Absolutely everything there is to know about Facebook ads and how to completely master it to get killer results. Get all the information, tips, hacks and insights in one place.
Learn all the best practices of Facebook advertising: How to use the different tools, which ad types and campaign objectives to use. Get to know all the targeting methods and how to use each of them. Find out how to correctly track the results, and discover which metrics really matters.
Why Facebook ads?
There are endless reasons to use Facebook ads and it will be impossible to count and explain all of them in this post. To make it short – Facebook is currently the most effective digital marketing channel. It’s not only the best in its vast and accurate targeting options, creativity and optimization. In most cases, Facebook is also the cheapest way to achieve your goals. No matter if you are a B2B or a B2C marketer, or if you are promoting a mobile app or a fin-tech startup – Facebook has a great solution for you.
Add that to the fact that people are spending time on Facebook more than other digital channels. So even if you are trying to target professionals, you are more likely to “catch” them on Facebook, than on Linkedin.
How to get started?
Getting started with Facebook ads is very simple. Anyone with a Facebook profile also has an advertising account. On the left side of your personal news feed, you will find a link to your own personal advertising account (Of course, you can also set up a business account which will be explained further down this post).
Now, you will get to the Ads Manager interface, that will be explained further down this post. Clicking on the top menu button will open up the list of the entire set of Facebook advertising tools:
Facebook advertising tools
Facebook has created a variety of tools for advertisers. Each has its own purpose, advantages, and disadvantages. Knowing how and when to use each of them is essential for success.
The Ads manager is Facebook’s basic ads management tool that enable you to create, edit and monitor your campaigns. The Ads Manager contains all the powerful features offered to advertisers by Facebook, and it’s very easy to use. If you’re a beginner or a small budget advertiser, the Ads manager is the right tool for you.
The Ads Manager has a very simple interface, which makes it very easy and convenient to create and monitor campaigns, ad sets, and ads. It also features quick sneak peeks into your campaigns data, above the data columns so you won’t have to issue reports for every piece of data you are looking for.
When to use the Ads manager?
If you’re a beginner, start creating and editing campaigns with the Ads manager. The Ads manager is also great for your day to day optimization, like bid and budget changes, pausing ads, or any other quick required action. Ads manager is also the preferred tool for quick monitoring of the results of your campaigns.
Downsides of Ads manager
The Ads Manager can be a bit slow to create or edit multiple campaigns and ad sets at once. For that, Facebook created the Power Editor.
The Power Editor is Facebook’s advanced ads management tool, designed for large-scale advertisers. The Power editor makes it easier to do bulk actions like creating, editing or duplicating campaigns, ad sets or ads. It is possible to make many changes at once and actually upload them when they are done. For example, duplicate multiple ad sets, change their targeting, bids, budgets or anything you wish to change at one click and then upload the changes only when all the changes are edited.
The Power editor dashboard is a bit different than the Ads manager and is more focused on editing abilities.
Another great feature of the Power editor is that It allows you download or upload from an Excel file. For example, download your entire account, make multiple changes or new campaigns straight on the Excel sheet, and upload the file back to Facebook.
When to use the Power editor?
The power editor is great for managing multiple campaigns or ad sets at once since it makes it much easier to create, duplicate and edit everything in bulk. The user interface and usage may seem a bit complex and hard to understand at first, especially compared to the Ads manager, but it is definitely worth it to learn how to use it, since, in the long run, it’s the better tool to use.
Downsides of the Power editor
The Power Editor tends to be “buggy” from time to time, and on some days it is almost impossible to work with.
You can learn even more about the Ads manager & Power editor here.
The Business manager was created for businesses that have several Facebook assets (pages, advertising accounts, apps etc.), and several people working on them. The Business manager makes it possible to manage all those assets and to access them all in one place. For example, if an agency is handling your Facebook ads, you can grant them access to your page and ad account through the Business manager. If you’re done working with them, and switched to another agency, simply revoke access from the old one, and grant access to the new agency.
The same goes for your employees. Each person can get a different level of access like analyst, advertiser or moderator. Pages and ad accounts have different levels.
Why use the Business manager?
- Manage all your assets from one place – Create and manage all your pages, product catalogs and ad accounts under the Business manager. If you already had any of those assets on Facebook, simply add them in your account settings.
- Manage permissions – Allow your employees or partners to become admins, advertisers or analysts on each of your assets. The Business Manager makes it easier to control who get access to what, and at what level.
- Manage payment methods – Manage how you will pay Facebook for each ad account. For example, if you have multiple accounts and wish to pay for each of them with a different credit card, or in a different currency.
Bottom line: Using the Business manager is not mandatory, but it’s highly recommended. It’s very convenient to have all your assets, manage permissions and payment method all in one place.
Facebook enables advertisers to create their own custom and lookalike audiences to target. There are a few types of audience that can be based on an Email list, phone numbers, or people who are similar to your own users.
The audience creation tool is very simple and easy to understand.
Each audience you create can be used for ads targeting. Learn more about the types of audiences, and how to create them in the targeting section below.
Knowing your audience characteristics is a key factor to success with Facebook ads, and the audience insights tool gives you exactly that. It provides detailed information about your custom audiences, and other people on Facebook, such as their purchase behavior, household, Facebook activity, demographics, and much more.
Why use the Audience insights tool?
