variety of testing techniques on Facebook, you’ll be able to continue optimizing your spend and start generating ROAS with your campaigns this year.

As seen on MarTech Advisor.

Late Q4 is unlike any other advertising environment of the year. Ad costs typically spike by 25% or more. The competition for inventory is fierce. But it’s also the biggest shopping season of the year. Ecommerce advertisers are managing their boom time, while other advertisers, like user acquisition and lead gen marketers, are hoping to close the year strong.

Facebook advertising gets particularly ferocious. But while Facebook ads might get more expensive during late Q4, Mark Zuckerberg’s platform is still the best game in town. A 2018 holiday marketing study from Shopify Plus  e-commerce marketers say Facebook ads are the most effective channel for new
customer acquisition.

Of course, everybody knows ads get more expensive around Christmas. Anybody who’s looked at a Facebook ads dashboard during the holidays has had to swallow a lump of coal when they looked at cost per click.

Most marketers are already aware of the problem. Keenly aware of the problem: 80% of them say “rising ad spend” is a concern for holiday marketing.

Despite the expense and the competition, Q4 is a massive opportunity. For retailers, it’s an opportunity to maximize the best buying season of the year. And for user acquisition managers and lead gen marketers, the holidays precede the most cost-efficient advertising season of the year.

To help you navigate the season, here are five Facebook advertising best practices for late Q4 advertising:

1. Manage the Strategy Shifts of the Ad Spend Wave

Done right, the ramp up to holiday advertising can be as important as the holidays themselves. Advertisers can leverage retargeting, email lists and other more cost-effective channels after December 8th – if they’ve scaled up their campaigns properly before that.

But don’t underestimate the after-shopping Christmas boom, either. Everybody likes to splurge with their Christmas money, to buy themselves what Santa forgot to bring. That’s why the period after December 26th can be especially effective if advertisers test out new device ads, video (more on that in a moment), and new messaging/creative.

2. Increase Average Order Size

If user acquisition costs rise, you have two choices for preserving profits: cut your overhead/product costs, or raise average order size. Fortunately, increasing average order size complements what’s going on in Q4 nicely – people are spending more, both on themselves and others.

There are plenty of ways to increase average order size:

  • Bundling products
  • Offering extra features for a discount
  • $-off discounts (“spend $X, get $ off” offers)

You may also want to just skip this average order size strategy entirely, too. Depending on your company and your situation, it could make sense to just go with a loss leader in Q4 and use it to build your customer base.

If you manage the loss-leader strategy well, you could break even (or make a very slim profit), but you’ll add a ton of people to your buyers’ list. Pair that with effective retention marketing, and Christmas could be a good opportunity to just bring in as many new customers as you can.

3. Wait It Out

Of course, not everybody is in e-commerce. If you do app marketing or lead generation, the holidays present a very different problem.

For non-ecommerce Facebook advertisers, the best time to scale spend during the fourth quarter is between October 1st and December 7th. CPMs will increase during that time, but not too much. We typically see them rise about 10-15% from Black Friday through December 7th.

The real increases kick in from December 8th to December 25th. That’s when CPMs rise from 30-40%. If you can, it’s not a bad time to just sit things out, or to scale back your ad spend and focus only on your most profitable campaigns.

Fortunately, the expensive days do pass. Almost like magic, on December 26th, costs drop. Most of the ecommerce marketers have spent their budgets, sold their inventory, and consider the year done.

This is when non-ecommerce marketers – like app marketers, user acquisition managers, and lead generation marketers – have their heyday. They will enjoy some of the most efficient CPMs of the year from December 26th through to the end of February.

So, if you’re going to spend money in the fourth quarter – and you’re not an ecommerce company – try to frontload spend as much as possible in October and November.

And if you have to spend money in December, spend it before December 7th. Then pull back as much as possible from December 8th through the 25th. Pick it back up on December 26th and let it rip through the end of February.

4. Focus on Mobile

Everybody knows mobile traffic now exceeds desktop traffic. But many marketers still believe “mobile traffic doesn’t convert”, or at least that it doesn’t convert as well as desktop traffic.

That might no longer be true.

A 2018 study of Google Shopping ads found that there’s been a dramatic increase in mobile conversion rates since just last year. The conversion rates for shoppers who begin and end their buyer’s journeys on mobile devices has increased by 252%.

