Facebook Audience Network (FAN), which reported a $1 billion run rate earlier this year, is a great option for marketers looking to scale their ad campaigns. FAN lets you run ads on third-party websites and apps while taking advantage of all the things that are great about Facebook native in-feed ads: rich targeting data, measurement, and user-friendly interface.
I know you’re probably thinking: my conversions and brand safety would really improve if I could just place more ads alongside third-party content that I can’t control. Well, with a little bit of tinkering in Ads Manager and a trusted list of exclusions, you can increase reach at a lower CPM and perhaps, even drive more down-the-funnel metrics. Read on to learn how to make Facebook Audience Network work for you.
What’s Facebook Audience Network?
Facebook launched its Audience Network back in October 2014. This strategic move allowed Facebook to grow its footprint by boosting the volume of ad spend going to off-Facebook websites and mobile apps. Needless to say, it’s a way for Facebook to address its growing ad load challenges. FAN lets advertisers extend their Facebook campaigns outside of the social network while using the same ad targeting data.
FAN has grown quickly over the past few years. It’s not just websites and apps now; Facebook is aggressively taking aim at the TV advertising market. Facebook video ads are delivered through apps that run via set-top boxes, such as Apple TV and Roku.
Types of Ads in Audience Network
As of October 2017 (and Facebook has been moving especially fast this year), Facebook Audience Network lets advertisers place ads in the following formats:
- Native, Banner and Interstitial
- In-stream videos
- Rewarded videos
Rewarded videos currently support Unity and Cocos2DX game engines. Mobile gamers can choose to watch an ad in exchange for in-app rewards such as coins and power-ups.
Facebook’s SDK is now embedded into nearly every app on the planet. The use of header bidding and a solid inventory that includes Instant Articles makes Facebook a major challenger to traditional programmatic inventory sources and direct ad channels.
Why Advertise on Facebook Audience Network?
Facebook inventory is in high demand. Facebook’s CPMs were up 171% in 2017 and showing no sign of a slowdown, especially with the upcoming holiday season. For advertisers looking to scale spend and reach, the Audience Network could be a good option.
A few ways advertisers can take advantage of FAN:
- Drive e-commerce sales at scale
- Generate more leads by driving customers to register for something after they click
- Boost brand awareness
- Reach new relevant audiences
- Repeat your message by following users off Facebook and on their favorite websites and apps
- Target very niche audiences across web, mobile, and connected devices.
How Facebook Audience Network Works
In a nutshell, the Audience Network is Facebook’s version of Google AdSense. Here’s how it works:
- Publishers with websites or apps can join the Audience Network by submitting their application for review. They agree to allow Facebook to place ads on their websites and apps.
- Advertisers set up campaigns on Facebook. By default, ad placements with FAN-enabled campaign objectives will run on the Audience Network.
- Facebook places ads on its partnering websites and apps. Advertisers compete to get their ads on placements by bidding.
- Facebook makes money on ads and splits it with the publisher of the website or app.
Create Ads for Your Campaign Objectives
If you disable automatic placement, Facebook will recommend using Audience Network for the following campaign objectives:
- Video views (including reach and frequency buying)
- Traffic (for website clicks and app engagement)
- Product catalog sales
- App installs
Whether you’re increasing brand awareness measured by views and clicks or driving sales, you need to write Facebook ads for people in the “browse” mode. Like billboard ads, FAN creatives shouldn’t pack too much information. The simpler the message, the more powerful the effect.
Set Up Your First Facebook Audience Campaign for Success
Whenever you create a campaign using the new Ads Manager, Audience Network is selected by default for any of the FAN-enabled ad objectives.
So, unless you manually opt out of running ads on FAN in Settings, your ad will be running both in native Facebook feed and on the partner network. At the same time, you can’t select Audience Network alone. Ads must run either on Facebook or Instagram to run on FAN.
It’s possible to drive quality traffic for your direct response campaigns on FAN. Be mindful to review your placement report and not waste your ad budget on fake clicks and hurt brand image in the wrong placements. Facebook Blueprint course recommends leaving the Automatic Placements option selected, but you’ll really be better off by commanding more control. So skip the “recommended” trap and head over to Advanced Settings and Block Lists – these settings are not that “advanced” and will take you like five minutes to set up.
Protect the Brand and Improve Results with Blocklists
To set up a block list for Facebook Audience Network, go to Business Settings in your Facebook Ads Manager and find “Block Lists” under People and Assets. Upload your block lists. Apply your block lists to all or selected ad accounts. When you create a new ad set or ad, you can check if the list has been applied in Advanced Settings =>> Exclude Categories =>> Account Block Lists.
At AdStage, we built our FAN blocklist based on Seer Interactive’s blocklist for Google Display Network. You can copy and export in .csv AdStage’s blocklist for Facebook Audience Network by clicking on the link. The volatile political environment has led many programmatic buying platforms to shun many alt-right news websites, and you can certainly add such sources to your FAN blocklist to ensure the best brand representation and safety.
Note: you can add blocklists to your ad account only if you’ve been added as an advertising Admin on that account (if you have advertiser or analyst permissions, you won’t be able to add a blocklist).
You can track your campaign success on Audience Network the same way you would do for in-feed ads via Ads Manager Reporting (or your preferred PPC reporting tool).
Further Resources on Facebook Advertising
- 7 Major Updates for Facebook Advertisers
- When and How to Use Facebook Sequential Advertising
- Quick Guide to Facebook Offline Conversions
- Crash Course on Facebook Organic Reports
- The Facebook Ad Type with the Best ROI
Have you tried Facebook Audience Network? Any best practices to share? Tell us in comments!
Every successful PPC campaign starts by finding the right combination of targeting, bidding, and creative copy. As soon as you find success with your campaigns, you’ll want to start optimizing them to increase results. One way to increase performance is to run A/B tests to find what works, and then scale it.
In this article, we’ll break down the process for running run A/B tests in your PPC campaigns.
1. Define the Success Metric
The first step is to define the metric that will determine the success of your tests. This success metric will help you develop your test hypothesis and separate the winning variation from the losing one.
Here’re the metrics you can use to measure the results of your PPC A/B tests:
- CTR (Click-through-rate)
- CPC (Cost-per-click)
- Cost per Conversion
- Conversion rate
- CPA (Cost-per-action)
- ROAS (Return on ad spend)
Which metric should you choose? It depends on what you are trying to find from your tests. There’s no right or wrong metric; rather, there are the right metrics for the goal.