Get to really know your target audience, by discovering what they like on Facebook, how they shop and other facts that will help you target them better and serve them the right ads. For example, you can see your audience demographics, and know which age groups and gender you should focus on.
Or what kind of job they have.
You can even know their purchase behavior and find out what they are spending their money on.
How to use the Audience insights tool?
Choose any of your custom audiences or other segmentations on Facebook and the audience insights tool will provide you with interesting facts about the related users. In addition to that, the audience insights tool will display a comparison of your chosen audience to everyone on Facebook. For example, the audience you are inquiring can contain 38% females, and it’s compared to 54% females generally on Facebook.
The campaign planner was created to help advertisers plan their reach & frequency campaigns, which are optimized for traffic delivery. The Campaign planner enables to assess costs, volumes, and efficiency, before actually testing with a real budget. Originally, this tool was made for brand campaigns, but it can definitely help you in assessing direct response campaigns as well.
Why use the Campaign planner?
The main reason is that you can create multiple campaign variations, compare them and then actually use the one that is predicted to be the most effective.
How to use the campaigns planner tool?
Create multiple variations with different settings such as budget, reach, frequency and audience. Make sure each variation has different settings, but test only one change at each one, to understand what makes the difference. Compare your plan variations, and choose the one that looks the most effective.
Downsides of the Campaign planner
The biggest disadvantage is that these abilities are available for reach and frequency campaigns only. The Campaign planner is not 100% accurate in predicting results and there are many other factors that can affect the performance of your campaigns.
The importance of the Facebook pixel
One of the first things you should do is implementing the Facebook pixel on your website. The pixel is just a little piece of code and it takes just a few minutes to install. If you’re a mobile app advertiser, the equivalent to the pixel is the Facebook SDK for mobile apps. Of course, both will be done by your developers.
Integrating the pixel is absolutely a must for Facebook advertisers! Without it, you will not benefit from the extremely powerful abilities of Facebook ads.
Why install the Facebook pixel?
- Create and track conversions on Facebook – Without the Facebook pixel, you cannot create conversions, and track them on the facebook dashboard.
- Harness the power of the Facebook algorithm – The Facebook algorithm will optimize your campaigns to get more conversions at the best price. When used correctly, the algorithm is extremely efficient and can do wonders to your results.
- Create remarketing lists – Having the Facebook pixel enables you to tag the people who visited and took actions on your website, and re-target them with ads.
How to install the Facebook pixel?
First, you need to generate a pixel from your Facebook advertising account. From the top menu, click “All Tools”, “Pixels” and “Set Up Pixel”. Two options will pop up:
- Use an integration or tag manager.
- Copy and paste the code.
All there’s left to do is choosing the relevant option and the pixel is generated and ready to be installed. You probably have a web developer doing this for you, so Facebook made it possible to email the code straight from the pixel page.
When installed correctly, the pixel status will be active and will start counting traffic and actions on your website.
Tip: It is highly recommended to Install the pixel across your entire website. Doing so will allow you to really max out the advantages of the pixel, and create multiple conversions, and highly segmented remarketing lists.
Now, set up conversions
Once the pixel is installed, you should define your website conversions. There are two ways to set up conversions: standard events and custom conversions. Standard events are more accurate, but technically they require a code change, while custom conversions can be manually created on the Facebook dashboard. Both will allow you to track any action on your website, and optimize to get more of it at the best price.
Campaigns, ad sets & ads
Facebook campaigns are structured from three different levels: Campaigns, ad sets, and ads, in this order: The campaign contains the ad sets, which contains the ads.
What does each of them mean?
Campaign – The highest level and where you set your objective, that determines the settings and optimization options of the ad sets, and the available ad types. The objective is the goal of your campaign, what you are actually trying to achieve. It can be site traffic, app downloads, conversions, etc.
Ad set – The second level, and where you will define most of the settings, like budget, bid, targeting and more. A campaign can contain multiple ad sets with different targeting and ad types.
Ads – The third level of the campaign. Ads are the used creatives. There are a few types of ads in different campaign objectives. Each ad set can contain various ads at once.
Campaign – Where you define your goal
The goal is what you are aiming to achieve by advertising with Facebook. It can be conversions, leads, website traffic, page like and more. When setting up a campaign, it is required to choose the campaign objective, which will have an affect on your targeting and optimization options. Therefore, you can only choose one objective per campaign.
For example, if you choose Website clicks, your default bid will be per click, and Facebook will optimize your ad set to get more clicks, by showing your ads to people who are more likely to click on it.
There are 14 objectives to choose from. Each has its own purpose and settings. Choosing the right objective is the first step to setting up a Facebook campaign, and choosing correctly can determine its success or failure.
1. Post engagement – Boost your page posts
Get more people to see and engage with your page posts. It’s actually exactly as clicking the “Boost post” button straight from the Facebook page. With post engagement ads, Facebook will show your ads to people who are more likely to like, share and comment on your post at the lowest cost, according to your target audience, bid, and budget.
When to choose post engagement?
Post engagement is a good choice only when there’s a specific post you wish to promote, but please note – If the post is aimed to send traffic to your website, using the website clicks or conversions objectives are the better choices, since they are optimized to do that, as opposed to post engagement which is optimized to get more likes, comments, and shares.
2. Page likes – Promote your Facebook page
Get more people to like your Facebook page. When using the Page likes objective, ads are aimed to get page likes only, and does not contain a link to your website.
