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Horizontal Scaling vs Vertical Scaling with YouTube Ads

Let’s take a look at when and how you should be using horizontal scaling versus vertical scaling.

This vernacular actually originated in computing, which is a great analogy.

Vertical scaling, also called scaling up, is when you add more power to an existing machine. You’re adding more RAM or installing a faster processor.

Horizontal scaling, also called scaling out, is when you add more machines.

Similarly, vertically scaling your YouTube Ads means you are scaling existing campaigns, mainly by increasing the budget and also by making other changes to the settings and targeting that will expand the reach of those campaigns.

Horizontally scaling your YouTube Ads means you are adding more campaigns.

So, which do I recommend? Both! Just like with computing, you vertically scale when you can. If you can get more power out of an existing machine just by changing a few components, then that is what you should do.

If you can get more sales from a YouTube ad campaign just by increasing the budget, then that is what you should do. Vertical scaling has its limits though. You can have the fastest, most powerful computer ever made, and at some point, it will no longer be able to effectively handle all of the work you want it to do.

Or maybe it is not just one computer. Maybe you already have dozens of computers and all of them have reached their limit. You want to scale but you can’t possibly add any more power to any of the existing machines. The only solution is to add more machines – horizontal scaling.

When you’re running YouTube Ads, you may have dozens of campaigns that are performing great. You can scale them up for a while (vertical scaling), but at some point, they will reach their limit.

Either you’ll set a higher budget and Google won’t spend the full budget that you’re asking it to, OR, maybe you increase the budget and the results start to get worse.

These are signs that you’ve scaled up those campaigns as high as they will go. When this happens, one solution is to add more campaigns – horizontal scaling.

Horizontal scaling can take on different forms. One way to do it, and usually the first step, is to add more campaigns for the same offer, but with different types of targeting. By adding new campaigns with different types of targeting, you’re able to get that offer in front of more and more people.

You can then take these campaigns, the ones that are producing great results, and you can vertically scale them until they reach their vertical scaling limit. Another way to horizontally scale is to run campaigns to different steps of your funnel or to different funnels all together. So, I do see retargeting as a way to horizontally scale.

Also, running cold traffic campaigns to new offers is another way you can scale out.

Or, consider this! Let’s say you’re just running Facebook Ads right now. Well, any campaigns that you add outside of Facebook would be horizontal scaling. If you’ve started with Facebook Ads and now you’re just getting into YouTube Ads, this would initially be a form of horizontal scaling because you’re adding new machines.

Vertical scaling is great but everything has its limits. The only way past a vertical limit is to scale horizontally, and then you can scale vertically again.

This concept applies to YouTube Ads and it also applies to the marketing efforts of your business as a whole.