Social media has begun to play an increasingly integral role in the consumer purchasing process. Facebook alone boasts over 2.6 billion active monthly users, making it the biggest social network worldwide and, therefore, one of the most valuable platforms in paid advertising. However, it’s only as valuable as your ability to utilize it—and that’s where we come in!

Time and time again, we see these three factors influence the ultimate success of a Facebook campaign:

  • Good creative and ad copy
  • Audiences built on a strong foundation of awareness, engagement, and acquisition
  • Clean pixel data

We’ll jump into more detail on these bullet points below.

Good Creative and Ad Copy:

Good creative can make or break your campaign. As marketers, we all can pull similar levers in terms of audience targeting, bidding strategies, and so on. This means the only lever unique to each marketer is the creative control of what the users see in their feeds. This makes it imperative to have good creative—but what does that mean?

  • The ad must be aesthetically pleasing! Specifically, the image is high quality and the design is both aligned with the brand and eye-catching enough to stop a user in mid-mindless feed scrolling.
  • The ad must be clear about the product or service it sells or the brand that it promotes. Place your product and brand at the forefront of the ad—be sure that nothing in the background detracts from the product you want to feature.
  • The ad must have a clear call to action. You’ve got your customers’ attention—now what do you want them to do? Send them to your desired landing page and direct their intent to a specific and profitable action: “Shop Now!”

Once the creative passes the design team standard, take the vote to the people! Continuing to test ad creative can be one of the best things you can do for your campaign’s success.

Aim for two to three ads in each ad set. Ideally, include at least one video and one static image. Even though an audience may be similar in terms of interests, behaviors, and demographics, each user is going to have his or her own response to creative. Some may respond more favorably to a static image, while others may respond better to the video. Giving Facebook more options to serve the right ad helps ensure maximum success for your ad set. Launch your campaign and observe which ad performs best based on the goals and KPIs you’ve set.

Then, take a deeper look at the winning ad. In this case, let’s say the video ad was the top performer. Maybe you will want to run another ad with the same video but a different call to action. Maybe you’re wondering whether “Sign Up!” will generate more leads than the original “Subscribe!” One way to find out—keep testing and watch engagement grow!

Battling Ad Fatigue:
The “perfect ad” is not the end goal but rather an endlessly moving target. US consumers are on Facebook every day, making them easy candidates for ad fatigue. The more a user sees the same creative, the less they tend to notice it—or even worse, the ads become irritating to the viewer, which creates a negative brand association.

The first-time impression ratio is a great place to start to identify ad fatigue. The first-time impression ratio is a metric that allows you to measure the percentage of users who have seen your ad more than once. As a rule of thumb, if your campaign is at around a 67% first-time impression ratio and the cost per acquisition (CPA) continues to meet acquisition targets, then you are in the clear—a majority of your ads are still being shown to a new audience. On the contrary, if the impression ratio is dipping below the 67% mark, it may be time to either refresh your campaign or target a new audience.

The number of times an individual sees your ad (called frequency) is also an important metric in identifying ad fatigue. However, a “good” frequency target means different things for different campaigns.

For a prospecting campaign, frequency should be less than 2. Prospecting audiences or “cold audiences” can be a tough crowd. There is a thin line between raising brand awareness and brand exhaustion. Aim for a low frequency and focus on the volume reached.

For a remarketing campaign, this number can vary greatly depending on the industry’s purchasing cycle. For example, some products are expensive and involve greater consideration and time before purchase. These products often benefit from a consistent, gentle nudging down the sales funnel. However, for products that sell quickly, repeated ads can lead to dreaded ad fatigue. One way to combat this is to ensure there are proper exclusions in place. If the ad set is targeting an “AddToCart” audience, be sure to exclude recent purchasers so you are not sending ads to people who have already bought your product. (Wondering where your company falls in this spectrum? Develop a hypothesis for the ideal frequency response and test!)

To find these metrics in your Ads Manager, navigate to your campaign’s ad set. Hover your mouse over the ad set and click on Inspect.

