Optimizing Facebook ads – placement, delivery, budget optimization, format and more to maximise ROI

Optimizing Facebook ads - placement, delivery, budget optimization, format and more to maximise ROI

Optimizing your Facebook ads is still a highly discussed topic, because this can be a game changer for many businesses, depending on their budget, audience, product, brand awareness etc. Many businesses struggle with their social media marketing, and a lot of small businesses doesn’t have the money to outsource this to an agency.

In this post I’ll cover some more “advancedtips of the Facebook business manager and what you can do to optimize your campaigns. This is not a beginners guide to Facebook advertising, if you’re looking to get started with Facebook ads or creating Facebook marketing in general check out this guide. If you want to learn more about the Facebook business manager click here.📈

This post is for you, if you already have had some campaigns running already and struggle to see a good ROI or ROAS (return on ad spend) or just have high CPM because of low relevancy score, or in any other way, have performance issues with your Facebook advertising.

Whether you run a small e-commerce business, SAAS company, a marketing agency or you’re working as a marketing manager in a bigger company, I hope this would provide you with some valuable insight from my team and I more advanced Facebook marketing strategies.

If you’re ready to boost your business or your clients business with social media marketing and Facebook in particular, this post is for you. Hang on!🤓

What you will learn from this article:

  • How to lower your Facebook advertising cost / CPM
  • How to increase your ROI / ROAS💰
  • Increase your conversion amount
  • Understand Facebook metrics and reports
  • Optimize and split-test different targeting variations

Also make sure you already have the Facebook Pixel installed, if not make sure to check out our guide on how to install the Facebook pixel to your website.

Creating the right Facebook advertising strategy

Facebook advertising and marketing are getting more and more competitive everyday, and for some business, it’s all they care about. However by relying on only 1 traffic source is a huge risk for your business even though you might be doing good on Facebook. What if for some reasons, your ads stopped performing one day, then your whole business is in trouble.

However this isn’t about what your other options are all about, but only strategies regarding Facebook for this particular post. I have not covered “boosted posts” also known as “sponsored posts“, since these are the standard options available on your business fan-page and can only be used to gain reach or engagement on your existing posts, and often doesn’t perform very well.

They are created by Facebook to encourage businesses to spend more, which is fine by me, but you should do this through the business manager instead, if you’re serious about your advertising.

Even though you might know all the Facebook ad metrics already, doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re optimizing the right way. More than 1/3 people on Facebook interact with the 60 million businesses. With over 2 billion active users on Facebook, that’s a lot of people, which is why targeting is so insanely important, unless you already have an amazing brand or really big budgets for broad targeting.

Make sure you know who your ideal customer is, the correct persona. If you’re looking for inspiration about your audience, try and use Facebook audience insight or upload data from existing customers to create a custom audience within Facebook.

Campaign budget optimization⚙️

So what is campaign budget optimization? Well in order to optimize your budget accordingly in your ads manager, you need to look at a few metrics. Facebook recently decided to launch a feature where Facebook itself will be able to optimize your budget across your whole campaign, no matter how many ad sets you have.

Facebook campaign budget / bidding optimizationIf you decide to use this function, Facebook will then automatically allocate the desired budget amount to the different ad sets, depending on the performance that Facebook think is best. As usual you can go for either daily or lifetime budget.

This means Facebook automatically and continuously finds the best available opportunities for results across your ad sets and distributes your campaign budget in real time to get best possible results. However there is no guarantee that choosing the automatic optimization that this will perform any better compared to if you did it yourself.

There are a few things you will need to keep in mind:

  • Seasonality of your products. Maybe your product or service generally sell better in the summertime, in the evening or only in the weekend. This can be really specific and might have a drastic effect on your ads performance. Be careful that Facebook then doesn’t shut off winning ad sets.
  • Different ad copy. You will change copys over time, testing different variations and formats, maybe both video and carrousel, DPA and single picture etc. If you want to push a specific ad creative, this isn’t the budget strategy to go for.
  • Flexibility in your budget. You can’t do accelerated delivery (even though we rarely do this either, maybe only for black friday) with this budget strategy, and you can’t run these on a schedule as you are used to. Also if you really want to spend a specific amount on your ad sets for the different target audience you have, this isn’t going to work well for you either. You’ll need some more flexibility if you want this campaign budget strategy to work out right.