When to choose Page likes?
The page likes objective is good only when you simply need to get more page likes, or you don’t have a good website and your Facebook page is the best way to display your business. Other than that, it’s not a recommended objective to use. Page likes are no longer such an asset since people who liked your page will hardly see your posts unless they are promoted as well. Do not assume that people who liked your page will see your posts – this is just not the case anymore.
Tip: Website clicks or conversions will also get you page likes while getting you traffic to your website. Many people will click on the “Like Page” button of the ad, instead of or in addition to the actual button.
3. Local awareness – Promote your business to people around you
The Local awareness objective is perfect for small and local business owners, who wish to promote their business to people around them. Simply choose a location and a radius on the map, and reach people in that location.
When to choose local awareness?
If you’re a local business owner and want people around you to know about your store, service, offer or products. For example, it can be used by a local locksmith that wish to spread the word about his service in his community.
4. Brand awareness – Make more people familiar with your brand
Brand awareness is optimized to reach as many people as possible, who are more likely to pay attention to your ads.
When to choose brand awareness?
If you need to spread the word about your brand, but don’t necessarily want people to reach your website or take a specific action. Basically, it means buying impressions.
Tip: It’s worth considering using the clicks or conversions objectives instead. Brand awareness will be the side effect while the campaign is actually optimized to reach people who are more likely to become customers.
5. Website clicks – Get website traffic
With website clicks, your campaign will be optimized to show your ads to people who are more likely to click on your ad and reach your website but not necessarily take actions. In this case, the click is the desired action, regardless of what happens after the click.
When to choose Website Clicks?
Use website clicks if site traffic is your goal and there are no specific conversions you wish your website visitors to go through. For example, if there is a blog post you want more people to read, and page views has a high value.
6. App installs – Get more people to install your app
Get more app downloads with ads that direct straight to your app page on the App Store or Google Play. App installs ads are available only when the Facebook SDK is integrated into the app, and the app is listed on Facebook (this part will be done by the app developers). Installing the SDK on the app is a similar process to installing the pixel on a website.
When to use App installs?
Facebook app installs ads are definitely the most efficient and cost-effective way to get app downloads (besides organic of course). With Facebook’s vast targeting abilities, it’s also possible to optimize your campaign in order to reach the highest-quality users, those you really want to pay for.
Bottom line: If you have a mobile app you wish to promote, Facebook app install ads are the best way to do that.
7. Event responses – Get more event responses
Facebook allows page owners to create and promote events with ads that are optimized for getting more people to be interested. Events are created through the Facebook page, and it is not mandatory to promote them, but it is highly recommended.
When to choose event responses?
Use event ads when the event published on your page is not getting the response rate you expected or aiming for.
8. Video views – Get more people to watch a video
By choosing video views, your campaign will be optimized to get as many video views at the best price, regardless to any engagement with the video.
Decide what to optimize and pay for: It can be any view or a minimum 10-second view. Of course, choosing the 10 seconds view may lead to fewer views, but the upside is, you will make sure you only pay for actual views.
When to choose video views?
The Video views objective is great for targeting “cold audiences”, meaning prospects who are not yet familiar with your brand, offer or product. After you got people to watch a video, it is possible to re-target them with a different ad by creating a custom audience of people who engaged with your video in different levels.
Tip: With conversions or a clicks campaign you can also promote a video, and optimize for the selected conversion, or to get more traffic. If one of those is your final goal, it might be better objective to choose than video views.
9. Lead generation – Collect more leads
Get new leads right from the Facebook news feed, without directing traffic to your website. Lead ads are available on mobile and desktop news feeds only, and looks exactly like conversions or clicks ads, but allow you to collect details like name, email, phone number etc. directly on Facebook by a lead form that pops up, when the ad is being clicked on. The lead form is defined by the advertiser and may be pre-populated with the user details if Facebook has them. If not, the user can manually fill them in.
How to create a lead form?
In your Facebook page settings, click “Publishing tools” and then “Lead ads forms” to reach your forms library. Click “Create”, and set up your lead form to determine which details to collect.
The forms library contains all the previous lead forms and the collected data, which is available to be downloaded.
How to get the leads data?
Once submitted, the leads data (the fields of details you have collected on your form) is available in the forms library. Download the details to a CSV file or connect them directly to your CRM system.
When to use Lead generation?
Lead ads conversion rates are much higher than a landing page conversion rates, so they are very effective to simply generate leads. Lead ads are also effective when there is a complex onboarding process that requires an extra push by a sales team.
Tip: While lead ads are very effective to get leads, it may get you lower quality users than conversion ads. If your leads ads have good performance, it is highly recommended to frequently test their quality.
10. Website conversions – Drive actions on your website
The Website conversions objective is probably the most important and effective objective there is, and it’s available only when the Facebook pixel is installed and there are defined conversions.
Website conversions ads are aimed to increase sales, sign-ups, purchases or any other desired action on your website, which you defined as a conversion. Choose which conversion to optimize for, at the ad set level, and the Facebook algorithm will optimize to get the most conversions at the best price, according to your bid, budget and target audience.
Even though you can choose only one conversion to optimize for, Facebook will still track all the other conversions you have set and display them in your stats.
Tip: The Facebook algorithm can work amazingly, but it requires around 20–30 conversions a day to perform its magic, so choose to optimize the conversion that is most valuable to you, like “Checkout”, but only if it has around 20–30 conversions a day. If your most valuable conversion has fewer than that, try using a lower level conversion with a higher number of conversions like “Add to cart”.
