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How to Combat Audience Saturation & Start Scaling

Susana is joined on today's podcast by Moody Nashawaty, MuteSix's Chief Strategy Officer, who is responsible for spending millions of dollars on Facebook each month on behalf of different brands. Susana and Moody dive into the hot topic of audience saturation and how to diagnose it and then combat it so that you can scale your brand profitably.

Episode Transcript — How to Combat Audience Saturation & Start Scaling

Automated: You're listening to the Spend 10K a Day Podcast brought to you by the performance marketing experts at MuteSix. This is your source for cutting edge insight into the world of online advertising. From the team with more Facebook case studies than any other agency on the planet, here is your host, Susana Magaret.

Susana M.: What's up, Spenders? Welcome to Spend 10K a Day Podcast, your spot for Facebook ad scale tactics in real time, straight out of our agency MuteSix here in Santa Monica. Our guest today has managed hundreds of millions of dollars in ad spend, and leads and develops all of our client creative strategy. He's our very own chief of strategy, a warm welcome to Moody Nashawaty. Moody, welcome.

Moody N.: Thank you. Thank you.

Susana M.: I'm really glad to have you here.

Moody N.: Yeah, me too.

Susana M.: What's it like being on the podcast today?

Moody N.: It's kind of nice. Actually, I'm really happy to be here. You know, it's about time, I think we get more technical on our podcast. We've got amazing talent, and so maybe with our podcasts, we'll start to get more of the hands on, the actual tacticians, and I think our listeners would really like that. They'll get to really understand and hear from the people doing the day-to-day strategies.

Susana M.: Yeah, I think so too, because campaign managers are in the campaigns every day in the trenches.

Moody N.: Every day. Spending millions of dollars.

Susana M.: Yup.

Moody N.: Every minute.

Susana M.: They all have a strength individual to them-

Moody N.: Oh yeah.

Susana M.: ... that we can expand on, and so today we're going to talk about one of your many strengths.

Moody N.: Great. Yeah. Scaling. We're talking about audience saturation, I heard.

Susana M.: Yup. Audience saturation, you know, it's a hot topic. How to recognize it, how to combat it, you know what does it take, what's the big secret?

Moody N.: Audience saturation is really important, and audience saturation is something you have to look at when you're scaling big numbers, and it's the thing that will let you know whether or not you just need to move on, and you know, you want to look at it, so let's take a step back. Audience saturation, why is it important? What's that number really telling us? Audience saturation tells us, you know, it's made of two things.

Moody N.: One, how many people are we targeting and how many people have we reached of the people we're targeting? That's it. That's all the numbers are telling us. If you're getting to a point where you have to look at audience saturation, then congratulations. That's a good problem to have. It means you've found success. It means you're reaching and scaling to your audience currently. You know, it's generally a good problem. The good news is we can help you navigate it and that's where we think we're going to cover today.

Susana M.: Cool. Awesome. Yeah, I think a lot of people are going to really enjoy this topic. You've talked about why it's important to pay attention to audience saturation?

Moody N.: Yeah.

Susana M.: Then where do we start with that, where do we check for that, and at what point do we check for that?

Moody N.: Yeah. Audience saturation, you want to start checking for generally towards the ... at least a few weeks into a campaign. You don't need to look at your audience saturation unless you've, again, are winning generally. Usually, if you're not able to scale, it's a creative problem or media buying or targeting problem.

Moody N.: In the case where you're looking at audience saturation, you've already been running for quite a bit of time, you've reached a substantial amount of people, maybe 20, 25% of your current audience. That's really when you should start looking at when do you want to actually look at these numbers?

Susana M.: When you're an ads manager and you're looking, you've been running a camp- ... Like you said, you've been running a campaign, it's been doing well, and you know it's doing well because your creative is winning, right. That's at the point where you want to see saturation is when your creative is winning. What is the ...

Moody N.: The first hint, I think that your audience saturation is a problem is when you start seeing performance drop, right?

Susana M.: Your CPA goes down.

Moody N.: Your CPA is suddenly starting to creep up and you're going, what's going on? Why can't I sustain this forever?

Susana M.: Right.

Moody N.: I mean that'd be a great thing, but that's probably the first hint that you need to look at this and see what's going on. Luckily, Facebook came out with a bunch of tools that are helpful for looking at your audience insights.

Susana M.: What are those tools?

Moody N.: That tool is Delivery Insights. If you go in on the ad set level and you just look at delivery and then there's like a little button with a dropdown says Delivery Insights. It's weird how they hid this by the way, it's kind of hard to find, it should've just been a column, I think.