This might be even more interesting: “The path of shoppers starting their search on desktop and completing their purchase on mobile rose 259% year over year.” Some people are actually choosing to check out via mobile rather than on a desktop.

Of course, that’s Google Shopping, not Facebook ads. But Facebook has done its own research, and also found mobile users are shoppers, too.

5. Use Video

If you’ve been hanging back from investing in video advertisements, or investing more in video, it might be the edge you need for Q4.

According to Facebook research, “Nearly 1 in 3 mobile shoppers surveyed in the US said that video is the best medium for discovering new products.” So if you want to get more buyers, make more videos – both for Facebook and Instagram.

And yes, there is still enough time to get videos made before the major shopping holidays. Contact our Creative Studio team to learn more.

One of the biggest shopping weekends is approaching, along with one of the biggest days for deals. Black Friday is not just for consumers – digital marketers can also get in on great deals to fuel their initiatives for 2019. Our Creative Studio can help you prepare for the spike in holiday advertising costs. CPMs are about to get expensive, so we’re offering a Black Friday Special – a new video ad for only $99!

To claim your $99 Black Friday video ad, we’ll need your brand guidelines, an image/video source files, example of your current social ads, logo, fonts and any music / audio. We’ll produce one video in 1:1 or 9:16 format or one image if you prefer.


How Does The Creative Studio Work?
Facebook’s and Google’s machine learning algorithms have automated media buying and optimization. As optimization is automated, ad creative has become the primary differentiator for advertising performance. Our creative studio produces high-scale videos and images for advertising on Facebook, Instagram, Google UAC, SnapChat, Pinterest and IAB.  Free access to Shutterstock’s library of over 180 million images and videos.

Fresh Creative Concepts At Scale.
We’re experts at direct response, social advertising. We’ve built a high-quality, in-house team of video editors and designers that have delivered over 300,000 concepts. We understand successful social advertising requires a tremendous volume of fresh creative concepts and we’ll deliver an endless supply of creative strategies based on the best practices of each social channel.  With our Creative Studio you can easily increase the intensity of creative testing, benchmark and supplement your internal team capabilities. We offer free access to Shutterstock’s library of over 180 million images and videos.

Real Experience. Real Results.
We’ve produced over 300,000 ads and spent over $1 billion in advertising on Facebook, Instagram and Google.  We’ve built our knowledge for producing high-performing creative into our Creative Studio. We understand the careful balance between branding and performance ads and how to iterate on prototype ads vs finished/polished ads.  We’ll maximize results and follow best practices for each social channel.



As seen on Business of Apps

Digital advertising on Facebook is an easy place to waste your user acquisition budget. In just a few minutes, you can spend hundreds or even thousands on ads that aren’t converting efficiently, and driving audience that doesn’t match your user profile. Fortunately, you can take control by applying Facebook’s recommended best practices for user acquisition. The platform has improved its automation and campaign management tools tremendously over the past year to make user acquisition more effective for publishers both large and small.

Here is a guide to the best practices that you should be applying to your Facebook acquisition campaigns today to reduce waste and drive spending efficiencies:

 

Get Your Bidding Structure off to the Right Start

Mobile App Install (MAI) ads are ideal for brand new accounts in order to build up conversion history. Setup your mobile app campaigns with these ads because they are an ideal that lets users download your app within just a couple clicks.

After you’ve tested MAI, you should transition to App Event (AEO) and Value (VO) bidding. For new accounts, VO will not initially be available until you have enough AEO optimization data. AEO needs slightly higher quality audiences than VO, while VO needs broad audiences. VO is a more finite audience than AEO, and will reach audience saturation more quickly. VO should be more efficient for new audiences and new creative, and AEO may be more efficient for you as the VO audience pool becomes oversaturated. As a bit of context, on average, we’ve seen that AEO is 2-3X the cost of a mobile app install and VO is 2-3X the cost AEO.

You should also consider having both bid types setup in unique campaigns and be prepared to move budget between AEO and VO to continue optimizing your ad spend.

 

Test Different Bidding Structures

Automatic bids focus on lowest cost, while manual bidding gives you more control over your cost per acquisition (CPA) to stay within your target cost. You can test both of these bidding models depending on the ads you’re running. VO is auto only, while you may find that AEO is better for manual bidding. Stay tuned as VO manual bidding will be coming soon for Facebook advertisers.

You should also consider testing bid types with and without auto bidding. Manual bidding will require manual bid adjustments to maintain scale, which may trigger significant edits if you change more than 30%, but it can be more efficient in certain circumstances.