For example, if you want to see what specific attributes make people click on your ads, then CTR is the best metric. If one of your experimental ads gets a higher CTR than the control, you know the attribute you are testing is driving the increase, assuming everything else is the same.
- Write down your test goal.
- Pick a metric that is closest to that goal.
2. Define Your Hypothesis
Behind every successful A/B test, there’s a clear hypothesis. The more clear the hypothesis, the better the outcome of your test. In the simplest terms, a hypothesis is a prediction of your test. In a hypothesis, you define what you will test, what the possible outcome is, and why you think so.
Chris Goward, CEO and Founder of conversion optimization agency WiderFunnel, puts it this way: “A hypothesis is simply a question you can ask of your target audience or test sample.” Creating a test hypothesis is easy. In his book You Should Test That, Chris provides a simple structure to create one:
Changing [the thing you want to change] into [what you would change it into] will lift the conversion rate for [your conversion goal].
While you can test many variables in a website, ad networks offer few options. This simplifies the testing process. To create a hypothesis, pick one ad variable, then define what specific thing you will test in it and what result you expect. The variables you can test in your PPC campaigns are the following:
- Ad description (in Facebook and LinkedIn)
- Image (in Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter)
- Sitelinks (in Google Adwords)
If you were to create a hypothesis for a PPC A/B test, it could look like this:
Changing the headline to feature our latest discounts will lift the CTR by 10%.
Although you can test just a few variables, you can create an unlimited number of hypotheses for each. For example, within just the headline, you can test adding discounts or social proof, mention the number years in business, among other things. You can get as creative as you want with your hypothesis.
- Define a testing variable for each ad network you are going to run a test on.
- Develop a hypothesis around the selected variable using the structure shown above.
3. Come Up with Test Ideas
Once you have defined your hypothesis, come up with as many test ideas as possible. Don’t worry if you come up with more than you can test because you won’t be using all of them. In the next step, you will see how to prioritize them.
For example, if you were to run a test on Facebook to see what kind of headline works best, you could test:
- The unique selling proposition (USP)
- The special deals or offers you have
- The most popular products you sell
- Key copy points and messaging
- A customer testimonial
- A specific result of a customer
- Take 15-20 minutes and brainstorm as many ideas as possible. Think about what things you could test for each hypothesis.
4. Prioritize the Test Ideas
Whenever you test your PPC campaigns, you will be effectively splitting your traffic and conversions in half. To make the most out of your budget, you must prioritize your test ideas, leaving only the ones that will have the highest likelihood of improving your campaign’s performance.
There are many frameworks you can use to prioritize your ideas. My favorite one is the ICE Score, invented by Sean Ellis, the founder of GrowthHackers. The ICE Score is made up of three attributes:
- Impact: What will the impact be if this works?
- Confidence: How confident am I that this will work?
- Ease: What is the ease of implementation?
With this framework, you make a list of all the testing ideas (something you have done in the step before), and then for each one you define a numerical score from 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest) associated with each ICE attribute. Then, you would sum the three attributes and get a number for each test idea. Finally, you would compare the final number of every idea with each other, and the one that had the highest number would be the first one you would use in your test.
For example, if one of your ideas was to add the Scarcity principle to your LinkedIn ads’ headline, you could say the impact expected is 4, the confidence is 3, and the ease is 4. This would give the idea an ICE score of 11. If this was the idea with the highest number, you would test this idea first.
- Using the ICE method, give all your test ideas from the previous step a numerical number for each of the three attributes.
- Organize all the test ideas by the highest ICE score, and test the ones with the highest score first.
5. Define the Sample Size for each Metric
Before you start running your test, you must know what’s your sample size for each metric. You want to define the minimum amount of traffic (or conversions) any ad group should receive. After the ad group receives the set amount of traffic, you’d stop the test and analyze the results (which you will see how to do in step #7).
The amount of traffic you should set depends on your current numbers. For example, if you currently have an ad group that receives 500 visitors a day, you’d like to take 5 to 10 times that amount as a sample size. You want your ad groups to have enough traffic so that a single visitor doesn’t affect the overall results.
Also, you must make sure each ad group receives the amount of pre-set traffic (or conversions) before analyzing the results. If you defined a sample size of 500 conversions for each ad group, and one of them received 600 and the other one received 450, you need to wait until the latter reaches 500 to stop the test altogether.
- Define the minimum sample size for your metrics. You can use one of the countless sample size calculator tools on the web. Based on personal experience, I’d recommend you to use this one.
6. Run the Test
With your ideas and sample sizes in order, you need to start running the first tests. Don’t stop them as soon as you see a result or even if you hit your sample sizes. Wait for at least a week before you pause them. Many times, people behave differently depending on the day of the week. That’s why you should wait for at least a week.
After each ad group reaches the sample size, you can pause each test. This, however, doesn’t mean the testing is over. You must take the results of your tests and see if they are statistically significant. Choose a threshold that you feel most comfortable with (95% or 99% are the most common), and run them with an a/b testing growth tool, such as the one linked here from Kissmetrics. Take a look at the following example:
The first variation got 300 fewer visitors and 30 fewer conversions than the second one. Statistically speaking, however, the former beats the latter. Take notice of the fact the confidence level in this test is 97%. If my confidence level was higher – say, 99% – then I’d need to keep testing until I get statistically significant results. Only after every variation of your tests reaches statistical significance, you can compare the results. If they don’t reach significance, keep testing.
- Based on your hypothesis developed before, start running the tests. Stop only after all your ad groups have reached minimum sample size.
- Analyze the statistical confidence. If your results haven’t reached it, keep going until they do.
7. Analyze the Results
By now, you have taken the results of your tests and compare them with each other. If everything is OK, you will have a winner. But before you call it a day, you need to do a final thing. Take the numbers of your metrics previous to the tests and use them as benchmarks. Compare them with your current metrics and see how they compare with each other.
Also, take into consideration the timeframe of the test’s results. If you ran a test for 2 weeks trying to reduce your CPA, you must compare the result of that test with the performance of the CPA for the previous 2 weeks previous to the test.
- Compare your test’s results with your previous performance. If the new results are better than the previous ones, the test was successful. Otherwise, you’ll have to restart the process.
