After crafting your campaign, placing the conversion code and assigning a budget, it’s time to take it live. Cue the fireworks and office cake. Once the celebration subsides, now what?
The sobering realization will soon set in that you have pressing goals to hit. But optimization can seem daunting, even to the most seasoned professional. There are so many levers at your disposal. If you focus in on your key metrics, and stick to the basics, you’ll be well positioned to exceed target goals.
Below, I’ll reveal optimization tips for Lead Generation campaigns, learned through running hundreds of campaigns (some lessons more painful than others).
1. Cozy up to Your Key Metrics
Every metric can have some degree of impact on performance. However, not all metrics are worth your attention. Focus on the following metrics that matter most:
- Conversion Rate
- Cost per Conversion
I’m not saying that metrics such as Social Impressions have no merit, but at the end of the day, your boss or client will be judging you by one thing: leads.
What they care about:
- How many leads did you generate?
- At what cost?
- What are the quality of the leads?
Never lose sight of what you’re being held accountable for.
2. Benchmark and Report Trends
Call me old fashioned, but when it comes to charting performance trends, I like to take things offline– to trusty Excel.
Visit Facebook’s Reports Center and customize the columns to build your ideal report.
Make sure you include the following Lead Generation specific metrics:
- Amount Spent
- Website Clicks (I prefer this metric over the generic clicks, since it only counts direct clickthroughs as opposed to any click on the ad)
- Cost Per Website Click (This is your true Cost Per Click. Simple Cost per Click metrics include clicks that took place on the ad itself but may have not led to a clickthrough.)
- Leads (Conversions)
- Cost per Lead (Conversion)
Example custom report columns:
At the campaign level, be sure to benchmark and report on these metrics in trends– week over week, month over month, quarter over quarter.
You’ll start to understand how the performance of your secondary metrics (clicks, CTR, CPC, CPM, impressions, etc.) impacts your key metrics.
Comparing Month 1 vs. Month 2
WHEN CTR increased ↑ CPC decreased ↓ and Avg. Cost Per Lead decreased ↓
WHEN Frequency increased ↑ Website Clicks decreased ↓ and Leads decreased ↓
3. Cut the Fat
The Excel reports act as a good indicator to find a symptom, such as the cost per lead being too high. Now, it’s time to identify and rectify the causes of the symptom.
One of advertisers’ most impactful optimization techniques is not editing, but pausing. It’s time to grab your surgeon scalpel and login directly into the Facebook Ads dashboard.
Start with the highest layer (campaigns), and work down to the ad creative.
- Sort all campaigns by the Total Spent column. This will help prioritize importance.
- An underperforming campaign that’s only spent $200 will not have the same impact on your key metrics, as optimizing a campaign that’s spent $1000s.
- Find a campaign with high total spend and high cost, and click through to the ad set layer.
- D: Cost – The average you paid for each action associated with your objective (Conversions).
Campaign -> Ad Set Level
- Follow this same recipe for the Ad Set Layer.
- Sort all Ad Sets by the Total Spent column
- Note ad set with no Results or high Costs.
- Find your desired Ad Set, and click through to the Ads table.
Campaign -> Ad Set -> Ads Creative Level
- You know the drill. Prep your Ad table
- Sort all Ads by the Total Spent column
- Pause ads that have significant spend, but never generated a result or has very high avg. costs.
Pause aggressively based on hard metrics, opposed to feelings or attachment to copy. This technique will significantly lower your Average Cost Per Lead, while increasing lead totals on the same budget.
4. Test Multiple Creatives
For Facebook Ads your creative has a huge impact on performance. Unlike Google AdWords Search Ads, which can live months on end, Facebook Ads fatigue in weeks, if not days.
It’s important to continually cycle in fresh creative to keep CTRs high. Test different headlines, body copy, calls-to-action and images to find the best performers.
5. Refine Your Audience
Great ad copy has an achilles heel– the audience. Even the most compelling creative may flop against the wrong audience.
Continually enhance your Demographic / Interest / and Behavior targets with these tips:
- Pull a Responder Demographic report in the Reports Gallery to reveal performance by gender and age range.
- Label all your Ad Sets and Ads, noting the persona. This way, you can better understand how targets are performing.