  • MAI – auto and manual bid both available
  • AEO – auto and manual bid both available
  • VO – auto bid is the only current option, but manual bid is in beta and coming soon

 

Increase Your Bid Amounts Incrementally to Find the Sweet Spot

Higher bids will give you more access to high-quality inventory, so try bidding high to capture paying users on AEO. Test a 10% change on your bids. If no significant edit was triggered, make a 20% change. Incrementally increase your bid until you find the tipping point. You can run this test on small and big budgets separately because smaller budgets will absorb a greater percent change without triggering the significant edit.

Note, it’s important that campaigns, ad sets and ads should never be paused if you intend to spend additional money with them in the future. Any pause is considered a significant edit and restarts the Facebook platform learning phase. You want your ads to graduate into Facebook’s optimized phase, where your ads will be rewarded and you should see an uptick in performance.

 

Target Your Audience and Ad Placements

When running AEO or VO bidding, it’s a Facebook best practice to run both broad targeting with all placements and auto bidding. This allows Facebook to dynamically adjust bids and find the right audience regardless of the product they are using.

Test different audience types with different bid types to maximize reach while hitting financial goals. Here are the Facebook best practices:

  • MAI – lookalike audiences
  • AEO – interests with wide open age targeting 18-64+ (testing required to determine if targeting expansion is helpful)
  • VO – broad audiences to maximize reach, use wide open age targeting 18-64+

 

Manage Your Daily Spend Effectively

To land at the desired daily spend level without pausing your budget or triggering a significant edit, you can utilize Campaign Budget Optimization (CBO) and set the desired daily budget at the campaign levels, or set auto bidding. This ensures all your daily budget will be spent.

 

Starting Budget Recommendations for Ad Sets for Non-CBO Campaigns

Brand new accounts with no existing historical data should use a multi-ad structure. Use at least 2-3 ads minimum to start, within a single ad set, with budgets set at $100-$200 for the entire ad set.

Existing accounts with sufficient historical data should use a multi-ad structure with higher budgets (>$200 for entire ad set). There is an obvious advantage to launching non-CBO ads with existing historical data because you already have a general sense of which ads work and do not work.

 

Scale Your Volume Safely

You can safely continue scaling an existing CBO budget after all ads have completed the learning phase, but there’s a spend threshold where return on advertising spend (ROAS) will be impacted and you will have to either: (1) launch new audiences under new ad sets within the same campaign, or (2) launch new ads within the existing ad sets.

 

Make Significant Edits Only When Necessary

You’ll have a positive impact on your campaigns if you make significant edits when pushing a new ad and re-setting the learning phase, or if you’re deleting a negative ad to avoid it counting towards your history.

Additionally, if you build up negative history with an ad that stops performing well, you would benefit from the significant edit. It also makes sense to pause an ad and re-launch if it performed well and then stopped performing well at some point.

 

What’s Next?

After you’ve successfully applied Facebook’s best practices for structuring your media buying, you can begin shifting your focus to generating high performing Facebook ad creative. This will becomes the primary differentiator in your campaigns and financial success. Constant creative testing of copy, video, and images becomes imperative to your campaign objectives. A large volume of creative is needed to achieve and also to sustain ROAS as creative rapidly fatigues with increased spend and audience reach. Moreover, 95% of creative fail to outperform your portfolio’s best, so even when have a high-performing creative, you need to think about replacing it. By adopting Facebook’s best practices and focusing on a winning creative strategy, you’ll be able to break out from the competition and start reaping the rewards this year.

 

Consumer Acquisition expands Creative Studio to support Facebook, Instagram, Google UAC, SnapChat, Pinterest & IAB ads with a Trello-like creative approval platform and enhanced creative analytics.

(San Francisco, CA / August 22, 2018) Consumer Acquisition – the most trusted provider of creative, SaaS tools and user acquisition services for social advertising – is excited to announce the expansion of their Creative Studio with new social platform partners, enhanced analytics capabilities and seamless creative collaboration tools. The creative-first approach for brands and advertisers will now support Facebook, Instagram, Google UAC, SnapChat, Pinterest and IAB ads within a unified platform that brings a best in class end-to-end solution.

