It’s easy to quickly run up a hefty Facebook Ads bill, with all those notifications encouraging you to promote a post that’s going well and that big shiny Boost button in front of you. In this indepth article, Dan Pinne outlines the steps you need to take BEFORE ever hitting that new campaign button and how you can use the information you already have to your benefit.
I want to show you how you can craft a campaign that gives your business some valuable insights to learn from. It gives your campaign the best chance to be as successful as possible.
So firstly, it’s time to step away from the Boost button! While boosting is great to quickly promote a post to an audience, doing it without thinking about it strategically is the easiest way to run up an ads bill that doesn’t show a return.
I recommend always using Power Editor (or Ads Manager at minimum) to set up a campaign so it’s all laid out strategically and as part of an overall campaign, as opposed to a post’s own individual promotion. Using Power Editor also gives you some more advanced bidding and set up options.
There are four parts to setting up a campaign:
1. Campaign Objective
2. Ad Set
In this article, we’ll work though the theory behind each and how to get the most from them.
1. Campaign Objective
When you first go to set up your Facebook advertising campaign, you’re faced with a critical decision: Which objective do I use for my campaign?
When you’re first presented with these options, you might be inclined to think Facebook is trying to drive a particular decision. But the reason Facebook asks you to select your objective from those choices is (believe it or not) because Facebook actually wants you to succeed.
The beauty of Facebook advertising lies in the data they have on its user base and a sophisticated algorithm that can determine which users are most likely to perform what campaign objective. Put simply, they know things like:
• Who is likely to convert to a purchase based on their previous clicking and purchasing behaviours
• Who is likely to watch a video based on their previous viewing behaviours
• Who is likely to click on an ad based on their previous browsing behaviours
…You get the idea.
It’s what sets Facebook advertising apart from other online media buying platforms.
To help decide which objective to choose, you need to think about what the final behaviour is that you want your audience to perform.
Facebook advertising splits the descriptions of these behaviours into three main categories:
You can use its guide to determine what objective suits you best.
It’s important to choose the one that is right for your campaign so Facebook can help find people that are likely to perform that objective.
For a more detailed explanation on each, you can find out more at this guide here.
2. Ad Set
Put simply, this is the audience that is seeing your advertisements.
It might sound simple but this is one of THE most important factors you need to consider in your Facebook advertising campaign. Get your targeting right and it makes the chances of your campaign being successful much more likely.
Facebook has a huge library of information and data you can tap into that gives you targeted options to show your ads to a specific audience. They go far beyond the basic demographics (although this is very accurate as well) but there are literally hundreds of pre-set interests and behaviours before you even get into searching for your own specific ones.
For a full list of the pre-set options, you can download a guide here. You can also search for interests and behaviours that fit your industry when you set up your Ad Set. Just type your term to see if Facebook has created a specific audience around it. You can also search for competitors, page names, topics and Facebook groups.
The targeting options are somewhat sporadic – sometimes particular pages, groups or industries will appear but there is no exact science around options that do and don’t and Facebook are quite inconsistent with it, so try as many searches as possible to see what Facebook populates and suggests for you. See the example below:
This is a good starting point if you have never run Facebook Ads before, but the residual effect of any Facebook Ad campaign should be to get people into a ‘custom audience’.
Custom audiences are fantastic because they are people that have shown an interest in what you have to say or have connected with your business or brand before. You can then send these custom audiences targeted ads.
Some pages will already be able to create custom audiences without ever running Facebook Ad campaigns.
There are 4 main types of custom audiences:
1. Customer File: You can upload your own custom list of customer details that can include a number of different identifiers. Facebook will search its user database for these details to see how many of your total list it can identify. The users it can find will be placed into its own audience to be advertised to. This a great option if you’re looking to re-target customers from an email list or people that have purchased from you before. You need a minimum of 100 contacts for a customer file audience and 20 for the following website, app and engagement audiences.