When to choose Website conversions?
Use website conversions ads to drive more people to take actions on your website like signing up, make a purchase, download an e-book or anything that you define as a conversion.
By all means – Use conversions ads. The Facebook algorithm works great, and Facebook conversions ads are the most effective paid source of increasing conversions on your website.
11. App engagement – Increase your app engagement
For most app developers, the most important thing to measure is the daily and monthly active users rate – The MAU and DAU. Having many app downloads doesn’t mean having a high usage rate. App engagement ads make it is possible to increase the engagement of the app by targeting the already acquired users with deep-links that lead straight back to the app.
When to choose app engagement?
Use app engagement ads to get your already acquired users back to your app, and reduce churn rates. For example, if there’s a new feature in the app that you believe can turn them into active users again.
12. Offer claims – Promote your offers
Facebook allows you to create unique posts for any special offer you might have, like a discount or a promotion. With offer claims, it is possible to promote offers and optimize towards getting as many offer claims as possible, at the best price.
How to create an offer?
When choosing the offer claims objective, the option to create an offer is a part of the campaign creation process. Choose the type of offer you wish to promote. It can be a percent off, amount off, buy one – get one or free stuff. Any choice you make will open a chain of relevant options.
When to use offer claims?
Offer claims ads are great for promoting your products or services. Using a special discount and promoting it so that more people will see it is an awesome sales boost.
13. Product catalog sales – Dynamically present your products
Facebook allows you to create a products catalog to feature your variety of products through the Business Manager settings. Creating a product catalog allows you to dynamically add and advertise different items.
When to choose Product catalog sales?
Product catalog sales is great for e-commerce advertisers that sell a variety of products at once and frequently update their products catalog. For example, if you sell clothing goods, it can get very tricky to manually advertise the variety of products you have. With product catalog sales, Facebook presents your products dynamically.
14. Store visits – Drive more store visits and sales
The store visits campaign objective was created specifically for businesses with physical locations. Store visits ads enable you to reach people around your business just like the local awareness ads, but with ads that help them navigate, or contact the local business when the main goal is to get them to walk into your business.
Please note, that store visits optimization is currently available to a limited number of advertisers.
Ad sets are the second level of campaigns. The ad set is where the key parameters are being set like the target audience, how much you will spend and how much you are willing to pay per the desired action. Also, set where your ads appear – will it be mobile, desktop, or a combination of them.
In the ad set, you will set the following:
- Budget & schedule – How much you would like to spend and when to show your ads.
- Targeting – Who will see your ads.
- Placements – Where to place your ads.
- Optimization & pricing – How much you will pay per action, and what to optimize for.
Budget & Schedule
Budget – The amount you would like to spend at this ad set. You can set a daily or a lifetime budget.
Please note – When setting a daily budget, you are actually setting an average. The actual amount you will spend may vary and be more or less than your set budget. The daily spend can be 25% higher than your daily budget, so if you set your daily budget to $100, you may spend $125. Facebook does it in order to optimize your budget as much as possible in their dynamic ad auction marketplace.
Tip: If you are happy with your ad set performance and wish to raise your budget, don’t raise it by more than 10–20% at once. It can make your cost per result much higher than it is. Learn the best practices to adjusting your budget here.
Schedule – Set when to show your ads. It is possible to schedule your ads by days of the week and by hours of the day. For example, B2B advertisers usually prefer to avoid showing ads over the weekends. In order to use scheduling, you will have to use a lifetime budget, not daily.
Tip: Usually, daily budget works better than a lifetime budget. Start without scheduling to see if there are specific days or hours your campaigns are not performing well. If you find any significant differences, switch to scheduling, and exclude days/hours that are not performing.
Facebook’s biggest advantage on other digital advertising channels, is definitely the targeting. Facebook knows a lot about their users, and advertisers can use that. When setting up your ad set, you can choose the targeting which can be included or excluded. There are a few sophisticated ways to do that:
1. Custom audiences
With custom audiences, you are able to use the audiences tool to create your own advanced targeting lists. There are a few ways to create a custom audience:
Customer file – Upload a CSV file with a list of the people you wish to target. The list can contain their names, emails, zip code, etc. Once uploaded, Facebook will match your list with their Facebook profiles, and create a target audience that contains the matched profiles.
Tip: The more data you will use, the bigger your audience will be. For example, if you upload emails only, Facebook will be able to match only some of your list, since the emails you have uploaded are not necessarily the ones they are using on their Facebook profiles. This happens especially to B2B advertisers, that has business emails. Adding names, zip codes or any other relevant data, will increase the list match rate, and by that increase the audience size.
Website traffic – Available only when the Facebook pixel is installed. Create custom audiences based on people who visited or took actions on your website. Basically, this is how you create remarketing lists on Facebook. Facebook has made it really easy for advertisers to create simple or very segmented remarketing lists. There are six different ways to create lists:
- Anyone who visited your website – Create a simple audience of anyone who visited your website. You can choose the time range to include when 180 days back is the maximum
- People who visit specific web pages – Create a list of the people who visited your website, by the pages they have visited. For example, I can create a list of people who read this specific post.
