The Complete Guide to Facebook Ads

  1. Getting Started
    1. Creating and Maintaining an Effective Facebook Page
    2. Creating a Facebook Ads Account
    3. Account Organization and Set-Up
    4. Reporting Basics
  2. Beyond the Basics
    1. Starter Audiences
    2. Creatives
    3. Ad Copy
  3. Becoming an Expert
    1. Audience Insights
    2. Audience Persona
    3. Targeting Your Persona
    4. Advanced Features

1. Getting Started

While many brands create pages, and run paid advertising within Facebook to promote their brand, they don’t always know where to turn to get the most value from those efforts. By the end of this section, you should have a greater understanding of how to create and maintain an effective Facebook Page, using Audience Insights to understand your page fans, and building personas and audience segmentation from those insights.

Here’s what you’ll learn:

  • Tips to build and maintain an effective Facebook Page
  • How to create your first ad account
  • Setting up and organizing campaigns, ad sets, and ads
  • The available reporting metrics and what they mean

1.1 Creating and Maintaining an Effective Facebook Page

While most brands have at least some sort of page presence on Facebook, many often lack some of the essential features and information that people seek. From missing contact information, poor image selection, and lack of posts and updates, a page can quickly go from a bustling social media presence to a ghost town devoid of fans and activity.

Given that we’re going to later discuss the use of Facebook fans to create personas and craft paid media strategies within Facebook, we first need to make sure we’re making the page as inviting, informative, and useful to people as possible or there won’t be any fans to do audience research on in the first place.

What follows are 3 tips for creating and maintaining a Facebook page for maximum impact.

Tip #1: Don’t Forget Basic Information

First off, make sure you fill in all the basic information on your page. Facebook will run you through many options of things you can include, but make sure you fill out everything you think someone would need to locate you, call, learn about, buy from, or anything else you might want them to do.

Look at ModCloth’s “About” section below. It includes all sorts of relevant information someone would need to learn about them at a glance.

It has all the basic contact information like phone number, directions, address, and links to their site, but it also includes their brand story and important company milestones. People coming to this part of their page may be looking for contact info, but they’re learning about what the company is as well.

Even something as mundane as an about page is a chance to tell a story.

Tip #2: Images, Images, and Video!

The one aspect of social media that sets it apart from search engines and other mediums is its heavy use of images and videos. If your page is full of text and relatively few images it’s going to stand out from other pages and not in a good way.

Images and video are the currency of social media and you want to make sure your page looks vibrant and inviting. It all starts with the profile and cover images that form the basis of your page.

Look at the profile and cover photos from Ikea below. The profile image is a clean and sharp looking logo so you know what page you’re on, without having to read anything else. The cover photo then shows some outdoor patio furniture, both showcasing products and creating a tone.

While the profile image is typically the logo of whatever brand the page is promoting, it’s the cover photo that can set a mood for the page. Do you have a new initiative you want to promote? Swap in a new cover photo. Are you releasing your summer catalog? Swap in a summer oriented cover photo to keep the page relevant.

Beyond the image mentioned above, it also is helpful to have many photos relevant to your brand. Below we see that Ikea has lots of home related photos showcasing the use of their products. It’s easy for someone to start finding design ideas and Ikea products that might help them out.

Photos are a great way to showcase what you do. Make sure to include enough to tell a visual story and keep them updated.

Tip #3: Speak to People Through Your Page

We’ve mentioned that the last thing you want your page to look like is a ghost town with no activity. Part of creating an active page is following tips 1 and 2 above, but beyond that you need to create a space for interaction and ideas within your page.

The primary way to do this is to post updates to the page related to your brand. Keep the content relevant and timely so people will want to comment, share, and like it. If you can do video you should, as it’s one of the fastest growing content types on Facebook and one that is easily engaged with.

Let’s look at Wayfair as an example. Below you can see some of the videos from their page.

As a home furniture and accessory retailer, you’ll be interested in how their products can help you in your own home. You might be interested in projects that their furnishings have been used in. You might just want to check out a variety of content to get a feel for the brand. The key is to have enough content to get people interested.

According to Facebook, video consumption is on the rise and not slowing down anytime soon. If you want your Facebook presence to standout you need to harness the power of video. Facebook even offers various tools to help assist with video creation such as video creation kit.

In the screenshot above we can see that Wayfair has videos dedicated to home makeovers and DIY projects. Both things that potential customers and fans might be interested in.

Remember to think about what problems your fans are looking to solve and provide them ideas on how you can help them.

