Facebook Ads is easily one of my favorite platforms to run ads across the entire customer journey.
There are so many targeting options and placements – the opportunities are endless.
Done right, you can prospect, re-engage, and convert in a cost-efficient way.
Here are 11 tips for driving more value with Facebook Ads.
1. Leverage Audience Insights to Identify Targeting Options
One quick and easy way to identify audience targeting ideas is to analyze the audience insights from your Facebook page. (The exception is if you have ever purchased followers, because then the data is flawed.)
Your audience insights can give you a sense of the demographic makeup of your audience as well as their other interests.
Left unfiltered, audience insights contain a broad swatch of prospects across multiple personas.
To make this data more useful, I suggest narrowing in on different targets to get a sense of profiles.
For instance, zeroing in on specific demographics can help to identify which interests to target for that demographic.
2. Choose the Right Objective (& Consider Testing Multiple Objectives)
At face value, it may seem like each Facebook Objective has its established place in the customer journey.
But in reality, most Facebook Objectives can be leveraged to engage and convert prospects at different parts of the customer journey.
A guide to Facebook Objectives could be a whole post in itself, so instead of reinventing the wheel, check out this guide on How to Choose the Right Objective for Your Goals.
With a little creativity, you may just find that testing different Objectives may yield a better cost per acquisition.
Personally, I’ve found that sometimes using a video views campaign can lead to cheaper site visits than traffic campaigns, while also building inexpensive remarketing pools both of people who have visited the site and people who have watched the videos.
Plus, in one case with a client selling a product with a high degree of consideration, the video views campaign attributed to more assisted conversions through organic visitors than the traffic campaign.
This seemed to confirm our hypothesis that people who had watched a video were more educated and better engaged than those who had only seen a static image ad.
That’s not to say that’s always the case, it’s not – which is what makes it so valuable to test.
3. If Using the Conversion Objective, Ensure You Have Enough Volume
You may have noticed that the conversion objective has been mentioned a few times in this post.
That’s no accident.
I don’t have data to say which Facebook campaign objective is most frequently deployed.
But if I had to weather a guess based upon anecdotal account auditing experience, it would be the conversion objective.
The conversion objective can be a killer performer, as Facebook has fairly strong algorithms for identifying likely prospects.
However, data fuels those algorithms so, for their algorithms to work optimally, they need conversion data to build upon.
If you’re using a conversion action that doesn’t yield much volume, those campaigns may stay in “learning mode”, meaning Facebook isn’t confident about predicting and identifying which prospects are most likely to convert in order to deliver your ad optimally.
If that’s the case, consider identifying slightly higher funnel actions for Facebook to optimize toward.
For example, if you’re an ecommerce but don’t have much sale data, optimizing toward add-to-cart instead of purchases can help to provide a little more volume for Facebook to utilize.
As more people add-to-cart, you should also see more sales – as long as your conversion rates remain steady. (And then be sure to also remarket folks who add-to-cart and don’t purchase!)
As you drive more volume, you can retest leveraging the lower funnel action but might still find that the volume of the higher funnel action can sometimes result in lower cost per sale.
4. Test Using Less Expensive Top of Funnel Targeting Options
This tip ties closely to the tip above about choosing your objectives wisely.
Depending on the length of your customer journey, sometimes it doesn’t make sense to jump right into the conversion objective.
If you have a gated piece of content, sometimes the conversion format can work well for driving top of funnel leads but it still may not be the most inexpensive way to capture that engagement.
For example, lead ads can work really well for that same purpose – often for a lower cost – plus you can also remarket lead form engagement.
The bottom line is that if the goal is to drive top of funnel traffic to resources on your site, sometimes other campaign objectives aside from the conversion objective can yield less expensive remarketing audiences.
5. Layer Interests or Demographic Targets to Zero In
Combining multiple audiences on Facebook allows you to really zero in on your targets.
Utilizing multiple interests using the “Narrow Audience” feature allows you to specify that prospects must fall into all of the interest or demographic targets in order to see your ad.
You can layer multiple demographics and interests together, or you can layer interests and/or demographics over your audiences.
For example, you could use a broader lookalike audience and then refine it with certain interests to ensure that the ad you deliver is relevant to their interests.
If you were using a 3-5% lookalike of all backpack sales, you might layer a hiking interest and run ads with images or videos of people on trails.
You can also use exclusions to refine your audience.
For example, if you were running ads for a college, you likely would want to exclude people who already hold certain (or maybe even any) degrees.
One thing to take caution with, is narrowing your audience too far.
Because Facebook performs well with data, getting too specific can be detrimental to performance, contrary to what you might think.
If the interests that you’re targeting are too narrow, sometimes it can actually behoove you to layer them together in an “either/or” fashion, instead of an “and” fashion.
This means that you’re essentially telling Facebook: prospects just have to be in any one of these audiences (as opposed to requiring prospects to be in all audiences).
This can give some of your smaller interests a bigger audience pool, which helps Facebook’s bidding algorithms to do their job.
6. Get Creative with Audiences
With audiences, you have an opportunity to get really creative – beyond just targeting all site visitors.
You can remarket folks that have looked at specific products (if you haven’t used dynamic remarketing for this, you certainly should!).