- People visiting specific web pages but not others – Include the people who matters and exclude the ones who don’t. For example, you can target anyone who visited your website but excludes the people who browsed through your jobs page. Clearly, these people are not interested in becoming a customer, so there’s no need to target them with ads. You can also use it to create lists of people who went through specific steps in your sales funnel, like anyone who got to after the sign-up page but haven’t made it to the checkout page.
- People who haven’t visited in a certain amount of time – Get churned users back. Choose a time range, like seven days for example, and the list will include past visitors who haven’t visited in the last seven days.
- Based on time spent on your website – Target people according to how much time they spent on your website. You can choose out of the top 5%, 10% or 25%. It is worth segmenting your audiences this way, since people who spent more time on your website, are more likely to be interested in your product or offer, and it’s worth spending more of your budget on targeting them.
- Custom combination – This is the most powerful option of all, which I personally use. A custom combination allows you to practically segment your audience almost anyway you want, and include or exclude people who visited through mobile or desktop, took specific actions, visited certain pages, or any combination of all of them.
Tip: Create segmented lists of people who visited your website, and display different ads to different people. For example, people who left just before making a purchase, are worth focusing on by using a high bid to target them. People who just visited your homepage and bounced worth a lower bid. Another interesting tactic is to segment users by when they visited your site. For example, last 7 days with a high bid, last 30 days with a medium bid and last 90 days with a low bid, each with a different ad.
App Activity – Target people based on actions they took in your app. It’s very similar to the website traffic custom audiences but based on an app. For example, you can target people who used your app but haven’t done so in a while.
Engagement on Facebook – Target people who previously interacted with your content on Facebook. You can create an audience of people who watched your video (even just a certain percentage of it), interacted with your Facebook page, or with canvas or lead ads.
Tip: When targeting people who watched a video, it is recommended to use the segmentation tactic, and bid higher on people who watched a bigger percentage of your video, since they are more likely to be interested in your offer.
With lookalikes audiences, Facebook helps you find similar people to the ones in your custom audience. Lookalikes are based on finding people with the same interests, digital behavior, purchase behavior or people who clicked on similar ads, went to similar events etc.
A Lookalikes audience is based on an existing custom audience, which is the ״seed״ – the initial group of people you wish to find their similars. Facebook does an amazing work finding those lookalikes. For example, if your custom audience is a list of small business owners, their Lookalikes audience will contain mainly other small business owners.
The Lookalike audience will automatically exclude the people in the seed it is based on.
Why use Lookalikes audiences?
Lookalikes audiences are crazy-effective for increasing traffic and conversions. Not only that, usually it’s the most cost-effective way to advertise to “cold” audiences. By using Lookalikes, you are kind of letting Facebook do the targeting work for you, without the need to manually explore the vast targeting options Facebook is offering.
What to be aware of when choosing a seed?
- Seed accuracy and size – Lookalikes makes it challenging to target a very specific audience. The minimum size of a Lookalikes audience is around 2 million people (in the US). That means it can be challenging to target people that will find your ads relevant. Combining Lookalikes with other targeting methods will narrow your audience and can help to increase the relevancy.
- Email based seed doesn’t always work – When you upload a list of emails to create a custom audience, Facebook is matching them to Facebook profiles. A common scenario (especially for B2B advertisers) is that the email list includes mainly work emails and there is a low match rate. This means your seed can be too small to create Lookalikes. Using more than Emails to create a custom audience like first and last name, state, city, zip code or phone number will increase the custom audience size and will create a better lookalikes audience. Lookalikes will not work well with a seed of less than a 1,000, and actually, even that, may not be good enough.
- The quality of the seed – The people in your custom audience should have similarities for the lookalikes to be efficient. For example, lookalikes of football fans can work well as they liked related pages, attend events, go to specific websites, etc. On the other hand, lookalikes of people who renewed car insurance are less likely to perform well since they don’t have high similarity, besides the fact they did the same action.
How to create a Lookalikes audience?
On the audience tool, choose lookalikes, and enter the following:
- Source – The custom audience you wish to base your Lookalikes audience on – the “seed”. The seed should include at least 1K people from the same country in order create an effective Lookalikes audience. It works even better if the seed is larger than that. It’s also important to use a high-quality list for the lookalikes audience to perform well. For example, a seed that contains only your paying customers will probably work better than a seed of users who just visited the site, and bounced.
- Country – Choose the country you wish to base your lookalikes on. For example, if your seed contains people from varied countries, the Lookalikes audience will be based only on the country of your choice. A lookalikes audience can be based on one country only.
- Audience size – When creating a lookalikes audience you can choose an accuracy level of 1–10%. 1% is the most accurate and contains the most resemble people to the people in your seed. The lower the percentage is, the more likely your lookalikes audience will perform well. On the other hand, it also means a smaller audience and a smaller potential reach.
Tip: Each accuracy level includes the lower levels as well. For example, 3% includes the people from 1% and 2% as well. It is recommended to start by testing the 1%, and if you’re satisfied with the results and wish to increase volumes and reach more people, add the 2% separately, excluding the 1% with a lower bid. If the 2% worked well, do the same with 3% and go on. It will ensure you reach new people rather than showing your ads to the same people over and over.
3. Detailed targeting
Detailed targeting enables you to pinpoint your target audience by choosing or excluding people based on their gender, age, pages they like, ads they click on, apps they use, their purchase behavior, job titles and much more.
You can browse through the detailed targeting categories, or start typing what you are looking for, and Facebook will add suggestions.
