Are you up to date with the most cutting edge practices for Facebook ads?
These are some of our biggest insights in Facebook advertising. These are the things that we’ve learned , having done Facebook ads for over 150 clients.
Some of them are best practices that effective advertisers embrace, and some are new insights and changes you can’t afford to ignore.
The seven most important things that you need to know to be really effective with Facebook ads today based on all our data…
And if you don’t know us from Adam:
- We’ve been doing Facebook ads for ten years…
- We’ve done them for over 150 clients…
- We’ve worked with many types of clients of different sizes from small businesses to medium to famous big brands…
- Facebook ads are the Swiss Army Knife of ad platforms: there are 12 types of Facebook ads, and we run them all…
- We analyze the audience, create custom creative, optimize e-commerce performance, create custom lead magnets, split-test landing pages and optimize the ads…
- We have some pretty cool case studies if you want to read about them…
This is our latest stuff our latest insights to pass on to you guys to get better results… The seven Facebook ad insights you absolutely need to know today answer these important questions:
- How Much Do You Need to Create?
- What Kind of Ads Should You Run?
- Which Posts Should You Promote First?
- How Long Should Facebook Videos Be?
- How Important is the Pixel and Conversion Tracking?
- Which Conversion Window Should You Choose?
- What Are Retargeting Best Practices?
Facebook Ad Insight #1: How Much Do You Need to Create?
You have to test a lot of stuff
A lot of audiences and a lot of creative.
I feel like I said it’s a billion times but hey- you may never have heard this and you’ve never heard of me before! So I’ll just say this again and give you some more specifics on it that you may never heard me say this exact way in this level of detail but…
Our most successful ad campaigns are those where we’ve tested anywhere from 10 to 20 different audience settings. 10-20 ad sets, each targeted a different way.
And that is even the case when we’re only targeting one audience persona.
Because there are many different ways to target the same people in Facebook and there are plenty of other blog post out there that you could read- Andrea Vahl has a really good post about all the different Facebook ad targeting options– there are just a ton of them and that will show you why it’s possible to create so many different ad says different ways to target the same audience.
And if you do that you’re going to get different results.
You’re going to need to find that the ad sets/ the audience targeting that works the best for your purposes regardless of what type of ad you’re running- this is true for every type of ad, ok?
Test a lot of different audiences.
So if you have not tested 10 different ad sets with different audience targeting, then in my opinion you are not being thorough and you will not get great results.
You make get “ok” results. You won’t get great results.
If you’ve only got one ad set in your entire Facebook ad account, then you are a beginner and you need to create more ad sets. And that’s ok! That’s where you start.
But if you want to get the amazing type of results you’ve seen in our case studies, then you need to create 10 to 20 ad sets over time.
NOW… How many ads?
In our best case studies, our best performing clients and students, there are at least a 150 ads in those accounts.
That’s a minimum number.
If you do 10 ad sets, that’s 15 different ads in each one, 15 creative approaches. You have to conceive of different images, headlines, text, calls to action that will really move the prospect to take action.
A really good case study: we were doing website conversion ads for a small pizza chain of pizza delivery stores in Scotland called La Favorita… ecommerce pizza delivery.
We ran 160 ads for them but 76 of those ads didn’t get a single sale.
But overall we got about 2,200% ROI.
One of those ads was an 11,800% ROI, ok?
They made a ton of money compared to what they spent, and that’s because we tested so many different audiences and ad creative, over 160 combinations total…
But because 76 didn’t get any sales, if we’d only created say 70 ads, there’s a chance we might have only created the ones that didn’t get any sales. We wouldn’t have got any results. Zero ROI.
So if you are not thorough, there’s a chance that you’ll not only not get great results- you might get not get any.
I like to think about this way:
If you go out fishing to a big lake, and you don’t know where the fish are, you’ve got to put your line in a lot of different places to find them.
Now, you could take forever and walk around that lake one at a time, or you can get eight fishing rods or eight guys or whatever and put eight rods in at the same time. Now you’ve got a better chance of finding the fish- that is like an audience, right?
You gotta go where the fish are. Where are those fish? Which people are going to buy from me or fill out my lead form or install my app?
You gotta go to a lot of places.
And that’s why it’s important to test. You don’t know where your people are going to be in terms of targeting.
And this is the other way to look at the fishing analogy: What are you going to put on that fishing hook? That’s your bait.
That could be your ad. It could be a lead generation magnet, depending what you’re doing, right?