How do I set up campaign budget optimization?

Create a new campaign:

  1. Turn on the budget optimization toggle as shown on the screenshot above
  2. Choose if you want your campaign budget to be Daily or Lifetime
  3. Set a budget (remember the actual spend on each ad set will be very different)
  4. Choose a campaign bid strategy
    1. If you choose the lowest cost campaign bid strategy without a bid cap, all ad sets in your campaign must have the same optimization event
    2. If you choose the lowest cost bid strategy with a bid cap or the target cost bid strategy, you can optimize for different results and set different bid caps or target costs for each ad set

Should I use campaign budget optimization?

The short answer, yes. The longer answer, it depends. This is a great option if you don’t have the time or skills to manage the ads on your own, then Facebook will help you out, with no extra cost. However to get the best possible results, this isn’t going to maximise your ROAS fully. Try and split-test this with your other campaigns, especially conversion/sales related campaigns and see for yourself.

Ad delivery, Learning phase, Creatives & Frequency

When you’re running ads on the Facebook platform (Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, Marketplace and audience network) you have a lot of options when it comes to optimizing your ads, delivering, placements etc.

If you are optimizing for the conversion event goal in your Facebook campaign, you might have found the “learning phase” where Facebook are trying to gather enough data their advertising algorithm. Remember all of your optimization on your Facebook business manager account are happening on the “ad set” level. Facebook are optimizing your ads for the goal objective, but the optimization itself happens on the ad set level, not campaign or ad copy/creative level.

Facebook business manager - delivery, frequency and optimizing of ad sets

This is important to keep in mind, and is why you should not touch or edit your ad set as long as you are in the “learning phase”, and bare in mind the performance will fluctuate a lot, because the algorithm tries to optimize and test out different things with the targeting and settings of the ad set.

Facebook 50 conversion requirement:

You ad set have 2 options when it comes to conversion optimization while going through the learning phase

  1. Your ad set gets about 50 optimization events since starting to run or your last significant edit
  2. Your ad set doesn’t get 50 optimization events and enough time passes

Example of conversions:

  • Sign-up on website (lead magnet)
  • Add to cart (ATC)
  • Reach checkout
  • Purchase (sale)

The example shown above is from one of our ad accounts and is showing that the algorithm didn’t reach the desired conversion amount. When choosing “conversion” objective for your ads, Facebook want to get at least 50 conversions within a 7 days window. If Facebook doesn’t get this, it will tell you that it isn’t able to optimize, even though it is. Then the “learning” is complete and you can adjust or change your ad set accordingly if needed. If it’s not performing kill it, and test a new adset.

The ideal goal for your ad set is of course to reach 50 conversions, however this doesn’t guarantee better results of your ad set either way, so be careful not to kill good performing ad sets and ad creatives even though you don’t reach 50 conversions. There can be many reasons why don’t reach 50 a week such as high pricing of your product, low budget of the ad set, boring ad creative or not doing the right targeting.

Quick tip for split-testing with ad sets:

When testing a lot of different audiences within the same area, city or country but not just different interests but also a lot of custom audiences and LLA’s make sure to check for audience overlaps. When you run a lot of ad sets you might get caught up in a situation where you actual advertise and do marketing to the same audience without knowing, especially with custom audiences and look-a-like (LLA) audiences.

With high overlapping percentages of you audiences, you might now be able to get the best possible performances for your ad and the same people will see your ad to many times, and your frequency will sky-rocket too fast.

How to check your audience overlapping:

Go into your Facebook business manager account and click on “audiences“.Facebook business manager and marketing - audience overlappingBecause this is a client of ours we aren’t able to show the LLA audiences we have created for them, but you can select the desired CA or LLA you want to match with the mark at the left and then click on “show audience overlap“.


Facebook business manager and marketing - audience overlapping Now you will be presented with the data matched by Facebook telling you which and how much each audience is overlapping. If the overlapping of the audience is too big, you might consider just to consolidate the audience and run ad sets with a combined audience of the 2, instead of 2 separate ones.

Facebook business manager and marketing - audience overlapping

Reach and frequency for ad creatives

Frequency is calculated by impressions/reach and is a metric showing how many times 1 person on average have viewed your ad creative (on average). Remember if you check your ad account regularly and look at the last 3 days window, 7 days or maybe 14 days, your frequency might not seem high, but this is because all of the metrics is based on the dates you have selected.

