5 Steps to Kick Start Your Facebook Ads Campaign

kickstartSurprise! Facebook Ads is one of the most important advertising channels at present. If you didn’t know that, I’ll give you a minute to pull your head out of the sand.

Now, that’s better, right? Ok. Creating new Facebook Ads campaigns can be a daunting task for anyone, regardless of experience. And a lot of folks err on the side of caution when building new campaigns and this can lead to less than desirable results. Once audience targeting has been nailed down (which is a subject for several articles in and to itself), it is all-to-easy to create all-in-one campaigns and ad sets with a focus to test if your audience is right. Logical, sure, but it leaves so much opportunity on the table that can be accessed straight out of the gate if you segment and optimize for success.

Here are 5 steps to kick start your Facebook Ads campaigns:

1. Segment by Placement

What are Facebook placements? Mobile Newsfeed. Desktop Newsfeed. Desktop Right Placement. Instagram. The unholy quadfecta (is that even a word?!?!). When you segment your campaigns to isolate these 4 placements into their own ad sets, a world of possibility opens to you. The most important of which are referenced later in this list!

The key here is that you are taking a single audience and targeting that audience on 4 different placements in 4 different ad sets. Adopt a naming convention that you and other campaign managers will understand so that everyone can follow along. The Clix team has been working with the following abbreviations as an example:

  • Mobile Newsfeed:  MB/NF
  • Desktop Newsfeed:  DT/NF
  • Desktop Right Placement:  DT/RP
  • Instagram:  IG

2. Bid to Placement

I can’t stress enough the importance of this step. After you have segmented your ad sets by placement, now you need to begin optimizing based on the placement itself. Much like other channels (search, display, etc.), no 2 devices perform the same or abide by the same rules. On Facebook, mobile is king – but the CPCs there are typically lowest. Instagram is the newest placement, and can be the most expensive depending on your vertical.

Over time I’ve come to trust a basic rule of thumb for setting bids in new placement segmented ad sets. These bids often change within hours of launching a new ad set, but the key is that this is a solid starting point! Disclaimer – these bids assume you are bidding for link clicks. There are a multitude of bidding options based on campaign objective. Review your own strategy before applying these bids.

  • Mobile Newsfeed:  $1 CPC
  • Desktop Newsfeed:  $4
  • Desktop Right Placement:  $2.50
  • Instagram:  $4

The direct follow up to this is that you should test multiple bidding types over time. The various optimized (read: automated) bidding features within Facebook Ads are quite powerful – particularly for those tracking conversions and looking to boost conversion rates.

3. Create Ads by Placement & Audience

At a simple, nuts-and-bolts level, each placement has specific parameters for ads. By taking the simple step of segmenting ad sets by placement, you are now able to create ads to those parameters. Eureka, right!?!? Character counts differ. Various elements appear or don’t appear (buttons, link description). Only when you segment ad sets by placement do you get the ad preview for that placement smack-dab in front of your face! (if placements are blended, the previews exist, but you only see one at a time and any edits you make affect all placements)

Beyond placement, you should optimize your ads by audience. This is advertising 101, but worth a reminder. Optimize for audience and test, test, test again.

4. Test Accelerated Delivery

Last fall Facebook updated the bidding structure within the ads interface and also included a new setting for ad delivery. For those of us who have managed PPC campaigns, we are familiar with the concept of “standard” vs. “accelerated” delivery. This means (in basic terms):

  • Standard: pace ad delivery throughout the day to avoid hitting budget caps too early in the day.
  • Accelerated: please god serve my ads every time they are eligible for the auction until budget is depleted.

Nervous Nellie’s and Cautious Carl’s tend to default on standard delivery. Often I, too, fall in this camp. That being said, if you find that you aren’t getting as many impressions or clicks as you need or expected – the solution may be as simple as switching delivery over to accelerated. Please proceed with caution and make sure you have reasonable budget caps in place to avoid over-spending (OK, so maybe I am a Cautious Carl).

5. Diversify Your Ads

One of the greatest things about Facebook Ads is the suite of creative options. Each campaign objective has it’s own flavor of ads. Each placement modifies how an ad appears and dictates character limits. Instagram changed the game altogether with new image sizes and rules. You can and should begin testing which ad types perform best for your campaigns right out of the gate. Planning a Facebook Ads campaign is more than just picking an audience target – you should be planning your creative assets, too. Here’s a list of options to consider, and is by no means complete:

  • Static image + text. That one 1200 x 628 image can be used on all placements – even Instagram. Though Instagram ads look best if you use 1800 x 1800.
  • Video + text. You can even use a short video to create the illusion of an animated image (in lieu of a gif).
  • Carousel ads. Many images! You can crop your full size images down to the 600 x 600 format. However, create custom images in that size will look best.
  • Lead Ads. For you B2B folks out there, Lead Ads are the bees nees.
  • Dynamic Product Ads. For you e-comm folks out there, DPAs are also the bees nees.

funny iceberg

All that, and I’ve really only touched the tip of the Facebook Ads iceberg. It’s a multi-faceted, ever-changing ad channel. But that’s what makes it exciting and cutting edge in the digital advertising marketplace.

Happy optimizing!