The Consumer Acquisition Creative Studio helps to manage and bolster the creative process for advertisers by producing videos and images for advertising, providing advanced creative analytics and workflow optimization, while offering an internal team of highly trained editors and designers on tap to build and optimize creative units. The platform’s additions were designed to compliment Facebook and Google’s machine learning algorithm updates that have automated intraday optimization driving ad creative to become the primary differentiator for social advertising performance.

The expanded platform provides social advertisers a simplified approach to the creative approval processes with an easy-to-use, Trello-like task manager that gathers and centralizes feedback, tasks and action items to create universal transparency while allowing advertisers the ability to create and manage unique workflows. Additional features include the ability to see information at-a-glance in order to monitor both the big picture of any campaign or note specific details across custom boards, as well as to seamlessly unify communications across stakeholders.

The industry-first creative analytics component of the platform will help to show ad effectiveness while driving the ability for enhanced conception and development. Visually based graphs will allow advertisers the ability to compare the performance of any ad creative, regardless of the date of launch, to uncover high-performance ads and audiences, while intelligent tags and tag clouds help to identify winning creative elements, displays gaps in ad creative or audience coverage to inform the creative brief process.

Brian Bowman, CEO of Consumer Acquisition, states: “We know that creative is the most important element in social advertising and we’re honored to be working with many top advertisers on Facebook.  We’re thrilled to deliver on their request for support of SnapChat, Pinterest and the mobile web via IAB ads. We’ve simplified their creative approvals and collaboration with a Trello-like, task manager. We’ve enhanced our advanced creative analytics to help guide strategic decisions on which ads are working well and produce the highest ROI vs which ads are burning out and need to be redesigned.”

 

 

About Consumer Acquisition

Founded in 2013, Consumer Acquisition is the most trusted provider of creative, SaaS tools and user acquisition services for advertising on Facebook, Instagram, Google UAC, Snap, Pinterest, and IAB.  We’re your partner for creative strategy, production, optimization & analytics of social advertising. We’ve created over 300,000 videos and acquired over 150 million app installs and leads for Glu Mobile, Wooga, JamCity, Ember Entertainment, Nodding Frog, Checkout51, Autogravity and many more. 

 

Facebook® is a registered trademark of Facebook, Inc.

Google® is a registered trademark of Google, Inc.

 

Media Contact:

Zachary Weiner for Consumer Acquisition

Press@ConsumerAcquisition.com

312-933-5205

Facebook’s algorithm is constantly changing, forcing advertisers to quickly adapt strategies if they wish to maintain campaigns’ performance and ultimately return on investment. It can be challenging to keep up with constant changes in Facebook’s advertising platform which is why our team of user acquisition specialists has put together an in-depth comprehensive guide for Facebook advertising in 2018.

The Definite Guide For Facebook Advertising 2018 covers recent changes in Facebook’s algorithm, how they impact SaaS bidding platforms, and best practices for both bidding and creative strategies.  Take a look at the table of contents below.

 

Chapter  1: Campaign  Structure Best  Practices

Campaigns  Structure: Geography  & Campaign Objective

Many  Ad Sets  Per Campaign  to Minimize Audience  Overlap for Testing

Many  Ads Per  Ad Set and  Creative Variations

 

Chapter  2: Automation  Levels The Playing  Field

Auto  Bidding,  App Events,  and Value Bidding Auto  Placement: Right Ad, Right  Audience, Right Time and Right  Device

Auto  Audiences:  Lookalike Audiences  and Custom Audiences for  Highest Value & LTV

Auto  Budget:  Campaign Budget  Optimization (CBO)  Renders Bidding Tools  Less Effective

 

 

Chapter  3: Creative  is King

Why  Creative  Matters: How  Machine Learning  and Artificial Intelligence  Simplified User Acquisition for  Facebook & Google UAC

Dynamic  Creative Optimization  and Split Testing

Campaign  Budget Optimization

Dynamic  Language Optimization

Split  Testing

 

Chapter  4: Reducing  Wasteful Ad Spend

Campaign  Optimization  Best Practices

Guidance  to Maximize  Your Bids & Budget  Spend

 

Chapter  5: Best Practices  To Optimize Creative

Creative  Marketplaces

Creative  Brief & Testing  Process

Creative  Strategies  to Extend the  Life of Still Images

Best  Practices  for Creating  Videos from Still  Images

The guide ends with a prediction of the future of user acquisition and how automation and AI could radically change the industry.

To download full white paper, complete this form and we’ll email it to you!  OR – Read the entire white paper without downloading here.

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