- Example ad name: Soccer Moms Targ_Image1_Copy2_PromoLP
- Use Facebook Custom Audiences
Bringing It All Together
While Facebook Ads offers an exhausting amount of options and possibilities, running Lead Generation campaigns doesn’t need to be scary. Follow the steps of continually refreshing ad copy, whittling down your audience, and tracking your performance. When your total leads or average costs trend in the wrong direction, nip the inefficiencies at the ad set and ad layers.
Do you have additional optimization tricks? We’d love to hear about them in the comments below.
Anyone who has been part of an agency or large internal organization that managed Facebook Ads in its early years can attest to how vigilante it seemed: people creating fake profiles to manage accounts, the entire organization sharing one login, and the bumbling click paths to grant user’s access to pages…ah, the memories.
Facebook has since unveiled Business Manager, which aims to help users manage ad accounts & privileges in a simpler, consolidated fashion. In this guide, we’ll cover the ins & outs of this offering so you’ll be wheeling around the platform with ease.
What is Business Manager?
Facebook describes it as a tool to help businesses and agencies manage their ad accounts, pages and apps in one place.
What Are the Benefits?
Invite new users to manage ad accounts, Facebook pages or apps from a central location.
Grant different access levels to users, based on management needs.
Have a single repository for all your payment funding sources.
Manage your agency relationship and permissions easily.
Organize your pages and ad accounts into projects.
Resistance is Futile
I admire those headstrong advertisers who dig in your heels and refuse to comply with breaking changes until it’s forced upon them. But much like their comrades who protested Enhanced Campaigns for AdWords, my friends, change is inevitable.
As of October 1st, all gray accounts were switched over to “read-only” status. You can no longer actively manage ad accounts or pages. Gray accounts are logins, other than your personal profile, that manage a page or ad account. This type of account applies to the lion’s share of advertisers.
Fret not, because you can add your gray accounts in Business Manager.
How to Get Started
Nominate an admin for your business or agency, and have them create an account at https://business.facebook.com.
Tip: Select someone who already have admin access to all your business pages for easy setup.
2. Migrate your pages, apps, and ad accounts.
Have the admin who created the Business Account add the associated pages, ad accounts and apps.
- Click on the Settings tab
- Navigate to the Pages, Ad Accounts, or Apps tab
- On the top right corner, click on the Add New button
Connecting Gray Accounts (Shared Logins)
Navigate to the Shared Login tab
Click on the Add Shared Login button
Projects allow you to group select pages, ad accounts and apps into clean views for easy management.
To create a project:
Ensure you are on the Settings page
Navigate to the Projects tab
Click the Create New Project button
Tip: If you’re an in-house team with multiple pages and ad accounts, or an agency, I highly recommend setting up projects before assigning roles. It will help save you a considerable amount of time when assigning permissions to individual users.
Ensure you’ve selected the Settings tab
Click on the People button, on the left-hand navigation
Click the Add New Person button
Enter one or multiple emails of the user(s) you’d like to add.
Assign the appropriate role for the new user
Most employees and agencies should be given “Business Manager employee” access.
Assign the user a select page or pages; then, select their access level for each.
Facebook Page roles:
- Page Admin
- Can manage all aspects of the Page including sending messages and posting as the Page, creating ads, viewing insights, and assigning Page roles.
- Page Editor
- Can edit the Page, send messages and post as the Page, create ads, and view insights.
- Page Moderator
- Can respond to and delete comments on the Page, send messages as the Page, create ads, and view insights.
- Page Advertiser
- Can create ads for the Page and view insights.
- Page Analyst
- Can view insights.
Tip: You can assign the user(s) individual page level permissions, or select a default role across all properties for a streamlined setup.
Tip: Quickly sort through pages by using the search field or filtering by project.
Next, follow the same process for ad account privileges
Ad account roles:
- Ad Account Admin
- Can manage all aspects of campaigns, including creating reports, viewing and editing billing details and assigning account roles.
- Ad Account Advertiser
- Can see and edit ads, and can set up ads using the payment method associated with the ad account; but can’t set account level.
- Ad Account Analyst
- Can view ad performance.
Business Manager Gems
See a rollup view of all your business manager notifications.
- Click on the list icon, in the top right hand corner.