You can target folks that have taken certain conversion actions, to continue propelling them further in the customer journey.
For example, you could target people who added-to-cart but didn’t purchase, or people who downloaded a white paper but didn’t request a demo.
You can also set up audiences by recency.
Somebody who looked at a product within the last day or even last week is typically more likely to come back and purchase than someone who looked at a product 30 days ago.
For example, you might have different audiences for product viewers over the past 7 days vs. the past 30 days.
Then you would exclude people who viewed products in the past 7 days from the ad set targeting product viewers from the past 30 days to ensure that you don’t have an overlap between the two ad sets.
There’s also an opportunity to segment out different custom audiences.
For instance, you might export a list of audiences that had purchased multiple times in the past but not recently.
Or you could target your loyalists with new product releases.
You could target purchasers of certain products or services with new complementary offerings. The opportunities are endless.
You can also target on-page actions, which opens up a wide variety of retargeting options. That takes us into our next tip.
7. Remarket Engagement
As you’ve likely come to realize, Facebook has many different remarketing options – all of which can be hugely valuable.
Not only are there a ton of options but Facebook has a reputation for being a fairly inexpensive platform for re-engagement.
One of the most cost-efficient ways that you can remarket, is by remarketing engagement.
Not only is this method cheap, but it also allows you to get back in front of prospects that may never have visited your site meaning that this could be your only opportunity for re-engaging them.
There are a lot of great ways to do this – some that have already been mentioned in this post such as remarketing video viewers and lead form abandonment.
You can also remarket Instagram engagement, Facebook page engagement, and instant experiences, to name a few.
For even more ideas on how to remarket engagement and other Facebook targeting tips, check out Tim Jensen’s recent post on Facebook targeting options.
8. Get Creative with Lookalike Audiences
Lookalike audiences are arguably one of Facebook’s most powerful tools.
Facebook has lookalikes down to an art and these audiences tend to be some of the top-performing prospecting audiences for my clients.
I highly recommend segmenting out different lookalike audiences.
For instance, instead of doing a lookalike audience based upon all leads, consider breaking out:
- Lookalikes of your repeat customers.
- Lookalikes of big spenders.
- Lookalikes of your highest value customers.
- Lookalikes of all sales.
- Lookalikes of qualified leads that didn’t close.
- And so on.
Get creative! The goal is to find lists of customers or prospects that are the most valuable to your business and use those to fuel your lookalikes.
I typically start small with lookalikes using the 1% audience size. Audience size ranges from 1% to 10% of the combined population of your selected locations.
Using a 1% lookalike means that the audience consists of the 1% of people most similar to your lookalike source within your chosen geography.
Increasing the percentage creates a bigger, broader audience.
After you’ve built your lookalikes and you see which ones perform best, if you wind up with uncapped budgets and are trying to drive more volume, you might want to expand that list by using a higher percentage.
9. Customize Ads for Different Placements
Facebook’s ad platform gives advertisers access to a host of different placements – including Instagram.
Between Facebook’s newsfeed, Instagram’s newsfeed, Facebook stories, Instagram stories, Messenger, and the many other placement options, there are several different ad formats.
By default, Facebook opts you into all placements unless you select otherwise.
Facebook will also automatically create ads for all placements using the assets and content that you provide – but that doesn’t mean those ads are optimal, by any stretch.
One common mistake I see is advertisers create an ad designed for a newsfeed and then allow auto-generated ads for other placements to run.
If you’ve done this, a quick flip through the ad previews for different placements will likely prove cringe-worthy.
Customizing your ads for the different placements is an easy way to make sure that you’re putting your best foot forward in all placements.
10. Customize Ads for Different Personas, Audiences & Interests
Because you have so many targeting options – including push and pull mechanisms, you have a major opportunity to be hyper-relevant.
If targeting top-of-funnel prospects, you can easily create relevance to the interest targets that you’ve used to get in front of prospects.
If you’re targeting lower funnel audiences, you can create relevance to the content that they’ve already engaged with or shown an interest in.
For example, you’re selling backpacks and you’re targeting:
- Folks in school.
- Folks who like to hike.
- Folks who use a backpack to carry their laptop to work.
Then each of those audiences should see an ad that speaks to their use-case.
Using an ad showing students in a hallway would be way off-base for targeting a young professional.
Likewise, if you’re selling software and someone has indicated their interest in a certain software license, then remarketing them with a branded ad or an ad for a different product isn’t as compelling as it could be.
11. Review Your Data & Adjust as Needed
Last but certainly not least, keeping an eye on your data is a valuable way to ensure your campaigns are performing optimally.
It probably goes without saying that data should be used to inform future decisions for creative, targeting, bid strategies, and so on.
Hypotheses around campaign, ad set, or ad changes can be tested by setting up experiments, which is a super simple feature to use within Facebook Ads.
Even beyond that, digging into your data in a segmented way allows you to see what’s working well and what’s not.
For instance, you might find certain geographies, placements, or devices are working way better (or way worse) than others.
You can make exclusions, as needed, or you can separate the cream from the crop, so to speak, by pulling certain facets out into their own campaign, provided there’s enough data.