04 Mar

130 Facebook Ad Tips from Social Media Marketing World 2018

The 28th February through to the 2nd March saw the 2018 edition of the Social Media Marketing World conference in San Diego.

This was my first time attending the event and the amount of choice and quality of presentations was incredible and for anyone looking to improve their game in any area of social, I’d highly recommend considering next year’s event!

With so much to choose from, I parked myself in the Facebook Ads sessions for the majority of the event and this post is a collection of notes and actions (130 in all!) from those presentations. Hopefully this is useful for anyone who wanted to be there but couldn’t make it this year.

Here goes…

How to Ensure Your Facebook Ads Are Profitable Every Time – Nicholas Kusmich

Ok – so first session of the conference! The premise of this presentation was using four simple steps to get new clients, increase sales and grow your business at scale whilst running profitable campaigns.


  • When it comes to interest targeting – go granular
  • Think about who your target customers follow and start there
  • Think about where your ideal customer frequent regularly – events, blogs, websites etc
  • Think about what they spend money on – what does that tell you?

Ad creative:

  • You can’t just jump in and push products – you need to earn the right by providing value first
  • Lead magnets; they need to be highly desirable and easy to consume
  • Stop using E-Books; webinars and cheat sheets are far more valuable and actionable, and therefore tend to be more successful
  • When thinking about ‘easy to consume’ for lead magnets, the real trick is that it must be easy to action
  • Ads – does it capture attention? The image needs to ‘pop’. Greyscale with a little bit of colour can work very well due to so many colourful images in the feed.


  • Landing pages – 3D images of exactly what your giving away work well.
  • Also add information on yourself to build rapport and the human element.
  • For CTA’s – ‘Download Now >>’ with button in Facebook blue has proved to be the most successful
  • Thank You pages – don’t just say thank you and give away the document. Give more information on what’s next and how you can help. Use video to explain the value of the lead magnet. Also introduce an offer for an upgrade or follow up.
  • Test out ideal decision making time-frames for discounts on sign-up offers: com/deadline
  • In the 72 hours after viewing the thank-you page; re-inforce with three emails and three ads (one per day).
  • Increase urgency on ad messaging and email copy from day 1 to day 3.

How to Use Facebook Custom Audiences to Get Better Ad Results and Lower Your Costs – Rick Mulready

Having listened to quite a few of Rick’s podcasts I was really looking forward to this one. Also, 45 mins dedicated to custom audiences is always going to be interesting and actionable.

From Rick’s point of view, the way to think about custom audiences is using them as an effective tool to create a connection with people who you’ve previously not had a connection with. Ultimately, it’s the businesses that have a deeper connection with their audience will be the ones that win.

Where you must start with Facebook ads:

  • Facebook ad success is based on the basic fundamentals of marketing – not fancy tricks and features.
  • You must understand who your target customer is
  • You must be clear on the value you bring
  • You need to create offers that solve challenges your customers have
  • You need to be able to communicate clearly and position yourself as the go to place to solve their challenges
  • You’ve got to play the long game – far too many people want overnight success

Rick Mulready Facebook Ads Social Media Marketing World 2018

Rick then went through 4 must have audiences he believes every advertiser should use or at least be testing:

Email list:

  • Start by uploading your email subscriber list – match rate will be around 30 – 70%
  • Email lists – these people are warm and know you, but the goal here is to reduce the ‘waste’ of non-openers and re-inforce your email campaigns
  • Then segment your list; overall, top buyers, past purchasers who haven’t been back in the last 30 days, event registrations, webinar attendees (vs. non-attendees) etc
  • Next step – create lookalike audiences based on the segments above. Best place to start is a lookalike audience based on your buyers
  • Also create a segment of bounces / unsubscribes and exclude those from your campaigns
  • Add a column with customer LTV for further segmentation and use of Facebook’s LTV audience tool

Website traffic: 

  • Try retargeting people who visit specific pages / categories on your website. A better place to start than blanket targeting all website visitors
  • Test combinations – people who visit certain categories but not others
  • Also test traffic audiences based on time on page
  • Make sure you set up custom audiences based on custom events (add to cart, add to wishlist etc)
  • With the above, test combinations of pageviews vs. actions – i.e people who visited a landing page but didn’t click on your CTA
  • Test different time windows for your audiences. Base this on how long it typically takes your customers to convert
  • Again – create lookalike audiences based on all of the above
  • Retargeting with messenger for bottom of funnel traffic is incredibly effective – be quite obvious about the fact you’re inviting to take part in a conversation

Video engagement audiences:

  • If someone has watched 50% of your video – they are already engaged
  • Facebook loves video and live video, so reach tends to be far higher. Great for cost effective top of funnel prospecting
  • For shorter view lengths (i.e 25%), it might be people need more content and are not yet ready to buy
  • Always create lookalikes based on video engagement
  • Try using Facebook live for audience building; create video engagement audiences, then amplify to your page fans. If people are reacting well, turn the live video into an ad and use it for cold audiences once proven successful
  • In terms of length – there’s no firm answer. It should be as long as it needs to be to do the job. Generally however, the shorter the better.
  • If setting audiences on % length of views, use ~45 seconds as a benchmark for people being ‘engaged’
  • From there – sequence follow up ads and messaging based on length of view

Bonus audiences:

  • Facebook engagement: Keep it simple. start by targeting everyone who has engaged with your page (note, this includes posts, ads, messages etc)
  • Dynamic Product Adsa must have for all ecommerce advertisers
  • Messenger Audiences: Must be testing audiences based on people how have interacted with the brand via messenger
  • Remember messenger is permission based – be conversational and very wary of this fact. Seeing CTR’s of 20-30% doing this

Bonus tips:

  • Facebook loves larger audiences – don’t be afraid to test larger lookalikes. This has been a big change over the past 12 months.
  • Also – don’t be afraid to use multiple lookalikes in one ad set
  • For smaller retargeting audiences – test the ‘reach’ objective given that you’ve already qualified the audience through your own funnel
  • If you’re using Business Manager, create a new ad account for your business and share all existing audiences from your main account for backup
  • Consolidate your social proof – start ads with warm traffic to build up engagement, then take the post ID and use them to target cold traffic with pre-existing engagement
  • Upload all custom audiences into audience insights to get ideas for interest based audiences for cold traffic

Facebook Advertising for Small Business – Andrea Vahl

A really interesting topic, particularly with the recent news regarding Facebook’s algorithm, meaning more and more small businesses will need to start paying for visibility on Facebook.

With Facebook still being one of the cheapest places to advertise online it’s a very viable option for most small businesses. That being said costs are rising, so small business advertisers need to get smarter and get better at testing.

Another key challenge here is that small businesses don’t have the audience sizes that larger companies have which makes scale very difficult. This also brings challenges for building retargeting audiences and additionally having enough data to get through Facebook’s learning process (50 conversions).

Strategies that are working for small businesses:

  • Use video for audience building and warming up cold audiences (explainer videos can work well. Example used was a Dentist surgery)
  • Single images often outperform video for link clicks and traffic
  • Retargeting is key – get people off Facebook and onto your website or email list so you can retarget and follow up
  • Expensive leads are not always a problem. As long as the figures are viable for your business
  • You have to test strategies though – sometimes website conversions can be cheaper than using lead forms
  • Use traffic ads to send cold traffic to blog posts, but have an opt-in form high in your post to get the conversion
  • Use webinars to collect emails and then follow up with retargeting ads to sell workshop places
  • Facebook groups are a really good strategy – drive ads to group registration pages and therefore deepen your engagement
  • Chat bots – use Manychat to get your chat bot working
  • Make sure you’re using offline conversions to measure physical conversions for stores
  • You need to sequence your messaging – think of how you can develop messaging to hit people at different points in the journey
  • A mini series of short video tips are a good way of creating a sequence – the main objective with your videos is to stop the scroll
  • Take advantage of ‘last chance’ offers – make sure your messaging reflects the different time frames on an offer. Increase spend on the last day.
  • Try not to target below 10,000 people per ad set if possible. One option is to keep the audience a bit more open, but tailor the messaging towards the right part of the audience
  • If you have a low budget for testing – group similar interest targeting into different ad sets with one ad over all ad sets
  • If your interests and demographic targeting is very specific, jump to the next phase and run individual ad sets with an ad variation in each
  • If you don’t have enough data for the 50 conversion barrier, stick to one ad set and therefore you get more conversion data to Facebook.
  • Alternatively, back up to a conversion point higher in the funnel (for example ‘add to cart’)
  • For very low budgets, sometimes running a traffic campaign is more viable than conversion campaigns even if your end goal is conversions
  • Make sure you set up pixel standard events to track actions via Facebook Analytics
  • Limitations with retargeting is a big challenge if traffic is low. If that’s the case, combine all custom audiences into one ad set. Hyper targeting sometimes just isn’t possible if numbers are low
  • Always edit your ad placements – getting the options right here is key to running an efficient campaign, particularly reviewing Facebook’s audience network performance
  • Scaling is a huge challenge because performance can tank if you attempt to scale too fast. Best advice is to scale budget slowly
  • Alternatively, using the post ID to copy over the ad with social proof can be a good option if you do have to increase spend quickly
  • Make sure you’re comparing the right metrics – use the week to week date comparison
  • Profitability is a challenge – think of the longer-term game and always track conversion rates at different stages of the funnel
  • The big thing is to not just wing it – get a defined system for testing and always write out a detailed test plan

Four Steps to Optimise Your Facebook Ads For Better Results – Azriel Ratz

Azriel started off making the point that Facebook are really on your side. It’s completely in their interest for you to succeed.

