January 30, 2023

Don’t Scale Ad Spend Without Considering Your Content Budget

Nick Schenck

It’s 2023, and we all want immediate and easy results—marketers perhaps more than anyone else.

How this manifests in our field of work often goes like this: Brands aim to grow conversions by increasing their ad budgets, but they do so in a vacuum. Unfortunately, it’s rare to get instant and sustainable results by pulling a single lever.

A larger ad budget without an incremental investment in content is typically a failing strategy. This also applies to increasing ad budget without diversifying the ad channels that you spend on. While conversion volume may increase by upping your ad budget without adjusting any other aspects of your campaign, it’s usually temporary, and this is why:

  • Ad frequency will grow, and ad fatigue will set in. This means your campaigns will reach the point of diminishing returns faster unless you have fresh ads.
  • If you allocate a larger budget for ad channel (and ad placement) expansion, you’ll need new content that is appropriate for the new channels and placements in order to maximize the performance. If you rely on repurposed content from other ad channels, you risk leaving money on the table. For example, non-TikTok-native video content rarely performs well on TikTok.

We don’t advise refreshing ad creative for the sake of it. Don’t fix something that isn’t broken. But we do recommend a thoughtful approach to ad budget increases, especially as it relates to your ad creative/content.

How To Maximize Your Content Budget

If you’re investing in content to fuel your ad performance, consider these approaches to make the most of your money.

Differentiate Your Creative
When producing ad creative, create widely differentiated variants in terms of format, presentation, color palette, copy, etc. When the distinction between ads is subtle, the variance in performance is unlikely to be significant or meaningful. The more distinct your ads, the more you can learn from the performance. Also, by taking big swings in different directions with your ad creative, you will avoid the “local maximum” problem, which is what occurs when you reach peak performance within a narrow set of solutions.

Make It Timeless
Invest in evergreen content that will remain relevant far into the future. Non-seasonal content will give you the best bang for your buck. This applies to influencer and UGC ads, as well. If you’re going to pay someone to endorse your brand, make sure their content will be useful to you for a longer period of time, if possible.

Don’t Throw the Baby Out
Just because an ad is underperforming now doesn’t mean it will always underperform. If you target a different audience or use a different campaign objective, the ad could turn out to be a winner. Ad platforms like Meta often pick “winning” ads quickly and push higher delivery to these “winning” ads at the expense of the other ads in the ad set or group. Stay patient with the ads that receive less delivery. Sometimes they become the best-performing ads later on.

Prioritize TikTok
In our experience, video ads that perform well on TikTok often perform well on Instagram and Facebook, too, but the inverse is not necessarily true. With that in mind, we recommend prioritizing content for TikTok so you can kill a few birds with one stone, so to speak.

For advice on how to evaluate whether your video strategy works, check out this article.

Looking for expert assistance with your ad campaigns? Are you interested in a free paid media audit? Reach out to us at [email protected]