1.2 Creating A Facebook Ads Account

If you don’t already have a Facebook account set up, visit https://www.facebook.com/business/ while logged into your personal account or your business’s account. If you’re an agency, you can use Facebook Business Manager to easily access all clients’ accounts.

The Interface

Before creating campaigns and uploading ads, it’s important to first familiarize yourself with the Facebook Ads Manager interface. At the home screen, there are 5 tabs to navigate.

“Plan” is where your insights and creative tools live. The Audience Insights tool is populated with data that Facebook has collected from your site visitors if your Facebook pixel is placed on your site. You don’t have to start running campaigns to get these insights; simply place the pixel on your site to start learning about your audience. The “Plan” section also houses the Creative Hub, which helps marketing teams collaborate, manage their creative mock-ups, and view formats.

“Create & Manage” includes the Ads Manager, which is where you’ll probably spend the bulk of your time. Here, you can see all campaigns and their performance using custom columns. The different performance metrics will be explained later in this guide.

In “Measure & Report” there are a number of more advanced features including:

  • Ads Reporting
  • Test and Learn
  • Attribution
  • Analytics
  • Events Manager

These features are great to dive into once you feel that you’ve mastered the basics.

The “Assets” section simply contains your audiences, images, product catalogs (if applicable), business locations, and brand safety settings.

In “ Settings” you can access information like your account name, time zone, business address, etc. This is also where you go to add or change advertiser and administrator roles for your ad account. Email notification settings can also be adjusted in this tab. You can choose to receive emails when ads are approved/disapproved, schedule reports, and receive alerts when your payment method is charged. This is also where you go if you ever need to deactivate your Facebook Ads Manager account.

1.3 Account Organization and Set-Up

Campaigns and Objectives

Just like in Google Ads, campaigns are the highest segmentation in Facebook. When creating a new campaign, you are first prompted to select an objective. By setting an objective, you initially identify and stick with goals. Below are the campaign objective options. Keep in mind that Facebook automatically optimizes campaigns in order to show your ads to people most likely to meet the goals of the campaign objective.

Brand Awareness

This campaign optimizes for reach and ad recall. Use this to find the people who are most likely to be interested in your products or services.

Reach

Reach campaigns specifically help with local brand awareness, allowing you to advertise to users who are near your business locations.

Traffic

This type of campaign is optimized to show your ads to people who are most likely to click. You set the custom destination URL at the ad level.

Engagement

Expose a post to a wide audience to increase the number of Likes, comments, shares, or photo views. This is helpful for increasing your number of Page Likes or promoting an event.

App Installs

Ads with this objective have destination URLs to the app store. Integrate your business’s app with Facebook SDK for iOS or Android to track how many visitors complete an install.

Video Views

With this campaign objective, you use ads that include an embedded video instead of just images and text.

Lead Generation

Get new prospects into your sales funnel.

Messages

This objective enables advertisers to buy ads in Ads Manager or the Ads API with the goal of opening Messenger interactions, thus driving conversations at scale.

Conversions

This objective is probably the most common for advertisers who start in Google Ads for PPC and expand to Facebook. In order to effectively utilize this objective, you must implement the Facebook conversion pixel on the pages you wish to count as conversions. Visitthis guide for more info on conversion tracking on Facebook.

Catalog Sales

Connect your Facebook ads to your product catalog to show people ads for the products they are most likely to buy.

Store Traffic

Facebook will show ads to people in a certain radius of your choosing around your business. This objective can increase local brand awareness and traffic.

Once you’ve chosen your campaign objective, there are a few more campaign-level decisions to make. See the settings below:

For your first campaign, you should only worry about the budget and bid strategy.

Budget

You can set a daily budget, which is the maximum you would like to spend on the ad set in one day, or a lifetime budget, which is how much you would like to spend during the scheduled time your campaign will run.

Bid Strategy

Your bid strategy options include:

  • Lowest Cost – “Get the most results for your budget”
  • Cost Cap – “Control your costs while getting the most volume of results for your budget”
  • Bid Cap – “Control your bid in each auction”
  • Target Cost – “Get a consistent cost per result”

Not every objective includes all 4 types of bid strategies. See the explanation below from the Ads Manager UI:

  • The lowest cost bid strategy is only available if all ad sets are using the same delivery optimization.
  • Target cost and lowest cost with bid cap are only available if none of the ad sets are using value optimization.
  • Target cost is only available if the ad sets are using conversion and/or app install optimization.

