Every innovative company or business unit faces the challenge to balance exploration vs exploitation. While exploitation builds on existing assets and aims to improve them through innovation, exploration requires companies to "leave their comfort zone" and go to places where they have not been before.
In performance marketing, an ever-changing field with millions of competitors bidding for the same spot and a vast amount of unknown externals, this is a constant battle between optimization and scaling of current high-performing adsets, while making sure the backlog of new angles, creatives, and channels is never empty.
The problem though is: The biggest success in both areas is achieved, when focusing on one thing only for a prolonged time and really digging deep. But how to do it, when you constantly have to switch between both?
In our opinion, The answer to this is:
So the answer to the "when" is built on the definition of exploitation and exploration. When you have built an asset in your company, it is time to build a system, that keeps exploiting! In performance marketing, one of the most important systems needs to be built, when there is found a repeated process of testing and rolling out new creatives. When you have done it over and over again with similar success, it is time to build a system that does the job for you. This certainly does not mean running it on complete "auto-pilot", but implementing a system that does this job for you.
It will probably take longer than expected, to have it up and running, but once done, it will pay you dividends for a long time. Then, it is time go into exploration mode again and find new fields for innovation. Over a long period of time, balancing smartly between exploration and exploitation will leave you with superb and robust systems, that get always gets the foundational work done.
And the current uncertain times in online marketing, showcase another upside: When there is a big shift in the market - like it is now with the announced changes on iOS 14.5 and Google Tracking, you'll actually have the capacity to dig deep into it the implications, and come out as a winner.