Any PPC specialist with some experience and skills can create a successful campaign. What’s hard is to replicate it in each one you run. Today, you’ve seen the specific steps you need to take to get you started with A/B testing for your PPC campaigns. Running them will help you discover the specific things your audience likes and you will know how to scale them down the road.
- Facebook Ad Fatigue Best Practices — get ideas for your next test.
- Quick Guide to Writing Successful ETAs — learn the basics of writing ad copy that converts.
- 2017 Demand Gen Benchmarks — compare your ad performance with industry leaders.
- 2017 Facebook Ads Benchmarks — check out the average Facebook CTRs and how much your PPC peers are paying per click.
Over the last year, we’ve analyzed over 8.8 billion Facebook ad impressions. We found that during the first six months, the average CPM increased from $4.12 to $11.17, and the average CPC increased from $0.42 to $0.99.
- The average CPM on Facebook ads has increased by 171% since January 2017
- The average CPC on Facebook ads has increased by 136% since January 2017
- The average CTR for Facebook ads has remained consistent over the last six months
Facebook’s Supply and Demand
Facebook’s ad impressions are flat while ad spend is moving up. This tells us advertisers are paying more to enter the auction while getting the same number of impressions.
Facebook’s CPM Increase 171%
Based on our data, we saw CPMs increase by 171% during the first half of 2017. This shows how competitive the auction is and illustrates why Facebook is having ad load issues.
Facebook’s CPC Increase 136%
The CPCs of Facebook Ads went from $0.42 to $0.99 during the first six months of 2017. That’s a huge jump, especially when thinking about the role of Facebook in the customer journey.
Facebook’s CTR Remain Flat
Advertisers are getting consistent CTRs month-over-month, but it’s costing more to get the same result due to higher CPMs and CTRs.
Why Are Facebook’s CPMs Increasing
Our ad spend data includes all ads run on Facebook, Instagram, and Audience Network. There are a number of possible explanations for the increase in CPMs and CPCs.
1) Advertisers Are Flocking to Facebook
Facebook reported a total of five million advertisers as of April 2017. That’s up from four million monthly advertisers in September 2016, and three million in March 2016. Put another way — Facebook gained two million advertisers in one year.
Keep in mind that Facebook’s five million advertisers are only 8% of the 65 million businesses active on the network. Therefore, we don’t foresee a slowdown in advertisers’ growth over the next 12 months.
2) Advertiser’s Facebook Budgets Are Growing
Hanapin Marketing conducted a paid social survey asking marketers where they plan to increase and decrease budgets in 2017. They reported that 73% of marketers are investing the majority of their social spend on Facebook and 71% plan on increasing their Facebook ad spend within the next year.
Our Facebook data confirms that advertisers are indeed increasing their Facebook budgets as overall ad spend more than doubled since January 2017 (122% increase).
3) Facebook Is Reaching Max Ad Load
Facebook CFO, David Wehner, said on the Q2 2016 earnings call:
“We anticipate ad load on Facebook will continue to grow modestly over the next 12 months and then will be a less significant factor driving revenue growth after mid-2017.”
The company’s Q2 2017 results showed its reaching max ad load with only a 19% paid ad impression growth compared to Q1’17’s 32% and Q4’16’s 49% growth. However, Facebook’s revenue will continue to increase as surging ad prices, user growth, and Instagram are enough to pick up the slack.
4) Facebook’s Ad Load Slowdown Is Real
Facebook’s Q2 2017 paid ad impression growth slowed to 19% compared to Q1’17’s 32% and Q4’16’s 49%.
Eric Jhonsa of The Street reported:
“Slower ad supply growth is naturally boosting prices. But given that supply is still growing (albeit at a slower rate), it’s also clear that strong ad ROIs — made possible by Facebook’s powerful and steadily improving targeting abilities — are motivating marketers to pay more for ad impressions and clicks. A growing mix of video ad sales might also be helping, given that video ads tend to carry relatively high prices.”
Takeaways and Insights
Based on the data, here are our main insights and takeaways:
- Small and mid-size brands are flocking to advertise on Facebook
- As a result, Facebook’s CPMs & CPCs are rising fast
- Advertiser aren’t afraid to increase budgets even as the auction gets more expensive
- Are results driving the increase in budgets or is it the competitive auction?
- How will advertisers react to increased competition and ad prices?
- Q4 is historically more expensive on Facebook, will they find more inventory or will CPMs skyrocket?
Our mission at AdStage is to connect paid marketers quickly and easily to the data they need to understand holistic campaign performance and take action at scale. If you want to learn more about our Facebook Ads reporting solution, click the banner below.
What a week in ad tech! While Apple was putting on a show in Cupertino, Facebook quietly revamped its Ads Manager, rolled out several updates for advertisers, and even launched a new video chat app. Here’s a recap of all the major announcements:
1. Power Editor and Ads Manager Are Now One.
Starting this week, advertisers will begin to see an updated Ads Manager interface. Here’s what you need to know about this update.
- No features lost.
The updated Ads Manager will look just like its old version, plus all the features from the old Power Editor and Ads Manager.
- Quick or guided: choose your favorite creation flow.
Whether you preferred Power Editor’s quick creation or Ads Manager’s guided creation, you’ll be automatically opted in to the same workflow you used previously. You can change it anytime in the top right of the ad creation window.
- Automated drafts: review and publish.
You’ll still have access to the Power Editor’s Automatic drafts feature. However, you will now manually review and publish all the changes that need to go live. Nothing to worry about: if you leave the updated Ads Manager with unreviewed changes, Facebook will show a reminder.
- All campaign data insights and reporting in a single interface.
The updated tool will allow advertisers to view and report on campaign data within one interface.
2. Lifestyle Templates to Mirror Print Catalogs
On Monday, Facebook announced a new ad format which allows users to shop directly from the Facebook ad. The new ads carry the look of a modern-day print catalog: not as glossy, but with the added benefit of interactivity, mobile reach, and less consumer friction. The new lifestyle format should appeal to the Pinterest demographics (Williams-Sonoma was among the first brands to test these ads in beta).
3. Canvas Ad Format on Instagram
On Tuesday, Instagram announced the integration of Instagram Stories with Facebook Canvas. Canvas ads can now run in Instagram Stories.
What does it mean to advertisers?
- The ability to capture Instagram’s younger demographics with full-screen experience on mobile
- New features allow uploading organic stories as ads in Ads Manager
- Broader reach: you can now run the same Canvas ads across Facebook, Instagram, and Audience Network.