Inspect ad set on facebook

Let’s look at the following campaign as an example:

Because this is a prospecting campaign with demographic-based targeting, we are shooting for a frequency under 2. As the chart shows, we are currently at 1.66, so we are in the clear. However, in this example, the first-time impression ratio is under that 67% threshold. This would be an indicator to the account manager to either refresh the campaign’s creative or target a new audience.

Audience Saturation of facebook ad

If you have identified areas of ad fatigue, it is time to change your creative—but do so with caution. Changing creative so your audience is fresh and engaged is always important but be sure to keep the following in mind.

If you are changing creative (particularly in a cold audience), tread carefully! If the ad set is already out of the learning phase, changing the creative will constitute a significant change and thrust the ad set back into the learning phase. This can lead to less stable performance that has little to do with the new ads. In these situations, we recommend duplicating the ad set and adding the new copy in there. (Don’t forget to update the UTM codes!)

Audiences:

It’s important to understand your customer base. There are potentially limitless numbers of ways to build audiences, but rather than listing all the possible variants, we’ll share a strategy that has been a recent success here at Inflow.

This strategy utilizes the power of look-alike audiences. Take your most relevant seed audiences—for example, a list of previous purchasers, recent cart abandoners, and so forth—and create a look-alike audience at 1%. Continue to build look-alike audiences until you have five ad groups, one for each percentage level, 1%–5%. At each percentage level, be sure to exclude the look-alike audience below it. This serves two functions. First, it ensures the audiences do not overlap. Second, it ensures each resulting audience will be roughly the same size. (The latter is essential if you are utilizing a budget optimization strategy at the campaign level.)

Building look-alikes in this way is extremely effective in finding users who may be interested in your product but are currently unaware of the brand. The 1% ad group will be the audience most alike to your initial seed audiences. This means they may share similar political views or are of the same age, gender, location, and so on. Each percentage level up will stray further and further from the initial audience demographics. The 1% ad group tends to be a consistently valuable ad group because these are people who are highly similar to your current seed audience. However, each additional percentage level is also relevant because it prospects into who your audience might be. This type of prospecting will help you understand your audience on a broad scale and realize areas of untapped potential. After the initial setup and launch, it’s important to closely monitor performance—watch your best performers and optimize!

Facebook Audience Stack

As we can see from the example above, the 1% ad group has a strong return on ad spend (ROAS) of 4.86; however, both the 2% and the 5% ad groups have a higher ROAS while also maintaining a lower cost per purchase! (The 4% ad group was paused before this snapshot because its performance was trailing behind the others.)

One Final Note on Audiences:
A common question we receive from our clients is when to break out audiences and when to combine them. For this answer, we will often refer to the auction overlap metric. Auction overlap is an excellent in-platform tool at your disposal that gives you compelling insight into what percentage of your campaigns are competing against each other. We typically recommend aiming for under 10% overlap. If your audiences are above this threshold, it may be time to merge. This metric can be found in the same “Inspect” feature described above.

In the following example, the auction overlap percentage is 0%. This means that there is no significant auction overlap between this ad set and any other in the campaign, which is great news!

Auction Overlap on facebook

Clean Pixel Data:

The quality of Facebook automation has improved considerably in recent years and even in recent months. Our note on this is simple: Optimizing for conversion events based on your pixel data can be a powerful tool to target potential customers. However, automation is only as strong as the quality of the data provided (it’s difficult to ace the test if you’re given the wrong study guide).

Consider this scenario: An e-commerce retailer is optimizing for a purchase event in a Facebook campaign. The purchase event, however, is firing when a user adds an item to the cart in addition to when a purchase goes through. This completely skews the data, weakens the strength of the conversion event, and creates false metrics for reporting. It may cause performance issues as well as an inability to diagnose said performance issues—all around bad news.

Be sure to test the Facebook pixel on your site to ensure that all events are firing and tracking correctly. Google Chrome has a great extension to test the events. Contact Inflow to see if your pixel is firing properly.

Summary:

Facebook advertising is a tremendous tool to reach consumers. If you can use the above to harmonize good creative, relevant audiences, and clean pixel data, you will be well on your way to a successful Facebook campaign.