Launch Power Editor from Business Manager
- Click on “Use Power Editor” link, on the right hand side.
Receive a bird’s eye view summary of ad account performance (over the ad accounts you have permissions for)
- Click on the Ad Accounts Summary button, on the right hand side of the table.
- Set your date range using the drop down, and export the data into Excel.
Use the search bar & filters for quick navigation
Drill further into an ad account, by clicking Manage Ads in-line with the ad account you’d like to work on.
Take advantage of the full guide on the right hand side for deeper insights.
Manage all of your payment sources on the Payments Method page
View a log of all your Business Account change history
- Select on the Info tab.
- Click on the View History button.
The Business Manager is a great tool that brings community management, advertising, app growth, and outsourcing into one central hub. What are your thoughts on the offering? Please comment below.
Back in August, Facebook rolled out dayparting functionality. With this feature, you can now optimize campaigns by turning ads off during the times of day or week when they’re less profitable. It’s a great way to limit wasted spend so that you can devote your budget towards the more profitable times of day. But how do you get the data to drive your dayparting decisions?
While the tools to take action are available, the data you need to make such decisions isn’t… There are no hourly reporting features in Facebook’s ad tools. Fortunately, there is another way to get this information. This post will show you how to use Google Analytics custom reports to analyze campaign performance by time of day and day of week.
Using Google Analytics to Make Data-Driven Dayparting Optimizations
If you’re using Google Analytics, it’s easy to track performance from many traffic sources; including Facebook, LinkedIn, Google AdWords and Twitter Ads. With Google Analytics, you can see the behavior of your Facebook traffic and segment it by time of day. It’s worth noting that spend data will be missing from Google Analytics, but you’ll still be able to see conversion rates which can help indicate the value of traffic during off-peak hours.
How to Build a Custom Report for Time of Day
- Click the Customization tab
- Click + New Custom Report
- Under Metric Groups, click + add metric for each metric column you want to view
- Sessions, Bounce Rate, Conversions, Conversion Rate, etc
- Under Dimension Drilldowns, click + add dimension for each level of segmentation and row you want to view
- Choose Source / Medium in order to focus on Facebook Ads traffic
- Then, choose Hour to segment this traffic by time of day
- Click Save
Build a Custom Report for Day of Week
To analyze performance by day of week, follow the same steps above; except in Step 4, replace the second dimension of “Hour” with “Day of Week.”
Analyzing Your Custom Report
- Now that you have your custom report, click into the Source / Medium of your Facebook Ads traffic.
- My Facebook ad traffic comes in as “facebook / cpc,” but that’s because I set it up that way.)
- Adjust your date range to analyze performance over time.
- Try looking at the past business week (Monday to Friday) and see how that compares with weekends.
- If the data is sparse, look at a longer date range.
- Look for patterns
- Look at the graph to see how traffic spikes over time.
- Sort your table by Hour to see it in the order you’d expect.
- Time is displayed between 00 – 23 in the hour column (according to the Time Zone in your Google Analytics profile)
- Adjust the Show Rows dropdown to “25” to view all 24 rows on one page
Armed with this data, you’ll be able to make informed dayparting decisions! If you have any questions or suggestions, please share in the comments below.
Facebook recently announced on their Business blog that its new Audience Network is now available to all advertisers. Below, I’ll answer common questions about this new offering and provide insights.
What is the Audience Network?
The Audience Network allows advertisers to extend their ad message outside of Facebook and display it on a network of mobile apps. The Mobile Apps publishers offer additional ad inventory.
What Are the Benefits?
Advertisers can greatly expand the reach & impressions of their ad messaging by opting into the network.
You can utilize the same ad targeting found within Facebook Ads.
The network is compatible with the same ad dimensions as Facebook, so you will not have to adjust your ad creative.
You can add call-to-action buttons, such as “Play Now”, or “Install Now”.
The ad’s placement is prominent within the app.
Where Do the Ads Appear?
The ads can be delivered in three possible formats within an app – Banner, Interstitial, & Native.
What Campaign Objective Types Are Eligible?
Clicks to the Website
My Initial Thoughts
Competition for ad placements within Facebook’s walls continues to heat up, driving average cost-per-click costs up 24% in 2013, compared to 2012. If you’re targeting mobile users, it can get expensive due to the limited inventory in the News Feed. The Audience Network offers an exciting opportunity to expand reach, while lowering costs.