Your actual frequency for the people in your audience might be a lot higher, so make sure to check with your lifetime frequency of the ad copy as well, to check if you reach any ad fatigue. Ad fatigue can hit already at frequencies as low as 2, and then you have to swap your ad copy for a new fresh one.

If you are new to Facebook marketing and social media advertising in general frequency might not be something you care about or give a **** about. And I understand, because you’re just getting started, but after you reach a certain level of ad spend in your business, frequency will one of your main metrics and a the demon of killing ROAS.

One of making sure you don’t go beyond your targeted cost per acquisition (CPA) is that you can setup custom-made rules within your Facebook business manager, by going to “automated rules”.

Facebook business manager automated rules and optimization

Creating a rule where you when a certain event or condition happens with your ad set it will turn off. Some obvious choices would be max CPA or max frequency or something similar to keep your ROI high. Make sure to have at least 8000 impressions so you don’t turn off ad sets you just have created, when Facebook haven’t even optimized it yet.

Facebook business manager automated rules and optimization

Daily budget vs. lifetime + schedule

When you have to determine whether you should run your ad ads based on daily budget or lifetime maybe with a weekly schedule you will have to keep a few things in mind.

Facebook business - creating and managing ads delivery and schedule

  • Are the campaign going to run ads for a product that is “seasonal” on weekly basis (if you only get clients in the weekdays or vice versa)
    • If yes, do scheduled.
  • Are the campaign only going to run during business hours or any other time or day specific period
    • If yes, do scheduled
  • Are your ad set and campaign going to do marketing for a time-limited offer
    • If yes, do scheduled
  • Do you want your ad to spend a specific amount of money
    • If yes, do scheduled

In general, you can always do daily budgets. The main reason for choosing daily budget over lifetime is that you can turn on/off when you want, and keep it running as long as it generates the right ROAS. Compared to lifetime, if you have a good performing lifetime ad set, you can’t keep it running. Once it reaches the end date it turns off no matter what. This is a horrible situation if you’re running an amazing ad.

However keep in mind, if you do want or need the limitations mentioned as some examples above, scheduled ads is an awesome way to keep your ROAS high, because you limited the timeframe of exposure to only advertise in the exact timeframe that can generate your business revenue. Maybe you own a restaurant or you want to have a special offer for black friday or anything similar do scheduled ads to keep your cost/spend down.

Facebook business - creating and managing ads delivery and schedule

Manual vs. automatic bidding

We did a separate and more in-depth post about manual vs automatic bidding for Facebook earlier. However we generally don’t recommend manual bidding, unless you have a lot of experience and knowledge of Facebook marketing and advertising or you have a bigger budget to spend on ads.

This is often a requirement if you want to get the desired results of manual bidding. It also consume a lot more time for each ad sets, when you need to optimize on the bidding itself, rather than doing automatic.

Ad placement (and mobile vs. desktop)

Ad placement is a big factor and an important parameter to adjust when running social media ads. As you can see below there are many placements to choose from, which can be very overwhelming at first, and not sure where to spend your money to get the most sales and leads.

Ad placements for the Facebook platform:

Facebook

  • Feed
  • Instant articles
  • In-stream videos
  • Right column
  • Suggested video
  • Marketplace
  • Stories

Instagram

  • Feed
  • Stories

Audience network

  • Native banner
  • In-stream videos
  • Rewarded videos

Messenger

  • Inbox
  • Stories

Of course you can’t run ads on Messenger and Instagram if you decide to only target desktop users. However all placements are available on mobile except “right column” for obvious reasons. If you haven’t ran much ads on Facebook for your business or the company your are working in, doing automatic placement can be good start. Especially if are limited on time and/or budget. It’s easier to test out and can give you a quick overview once it’s running on which placements will make sense for you.

However we usually recommend to split up these placements, to split the budget accordingly for each placement and to force Facebook’s advertising algorithm to maximize it’s performance on every placement and platform, not just the one it think would be the best.

One reason why it can be misleading by choosing automatic is because Facebook calls it “recommended”. Recommended means easy, and would then translate into easy money for Facebook, not for you.