The four steps Azriel’s presentation ran through were as follows:

  1. Set Business Goals
  2. Finding the best possible audiences
  3. Engage them with the best ad
  4. Optimise ad performance

Business goals:

  • Pick your campaign objective carefully and make sure it’s in line with your actual goal

Finding the right audience:

  • Azriel recommends running smaller interest based ad sets, each with different audiences so you can test properly to get an idea of what works
  • When testing, start with $10 per day and test groups of audiences
  • Interest wise, think about books, newspapers and publications your audience read, and people they follow
  • Don’t necessarily rely on Facebook identifying the right audiences. Put the effort in yourself to research and test
  • Use audience insights to get a better view on demographics and interests. Load in your custom audiences and lookalikes to get new ideas for interest targeting
  • By loading in your audience of purchasers you can then compare those demographics against your new audiences to see if the demographics match
  • Don’t be afraid to run ads on desktop only if this is where people are converting

Engaging people with the right ad:

  • Make sure you create and test lots of variations to ensure you’ve got the very best ad for your audience
  • Make sure you’re testing images – think about product images vs. people using the products. It’s incredibly unlikely you’ll choose the best image first off so you need to test
  • Test using your primary keyword / CTA in different positions in the copy, headline and description

Optimising ad performance:

  • Data you need to review; cpm, cpc, time on site, conversion rate
  • Go through the above metrics in detail and figure out how to optimise for better performance in each
  • When you’re looking at cpm, you need to understand that Facebook is charging you in most cases for cost per impression. Therefore, this is the best indicator of whether or not Facebook likes your ad
  • If CPM is high, check and test your best levers: audiences and messaging. Is it the ad, or is it the audience?
  • If all ads in one ad set have a high cpm you know the problem is with the audience
  • If cpc is high, change your messaging to improve CTR and therefore reduce cpcs
  • Make sure you’re switching round headlines and CTAs to test for increased engagement
  • Time on site – check placements, disconnects in ad messaging and landing page messaging, and for any barriers to conversions on your landing page
  • Make sure your landing page imagery matches images used in your ads
  • If conversion rate is low – question whether the offer is right
  • Test your landing page lead form for the best number of fields for your audience
  • Bonus tip – once you’ve done all your testing, narrow right down to your best performing ad and run new ad sets to that ad (with the same post ID to retain your social proof)

Five Advanced Facebook Advertising Tips You Can Use Right Now – Jon Loomer

Just like Jon’s blog and podcasts this session was packed full of tips and ideas for audience building and testing!

Jon Loomer Facebook Ads Social Media Marketing World

The challenges most advertisers face:

  • Main issues are not quite getting your targeting, copy and messaging right
  • Clearly the goal is to reach the right people at the right time with the right message
  • Warm audiences routinely work better through all steps of the funnel
  • There are two different groups of warm audiences to consider; those who have engaged with your content generally, and those who have engaged with specific content or performed a specific event

General engagement audiences:

  • Use general engagement audiences such as page engagements, website traffic, people who have clicked CTAs
  • The theory is that if someone has engaged with you previously, they are likely to engage again
  • If your audience sizes are small, try expanding time windows. 12 months can work well if needed
  • If you’re trying to create a large audience of website traffic, don’t worry about things like time on site and specific actions. If you need a large audience, keep your settings broad.
  • When trying to create an audience of top engagers, start by testing % of top users based on time on site
  • Broader engagement audiences tend to perform well at the top of funnel for things such as driving traffic or video views or blog posts but they can also work well in the middle of the funnel

Specific engagement audiences:

  • Specific audiences based on actions – start with audiences based on website events such as add to carts, specific pageviews etc
  • Video views – this includes video views from both page posts and ads
  • Longer watch times result in smaller but higher quality video views. Make sure you exclude video views for your specific video ad sets
  • Video series is a great option; start with an into video that invites people into the series, and use video view retargeting to follow up with the next videos in the series
  • Jon recommends short time durations for sequenced follow up ads (for example, running each ad for 2 days)
  • Test running lead ad custom audiences as another engagement based audience
  • Again, make sure you exclude people who have already completed the form
  • Test building custom audiences for specific pages to then sell a related product
  • Always build a custom audience for people who have abandoned a conversion on a landing page
  • Use website custom audiences based on specific page views to segment your audience into persona groups based on what they’ve viewed

Pixel events audiences:

  • Use pixel audiences to target people who have taken actions such as purchases, leads, add to cart and so on
  • If people have gotten as far as completing an event, the chances are they are more likely to buy
  • Use pixel event parameters to really drill down on details such as most frequent visitors , most frequent registrations for webinars, top spenders etc. In some cases, parameters need to be added to your event code
  • The Search_string event is great for building audiences interested in products or specific information

Key takeaways:

  • The bottom line is to leverage your built-in audience
  • When you have lower traffic volumes, go broader
  • Build audiences with top of funnel content such as video or blog posts


16 Feb

Facebook Ads: Five things to try when your campaigns are going wrong

Campaigns rarely work perfectly out of the blocks. Being able to make informed decisions on what to optimise at what time is the deciding factor between success and failure. Knowing all the latest Facebook features and ad formats is great, but having a clearly defined process for getting campaigns back from the brink is a must have.