For app promoters, this network is a logical next step. Your target audience is on their mobile phones and already engaging with an app, so there’s a strong likelihood they might download your app.
My initial reservations come from the unknown quality of the network. The incorporation of rich Facebook audience targeting helps ensure your message is seen by the right demographic. However, advertisers can’t control which apps will show their ads. Some low quality apps might promote unintended clicks in attempts to drive up their ad revenues. Back in 2012, a study found that 40% of clicks on mobile ads were fraudulent or accidental.
I’m hopeful that Facebook will add additional safeguards and eventually allow advertisers to exclude select placements that don’t generate desired results. Initial tests look promising, with Facebook noting that Walgreen’s generated a 5% increase in total reach and a 4-5x click-through rate.
How to Opt Into the Network
Within Facebook Ads
Newly created Facebook campaigns that are eligible will be opted in by default to the Audience Network. Advertisers can opt into the Audience Network for any live ads that meet the criteria.
Through an API Partner Platform
We’re excited to announce the addition of the Audience Network as an option supported within AdStage. Simply opt in to the network at the ad placement level for any eligible ad objective type.
The Audience Network is an exciting new ad placement, but more testing will be needed to see how it performs in the marketplace. Facebook’s initial findings are promising and prove that mobile is poised to gain an even greater share of ad budgets. Want to share your thoughts on the Audience Network? Please comment below.
One of the biggest advantages of advertising on Facebook is its strong incorporation of native advertising within the Newsfeed. Native ads appear and function like organic content, typically generating higher click-through rates than standard banner ads.
There are two key ad types that allows marketers to place advertising within the Newsfeed – Sponsored and Unpublished posts. So, when should you choose one over the other?
In this post, we’ll examine the advantages and use cases for each.
Even with the most compelling content, your company’s organic page post may only be seen by 6% of your fan base. Taking an engaging organic post, and sponsoring it, can greatly extend the number of Facebook users who will see the post.
Benefits of using Sponsored Posts
1. Increase your ads reach
- Show your content to fans who haven’t interacted with your page in a long time.
- Display to friends of fans of your page.
- Extend your message to a new audience.
2. Encourage engagement
- Prompt on-page actions such as likes, comments and photo views.
3. Include social influence from fans of the page
- Display ads with Social Impressions.
Your company page can look pretty spammy if you publish multiple variations of the same content to find out which performs the best. Unpublished posts allow you to test different ad permutations in the Newsfeed, without cluttering your company page.
Benefits of using Unpublished Posts
1. Great for direct responses, routing clicks to an outside destination url.
- E-commerce purchases
- Form capture, lead generation
2. Multivariate ad message testing
- Allows you to test different ad headlines, body copy and images without spamming your company page with a new, repetitive update for every test.
- Allows you to cater headlines and calls-to-action to your pinpointed, target audience.
- Works especially well with Custom Audiences
Each ad type has distinct benefits and drawbacks. Choose Sponsored Updates when focusing on engagement and reach, and use Unpublished Posts for testing and driving conversions.
Bids are moving from the ad level to the ad set level. Are you prepared to take advantage of this change to structure?
Facebook campaigns used to be so simple. You’d create ads with copy and a target audience, and then drop them into a campaign with a budget. But a major change in March introducing ad sets – along with another change this month moving targeting, placement and bid settings to the ad set level – has made Facebook ad account structure a little more complex. In this post, I’ll walk you through these changes to help you take advantage of these changes and structure your Facebook ad account for success.
How Facebook Structure Has Changed
March 2014 Change
Back in March, Facebook introduced “ad sets” to the account structure. This additional layer between campaigns and ads promised to make it easier for you to organize, optimize and measure your ad performance.
After that change:
- Campaigns became where you defined your objective.
- Ad sets became where you defined your schedule and budget.
- Ads became where you defined your creative, placement, audience targeting and bid.
In August, Facebook announced a major change to structure that moves many ad attributes to the ad set level.
- Campaigns are still where you define objective.
- Ad sets are still where you define schedule and budget, but also where you define placement, audience targeting and bid.
- Ads are now where you define the creative only.
