Too often I hear SMB owners say, “We’ve done Facebook Ads but it didn’t work for us.” When I ask what they did and how their campaign looked, I usually hear about an experience of 1 to 2 campaigns in a total budget of about $100 with a blurry mission. Frankly, I’m never surprised they fail.
Here’s the problem, in my opinion – since everybody uses Facebook as a social network, they think that they’ll naturally know how to market and advertise on the platform. But that’s just not the way it works. To succeed with Facebook ads, you have to understand how different targeting methods and features work, and understand bidding algorithms, conversion targeting, and performance statistics.
Facebook is indeed the most amazing and beautiful online advertising tool to date, but it requires hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars to learn how to use it right.
A huge part of this includes learning online and reading these kinds of blog posts.
During the past 3 years, I’ve learned how to effectively spend advertising dollars on this platform and how to make it actually work. I’ve learned from trial and error, from colleges, from bloggers, and from well-known online experts.
So in order to save you some of that time and effort, here are 5 rules that every single Facebook marketer I know works by. Some of these Facebook ad rules may surprise you and some of them you’ll already know, but what’s important is that they are all absolutely true and a must for every campaign.
1 – Always Be Testing
In online advertising today, there just too many variables. There’s practically no way to get everything right with your very first ad. You have to test several versions by a number of variables to build a campaign that drives results.
It is not easy to split test advertising campaigns. Here’s what I mean:
- It’s hard to come up with ideas of what and how much to test.
- It’s complicated to analyze the performance and determine which test version surpassed the other.
- It’s also time consuming to create all the variations of the split test.
But it’s an absolute must that every pro will always follow if they really want to close…
So here’s a quick tip to make it a little easier.
Either test creative copy OR your targeting method. Never test both in the same campaign. Usually when you want to reach a new audience, I’d recommend that you test targeting methods first and the ad copy second. In other words, after you find out what works best to target your prospects, then test to find out what is the best way to present your message.
The opposite order is recommended for remarketing campaigns or when advertising to your Facebook page fans (ad copy first, targeting methods second).
2 – Use the Facebook Audience Pixel
The pixel allows you to build audience lists for remarketing campaigns and track conversions of your campaigns. As long as you have a website, you need it. It’s an absolute must because conversions are not only used for tracking but also for ad campaign optimization.
So when you run ads for 100,000 users, it can be pretty expensive to reach them all. But when you use conversion tracking, Facebook automatically uses the conversion information to learn more about the users that are most likely to convert. Then your ads are optimized so that they only serve those users.
And this is great for you. It results in more conversions at a lower cost. Building audience lists for remarketing campaigns also opens the opportunity to attract already engaged users back to your website with special offers.
3 – Track Every Facebook Outbound Link Via Google Analytics
If you’ve ever run a campaign with a great CTR and low CPC (cost pet click) but saw very few conversions, Facebook reports won’t tell you why. It might be a bad landing page experience causing high bounce rate, or a technical issue preventing a user from completing a certain action or process.
Whatever it is, you need to be able to see how the users that you drove to your website from a Facebook ad actually interact with your website. Only then will you be able to analyze and figure out why your campaign doesn’t reach it goals.
That’s why you should track all your Facebook paid traffic with Google’s UTM parameters – there are 5 total – in Analytics.
4 – Use Audience Insights Tools
If you want to target 32–40 year old men from California who are interested in “Travel+Leisure” and have “used a travel app (2 weeks),” you need to know what it actually means. In other words, who are these audiences?
For that, Facebook built Audience Insights. This tool lets you analyze a targeted audience and compare it to all Facebook users or your Website Custom Audience in several consumer categories including:
- Facebook activity
- Household data
- And purchase behavior
When it comes to targeting your ideal client, this is basically gold…
5 – oCPM Bidding
Unless you run a remarketing campaign for up to +/- 5K users, always use oCPM bidding (optimized cost per 1,000 impressions). There have been tons of tests by bloggers who have even shared their results, such as Jon Loomer. In Loomer’s study, he did an experiment of CPM vs. oCPM. It turned out that although oCPM only got 75% of the impression that CPM did, it accounted for 3x the link click. It performed better – oCPM always wins.
The thing with oCPM is that you let Facebook optimize the bid so that you’ll reach your objective at the lowest price. When you bid a fixed CPM, let’s say $10, you basically tell Facebook that you want to reach all the users in your targeted audience that cost $10 CPM and below.
Now, how do you know if George from LA, who is actually in need of your offer, costs $10 CPM? And how do you know that Jenny from SF, who costs under $10 CPM, actually won’t be interested in your campaign’s offer? Well, you don’t… but Facebook does.
So by bidding with the oCPM, you basically tell Facebook this: Show my ad to George as long as he has a high chance of converting, even if it costs $15 – but don’t show my ad to Jenny if her profile isn’t in a high probability for conversion even if it’s under $10 CPM. (The $10 CPM in this case is just an imaginary line of the highest price you think you’ll be willing to pay.) Facebook has this down to a science.
And that’s all guys — master these and you’re on your way to be a true pro! If you have any other Facebook ad rules that should be added to this list, comment below and let me know. I’d love to check them out. Happy advertising, all. Cheers!
Yuri Shub is an awesome user acquisition and PPC specialist from Topanda (topanda.co). He also runs a PPC blog on medium.com and loves to tweet about online advertising!