The well-known scenario is this; you set your new campaigns live, check back on performance and whilst you have a few conversions coming through, your CPA (cost per acquisition / sale / conversion) is way too high.

You’re then left thinking – “now what?”. Your reaction to this question, and the process you follow thereafter is probably the most critical part of running Facebook ads. Whilst every situation will vary, I believe there are common avenues to investigate and test before you throw the towel in and give up on the campaign.

That’s what this post is all about, but to run through this process we’ll first assume that:

  1. Your product is not terrible
  2. You’ve got a good enough standard of creative
  3. There are no major blocks to conversions (i.e other channels are converting fine)
  4. Your tracking is set up properly and you’re looking at correct data

With the above taken care of, let’s run through our preferred next steps when we don’t get the results we want.

Check for signs your creative isn’t resonating

In a similar sense to having a bad product, having the wrong creative or messaging is never going to get the results you need.

As such, one of your first ports of call is to look for signs that you might not be hitting the right spot with your creative. To do this, I recommend starting by reviewing your live ads with the ‘Performance and Clicks’ breakdown report:

Facebook Performance and Clicks Breakdown

Clear signs that your ads are not working are high cpcs, low relevance scores and low CTR’s (link clicks). If these are under what you’re expecting to see, then you know there’s some work to be done here. If you’re not sure what to expect, check out the AdStage benchmark report here.

Action: if the figures mentioned above are really low, you’re going to need to try something completely different. I recommend going for the complete opposite of what you currently have running; think long copy vs. short copy, or image of product vs. lifestyle imagery.

Of course, it’s also well worth trying different ad formats such as a carousel ad in place of a single image ad and so on.

What you’re looking to see is if your new ads improve the aforementioned metrics. If so, you know you’re headed in the right direction.

Check your ad set frequency

This might sound unexpected for a new ad account or ad set, but sometimes frequency can get very high very quickly. Frequency is the number of times on average people in your audience have seen your ads, so anything over 2 and you know you’re starting to go a bit too hard.

The usual cause here is that you’re overspending on an audience that’s too small. To check if you’re doing this, take a look at the audience size vs. estimated daily reach within the ad set in question:

Facebook Ad Set Audience Size

But what if you’re targeting a large audience and your frequency is already really high? Check for impressions vs. reach. If you’ve got a really high impression count vs. low reach relative to your audience size, you know something has gone skewiff with Facebook’s delivery.

Action: if you determine that your audiences are too small, then you either need to turn down the spend or you need to investigate some larger audiences.

This is a classic issue with retargeting ad sets. Because the CPA’s usually look so good, the temptation is to turn the spend up, but if the audience size is still relatively small doing so is going to be risky.

If you’re noticing over-delivery to a smaller portion of your audience, try changing the ad set optimisation away from ‘conversions’ to something like ‘link clicks’ or ‘landing page views’. This should encourage Facebook to deliver the ads to more people in your audience.

Check ad set spend vs. conversions

Even with prior experience of a sector, you never really know 100% which audiences and ad sets are going to work best. After about a week of running (depending on spend), and with early conversions coming through, you should start to see some patterns emerging.

This sounds obvious, but you’ve got to exercise a bit of caution here and not make drastic changes too quickly. To know if you’re ready to make a call on an ad set, make sure you’ve reach statistical significance by using this handy calculator from KissMetics (H/T Nick Boyce!)

KissMetrics Statistical Significance Calculator

It can be quite amazing when looking at the differences in performance between ads sets. You’ll often see a handful picking up all the conversions, with others either not converting at all or having extremely high CPA’s. This is Facebook at it’s confusing best.

Action: Once patterns emerge and you’re confident you’ve reached a level of statistical significance, start to dial spend back on lower performing ad sets and increase the better performing ones.

Before you give up on an ad set though, make sure you’ve gone through the first step and done your best to make sure you have the right creative running. Also, this shows why you need to have multiple ad sets running at once. Without doing that, you’ll never know.

Are you overspending on the wrong placement?

Not all placements are equal. As with changes in creative and audiences, the differences between newsfeed placements, right-hand side, messenger, Instagram and so on can be huge.

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to lump everything into one ad set, which in most cases only happens because every placement is selected as default. If you do this, you will more than likely be wasting money on placements that aren’t delivering results.

To get to the bottom of this, use the ‘Placement’ and ‘Platform’ dropdown options in the Breakdown reports to show you how you spend compares against performance on each:

Facebook Placement Breakdown

Action: first check your ad sets to see which placements and platforms you’re currently running on. If you’ve gone with the default option of ‘Automatic Placements’ then you’ll be running across everything Facebook can find for you.