These changes were scheduled to begin rolling out on September 1, but have been pushed back to September 15, 2014 according to Jon Loomer.
My Thoughts on This Change
When ad sets were first implemented, Facebook recommended we to split up ad sets by audience and include several different ad types in each ad set. This, Facebook promised, would enable them to optimize ad delivery to use the best-performing ad for each objective and audience. However, this was much harder than it needed to be because targeting still lived on the ad level. Every time you created an ad for an ad set, you had to configure the audience to make sure it matched.
This is a great change because it makes it possible to test different creatives without having to redefine the bid and targeting. You simply create an ad set, add multiple creatives, and then test for which one works best.
Search advertisers that are familiar with the “ad group” structure used in Google AdWords and Bing Ads would expect targeting to be defined at the ad set level. Finally, it is.
One thing that still frustrates me with this new structure is that budget is defined on the ad set level, rather than on the campaign level like it is with other ad networks. Fortunately, I hear Facebook will soon be adding a campaign spend cap to address this, along with advanced delivery controls and audience management “in the near future.”
How to Structure New Facebook Ad Campaigns
Let’s now go over how you should structure your Facebook campaigns in light of the recent changes.
1. Create a campaign for each objective.
The first step is to define your objectives and create a campaign for each of them (e.g., create a campaign for generating mobile app installs).
2. Create an ad set for each audience.
Next, create ad sets for each of the different audiences you want to target for this objective (e.g., baby boomers, new parents, etc.). You’ll also set your bids and budgets at this level, according to your goals.
3. Create multiple ad variations.
Finally, populate each ad set with multiple ads. These ads will inherit all of the settings from the ad set they are placed in (e.g., bid, audience, etc.), but can still vary in ad type. Create a handful of different ads so that Facebook’s system can optimize delivery across the different variations and ad types.
For more help, check out this best practices guide from Facebook.
Earlier this week, Facebook introduced ad scheduling to their ad platform. This long-requested feature, known in the industry as dayparting, lets you turn your ads off and on automatically throughout the week on a recurring schedule.
In this post, I’ll walk you through the new feature to show you how you can use it to optimize your Facebook Ad campaigns and offer my first impressions of the implementation.
Ad Scheduling is now available in the Facebook Power Editor
Why Dayparting Matters
Dayparting unlocks another dimension of Facebook campaign optimization. It lets you turn off your ads at the times of the day or week that they are less profitable. It’s a great way to limit wasted spend so you can devote your budget towards the more profitable times of day.
For example, let’s say you’re promoting a nightclub. You may find that your ads have lower click through rates and conversion rates on Mondays. It makes sense, maybe your audience is still recovering from the weekend and going to a nightclub is the last thing on their mind. If you’ve identified this is a trend, you might want to go ahead and schedule your ads to turn off on Mondays. Or maybe you decide to go all out and limit your ads to just Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 3-11pm. If those are the highest performing times of the week for your campaigns and you have a limited budget, that’s the way to go.
To Set an Ad Schedule
1. Visit the Power Editor (and download the most recent version of your account, if necessary).
2. Navigate to an Ad Set
3. Scroll down to Ad Scheduling. If the option is grayed out, you’ll need to switch your budget from daily to lifetime (more on this below).
4. You’ll then see the ad schedule grid.
Now just click and drag across the grid to highlight the hours during which you’d like your campaigns to serve.
The new ad schedule setting is only available in the Power Editor – Facebook’s native ad management tool – and the Facebook Ads API, but not the Facebook Ad Manager.
No Bid Modifier – Day-parting brings a deeper level of optimization to Facebook and brings it closer to what AdWords offers, but not to parity. In Google AdWords, you can also adjust your bids by time of day, which gives you the ability to optimize your bid based on your predicted conversion rate for that time. For example, if clicks in the middle of the night are half as profitable, you could reduce your AdWords bids by 50% until the morning. Facebook’s implementation is a great start, but there’s room for improvement. To edit your bids by time of day, use the new AdStage Automated Rules app.