Reasons for choosing automatic bidding or in other ways consolidating more placements in 1 ad set:

  • Low budget: It your ad spend is 5$ daily total, it doesn’t make sense to try and do 1$ for each Facebook, 1$ for Instagram etc. This wouldn’t get you good results.
  • Limited expertise: If you or your team doesn’t have the skills to optimize and improve your ads, this is the easiest way to try and get good results. Run everything on automatic and let Facebook do the lifting (not efficiently in the long run though)
  • Limited time: If you are your time are very time limited for these kind of marketing task, automatic bidding and optimizing will save you some time.
  • Limited audience: If you already know that your audience is very small you might just go for automatic placement since you would be able to quicker reach your whole audience, even with smaller ad spends.

However depending on the product and the target audience, we try and run different ad sets for desktop and mobile and sometime even also IG and FB divided. This depends on a few factors. In order to narrow down who is your ideal buyer you need to know who is converting. If you have a very broad targeting of interests and placement you can’t see which of the interest or which of placements are performing well, because they are smashed together.

Even though you can filter your ads performance and select “breakdown” by “placement” or whatever you like this doesn’t tell the whole story.

If you ad are performing well on mobile FB you would not know which of age groups are best performing or interest or gender.

If you ad are performing well on the age group of 24-45 and mainly women, you can’t be sure which platform you get the cheapest conversions either.

You can then end up with a lot of mixed data even though you can filter out all the different breakdown options to try and figure out which demographic that “might” be getting the high ROAS. This is the reason why we like to make a lot of smaller ad sets for our clients and be able to measure everything correctly.

Choosing the right targeting (audience)

Choosing the right audience is the alpha and omega of digital marketing and social media advertising in general. When you have this many options of targeting, placements, interests, behaviour etc, it can be frustrating not to knowing how to target your audience in the right way.

As many of you know conversions on many websites is only about 1-3% sometimes even lower. This means that between 97-99% of all your visitors doesn’t buy from you and just leave. If you paid for this traffic, this can get really expensive if not done the right way.

So you have cool ad copy’s, beautiful image and videos ads, but your ad isn’t really performing well and you are not getting the ROI you had expected or hoped for. Well this is often because of the targeting. Yes you have guessed it, it’s the wrong people who’s viewing your ad.

facebook audience insight and targeting

Retargeting

You might already use this (we hope so) if not, don’t worry we can teach you to setup this up very quickly in our other post.

Retargeting and re-marketing is so crucial nowadays. When ad costs keep rising this quickly you need to be able to increase you ROAS all the time, and this is a big challenge for many businesses.

Retargeting is essentially a way of running an ad to someone who have visited your site (doesn’t matter what source they came from) and the left without doing anything. Without converting, purchasing, signing up to your e-mail funnel etc. All of this can be tracked on your website and with google analytics and facebook pixel installed you will be able to run ads to these people based on their interactions on your site.

The most common type of retargeting is running product specific ads to people visiting a specific product page on your website and then leave without converting. Your pixel know this and would then be able to target just that one person.

Retargeting and re-marketing does generally have the highest ROI of any campaign due to the fact that you are targeting people who already know you and might already be interest in what you are offering, compared to cold targeting with regularly ads.

So the only downside of retargeting is that this audience segment is often very limited in size, because it’s based of people who have visited your site, and once these people have seen your ads and decided to buy or not to buy, you don’t have to run anymore ads to these people, so the audience group will be very quickly saturated, if you spend to much money.

One last important tip:

Make sure to test our LLA for all of your different conversion events not only purchase or leads, also add to cart, CA based on watch time and engagement. You will be surprised by how well some of these do perform.

Wrapping up 💻

The key 🔑to succes💰with Facebook advertising is to keep improving, knowing your metrics, how optimize, how to adjust to your target audience, creating the right ad copy and then scale to the moon. Keep searching 🔍 for new opportunities and make sure you have setup correct tracking and attribution.

What we have covered in this post:

  1. Creating a solid Facebook marketing strategy
  2. Ideas to finding your targeting audience with split-testing and Facebook audience insight
  3. Using Facebook campaign budget optimization
  4. How to adjust your ads accordingly to frequency and CPA
  5. Checking for audience overlapping and 50 conversion window
  6. Bidding options as well as daily and lifetime budgets
  7. How to choose the right placement
  8. Targeting and re-marketing

I hope you enjoyed this article, I have spend a lot of time creating this content to provide you with massive value tips and examples from our own business.

Please let me know what you think and let me know what your best Facebook advertising tip is, regarding optimization?

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