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With 1.7 billion people on Facebook as of November 2015, it’s pretty safe to say that a lot of your target audience, clients and customers are active on the world’s largest social-media platform.
It should also come as no surprise that Facebook’s ads platform is the most advanced and powerful method of paid traffic advertising any of us currently have access to.
That said, Big Blue (the hipsters’ name for Facebook) makes constant changes to its ads platform, causing a lot of would-be advertisers to get frustrated and quit before seeing any real return from their efforts.
No matter how many client campaigns my agency and I run, I see the same few things tripping up advertisers, causing them to throw up their hands and walk away when they’re so close to success. Here are seven ways you can run back to Facebook, and with a few little tweaks, get your ad campaigns to actually produce results and positive ROI, rather than empty your pockets of money.
1. Get your research in order.
Facebook has a slick tool called “audience insights” that can allow you to enter an interest and then gather data and other interests that your target audience might also be interested in.
The first tab in the interface (demographics) will let you look up the gender and age of the interest you’ve entered.
The second tab (page likes), will list other interests that your target audience may be interested in. It also lists them by relevance and affinity, a measure of how likely someone in one interest group is to like the other interest group.
2. Separate your ad sets.
Many folks will take their research from step one, gather their interests and then lump them all into one big list on the Facebook Ads Manager in hopes of reaching a large target audience. This is a grave mistake that will cost you far more in ad spend. And while you might get results, you’ll have no idea which interest brought the best results.
The solution: Include one interest per ad set so you can look out for the interests that bring the best results at the lowest cost.
3) Make changes slowly.
To get the best bang for your advertising buck, you may find it tempting to adjust ad copy, images, targeting and budget early in the game, but it’s actually better to make changes slowly and infrequently, to allow the Facebook algorithm to adjust.
I find that it takes three-to-five days for the original ad set to gain enough reach to get meaningful data that I can analyze. Every time you mess with an ad, it is submitted for review and the process starts all over again.
If you absolutely must try different copy, or want to swap images, create a new ad and run both to see which one gets better results. You might actually be surprised by which ad wins.
4) Watch the data and adjust accordingly.
This one is huge! There is so much that can go wrong by ignoring the data that Facebook is providing you.
Yes, it will tell you important information like the age, gender, placement (which device) and country or region that is bringing you the best results, but with a few tweaks to the performance column, you can also see the ad relevance score. This is based on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the least relevant and 10 the most.
The more relevant your ad is, the less you pay — and the more it gets shown and the lower the cost.
You can also see your positive and negative feedback scores. These are a bit of a mystery, but the basic gist is that if you write a great ad and people like it and share it, you’ll get higher positive feedback. If the viewers don’t like your ad and are constantly hiding it so they don’t see it, you’ll get a higher negative feedback score.
Run your ads too long with a high negative feedback score, and you risk getting your Facebook ads account shut down.
5) Always be testing.
We run hundreds of ads for various clients, and we’re constantly making tweaks and variations. We’ll test new interests to target, as well as split-test ad images, copy text and calls to action, a button on the ad vs. no button, etc.
It can be very taxing to always be swapping things out and watching the data, but your long-term success with Facebook ads depends on it. Ads get stale very fast, and their costs start to rise as their effectiveness decreases.
We combat this through testing and tracking results.
6) Cull the losers and scale the winners.
There will be ads that simply do not produce results. That’s a fact of life when it comes to Facebook ads. The faster you can kill the losing ads and scale the winning ads, the sooner you’ll see long-term results.
Each ad set can be turned around in three to five days, which, in most cases, will allow the ad to show enough data for you to know if it’s going to produce results or not.
But, pause the losing ads rather than deleting them. This will allow you to see the data that didn’t work so you don’t make the mistake of re-running the same losing ad.
7. Hand off the dirty work to someone else.
Look, running Facebook ads is not for the faint of heart. No matter how many entrepreneurs I speak to, spending time on Facebook ads is not high on their list of daily tasks they want to invest their time into.
You’ll get further faster by focusing on the growth of your business while someone else looks after all the research, testing and tweaking with Facebook ads.