Facebook ads can seem complicated at first, but there are only four main principles that you need to understand to run a successful Facebook ads campaign:
- Align your campaign objective with your desired outcome
- Strategize your targeting
- Align your ads with your audience and your landing page
- Understand what the pixel is telling you
Obviously, there is a lot more to running Facebook ads than just these four steps, but whenever an ad campaign doesn’t perform well, it is usually because one or more of these principles were neglected.
1. Align your campaign objective with your desired outcome
Your campaign objective is the first thing you choose when creating a new Facebook ads campaign. There are three main categories to choose from: Awareness, Consideration, and Conversions. We won’t go through every campaign objective in this blog post, but Facebook put out a help article that you can read here.
Your campaign objective should be carefully thought out before you start creating your campaign. This is because the campaign objective decides what tools will be available to you while writing your ads and it will let Facebook know how to optimize your ads. For example, if you were to choose a brand awareness campaign, Facebook would show your ads to those who are most likely to remember your ad as opposed to a traffic campaign where Facebook will show your ads to those who are most likely to click on your ad.
It is important to remember that Facebook will do exactly what you tell it to when you choose a campaign objective. This means that traffic from a traffic campaign will be inexpensive, but it is likely to be low-quality since you are telling Facebook to focus on sending traffic to your site—while not necessarily worrying about conversions.
Another important note for when you are running a Facebook campaign is that each campaign objective has multiple optimization options. In a traffic campaign, you can optimize for link clicks or landing page views. One triggers when someone clicks on your ad and the other triggers once your page starts to load. We will go into more detail on this when we talk about understanding the pixel.
2. Strategize Your Targeting
This step is especially important for small businesses that are still trying to find their target audience. If you pay close attention to your targeting, you won’t only see better results from your ads but you will have a better understanding of who your target audience is.
There are three main types of targeting you can use while running Facebook ads:
Facebook has tons of prebuilt audiences that you can use based on people’s interests, behaviors, and other factors. You can use these pre-built audiences to target people that you think will be interested in your company. You can also layer these audiences to have an even more specific audience. For example, if you are a wedding planner you can target people who are interested in weddings who have also gotten engaged in the last 6 months.
Custom audiences are an awesome way to target those who have interacted with your brand in the past. You can target people based on actions they’ve taken on your site, engagement with your Facebook or Instagram page, video views, or you can even import a customer email list that you already own. If you choose to run a custom audience in your ads, you will only be targeting people who took the action you specified. For instance, if you made a custom audience to target people who added an item to their cart on your website in the last 60 days, those are the only people who will see your ads.
Lookalike audiences are probably the most powerful tool you can use when running Facebook ads. They are exactly what you think they are based on the name. They take an already defined audience and try to target people who are most similar to the audience. If you upload a list of previous customers to Facebook and make a Lookalike Audience based on that, Facebook will try to identify what the commonalities are in that group and target other similar people. Pretty cool, right? Pro-tip for Lookalike Audiences: The ideal size for a base audience is 2,000-3,000 people, so if you try to upload an email list with only 100 names, the Lookalike won’t be as effective as it could be at finding the right commonalities.
3. Align your ads with your audience and your landing page
This is probably the toughest step to get right. If you think it’s easy, you are probably a UX wizard. This step involves trying to understand what your audience is thinking when they see your ad. While someone is spending time on Facebook, you need to convince them to stop scrolling through their newsfeed with something that grabs their attention and intrigues them to the point that they decide to click on your ad. Once they click on your ad, they’ll go to your landing page. If the landing page doesn’t keep your potential customer’s attention, they will likely click off your site and go on with their life.
Think of your ad as an attention grabber and a segway. It needs to catch the attention of the right people and provide a smooth transition from Facebook to your website. Then, your website needs to act as a salesperson if you want to see any purchases or leads from your ads.
We have seen plenty of Facebook ads perform horribly because the landing page had a confusing user experience. We have also seen ad performance flip 180 degrees overnight after implementing one of Set Fire Creative’s landing pages.
4. Understand what the pixel is telling you
This is a step that is often overlooked while running Facebook ads. A lot of people see advertising on Facebook as a light switch. If you turn it on it should start producing, right? Wrong! It takes time for Facebook’s algorithm to understand what to do with your ads without the right amount of data. The Facebook pixel essentially represents what Facebook understands about your target audience. If you created a brand new pixel last week, Facebook will have almost no understanding of who to target.
When I was new to advertising, I wondered why Facebook even gave you the option to optimize for anything other than purchases or leads. But then I learned that if the pixel has only tracked two purchases, it most likely does not understand who is likely to purchase. Therefore, if you try to optimize for purchases, it will just be guessing who to target. This will lead to expensive clicks and few conversions. So make sure to be patient with your ads for the first few months.
These steps aren’t too difficult to get a hang of but it can be time-consuming to learn and very difficult to master. If you don’t have the time to learn how to run ads for your business, be sure to reach out to Set Fire Creative to set up a free consultation with a client strategist.