Facebook Ads are easy to 'get into'. One tap of that juicy blue 'boost post' button and off you go…
Getting the most out of them?
That’s a lot harder, especially in 2019.
The strategies and tactics that worked only a few months ago may be redundant now and features that were available last year may not even exist any more (RIP Power Editor).
To help you navigate your path to success in the ever-changing Facebook advertising landscape, I've put together eight top Facebook advertising tips for 2019.
I've also outlined some handy strategies and collected a few gems from respected Facebook advertisers around the world that you can use to inspire your own Facebook advertising efforts.
But before we dig into that, let's zoom in on an important question for a second:
Why Are Facebook Ads Necessary for Businesses of All Shapes and Sizes?
The fact that Daily and Monthly Active Users also grew by 9% illustrates how, despite its critics, Facebook remains ‘THE’ social media platform - especially when you factor in its ownership of Instagram and the ease with which you can advertise on both from Ads Manager.
Although the cost of Facebook ads has risen in recent years - by 77% year-on-year at this same time in 2018 according to Business Insider, they remain arguably the most effective, impactful form of online marketing for creating both brand awareness and driving conversions, such as sales.
Clearly, Facebook advertising is an essential marketing channel for businesses globally.
But how do marketers leverage it in the right way?
Instead, we're going to take a closer look at a higher level, where the myriad of different setup, bidding, optimization, and placement options often makes Facebook advertising tricky to navigate.
Ready to learn how to give your Facebook ads the best chance of success?
Here are my top eight Facebook advertising tips for 2019:
1. Tap Into Campaign Budget Optimization (CBO) - Say Hello to the Wolfpack
This means marketers need to grasp it ASAP.
CBO was a major, much-heralded update Facebook made to campaign setup options in late 2017 and which it rolled out worldwide last year. At first, the feature was fairly unimpressive in terms of results for those who tested it, and many advertisers became skeptical about the apparent lack of control they would have over their ads.
Then, suddenly, marketers (including myself) began having real success with CBO, and for many businesses the feature is now a staple in terms of their Facebook advertising strategies.
So how does Campaign Budget Optimization work?
Basically, the place where you set your budget shifts from adset to campaign level. The theory goes that Facebook will allocate most of that budget to the top-performing adsets, like this:
What does this mean in practice?
Well, I think of my adsets as a pack of wolves, off hunting for purchases in the Facebook ads wilderness.
In a normal setup, they go off fairly independently, learning as they find potential prey along the way and maybe bumping into each other occasionally.
However, they don't really communicate much and they all roam for a set number of miles each day regardless of whether or not they find any food (i.e spending all the daily budget regardless of conversions, as per the graphic).
Now, in CBO, the pack has a leader who sends them all off in strategic directions and then stands at the top of a mountain watching them hunt and observing where the most food is.
He can then call some wolves back or redirect them to try and get the best outcome for the pack as a whole, and they don't all have to roam the same number of miles each day.
There are several major pluses to CBO from the standard campaign setup:
- You are able to make significant budget adjustments for the overall campaign with minimal impact on the optimization process (in a standard setup any significant change impacts the adset learning phase)
- Advertisers with smaller budgets may be able to make more efficient use of their spend by testing numerous variables within one campaign and budget rather than having to split budget across multiple adsets
- It is a simpler way of setting and managing budget for less experienced advertisers
However, as with everything related to Facebook ads, in practice CBO is something you need to test and carefully monitor and optimize to get the best results from it.
2. Leverage Broad Targeting - You Might Be Surprised
For local businesses, this may still be the way to go.
For businesses with wider audiences, however, there are two main issues with this approach: higher CPM's and ad costs due to the smaller potential reach; and also the lack of scale.
If you start getting purchases from an audience of only 50,000 people, that’s great at first. But when that audience has burned out, after a week or two you are back to square one.
The other issue with micro-targeting is that Facebook updates and advances over the past year make it unnecessary to narrow down your audience too much in 2019.
Facebook's machine learning algorithm is now so smart that, believe it or not, larger audiences with absolutely zero targeting other than a geolocation and age group will often outperform interests and lookalike audiences given time, sufficient budget, and creative/products with a broad appeal.
3. Capitalize on Video View Retargeting
These are numerous; from people who have viewed 10 seconds of your video to varying video view percentages ranging from 25% to 95%.
According to Digital Information World, the average attention span of human beings has fallen from 12 seconds in 2000 to under 8 seconds - even worse than that of a goldfish (9 seconds).
This means that even if your video is only 15 seconds long, for someone to watch more than half of it is a fairly major achievement and a decent signal of a more-than-passing interest. Obviously, users watching 95% of your video is an even stronger indicator of interest.
If your video is longer than 15 seconds, 50% or 75% view audiences are your best bets for an optimal combination of audience size and interest level.
Sending your video out to a fairly broad audience, letting them decide how interesting it is, and then retargeting based on user behavior can, therefore, be a winning, cost-effective tactic. This especially rings true if you are on a tight budget.