Ad Set Level Scheduling – For now, Facebook only lets you turn an entire Ad Set on or off so keep that in mind as you structure your campaigns and Ad Sets. To schedule on the campaign level, use the new AdStage Automated Rules app
Lifetime Budget Required – I find it odd that ad scheduling doesn’t work for Ad Sets set to use a daily budget and I imagine having to set a lifetime budget for the campaign will be a deal-breaker for some advertisers. To configure a schedule while maintaining your daily budget, use the new AdStage Automated Rules app
Time Zones – Note that Facebook ad scheduling uses your audience’s time zone and not yours. Unless you limit your targeted locations to those of a single time zone, your campaigns could be running at any time of day. This is a great if you want to tailor ads to your audience’s schedule (e.g., when they’re just waking up) but bad if you want to tailor ads to your business’s schedule (e.g., when your call center is open). To specify the time zone your schedule should use, use the new AdStage Automated Rules app
Granularity – The schedule can be set in 1 hour increments, which won’t be a high enough level of granularity for many advertisers, especially when you’re optimizing campaigns with a lot of data. To configure a schedule with 10 minute increments, use the new AdStage Automated Rules app
Fun UX – I must admit, it’s pretty fun to click and drag around the grid to customize your schedule. This is a refreshing break from the rest of the Power Editor, which can be pretty unintuitive.
What do you think? Does Facebook’s new ad scheduling meet your needs?
Facebook announced this week that it is testing a new ad type that can give people a way to discover and buy products on Facebook. The ad unit promises to help businesses drive sales through the both the News Feed and Pages.
How It Works
- A description
- An image
- The product name
- Pricing (along with standard pricing if it has been marked down)
- A “Buy” button
People that click the “Buy” button will be able to purchase the product directly from the business without leaving Facebook. This feature should help reduce the friction caused by leaving Facebook to visit an external site and increase an ad’s conversion rate, especially for low-involvement purchases.
Facebook hasn’t yet revealed what the purchase flow would look like but cover privacy and security.
We’ve built this feature with privacy in mind, and have taken steps to help make the payment experience safe and secure. None of the credit or debit card information people share with Facebook when completing a transaction will be shared with other advertisers, and people can select whether or not they’d like to save payment information for future purchases.
The ad unit displays on both mobile and desktop and is currently being tested by a small group of US small and medium-sized businesses. Though no plans for general availability were shared, commenters reacted favorably to the plans. Offering and commenters on the announcement were generally excited about the prospects.
The app industry continues to grow substantially, following increased usage of smartphones. Gartner reported in 2013, 102 billion apps were downloaded, equating to $26 billion in sales. Ad budgets are shifting to mobile and the ad networks are accommodating. To capitalize on growing demand, advertisers can now create app campaigns across Google AdWords, Facebook Ads, and most recently, Twitter Ads.
Promoting an app can be different than running a lead generation or retail e-commerce campaign. Take advantage of each networks app campaign settings.
Create at least one unique campaign per app, and assign a budget.
Nothing pains an advertiser more than when they build a thorough campaign only to see click-throughs bounce off the landing page.
App installs ads remove the need for a destination url, instead allowing the target audience to download the app right on the ad itself.
Drive App Engagement
Use this ad type to remarket to app users, keeping them actively using your app.
App engagement ads help increase monetization, aiding in the engagement and retention of the app.
There are many types of apps (subscription based, in-app purchases, free with ads, etc.), and each will have a unique set of KPIs to measure engagement. Optimize towards your core KPIs, driving more users to complete your desired action.
*Note: AdWords app engagement campaigns are currently in a closed beta.
Set up conversion tracking to report on total installs, cost-per-install metrics, or custom engagement metrics.
App Conversion Tracking by Network
Add a snippet of code from Google to your app.
Optimize for KPIs
While impressions, clicks, click through rate, and avg. CPM/CPC trends are important to track, advertisers should be laser focused on two key metrics – total conversions (which can include engagement) & cost per conversion.
Continually test different targeting and bid combinations to increase new installs, cost-effectively.
Take advantage of advanced bidding types to drive conversions.
Advanced Bidding Options
Apply bidding types that optimize for your key metrics.
Drive more installs with conversions optimizer.
Test Optimized CPM, bidding on actions. Once enough historic installs occur, then CPA bidding will be available, and it’s one of the most cost effective bid types for installs.
Bringing it Together
The release of dedicated app campaigns have armed advertisers with a lot more flexibility and optimization tools when promoting an app. As mobile usage continues to increase, app ad budgets will grow larger