Every targeting setting you choose can be included or excluded from your target audience. For example, you can choose to include people who are interested in sporting goods but exclude people who are interested in soccer gear.
You can also narrow audiences by combined targeting. For example, if you are selling clothing goods, you can choose to target people who are interested in fashion and are also interested in online shopping. But please note – When narrowing your audience, be careful not be too specific so that your audience won’t be too small to be effective
Include or exclude people by how they are connected to your Facebook assets. It can be people who liked your page, used your app or attended your events, or any combination of them. For example, you can exclude people who liked your page or target their Facebook friends.
Tip: If getting new users is your goal, exclude people who liked your page, since there’s a good chance they liked it through an ad anyway (remember? Many of your page likes comes from clicks/conversions ads).
5. Saved audience
The saved audience is a feature that allows you to save audiences you frequently use and easily use them again when creating new campaigns. Saved audiences can contain any of your custom audiences or a combination of them, age or gender limitations, or any of the other available targeting methods.
Why use Saved Audience?
Creating Facebook campaigns can be quite time-consuming, and many advertisers find themselves doing the same manual actions over and over when creating campaigns. Saved Audience will prevent you from manually defining your audiences.
For example, if I’m targeting the same group of interests frequently in my campaigns, I can save that group of interests, and add them to my new campaign by simply adding the saved audience that contains them.
The placement is the platform that your ads will appear on. You can choose out of a few available placements like the mobile or desktop news feed, right side column, or even other mobile apps. Each of the placements has different price ranges, conversions rates, and potential reach.
Tip: Even though you can choose multiple placements in one ad set, it’s better to have multiple ad sets with one placement at each of them. Each placement requires different bid and will generate different results and reach, so it’s better to optimize them separately. For example, mobile impressions are much cheaper than desktop impressions so you would want to bid lower on mobile than desktop.
Desktop news feed
Display your ads on people’s news feed while they’re using a desktop or laptop computers. Desktop news feed is usually the most expensive and desired placement, especially for B2B and e-commerce. Even though desktop impressions are more expensive than mobile impressions, they usually have higher conversion rates, and therefore can be more cost effective, especially when there is a complex onboarding process.
Tip: If you are aiming for conversions, bid much higher on the desktop news feed. The traffic is much more expensive and harder to get than other placements, but since the conversion rates are higher, it’s worth it.
Desktop right column
Right-side ads are the old-style Facebook ads, which appear on the right side of the screen and stay there, even if you scroll down. Desktop right-column ads are a cheap way to get desktop impressions, but take into consideration that the same people will see them over and over, and their efficiency is usually very low.
- When using right-side ads, bid for clicks, not impressions. Since your ads will be displayed to the same people over and over, it’s better to pay only if they click on the ad.
- Right-column ads are good mainly for remarketing (but when paying for clicks). Users who already visited your website have a higher chance to convert and right-side ads can be a cheap way to reach them on desktops.
- Right side ads don’t display your entire text, so it’s recommended to create specific posts that will be used for right side ads only.
Mobile news feed
Display your ads on people’s news feed while they’re using a mobile device, including tablets. You can choose to filter by operating system or devices. Since Facebook usage is bigger on mobile, impressions are cheaper and more available than desktop news feed, and therefore it’s easier to get mobile traffic.
Tip: Try targeting mobile devices when they are connected to wi-fi only. In many cases, cellular data will be too slow for your website or landing page to upload, especially in certain geographic locations.
Mobile instant articles
With instant articles, Facebook allows publishers to solve slow loading times on mobile and load instant articles instead. Using instant articles as a placement will display your ads on publisher’s content on Facebook. Your ads will appear differently than on the news feed.
Show your ads on Instagram. Although Instagram is a separate app, Facebook considers it as another placement for advertisers which makes It possible to use all the powerful abilities of Facebook. Using Instagram requires a different creative, but other than that, it’s as simple as all other placements.
Mobile audience network
Show your ads on other mobile apps. App developers can monetize their app by displaying Facebook ads on them. The ads look different and less appealing than on Facebook.
When using the Mobile Audience Network, Facebook doesn’t share the name of those apps or allow you to choose which ones to add or exclude, but you can exclude categories of apps, like dating or gambling, and your ads will not be displayed on such apps.
The mobile audience network is available only combined with the mobile news feed.
Tip: Try targeting mobile devices when they are connected to wi-fi only. In many cases, cellular data will be too slow for your website or landing page to upload, especially in certain geographic locations.
Optimizing & Pricing
The last thing you need to set up in your ad sets is optimizing and pricing. This is where you choose what Facebook will charge you for and how much you are willing to pay for it.
Optimization for ad delivery
Choose what to optimize your ads delivery for. Each campaign objective has its own options, and usually, the default is the actual objective. For example, the default in a conversions campaign will be to optimize for conversions.
Tip: In most cases, it’s better to leave the default. When you change it, it’s almost like you’re changing the campaign objective. For example, if you choose to optimize for clicks in a conversions campaign, it’s almost as if you are changing the objective to website traffic instead of conversions.
Set how much you are willing to pay for the desired action. The actions are what you have set as the campaign objective. It’s called a bid, because when you buy traffic on Facebook, you actually participating in an auction against other advertisers. The amount of your bid is not what you will actually pay. The actual price will be determined by how much you are bidding compared to other advertisers, your ad relevancy, and other metrics Facebook takes into consideration.