4. New Rules for Branded Content and Instant Articles
On Wednesday, Facebook introduced monetization eligibility standards. Which means Facebook will now be more selective and cautious about Branded Content and Instant Articles. The new guidelines will control who is eligible to earn money on Facebook and what kind of content can be monetized. Starting today, the update will apply to videos and will extend to Instant Articles over time.
5. Third-Party Verification for Facebook Ads
You knew this was coming. Brand safety and ad fraud are major issues for advertisers. How do you make sure ads don’t show up next to questionable content? And who is clicking, a bot or a human? Facebook has been under scrutiny this year: first, fake news, and then inflated ad reach numbers.
To help assuage growing concerns, Facebook partnered with the Media Rating Council, the U.S.-based non-profit industry organization that reviews and accredits audience measurement services. Over the next 18 months, the MRC will work with Facebook in three key areas:
- First-party served ad impression reporting
- Third-party viewability partner integrations
- Facebook’s new two-second video buying option.
To ensure advertisers have better control over brand safety, Facebook will work closely with third parties, such as DoubleVerify and Integral Ad Science.
As Facebook is looking to make more ad money on its original content, these changes will be critical to rebuilding the network’s trust with advertisers.
6. Get Ready for Instant Videos
Facebook is testing a new feature called Facebook Instant Videos. Facebook Instant Videos download and cache Facebook videos to a user’s phone while they’re on WiFi so that they can watch them later on the go without spending their cellular data.
Instant Videos could be a game-changer for advertisers in the developing countries with a slow mobile Internet connection. For places where mobile data is pricey, and the network is weak, the new feature can level the playing field — at the very least when it comes to ads. For example, the average download speed on cellular in Afghanistan is 2.2 Mbps, compared to 4.4 Mbps in South Korea.
7. No More Instant Articles in Messenger
While it’s clear from some of the earlier updates that Facebook will continue to focus on Instant Articles (and videos), this ad format will no longer be available on Messenger — for now. The truth is, as of now, Instant Articles are still not as publisher-friendly as Facebook wants them to be. Publishers report traffic issues; according to TechCrunch, advertisers have also complained about attribution: you can’t easily add UTM parameters to the end of Instant Article URLs. Facebook is collaborating with publishers to give them more control over their content, so maybe we’ll see a comeback.
… and a Bonfire
To top this week’s updates, Facebook also launched a new video chat app called Bonfire. The app mimics all the features of Houseparty, a social network popular among teens. Facebook’s copycat strategy is strong and already caused Snap’s earnings to plunge in the first quarter. Which app is next?
Tune in to hear the experts’ commentary on AdStage’s PPC Podcast this Friday.
Sign up and join our email list.
It takes a lot of testing to uncover one really good Facebook ad. Once marketers find it, they scale it, investing more money in just the top-performing ad. But when an audience gets the same ad over a period of time, they start ignoring it and may even hide it from their feeds. This is called “ad fatigue,” and it hurts Facebook’s business. So Facebook slowly stops showing that ad altogether.
To solve this problem, you have one solution: rotate your ads. In this article, I’ll show you why Facebook wants you to rotate your ads, how to do it, and five examples to inspire you.
Why Facebook Ad Fatigue Matters
People get bombarded with ads. In the U.S. alone, the average person is exposed to 4,000 to 10,000 advertisements each day. The high volume of advertising has triggered a psychological effect known as “Banner blindness.” As the name suggests, people have become blind to the advertisement banners they see in the streets, newspapers, and other media. It’s not that consumers hate ads, they simply ignore them.
According to a 2013 study by Infolinks, 86% of consumers suffer from banner blindness. Another study from the Nielsen group found people almost never look at anything that resembles an advertisement, whether or not it’s actually an ad.
To prevent banner blindness, the Nielsen group recommends making your ads look like a native part of the site. That means you should make your ads look less like an ad and more like a message from a friend. Ironic, but effective.
Banner blindness has become our defense mechanism against information overload. While banner blindness describes users’ tendency to ignore an ad because they have grown used to it, ad fatigue refers to the decline in click-through rate and conversion after banners have been left to run for a certain amount of time. In other words, ad fatigue is a symptom; banner blindness is the cause of the problem.
In Facebook, you can measure ad fatigue with the frequency metric. The more you show your ads to an audience, the higher the frequency. When Facebook shows your ads to your target audience too many times (which means your Frequency increases), your click-through rate drops and your cost per click increases.
The good news is, you can fight ad fatigue by rotating ads.
How to Rotate Your Facebook Ads
As the name suggests, to rotate ads, you define a piece of your ad, which could include your creative, targeting, or bid, and replace with another piece. For example, you could rotate a headline that says “See Why +10,000 Customers Love Us” with another one that says, “Get A Free Trial of X Today.“
Facebook rotates your ads automatically. Once you create a series of ads within an ad group, Facebook makes them compete against each other for delivery. Facebook displays all the ads in your ad set until they find one that works best. When that happens, Facebook will show this ad more often than the others. By rotating your ads, you get the best ROI and decrease the chances of triggering banner blindness on your audience.
On Google Adwords, until very recently, you could rotate your ads through the “rotate my ads evenly” or “optimize my ads for conversions” options. Google is rolling out a simplified ad rotation to “optimize” and “rotate indefinitely.” The “optimize” setting will optimize your ads for clicks in each auction separately based on keywords, search terms, device, location, and more.
There’s no right or wrong time to start rotating your ads. At the least, try to have two or three ads in the same ad group, in which case Facebook will automatically rotate your ads. Once you hit a winner and start to see a decrease in conversion and an increase in cost per click, create a new ad group with the same targeting as the winning one, and add more variations to the winning ad to keep your ad fresh.
With Facebook automatic rotation, you can’t choose which variation to show your audience. That can be frustrating. With the help of AdStage’s Facebook Ad Rotation feature, you can display the variation you want in any given time frame. You can rotate one successful ad during the weekends, or you can test different ad variations every week, as well as many other combinations you prefer.
If you are having a hard time finding inspiration to rotate your ads, here’s five examples to get you started.
5 Ways to Rotate Your Facebook Ads Creatives
1) Use Power Words
After decades of testing sales-proof copy, copywriters have found that certain words evoke more emotional responses in the target audience. These are the so-called power words. Adding power words in your copy increases chances of a positive outcome for your ads.