2. Website Traffic: This is where you can get highly defined in your audience and laser targeted with your advertisements to make sure that your audience are seeing the right advertisement at the right time based on what web pages they’ve browsed. No doubt you have experienced these custom audiences before: you go online shopping and then see that product chase you around the web and on Facebook – those are the custom audiences created using website traffic. When you start to think about the possible combinations of and/or URLs you can make it’s easy to see why custom audiences can be so powerful. Note: Website Custom Audiences need the Facebook Pixel to track those browsers. Here is a thorough guide on how to install it on your website.
3. App Activity: If you have a mobile app, a game or a Facebook app you can re-target based on actions people take within that app. Often people install Facebook Apps to take part in competitions so you could use this option to re-target people’s actions within the app.
4. Engagement on Facebook: This is relatively new and is my favourite of the targeting options so far because you’re re-targeting people that have interacted with something you’ve posted on Facebook so it’s a much lower barrier to entry than the Website Traffic custom audience for instance. There are different types of engagement you can target:
a. Video: With video you can make an audience based on people that have watched a certain length of any video you have published. So, if you have a video that went for a minute you can make a custom audience of people that have watched at least 50% of your video (or 30 seconds). Using this tactic you can re-target to people based on their interest level of what you have to say and quickly build an audience that clearly listens to the message you have in your video.
b. Lead Advert: Lead adverts are a form that pre-populates a user’s Facebook profile and allows you to collect details directly from Facebook. You can target people that have opened, not submitted and/or submitted their details. You can automatically import them into your existing email or CRM system by a third-party provider to be able to market to them that way.
c. Canvas: Canvas are a dynamic type of advertisement that is almost like a mini-site that opens within Facebook. This option allows you to re-target people that may have opened up the Canvas but haven’t actually clicked through on any of the links through to your website.
d. Page: Perfect for people that have built a big following, you can re-target people based on engagements that they’ve done with your page. There are different types of engagement:
i. Anyone who has visited your page
ii. People who engaged with any post or advert
iii. People who clicked on any call-to-action button
iv. People that have sent a message to your page
v. People that have saved your page or any of your posts
As your custom audience pool grows you can gradually re-direct all advertising to the customers you know are warm leads and are more likely to convert. The sweet spot to scale and grow huge profit from Facebook ads is when you’re consistently advertising to custom audiences.
Ok, so I know we’ve covered a lot so far and many advertisers can be guilty of getting to this point and creating any simple image from a past campaign or rolling out a video they produced a while ago.
BUT I want to encourage you to focus ON EXACTLY what creative you’re using in your advertisements. After all, it’s what the target audience is seeing so don’t you want to make sure they have the right reaction to it?
Advertisements can be in different mediums and I encourage you to make use of elements that suit your target audience and give you the best chance of getting your point across in a simple and easy to understand way.
99% of the time this is done via video.
I know, I know, videos can be hard and maybe you hate being in front of camera. But the BEST way to be able to showcase your brand and get your point across is via video. Full stop.
Why? Because the consumption levels of video are staggering:
• Facebook users spend 3x longer watching live videos than regular videos (source: social media today)
• There are over 8 billion video views on Facebook every day (social media today)
• The number of videos posted per person increased by 75% in 2015 (source: social media today)
• Video posts have 135% greater organic reach than photo posts (source: social media today)
• 50% of marketers said they were going to increase their live video in 2017 (source: social media marketer)
• Facebook invested $50m to get celebrities and influencers to start using their live streaming feature (source: motley fool)
• Facebook users comment 10x more on live videos than regular videos (source: motley fool)
If stats aren’t able to convince you, maybe think about the benefits video will immediately bring to your business:
• It helps people get to know you and your business better
• It leads to higher engagement on your Facebook page (see stats above)
• It helps drive leads and sales by giving you an avenue directly to the consumer
• When viewers engage, you get to know your audience better
• When viewers engage, you get more ideas on other content you can create
• You can re-purpose the video elsewhere
• Video is still relatively new and people still find it interesting
Ok, so now we’ve settled that video is the best way to get your point across I want to talk about what your ad should include to be able to generate a response.
