As I have found out the hard way, Facebook ad production is extremely labour-intensive. Therefore it is imperative that you incorporate an effective ad production workflow to best utilise your time. Here are eleven tips I’ve been able to come up with over the past few months.
Understanding the account structure
In the Facebook Ads hierarchy, ‘account’ is the highest-level object. Every account is associated with a specific user’s Facebook account. Campaigns are the second tier that sit under the account level. Unlike in Google Adwords where ads are held within ad groups, campaigns hold ads within Facebook. It’s at the campaign level that daily budgets are assigned. Each campaign can hold any number of ads. Every ad is self-contained, including targeting elements, ad creative, bids, and time-scales. There is no requirement for ads in any campaign to be related in any way. However, it’s best practice to tightly theme each campaign with relevant and similar ads as it would make reporting and managing budgets so much easier.
Step 1 – get your target demographic right
Begin by making a list of demographic segments you want to target or make sure you are clear about who your client wants you to target. It’s always handy to ask your client to describe exactly who their target consumer is. This should be your first step in setting up your Facebook advertising campaign.
E.g. targeting list:
Step 2: create your ads
Facebook has no process to save ads without submitting them for editorial approval. This is one of the greatest weaknesses to the user interface and the ad creation process and is a serious pain the rear. Therefore, it’s most efficient to submit one version of an ad for each social segment for approval at the time of research. It would be a complete waste of time if all your ad variants didn’t pass editorial scrutiny. Once the draft ads are approved, you’ll be able to tweak, duplicate and build ad variations and resubmit.
Step 3: designate the landing page
If the landing page has not already been determined, designate or create a page that is relevant to the draft copy. It’s extremely important to make sure the landing page is relevant for two reasons:
1) Facebook editorial might reject ads that take users to pages that aren’t relevant.
2) You would see a very high bounce rate, which means your time, effort, and money will be wasted.
Therefore, I cannot stress enough the importance of a great landing page. It’s often best to create specific landing pages solely for PPC campaigns. Trust me, the investment in development time will yield higher return on investment and provide a more effective PPC campaign.
Step 4: create your ad copy
The ad title, image, and body need to be reasonably related to pass editorial review. Again, choosing relevant images and writing compelling ad copy are critical to receiving higher click through rates.
Step 5: define your customer
This is the fun part. Use all the targeting attributes to fully target your social demographic segment.
Step 6: select your campaign
If you’re creating your ads on the web interface, click on “create a new campaign” and make sure you either change your budget to “lifetime budget” or change your daily budget to £1.00. This will ensure you don’t overspend your budget mistakenly. I’ve had to keep stressing myself to make these changes as I have had to endure some painful lessons in the past.
Step 7: set your bid and place your order
Once the demographic targeting is done, set your bid to £0.01. You set the bid so low because there’s no way to pause ads until after you’ve placed your order. Placing your bid at £0.01 will almost guarantee your ads won’t display and spend your valuable budget.
Step 8: repeat above steps
Once you’ve completed the above steps, find the little green button at the top right hand corner of the page that reads “create an ad” and click it. Go through the above steps until you have a paused campaign with an ad for each segment in it. Hopefully none of your ads will be rejected. If they do, all you need to do is make the recommended changes and resubmit them.
Getting the account structure right
Now that you’ve got a basic structure in place, let’s discuss best practice campaign lay-out. Most clients want to test more than one ad’s creative to the same target audience. While it’s tempting to dump a lot of ads targeting various segments in one campaign bucket, the result can be a big mess. Unfortunately Facebook does not currently allow you to sort results by demographic group. So you can’t isolate performance of ads by gender, education, interest or other criteria with a few clicks. This needs to be done manually, so setting things up with a bit of foresight goes a long way.
Example 1: messy structure
The problem with the above structure is that Facebook’s algorithm decides which ads in your campaign are served. I suspect the algorithm is more optimised for Facebook to maximise its profits than for you to get coverage across all your ads equally. Because Facebook automatically rotates through each active ad in a campaign, it’s really important that the algorithm is comparing apples to apples.
Example 2 : better structure
You could go even more granular:
The above structure will be very handy when you need to monitor performance and also to make sure your end of month reporting is fairly straightforward.