You can choose between automatic or manual bidding.
Manual bidding – set how much you are willing to pay for the required action. You can set an average price or a maximum price.
Automatic – By choosing an automatic bid, you let Facebook optimize the bid for you, and decide what is the best price.
Tip: Try to avoid using automatic bids, especially with large audiences. Automatic bid will often get your price per result higher than what you aimed for. We recommend using automatic bidding only when your ad set budget is as low as a few hundred dollars a day, and your potential reach is small (less than 100K).
If you know how much you are willing to pay for the action, it’s better to use a manual bid. When setting the manual bid, we recommend using a bid that is a bit higher than what you are actually aiming to pay. Once you’re done creating your ad sets, it’s time to create your ad.
When you get charged
Choose what to be charged on. Each campaign objective has its own relevant options. For example, in a conversions campaign, the default is to be charged per impressions, but it is possible to choose to be charged for clicks.
Choose the aggressiveness of your ads delivery. There are two options to choose from:
Standard – Spread the delivery throughout the day.
Accelerated – Show your ads as quickly as possible.
Ads are the creatives you will display to your target audience. Facebook ads are built from an image, a set of images or a video. Other than the visuals, Facebook ads contain a headline, description, text and a display URL. There are a few ad types to choose from:
1. Video ads
Display a video to your target audience. Video ads are very effective for targeting a “cold audience”, meaning prospects who are not familiar yet with your brand or product.
Tip: Videos are automatically played on users’ news feeds, but without sound unless they click on it. So make sure your video is clear and sends the message even without sound, and that the beginning of the video is appealing so they will keep watching it.
2. Static image ads
Display a static ad. Upload your own image or use stock images available for advertisers on Facebook. It is recommended to use as little text as possible on the image to maximize ad delivery. Don’t worry, there’s plenty of room for text above and below the image, so it’s better to use the image space for an actual image.
Tip: Try using your own images rather than stock images. Stock images are being used by other advertisers as well and as such tend to be less unique. If you don’t have a design team, you can create your own Facebook images with Canva. When creating your image, use bright colors, and be as clear as possible about your offer.
3. Slideshow ads
Slideshows are created by a set of images that will be displayed in rotation. Simply choose which images to display and in what order. You can also select music to add from a few available choices. Slideshows are effective in case you don’t have a good video to display, or if for targeting geographic regions with slow connections, which makes a video hard to display.
4. Carousel ads
Originally made for e-commerce, but can be effective for other segments. A carousel ad is created by three to seven images that can be scrolled from left to right and back. Carousel ads give advertisers the opportunity to feature several elements, or send to different landing pages in one ad.
5. Canvas ads
Canvas ads allow advertisers to create a full page experience on mobile devices. A canvas ad can be a video, image or a carousel, but when clicked on, the canvas pops up instead of instantly redirecting to a mobile landing page. Basically, Facebook has created Canvas ads, to keep people from leaving their mobile app.
6. Messenger ads
Facebook messenger ads make the messenger the destination of the ad and helps advertisers make people start a conversation with them. The ads appear on users news feed, just as a regular ad, but directs to the messenger when clicked on.
Please note – Messenger ads are available with the website clicks objective only.
How to choose the ad type?
As everything in Facebook advertising, you can never know ahead what will work for you, and it is always recommended to test things out. We recommend testing every ad type and never assume in advance what will work. You might be very surprised by the results you will see.
If you made it all the way here, you now know everything there is to know about setting up campaigns on Facebook, but what’s next?
Once you got your campaigns, you will start getting their performance data and optimize it. It is very important to understand the numbers and make sure you are optimizing what really matters.
The Ads Manager displays a default set of columns that tells you how your campaigns, ad sets & ads are performing. Let’s understand what they mean and what to do with this data:
Delivery – On or off?
Is your campaign, ad set or ad active or not.
Results – How much of your chosen objective did you get?
Results are the total number of actions resulted by your ads. The result is the objective you chose in your campaign. For example, if it’s a conversions campaign, “Results” will be all the events or custom conversions that were delivered by this campaign. If it’s a clicks campaign, “Results” are the clicks.
Why NOT use the results column?
When using conversions campaigns, results can be very confusing, since they sum up all the types of conversions in your account. For example, imagine an E-commerce advertiser with 3 types of conversions: “Sign-up”, “Add to cart” and “Purchased”. Now let’s say the campaign got 80 “Sign-up”, 19 “Add to cart” and only 1 “Purchased”. In this case, the total number of results will be 100, but there’s only one user who actually made a purchase. The cost per result will be calculated by the total number of results and doesn’t show you the actual cost to get a purchasing user.
Instead of using the results column, create your own set of columns and save it in the Ads Manager. Choose only the columns that really matters to you. For example, add the columns that will display the count of each of your events or custom conversions and the cost per each of them. It’s easy to do; just open the columns drop down and click on Customize Columns. As you can see, we created a “By conversion” set and made it our default.
Cost – How much you paid for each result.
Cost stands for the amount you paid per action. For example, if the objective of the campaign is clicks, the results will be the number of clicks, and the cost columns will display the cost per click. If it’s a conversions campaign, the cost will be the cost per conversion (no matter which conversion it is).
Do not mix this column up with the “Amount spent” column, which will be explained next.
Amount spent – The total amount you will actually pay Facebook.
