Optimizing Facebook Ads for Lead Generation

Posted by on Jan 8, 2015 in Advertising, Social
Optimizing Facebook Ads for Lead Generation

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:

  • Spend
  • Conversions
  • 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.

facebook ads manager reporting

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:

facebook ad reporting 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.

Examples:

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.

Steps:

Campaign Level

  • 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.

facebook ad examples

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.

Michael McEuen

Director of Marketing at AdStage. Social ads convert, and perpetual tinkerer. B2B pipeline generation is my jam.

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