Once you’ve figured out how much you are spending on each placement vs. what you’re getting back, close placements off that are not generating a positive return. If you find multiple placements / platforms are generating results, break them out into separate ad sets and optimise accordingly.

If you’re not sure what to go for in the first place, a sound piece of advice is to stick with the newsfeed placements only. That’s usually the best place to benchmark performance and get things rolling.

Are you overspending on the wrong device?

This is very similar to the point above. Quite often, performance will differ greatly between devices. Again, the default setting (and Facebook’s “advised” setting) is to target people on both mobile & desktop within the same ad set. I’d disagree.

This isn’t necessarily always going to end badly for you, but you need to know how to check which device is working out best for you. To do this, simply select the ‘device’ option in the breakdown menu to get a mobile vs. desktop report:

Facebook Device Breakdown

Action: If one device is dramatically different to the other, simply switch off delivery for the lowest performer. If performance is similar and your audiences are large enough, split mobile and desktop out into separate ad sets.

Word of warning here; we’ve actually seen this have a negative effect on performance when audiences are relatively small. A classic case of best practice not always being best, so always double check performance and monitor the right figures before making a call.

These are just a handful of things you can look at if your campaigns are not going the way you want them to. If you’re struggling to know what to do, trying the above should at least be a good place to start.

With so many data points to look at and monitor – what do you do when your campaigns are not working?

15 Jan

How to Track Phone Calls With Facebook Custom Conversions

There are numerous options available for tracking and attributing phone calls. Many are sophisticated, provide a multitude of options and are well worth a look, but this post is about a quick and dirty way to measure ‘click to calls’ via the Facebook Ad Manager.

If you’re working on a campaign that’s driving great conversions, you could still be under reporting on success by missing out on call data. OK, even if you don’t have the ability to know what eventual revenue is driven by phone calls, getting a sense of how your campaigns lead to calls is still a useful metric to measure.

What you’ll need for this method:

  1. A website with click to call functionality on the contact number (duh)
  2. A Facebook account with the pixel correctly installed
  3. GTM implemented and used for your pixel implementation
  4. Pixel helper chrome plugin

So – really nothing complicated at all.

Assuming you’ve got steps one and two above sorted, let’s jump into the ‘how’.

Step 1 – create your custom event

The basis for your custom conversion in Facebook is going to be a custom event that essentially, we’ll just adapt the standard lead event slightly and rename as needed.

In this example, we’re going to start by taking the short script for the Facebook ‘lead’ event as you can see below:


fbq(‘track’, ‘Lead’);


All we’re going to do is change the script slightly by renaming from ‘Lead’ to ‘Click to Call’, and changing ‘track’ to ‘trackCustom’:


fbq(‘trackCustom’,’Click to Call’)


Step 2 – Fire your new event via Google Tag Manager

Once you’ve created the event above you’ll need to make sure it fires on the correct action – when someone clicks on your phone number.

Thankfully this is really easy using Google Tag Manager, and assuming you already manage your pixel implementation in GTM, there are only two steps you will need to take in order to make this work.

Firstly, you’ll need to create a brand new tag for your custom event. In this case we’ll name it ‘Facebook Pixel – Phone Call Click Event’ to make sure it’s nice and clear. Selecting a ‘Custom HTML’ tag, you simply add your event script in as follows:

Implementing Facebook Events in GTM

The second point here is that you will need to make sure your base pixel code fires before your custom event.

To do this, click on ‘tag sequencing’, then tick the ‘Fire a tag before Facebook Pixel – Phone Call Click Event fires’ option. In the ‘Setup Tag’ dropdown, simply select your base pixel tag:

GTM Tag Sequencing

The final step is to setup a trigger to make sure your new custom event is fired when the correct action is taken.

Because we want our event to fire whenever someone clicks on our phone number, we are going to use ‘tel:’ as the identifier. When setting up the trigger, use a ‘click – all element’ trigger type, and set your rules as follows:

Click to Call Trigger GTM

You can then save your tag and test using GTM’s preview mode. Once you’re satisfied your new event is firing only when someone clicks on your phone number, hit publish to set your new tracking live.

Step 3 – test Facebook is receiving your custom event

Now you have your custom event firing correctly it is time to do a few more tests to make sure Facebook is receiving the data correctly.

The first port of call for me is always the Facebook pixel helper chrome extension. Navigate to the website in question, click on the phone number, and you should see your new event appear:

Facebook Events in Pixel Helper

This is the first check. The second way to test your new event is firing correctly is to view the event data in your Ad Manager. Once in your ad manager, head to the ‘pixels’ option on the menu, click on ‘Details’ and then scroll down to see your event activity:

Facebook click to call custom event

If everything is correct, you should see activity being reporting here.

Step 4 – create your Custom Conversion

The next and final step is to create your custom conversion. This allows you to report back on the number of ‘click to call’ actions generated as a result of your campaigns, but also means you can then optimise the delivery of your ad sets towards this action.