You can even look at that as your product or your app or whatever depending on what you’re doing, but you need to be able to patch multiple things okay from an ad perspective
We think about these as a different ad creative- the images the headlines and all those kind of things.
We don’t know which ones the fish are going to go for- in this case there are prospects, right? Which one is going to make the customer respond… not just to take action but do it at a high rate that’s going to give us a really low cost?
And you won’t know until you put a lot of different bait on those hooks.
So you got a fish and a lot of different areas of the lake, which is a lot of audiences and put a lot of different bait on those hooks which is a lot of different creative ok?
Test a lot of stuff.
And you gotta test a lot of new stuff all the time, because eventually people have seen your stuff and even if you haven’t reached your entire targeted audience… because Facebook is going to show it to the best people first and you might have shown all your stuff to the best people already and if they were going to respond they would have- so your results start to go down, you start to see that burnout, you need to new creative for a new audience, ok?
So that’s a lot of stuff – test a lot of stuff and keep creating new stuff.
Facebook Ad Insight #2: What Kind of Ads Should You Run?
To get professional level results from Facebook ads, you need to test ads with multiple objectives (goals).
Now if you’re only boosting post from your Facebook page, you’re only creating one out of 12 types of ad, and that’s just start. You need to get into ad manager or power editor.
Ad manager is a great place to star. If you create an ad in there, it’s going to ask you what kind of ad you want to create. So there are different goals and you choose the one that’s closest to your business goal.
If your goal is to get sales or leads, I would recommend you choose website conversions- because you want to get a conversion- assuming you want a lead or a sales on your website or your landing page, then by choosing that you’ve helped Facebook.
If you say you want traffic, that may be all you get.
You should be testing multiple types ads. Use the full Swiss Army knife of Facebook marketing. It does a lot of different things.
A marketing funnel is a complicated thing. It’s not just the sales- the bottom- there’s awareness at the top, there’s engagement, there’s branding, there might be leads in the middle or visits, all kinds of different things.
And if you want people to be aware of your brand or understand it, you might want to do that through a video, or through an image, through engagement on your page…
If so you need to use different types of ads.
Te page promotion ad, which boosts posts, the video view ad, which gets people to watch videos more… every type of ad objective gets different types of people, because different people do different things on Facebook- every user in Facebook is grouped them by what they like to do. They know what everybody does on Facebook. They group them.
You like to do different things, right?
You may like video- you may not.
You may like posts- you may not you may interact with posts- you may not.
You may click on links to go to other sites… you may click on ads. y
You may go over to websites and fill out the forms- you may not.
But whatever you’re doing, Facebook tracks that stuff, so when you target people with your ads, if you want to get people who convert you’ve got to choose the conversion type.
If you want to get video views, you need to choose the video view ad- and so on.
A healthy Facebook marketing campaign is going to use at least three types of ads.
I would recommend you use all three of these:
- Website conversion ads
- Post promotion ads
- Video view ads
Those three are very effective- you’re going to get awareness and branding. You’re going to get conversions.
Those are very powerful.
Some companies cannot do conversions- they can’t track them. They have issues.
Other companies are so focused on conversions and ROI that they can’t see the value of branding and engagement.
It’s almost like two different religious camps- they are so rigid in their viewpoints sometimes… but there’s value to both.
There’s value to awareness and branding and engagement because people know you exist. Nobody can buy from you if they don’t know you exist. You have to get in the customer’s “consideration set.” With the clients and companies we’ve been able to track- and other agencies have done this, too- when you run awareness boosting campaigns, TV ads, Facebook ads, all kinds of things, you’ll see more Google searches for brands and branded AdWords campaigns that have a very high ROI because people are already looking for you…
Well, where does that awareness come from? It doesn’t come out of nowhere. You have to create it with other types of advertising and marketing campaigns and post promotion and video view ads. Those are one way to do that.
So you can test multiple objectives.
Facebook Ad Insight #3: Which Posts Should You Promote First?
The third ad insight is about post promotion.
If you have a Facebook page, hopefully you understood what reachpocalypse was in 2013 and that your posts are not going to reach your fans unless you advertise them.
So, you’re doing post promotion ads if you care about your posts being seen by anybody…
And hopefully you also look at your page insights and you switch up your metrics there and look at the engagement rate.
That will tell you the percentage of people who see the post and like, comment or share on it.
