Creating Effective Facebook Ads

Many startup and small businesses have had an attempt at creating effective Facebook Ads,  as part of their marketing strategy, but most of these businesses have no idea how to effectively use Facebook Ads (all you are doing is helping boost Facebook’s stock price). If you know how to do them right, they can be the channel that truly accelerates your business.

Here’s some helpful advice.

1. Where to start?

It doesn’t start with Facebook, it actually starts with your website.

For this example, I will assume you’re an e-commerce website on WordPress or Shopify selling products that are between $20-$500.

You need to work out your conversion rate? Specifically, what is it from organic traffic or social traffic? If it’s around 2% or above, then you’re have a great start.

If your conversion rate is well below 2%, then we recommend focusing on conversion rate optimisation (CRO) to get your conversions up. In essence if you’re spending money for traffic, make sure you get the most out of it.

What about if your not selling products? Let’s say you’re goal is not a transaction, but it’s an email sign up for example. If you’re existing sign up rate is over 4%, then you’re ready to start driving traffic to it. If not, think about using a lead magnet like a downloadable guide or checklist for capturing emails.

Before you start:

a. Use Facebook Pixel

Set up the Facebook Pixel on your website. It’s a little bit of code that you copy from the Facebook Business Manager and drop on your site. By setting up this Pixel, you can retarget any user that visited your website and then visits their Facebook account. This way you re-engage a user that has shown interest in your website but didn’t end up converting.

Use the Facebook Pixel Helper Chrome Extension to check it’s working correctly. If it lights up blue when it’s on your website, then you’re good to go.

b. Who are you talking to?

Knowing who you’re targeting is the most important aspect of your Facebook ad campaign. It can make your ads look engaging or like a complete failure. Here are the five audiences I would test before you launch.

  • Your email database: Facebook allows you to upload your email list to it and retarget them on Facebook. If you have a product with lots of repeat purchases then this will be your highest converting segment. This is where you start.
  • Your website traffic: The Facebook Pixel allows you to retarget potential customers that visited your website. This is a great one for converting users that have already shown interest in your website.
  • A Lookalike Audience of your email database or website traffic: This is where the real power of Facebook comes in. Just as you know a lot about your customers, Facebook also knows a lot about its users: articles they like, brands they follow, movies they see, even ex-boyfriends they message, it knows everything! They’re able to make a Lookalike Audience based off of your email database or your website traffic. They claim that this audience will be 90 percent similar to your audience and has a reach of 2,000,000.
  • Target your competitors fans: Facebook has an Audience Insights tool that allows you to disect your competitors and influencers. We recommend start by building a segment of over five competitors that reaches over 500,000 people.

2. What should I run?

Videos versus images

A good starting point is to test at least three images or videos with each other. Some options for images could be a product shot, editorial shot or social shots (usually not taken by a professional photographer).

Based on experience, the product images was the best for sales, social images are great for click thru rate, and videos are great for engagement. If you do a video with audio, make sure you type out the subtitles. It has a better impact on conversion. If you don’t have the capability to create your own video content, then use Facebook’s slideshow feature to make a video. These would outperform the video ads for us half the time.

Always test three against each other because you’ll be surprised at what actual converts. If you use text on the images, then make sure the copy takes up less than 20 percent of the real estate on the images (you need Facebook to approve it).

Test some lead magnets

The top performing ads from a click through rate (CTR) perspective always give the user something in exchange for a click. For an e-commerce business, that could be giving customers 20 percent off or give them something with purchase. For a Business-to-business company you could offer a free guide or a checklist in exchange for a click.

Try a lead ad

If you have a strong email on-boarding series, then try aggressive advertising with lead ads. A lead ad is an ad on Facebook that captures the email with the Facebook ad. You can use a third party site like Leadsbridge to pass that email into your email service provider.

3. How do I know my ads are performing well?

Once your ads are live how do you know if your ads are performing well? Try and track these four metrics:

  • Frequency: You want a frequency score under 3
  • CTR: Get your click through rate (CTR) over 1 percent
  • Relevance: You want a relevance score over 6
  • CPC: Get your cost per click under $1.0

It’s all about your links

It’s all about your link structure when tracking the performance of your ad, let’s assume you have Google Analytics setup, you can use Google’s URL builder on any link you use for an ad. This allows you to track your campaigns once the user goes from Facebook to your website. Then you can see which campaigns result in sales and which campaigns result in a high bounce rate.

What to do when things don’t work?

Most of the startups that we work with put ads live and then they don’t see any results.

You need to really understand why it’s not working and start using information to drive your next tests. Here are some optimisation tips for getting your ads right:

  • Desktop only: This means no mobile. Your rate is better when people aren’t on their mobile.
  • Newsfeed only: Put the ad where their eyes are going. It’s more expensive but it’s a better overall return.
  • No audience networks: Facebook really pushes this, but these platforms are not as engaging as Facebook.
  • Two to four weeks duration: Don’t set the campaign as “Ongoing.” You want to give Facebook’s algorithm a set time period so you can see results.
  • Wi-Fi: If you still want to do mobile ads then make the settings for a mobile device aren’t “connected to Wi-Fi.”
  • Manual bid: This allows you to control how much you pay per click. It can guarantee you won’t go over a certain price.

4. Scaling ads

Auto-increase feature

If you want to increase your spend from $50 a day to $150 a day just let Facebook know. They have an auto-increase feature that allows Facebook to scale your ad spend by percentage or price while still optimising how the ads are being viewed. This way you can alert Facebook of your increase so they can prepare it better.


Leverage dynamic ads

For e-commerce websites Facebook gives you the ability to to upload an entire product catalog (by an Excel document or a plugin). That way you can do product specific retargeting automatically and let the computer manage the 2,000 SKUs for you.

Switch to the Power Editor

You can manage three to four ads with the Ads Manager. But once you start doubling the test, that tool just isn’t as good. Upgrade to the Power Editor (it’s free yay!) which allows you do to split tests and perform updates.

Hopefully you now have a better idea on how to make the most of your own Facebook ads.


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