Having trouble determining which bid strategy is the best fit? Check out this handy chart from Facebook:

Ad Sets

After choosing a campaign objective, Facebook prompts you to create an ad set. It’s helpful to think of ad sets as the Facebook version of Google’s ad groups. Ad sets allow you to separate your campaigns into smaller sections. This is useful when you’re interested in targeting specific ads to different locations or audiences. You are able to choose the targeting listed below within each ad set.

Audience – Either choose an existing audience in the account that you set up before creating a new campaign, or create a new custom audience. At any point of creating audiences, you can get an estimate of your potential reach on the right-hand side of the page.

Location – You can include and exclude multiple locations when setting up ad sets. Like in Google Ads, there are different options for who is included in this targeting. Below are the options for setting who is included:

  • Everyone in this location (default setting)
  • People who live in this location
  • People recently in this location
  • People traveling in this location

Age – Since Facebook provides detailed demographics, you can optimize your campaigns and ad sets by age. The default target is age 18 – 65+.

Languages – You only need to specify a target language if your audience uses a language not common in the area you choose. For example, targeting English speakers in Germany.

Connections – Show ads to users who like or know someone who likes your business’s Facebook page, app, or event. You can also make advanced combinations in this section of the ad set creation.

Budget and Schedule

Your setting options will vary in this section, depending on the campaign settings you have chosen. Below is an example of the Optimization for Ad Delivery, Bid Control, and Schedule settings for a campaign whose objective is Lead Generation.

Ads

After reading about the different campaign objectives, you can see that Facebook offers opportunities to use a variety of ads or creative. You can also use an existing post and turn it into an ad.

Image and Video Ads – Use one image or video with these character limits:

  • Headline: 25 characters
  • Text: 125 characters
  • Link description: 30 characters

Image and video ads also include an optional call-to-action button. Although you cannot customize the text in the button, Facebook provides a good variety that should apply to most advertisers. Below is an example of a text ad where the advertiser is using a “Shop Now” call-to-action button.

Carousel Ads – These ad units can be especially useful for e-commerce brands. Use 3-5 images and unique links for each image. An example of this ad type is below. As the user clicks on the arrow, the images scroll through.

Your ads can show in a variety of areas on Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and Facebook’s Audience Network. These areas are called placements. Try testing different placements and optimize your ad sets based on user behavior in each. For more information on placements, see this help page. Placements are chosen during the Ad Set creation before you create your ad.

Keep in mind that your ads will look a little different when showing on different placements. Below are a couple of examples of ads on the Desktop Right Column. You can see the text and images are displayed differently than the Desktop News Feed examples above.

1.4 Reporting Basics

After you launch a campaign and start showing ads, you’ll want to start optimizing your account based on the metrics provided by Facebook. There are preset columns you can choose based on your goals. Columns may also be customized and saved as a default view. Below are some of the metrics most commonly used to gauge campaign performance.

Results – Number of actions that were taken based upon your campaign objective.

Reach – This metric is similar to impressions in Google Ads and indicates how many people saw your ad. Facebook also measures impressions, which includes multiple views from the same individual.

Cost – How much was spent per result.

Amount Spent – Total dollars spent during the time frame selected.

Post Reactions and Page Likes – Even if your goals are centered around website conversions, displaying ads on Facebook will also help increase engagement on your business’s page and posts.

Link Clicks – These are either clicks to the website, your app, video, etc. These link clicks lead to destinations or experiences, on or off Facebook.

Website Conversions – These are all the actions tracked by the Facebook pixel on your site and attributed to your ad. This metric can be broken down into different actions depending on the events or custom conversions implemented on your site.

2. Going Beyond The Basics

By now, you’ve created your Facebook ad account, crafted some basic campaigns, and learned how to get around the interface. Currently, you’re looking for some help on getting started with audiences, creating images, and drafting ad copy.

When you’re finished with this section you should be comfortable creating some starter audiences, producing unique images, and drafting ad copy.

Here’s what you’ll learn:

  • Three audience types to get you started on the Facebook platform
  • How to craft images that represent your brand and catch a user’s eye
  • Basic tips on writing ad copy that stands out

2.1 Starter Audiences

One of the first considerations in Facebook is thinking through whom the audience is you want to target with your advertising. Facebook has audiences you can target, that are relatively easy for newcomers to set up. They provide a great first step into the Facebook ecosystem. Once you master these audiences, there are many more advanced ways to target people and build audiences.

Friends of Fans

Target friends of people who like your page

The easiest audience in Facebook to start with, is to simply target the friends of people who have liked your page. It makes intuitive sense that people who are friends with one another (even in the loose way Facebook defines friends) share some things in common that might make them useful for you.