The posts that have the highest engagement rate- they’re really the best bait, to go back to our fishing analogy…
You could put there’s almost anything in the world on your Facebook page, but you want to put the things on there that people are going to like the best, because there’s an opportunity to get people excited. ok going to relate to your brand your product and all those kind of things but also resonate with them stuff they like stuff that relates to their identity who they are all that kind of
It’s a very complicated topic to discuss: how do you come up with the kind of post that resonate with a specific audience?
There’s an art and a science to that.
But you look at your posts’s engagement rate and you figure out what your audience is interacting with, and which ones are high, which ones are low.
What are they not interacting with? And learn from that.
When you promote a lot of those posts, the interesting thing is the lowest cost-per-engagement ads don’t always turn out to be the ones that had the highest engagement rate!
We’re not really sure why that is. It might be a difference in the way that Facebook shows ads vs. the way that they show posts… or it may just be an aspect of the pricing.
But there’s some overlap, so if you’re going to test a limited number of posts, you should choose the ones that have the highest engagement rate.
Facebook Ad Insight #4: How Long Should Videos Be on Facebook?
Across all of our clients – although some are better than others – the average video view length is 15 seconds.
That’s pretty crazy… and we’ve seen that stat from other people as well.
That’s one of the reasons I think that’s crazy is that everybody is talking about how great live video is.
Facebook Live videos are very long. I know Amy Porterfield has done some 5-8 minute FB lives to promote her courses. But if you do 40 minutes or an hour or whatever, you just don’t know how long individuals stay. You don’t get a lot of metrics on them. If you do 45 minutes and the average person was there for 2 minutes… how are you gonna be sure you got your message got across? What part of your message got across? It’s very hard to develop marketing messages that way.
People are effective with webinars because they get people on the webinar and they have ways of keeping them on the webinar the whole time. But with Facebook live, they come in, it’s very informal… it’s more engagement focused, more top of funnel.
We’ve noticed that the videos that cost the least to promote are the ones that got the highest percentage of completion… they’re saying don’t waste anybody’s time, whether the video is 30 seconds long or five minutes long, it’s higher quality if people are finishing it.
In other words, don’t make your videos longer than they need to be!
Keep it interesting. Have a plan. If you’re editing it, edit out the boring and redundant parts.
I don’t know if they’re going to keep that because they’re trying to get TV dollars. They’re probably going to prize video duration, so that’ll be that’ll be an interesting thing to monitor if they start to favor videos that can hold an audience longer amount of time.
Facebook Ad Insight #5: How Important is the Pixel and Conversion Tracking?
Conversions are important- they’re leads and sales.
And that’s my bias because I started out in Google AdWords, helping companies get sales way back in 2004.
We do a lot of lead gen as well. So to me conversion is very important and it’s a lot easier to justify ad spend if you’re getting money back from it.
It’s difficult to quantify the value of branding and awareness and engagement even though we know it has a value… certainly they say that Coca-Cola’s brand itself is worth $78 billion separate from all the factories and other assets- and there are case studies that quantify that…
I don’t think we should ever avoid doing conversion just because it’s hard.
It’s just not going to work as well. It’s like a GPS without a transponder. You don’t have a satellite up. You can’t get a signal.
Weird things happen. We’ve noticed some weird things- like ads that perform better the longer they run. That’s the way that Google AdWords and Facebook conversion optimization work.
They have to learn a conversion profile – they’re AI profiling your buyers and they need data to do that, and they can’t get that data from Google Analytics. So that pixel has to be set up properly for them to get that data.
You can’t judge a conversion campaign too quickly, either. We’ve learned to give everything at least 72 hours and sometimes it takes longer than that. If you judge an ad too soon and turn it off, things don’t work well.
There have been situations where we’ve been able to let ads run longer… even ones that weren’t performing at the ROI level we wanted, and they got better because Facebook is homing in on the target and it just needs more time and data.
That data, unfortunately, costs money. You have to pay to not get results for a while in order to ramp things up.
If you’re getting conversions, you’re feeding information into the algorithm and the performance will improve quite a bit over time. That’s an important thing to understand about the pixel and the algorithm and everything if you’re too quick on the trigger to judge a bad conversion and you may miss out on a lot of opportunity.
Facebook Ad Insight #6: Which Conversion Window Should You Choose?
Another conversion factor is conversion window.
When you choose conversion window, it’s one day or seven days.
You’re basically telling Facebook, “We think that the person is going to convert within one day of clicking… or seven days.”
