Digital Campaign Structures For Startups And Humble Budgets

Creating digital campaign structures for startups in an incredible challenge. While business owners and marketing leads care about results, a campaign manager must know the execution strategies to yield results, as soon as possible. One of the most asked questions to us concerns campaign setup. While there are plenty of articles on best practices of digital campaigns structure by platform. These were written based on operations of larger budget accounts and tend to slow down insights generation. We have tested them on several startups and then came around creating a methods that works well for our startups.

So, how does digital campaign structures on a mature advertising account look like?

If you have worked on digital advertising platforms, you would know that a campaign manager will set up one campaign per targeted user audience for a mature advertising account.
So, what is a mature advertising account? We have enough data and trends to know the average monthly spending of a particular campaign; we know the spend ranges it will operate within and conversions for a given CPA. Additionally, we have enough data that helps us plan budgets between multiple campaigns so that we can control the amount of money we spend on each. When operating with this principle, the results are usually better.
From a campaign management perspective, a structure such as shown below is also most manageable and invests the maximum possible marketing budget for best results.
There are a few negative aspects to consider: if your advertiser has several vertical/campaigns, it generates a huge amount of data, takes more time to manage, and is slower to scale at speed. In other words, if you are a start-up or an SME without past data or enough budget to cover for your category, you may want to look at an alternate structure.

p.s. With Facebook/Instagram campaigns: A mature digital campaign may still have just one campaign with two or more ad sets below it. Facebook’s campaign manager has several unique configurations with which a campaign manager can still implement campaigns that are best fitted for mature advertisers. The basic idea here is to understand the amount of control a campaign manager has versus the amount of control given to the algorithm. In a mature situation, the campaign manager holds more control.

Sample Campaign Setup For Mature Advertising Brands

How does digital campaign structure for start-ups or humble budget look like?

Ultimately on a fast-growing advertiser or an SME, the three key constraints are time, money, and experience. When we say experience, we mean data, previous category knowledge, campaign iterations and lessons. The skills of the campaign manager are equally important and that can be built with proper approach.

We have seen algorithms of advertising platforms change often and have clients who dedicate time and money to figure out what each change implies on campaign structure. With this keen approach to understand algorithms, we as campaign managers consider that using the algorithm to learn faster is wiser than trying to beat it. Most algorithms are bound to churn out relevant growth insights, explicitly or, implicitly. We will write about implicit insights in a different article.

Campaign Structure on Google SEM

  • Segment search keywords into discovery, category, competitive, and brand.
  • Allocate budget and cost control at a campaign level. We don’t want to start setting configurations at the ad group level unless we already have prior data.
  • If there are sufficient searches for your category, we should be able to do optimize as often as 5 days. *Algorithm behavior as of May 2021.
  • We personally prefer to find the maximum scale, and then manage CPAs by ad groups.
  • With sufficient time invested, we usually go into setting CPAs by ad groups or breaking the campaigns into best practice formats.

Digital Campaign Structure In Google Display Networks

  • Create at least two ad groups and put them into a single campaign.
  • Aim for minimum overlap between the two, use exclusion conditions if necessary.
  • Use responsive and/or sized display ads. Responsive ads are the fastest to go live with.
  • Choose similar messaging to your SEM strategy.
  • Try to prevent a scenario where you have too many unique messages are active at the same time.
  • Implement in a similar way to SEM

Digital Campaign Structure In Facebook/Instagram

  • Use at least two unique ad sets within the same campaign.
  • Aim for minimum overlap (use exclusions if necessary).
  • Use at least two creatives, three if you can manage it. Make them unique to your ad sets.  
  • If you are using SEM, try to use similar messaging and experiment with features that are exclusive to Facebook when compared with the Google display network.
  • Facebook additionally has a choice of CBO. If your ad set and ads are unique, hit that CBO button and let the algorithm find scale.
  • If you choose CBO, your budgeting should be on the campaign level instead of the ad-group level. While there are merits to having budgets at the ad-group level, we will speak about them in a different blog.
  • While automatic placements are great, we recommend manual selection. Choose at least two, and at most four placements in Instagram and Facebook. More variables at a low budget learn slower and generate less data for us to play with.

Digital Campaign Structure In LinkedIn

  • Have two campaigns with unique targeting.
  • The rest of the setup is similar to Facebook. I also prefer using “both a daily and a lifetime budget” setting.

Digital Campaign Structure In Twitter

  • Setup is similar to Facebook (barring the CBO). Have more than one ad-groups.
Sample Digital Campaign Structures To Learn And Scale Fast

We have had the fortune of working across several small budget start-ups and the methods exhibited above work. When clients start to grow, we usually get invited for reviews by platform owners and have discussed out methods. Most of the tips written above are concrete and work brilliant.

Do you have questions on other platforms? Write us a note and we will happy to help you out.