Susana M.: Yeah, it's like, so it's the delivery column in ads manager, the ad set level and you have to hover over active like your ad status.

Moody N.: Right.

Susana M.: Then you wait for it to drop down and you'll see a link, it's not even a button. It's like a little link.

Moody N.: It's like here's a little text link, press this button. You press that button and it takes you to a dashboard where you can look at a couple of things. One of them is audience saturation, where you can see the ... Basically, since the time of launch for that ad set, you can see how many people you've reached, how many impressions have been served, how many of those impressions that are being served every day are first time impressions. Then your, again, reach and then audience reached ratio, which means how many people of the total audience have you reached kind of like cumulatively?

Susana M.: What are you looking at? There's all these numb- ... there's all this data, like I don't know, it was like five columns that they show you in Deliver Insights. What are you looking at right off the bat to determine that audience saturation is happening and you can take the next step?

Moody N.: Yeah, so I'm looking at these numbers and I'm seeing that they're climbing. The total amount of people I've reached is climbing and once I get past, you know, maybe like 50%, I know that I'm just not going to get the same sort of response that I'm going to get continuously moving forward. That doesn't mean that my creative's dead, it just means I got to maybe back off the scale a little bit and let Facebook not bid as heavily to hit those people, and slowly but surely that my creative and that great ad is coming to an end.

Moody N.: It's just, it's time to move on. Generally, we know that, we know that we're actively and you should by then, actively be having more creative in the pipeline already, like ready to go. You don't even have to wait, it's not like you can only run one creative at a time, you're running all of these. You're bringing in new ideas, learning off of this stuff that's already winning. Hopefully, you've already got something that started in a scale that can come in and take the place of the one creative or multiple pieces of creative that are starting to hit saturation.

Moody N.: It's interesting, this is a key thing, this Delivery Insights tool is something you want to keep looking at. Again, it's after the fact they've already had success as you want to look at it. This, and a number of things, I mean your KPIs really like, this thing is, you know, I like to think of it like a stethoscope. Doctors use the stethoscope, right? The stethoscope has been around for a couple hundred years, it was invented, I think, and it's got the insight into your body. It allows doctors to hear what's going on.

Moody N.: They can put it on the lung. They can hear like the breathing, they can hear your heartbeat, they can hear like where the shortness of breath is happening. It's this magnificent tool that beforehand doctors were just guessing randomly, like what's wrong with this person? Now, like doctors spent, you know, a good 200 years practicing and learning how to use the stethoscope to see inside the body. It's only up until recently that like the strength of as a tool that the stethoscope as being able to literally life or death, like being able to see what's going on.

Moody N.: It's only until recently that doctors are getting more advanced tools that the power of that is kind of starting to slip and go away. It's funny because you'll get doctors or older doctors who had to have only the stethoscope and are really good at it. Now, like the strength of that as a tool is dissipating, and you've got younger doctors who usually don't even have to wear the stethoscope. They don't even need it anymore. They just kind of wear it as a symbol of being a doctor, but it's this cool thing.

Moody N.: Then when I'm looking at these tools and looking at Delivery Insights. You know, even before Delivery Insights, a lot of times we're guessing, are we reaching saturation? We've got tools too, like we're looking at CPA, CTR, relevancy score, and we're just trying to figure out if we're reaching the limits of this campaign and ad set and ad. Luckily, Facebook has given us our stethoscope to kind of give us a heartbeat of whether or not we'll be able to still continue to get scale out of out of these assets.

Susana M.: You were talking about, so we were guessing before we had audience saturations or had delivery insights. Now, we have delivery insights. We're able to recognize when we can turn creative. Aside from that though, a lot of people reference relevancy score as well for deciding when to turn creative. How do you, where does that come into play? Is that as important?

Moody N.: Yeah, relevancy score is important, but at the end of the day, I don't care too much about relevancy score. I think you know, the first question is A, are we making money? Yes. Okay, great. Then who cares about relevancy score? The second question, are we close to making money? Yeah, sort of. How do you know? Well, our cost per purchase is a little high, but our cost per like add to cart and our CPCs are really low and they're giving hints that this could be okay and that these could be winners.

Moody N.: Okay, great. Let's keep them on, let's keep going. Those metrics, like either, you know, the cost per purchase, the thing you want or the things that are really close to the things you want, should be the things that you're looking at to designate your strategies moving forward and whether or not you're pressing go or, or stop on a campaign.

Susana M.: You're basically, you're looking at ... you're essentially, anyways looking at this data first before you even dive into saturation. I mean there's really no ... At what point would you look at saturation?

