5 Tips for Building Effective Facebook Ad Campaigns

Published July 18, 2016
When it comes to marketing, sometimes it makes sense to cast a wide net, and other times it’s better to use a meticulously sharpened harpoon. It all depends on what you’re trying to catch.
Fortunately, Facebook Ads give you all the tools you need to do both.
While countless marketers confess to having paid to “boost a post” on Facebook a few times, many have barely scratched the surface of getting the most out of Facebook’s powerful audience platform. Facebook lets you set goals, like putting your brand name in front of as many eyes as possible. But it also allows you to reach a precisely defined demographic on a level that even Google AdWords can’t match.
You should be taking the time to think out Facebook campaigns beyond the obvious options and format them in a way that allows you to test and improve your campaigns on an ongoing basis. In this article, we’ll cover 5 tips to help you make the most of Facebook advertising.


Facebook Ads - Selecting and Audience


Choose the Right Objective

When you first create a campaign, Facebook presents you with an overwhelming list of objectives to choose from. When making this selection, consider your ultimate goals and pick an objective that will have the best potential to meet them. The objective you choose here will affect how you’re charged for the campaign and how efficiently you’ll be able to spend your budget.


Facebook Ads - Choosing an Objective


With so many objectives and so many possible goals, how do you narrow it down? Well, for instance, say that your goal is to drive traffic to a blog article. Your first instinct may be to select the “Boost Your Posts” objective, thinking you’ll get traffic by promoting an existing post on your page containing a link to the article.

However, a campaign set for this objective will charge you, by default, for “post engagement,” which could include any likes, shares, comments, and clicks resulting from the boosted post. The clicks you’re charged for include not just clicks to the article but also clicks to your Facebook page from the post. Instead, you should choose the “Clicks to Website” objective, which will allow to bid specifically by clicks on the link to your website.

Another example is the “Raise Attendance at Your Event” option. This seems like the logical choice when looking to promote an upcoming event. However, the campaign will promote the Facebook Event specifically. However, if your real goal is to sell tickets and have a page on your site where people can buy them directly, you may once again want to select “Clicks to Website” or even “Increase Conversions on Your Website” rather than the more obvious choice.

Layer Audience Targeting

Once you’ve chosen a campaign objective, you’ll move on to select audience targeting for your first ad set. Make sure that you’re considering all of the possible audience targeting parameters available in Facebook that could apply to your marketing goals. While the major demographic factors like age, gender, and geography are there, you can also delve into interest and behavior targeting.

For instance, you may know that women 35-44 living in major metropolitan areas are the individuals most likely to make large purchases from an online store selling high-end furniture. As an initial audience definition, you can start by choosing age range, gender, and geographic parameters, defining an audience of 4.4 million.


Facebook Ads - Selecting and Audience


However, you can, and should, narrow your targeting to reach an even more specific audience that is the most likely to buy your products. Use the “Detailed Targeting” field to find interests and behaviors to add to your targeting. You can also browse through categories to find options that strike you as relevant.

Facebook allows you to layer targeting to reach people who fit one category AND another (e.g., only target women who also like specific pages) or one category OR another (e.g., target people who like a certain page OR who fit a purchase behavior category). Consider targeting interests for brands you might typically consider competitors. Fans of similar products or services might have a higher likelihood of becoming interested in your brand. Our furniture store, for example, might target people who like pages for brands such as West Elm or Pottery Barn.

In addition, you can pinpoint people who have a history of making relevant purchases. In this case, Facebook has behavior categories for individuals who frequently purchase high-end home decor or home furnishings. Prior behavior can be an extremely effective predictor of future actions making these individuals a highly valuable audience for your messaging.

Finally, you can also limit targeting to people within specific income brackets. You may want to reach people who make $75,000 or more annually to ensure that you’re targeting those with enough expendable income for a high-end furniture purchase.

Once we’ve applied these parameters, we can see that our refined audience count narrows to 240,000 people, a much smaller, but extremely relevant, group.


Facebook Ads - Refined Audience


Target Your Visitors with the Facebook Pixel

Beyond the targeting parameters available within Facebook’s platform, you can also use the Facebook Pixel to reach people who have visited your website. Install the Facebook Pixel via a simple copy/paste into your website’s source code (ask your developer if you need help) and set up a custom audience in the backend of the Facebook Ads Manager. You can target people who visit specific pages on your site. For example, only reaching those who visited a “shop” section which may indicate a greater potential for a purchase related intent.


