As the world of paid social advertising evolves, businesses are turning to automation for strategic advantage. But when is the right time to invest? How can both small and large teams benefit? Dive into our comprehensive guide to understand the ROI of paid social automation, assess its efficacy for your operations, and discover how automation is redefining the future of paid social strategy for businesses of all sizes.
In an ever-evolving paid social landscape, staying ahead requires more than just keeping up with the trends – it demands strategic innovation. As the realm of paid social advertising continues to expand, businesses are turning to automation as a strategic investment. The power of automation has the potential to revolutionize how paid social teams operate, regardless of their size or industry.
We often get questions about investing in paid social automation: when do I start thinking about it? What is the best solution for my team? How to evaluate whether it’s worth it?
In this guide, we will answer the most common questions and dive into the economics of paid social automation.
Any paid social team can begin their journey with ad operations automation. However, certain markers can indicate a team's readiness or necessity for automation:
This isn't just about occasionally needing automation; there should be a continual demand for it. Successful implementation of automation usually emerges from a consistent requirement for technological solutions. Teams that have an ongoing demand for streamlining processes and optimizing workflows are more likely to succeed with automation.
Teams that are knee-deep in ad operations such as ad creation, creative reporting, and bidding regularly—be it daily or weekly - tend to gain immensely from automation. These operations aren't just routine annoying tasks but also core drivers of value for your business.
Successful implementation of automation hinges on having a clear business goal and understanding its key elements. All customers that come to us who are a good fit know exactly what they are doing already and have a clear idea of where they want to go.
In the realm of paid social advertising, two primary categories of teams can benefit the most from ad operations automation.
These are teams that have experienced rapid growth, perhaps even outgrowing their existing resources. They're at the point where the status quo isn't working for them —whether it's draining team spirit & health, overwhelming working hours, or simply unmanageable tasks.
In most cases, these teams have already experimented with other tools or collaborated with freelancers but still find gaps. Their solution isn't to replace the current team but rather to empower them with automation.
These teams might be at the start or in the middle of their growth trajectory. They've tested and learned what works, perhaps fine-tuning their processes, client onboarding methods, ad management, and reporting systems. As they gear up for growth, their priority is to arm themselves with more resources before bringing in more clients. The ultimate goal? Every client should experience the same gold standard of service quality. Automation becomes their secret weapon in ensuring this consistent excellence.
If you are at the point of scaling your team and ad operations but haven’t yet invested in an automation solution you’ve probably thought of several other ways to do it. Businesses often find themselves at a crossroads when deciding whether to hire junior talent, invest in ready-made tools, or opt for custom development. Each of these choices presents its own set of advantages and challenges.
Paid social automation has changed the game for many brands and businesses, helping them streamline processes, enhance efficiency, and achieve their goals more effectively. But what has worked for others might not work for your team. These are the crucial aspects to evaluate in paid social automation solutions:
A consistent observation that we have made is that most teams evaluate how effortlessly the new system can meld with their existing tools. The biggest part is how the automation solution will integrate with the tools that you are already using. How well the automation solution is working with your project management tool? Can you integrate it into reporting? Moreover, businesses tend to focus on mapping their current processes into automation seamlessly, ensuring a smooth transition and minimal disruptions.
While the initial investment is crucial, forward-thinking companies also project future costs. Companies need to understand the scalability of the automation solution—will it become pricier as they grow, or can they scale down during lean periods without incurring unnecessary costs?
Sometimes, it's the simple functionalities that make all the difference. Automating tasks that teams previously spent hours on can be a huge argument for a particular solution. One such instance, for example, is the ability to upload media files straight from Google Drive to the Meta ads library. Is it saving your team lots of time and effort? It's about understanding the potential of what can be automated and then matching those functionalities with business needs.
Automation is fantastic, but it's also essential to get clarity on what tasks still require manual intervention. Companies often reevaluate their manual processes and inquire about automation possibilities, seeking comprehensive solutions.
Drawing from experience, these are the factors for success stories:
A shining example of successful automation integration is a business whose core revolves around paid social ads. Their growth and daily operations hinge on advertising, and this immersion in the ad world means their team is always looking for efficiency. It's basically what they breathe. The importance of ads to their entire operation is so high, that if they stop running ads, they might close the entire business altogether.
Before diving into automation, the business took significant steps to streamline and standardize its processes. They aimed for cohesion within their teams, sharing strategies and insights to ensure everyone operated at the same efficiency level. Everybody's spending a lot of manual time on certain things, and hence are on the same side when it comes to standardization, building robust processes, and automation.
One of the standout features of this successful automation implementation is the appointment of a dedicated individual, responsible for overseeing the automation's integration. Over time, this lead not only mastered the automation platform but also ensured every team member was equipped to leverage it. The shift in mindset towards automation is clear: repetitive manual tasks are targets for automation.