It’s kind of like a sales cycle. How long do you think it takes the person to decide before they’ll convert, whether that’s a leader of sale?
Sometimes you can have a pretty good idea depending on the business, but it’s just as easy to test both, and in some cases that’s what we do… we’ll test the same ad set where everything is the same but one has a one day conversion window and the other has a seven day conversion window.
The results can be dramatically different- it could mean the different between zero conversions and a lot of conversions.
Facebook Ad Insight #7: What Are Retargeting Best Practices?
The last thing that I want to share with you is retargeting.
Retargeting is essential. You have to do it.
Why is that?
For the same reason we want to do email marketing.
The first time people come to your website, most of them don’t do anything: whether that’s buy or become a lead… most people don’t convert if you look at the percentages.
- A great e-commerce site converts at maybe 3%.
- Even Amazon product pages convert at max 20% but that means that 80% percent don’t convert.
- If your Shopify site converts at 3%, you’re a rockstar. But 97% of people didn’t convert.
You need to be running retargeting ads to stay in front of those people. Whether that’s normal retargeting or dynamic product ads, you’ve got to do it. It’s a best practice to the degree that it’s malpractice not to run them.
You’ve got to stay in front of people.
Now, don’t be stupid about it. You’ve seen the ads when you’ve already bought something but you’re still seeing ads for it? That means they didn’t exclude the buyers, which is not hard to do. You can exclude the buyers. Create another audience based on people who have been to the confirmation page. Exclude those people if you want.
If you’re doing lead gen, a really great lead gen campaign converts at 40-60%, but you’re still losing a ton. Te average lead gen campaign converts 10-20% of people, so 80-90% of people leave, and you need retargeting to stay in front of them.
They didn’t like that lead magnet, so send them to another one.
Create three lead magnets. Find another lead magnet that they’ll go through.
Content marketing has become popular, so the stakes have gone up, the ante for the marketing game has gone up, and if you don’t have multiple articles, multiple videos and multiple lead magnets, then you’re falling behind.
You need to create it or you need to have somebody like us create these so that you can grab prospects.
Retargeting is such a best-practices that it’s malpractice not to do it.
In some cases we have clients that we run AdWords and Facebook ads but they may only get Facebook leads and sales from retargeting
We’ve got other clients that do get lead sales cold from all kinds of target groups with Facebook ads, but for some clients they can only get it through retargeting… so in some ways retargeting is the strongest Facebook ad audience.
Lookalikes and custom audiences are really good too.
We recommend them for post engagement, video views, awareness, engagement…
Your retargeting audience is basically like an email list. You want to constantly show them new stuff: whether that’s new blog posts, videos or whatever… every month you better have something new, or they’re going to get bored.
Look at that frequency number and see how many times your audience is seeing those things. If that feedback number goes over 3-5, they’re start hiding your ads abd the negative feedback goes up. That can be a danger to your account reputation, and if that’s combined with too many ad disapprovals, Facebook can deactivate your account.
If your frequency goes too high, you either need to create more content faster for your retargeting, or you need to lower your retargeting spend. Maybe your retargeting audience isn’t big enough.
Maybe you haven’t made the duration of the audience long enough- are you targeting 180 days? I make it as long as I can, because that’s like saying, “I want people to hear about me for six months.”
If you had an email list, how long would you want them to hear from you? Until they left the list, right? Why wouldn’t you want the same for retargeting?
The last thing about retargeting: sometimes we find what sells is to show customers first one type of ad to cold audiences and another type of ad to retargeted people. It’s like a one-two punch, a cold and retargeting ads. What we’ve seen work is the cold audience gets a pain or a problem oriented message and the retargeting gets the solution oriented message. So, if you’re having trouble converting cold traffic try that badass one-two punch solution. That’s a freebie I should probably sell
Go Do It!
Those are seven Facebook ad insights we’ve gathered that you absolutely need to know.
I hope that you find that useful and look forward to hearing your gigantic results!
Brian Carter is a popular business expert and keynote speaker with Fortune 500 clients like NBC, Microsoft and Humana as well as small businesses. He delivers motivational keynotes with practical takeaways with the comedic flair of his stand up comedy background. His agency, The Brian Carter Group, creates marketing that excites customers and increases brand visibility, sales and loyalty. Brian is a bestselling author you’ve probably seen on Bloomberg TV or in Inc, Entrepreneur, The Wall Street Journal or The New York Times. He has over 250,000 online fans and reaches over 3 million people per year.