Facebook Ads: What We Have Learned After Spending $131,651

May 1, 2018 Tina Bahadur

We work on successful Facebook ad campaigns for a number of clients. But one particular campaign proved particularly challenging, at least in the early going. After implementing numerous optimizations, we were able to drive 4,436 purchases from the campaign from an ad spend of $131,651. The Cost Per Acquisition of $29.68 that we achieved was 3 times lower than any previous campaigns the client had run in the past. Along the way, we’ve learned a lot about Facebook’s ad platform and how to create effective ad content. Though not every ad was a success, we were able to learn a considerable amount from both our triumphs and our challenges.

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Based on what we have encountered in our Facebook ad experiences in the past year, we’ve put together a list of the most important lessons we’ve learned:

Facebook Ads Optimization Tip #1 - Keep it simple.

The Facebook advertising platform has a variety of different ad formats to choose from. It can be fun to experiment with video, carousel, and canvas ads. However, in our experience, it’s often best to keep it simple. Stick with the basic ad format that includes a product image and copy that gets to the point.

When choosing an image for your ad, pick one that’s both compelling and relevant. Your ad copy should be convincing, but concise and straight forward. In addition, you’ll want to direct your ad traffic to a defined landing page, such as a specific product or service page. All of this makes it easy for the user to follow the path toward conversion.

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But what about the other ad types? Could they also be useful to your business? In short, yes. If you have the time, resources, and desire to experiment with different ad types, go ahead and do it. However, if you are concerned about driving more conversions, you may want to stick with the basic ad type.

For example, in our experiments with video and carousel ads, we found that these ad types got a significant amount of views. However, the goal is to drive sales, not just get views. With this in mind, we have found that the basic Facebook ads help deliver the best results when it comes to conversions.

This is most likely due to the fact that the basic ad format looks a lot like a regular Facebook post you might see from a friend or family member in your feed. While carousel ads look more like advertising, which means they don’t blend as naturally into the user’s organic feed. The basic ad format creates a more seamless experience for the Facebook user that might make them more inclined to click.

Facebook Ads Optimization Tip #2 - Optimize your site pages.

If you’re wondering what optimizing your website pages has to do with your Facebook ads, the answer is – a lot! Think about it this way, no matter how great your Facebook ad content is, if the ad leads to a site page that isn’t optimized for conversions then you probably won’t make the sale. That’s why it’s vital that you focus on making changes to your site pages before you spend time tweaking ad content.

Here are some of the page elements that you’ll need to be aware of when optimizing for conversions:

  • Product Description – Your product descriptions should be clear, concise, and compelling. Use relevant keywords that help describe your product and will stand out to users who are looking for certain features. Use similar language and keywords in your Facebook ad content as well.

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  • Product Images – Use product images on your pages that clearly display the product and its features. To create a seamless user experience, use one of the featured product images from your page in your Facebook ad.

  • Check-Out Process – Make sure that the checkout process is quick and easy. The customer should be able to add an item to their cart and finalize their purchase in just a few clicks. Require only the information that’s necessary, and provide the option for users to “check out as guest” instead of having to create an account.

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  • Sense of Urgency – If you’re really looking to boost conversions, you may want to create a sense of urgency on your product pages. For instance, a countdown timer or messaging that communicates a limited supply (“only 3 left!”) can help create a sense of urgency that encourages consumers to act quickly.

In the end, optimizing your website pages will help with more than just your Facebook ad conversions. Regularly making updates to your pages to keep them optimized helps ensure that anyone who lands on your site has a clearer path to conversion. Not to mention, it can also help boost organic traffic from search engines like Google, which can have a significant impact on your sales over time.

Facebook Ads Optimization Tip #3 - Scale ad settings that work.

Once you have discovered which ad settings give you the most success for your Facebook ads, it’s time to scale. First, you’ll need to look at your targeting options to determine which offer the lowest cost per conversion but have the fewest number of impressions. Then, take this list of targeting options and create new ads for each specific targeting option, leaving everything else the same.

For example, let’s say that the ads you were targeting to the Houston metropolitan area have a low cost per conversion but few impressions. You would then create an ad where you just target the Houston area. And you’d want to remove the Houston area from the targeting options for your original ad.

As you continue to create separate ads using different targeting options, you will be able to increase the number of ads that you have for your highest performing products. This approach to scaling your Facebook ads allows you to slowly and easily scale without getting rid of the original ad.

It’s important to remember that scaling isn’t a 1:1 process. This means that just because you double your Facebook ad budget does not mean that you will see twice as many conversions. Instead, you want to scale slowly, increasing your ad budget for your most successful ads slowly over time. This allows you to prevent any drastic decrease in your conversions as you start to scale.

Facebook Ads Optimization Tip #4 - Engagement plays an important role in ad success.

When it comes to Facebook ads, likes and comments on your ad content do not necessarily equate to conversions. Though the users who have liked your content may have clicked on your ad and even converted, engagement is still not necessarily an accurate way to measure ad success. That being said, it’s important to note that ad engagement can significantly impact the overall success of your Facebook ads.

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When many users are reacting to your ad content and leaving comments tagging their friends, this shows Facebook that its users generally like your ad content. By signaling that this content is relevant and compelling, this ad engagement can eventually lead to lower Facebook ad costs. That’s because Facebook wants to reward brands that provide users with content that they enjoy.

Additionally, the more that Facebook users engage with your ad content, the wider audience you are able to reach. For example, if Facebook users tag friends that might enjoy your products, you are then able to expand your reach to new relevant leads. Some of these leads may later turn into sales.

One way that you can promote engagement with your ads is by suggesting that users tag a friend who might be interested in your products. You can also ask questions in your ad content that promote discussion. Monitor comments and respond when users ask a question or leave a comment. All of this can help increase engagement on your Facebook ad content.

Facebook Ads Optimization Tip #5 - Create separate Facebook pixels for each product.

You can use Facebook pixels to build custom audiences based on different user behaviors. For example, you might build an audience based on users who purchase a specific product. Then, you can create lookalike audiences, which allow you to target new users based on the data you’ve collected from your customers.

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If you sell a variety of products that may have different target audiences, then it doesn’t make sense to just use one Facebook pixel. For example, let’s say that you sell clothing for both men and women. There’s a good chance that you won’t have the same audience for a pair of men’s boots that you would for women’s jewelry.

Instead of just using one pixel for your ads, you should create separate pixels for each product. In the example above, you would have one pixel for the boots and another for the jewelry. Using two separate pixels enables you to create two different lookalike audiences based on these two very different product purchases. This will help make your targeting more relevant, which increases the success of your Facebook ads.

You can create separate Facebook pixels for each of your product pages using Shopify’s Pixel Bay app. Another option would be to use URL targeting to create different custom audiences on Facebook. This would allow you to target users that have visited these specific product pages with ads for similar or complementary products based on the product page they have viewed.

Facebook Ads Final Takeaways

After spending $140,000 on Facebook ads, we’ve learned a lot of important lessons. (Some of them the hard way!) But now you are able to benefit from the insights we’ve gained along the way. Take all the tips we’ve provided above and apply them to your own Facebook ads strategy for best results.

Whether you’re just getting started with your social media marketing strategy or you’ve been running Facebook ads for quite a while now, partnering with a social media management agency can help you improve results and boost your bottom line. Learn more about our Facebook marketing services to find out how SevenAtoms can help you optimize your social media marketing strategy.