“Free,” “now,” “sensational,” and “instantly” are popular power words to use in ad copy. For more examples, check out this list of 189 power words.
- Take a look at the list mentioned above. Select 5-10 words and use them in your ads.
2) Show a Giveaway
People love getting things for free. That’s the power of giveaways. Neil Patel, an online marketing expert, gives away his framework for teaching marketing to convince people to sign up for his webinars.
He could reverse his ad and focus on the giveaway in the copy or the description, and add the webinar in the title. He could also mention either the webinar or the giveaway in the image of the ad.
- Think about what things you could give away for free to your audience. You can repurpose content and package it as a bonus or resource, and give it away in your ad as an extra.
3) Make an Irresistible Offer
Sumo, the email list building, analytics, and social media tool, offers a 40% discount in their accounts with an annual subscription. The ad retargets users who have already tested Sumo and may need some extra convincing.
Agoda, a Singapore-based hotel booking website, offers discounts and makes it easy to pick a hotel room right from your Facebook feed with the carousel ad.
- Write down the benefits of your offers and see how you can maximize their impact in your ads. For example, if you offer a discount, mention its exact amount. Mention how much money your audience will save (or earn) thanks to it.
4) Make It Exclusive
Scarcity is one of the most powerful economic drivers: what’s scarce is valuable.
Foundr promoted their Foundr Club 2.0 by highlighting its exclusivity in their ad copy: “private membership for entrepreneurs.” They also use emojis to draw attention to the ad.
- Make one of your offers scarce. You can show it for a limited period of time, for a specific number of people, or both.
5) Play with the Length
Your ads have just a few seconds to catch the audience’s attention. Better Help’s ad keeps the message simple and highlights just the core value proposition: getting therapist help.
In the second example, MentorBox promotes a video of the founders. The ad copy is longer than usual and includes all the details of their offering — a subscription box for business-related books.
- Play with your ad’s length. If you promote short ads, make them longer, and vice versa.
- Think on the user’s stage of the buyer’s journey. If your customers are in the beginning, they may need more explanation to your ad’s message. If they are closer to the purchase, they may want to use a shorter message focused on the offer itself.
Facebook ad fatigue is a common and important factor to consider when running a Facebook ads campaign. Even though Facebook automatically rotates your ads to increase their relevance, you want to constantly be playing with your ads to find different ads that perform best.
Throughout this article, you have seen five ways you can rotate your ads. To get you started, pick a couple and test them in your ads today.
As an advertiser, the more you know about your customer personas, the better the content you can create. Rich customer data also helps determine how to distribute this content effectively, which leads to more successful marketing campaigns.
But gathering this customer insight can be expensive and time-consuming. You have to run extensive surveys, conduct one-on-one interviews, and collect regular feedback. In an ideal world, you would have the resources to do all of the above. But in reality, you often have to charge in blind, armed with just your intuition and fragmented conversations with clients.
Fortunately, there is a little-known solution called Facebook Audience Insights. Apart from helping you run better Facebook ad campaigns, Audience Insights is also a fantastic tool to gather customer insight. By combining raw intuition with Facebook’s hard numbers, you can create detailed customer personas.
The result? Content that your target customers love. Plus, higher conversion rates. Read on to learn how to use Facebook to develop your customer personas today.
What is a Customer Persona?
A customer persona is a biographical sketch of a single representative customer, or your “ideal customer.” While this persona has some hard demographic data (age, location, gender, etc.), it is mostly a subjective summary of the customer’s likes, dislikes, problems, and desired solutions.
Here’s a sample customer persona from HubSpot:
There is no limit to how many customer personas you can have. A large business like Amazon might have hundreds, even thousands of customer personas, while a bootstrapped SaaS product might just need a couple.
Customer Personas Use Cases
Well-defined customer personas can guide your content efforts from planning to distribution:
- What kind of problems to address in your content
- How to write, style, and present your content
- Where to distribute your content for maximum impact
- How to prioritize content creation
Suppose, you have two target personas:
Persona A represents a key decision maker, someone in an executive-level position. To target this persona through content, you can use their preferred format, style, and media:
- Create shorter content that’s easier to consume
- Distribute mostly through popular enterprise blogs and LinkedIn
- Emphasize high-level wins
- Use a writing style that’s aligned with the demographics.
Persona B, on the other hand, represents an entry-level employee. They don’t make critical decisions yet, but can tell decision makers about your product.
To attract this persona, you can adjust your content accordingly:
- Create more in-depth or beginner-level content
- Distribute via Facebook, Twitter, and other popular mainstream blogs
- Use a more casual writing style aligned with the demographics.
As you can see, a content marketer would likely create two very different content marketing campaigns for these personas. Detailed customer personas will make content creation easier and help you attract targeted traffic.
So, how do you create customer personas? This is where Facebook Audience Insights helps.
How to Create Customer Personas with Facebook Audience Insights
Facebook Audience Insights offers a fast and free alternative to extensive surveys and expensive focus groups.
Let’s look at how you can use this nifty tool to create customer personas.
Start by Researching a Competitor
The first step is to find and research a popular competitor. This will give you the initial data you need to zoom in further on individual personas. Ideally, this competitor should be popular, yet niche. If you’re selling software, don’t research Adobe; your data will be too broad. Instead, look up 37Signals or FogCreek.
Go to Audience Insights and plug this competitor into the “Interests.” In this example, I used Copyblogger to research content marketing customer personas.
You can already see that this first step already yields some interesting insights: most of Copyblogger’s audience are older than 25 and, for the most part, women.
Find High-Affinity Related Pages
Once you have your seed data, you need to find related pages that have a high affinity with your existing audience. To do this, go to “Page Likes” and sort the pages by affinity. Make a list of at least five or six pages.
Research All Related Pages for Demographic Data
Next, add all the pages you found above to your list of interests. This will help you expand the audience and gather demographic data. For best results, keep your total audience size under 50k monthly active people. For smaller niches, I stick to 10k people and under. For example, adding “Duct Tape Marketing,” “Derek Halpern,” and “Jeff Bullas” to the interests list shows me this:
While this won’t give you specific customer personas, it will help paint a general picture of your target audience.
In the above case, it’s clear that most of my target audience is in the 25-54 age group. A look at “Lifestyle” shows that a lot of these are also “Top Professionals.”
The Education and Job Title section shows that my selected audience are mostly college-educated and work in media, management, or sales roles.
