So you’ve decided to do what most people (us included) would tell you is a smart move for your business: advertise on Facebook. Congratulations. You’ve made your creative, picked out your audience, put in the budget and set your ad loose on the multitude of Facebook users who may be interested in what you have to offer.
But it’s not all cupcakes and rainbows. Maybe your ad never really picked up. Maybe your ad seemed to be going well, but then engagements plateaued and your conversions declined. Now you’re stuck trying to figure out where it all went wrong.
If you’re looking for some clues, we can help. Facebook is a great platform from which to advertise, and it does auto-optimize campaigns based on your choice between clicks to website, daily unique reach, clicks or impressions. However there are steps you need to take proactively to make sure your ads will get the best chance to succeed. Without those steps, your ads could easily be ignored by users who have become pros at swatting away the daily waves of marketing messages.
Whether your campaign is about email signups, post engagements, or product sales, examining the metrics at the end of your conversion funnel will give you a glimpse into what ads are worth optimizing. These are 8 steps that can help you optimize your Facebook ads, so your ad spend doesn’t go to waste.
1. Test Out Creative
You might hope that, after all the effort you put into your ad, people will at least give it a chance. Sadly, that’s not the case. If your ad does not immediately attract users with its looks and copy, chances are they’ll scroll right past it without giving it a thought.
To avoid being ignored, it’s best to use high quality, professional images that pop out. Text it important too, of course, but keep in mind that Facebook is mainly visually-oriented. The site itself recommends for text to be short and to the point. Here’s a good example:
If you’re torn between images, that’s perfectly okay. As a matter of fact, picking out just one image and sticking with it is may be a mistake. You’d be better off testing out your creative by deciding on multiple image options using split testing, and see which ones lead to the best results. You could even test out that creative prior to launching by making a post on your page and seeing how people engage with it.
Once you do find your best options, remember to keep them rotating through your audience segments, otherwise people will grow tired of seeing the exact same ad on their screen and the ad will quickly lose its potency. Facebook recommends that you do a creative swap every 2 weeks for the algorithm to continue frequently showing your ad
2. Separate By Device
Using the same ad across all devices could be a mistake in your strategy, as people behave differently on their mobile device than on a computer.
We’ve discussed ways to optimize video ads for mobile in the past, but differences extend past video format. Text on mobile ads needs to be shorter. Your call to action on mobile should be different than on desktop, focusing more on engagement, while desktop ads should drive conversions.
3. Separate By Screen Location
Separating your ad set into news feed ads and right column ads is another great way to optimize. Each set is structured quite differently. News feed ads must have large images taking center stage, with quick and simple text on the top. Right column ads require smaller images, but clever, attention-grabbing headlines with different text structure.
4. Target & Segment
You’ve heard this from us before, but it’s worth repeating: targeting is key. Facebook’s Power Editor–its advertising tool for multiple ad creation–allows you to really break down your audience into groups that would be most likely to find your ads relevant.
You can target an audience based on behaviors, income, age and gender. You can also target by interests, creating different ad sets for each interest group so that they receive relevant topics. For example, if you happen to be an ad agency, you could make an ad set for those interested in social media services, another for those interested in print ads, and another for those interested in commercial or video ads (source). Make sure to break down your groups in a way that does not allow for overlap, so that you don’t bombard the same people with multiples of the same ad.
5. Lookalikes & Custom
At times even more powerful than segmenting, custom audiences and lookalike audiences provide amazing audience prospects. You can create these using email lists you already own.
Custom audience will connect an email from your list to an existing Facebook account, and show them your ads. Once you have this custom audience ready, you can go ahead and create a lookalike audience based on the same email list, or your tracking pixels (our next tip), as Facebook’s algorithm will search for users with similar characteristics to your custom audience who will then also view your ads. With your custom audience in place, you can also understand more about that audience through Facebook’s Audience Insights, which gives you a breakdown of the gender, lifestyle, relationship status, education level, job title and more. This analysis will allow you to tailor your ads even more.
Have you seen our video on why tracking pixels matter? If not, you should, because they matter in the world of Facebook ads as well.
Creating a conversion pixel is not only easy, but it will really help you track how your ads are doing. Important to keep in mind, however, is that in 2017 Facebook will be getting rid of conversion tracking pixels in favor of Facebook pixels, which the company claims will provide you with even more tracking solutions. To read more about Facebook pixels, click here.
Remarketing pixels are also a great way to optimize your ads, as they track those who visited your website but did not convert. They also have the additional benefit of providing information with which to build a lookalike audience (through conversion or retargeting). You could create a pixel for those who visited your website in general, those who visited certain pages of your site, and you can even choose to exclude audiences from your remarketing–for example, those who’ve been on your post-purchase page as they’ve already converted.
Make sure your ads aren’t going up during times when your audience is not even likely to see them by properly scheduling your ads. You can decide the days and hours you want your ads to run on Facebook’s Budget & Schedule section of your ad set existing on Power Editor.
8. Always Be Tracking
Keep up with your conversions and engagements, and constantly be on top of how your ads are doing. In order for your Facebook ads to perform well, they need to be constantly monitored and tweaked based on their strengths and weaknesses.
It’s not as easy as a wind-up toy, for which there’s a one-time input of effort before you watch it go. Facebook ads necessitate constant bursts of effort. But when they start going well, the payoff makes it all worth it.
What do you think about our tips? Do you have any others to add? Where do you struggle with Facebook ads? Let us know in the comments section.