You’ll be targeting the friends, co-workers, family, and other connections that your fans have. Odds are that at least some of these people are interested in the same things as the fans of your page. That same thing could be your product or service!

Be sure to exclude your existing fans, so you’re not targeting people who might have already purchased or used your service in the recent past.

To target these people, you’ll need to have a Facebook page already set up (you’ll need this anyway to do paid Facebook advertising) and that page needs to have likes. The more likes you have, the larger this potential audience. If your page is new or doesn’t get a lot of traffic, this method of audience building will be less effective. In that case, work on building your social media outreach to the point that you have enough fans to use this type of audience. Once you’ve received enough likes, this audience will be another option for your Facebook advertising.

Persona-Based

Using the information you already know about your clients and customers, you can build out an audience using those same variables to target new people.

Let’s say you sell outdoor apparel focused on the camping and hiking niches. You want to put some ad spend toward reaching new customers who might be interested in your store and its products. Based on internal information from existing customers, you have a general idea of what your typical customer looks like:

  • Male or female
  • College-educated
  • $40,000 – $75,000 annual income
  • 25-45 years old
  • Lives in California, Washington, and Oregon

Now, you have a decent start at knowing who your customer is and who else might be like them. In Facebook, you can then target these variables as you can see below.

Target by location, age, and gender

Advanced targeting

You can then layer on some additional interests like fishing, hunting, and mountain biking that would likely appeal to someone who enjoys camping and hiking.

You definitely want to err on the side of caution when it comes to audience size. The more targeted it is, the more likely you’ll be focused on the right people.

We’ve created a single persona-based audience that encapsulates your entire customer for this example, but it may be far more useful to break your customer base into multiple personas, each tied to a customer type that buys from you. You can then target each of these personas separately with customized messaging.

Lookalike

This audience is built by Facebook to look similar to your existing customers and clients, based on information you provide.

The reason it can be useful is that it allows you to leverage information you likely already have or can put together in a relatively short period of time.

For the newcomer to Facebook, lookalike audiences could be built off the following:

  • Email list
  • Phone number list
  • Website visitors

Simply upload an email list or phone number list into Facebook and tell it to create a lookalike audience based on it. You can also create one based on visitors to your site using the custom audience pixel that will feed information back into Facebook.

You’ll then be asked to tune the size of your lookalike audience to be more targeted and smaller or for more reach, but less targeted.

Then, you can experiment with layering other targeting options on top of the lookalike audience to refine your audience further.

2.2 Creatives

Facebook is a visual platform. While there is text in Facebook advertising, it’s the images that catch the eye and help convey a message to users.

While no two brands or businesses are going to find the same success with the same images, some basic ideas can help guide the image creation process.

Each of the following tips will provide insight on how to craft images that will get your ads noticed. We’ll cover three tips to get you started.

Tip 1: Include Your Brand In The Image

If the image is the first thing someone notices about your ad, you want to get as much as you can from that initial interaction. You want them, at the very least, to associate your brand with a message, even if they don’t click through to a landing page.

This is your first impression on a person, so include your brand (logo, etc.) on the image itself. It’s your best shot at creating an immediate brand association with the user. If the image conveys what your service does or what your product is, why squander the opportunity to create that brand association?

Whether you’re a home delivery service, retail outlet, restaurant, or any other type of business, you’ll want to portray your brand somewhere on your advertising image. It could simply be putting a logo in one of the corners of the image or you could have it prominently displayed on a product in that image.

By having your brand on the image, a user doesn’t have to guess what business the ad is tied to. You’ve removed a ton of guesswork by reinforcing the brand message with your actual brand. Remove the brand and it’s just a picture of things that one can’t as easily associate with a business.

The user would then have to read the rest of the ad to make that connection. If they happened to be scrolling and didn’t read the rest of the ad, they likely wouldn’t be left with much of an impression.

Tip 2: Use The Power Of An Emotional Appeal

The power of emotional appeals is nothing new to advertising, but it’s easy to gloss over how useful they can be in conveying a message to potential clients and customers, particularly on a visual platform like Facebook.

This is even more important when you offer a service or product that isn’t easily portrayed in an image format. The banking and lending industry, for example, isn’t the easiest service to convey in imagery, but it is a great candidate for emotional appeals. Their service is often meant to get you to a place (financial security, home ownership, etc.) or provide convenience and that is something that can be used in an image.

For example, think about how you would portray a car or home loan in an image. Do you show a contract or a calendar of payments? No, these things wouldn’t drive people to check your service out. You can’t easily show a loan in an image, but one way to market it is through positive outcomes. The general marketing angle is that if you use their service, you’ll be happier and better off in the long run.

