Facebook is perhaps the most popular digital advertising platform because it makes running campaigns fairly easy. Even for the beginner. But after years of running your own campaigns, you're well beyond a beginner and always looking for ways to get better, faster, and stronger.
In this Expert Guide to Facebook Advertising, AdStage shares the pro tips, proven strategies, and out-of-the-box ideas to help you push your Facebook campaigns to the expert level. For more information on a certain topic, be sure to click through to the full blog post.
As you’re working hard to improve performance, let AdStage take care of the little stuff. Use Automate for always-on campaign monitoring and Report to easily analyze and optimize just about any data you want.
First, we’ll start with some of the basic information you should know as you get started on your initial Facebook campaigns. And you’re never too seasoned for a refresher. For marketers who’ve been in the biz for a while, these posts might serve as a reminder of some of the finer details that have gotten lost in the shuffle.
Get step-by-step directions on how to set up an ad, and tried-and-true pro tips for creating a strong ad, like:
- Include just one CTA — Remember that if you have more to say, make sure your landing page is rock solid. Your Facebook Ad is the compelling carrot to get people to click.
- Start with audience certainties and refine from there — Facebook offers so many targeting options, but don’t let them lead you astray. Set up your targeting based on what you absolutely know, and refine and add from there.
- Write for your audience — Knowing who you’re trying to go after is a huge help for how to craft your creative. If your audience is primarily Gen Z, your language should be much more casual than if you’re targeting Baby Boomers.
- Write a clear and appealing headline — Often, the headline is the only thing people read, so make it count. Your copy here should be simple, easy to understand, and direct. Being too cutesy or vague probably won’t earn you the engagement you’re hoping for.
- Your copy and image should complement each other — The text and image should tell a whole story, and not one that feels jumpy or repetitive. Even if you’re opting out of image copy, as they say, an image speaks a thousand words, so make sure your copy tells the rest of that story.
The options on Facebook often feel endless, but there are some surefire places to start. Perhaps the most important beginner strategy is to get your audience targeting down. Don’t get lost in Facebook’s extensive audience targeting options. Instead, work outside of the platform to confidently define your target market, and then use that information to set up your audience targeting. If you’re just starting to define your target or market, or haven’t updated current info in a while, here’s a list of places to pull data from:
- Current customer base
- Demographics you want to target — age, income, location, etc.
- Website and social media analytics, including other platforms you advertise on
- Sales team
Once you’ve nailed your targeting, you can move on to more advanced strategies like running a competitive analysis. Take advantage of your competitors’ work by checking out what their customers are engaging with. We wrote a whole post about using Facebook’s own products to spy on your competitors. Using Facebook’s transparency tool that allows you to see the ads a Page is running across Facebook, you can:
- Track your competitors’ new product features and messaging
- Get ideas for new content
- Check new offers and sales
- Monitor pricing
- Get inspired by great Facebook ad examples
Retargeting is sometimes called remarketing, and it gives marketers another chance to show customers they can fulfill a specific need. More specifically, retargeting is marketing to people by showing them ads after they’ve visited your website. If you’ve ever looked at something on a website and later noticed an ad for it on a completely different site, someone was retargeting you.
On Facebook, retargeting is made possible by the Facebook Pixel, which tracks logged-in users' actions across the web. The Pixel allows marketers to more precisely advertise to customers depending on what they’ve already seen and where they are in the sales funnel.
For example, one remarketing strategy is to advertise to people based on product or service categories. If you sell a wide variety of products or services you segment your visitors by category and retarget them with ads that are most in line with what they were browsing. For example, if you sell men’s and women’s shoes, segmenting can help you make sure you’re not showing high heels to a man who looked at running shoes.
Once your campaigns are up and running, you’ll want to wait for enough data to accrue so you can analyze and adjust your ads. Facebook’s Analytics tools will give you everything you need to decipher your campaigns’ performance. Facebook’s Page Insights is perhaps one of the most widely covered analytics dashboards, but the valuable information at your very fingertips goes well beyond that:
- Page Insights—get detailed metrics on your Page and content performance over time. To see Page Insights: Click Insights at the top of your Page. If you don't see Insights, click More. Click sections on the left for more information.
- Audience Insights—helps you find trends in your Page’s audience, learn more about who they are, and see overlaps with other audiences on Facebook. Audience Insights is found within the Facebook Ad Manager. Find it by clicking the drop-down menu under “Tools.”