Based on this, I gather a few things:
- My target customers are mostly professionals working in media, management, and sales
- Most of them are at least in their late twenties and went to college
Once you dive further, you can start creating your customer personas.
Drill Down by Age and Education Level
Your next step is to drill down further and create specific customer personas from the general data you gathered above.
- Divide audience into distinct age groups
- Segment this audience further based on their education.
In the above example, the age and gender data shows that most of my audience falls into three age groups:
I focus on age since it usually correlates with career advancement (older people tend to be in positions of higher authority). In most cases, the above three age groups would form three separate customer personas. Research each of these age groups separately.
For example, focusing only on 25-34-year olds shows me that 54% of this audience is female.
To get an even better picture of your audience, drill down based on education level. For example, looking only at college-educated 25-34-year-olds, you can see that an overwhelming majority is in management or media roles:
Look at each segment’s page likes to find:
- Where this audience hangs out
- Where to distribute content (including guest post spots)
- Identify influencers
- Narrow down on niche interests (social media marketing -> Facebook marketing)
- Tools and products they use and like
For example, here are the page likes for college-educated 25-34-year-olds:
In contrast, 25-34-year-olds with a graduate degree are equally represented in management, sales, and media roles. They also tend to be female. Based on this data, you might have two customer personas:
- Persona A: 25-34-year-old male with an undergraduate degree working in a managerial position in marketing. Hangs out on social media and career-focused websites.
- Persona B: 25-34-year-old female with a graduate degree working in a sales or media position. Follows SaaS businesses in the MarTech space, reads established marketing and business bloggers.
Do this for all the different age groups until you have a handful of customer personas.
Test Your Customer Personas
To test your hypotheses and create more accurate personas, follow this three-step process:
- Create a custom audience based on a single customer persona
- Create a blog post that would appeal to this customer persona
- Promote the blog post via Facebook ads and measure results
If there is an alignment between your content and customer personas, you should see a healthy engagement rate. If not, try narrowing or expanding your target audience.
See this guide if you want a primer on running Facebook ad campaigns.
Create Your Final Persona
Once you have all this data, it’s time to create your final customer personas.
- Give each customer persona a name and age (“Tony Stark, 42”)
- Add a picture representing the persona. Use stock images or find something on MorgueFile.
- Give the persona a fictional position (“CEO at Stark Industries”).
- Summarize each data point in a single sentence.
You can use PowerPoint or the MakeMyPersona tool from HubSpot.
Facebook Audience Insights can be used for a lot more than running Facebook ads. The insight you gather from it can also help you create customer personas for your content marketing campaigns. By researching your closest competitors’ audience, you can learn about their demographics, their favorite products, what industries they work in, and what influencers they follow.
It’s not more accurate than running an expensive customer survey campaign, but it’s a lot better than going in blind. Plus, it will neither cost you money or take up too much of your time.
Facebook recently released an update to its Lookalike Audiences that makes them even more powerful and easier to use for advertisers who wish to reach a global audience. If you’re not already familiar with Lookalike Audiences, it’s a Facebook targeting option that shows ads to people who are similar to those already connected to the brand.
Using a Custom Audience list of customers, marketers can select Lookalike Audiences, which will show ads to people who “look like” their existing customer base. This is generally used as an audience expansion technique to reach more potential customers.
In the past, Lookalike Audiences had to be executed for one country at a time. For example, let’s say you wanted to target an English language ad to United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia, the audiences would have be created separately and combined in the targeting.
It was fairly messy with so many audiences and obviously took a lot longer to create and manage. Many times, advertisers would limit the number of countries they wanted to target with Lookalike Audiences to avoid the chaos.
New Countries and Regions for Lookalike Audiences
With their latest update, Facebook has released Lookalike Audiences for multiple countries. If you’d like to select countries from corresponding continents, Facebook lets you expand countries from Africa, Asia, Caribbean, Central America, Europe, North America, Oceania, and South America.
Alternatively, if you’re looking to target specific regions, you can skip country targeting and target an entire region from the following list: Free trade areas, App store regions, Emerging markets, or Euro area.
Free trade areas groups countries are classified into the following:
- European Economic Area (EEA)
- North American Free Trade Agreement
- ASEAN Free Trade Area
- Gulf Cooperation Council
- Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation
- Commonwealth of Independent States Free Trade Area
By hovering your mouse over any of the groups you can see which countries are within them.
App store regions may be useful for brands that wish to promote an app. The options include Lookalike Audiences from iTunes App Store Countries, Android Paid Store Countries, or Android Free Store Countries.
Emerging markets could be a good source for cheaper clicks, but keep in mind that this audience may not always have the funds or internet connectivity to be reliable customers.
Targeting the Euro area, which includes anyone who uses the Euro as their primary currency, could be useful for businesses that wish to reach the entire European Union.
For Performance Advertisers: Create a Custom Audience
With the addition of multiple countries for Lookalike Audiences, Facebook no longer requires a minimum number of people from a source country to create a Lookalike Audience. This update means you could use a seed list audience that is completely from the United States to create a Lookalike Audience in Germany, Spain, Australia, or Japan.
This may be useful for top of the funnel or brand awareness campaigns, to expose more people to your brand, but may not result in immediate conversions. For this reason, we recommend promoting an educational blog post or video that will drive more engagements, rather than conversions.
If you’re a performance advertiser looking for conversions, we don’t recommend using Lookalike Audiences as your primary targeting option, but rather, you can build a Custom Audience with people who’ve previously engaged with your website or video, and run a retargeting campaign that promotes opt-ins or products.
Creating Your Custom Audience with Robust Data Matching
In the past, Facebook only allowed you to create a Custom Audience from an email or phone number. However, now you can add a number of fields that will help you be more precise with your Custom Audience targeting and match rate with Lookalike Audiences. For performance advertisers and specifically B2B advertisers, the match rates could be higher as some consumers use their personal email address with their Facebook account rather than their business email address, which is the one you likely have on file.
To upload a data file for your Custom Audience, include as many fields as possible in your csv or txt file.
- +44 844 412 4653
- New York
Date of Birth
Year of Birth
- W11 2BQ
Mobile Advertiser ID
Facebook App User ID
For more details on preparing your data file for the best match rate on Custom Audiences, visit Facebook’s documentation here. Some of our clients have seen as much as a 60% increase in their match rates for their Custom Audiences.