So while it’s hard to show a car or home loan in an image for an ad, you can show happy people in front of a house or driving a new car. You’re then tying your service to someone’s happiness.

The power of emotional appeals can center on any kind of emotion, but in the social realm of Facebook, where people spend leisure time connecting and sharing with friends and family – happy and funny are two emotions that can do well on the platform.

Tip 3: Use Bold Colors To Draw Attention

What’s the last tip for sprucing up your Facebook images? Go big and bold on color.

Think about the Facebook experience. What colors are most used on the site? The background is full of white and off white coloring and the color goes to anything that can be interacted with – buttons, clickable text, and images. Facebook wants the background to fade away from the content, so it can be easily interacted with.

By using bright and bold colors, your image can stand out from the background, as well steer attention to its message and purpose.

One example of using bright and bold colors, is to have the background to the image be one solid color that stands out and then put your product right in the center of it. In this way, your single product is being showcased by the bright color behind it. The hope is that the bright color will then stand out from all the other images in one’s Facebook feed.

The background is also sure to stand out against other content, as it’s not typical for advertisers to use solid blocks of color. Be careful, though, as you don’t want to just throw your logo on an incredibly bright background and think you’ll hit marketing gold. Tie an image strategy like this to your brand and message to make it create a unified ad.

2.3 Ad Copy

When drafting ad copy for Facebook ads, you will likely want to entice people to click your ad and go to your website. Your ad copy needs to grab people and get them interested in what you have to offer.

Let’s look at three ways to make your ad copy stand out.

Tip 1: Make Your Ad Copy Relevant To Your Audience.

Your audience isn’t one size fits all and your ad copy shouldn’t be either. Think through whom you’re targeting, what their needs are, and how you can meet them. By using the persona-based audiences above as a guide, you can craft ad copy that appeals to each of the persona’s you want to target.

Tip 2: Mention Your Unique Selling Point

Use ad copy to promote directly what you’re selling and let people know what makes you better than everyone else.

Is it convenient? Speed? Price? User experience?

Use the ad formats and text options Facebook offers to clearly articulate why a person looking at your ad should choose your business to fulfill a need. That person shouldn’t have to guess what makes you better than the rest. If they do have to guess, they’ve likely moved on.

Tip 3: Use A Call To Action

You’ve tailored your ad copy to a specific audience and your unique selling point is prominent in the ad copy. Now what?

It’s time to drive home what you want a person to do and that means you need a call to action. It’s a great way to wrap up an ad. Facebook even makes this easy by giving you pre-made call to action buttons.

Choose the button that most represents what you want a person to do and you’ll have a nice button on your ad to guide users toward a specific action.

A Quick Recap

These are things you should be familiar with now:

  • 1. About three audience types to get you started on the Facebook platform
  • 2. Understanding how to craft images that represent your brand and catch a user’s eye
  • 3. Understand some basic tips on writing ad copy that stands out

3. Becoming the Expert

After successfully navigating the setup of a Facebook account and the initial round of settings, optimizations, and expansions, the time has come to not only manage your account according to general best practices, but to really identify how your account will flourish.

By the end of this whitepaper, you should have a greater understanding of the audience insights, building personas and audience segmentation, utilizing advanced segmentation for improved targeting, and how to use and find the advanced Facebook Ads Manager features.

Here’s what you’ll learn:

• How to use Audience Insights for creating advanced audience segmentation

• How to build audience personas

3.1 Audiences Insights

Creating and selecting your target audience should be one of your first tasks when crafting your Facebook ad strategy. How you set up your audiences and target them with ads will have the biggest impact on your relevancy scores and performance metrics.

Here are a few ways to find your audience with Facebook Audience Insights.

Finding Personas with Audience Insights

Facebook Audience Insights is a powerful tool that combines Facebook native data and third-party providers (Datalogix, Acxiom, Epsilon, BlueKai) to help marketers uncover deep insights about their audience.

Start by going to your Facebook Audience Insights and look at the options under the “Create Audience” section and choose your Page from the “Pages” field.

Under the Demographics tab, you should see an age and gender breakdown of your Facebook fans, like the chart below. This chart helps to quickly visualize the gender and age group composition of your Facebook audience. The light gray bars show the demographics breakdown of everyone on Facebook so you can compare how your age and gender composition compares to everyone else on the platform.

Let’s take a deeper look at one segment of the total audience. Keep scrolling down and you will see that Facebook has paired your audience’s interest data based on purchase behavior, brand affinity and other activities to create mini-personas.