- Ads Manager—gives detailed information about how your paid ads are performing. Click on the drop-down arrow in the upper-right corner of any Facebook page and choose “Manage Ads” from the drop-down to access Facebook Ads Manager.
Each dashboard provides tons of metrics, so you’ll have to figure out which of them are most valuable to you and customize your views accordingly.
Advanced Facebook Strategies
Now that we’ve gone over the basics of creating and running a Facebook campaign, we’ll look at some of the advanced strategies you can use to boost your numbers and save on budget.
To be clear, Facebook did away with the relevance score, but many marketers are referring to the three replacement metrics as new relevance scores. Luckily, those three metrics provide much more detail than the nebulous relevance score. Those metrics are:
- Quality ranking: How your ad’s perceived quality compared with ads competing for the same audience. If your quality ranking is down, that means Facebook is rating your competitors’ ads higher than yours. In other words, your creative stinks. Boost your score by focusing your message. Crop tightly around the important part of the image. If you're trying to fit too much information into a single piece of media, consider using the Carousel format to show off multiple images within a single ad.
- Engagement rate ranking: How your ad’s expected engagement rate compared with ads competing for the same audience. If you’re looking to boost your engagement rate ranking, you have to think up ways to catch someone’s eye and give them a clear path to engage. But how? Consider using video. Moving images are way more eye-catching than static, and people pause over a video post five times longer than a static post.
- Conversion rate ranking: How your ad’s expected conversion rate compared with ads that had the same optimization goal and competed for the same audience. Don’t get this confused with click-through rate! Conversion rate ranking focuses on the actions a person takes after the initial click through. Boost conversion rate by testing multiple landing pages and double check you're providing people with a great experience from ad click to conversion.
Whether you’re an advanced marketer looking for tips to keep your campaign numbers charting up, or a pro who wants ideas on how to make a great campaign amazing, there are several strategies you can put in place today that will undoubtedly affect your campaign’s performance. For example, A/B test creative prior to launching. Think of it as indulging in a little taste of the wine before you commit to the whole bottle. You want to give yourself a decent sample size to draw data from, but not spend too much time on an ad that may not yield anything. The magic number here is usually 5 ads with vastly different images and copy. As we covered in our post 7 Simple Steps to Boost PPC Results with A/B Testing it’s not just the copy you want to play around with, but the content, too. Some headline ideas include:
Before you kick off your A/B test determine the sample size, or cap, for each ad. The amount of traffic you should set depends on your current numbers. If an ad group currently gets X number of visitors per day, your sample size should be 5-10 times that number.
Ideally, once you’ve run your A/B test and pinpointed the winners, you can refine each of those even further before initiating the big campaign (and the big budget to go with it). If none of the ads you tested are performing up to benchmark numbers you’ve seen in the past, scrap all of them. A/B testing isn't meant to help you create the strongest ad for your current campaign, it’s meant to help you create the strongest ad to date.
Here, we mean most effective to be those ads that are putting pennies in the piggy bank. Or rather, contributing hundreds and hundreds of dollars to your company’s profits and helping ROI skyrocket. CTR and conversions are pretty obvious, but also consider cost per conversion/result. Facebook calls this metric “cost per result” since there are so many types of conversions you can track. And then Facebook defines “result” as “The number of times your ad achieved an outcome, based on the objective and settings you selected.” It’s a pretty simple calculation to get this number – your total amount spent divided by the number of results. This is a powerful number to use to compare performance between campaigns, and it helps you identify bid caps on future campaigns.
There are a lot of factors that go into this particular metric – auction bid, target audience, optimization types, the ad itself, and scheduling. Because there’s a lot that goes into it, there’s not one lever to adjust if you discover your costs are higher than you want. Like with many of the other metrics, you’ll want to check your audience targeting, play around with bid caps, and make sure your Facebook pixel is set up correctly. When it comes to adjustments you can make to creative, testing is key here. If you have 5 ads running, drop the lowest three and go all-in on the top two. Or, take the time to decipher what is working, and how that can be replicated in the whole ad set.