I love what one of my previous bosses told me during an internship programme I was completing some time ago. He said in my role I am not allowed to hold an opinion. If I need to push something forward, I’d need to substantiate it with tangible facts. I find A/B testing a great way to substantiate my proposals and recommendations, such as which campaigns to allocate more budget to, what type of images do I want, what type of message tone works with users, which type of call-to-actions work best, what colours are users more receptive to etc. By using A/B testing, you can obtain actual numbers, which can help you in your decision-making process.
Therefore, it is extremely important that you test different headlines, switching body copy, testing different images etc. It’s important to test at least a couple of ads per campaign. But don’t overdo it with loads of ads at the same time. As mentioned above, Facebook’s not going to give each ad a true chance to perform at its best even in rotation but will skew toward an ad the algorithm perceives as successful.
What’s in a name?
The last tip is to make sure you name your campaigns logically. The last time I checked, Facebook’s web interface allows a user to sort campaigns by most columns, while power editor does not support sorting. The ‘all campaigns’ page defaults to an alphabetical sort by campaign name every single time the user returns back to ‘all campaigns’, even after another sorting column was chosen previously. This can be extremely frustrating, so planning your naming standard early on will save your heart from increased blood pressure.
There is no hard and fast rule when it comes to naming conventions, but make sure they make sense to you when sorted alphabetically and that it also makes sense to someone who will work on the account in your absence. I generally use the following format as a guide –
[promotion name]-[product name]-[duration]-[special targeting metric]
e.g. Christmas deals – Trainers – 01 Dec/05 Dec 12 – males
The most essential take-away from this post is to plan ahead and be organised. Unless you use an in-house account management tool or you use a third party account management tool, managing Facebook campaigns can be fairly exhaustive. Hopefully the above tips will keep you in good stead. I’m sure you have some nuggets of wisdom to share too, so please feel free to leave your comments below.
I received some constructive feedback after having published the above post and was notified by Leyla Arsan (@leyla_a) via twitter that I didn’t address a very important part of the whole campaign set-up process, namely URL tagging for conversion tracking. I also didn’t mention targeting ads to your existing Facebook fans and their friends, which I thought I should include too. So here are my #12 and #13 tips for a better Facebook campaign:
Tip #12: Conversion tracking
As with any PPC campaign, it is imperative that you set up conversion tracking in order to better gauge the success or failure of the campaigns you run. Like many PPC advertisers, I use Google Analytics in order to gain greater insight about the traffic I send via Facebook ads. The only problem is that Google Analytics can’t differentiate between referral and paid traffic sent via Facebook unless you tag your URLs with tracking codes. Google have very generously provided a URL builder that help you generate the tracking code to your landing page URLs. The only limitation with this tool is that it would be extremely time consuming if you have a large number of ads and landing page URLs. For this reason, I use our very own Daniel Bianchini’s Google docs spread sheet which lets you scale what the Google’s URL builder offer. This spread sheet has saved me loads of precious time, so I do urge you to use it. Here’s where you could find the spread sheet: http://goo.gl/jI1Wd
If you want more guidance on using the spread sheet click here to get to the original post.
Tip#13: Don’t forget your existing fans
With Facebook’s ‘premium ads and featured stories’ you can feature page posts on your brand pages as ads. This means that you can promote and advertise your content you post on your brand pages. This is quite a powerful channel to reach out and engage with your fans and their friends. The significance of this method of advertising is that you would be able to provide your target audience with an ad that is more engaging and less sale-sy. Also, you get to use not only text, but rich media such as images and videos. However, the key points to remember when setting campaigns that target your fans are:
1. The objective of the ‘premium ads’ campaign is to create brand awareness and increase the number of fans – or your fan rate. So you should avoid a sales approach in your core messaging.
2. If you are posting an image, make sure your page posts are up to 90 characters or less so they could be featured in its entirety on your ad. If it’s a page post with no rich media, then you can post up to 150 characters.
3. Since your target audience are fans and their friends, you might limit your reach (especially if you target sub-groups). However, it is still important to have a targeted audience with a decent enough number as Facebook wouldn’t display your ads if the target audience is too small.
4. Use your ‘page insights’ data to find what best geo locations to target your ads, and also to find which demographic segment are most receptive to your posts. This data should guide you when writing content for page posts.
5. Anecdotal evidence has shown that questions do tend to gain a fair amount of engagement: this also tends to work well when targeting those who are not already your fans.
Image credit: marcopako