Optimizing Facebook Ads Campaigns in 2021

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Facebook's organic reach is not what it once was. Gone are the days that you can post a link on your company's Facebook page and expect it to get thousands of impressions. These days, to make significant inroads on Facebook, you will almost definitely need to use some form of paid advertising.

Unlike Google Ads, which are served to people actively searching for a specific product or service, Facebook Ads can be a bit more tricky to optimize. This is because users aren't looking for you or your offering; they tend to be scrolling through their newsfeed, looking for something interesting and useful. With this in mind, you can grab their attention with an effectively designed ad with something of value.

For example, if you run a home gym design business, you could grab people's attention with a free eBook of home bodyweight workouts. You could then retarget people who downloaded your eBook with another set of ads that promote your design consultation.

Track & Test Everything

Before you spend any money on advertising, make sure that you can track everything. To do this, you will need analytics software such as Google Analytics. You will also need to install tracking code and Facebook's tracking "pixel" with a tool such as Google Tag Manager.

Google's tools are free. You can install all the code yourself by following a tutorial like this one or hiring a freelancer to do it for you on a site such as Upwork.

As well as the tracking code, you will want to set up conversions and goals in Google Analytics so that you can track which ads lead to form completions, phone calls, and sales.

Use Different Ad Formats & Designs 

Once you have installed your tracking code, you can start running different ads and measure which format and which type of design is the most effective.

For example, if you are running adverts for sports attire, you may want to create a free beginner's pdf guide to fitness training at home. You could run single image ads, video ads, carousel ads side by side. Once you have enough data to evaluate which format performs the best, you can pause the lowest performing ad and test something else. Keep testing and updating your ads until you get to a point when any changes you make don't lead to improvements in the performance metrics of your ads.

For example, you may discover that video ads perform the best for the home workout eBook. You could then look to pause all image ads and create three different types of videos. So now, instead of testing the format, you are testing specific types of videos. Perhaps one video shows someone working out indoors, one shows the same person working out outdoors, and the third ad shows screenshots of the eBook.

The number of ads you use in a single ad set will relate to your daily budget. For example, if you only have a $10 per day budget for your campaign, it will take months to get a significant amount of data to compare the performance of 10 different ads. By which time the data will be out of date. However, if your daily budget is $5000, you will acquire data quickly, and you will be able to rapidly work out which ads perform well and which don't.               

The more you test and tweak, the more granular you can get. For example, once you know the best ad formats and the best designs, you can look to test the best Call to Action (CTA).

For low price purchases, a "Buy Now" CTA may work well, for an offer like an eBook "Learn More" may be the best CTA, and for higher-end products such as those related to cars or real estate, "Call Now" may be a compelling CTA.

Never Miss a Lead

When your ads and your landing page are performing well, the last thing you want to do is miss out on all the leads you generate. So you can use a tool such as Zapier to get a notification via SMS each time a Facebook Ad leads to a form completion on your website – meaning you can call them back immediately.

If you are driving phone calls from your website and your ad, you may also want to invest in a telephone answering service such as Moneypenny. With an out-of-hours answering service, you can be sure that you will never miss a call, regardless of the time of day.

Campaign Budget Optimization

When setting up your campaigns, you can turn on "campaign budget optimization" to "optimize budget across ad sets."

This option gives you less control over your spending and saves you a lot of time and analysis. Facebook will pick out the best performing ads in your ad set and contribute a more significant percentage of ad spend to them. For example, suppose you have three ads running, an image, a carousel, and a video ad, and the video ad performs much better than the other two. In that case, Facebook will reduce the spending on the image and carousel ads and increase the relative spend on the video ad.

Use Retargeting & Customer Lists

As well as ad optimization, to create Facebook Ads campaigns with the best return on spend, you must make and test very specific audiences so that your ads are targeted at the right people.

To create an audience, go to the main navigation bar in Facebook Ads Manager and click - Asset Library>Assets>Audiences.

Click Create Audience>Custom Audience. You should now see an interface that will allow you to retarget Facebook users who have been to your website – "Website Traffic." For example, you can target all of your website visitors, people who viewed a specific page of your website, or visitors who spent a specific amount of time on your website.

If you have an extensive database of customers or newsletter subscribers, you can also create a Custom Audience based on a "Customer List." If you have the data available, you can also tell Facebook which customers are the most profitable by uploading a customer list that includes information on the lifetime value of each customer. You can also import a list directly from MailChimp.

Facebook will then find your customer's or subscribers' profiles on their platform, analyzeall of their data, including demographic information, interests, likes, and so on. Facebook can then target your ads at other users who share many of the same characteristics as your customers. So, for example, if some of your most profitable customers are aged 18-24, are male, live in San Francisco, like Netflix, and spend lots of time hiking, then Facebook will show your ads to other users who are the same age, gender, live in the same location, etc.

In the future, you can go to "Saved Audiences" instead of having to recreate the same Audience again and again.

Test Different Landing Pages

If you are sending Facebook users to your website, then you must test your landing page. You can make small changes to your website using a tool such as Google Optimize or VWO and then compare the performance of each design.

Remember to include a strong call to action, trust signals, and social proof such as review scores and testimonials.

Conclusion

Tracking, testing, and targeting – Facebook Ads campaigns should have these at their foundation. To optimize your ads and your targeting, it's crucial that you first have all your analytics and tracking set up correctly.

Once tracking and goal setting is in place, you can test different ad designs and targeting to make data-driven decisions about what to pause and invest more ad-spend on. It differs by industry, but a rule of thumb with all social media campaigns is to offer value with your initial ads to cut through the noise and give your target audience a reason to stop scrolling through their newsfeed and engage with your ad. Make your ad provide value with an offer or design that is interesting, entertaining, or useful. Then, in your second set or phase of ads, push for a conversion or a sale.



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