5 Common Mistakes That Hold Back Brands from Scaling Their Ads

Scaling a brand’s advertising and growing a brand’s overall business is difficult. We’ve had the opportunity to scale multiple e-commerce brands, helping them achieve 8- figures plus in revenue.

We regularly see five things holding brands back from scaling their advertising and reaching their revenue goals.

Focused only on maximizing ROAS

One of the biggest things that hinder a brand from growing is focusing only on maximizing ROAS. When you prioritize a higher ROAS, you slow down your ability to scale, but also forgo revenue that could be reinvested in driving continued growth.

Instead, it’s more important to identify your break-even ROAS and invest in maximizing ad spend. This allows you to continually invest in brand awareness, introducing the brand to new audiences that you can then guide through the customer journey.

When only investing in “performance marketing” or “lower-funnel tactics”, you ensure a high ROAS and extremely profitable campaign, but you slow down how quickly you can scale. Reducing your ROAS target, allows you to invest in brand awareness and continually grow the brand

The wrong messaging

Creative and messaging greatly impact the success of an ad campaign. It’s an important element to continually test since it’s a powerful lever for driving scale.

Smart and creative messaging makes a brand stand out. When running ads, you should create a series of unbiased a/b tests to identify the optimal messaging for each stage of the journey.

As you scale, you’ll want to refine the messaging and start breaking out different communications and customer journeys for different consumer segments.

For example, if you have a series of products that speak to people interested in the outdoors, you’ll want to have different creative and messaging than your evergreen brand messaging. The more relevant we can make messaging, the more likely consumers are to engage with it.

Identifying the optimal messaging, creative formats, and channels will ensure you’re able to continue to scale.

Testing things that don’t matter

We believe in the importance of testing. In fact, it’s core to our agency ethos and a focus of our media buying test & learn framework. However, we don’t believe in testing everything.

Every a/b test you run has a cost. There are resources required to identify, launch, and analyze each test. Not only that but there are opportunity costs when choosing what to test.

Instead, prioritize tests based on the impact on the campaign. You should monitor core KPIs and use a/b testing to optimize each individual KPI.

For example, if your CTR falls below our campaign benchmarks, we would prioritize testing your ad creative or overall messaging. We wouldn’t test the landing pages, since it wouldn’t impact the KPI we’re trying to improve.

Focusing your tests on things that drive meaningful results, will have a greater impact on how quickly you scale your campaigns.

Poor media planning

Advertising campaigns that scale are strategic and well organized. It’s important to understand the levers that lead to growth.

Your media plan should be more detailed than simply outlining ad budgets by channel. Instead, look to create a strategic and detailed media plan, so you can monitor individual elements of your media campaigns.

We recommend your media plan should include at least the following: budget by customer stage, core KPIs for each channel, core KPIs for the website. Including these detailed KPIs will allow you to diagnose campaign opportunities quickly and easily.

For example, if you begin to miss your media plan forecasts, you can look to your media plan KPIs to quickly understand why. If your conversion rate is below your forecast, you can explore website optimizations to help fix the conversion rate. If your CTR on ads is lower than anticipated, it might be worth exploring a new creative refresh to increase the ad CTR.

The more comprehensive your media plan is, the more easily you can identify campaign opportunities.

Not accurately tracking results

Knowing how well your campaigns are performing is absolutely imperative. You need to understand how your campaigns are performing and what the actual impact on the business is.

We commonly see campaign reporting based on “Attributed” or “Platform” data. We do not recommend you use this data to make business decisions.

“Attributed” and “Platform” data can include transactions that are duplicated across platforms. The reason for this is that the ad platforms don’t know about any other interactions that happened before a sale is completed.

For example, if a customer clicks on a Facebook ad, leaves the website, and then searches for the brand's product and clicks a Google Ad before purchasing, then both Facebook and Google will take full credit for the transaction. Your “Attributed” or “Platform” data would show two transactions for one.

Instead, look to the different attribution models in Google Analytics to help make better investment decisions on your campaigns. We tend to look at “Last Click”, “First Click”, or “Time Decay” depending on the campaign’s goals. These attribution models give us a better understanding of advertising’s impact on the business.

As you scale, consider using a marketing mix model to get a more accurate view of your advertising campaigns. Marketing mix modeling will help you optimize your media investments to maximize your campaign performance.

Knowing what you’re hoping to achieve and accurately tracking your results against your goals is the only way to be successful when scaling media campaigns.

What’s next?

Scaling ad campaigns is not easy. Staying organized, focusing on testing the right things, and constantly trying to incrementally improve your campaigns is the best way to efficiently grow a brand.