How To Scale Facebook Ad Campaigns

Here we will examine how to build the most effective ad campaigns. We will also look at the roadblocks when using Facebook’s self-serve and what to look out for if and when you assess which social solution to use.

Where Are You Sending Traffic?

There is a lot of debate over where to send your Facebook traffic: To a fan page? Maybe an application? Or an external landing page? This will largely depend on what your goals are, but we have seen all three of these work in different scenarios.

The key thing is that you track your advertising and this is where Facebook has some problems; it has no conversion tracking of its own (their solution was discontinued in September).

The choice you make as to where to send your traffic has very practical implications; it will determine what type of tracking you need to use. If you are keeping users on Facebook, you will need to use a pixel tracking solution. But if you direct them to an external site, you could use either pixel of JavaScript tracking. Make sure you are clear on which one you will need to use before going any further.

Segment Your Audience

Facebook gives you a variety of targeting options that are simply not available with search. You can target by keywords, age, gender and all sorts of other factors such as connections and marital status. This is good news for advertisers, as you are really able to separate the wheat from the chaff and go after only those users who are important to you. In fact, Facebook even rewards advertisers who segment their audience with a higher quality system, so that’s all the more reason to get hyper-targeted.

The problem is that Facebook doesn’t make this easy; you have to write one ad at a time, with one location and target group at a time. This means if you want to build a sizeable campaign, targeting various user groups in different locations with a variety of creative executions, you would be well advised to find an alternative to self-serve.

A word of warning on segmentation, though: Start off broad and refine as you go on. Too many advertisers go crazy on the segmentation with the result that they create 1000s of ads. If you only have $1,000 to spend per day and you have 1,000 ads, it will take you forever to find out which messaging is working. Make sure you get a good bank of initial data upon which you can then build a strategy.

Relate Your Creative To Your Audience

As with search, it’s vital that you provide a smooth user journey. You have all these great ways of targeting users and so it’s important that you take these capabilities into account when actually writing the ad.

For example, if you’re a local business targeting people in, say, London, you should mention the city in your ad copy. Similarly, if you know your product appeals to users who like Kanye West, and have chosen him as a keyword accordingly, why not name-check him in the copy itself? To attain this level of integration between targeting and copy manually is a lot of work, so look out for a solution that can do this for you automatically.

Image is King

As the old saying goes, “A picture speaks a thousand words.” Where Facebook ads really differ from search is in their capability to carry images. In our experience, image is the key differentiator when it comes to click-through rate and ultimately conversion rate. For a start, make sure you include an image.

Beyond that, there are a number of things to test; try different colour borders, try pictures of groups of people rather than individuals, test different shaped borders. Make sure your image isn’t too intricate and detailed, don’t use logos unless you have a top top brand and don’t include text in the image itself. Most importantly, stand out from the competition and track what works at the individual ad level.

Choosing The Right Bidding Strategy

The first thing to decide is whether to bid on a cost per click or cost per impression basis. Easy: CPC. When Facebook first offered marketplace ads, most advertisers saw that CPM bidding worked better. It appears, however, as though Facebook has over time been favoring CPC ads, and 99 percent of our advertisers now go for this (some may optimize by best CPM, but it still serves best to bid on CPC).

What levels should you set your bids at? Facebook’s recommended bids are notoriously unreliable, but we see that bidding at the top end of the suggested range at the beginning of your campaign lifetime pays dividends. Much as on Google, if you have high bids from the outset, you ensure your ads deliver and therefore you can build up a good quality score. Once this has been achieved, you can begin to lower your bids (this could be after a matter of hours on high traffic campaigns).

Control Your Budgets

A major limitation of the self-serve platform is that you are unable to allocate budget according to location and/or target group. Facebook will split your budget according to the sizes of the segments that you are targeting, thus making it very difficult to put your money exactly where you want without building separate campaigns for all your various target groups (and therefore spending days creating them).

Look for solutions that give you the option to control your spending, be it by territory and target group or even by allocating lifetime budgets rather than having to rely on daily budgets.

Track Your Advertising Activity

As mentioned earlier, it ‘s extremely important that you are able to track exactly what each ad is delivering for you in terms of return on investment. If you are a serious Facebook advertiser, the amount of money that you could be wasting without a robust tracking solution is significant. In the absence of a solution from Facebook, it is important that you choose a provider that can track at exactly the level you need and report back on your activity.

Examine CPA At The Ad Level

Performance marketing is all about the bottom line. In order to get the very most out of your campaigns, you want to be able to set a target cost per acquisition and then report back on how your activity is performing at the most granular level. It’s important to understand how each segment performs (see below), but the holy grail is to examine how much value each ad is delivering and then optimize accordingly.

Report On KPIs By Segment

The ability to look at key metrics such as CPA, CPC and CTR by different segments cannot be overlooked. You can use this data to perform optimizations and inform future campaign strategies. Facebook’s interface makes it very difficult to get a hold of these types of insights in an efficient manner, even less to then carry out the optimizations that this data leads you to.

It’s important to look for a solution that allows you to pull reports with the data that matters to you in a format that integrates with your existing report portfolio so that you don’t waste time and money on Excel formatting.

Advanced Tips And Tricks

Once you have covered the basics, you should be looking to see what moves you can pull to really get the very most out of your campaigns. Is there an easy way to deal with CTR fatigue? Can I map a relationship between frequency and conversion? Why do so many of my ads get no impressions and how can I get round this?

Facebook’s self-serve solution is a one-size-fits-all solution. You should be looking to partner with a solution that can give you insights as to how Facebook advertising really works and provides you with the kind of advanced functionality that gives you more bang for your buck.

Guest writer Will Ashton is Business Development and Client Services Director at Alchemy Social, part of Techlightenment, an Experian company.
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