To create a custom conversion, go to the ‘Custom Conversion’ option in the ‘Measure & Report’ section of the main navigation and click to create your new goal.

On the dropdown menu, select your new ‘Click to Call’ event as the criteria for your conversion and select ‘Lead’ as the category:

Click to Call Custom Conversion Facebook

And there you have it – a custom conversion quickly set up to track click to calls from your campaigns.

18 Dec

How to Set Up Dynamic Language Optimization (DLO) Ads on Facebook

Facebook has recently launched a dynamic language optimization (DLO) feature, which is particularly useful for targeting multilingual audiences in a single location. You can take a look through all of the technical details from Facebook here.

We’ve recently been testing this for a client in Hong Kong, where the mix of spoken language varies hugely between Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese and English. So definitely a great use case, and one I thought would be worth a walk-through for anyone looking to test out this new feature!

Why would I want to use this feature?

Previously, in order to target different languages each campaign would have to be split up into numerous language-specific and target location ad sets.

With this new feature however, advertisers are able to load up multiple language variations of the same ad, and Facebook will dynamically show the ad in the relevant language for each user.

Thinking outside of Facebook campaigns for a moment, for certain regions in the world it’s not always obvious which language to prioritise for your marketing activities. If that’s the case, then this is a very efficient and quick way to find out.

Thankfully it’s remarkably easy to set up a test and get things going, as long as your campaign goals match those currently available with the DLO (see below).

How Do I Set Up A DLO Ad?

At the time of writing this post, you can only set up this type of ad in the Ad Manager. You will not see the option for DLO if you set up your ads using Power Editor (as I normally do).

Firstly, you must set up/use a Traffic, Mobile App Install or Conversion campaign. If you want to drive any other objective, the option for Dynamic Language Optimization will not currently appear.

You may wish to optimise ads to show in numerous languages for multiple countries. Yet here lies a complication: you can only currently set up one ad set for each country. Within each location however, six languages can be applied.

Dynamic Language Ad Setup Facebook

In my example, I have targeted an audience in Hong Kong with the languages set to English and Chinese.

Your next step is to edit your placements as there are restrictions here too. Your ads can only appear on Instagram, Facebook Newsfeed and right-hand side, or Audience Network. Finally, you can move on to design your ad.

The ad itself must be a single image as this option cannot be applied as yet to carousel ads, but hopefully that will come in time. From here, you select a default language which will also be the language you see in all of your previews.

Adding Languages to Dynamic Language Optimisation Facbeook

The image will remain the same, so remember to ensure that you don’t use something with text on it. At this stage, you can enter the text that each user will see for the headline, text, newsfeed link description and also the destination URL (you can then direct users to language specific versions of your web pages).

Once this is done, you are ready to start testing! You should also be aware though that because you are using a dynamic ad set, you can only have one ad in each.

The different versions can now be seen and edited in Power Editor, meaning you can continue with your normal workflow if PE is your preferred way of working. Another thing to note however is that if you are sending previews to clients to approve, they will only be able to view the default language version using the preview link.

How do I Access Reporting Data?

Assuming you are testing the efficacy of creating DLO ads, or wanting to more easily measure the interaction by English speakers versus Chinese (as in our example), then simply select the ad set and click on Breakdown and Asset Type:

DLO Breakdown Options

In our example we can see that the Chinese variation of the ad is currently far more successful, with a higher CTR and lower CPC. Although it’s early days in our test, it’s super useful to know this as we’re essentially validating our hypothesis that Chinese should be our main language.

Dynamic Language Performance

This is super useful information for all marketing channels and not just Facebook, so if you’re unsure of what language to prioritise in any marketing campaign, this is a really fast way to find out (note that the CPCs here are in HKD, not USD!):


29 Nov

A Super Easy Checklist for Your First Facebook Dynamic Product Campaign

Running a dynamic product catalogue campaign on Facebook can lead to amazing results.

Being able to serve relevant products to people who have viewed specific products or taken actions such as added products to their cart is an excellent tool in any retail campaign. Often we see the highest returns from DPA campaigns compared to almost anything else we run, so it’s well worth it.

When getting started there are a few critical elements that you’ll need to get right otherwise you’ll never quite get your campaign out of the blocks.

Wading through the technical details can be confusing, so I thought it would be useful to distil some of the key checkpoints for getting your first Facebook dynamic campaigns running.

Hope this is useful!

Check your Product Feed has the Correct Attributes

If you’ve set up and run Google Shopping campaigns you’ll understand the basics of shopping feeds, and also know that there are a number of required attributes that you’ll need to provide in your data to get things moving.

Thankfully on Facebook things are a little simpler, but there are a number of fields you will need to include. These are: Product ID, Availability, Condition, Description, Image, Link, Title, Price and gtin, mpn, or Brand. See the full list of required and optional fields here.

