Making early budget decisions is one of the biggest challenges for online marketers at any level of experience. A couple weeks ago we explained the research and testing phases of Facebook advertising. The next part of developing a winning advertising campaign is making early budgeting choices in your first three days.

To decide how to move forward with your campaign there’s a lot of information you can interpret to decide if the ad sets you tested are worth pursuing further. The decisions you make when scaling ads during the first few days can make an impact on how effectively the delivery will optimize so it’s important to be patient. At the same time, the amount you spend on ad sets that aren’t making positive returns can mean the difference of your campaign becoming profitable so you need to be careful to not over spend.

As Luke Stasi explains in the Viralstyle Academy 102 courses, digital advertising is a lot like driving a car with a manual transmission. It helps to educate yourself with content like the blog you’re reading right now but the best way to learn is by getting behind the steering wheel. With enough practice and experience it almost becomes second-nature.

I encourage you to get involved in our online community to ask questions and read about other seller experiences. If you have a strategy that differs from mine or have something you would like to add to this discussion, share it in the comments below!

Use Best Practices for your Tests

Refer to our recent article on testing ads for in-depth strategy. Depending on your goals, the product you are advertising, available funds, audience characteristics, and experience with the niche, your starting budget can range anywhere between $5-20/day. We suggest trying a minimum of 3 ad sets with unique targeting, you may want to test as many as 10 depending on your cash flow and expectations.

For the purposes of this example, we’re using a budget of $10/day. We chose this as an optimal ad spend for custom apparel campaigns on Viralstyle where the average seller profit per item overall on a campaign can range from $13-18 depending on the volume sold, products offered, print colors and retail price.

As a disclaimer, none of the suggestions in this article are intended to be followed verbatim and every seller should strive to develop their own unique strategy. Budgeting decisions greatly depend on your financial resources and overall profit goals for your business. You may also want to supplement your conversion ads with Engagement or Clicks to Website ads – the kill or scale insights in this blog are specific to conversion ads.

After 24 Hours (Approx. $10 spent per ad set) 

Kill it if you have less than 5 clicks

Keep it if you have any conversion events triggered

Scale it if you have 2 or more orders

After 48 Hours (Approx. $20 spent per ad set)

Kill it if you have no conversion events triggered

Keep it if you have at least one sale

Scale it if you have 4 or more orders

After 72 Hours (Approx. $30 spent per ad set) 

Kill it if you have only sold 1 or less

Keep it if it has turned a profit

Scale it if you have made 5 or more sales

In between each kill/keep/scale threshold I’ve suggested, you will notice that there is some grey area where it can go either way. As you find yourself here, you will need to determine how much of a risk you are willing to take by continuing to spend money. Make this judgement with a combination of data like CPM, conversion rate, cost per click, relevancy score, engagement and conversion events as well as your own intuition. Do you think that this ad set’s performance has a decent chance at improving? If it does begin to improve, how much potential do you think it has?

Once you have made it past the first 3 days of advertising, you are hopefully left with a few ad sets that have scale potential. Check out our Ad Scaling Case Study to see real data and results from the first 14 days of two successful apparel campaigns.