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How We Approach Facebook Advertising

It’s been an insightful past few sessions with my Rapid Audience Group! Last week we opened our Facebook Ads Manager and gave a crash course on how to approach Facebook advertising. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the group, you can learn more about the group or join here.

While summarizing such a hands-on learning experience in a blog post or email would be challenging, I’d like to share some lessons here for your benefit.

First, don’t run ads from your phone:

People often get baited into running ads from their phone – don’t do it!I recommend against this because for a number of reasons because:

  • You can’t launch multiple tests.
  • The reporting is not as strong or customizable.
  • The lack of control doesn’t allow you to learn or scale at the same rate as running your ads on the web platform.

Next, know the three elements of running your ad:

If you’re not familiar with Facebook Ad Manager, it includes the following main components:

  • Campaign: The overarching element of an ad campaign where you set your “Objective.” There are many options for which objective to choose. My team focuses on traffic, video views, lead generations, page likes, messages and conversions.
  • Ad Sets: This is where you control who you are pushing the ad to, which can be region, age, gender and interests.
  • Ads: You’ll put your actual ad creative here.

I demonstrated how to set up an ad from start to finish to show the whole process, explaining each field and why it matters. I shared how we push out ads to United States, United Kingdom and Canada — it’s a trick that can drive down the cost of serving your ad to American audiences. Be sure to check that this is how it’s working for you, as it may not always be the case.

Third, determine budget and demographics:

I also shared how to determine your ad budget. We always schedule our ads for midnight, and stick to the daily budget recommended – or spend less than it. Never spend more than what is recommended! Spending more on your ad will only increase your cost per customer, so I tend to advise going with the daily budget recommended by Facebook as it’s best practices, or less.

Keep your ad demographics wide. My team and I keep do so (both male & female, ages 18-65+). This has multiple benefits. Wider demographics allow Facebook to optimize within a larger area to figure out who is interacting with your ad.

Don’t include more than one interest! It is important to be able to segment interests so you can learn from your data without driving up the costs of your ads.

There are different types of ad placements to choose from. I opted to serve the demo ad inside users’ Facebook feed. We typically don’t see good ad performance when being served in-stream users already watching videos.

Onto the ad creative:

I walked everyone through creating the ad itself. We created a headline, added an image with an inspirational quote, and debated the merits of including a link into the ad. We then duplicated the ad set a few times, and simply swapped out the image and headline each time. We typically create 3-5 ad sets per campaign in order to give Facebook the option to serve the content most efficiently.

Mastering the auction and the importance of monitoring ad performance:

The Facebook auction is impossible to predict, so it’s always best to give it options to optimize itself. A few basics:

  • Running advertisements will enhance the algorithms understanding of your content.
  • If it is good content and performs well, it will really boost your reach. If it doesn’t perform well, it can limit your reach.

For this reason, you’ll want to monitor your ads and how they’re performing. Take down any content that is underperforming.

Something important to note: Always want hit “Publish” when you’re done creating your ads. This will only save it as a draft, but will guarantee that you don’t lose your changes if you update your browser.

THIS is where things get fun, cool, and really simple:

I then showed the group how to duplicate an ad from three to nine variations, and started swapping out interest levels. This is the key to my formula of testing so many variations in 30 days to reach maximum followers.

I continued to duplicate the ad sets, changing the placements of the new ads to Instagram. By increasing the variations of your ad, you have more room to change variables, run in different geographical locations, and other specifics.

We ended up with 96 variations to test in just a few minutes! This enables your ad to work with the algorithms, which are designed to keep people on the platform by serving them content that they enjoy receiving. Here’s a quick run-through of how it achieves this:

  • The algorithm serves a small audience your ads first.
  • If the small audience engages with the ad, the algorithm will push it out to a bigger audience.
  • If that audience likes it, it will push to an even wider audience, and so forth.

This allows you to give the algorithm the best chance to find the optimal piece of content you’ve created to serve to the optimal audience. Once you’ve leveraged the altoghrim to identify the optimal ad and audience, you can use the Ad ID in your Ad Manager to optimize that ad.

Learn more about the basics about algorithms and content here

There is much more!

After the group and I walked through the process above, we took 30 minutes of questions from the group, then decided the greatest value we could provide was to do ANOTHER CALL the next day to go over the live performance of the ads we created!

Here is what we learned on day two:

We reviewed the different customizable options of the data available, but I like to focus on “Costs Per Share.” This doesn’t show up in your Facebook Ad Manager. We calculate it by dividing the shares of the ad by the total money spent. When customizing our view, I picked:

  • Delivery
  • Cost per result
  • Amount spent
  • Post shares
  • Post reactions
  • Post comments

I then took off the Instagram targeted ad sets because I’m looking for shares and Instagram isn’t built for this. We found certain ad sets that were getting under $.10 per share, and other ad sets all the way to almost $1 per share. I typically want to be at a maximum of $.30 per share so we turned off all the poor performers.

In order to do this, I switch my dashboard view to only show the active campaigns. This allows me to filter through the different ads, turning some off as I go, and leaving only the active ones in my view.

When I got through the Facebook ads, I went into the Instagram ads and started calculating cost per engagement, keeping only the best performers.

Again, we took the opportunity to bring group members into the call, and answer their specific questions on anything audience growth related.

We regularly discuss Facebook advertising during our sessions, but as you can see it was an insightful week for the group! Can’t wait to share what we cover future sessions!