4. Your Audiences Are Unique, So Don’t Treat Them All The Same
- Grab attention and stop the scroll
- Retain that attention for long enough to convey a message
- Demonstrate the value of your product to a user (lead with benefits rather than features)
- Use what I call 'Smartargeting' to capture purchases further down the funnel
Think about it - who has higher intent, someone who only viewed your homepage a couple of weeks ago or someone who added a product to their cart yesterday?
So, don't treat these two users the same by showing them the same ads. Engagers/’middle of funnel’/’warm’ audiences usually need more of a nudge before purchasing - and this is where showing them valuable, non-salesy content or testimonials works great.
On the other hand, someone who added to cart usually just needs a reminder of this fact to get them to buy.
If users still aren't convinced, throw them a one-off discount - it might be the final push they need to get that sale over the line.
Whatever the messaging that you are employing in retargeting is, be smart about it. Don't discount unnecessarily and consider the intent level of the audience at each stage. As with almost everything in Facebook Ads, test different things and see what works.
And always go with the data, not your own bias!
5. Consider Manual Bidding To Win More Auctions
Facebook's machine learning is pretty smart, meaning that lowest cost (that used to be called 'auto') bidding is often the best option for advertisers to use.
Its close friend manual bid (with options including 'bid cap', 'target cost' and 'cost cap') can have a huge impact in certain conditions and give you greater control over costs.
This is because - and not a lot of non-Facebook advertisers realize this - every time your ads are eligible to be shown to a user they actually enter an auction process. If you want more detail on how the Facebook ads auction works, I wrote this article last year which breaks the process down nicely.
However, for the purposes of this article, the main thing you need to understand is this:
PRO TIP from Justin Marshall of Ad Hoc Media: “Start with a manual bid cap so low that it’s not spending your daily budget. If the ROAS (Return On Ad Spend) is good, then duplicate the ad set and up the budget by 25 or 50 cents. Continue doing this until you find a bid cap that gets a good ROAS but also spends enough money to make an impact.”
6. Invest Time (Not Necessarily Money!) in Creative
Stance simply took some existing, high quality, eye-catching product images and turned them into a slideshow that helped the company acheive a 2.4x higher CTR, 1.4x higher ROI, and 48% lower CPA.
The image on its own is nothing spectacular, but paired with such clever copy it makes a powerful ad. You can tell by the comment a friend of mine made above it when they sent it to me!
Great creatives can overcome bad targeting, which is another reason why broad targeting works better these days. After all, no amount of clever targeting will get people to a) stop scrolling and b) click on ads with poor creative that isn’t engaging.
Facebook also gives you the option at ad level to use different creative for different placements. I strongly urge you to make use of this feature where it makes sense. Particularly on placements like Stories, a bit of extra effort to add compelling creatives can pay off big-time.
7. Test Lookalike Audiences - They're Not As Magic As They Used To Be
Interests and even broad audiences, as mentioned above, will often outperform Lookalikes. Even 1% Lookalikes are not as effective as they used to be.
For these reasons, advertisers in 2019 need to exercise caution with Lookalikes and not expect any immediate magic. Instead, businesses should test Lookalike audiences at different levels (all the way up to 8% and even 10% Lookalikes). They should also play about with 'stacking' Lookalikes on top of each other to find winning adsets.
I asked Andrew Foxwell, who co-runs Foxwell Digital and co-hosts the excellent e-commerce influence podcast for his best tip on Lookalikes in 2019: “I think the biggest one I can think of is spreading lookalikes out into different types, where possible. Things like View Content LLAs are different than a Purchase LLA, so diversifying with LLAs of different types and sizes is good.”
8. Understand And Be Aware of Facebook’s Ad Policies
With all the privacy concerns and greater scrutiny of the platform, Facebook is actively cracking down on anyone trying to abuse the system or even offering a 'poor ads experience' to their users, making an understanding of these vital to anyone advertising on the platform in 2019.
Here's an example of the kind of ‘spammy ads’ you would have got away with a few months ago but are likely to be penalized for now.
If this happens to you, appeal politely to Facebook - they usually rectify any mistakes relatively quickly. Remember, it's another human being reviewing your ads on the other side, so being courteous can go a long way!
To give yourself the best chance of minimizing your time appealing disapproved ads or even trying to get a banned ad account back, familiarize yourself with the policy above and keep yourself on the right side of the Facebook rules.
- Get acquainted with Campaign Budget Optimization, yesterday!
- Try wide-open targeting to take advantage of the power of Facebook’s algorithm
- Make your videos work in more ways than one by also retargeting viewers
- Use a personalized journey to make your ads stand out from the crowd
- Test manual bidding strategies for optimal results
- Work on your creatives - it’s the biggest lever you have with your ads
- Treat Lookalike audiences the same way you would any other and don’t assume they’ll automatically be your best bet
- Avoid violating Facebook’s Ad policies
In that period he has worked for a range of clients from local businesses to health and beauty chains and e-commerce stores, online coaches, nationwide fitness franchises, events companies, sports teams and more across the UK, US and Europe with budgets ranging from a few hundred pounds to £150k+ per month. In addition to working on several household name accounts, Gil also consults for advertising agencies all over the world.
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