Facebook video ads are hugely effective, but businesses often shy away from them because of the perceived notion that they are difficult or costly to produce. But, that’s not the case! In fact, most businesses have a library of valuable videos sitting around, but they don’t know it. That includes repurposing existing content formats or capitalizing on the offerings your company provides such as:
- Webinars and webcasts
- Services, products, and tools
Using webinars and webcasts as an example, you could:
- Record your webinar host personally inviting customers to attend
- Show a previous webinar attendee giving a positive testimonial about what they learned a past event
In this case, you receive your customer’s contact information, and they receive exclusive educational media. Until they register for the webinar or webcast, the ad can preview what’s to come without giving away the good stuff.
When Facebook unveiled a new tool that offered more transparency into the ads any business is running on the platform, marketers went wild since it offered an easy way to gather competitive intelligence. Here’s how to use it to your advantage:
- Log into Facebook
- Go your competitor’s Page
- Select “Info and Ads.”
There are lots of ways you can use this information to shape your own campaigns, but an easy starting place is to track your competitors’ new product features and messaging. Often, companies use Facebook ads to gauge people's interest in a new product or feature and test it on a smaller audience before releasing it to the larger market.
Facebook's Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) measures the revenue generated as compared to the money spent on advertising. Facebook’s Return on Investment (ROI) measures the return on your OVERALL investment and takes into consideration not only dollars spent, but the time, energy, labor, and intangible resources spent on generating this return. As with most metrics, the “right” choice depends on what you want to know more about.
Facebook launched its Audience Network in 2014 as a strategic move that allowed Facebook to grow its footprint by boosting the volume of ad spend going to off-Facebook websites and mobile apps. FAN lets advertisers extend their Facebook campaigns outside of the social network while using the same ad targeting data. Advertisers can take advantage of FAN to:
- 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.
Source: Facebook Blueprint
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.
Facebook ad fatigue happens when an audience gets served the same ad over-and-over, causing them to ignore it and may even hide it from their feeds. This turns off audiences, hurts ad performance, and increases CPCs. To solve this problem, you have one solution: rotate in fresh ads. By rotating your ads, you get the best ROI and decrease the chances of triggering banner blindness on your audience.
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 (usually within the first 1,000 impressions), they will show the projected winning ad more often than the others.
If you are having a hard time finding inspiration to rotate your ads, here are five ideas to get you started:
- Use power words — “Free,” “now,” “sensational,” and “instantly” are popular power words to use in ad copy.
- Show a giveaway
- Make an irresistible offer
- Make it exclusive
- Play with the length
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.
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.”
Next, 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.
Once you’ve got that, you want to research all related pages for demographic data, drill down by age and education level, test your customer personas, and create your final persona.
Here are a handful of tips to start writing more targeted, relevant, and meaningful ad copy today:
- Know Thy Brand — 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.
- Always Write to a Person — 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.
- Keep it Conversational — Even if you’re brand voice is professional. Speak to your audience as you would in real life. 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?
Facebook Sequential Advertising is a way to show your targeted audience a group of ads by step, with the goal of one day following consumers’ eyes as they jump between devices. It’s different (and more advanced) than rotating ads in that it uses technology to determine which ads someone has already seen and automatically serves up the next one in the series.
Sequential advertising works exceedingly well for less well-known brands who need to build awareness before serving a CTA, and companies that are selling a complicated product or service that’s difficult to sum up in one ad. Instead of having to jam everything into one ad for fear it may be your only chance to catch someone’s attention, sequential ensures your messaging is guiding consumers down a natural funnel.
Facebook recommends using sequential advertising for:
Funnel-based storytelling = messages guide consumers down the purchase funnel.
Priming-and-reminding storytelling = multiple ad formats “prime” people with the brand’s story via video ads and “remind” people of the info in the video with display ads.
Facebook Messenger is a free mobile messaging and chat app for smartphones that lets people send text messages, hold group chats, send and receive money, share photos or videos, and even make voice calls to their Facebook friends.
Messenger ads provide marketers another avenue to start a conversation. And there’s a real business case to be made here as customers become more interested in using Facebook Messenger to make online purchases. Statista reports 84 percent of millennial respondents are willing to connect their PayPal account to Facebook Messenger in order to use conversational commerce.
One way many marketers have used Facebook Messenger is to send out coupons or discounts, but your creativity is really the only limit when it comes to thinking up ways to use the channel.
Click here for more Facebook news including trends and announcements and AdStage Benchmark Reports.