With match rates like that and the new international expansion targeting for Lookalike Audiences, go ham on releasing campaigns with better targeted, and more scalable Lookalike Audiences for any region you wish to expand into.
What do you think of the new Lookalike Audiences? Any results you’re seeing as part of this release? Share them with us in the comments section below!
How to Rock Facebook & Instagram Ads
Marketers are always on the hunt of the perfect customer acquisition channel for their company. That constant search can help marketers increase their efficiency, but it can also lead them to compare apples to oranges.
Despite the fact both are social networks that belong to the same organization, they cater different kind of users who behave differently. The behavioral difference between Facebook and Instagram users changes the way you should think and carry out your ad management.
In this article, you will discover how different Facebook or Instagram users are from each other, what are the core strengths of both advertising platforms, and how you can combine them to improve your results.
Facebook Users vs. Instagram Users
When comparing Facebook and Instagram, the most obvious point of comparison is the former has a much larger user base than the latter. A quick look at their data shows us Facebook has 1.94 billion monthly active users, while Instagram has “only” 700 million monthly active users.
Despite both have a massive amount of users, the demographics of each one differ sharply, especially regarding age.
Facebook users represent 88% and 84% of all Internet population aged 18-29 and 30-49, respectively. This is no surprise as social networks tend to be used mostly by younger people. This doesn’t mean old people don’t use Facebook. 72% and 62% of all Internet population aged 50-64 and over 65, respectively, also use Facebook.
Instagram users, by contrast, represent 59% of all Internet population aged 18-29. This is much lower than Facebook, but it’s still a great number to consider. The situation changes with people over 30 years old: only 33%, 18%, and 8% of the people aged 30-49, 50-64, and over 65, respectively, are Instagram users.
This data shows two things:
- Facebook has a variety of age ranges
- Instagram’s user base is mostly made up by young people under 30 years old
If age is an important aspect of your advertising strategy, then take this data into consideration as it can change the effectiveness of your ads.
Facts about Advertising on Facebook
There’s no doubt Facebook is the largest and most powerful social ad network. You can find almost half the world’s Internet population on Facebook, so it’s understandable there are countless different kind of people you can reach.
The key fact isn’t who you can target and how you can do so, but rather how those people react to your ads on Facebook.
In 2014, Kentico found 40% of Facebook users don’t like engaging with companies at all while another 40% report Liking or following a brand on a social network because they were already interested in the brand and wanted to be kept informed. This same report also showed 68% ignore the messages of brands, even the ones they follow. As you will see later, this isn’t what happens on Instagram.
In this situation, companies need to engage with their audience as effectively as possible. Running ads without focusing on the user’s interests can irritate them, and therefore, ignore you. Publishing too often can also lead to the burnout of your followers, which can make them unlike your page.
One way advertisers overcome the problem of low engagement is by using video and images. According to a study carried out by AdWeek, videos earn the highest rate of engagement, with a single video harnessing an average of 2,183 interactions. This is despite representing only 3% of the content published on the site. Posts with images, on the other hand, see 230% more engagement than those without images.
Finally, 85% of Facebook daily usage is done on mobile. That explains why mobile advertising represents 80% of Facebook’s advertising revenue.
Facts about Advertising on Instagram
Although Instagram’s user base is smaller than Facebook’s, the differences in the demographic profile make the former stand out in many ways.
As you have seen before, Instagram is mostly used by millennials. Also, when compared to Facebook, there’s more content consumed on Instagram geared towards visual categories, like fashion, beauty, and architecture.
Even though the majority of Instagram’s users are young people without much disposable income to spend, their age doesn’t imply they aren’t willing to do business. According to Instagram, 50% of Instagram users follow at least one business, 60% say that they learn about a product or service on the platform, and 75% end up taking action, such as visiting a website, after looking at an Instagram advertising post.
The willingness of Instagram’s users to do business extends even further, making the social network the perfect marketing channel for e-commerce stores. According to Shopify, Instagram users spend on average $65 per referred sale, $10 more than Facebook users. Almost 50% of Instagram users conduct product research while the use the app. Finally, over a third of Instagram users have used their mobile to purchase a product online– making them 70% more likely to do so than non-users.
The behavior of Instagram users explains why 64% of B2C marketers are significantly more likely to increase Instagram activities than merely 48% of B2B marketers.
What makes Instagram so appealing to marketers isn’t just its high level of influence on purchases: only 36% of marketers use Instagram. Instagram is still a relatively young ad platform with a lot of space for growth, leaving you plenty of space to reach out and engage with the audience at a low price.
How to Run Facebook and Instagram Ads Together
So far you have seen how differently Facebook and Instagram ads from each other and what kind of companies should use them. The key, however, lies in the intersection of both social networks.
To show the power of Facebook and Instagram ads, I’ll show you two simple acquisition funnels you can copy.
Facebook First, Retarget with Instagram
Goal: This funnel is focused on attracting the largest amount of people into your funnel to drive them to your website. Then, you will retarget the ones that haven’t converted with your Instagram posts.
How the funnel works: Start by creating a campaign with the objective “Traffic.” Then create at least two ad sets, one focused on desktop and another one on mobile. Finally, create individual ads, which can be as many or as little as you deem necessary.
In each ad set, select the targeting that represents best your audience. What matters is you deselect the Instagram feed placement and focus only on mobile or desktop. Also, make sure to have a large audience for each ad set, at least one million people.
Finally, this campaign should be focused on driving traffic to your website. This could be a content piece you are promoting, a product page, or anything in between. Once you do so, you can create a custom audience of those people and retarget them on Instagram.
Once you have finished the Facebook campaign, create a new campaign focused on Instagram. First, create a campaign with the campaign objective “Traffic.” Then, when you define the targeting of the ad set, add the custom audience based on the website visitors that landed on the pages you used in the previous campaign.
Alternatives: You can also start this funnel by making people “Like” your business page, and then retarget straight in Instagram. Since Instagram has high levels of engagement TK, similar to the ones of Facebook, it can work. You can also take the following funnel as an example and use Instagram to finish the conversion on Instagram.
Engage in Instagram, Finish the Conversion on Facebook
Goal: This funnel is focused on engaging with people on Instagram, then taking them to a page, and retarget those who haven’t converted on Facebook.
How the funnel works: Start by creating a campaign with the objective “Post engagement.”