Anything beyond the above are considered nice to haves. If you want to start building out product sets then having attributes such as ‘category’ will be useful, but as long as you have the required fields then you’re good to go.

If you have a Google Shopping feed already configured, and it has the required attributes, you should be able to use that also.

Check Your Pixel is Firing the Correct Data

This is a big one, and often where things come unstuck. Having your pixel in place and firing the correct events is one thing, but making sure they are firing the correct data is another.

To check what data your Facebook pixel fires is easy; add the Facebook Pixel Helper browser plugin and start taking a look at some product pages.

In the example below, we’re looking at a product on a large ecommerce site and expanding the ‘ViewContent’ event (which fires on product page views) to see what data is passed through as a parameter:

Facebook Pixel Helper

The data you want to check first is the ‘content_ids’ parameter, cross checking it against your feed data. If the number (i.e  product ID) shown here doesn’t match up against the product ID in your feed, Facebook won’t know what product to show and when.

You should then repeat the process for all events in the purchase path; add to cart, add to wishlist, purchase confirmation and so on to ensure consistency throughout.

Also a word of warning here, if you’re using a plugin to generate your feed and manage your pixel implementation, don’t assume everything will just work. We recently worked with a client on Shopify who used their Facebook feed plugin and the data didn’t match up with the Shopify pixel implementation. So always double check!

Check You Have the Correct Pixel Associated With Your Catalogue

This one sounds like a really obvious point, but if you manage multiple ad accounts and have access to multiple catalogues, it’s an item that’s well worth double checking.

Once you’re in the catalogue, navigate to ‘Catalogue Settings’ and you’ll see a box for ‘Event Sources’:

Facebook Catalogues - Pixel Settings

This is where you match the catalogue to your pixel and should be a really easy step to setup and check.

A note here on the complicated world of connecting people to different ad accounts and assets. Both catalogues and pixels are defined as ‘assets’ and therefore, if you are working on an account via Business Manager, you will also need to be granted access to the pixel and catalogue, not just the ad account.

Check Your Catalogue Match Rates

Once you’ve gone through the steps above and are comfortable that your data is being sent correctly, a really handy way to double check is by reviewing the event match report within your catalogue.

To get there, navigate to your catalogue and select ‘Events’ on the top navigation bar. The report here will show exactly how many ‘events’ match up with your catalogue, and is a very helpful way to ensure that following the checks above, you can be sure everything is working correctly:

Facebook Catalogues De-Bugging - Event Report

Check Your Image Cropping

You might be lucky in that your product images work perfectly in carousel ads, but if you don’t already have 1:1 ratio product images you can get Facebook to work on a few options to make them fit.

I was dubious at first as to the quality / reliability of this tool, but the results are generally pretty good and it’s a very easy way to make your product images fit into Facebook’s ad formats.

To get to the tool, click ‘Catalogue Settings’ in the top navigation and scroll down until you see the image settings. Once open you have three options to choose from for both single image ads and carousel ads:

Facebook Catalogue Image Cropping

Below the view above there’s a handy preview option which enables you to see how the images will look once your ads are populated. If you want a really good view on how things will look out in the wild, checking your ad previews is always going to be a sensible step.

Know Your Early Warning Signs

Even if you’ve rigorously gone through all your checks, and you are 100% confident you have everything right, mistakes can still happen. It’s always worth keeping an eye out for warning signs that things might not be right.

  • Reach – are your ad sets / ads picking up reach? Does this match against what you expect from your audience size?
  • CTR – are your click-through rates on par with what you would expect from a retargeting campaign?
  • Relevance Score – due to the close match to recent activity, you should get a good relevance score. Is that the case?
  • Purchases – have you picked up ROI positive sales?

If the answer to any of the above questions is no, that’s a pretty good indicator that something might not be right and could need investigation.

Happy retargeting!

24 Oct

How to Review Conversion Windows in Facebook Ad Manager

Before setting out an optimisation strategy, it is key to understand how long it takes people to convert after seeing or clicking on your ads. Not only does it deepen your understanding of how people interact with your campaigns, it also helps to clarify points such as how long to run your tests for.

To give a practical example, if people typically convert on the same day as clicking your ad, you can run a test and know within a day or so if it’s working. If people take longer to purchase, say seven days, in order to get a clear view on what’s working you’ll need to give your campaigns a bit more time before making a call.

Before we go into the details on how to review purchase windows, it’s important to clarify the standard attribution set up in the Facebook ad manager. By default, standard attribution is set to a 1-day view or 28-day click. That means if someone views your ad and purchases within the same day, you’ll get the credit. Or, if someone clicks your ad and purchases within 28 days, you’ll be credited. Attribution windows can be adjusted in your account settings, but this is the default set up.

how to view conversion windows facebook ad manager

(reviewing attribution settings in your ad account settings)

It’s also worth pointing out that if someone takes 10 days to purchase after clicking your ad, the revenue will be assigned to the day the last ad was clicked. Not the day the purchase took place. Therefore, if your customers typically take longer to purchase you can expect revenue data to lag slightly and update over time. It’s worth knowing before you make any big decisions.

