After you have run your campaigns for a while you start analyzing the performance. One way is to get the maximum out of the budget you have. I have tried to list out a few techniques here which will affect your spent and help you get good control on it. After this the planning your spend becomes more predictable.
Split audience into smaller groups
If you have already defined your target group, analyze how much it can be broken down. For example, if the target audience is to 18-25, male, living in metro cities. Break this into
18 male Delhi
18 male Kolkatta
18 male Mumbai
18 male Chennai
19 male Delhi
… and so on
The idea is to identify your exact target soon and optimize for it. After breaking the audience above you might find out 18 male Mumbai is better performing than any other 18 male groups or 19 male Delhi is performing better than 20 male delhi. Depending on what domain you are in you will be able to find out the closest audience and maximize your spend there and reduce elsewhere. The ultimate objective is to reduce spend and maximize conversion. Do not reduce spend and also reduce conversion, monitor carefully.
A/B test the ad messaging/images/Call-to-action
Depending on what your product is and your objective of the ad campaign, there are more than one probable ad messages. Similarly there would be more than one image you would like to show to your audience. It is best to try out maximum possible combinations.
Any good ad copy is a perfect combination of image, message and call-to-action. And you are not done until you have tried each combination. So at the beginning start with a minimum of 3 each. That makes 3X3X3 = 27 ad copies. Out of these 27, there are your top 3 copies. So go ahead test them all till you find a winner. I know 27 is a little too many, so do not launch all at once. Go with 5-6 at a time, keep on removing the bad performers and let the good ones compete amongst themselves to find the top 3-4. Now you have the best ones. Believe me this is worth the effort. After this exercise, you do not have to tweak them for a while. They go on and on and on; obviously, until you change any other parameter such as audience, channel, bid type etc.
Identify the best time of the day
This may sound like a very weak technique but once you have understood the impact it has this might become your favourite. The audience does not behave in the same way throughout the day. To understand this point let us zoom out from our digital campaigns and observe offline campaigns. Let us see this with an example. We are a new food app and we want to generate a few leads in the nearby residential area. To do this we set up a desk in one of the condominium. Having been there for an entire day, we could get only a few leads. After analysing this we found that it was a working day, when majority of the audience was not there. Then we tried pushing our pamphlets in newspapers to each flat. Didn’t work too! The last thing we did was handing over pamphlets to the residents in afternoon when parents came to pick up their kids back from school. Guess what, this worked. Why? Number one, our audience was available at that time, number two they had some time to be read the pamphlets when waiting for school bus to arrive.
Similarly, coming back to digital channels. The audience you are looking for has a particular time slot when it is available for your ads on a channel. You have to try and find out that time slot and you are done. Once you have identified the best time of the day to serve your ad, display only then and cease all the money wasting.
Email is the most affected channel by this parameter. Everyone around has identified the exact times to sent out their email, so that it is most read.
Eliminate the fatigue
If your ad is served for long then the conversion rate starts falling. Campaigns tend to fall into fatigue after a while. This way you end up spending some extra. To optimize the spend here it is better to refresh your content in one week or two. It depends on the number of potential audience to whom the ad will be served. The frequency of rotation can also be defined after some observations so as to when the campaign is hit by fatigue.
Use the best and not the cheapest bidding type
Various channels normally offer two bidding options Cost per click (CPC) and Cost per million impressions (CPM). When the objective of campaign is lead generation or audience gathering for an event, it is obvious that we might want to pay per click. So here is the hack, even if we would like to pay for each click we get, getting charged per million impressions will get you cheaper clicks than the CPC bid. I know it is hard to believe until you try out yourself. I would recommend to try out all bid types for your campaign in the beginning and then go ahead with the most cost-effective one.