If your goal is straightforward: solve that one issue as quickly as possible and move on, then don’t even start automating your operations. Effective automation requires a broader perspective and commitment to long-term change.
If teams pride themselves only on the outcome and not on the processes, it will be very difficult to build a robust automation solution. The downfall of such businesses often lies in their focus on the outcome rather than the processes leading to it. While outcomes can vary due to a multitude of factors, automated processes remain consistent, ensuring sustainability in the long run.
While many might look directly at ad performance to judge the efficacy of their automation tools, we suggest a completely different approach. Ad performance is not what we typically look at, we tend to look at a much deeper level. Instead, there are four main criteria to evaluate the ROI of a paid social automation project:
Automation naturally reduces manual work, which can translate into savings in terms of salaries. This doesn't necessarily mean job cuts but reallocating staff to more strategic roles. People don't have to do boring, tedious work, which means that your current staff can pivot to other crucial tasks like strategy and creative testing.
The right tools in the hands of streamlined teams can amplify productivity by 200% to 300%. Teams with great processes and the right tools are two, three times more productive than others! And in the realm of paid ads, the effort to scale the budget doesn't increase linearly with the budget itself. Hyperproductive teams, powered by automation, can handle significantly larger budgets without a proportional increase in workload.
Automation frees skilled employees from tedious tasks like copying and pasting. This not only boosts productivity but also job satisfaction, potentially reducing turnover. Given the frequent job-hopping in marketing sectors, where roles sometimes last just a year or 18 months, reducing employee churn can result in significant savings for companies.
Automation can minimize the errors that eat into ad spend. For some businesses, this might be a minor fraction, but for others, a 1% reduction in yearly ad spend loss can be a significant amount. In fact, ad spend lost by errors can be a very meaningful amount, sometimes, justifying fully the implementation of paid social automation.
Imagine this: A company (let's call it Company A) tests a whopping 500 ads a month. They have a dedicated team of five, managing a monthly ad spend of $500K. What would be the potential advantages and savings they could witness by implementing paid social automation?
To start, let’s look at the costs involved. If the team of five costs the company roughly $30k combined, and the ad budget stands at $500K, you're looking at a total expenditure of $530K. Now, if these investments are driving revenue of $600K, it presents a positive ROI.
But the question arises, is there room for improvement? By looking at these numbers, we have to think about potential uplift. If the team is overwhelmed or not particularly content with their tasks due to repetitive manual efforts, there could be a substantial case for automation.
Assuming hiring another member would cost an additional $6K a month, one would wonder: could the same result, or even better, be achieved by directing that budget toward automation? If automation could make the team's processes smoother and more efficient, could they possibly manage a larger budget, say $750K, with the same headcount?
The margins speak volumes here. Even a minor increase in efficiency, say 5% or 10% monthly due to optimized processes, could significantly amplify results.
The myth that paid social automation is solely the realm of huge enterprises is far from reality. There are small teams that also utilize automation solutions. In fact, the landscape has smaller agencies, with teams ranging from five to fifteen people, that are integrating automation in exceptionally impactful ways.
Take, for example, a lead gen agency, a mere year into its journey, but with a clear vision of service quality and growth. They're at the beginning of their growth journey, where they already know they want to do it the right way, right from the beginning. They're unwilling to compromise quality just for rapid growth.
It's about finding the right balance between growth and quality, especially when success leads to increased demand. The challenge is maintaining consistency in the service quality as the client base expands. This is where the foresight of automation comes into play. Even if there's no immediate demand for automation, forward-thinking agencies recognize its impending significance in maintaining and elevating service standards.
The core of such paid social teams often consists of a lean team, sometimes with just two key players handling ad operations. Yet, with the power of automation tools, they can effortlessly scale, maintain quality, and deliver exceptional results. It's a testament to the idea that you don't need a vast team to achieve great results. Sometimes, all you need is a clear vision, determination, and the right tools in your arsenal.
Paid social automation is no longer a luxury but a necessity in today's rapidly evolving paid social world. While it is evident that large teams with high-volume operations can benefit immensely from automation, the paradigm shift is that even small teams, with lean operations, can leverage this technology. As the digital landscape becomes more complex and competitive, efficiency, agility, and consistency will be the pillars of success, and automation stands at the intersection of these.
It's not just about how much you spend, but how efficiently and smart you spend it. Investing in paid social automation is like building a strategic ally – one that optimizes resources, amplifies productivity, and ensures that businesses, irrespective of their size, can focus on what truly matters: innovation and growth. The choice isn't about whether to adopt automation but how soon you can embrace it to redefine your paid social strategy's future trajectory.