How to scale your digital advertising


Laura Daniel, co-founder at We Grow Startups,


To improve performance, every digital campaign you’re running should fall into 1 of 3 buckets which guides your next action. Learn, Switch or Scale.

Learn = in learning mode? Sit tight or increase spending to get out faster.

Switch = underperforming? Switch it off or change the audience, creative or optimisation action

Scale = smashing it? Increase budget NOW!

Wanna know more? Read on.


Every ad platform has a slightly different answer to how many conversions get you out of learning mode, but the principle is the same. Feed the platform enough data so it knows what good looks like in a 7-day period. A good rule of thumb to aim for is 50 conversion events.

A conversion event could be content view, add to cart, initiate checkout, purchase, lead or many other valuable actions.

So you can estimate your required daily budget upfront based on 50 weekly conversions per ad set.

(50 conversions / 7 days) x cost per conversion = daily budget

Example 1

  • Add to cart costs £5
  • (50/7) x 5 = £35 daily budget to get out of learning mode within 7 days
  • (I’d recommend adding a 10% buffer so let’s make it £40 per day.)
    So if it’s 7 days or less and you’re in learning mode, sit tight. If it’s been more than 7 days and you have fewer than 50 conversions, increase your budget.



So bad news, your campaign performance sucks. What to do? Check these top 3 areas:

1. Optimisations goal

  • Related to the learning mode topic, if you haven’t got the budget to drive 50 conversions per week, choose a cheaper conversion action. I.e. add to cart will be cheaper than purchase.

2. Creative

  • Creative has the single biggest impact on performance of any variable for performance advertising. We talk about top tips in detail in another article but here are the big takeaways
    • Grab attention - use video, make it pacy, use eye-catching colours
    • Maintain interest - demonstrate you understand their pain point, be single minded in your messaging, tell a story
    • Design creative for each platform - think about aspect ratios (square 1:1 vs. vertical 9:16) and platform behaviour (long-form viewing on YouTube vs. short attention-span reels on social) and tailor accordingly.

3. Audience 

  • Audience targeting 101 - GO BROAD.
  • This will reduce your CPMs and improve your profitability.
  • Only exclude audiences you know you definitely don’t want, as opposed to only including those you want
  • Ad platforms are designed to do the learning for you; they use machine learning to rapidly test broad audiences to identify the profile of the user who performs the optimisation goal you selected. Take advantage of this!


Well lucky you!

You’ve worked hard to find a setup which performs. Don’t fall into the trap of not scaling and fixating on ROI/ROAS. Once you hit your ROAS goal, now is the time to start scaling campaign spend.

Do this in 20% increments, otherwise you’ll be heading straight back to learning mode and we all hate that. Within 4 days you can double your daily budget and watch those new customers come rolling in!

If you’d like to discuss how we can help you implement the learn, switch, scale system then get in touch. Or sign up to our newsletter here for more TLDR content.

And that's another thing done.

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