How much will you be charged by Facebook. This is just how much you will actually pay regardless of the results.
Reach – How many people saw your ad.
Reach indicates how many people saw your ad. Each person is being counted once, regardless of the number of times he saw your ad. Reach is actually the unique impressions number. For example, if the reach is 10, it means 10 people saw your ads, but maybe some of them saw your ads more than once. The number of times your ads have been displayed is “impressions”.
Impressions – The number of times your ad was displayed.
Impressions stand for the number of times your ad was displayed on Facebook, regardless of the number of people who’s seen it. For example, if the impressions number is a 60, and the reach is 20, it means 20 people saw your ad at an average of three times. The average is called frequency.
Frequency – The average number of times people saw your ad.
Frequency is the average number of times your ad was shown to each person. For example, if the frequency is 3, it means each user in your target audience saw your ad an average of three times.
Tip: Make sure your frequency is not higher than 1.5. A high frequency is an indication that the same people are seeing your ads, and it’s time to refresh your creative or audience. It might also mean that your bid is not competitive enough, and you need to raise it to reach more people in your target audience. When frequency gets high, Facebook may slow down your reach, since the same people are seeing the same ad, and the engagement rate will get lower. Low engagement rate will lead to a low relevance score.
Relevance score – How relevant your ad is to your audience.
The relevance score is one of the most important columns to follow. The relevance score tells you how relevant your ad is to your target audience. The score is from 1 to 10 when 10 is the highest.
The score is determined by the ad’s engagement rate (how your audience is responding to your ad, by clicking on it, completing a conversion from it, etc.). The higher the score is, the more Facebook will favor the ad and will require a lower bid in order to show it to more people. So the bottom line is – the better the score is, the less you pay for traffic.
A low relevance score means that your creative is not relevant enough for your target audience, or you are just targeting the wrong people. When experiencing a low relevance score, a change in the creative and/or targeting is required.
What is a good relevance score?
The answer can be broad. For B2B advertisers, even a relevance score of 3 can be good, as long as your campaign is still cost-effective. For more specific offers, 7–8 will be considered a good score. If your score is higher than that, you did a great job.
Clicks (All) – Any click that was made on your ad.
Clicks (All) includes any social engagement on your ad in addition to clicks that lead to your website. It can be a click on your Facebook page, a like on the post, a comment or a share.
Do not confuse this column with Clicks (Link).
Link Clicks – The number users who got to your website.
The number of clicks on your ad that led to your website. Link clicks are the real number of times users got to your website through your ad.
CTR (All) – Click Through Rate
CTR is the percentage of clicks on your ads, out of the total number of impressions. As in Clicks (All), CTR (All) counts any click that was made on your ad in the calculation. It is calculated as such:
CTR (All) = All clicks (including any engagement)/Total impressions.
Tip: You might get a lot of likes on your ad, but not actual clicks to your website. In this case, you will see a high CTR but may wonder why you don’t see traffic on your site. For example, if you have 100 impressions, 5 link clicks, and 5 post likes, your CTR is 10%, but you only have 5 website visits. In order to measure your real CTR, use the column CTR (Link).
CTR (Link) – The percentage of people clicking on your ad to reach your website.
CTR (Link) is the percentage of clicks who led to your website, out of the total number of impressions. It is calculated as such:
CTR (Link) = Clicks (Link)/ Total impressions.
Example: If you have 100 impressions and 7 people clicked on your ad to reach your website, and 3 people liked your ad, your CTR is 7%, because only the 7 that clicked to reach your website are counted.
CPC (All) – Cost Per Click – How much each click on your ad cost.
CPC is the cost per each click on your ad. As in CTR (All), it is calculated by all the clicks on your ad, including page likes, shares, and comments. It actually shows you how much you paid per engagement on your ad.
CPC = Cost/Clicks (All)
CPC (Link) – How much you pay for each link click.
CPC (Link) stands for how much you actually paid to get a user to your website. It is calculated as such:
CPC link = Cost/ Clicks (Link).
Tip: CPC is being calculated regardless of the objective of your campaign, and is one of the most important metrics to follow. Considering you know your conversion rates, the CPC can help you a lot to determine the maximum bid you are willing to pay.
Facebook automated rules
A great way to help you optimize your Facebook campaigns is creating automated rules. Automated rules allow advertisers to automate the decision making and management of campaigns and make the necessary actions automatically.
What are automated rules?
Automated rules allow you to automatically get an alert email, or pause your campaigns, ad sets or ads, according to preset conditions you define. When the automated rule meets the defined conditions, the rule is being activated, and will pause the campaigns, ad sets or ads, or will send an alert email, according to your choice.
For example, you can create a rule based on cost per conversion. When your campaign cost per conversion exceeds a certain amount, it will be automatically turned off.
How to create automated rules?
On the Ads Manager or Power Editor, choose the campaigns, ad sets or ads you wish to automate and click “Create Rule”. Choose between turning off or email notification automation, set the conditions you wish to apply and you are done.
Why use automated rules?
With automated rules, you can make sure no low-performing campaign, ad set or ad will go “under the radar” and keep spending your budget.
There is so much to know about the constantly changing and improving possibilities of advertising with Facebook. I hope you have found this guide useful and helpful. I have shared with you everything I know from my very broad experience of Facebook advertising where I promoted mobile apps, fin-tech startups, various games and much more.
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