For example, a popular lifestyle of this audience is Raisin’ Grandkids, which is “older singles and couples notable for their active grandparent status. Every household shows the presence of children.”

Building Your Persona with Audience Insights

Let’s say we wanted to create this audience in Facebook, so we could target specific posts and ads – how would we create it? First off, let’s think about what was included in that mini-persona.

  • Active grandparents
  • Singles and couples
  • Presence of children in household

What could we surmise from this information?

  • Age = let’s target 50+ just to be safe
  • Gender = Male & Female
  • Marital status = married & singles
  • Household = children are present
  • Geography – let’s just assume a national presence

Start targeting all these characteristics, until you have a complete picture of your audience, like the one below.

Facebook found 200-250K monthly active people that match our criteria for “Raisin’ Grandkids.” Now that we have an audience built, let’s dive deeper into Facebook Audience Insights to get a fuller understanding of this audience.

3.2 Audience Persona

The more customer insights we have and understand, the better we can deliver and target our messaging. Facebook updates this data daily, so the results are always fresh.

Since we inputted the demographic targeting, let’s start with Page Likes.

Page Likes

Top Categories provide a broad overview of the types of pages this audience likes on Facebook. This will come in handy if you wanted to target specific pages or interests related to them, in hope of reaching this audience.

You can also monitor these pages to see what type of posts or engagement they’re getting from their audience. Plus, use this information to target websites on Google’s Display Network or through your programmatic vendor of choice.

Second, Facebook provides the top 10 pages that are likely to be relevant to your audience based on affinity, page size, and the number of people in your audience who have already liked that page.

In this example, our audience is 5.5x more likely to like the AARP Facebook Page than all the Facebook users. From here, start putting together the types of websites/news/products/organizations/ games this audience is likely to interact with.

Locations

Under the Location tab is a list of the top locations for this selected audience, with the likely chance of them being in this group on the right.

This will be useful information, if you want to narrow your geo-targeting to specific regions, states or cities.

Activity

Activity is the number of times the selected audience performed these actions on Facebook. It is based on Facebook user activity and environmental data.

This is great information to analyze before setting up ads, because you want to understand the behavior of this audience. Do they engage with posts by liking, sharing or commenting? Do they click on ads? If so, do they redeem promotions?

At first glance, we would expect to see good results from relevant ads, because this audience is heavily engaged on Facebook, compared to average users.

  • They like a lot of pages
  • They comment and like posts more than they share
  • They like to click on ads, but don’t redeem promotions

Devices

Next, try to understand what and which type of devices they prefer. It appears 55% of the audience uses a hybrid of computers and mobile, which means our device targeting should be set for both in order to reach this audience.

Moreover, 73% of the audience primarily uses their mobile device. Of those mobile devices, there are more Android users than iPhone users. This will be important to review when optimizing the campaign.

Compare Google Analytics Performance Data

Go to Google Analytics and create a new segment based off some of the same demographics we targeted in Facebook. At a basic level, let’s see how this audience performs by age and gender.

Here’s what my new segment looks like:

After saving this segment, start analyzing the data by looking for performance trends across device, age and gender.

We can quickly see this audience outperforms the average site visitor and 63% of the conversions happen on a desktop with an 11.2% conversion rate. This is definitely worth remembering when choosing device placements for your ads.

To see more granular metrics, break it down by age and gender. 53% of their goal conversions come from females 45-64, and the highest conversion rates come from males and females over the age of 65.

Now that we have a basic understanding of performance levels for this demographic audience, let’s move back to Facebook to target them with ads.

3.3 Targeting Your Persona

By using Audience Insights, we found a specific Facebook audience segment, collected multiple data touch points and analyzed its general performance within Google Analytics.

So how would you target this audience within Facebook?

Since the audience is already saved, the next step is to create a campaign for this audience. Based off of the Google Analytics conversion data, we would recommend creating different ad sets to measure performance for each age group and gender (ex. 65+ Female and 65+ Male).

Now that the campaign and ad sets are in place, here are a few tips to keep in mind with your ad creative and optimizations.

  • Craft specific messages to entice the audience to click through
  • Select images and videos that will appeal to this audience
  • Don’t be afraid to try different ad styles, like video ads or carousel ads
  • Consider using placement targeting (remember character limits are different)
  • Review primary devices used by your audience
  • Choose the appropriate CTA, based on where the audience is in the funnel
  • Set up an ad schedule of when your audience is most likely to be online and when they’re most likely to convert (they can be different)

Combining Facebook Audience Insights with Google Analytics provides a lot of data points that can easily be connected into a full buyer persona.

