At first glance, the Facebook advertising platform is a minefield for new advertisers. With thousands of different targeting options, pixels and audiences, it can be tempting to leave it out of your marketing strategy altogether. However, considering the enormous targeting capabilities of the platform for those who have mastered it, you would be doing yourself a disservice and miss out on some huge benefits by not getting grips with it. Check out these expert tips and tricks of the trade and you’ll be more than ready to start seeing huge ROI from your next Facebook ad campaign.
As a freelance social media manager, I’m often asked to optimize clients’ Facebook ad campaigns to see where they might be going wrong, and one of the most common problems I come across is a lack of targeting. With Facebook ads you have so many different ways to target customers that it’s almost suffocating, so make sure you use as many of them as you can.
Before diving into your ad campaign you should note down the profile of your typical or ideal customer. How old are they? What gender are they? Where are they from? What interests do they have? One idea is to take advantage of Facebook’s excellent Audience Insights tool to see which other pages your fans like, what interests they have and which demographic they fall into. Once you’ve gathered that information, you will have a much clearer idea of what your ideal audience looks like, and how to target them.
If you don’t know the exact demographics and interests of your target audience, or you just want to try a different approach, taking advantage of Facebook’s Custom Audiences is a surefire way to get some success with Facebook advertising. This way you don’t have to think long and hard about who to target, as Facebook does most of the work for you.
After you’ve clicked ‘Create Ad’ from the Ads Manager, in the audience section of the ad set you will see ‘Custom Audiences’. From there you have two options: to create a custom audience or a lookalike one. A lookalike audience is extremely simple to do and can be very effective. It essentially chooses audience who are similar in demographics and interests to your page fans, making it a good option to advertise outside of your network without doing any extra legwork.
Alternatively, you can create a Custom Audience based on your email subscriber list, which is matched with Facebook users’ email addresses to target those same people in their News Feeds – a perfect choice if you already have a large email subscriber list.
The next best option is to install the Facebook Pixel and target users who have visited your website, or even specific pages on your website. As targeting goes, it doesn’t get much better than this.
Placement is Key
When creating your ad you should also take note of where it is going to appear. You have five options:
- Desktop News Feed
- Desktop Right-Hand Column
- Mobile News Feed
- Audience Network on Third-party Mobile Apps
Think carefully about where you want your ad to be shown before proceeding here. If you’re linking people to a website that isn’t mobile friendly, for example, then it’s probably not the best idea to display it on the Mobile News Feed, Third-party apps or even Instagram. If you do, you’ll be wasting money delivering your ad to people who will most likely close the page as soon as they land. Displaying your ad on Instagram will also mean it will be going out to a largely younger demographic, so you will have to think if this suits your brand or not. Additionally, including Instagram as a placement means you will have to produce extra pieces of creative of different dimensions, so be sure to factor in the extra time and resources this may require before going ahead.
*Confused? This just means your ad will be shown on certain third-party mobile apps that have partnered with Facebook.
Use the Right Image
Yep, it might seem obvious but an appropriate, relevant and eye-catching image or video is so important if you want a good return on your Facebook ads campaign. It should be sized 1200×628 for maximum effect and shouldn’t feature more than 20% text (for a video, this rule applies to the thumbnail that you choose). You can use Facebook’s Text Overlay Tool for help with this. If there’s more than 20% text on there then your ad will be accepted, but won’t be delivered to nearly as many people as you were hoping for. And as we just mentioned, remember that if you include Instagram as a placement then the image will need to be at least 500×500.
Having this limitation with text means you’re gonna be that little more thoughtful about the image that you use, as it’s increasingly difficult to get your post to stand out in a News Feed that is getting more crowded by the day. I’ve got a three-step process that you should always bear in mind when creating engaging posts:
1. The image/video in a post grabs people’s attention and is the thing that stops people from scrolling past your post
2. The accompanying copy helps users to decide whether to click or engage
If applicable, the content of the link is the final step of the decision-making process for social media users before going ahead or not.
Once you’ve decided who to target, selected an accompanying image and written the copy, it’s time to sit back and relax, right? Er, no! As your campaign runs you should try and keep an eye on it daily, noting down what’s working, what isn’t working and adjusting the campaign accordingly. This is something I’ve always done with Facebook advertising to make sure my clients get the best value of money possible.
For example: if your campaign is going to multiple locations, dig through the analytics provided by Facebook to ascertain where it’s performing best and concentrate more of your resources on that area. You can do this by clicking the name of the campaign in your Ads Manager, and then using the Columns drop-down menu to customize which metrics you would like to see. You can also use the Breakdown menu to see if your ad performed better on certain days, times or platforms.
You should also look to tinker with the copy and/or creative if you can’t pin down why your ad isn’t performing as hoped. Try adding some urgency to the copy as the ad runs towards its conclusion. Don’t wait until the campaign finishes to make these changes, or else you could end up wasting your hard-earned cash!