Facebook Ads - Setup Pixel


Once you set up a custom audience, you can now use that when setting up the target for any ad set. You can layer the Facebook pixel together with other targeting parameters that we’ve covered. This allows you to target only people who visited the “shop” section of your website and also fit the income brackets of $75k or over. For more details on setting up and implementing the Facebook pixel, see Jon Loomer’s article on How to Use Facebook’s Upgraded Website Custom Audience Pixel.

Segment Ad Sets by Targeting Category

Once you delve into the many targeting categories available in Facebook, you’ll probably see opportunity from several possible targeting categories. Instead of layering them all together in one single ad set, you should come up with multiple categories to test in different ad groups.

In our sample scenario, you could break out women 35-44 in New York vs women of the same age in California in separate ad groups to see if one performs better than another. You could also set up one ad set for a custom audience of previous website visitors and another with more general targeting from broader sets of Facebook interests and behaviors.

Once they are complete you’ll want to analyze the performance of each ad set. Since you can set the budget level on an ad set in Facebook, you should shift more budget into ad sets that are driving more success for your goals. You may have initially put a small spend toward a custom audience ad set, not realizing the level of reach you’d get. You may see that ad set producing conversions at a cost per conversion of half that of other ad sets, while consistently using the entire daily spend. This data likely shows an opportunity to shift more budget into that ad set.

Rotate Multiple Ads Per Set

Beyond ad targeting, you should think about ad creative beyond simply uploading an image and inserting some text. To ensure maximum performance, you should create at least two ads per ad set, allowing those ads to rotate against each other. Vary either the imagery or the copy in the ads, and then review the data to see which ad performs better. You’ll want to analyze multiple metrics, including clickthrough rate, as well as conversion rate and cost per conversion if tracking conversions.

Also note that Facebook will automatically optimize ad performance over time, so including multiple ads will let them show the ad most likely to drive the goal of the campaign (clicks, conversions, etc.). Of course, you should still monitor performance yourself to make sure it actually lines up with your goals.


These are only a few of the ways that you can approach building better Facebook ad campaigns. Take some time to look through all of the targeting options so see which ones apply to your brand. Be sure to set up the Facebook pixel, so you can benefit from that insight. Prepare a diverse set of assets to create multiple ads for testing. As you dive deeper and deeper into Facebook advertising, you’ll discover new opportunities to tighten audiences and extend your reach. By experimenting with different goals, compositions and reviewing the results you will discover the strategies that will most successfully drive your branding and conversion goals.


When the client first came to you, you talked up the value of Google Analytics. You emphasized the importance of seeing where your traffic was coming from. You went on and on about how Google Analytics can show traffic sources to pinpoint whether people came from search, social media or a specific site referral, and how valuable this data was. You sold them on it, so much so that your client looked forward to receiving that first report, the magical day when they would finally understand where visitors were coming from.
But then the report came, and it looked like this:



It showed that 10% of your client’s traffic came from “(direct)/(none)”. What does this label mean? How do you explain Direct traffic to your client? Better yet, how do you explain “none”?
Let’s take a closer look at understanding Direct traffic in Google Analytics and how we can address it with clients.
Digital marketers spend a lot of time focused on PPC and SEO campaigns in order to drive desirable traffic to a website. The phrases we’re ranking for and bidding on get meticulous attention, so much so that we often forget about some of the other ways that visitors find us.

We put a tremendous amount of the effort we put into reviewing organic search data and PPC campaign performance in analytics. But how closely do we monitor referral reports?

If that’s not a channel you review regularly, you may be missing out on seeing traffic that is coming directly from links you’ve obtained around the web, local business listings, news mentions, and more. Many times, links are only considered as a means to an end, a metric that Google uses in determining how to rank sites in the SERPs (search engine results pages). But the fact is, many of a site’s links may be directly contributing to its traffic.

In this article, we’ll review how to look at referral reports in Google Analytics, and some of the many ways to use that data to better inform your web marketing decisions.


Remember how your mom told you not to stand too close to the television because it might hurt your eyes?

The same rules can apply to data. If you’re too close, you may miss the patterns and trends that are crucial to understanding your website’s performance. You can’t judge a site’s performance looking at data in the bubble of a single day, you must consider any day’s traffic compared to the days before and after.

Google Analytics makes it fairly easy to analyze trends over long periods of time. But it also allows you to stand right in front of that TV, to look at more granular levels of time, right down to the hour.
There’s a better way to get that close to the data, without burning your retinas. We’ll cover how to analyze traffic effectively in today’s post.