For this process I like to brainstorm some issues on some paper to come up with an ingenious idea that I know will help get the result I want. I start with these main questions for my ads AND the offer I’m making to the audience:
1. Is what I’m offering novel, unique and distinctive?
2. How can we make it simple and easy to understand?
3. What is a question I can ask that will evoke a reaction to make a conversion or purchase?
4. How do we pre-expose our audience to a concept linked to the desired emotional stimulus?
5. What mental links and associations or nostalgia can we tap into and positively associate our offer with our memories?
6. How do we use this idea of creating an open loop or a cliffhanger?
So without having to worry about the technicalities of how long a video should be or what colors and size an image should be, you should first aim to answer these questions.
So you’ve set up your campaign, you’ve found a target audience and your ads are hitting newsfeeds all over the world…but how do you know they’re working?
It’s often the last and critical step that businesses will keep an eye on, but not react or be able to read the stats to get continued results.
So what makes good results for your campaign? Well, the simple metric to look at is how many results you have received based on your campaign objective.
This will often be the first column in the reports at the Ad Set level once you enter Facebook Ads Manager.
But sometimes you might not be getting the results you’re looking for, so I want to show you how to research the numbers that might be affecting your campaign.
Under the dropdown menu that defaults to performance and sits above the Ad Set numbers, it lists the important numbers depending on the objective you have for your campaign.
90% of campaigns we run use the Traffic to Website (clicks) or Conversions objective. You can find the most important numbers for these objectives under the Performance and Clicks pre-set.
As you scroll across on these results you can find some important insights. I pay particular attention to how much it is costing me to reach people and how much it costs to get people to my offer.
You can see these results under:
• Impressions: amount of overall times your ad has been seen by individuals, not to be confused with Reach, which is the exact number of people that have seen your ad. So if someone sees your ad twice, that counts as two impressions, but only once as an individual that has been ‘reached’. This is why the number of Impressions will often be much higher than Reach.
• CPM (cost per 1,000 impressions): this is an industry metric that can differ depending on how large your audience and budget is, but is a good indicator.
• Link clicks: clicks on the actual link to take people from Facebook to your conversion. This is different from All Clicks as these include clicks on comments, the like buttons, the ‘see more’ in the caption section, for example, and may not necessarily take people to your conversion opportunity.
• CPC (link): This is often the first place I look to see how much it is costing me to drive traffic. If this is too high I analyze the other numbers to see if there are any anomalies.
• CTR: This stands for Click Through Rate on the clicks that take people to your offer. This is determined by the amount of clicks divided by the amount of impressions to show a percentage rate.
If I find that my campaigns aren’t performing as well as I like I usually take the following steps:
• I always give ads at least 48-72 hours to work. It takes that long for the Facebook algorithm to find people that are likely to perform your objective AND to get some decent data to have some insight into your ads.
• I analyze the demographic data to see if my audience is too broad and if I can make my Ad Set narrower. To do this, I look at the ‘breakdown’ section that is in the dropdown menu.
• I check the frequency and relevancy at the Ad level:
o Frequency refers to the average number of times someone has seen your advertisement. Too many times with poor results means it’s starting to get a bit repetitive and you need to freshen up your creative. As a general rule I like to keep this under three.
o Relevancy is a metric that Facebook gives your Ad in the form of a score out of 10 (10 being the most relevant) that determines how suitable that ad is to your audience. This can be determined by the creative but also the link they are being pointed to. Facebook takes this into consideration as well with all ads. As a general rule I like to keep this above 6-7.
Once I’ve made any changes I make sure I give people enough time to take action. Facebook advertising is about having the patience and aptitude to roll with the punches and realize that results will take time if you let them.
How can you benchmark your stats to know they’re successful? This can depend on SO many things and vary from industry, business, offer and so on, so I won’t go into detail on what are decent results because it’s too difficult to create a blanket benchmark which could be detrimental to your own campaign.
But, if you’re a data nerd like me and want to deep-dive into the numbers that matter, then Facebook IQ is a great resource that sheds some light on the data it has available.
Of course the best way to benchmark is to create a campaign that works and take note of those numbers. That is then your benchmark for future campaigns.
So there we have it. The four steps to create a successful Facebook advertising campaign and to measure its results.
How will you implement these lessons into your future Facebook Ad Campaigns?