Taking the time to understand your audience and gain deeper insights into their interests and behaviors, will help improve your ad performance and increase ROI.

Pro Tips

  1. Lookalike Audiences: Create new audiences based on email lists and website audiences to find new customers.
  2. Don’t neglect your fans: Using audience insights, segment your Facebook fans into small audiences to deliver tailored messages.
  3. Don’t guess, use Google Analytics and Facebook Analytics: You already have a lot of data points. Analyze your website visitor data in Google Analytics or Facebook Analytics to glean valuable insights about your customers. Use this data for demographic, device, location and behavioral targeting and also to come up with messaging ideas in Facebook campaigns.

Relevant Audience Targeting

Now that your audiences are in place, let’s work on getting more granular. Facebook offers many targeting options to drill down your audience, such as:

  • Devices
  • Demographics
  • Interests
  • Behaviors
  • Locations

Use these options to target and build personas, by layering different targeting options.

As David Ogilvy said, “Do not… address your readers as though they were gathered together in a stadium. When people read your copy, they are alone. Pretend you are writing to each of them a letter on behalf of your client.”

One thing to keep in mind is demographics, interests and behavior targeting are considered “OR” statements, unless you take advantage of “AND” statements. For example, let’s say you want to run an ad targeting people with an interest in “travel” and “beaches.”

Facebook will build one audience, including everyone who has an interest in “travel” and everyone who has an interest in “beaches.”

However, if you narrow your audience with “And” targeting, you can find the overlap of people who like “travel” and “beaches.”

It’s also important to note that you can exclude people based on their demographics, interests, behaviors or if they have already completed your desired action.

Granular Targeting by Ad Placements

Below is an example of ad sets broken down by men or women desktop users over the age of 45 with an interest in tourism (we ran another campaign with the same criteria, but only for mobile users).

By narrowing our targeting to specific devices/demographics/interests, we found that men outperformed women with 46 more conversions, but at a 28% higher CPA over the same time period. With this information, we shifted budgets to meet the client’s goals.

Here’s another example of how ads performed in the News Feed versus Right Column.

Pro Tips

1. Desktop vs Mobile: Once you have enough data, creating ads specifically targeting devices or placements. You could even subdivide desktop by News Feed and Right Hand Column.

2. Men vs Women: Depending on your product or offer, consider running targeted ads by breaking out men and women.

3. Geo-Targeting: You can also add/exclude locations from your campaigns to focus on your target market.

Schedule Your Ads Around Your Audience

Show your ads at the right time, by knowing when your audience is online. Analyze your website traffic and audience insights to find the optimal time(s) to show your ads.

There’s no sense in showing your ads 24 hours a day, if your target audience is only online from 6:00 AM – 11:00 PM. Find out when your audience is most active on Facebook and if there are certain days and hours you should schedule your ads to be more effective.

Consider funneling your time period down even further by analyzing when you’re audience converts. Just because your audience is on Facebook early in the morning, doesn’t mean they’re ready to purchase.

Here’s an example of website conversion peaks and valleys over a 30 day period. I wish it performed like the first week, with a steady increase, but that’s not realistic for this audience.

Conversions and Cost Per Result

Next, review to see if there are any conversion trends by day. Maybe Fridays performed better than Mondays. With this information, you can make sure to allocate budget accordingly.

Pro Tips

1. Custom Daily Schedule: If you know what time of day your audience is online, run a daily schedule. Selecting a Lifetime Budget, rather than the default Daily Budget, will allow you to run a custom ad schedule.

3.4. Advanced Features

Facebook Ads includes several features designed for large or advanced Facebook advertisers. By using these features, advertisers can create, update and launch ads at scale and in bulk. You can find all of these tools under Ads Manager main menu.

Before you can succeed with Ads Manager, you must understand how to make the most of it. There are seven key functions we will review in this section.

  1. Ads Manager – edit and create new campaigns, ad sets and ads in this tab
  2. Audiences – see a list of all audiences
  3. Image and Video Library – upload new visual assets and manage all previous uploaded images and videos
  4. Reporting – create, save and schedule performance reports
  5. Page Posts – view your scheduled posts, published posts and ad posts
  6. Events Manager – access your pixels and  custom conversions and account settings
  7. Settings – access Business Settings, manage users and billing.

Ads Manager

The Ads Manager section is where most of the work is done. In here, you can create new campaigns, edit current ones and import and export new creative.

There are a few features that will help you maneuver around the interface and become more efficient.