For this funnel, I would suggest you create ad sets focused on mobile only and, if you already have a following on Facebook, with the connection “People who like your page.” This last part can increase the relevance of your campaign. Then, you would need to create individual ads focused only on engaging with your posts. In these posts, share interesting photos, ask for likes and comments, create giveaways, among other engaging activities.
Once you have launched your first Instagram campaign, let it run for a few weeks. After that, create a similar campaign, but this time with the campaign objective “Traffic.” The goal will be to drive people from one of your Instagram posts to a landing page.
Finally, you will create a custom audience of the people who visited that landing page but didn’t convert, and use it in a Facebook campaign with the goal “Traffic”. This campaign guarantees an engaged and interested user who is much more likely to convert.
Alternatives: If you don’t have a large following, you can first focus on getting more Likes for your business page on Facebook, or focus on creating a following right on Instagram. From there, you can implement the same funnel.
Facebook Ads vs. Instagram Ads: Which One Should You Pick?
This article has shown you a brief account of the differences and similarities of Facebook and Instagram ads. You have also seen two funnels you can use to take the power of both. But the question remains: which one should you choose?
At the end of the day, it depends on what you are looking for. If you are targeting older people and you want a full-funnel marketing channel, Facebook Ads is your best bet. If you are targeting a young audience focused on brand engagement and conversions, Instagram Ads is your obvious choice.
Pick the one that fits your needs, and get started.
You’ve been here before. You’ve seen these lists. You’ve heard their promises of more conversions, more engagement, more <insert KPI here>. Yet here you are again. I’d like to think it was my can’t-miss headline, but really, it’s probably because you’re still not seeing the results you’d like from your Facebook ads.
Some of that is on Facebook and their endless algorithm changes. But some of it is inescapably on you and your team. So we’ve put together a few suggestions for you below. Will it be the last article like this you ever click on? Probably not. But will it share some new ways of thinking about your Facebook ad copy (and beyond)? Hopefully. Find your favorites below and start writing more targeted, relevant, and meaningful ad copy today.
Know Thy Brand
Defining a brand identity is a popular buzzword these days. But how many of us have actually done it, and done it well? Before you write a stick of ad copy, run through a few exercises to answer who your brand is and is not. Build an identity for your brand, just like you would for a buyer persona. Once you know who your brand is, decide how they speak, who they’re speaking to, and what your brand looks like.
Because let’s be honest, if I’m just writing ads for AdStage, a PPC reporting and automation platform, they’re going to be a whole lot less interesting than if I’m writing ads for AdStage: that smart colleague who’s always sharing interesting information with you about the latest industry news. A colleague who’s well connected and always introducing you to the smartest minds in digital marketing. And a colleague who’d gladly duck out a little early to grab a beer and talk solutions for that client issue that’s got you stuck.
Which ad would you rather read? You know what your company does, but to write compelling ad copy, you need to know who your brand is.
Always Write to a Person (Yes, Even You B2B Marketers)
“But my brand is trying to reach professionals!” I hear you. I validate that concern. But I still call bullshit. You’re always writing to a person. Whether you’re writing ad copy for a hundred thousand dollars worth of software or a $30 blouse, the pain points, concerns, and benefits are different, but the motivation is the same. You’re audience is trying to make their lives better. That might be through a promotion because of a savvy tool that increases team efficiency, or it might be through a shirt that gives you a little more confidence in your Monday meeting.
Never write copy to a business. Especially in Facebook ad copy. When is your audience reading your ad? Most likely, it’s when they’re taking a break from work. Want to stand out from the ads with easier sells like new running shoes or a discount massage? Write to a person and sound like a person. Which brings us to our next point.
Keep it Conversational
This is a continuation of our last point. Keep your copy conversational. Even if you’re brand voice is professional. Speak to your audience as you would in real life. If you’re sales team wouldn’t use rhymes, puns, or a thesaurus to craft their pitches to clients, why would you?
And just like a conversation, make sure you introduce yourself, ask questions, and leave your audience wanting more. You would never approach someone you’d never met at a happy hour and immediately ask them to buy software from you, so why would you craft your Facebook ad copy like that?
If you know that a batch of ads are targeting people who have either never heard of you, or those who have not engaged with you in a meaningful way, use that information as a social cue not to come on too strong. As they work through your marketing funnel, your copy can ask for more from your audience. Luckily, it can expect a much warmer reception from them as well.
Keep it Relevant & Tell a Story
Make sure you know what’s important to your customer and tell them a (very short) story about how you can meet their needs. Revisit your buyer personas and identify what their pain points are, how your product or service solves those pain points, and what your value proposition is.
Consider the difference between an ad announcing a new vacuum with a revolutionary enhanced suction feature that meets the needs of your Patty the pet person persona. Which of the following Facebook ad copy is more appealing?
– New Suction-Plus Vacuum!
– Now with enhanced suction and better cleaning power
– Buy it today >>
– Man’s New Best Friend?
– The new Suction-Plus Vacuum can handle Fido’s fiercest shedding.
– Bye, Dog Hair >>
In the second ad, you’ve told your audience a story about how they can use your new vacuum. Instead of letting them connect the dots as to how your new suction-plus feature can make their lives better, you’ve told them exactly how it will. Therefore, you’ve immediately added value to your buyer’s lives and have hopefully gotten a click and convert.
A.B.T (Always Be Testing)
A few weeks ago, we had 3Q Senior Client Services Director Caitlin Halpert on The PPC Show to talk about testing. She recommended that when testing new ads, marketers should think bigger than simply swapping out a CTA or image. Instead, she challenged ad creators with testing entirely different ads against each other.
There’s a time and a place to test out slight wording changes, etc…, but too often, we forget to test really bold new ideas. For your next ad campaign, give each ad an entirely different design concept, value proposition, and ask. Running Facebook ads isn’t cheap, so make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck and pushing your advertising to exciting new places that inspires your team and your audience to action.
By the end of one or two of these testing rounds, you might be surprised at the meaningful and actionable takeaways you’ll be able to use to make your advertising budget go further.
Remember, You Know Best
In the end, no list of tips and tricks for writing better Facebook ad copy is going to trump the knowledge you have of your product, your audience, and your past wins and losses. When in doubt, go with your gut and the historical and completely unique knowledge that only you and your team possess. It’s important for your brand and your ad copy to continue to evolve and improve, but take what you’ve learned along the road to inform, rather than dictate.