Moody N.: Saturation is again something you are looking at when you've had success and your CPA is rising.

Susana M.: Right. Okay, that makes sense.

Moody N.: Yeah. If your CPA is rising and you've already had quite a bit of success, that's when you start looking at saturation.

Susana M.: Then from there, it's a matter of identifying, okay, I've hit, you know, I have 50% of saturation, now, it's time to turn creative.

Moody N.: Yeah. Well. You should have new creative already, like going and then you're bringing down the amount you're spending to like match it, because there was probably a max CPA that you're okay with. You're bringing down the spend on your ad sets that are reaching saturation to slowly, just kind of just kind of die, sad. It's a sad time for that kind of.

Susana M.: In terms of audience, you have an audience, you have a creative who's doing really well, do you have to turn off? I mean-

Moody N.: You never turn off on audience saturation.

Susana M.: The creative is doing really well and then your CPA starts to go up, but you really love this creative and you're just really sad, you have to turn this creative off, and is it done forever?

Moody N.: It can. What you do is, first of all, you never get attached to any of your creatives, we've learned that. Two, you take that creative and you actually put it into, you know like a remarketing rotation where your new creative will start running. Then, occasionally, like I like to create kind of a drip, like remarketing drip of the best creative.

Moody N.: If they don't convert on the new hot creative, then maybe, you know, after a day they'll see the old creative, that maybe they haven't seen yet or maybe they have seen, but they'll remember it, and they're like, oh yeah, that's also why I want it. It's like, you create this drip so you can increase the buying temperature of your audience until they finally pull the trigger. A lot of times it's not the first instance that they convert on, and hopefully, we can all be that good, but that's never the case.

Susana M.: Cool. I think that it's a very in depth coverage on audience saturation. Is there anything that you would like to add to that?

Moody N.: Yeah, there is one other thing, so occasionally people like to talk about auction overlap as well as people think that ... This kind of gets roped into audience saturation, but if you've got two audiences or if you've got an audience in two different ad sets and there's a lot of overlap there, people think like that could be a bad thing. It's actually not that bad because you want those creatives to have a chance to win against, you know, in those different audience, like in those different ad sets. Right.

Moody N.: It's okay and sometimes getting Facebook to run to a group of people, even if they're similar to another ad set, that algorithm will figure out a way to optimize better, even if it's got some people overlapped from the previous ad set. Again, audience overlap doesn't mean necessarily that you're bidding against yourself. There's always going to be audience overlap and you know, it's just something that is actually okay. It doesn't mean you're bidding against yourself and as long as your auction overlap is under 50%, it's not even a big deal.

Susana M.: I'm really glad you said that, because there is a group out there, a group of people and just a group of people out there that do-

Moody N.: Are they spenders though?

Susana M.: Yeah. Big spenders. Are they scalers?

Moody N.: Yeah.

Susana M.: Yeah. They do kind of have a concern for, you know, what they call de-duping or audience overlap too much of that.

Moody N.: Yeah, it's funny. I think the big lowest hanging fruit is like, it's more creative. Don't worry about spending, trying to separate your audiences, especially if you get the right creative. It's gonna work in a broad sense anyway, so you're going to have really big audiences, and that's actually good. That means that your creative, that Facebook can work with your creative across a lower CPM, because you've got a bigger audience and so you'll see more scale.

Moody N.: A lot of times, I feel like de-dupers are focusing in too much on like getting the perfect audience, which ends up limiting people in scale a lot. That's definitely not how you get to spending 10k a day.

Susana M.: Yeah, definitely. It gets too granular or there's not enough for you to move.

Moody N.: Exactly.

Susana M.: Yeah. Great. Do you think moving forward in terms of ... Do you think audience saturation is going to become increasingly important in the future or do you think that's just something to have in your arsenal or other?

Moody N.: Yeah, I mean it's just I think another tool that we have that makes your media buying better, especially nowadays when Facebook keeps taking away things from us. You know, it's, it's definitely something you'd want to look at, but only after you've seen success.

Susana M.: Cool. That's awesome. Well, that's great. I think that, you know, covers very thoroughly audience saturation, how to recognize it, how to navigate it. We've covered data to look for, when is the right time to look at saturation after you've analyzed your data and ads manager and you have a winning creative. We talked about audience overlap and rotating creative in your different funnels of your ad strategy. I think that-

Moody N.: We covered it.

Susana M.: Yeah.

Moody N.: We covered all of it.

Susana M.: Thank you so much.

Moody N.: Yeah.

Susana M.: Thanks, listeners, for tuning in and listening. If you want to sign up for any of our awesome content or have any questions, go to and let us know what you think.

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