Search – use this feature to find what you’re looking for, without having to hunt through old campaigns or ads

Filters – there’s a lot filters covering delivery, objectives and changes

Again, it’s a great way to focus your attention on what truly matters.

Export & Import – This is a great feature for SEMs who like to use Excel to make changes in accounts. Facebook allows you to make changes to multiple campaigns, ad sets and ads with Excel by using Ad Manager’s export and import features by copying and pasting info or by uploading files.

Duplicate – after selecting a campaign, ad set or ad, a few other features will appear. The duplicate option is one of them. Use this feature to quickly duplicate your previous work rather than repeating the process over again. This is great for creating A/B ad tests when you’re changing the image or ad copy. If you copy and paste a campaign, Ad Manager will duplicate the ad sets and ads in the campaign too.

Campaign Tags – another overlooked feature is the campaign tag. Use these tags to label campaigns for quick reporting, experiments or objectives. There are numerous ways to use them and multiple reasons why they could be beneficial to you.

Campaign Analysis – select a campaign and on the right-hand side, you’ll have the option to edit it (pencil) or analyze the historical performance (graph). Select the graph icon to view several metrics from which to analyze the campaign’s performance.

Here are the metrics you can choose from under the Custom section of the chart panel.

Once you select a metric, you can see a graph based on the time frame of your choice.

Audiences

In the Audiences tab under Asset Category of the main navigation menu, you’ll see all your Custom, Lookalike and Saved audiences that have been created.

Filters – use filters to quickly sort through your audiences by either quick look, type of audience, availability or source.

Audience Overlap – choose an audience and compare the number of people and the overlap with up to five other audiences. Start by selecting two different audiences to compare the overlap.

Here’s an example of two Lookalike audiences – one created from an email list and the other from website visitors. This diagram shows there’s a 19% audience overlap or 360,000 people that are in both audiences.

You can add up to five different audiences to compare the overlapping number of people.

Image and Video Library

The Image Library houses all the images you have used in your ads or uploaded to the account.

Label visual assets – within both Image and Video Libraries you can select the items that you have already uploaded and group them by assigning labels. This can help with organizing visual assets related to the same product, offer, location, etc.

Reports

Automated reports can be useful in receiving updates on performance, when you can’t necessarily be in the account every day. While it’s strongly recommended that you are in your accounts each day, automating reports can provide a snapshot that tells you what you need to know, as often as you need to know it.

Automated reports are extremely simple to create, schedule and export.

Creating your report – start by selecting the metrics and filters you want to report on performance. You can even create your own Custom Metric out of standard metrics.

Then narrow it down to the campaign, ad set or ad level to get more granular reporting. Add any breakdowns that you think will be helpful to better analyze your campaigns. Once these are in place and you’re happy with the report, it’s time to save it.

Save and schedule report – once you have the metrics you want to report on, click save report. From here, you’ll be given a screen that looks like this.

Name your report then choose how often and when you want to receive the report. Next, you can add subscribers to receive the report. Keep in mind; only people with access to the ad account can receive scheduled reports.

Page Posts

Under this tab, you’ll find the option to view all your scheduled, published and ad posts on your page.

Published Posts – a favorite feature for creating quick and detailed posts. Using this option gives you more control and options over the post. For example, the ability to use a call to action and import pictures using the URL.

Events Manager

Under the Measure and Report section of the main menu, you’ll find access to your pixels, custom conversions and offline events.

Pixels – With the same pixel you have been using to create Custom Audiences, you can now view website traffic from the pixel and use it for conversion tracking and optimization, in addition to remarketing.

Custom Conversions – Custom conversions allow you to optimize for and track actions without having to add anything to your Facebook pixel base code. They also allow you to optimize for and track actions that are different from the standard events that come with the Facebook pixel.

You can also add different parameters for each standard event code, such as Content ID, value and currency. These are optional, besides the Purchase standard event, which requires the value and currency parameters to work.

Once the conversion pixel is in place, you can start optimizing your campaigns for that objective and tracking the results within the Facebook interface.

A Quick Recap

These are the things you should be familiar with now:

  1. Advanced audience segmentation with Audience Insights.
  2. Building audience personas with Facebook and Google Analytics Data.
  3. Understanding how to create the most value from Facebook Ad Manager.
  4. Utilizing advanced features in Ad Manager for simpler and more efficient account management.

As the world of Facebook constantly changes, there’s always something new to learn. So keep reading, keep experimenting, testing and make sure you are actively taking part in digital marketing communities, events, and resources. You’ll be the expert you strive for before you know it!