Are you running Facebook ads and wondering how you can make them work even better? In this post I’ll give you twelve easy tactics to improve the performance of your Facebook ads.
1. Put mobile and desktop ads in separate ad sets
It’s no secret that users behave differently on mobile and desktop, so you should be looking to adjust your budget, ads and possibly even targeting differently for mobile and desktop too!
You can choose the devices your ad set runs on within Power Editor, when you’re editing your ad set:
Now once your ad sets have gathered data you can see which are delivering the best results and adjust budgets, and optimisation specifically for that device.
To see how your existing ad sets perform on different devices, use the ‘Breakdown’ feature in Ads Manager to breakdown by placement and performance:
While you’re there, checkout how different placements perform (newsfeed vs right hand column). There’ll be a big difference so you could also separate placements into their own ad sets as well as device targeting.
2. Don’t use the same content on Instagram and Facebook
The way Facebook have integrated Instagram ads setup within Power Editor is handy, but it also encourages laziness and bad content. Instagram and Facebook are very different platforms, and your ads require different content and will deliver different results in each of these networks. Therefore, you need to keep your Instagram ads in separate ad sets!
The right way:
The wrong way:
Try not to simply use the same content on Facebook and Instagram. They’re different platforms with difference audience needs. You’ll get poor results and your Instagram audience will hate you for intruding on their platform with rubbish content.
3. Test a few different ads
Facebook will auto-optimise your ads by showing the ones that perform best (if your objective is link clicks, then this will be the ones that generate the best CTR, if your objective is post engagements, it will be the ones with the best engagement rates).
Take advantage of this by setting up a few different versions of your ads and letting Facebook test them all out and pick the best one to run with.
When you create your ad variations try making just one small change in each variation, so when you see which ad was left running you can tell what is likely to have made it perform best.
4. Keep updating your ads
So you created a few ad variations and Facebook went with the best version – nice work! But it’s not over yet. Banner Blindness is real my friend, so make sure you continue to change up your ads regularly. Look at the frequency of each ad and change it before it gets to 8 (this seems to work well in my experience but if your performance deteriorates before you reach a frequency of 8 then you could change them up sooner).
Select the ‘performance and clicks’ columns setting, and checkout your frequency for each ad:
5. Test call to action buttons
Now I’m not saying these buttons work for everyone, but if there’s a call to action button option that suits what you’re asking the user to do, add it to your ads!
Test it alongside an ad which is the same except without the CTA button and see which performs best.
Add a CTA button in Power Editor when you’re editing your ad:
6. Segment your targeting into different ad sets
One of the best things about Facebooks ads is that there are soooo many different ways you can target users. The way you can add all this targeting to one ad set is also a bonus if you’re short of time, but if you’re looking for ways to improve performance then split out each bit of targeting into it’s own ad set, or at least try to only have two or three different targeting options in an ad set.
This will mean you can monitor performance for each targeting type separately, so you can adjust budgets or stop the ones that aren’t working, and expand the ones that are.
7. Exclude audiences you’re targeting in one set from audiences you’re targeting in another
If you’re targeting a few different audiences in different ad sets, you’ll find there is overlap where a Facebook user can be a member of both audiences. For example if you’re targeting people who are parents in one ad set, and then people who are interested in dieting, you’ll find that some parents are also interested in dieting! To avoid cannibalising your audiences, exclude the dieters from the parents ad set, and the parents from the dieters ad set. This will greatly affect your results, so it’s something to test gradually and then roll out to all your ad sets if you find it has a positive impact.
You can exclude audiences in your ad set targeting just below where you ad positive audiences:
8. Track conversions
Tracking your conversions helps you optimise for the actions that actually matter to you! There’s very little point optimising for secondary metrics like cost per click or click through rate, if the ads that have the lowest cost per click or best click through rate aren’t delivering the traffic that is converting on your website.
“But I track my ads in Google Analytics so I don’t need Facebook conversion tracking” I hear you cry! Well, you’d still benefit from Facebook conversion tracking because not all visits from Facebook will be tracked accurately in Google Analytics. As a result, the conversions that are attributed might not be the full picture. The reasons Google Analytics doesn’t track all Facebook ads visits are varied, and you can learn more about some of them here.
9. Identify top age groups and genders then put them in their own ad sets
With all the targeting available in Facebook, we often forget about the basic like age and gender, but these are actually some of the most simple ways to segment your ads and make a huge improvement to performance.
Use the Breakdown feature and choose ‘age and gender’ to see how different age groups and genders are performing:
If you spot any particularly strong age groups or genders, move them into their own ad sets and give them a greater share of the budget. Remember to then exclude those age groups / genders from the original ad sets, so you don’t overlap on your targeting.
If there are particularly poorly performing age groups or genders, exclude these from your ad set to make a positive impact on your performance right away.
10. Use ad scheduling
You can start by letting your ads run all days and hours, and then review the day of the week performance (using the ‘breakdown tab’). If there’s any evidence of the ad sets performing best on week days for example, you may want to consider turning them off or reducing budgets on weekends.
Although you can’t view performance by time of day, consider scheduling your ad sets to run when your users are most likely to convert, for example you might want to schedule them to stop running between midnight and six am if data from your other activity (such as AdWords) indicates that this isn’t strong time of day for conversions. This saves your budget so it can be used during the best performing times of day.
11. Use decent images
This might sound obvious, but all too often you see Facebook ads with distorted images cropped in strange places.
Facebook have openly said that good quality images will help with Relevance Score, so it’s an easy win if you can get this right.
Make sure your images are the right size and try using images with a good resolution too.
In my experience images with people in work well on Facebook, particularly where you can see the persons face. Even if you think your product or service doesn’t relate to images of people, for example an accountant, you can find a way to incorporate them. For example you could show an image of someone looking happy at work. The images that tend work the least well in my experience are illustrated or cartoon style images.
12. Try out different ad formats
There’s an ad format for just about everything these days! From video ads to lead generation ads.
Test out the different format available to see which ones fit your business goals best. For example try carousel ads as well as standard single image website click ads. In my experience there can be a big difference in their performance not only in terms of CTR but also conversion rates.
So there you have my top tips for improving your Facebook ads quickly and easily. I tried to pick tips that would apply to almost all circumstances, but not every technique works the same in every campaign or vertical so you should test them out and monitor them before rolling them out to everything. Can you think of any other easy wins for optimising Facebook ads? Post them in the comments section below.