How to Scale Facebook Ads for eCommerce?


You have a winning ad set that gets orders at an ideal cost per purchase. As you increase your budget to scale, the cost per purchase inflates and the campaigns go south. Scaling Facebook ads while maintaining profitability is possible, but not as easy as increasing your budget on an already winning ad set.

If you ask Facebook specialists about ways to scale, you get to hear many different strategies, as there isn’t one simple process that one could follow to scale Facebook ads.

Scaling demands rigorous testing, monitoring and most importantly a growth hacking mindset.

To scale effectively one should be familiar with –

  1. Vertical and Horizontal Scaling
  2. Lookalike Audiences
  3. Campaign Type, Optimization Goals and Bidding Strategies
  4. Dynamic re-targeting for various stages of the funnel
  5. Ad Creatives

Vertical scaling is when we try to scale by increasing the budget of winning ad sets.

However, as stated earlier, such a strategy could easily go south as the cost per purchase tends to inflate as advertisers increase ad budgets. To avoid this, it is essential to use target cost bidding strategy, so that Facebook works towards keeping the cost per purchase stable in the long run.

With target cost bidding, you will not be able to spend the entire daily budget if your campaigns are off track and not getting expected results, thereby giving you the time to adjust your campaigns without losing a lot of money.

Horizontal scaling is about finding multiple winning ad sets followed by efforts to scale. The ad sets are segmented based on product category, interests, lookalike audiences, gender, geography, devices or a combination of 2 or more of these.

While scaling horizontally, be sure that there is minimum, preferably zero audience overlap among the running ad sets.

For best results, try to scale horizontally as well as vertically.

Test Lookalike Audiences –

Try 1% to 10% (30 to 180 days) lookalikes of the following custom audiences –

  1. Website purchases
  2. Initiate checkouts
  3. Add to carts (test by frequency 1, 2 and 3)
  4. Content views (test by frequency 1, 2 and 3)
  5. Visitors by time spent (test 5%, 10% and 25%)

You may also test lookalikes derived from custom combinations of custom audiences. Ex. a custom audience of people that viewed a particular product and made a purchase. Make a point to have large enough audiences among all ad sets.

Campaign type and optimization goals – Go for conversion campaigns with purchase conversion optimization right of the bat, if you have 25 plus purchases already. If you are just starting, go for traffic campaigns with content view optimization until you make 25 sales.

Bidding Strategy – How we set up bidding holds key to stability while scaling. There are 3 bidding strategies –

  1. Lowest cost (default)
  2. Lowest cost with a bid cap
  3. Target cost

The lowest cost bidding strategy is the default bid strategy.

When you use this, you tell Facebook to consume all of your daily budget and get the most purchases at the lowest cost. Here, Facebook’s number one priority is to consume the entire daily budget. Purchases you get while spending the your daily budget would depend on how well the overall ad set is set up.

This bidding strategy is recommended when you are just starting with Facebook ads, your daily ad set budgets are small and the goal is to establish a reasonable cost per purchase. If used while scaling, beyond a certain point, there is a high probability that the cost per purchase inflates.

To scale Facebook ads effectively, lowest cost with a bid cap and target cost bidding strategies are recommended.

In the lowest cost with a bid cap bidding strategy, you set a bid cap which is usually 20-35% higher then the actual cost per purchase. Same with target cost bidding strategy, set the target cost to 20-35% higher then the actual cost per purchase.

Bid cap and target costs will need ongoing adjustments. If these are too low, the ad sets will not take off.

Re-targeting – Set up dynamic re-targeting for all key stages of the funnel.

  1. Cross sell to existing buyers
  2. Move those who added to cart towards a purchase
  3. Move those who viewed a product towards a purchase

Ads – Start with multiple ads, with creative or product variations. Keep adding new ads on an ongoing basis. Go for video or carousel ad format.