<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=1387476824747287&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">
Skip to content

Main & Test Campaigns, Meta Ads Ecommerce Strategy

If you're running Meta Ads as an agency, for a business you work for or as a business owner, the strategy you choose will have a gigantic impact on your results.

Just going in blind and hoping for the best might work on the rare occasion, but if you want consistent results you have to plan for them. That's why I'm sharing another Meta Ads strategy for driving ecommerce sales.

I will be referring to this strategy as Main and Test. The objective of this strategy is to have a portion of your budget that is dedicated to looking for lucrative audiences, with the rest of your Meta Ads budget going towards the winning audiences you have found using your test campaign.

I find this method particularly useful for catalogue ads, especially when you have a large volume and variety of products.


Campaign Structure

As I mentioned, this strategy involves having two campaigns. The first campaign is your test campaign. That will only run two or three max ad sets at a time. I would recommend sticking to two unless you have a budget north of about €120 per day. 

The two ad sets can be used to test different product sets or different audiences. The aim is to find out, as quickly as possible, which audience targeting and product sets work for you and which ones don't.

The second campaign is your main campaign. When you find a winning combination in your test campaign, you will pause it and move it over to your main campaign.

Your budget should be split about 60/40 with 60% going towards the main campaign.

Real World Example

Here's an example from a client of ours that sells a really wide variety of products.

main and test 1

They sell everything from garden furniture to reptile habitats so they were the perfect candidate for this strategy.

If we take a look at the test campaign, we can see there is a huge variety of ad sets. 

main and test 2

Each one in this case actually had different targeting as well as different product sets. The idea was to see which product sets sell the best and then later test out different audiences with the winning product sets.

You can see some are hugely profitable like the BBQ interest and product set. That generated over €3,000 in sales with just €84 in ad spend. So that was paused and moved into the main campaign.

However the fishowner/aquarium targeting and product set is yet to yield any results. It isn't a clear failure yet, but it looks like it's headed that way so we will have to keep an eye on it.

You can see we have a lot of ad sets that haven't had any spend and haven't run yet. I created all of them in advance but we will introduce one at a time. That will be to replace an ad set that has moved into the main campaign or to replace one that has failed. We never want too many running at once as it will take too long to see results.

Campaign Planning

Write out a plan before starting. What ROAS is acceptable to class an ad set as a winner or a loser? In some cases you might only need a ROAS of 3.0 to be profitable others might require more. Set clear targets for each ad set.

If you have spent three or more times the price of the products in the set and still haven't generated any sales, it might be time to add it to the loser pile.

When to call an ad set a loser will vary a lot depending on product value and your goals, which is why it's so important to set clear goals from the outset.

Closing Remarks

When you move a winning ad set over to the main campaign from your test campaign, that is by no means the end of the testing. Now you can get down to the ad level and test different versions of the ads against each other so you're account is constantly improving.

If you continue to utilise this strategy, you will find winning ad sets and product sets and you will be able to capitalise on their success.

Not all combinations work forever, so it's massively important to keep your test campaign going to find new winners, even when you're tempted to turn it off and put all of your budget towards your main campaign.

Want to learn more? Follow me on LinkedIn or follow 3B1 on YouTube for regular insights and strategies.

Written by Christian Donovan, Director of Performance Marketing at 3B1.