How do I see this data?

One of the most enlightening things about getting to know the Facebook ad manager is just how much data is available. In this example, let’s say you are running a conversion campaign and want to review the split between conversion windows (1 day, 7 days & 28 days).

To see the data in your campaign, ad set or report view take the following steps:

  1. Open up the ‘columns’ drop down
  2. Select ‘customize columns’
  3. In the bottom right, click ‘comparing windows’
  4. Select 1 day view, 1 day click, 7 day click and 28 day click
  5. Click ‘apply’


The result is the report below, showing you how many people purchase within 1 day, how many within 7 days, and how many people purchase within 28 days. Note that the figures accumulate, so the figure in the ’28 day’ column is your total purchases within 28 days, not just the number of people that purchased within days 8-28:

reviewing facebook purchase attribution windows

Export and Pivot in Excel

To get an overall view on purchase windows, extend your time period to get enough data. You can then export your campaign view into Excel and have play around with pivot tables  to easily visualise patterns.

Remember, the steeper the curve, the longer it is taking people to purchase:

campaign conversion reporting facebook

This starts to get really interesting when you break it down to individual audiences. In the example below, the particular audience in question was doing a great job, it was just taking a bit longer to convert than other ad sets in the campaign:

ad set conversion windows facebook

Armed with this information, you can start to look at why any audiences/ad sets might be performing out of character with the rest of the campaign and make adjustments accordingly.

In the specific example above the ad set in question was part of a dynamic product retargeting campaign. By creating more specific product sets in the product catalogue, the conversion window reduced; i.e. we were able to speed up the time to convert by taking a bit more control over which products were served.

This process can be repeated for any campaign type or ‘event’, it doesn’t just have to be purchases.

For example, if you were running traffic campaigns to a blog or guide content with the desired outcome being an enquiry form completion, this process would tell you not only which audiences result in the greatest volume of enquiries, but also which audiences tend to respond or act faster. All very interesting and useful stuff.

25 Aug

A Fictional Brief And A Brand New Facebook Ad Account – Where to Start?

This post is a follow up to a presentation I gave at the China Marketing Summit in Shenzhen last month. The main premise was to give an overview of how to get started building an audience and sales with Facebook ads.

Channels like PR and SEO are amazing long-term plays but if you’ve only got a few months to demonstrate some growth in a brand-new business, they’re unlikely to meet the challenge in time.

I believe this is where Facebook really plays to its strengths. When a business needs a cost effective and highly measurable route to growth, I believe Facebook is a great option for meeting that challenge.

To summarise the main benefits:

  • It’s highly likely that your audience are there
  • With the right product, served to the right audience, at the right time – the ROI can be great

So, tasked with achieving this for a new business where should you start?

Let’s say for example you’ve been hired by a brand new luxury travel startup to achieve the following:

  1. Increase Sales Leads (Increase lead volume, reduce CPL, reduce non-converting traffic)
  1. Grow An Engaged Audience (Grow email list, increase engagement, build targeting remarketing lists)

Here’s what I’d do!

Objective One: Drive Leads

The key thing here is that we need to start testing out what works, and by ‘works’ in this case we mean what is going to drive profitable quality leads at the right volume.

facebook lead gen ads

Test a couple of Audiences:

To get started, we’re going to try two ad sets with the following audiences:

  1. An interest based audience targeting people who we believe are most likely to be interested in our service
  2. A lookalike audience based on a list of people that have previously converted
power editor facebook interest audiences
Interest audience building in Power Editor

An interest audience is usually the place where most people start, but it can be super hard to get the combinations right. Depending on your business and audience demographics some cases will be far harder than others.

Taking the fictional brief into consideration we’re going to target people who live in our key market, are interested in luxury travel publications, and who are also engaged to be married. The theory here is that they are browsing related content, and due to their relationship status at some-point in the near future may be looking to book a honeymoon.

When it comes to the lookalike audience, we have a few different options of seed data. This could be website traffic, or it could be another form of custom audience. By using a customer list of past converters we’re essentially telling Facebook to match the demographics and behaviours of those people to make a larger audience of people who are likely to convert.

By using two ad sets, one for each audience, we can test the results to see which one works best.

Testing Ad Formats

At this stage it is also sensible to start testing ad formats and creative. Given that we’re looking to drive valuable leads for the business, the plan is to test a standard ad format to drive traffic to a landing page, vs. a lead gen ad to collect leads directly.

A word of warning here – it’s super important to collect feedback from your sales team on the quality of leads. What I’ve seen many times in the past is that lead gen ads create an excellent volume of leads at a low CPL, however because of the ‘ease’ at which people can fill out the form, the quality of those enquires isn’t always amazing.

facebook lead ads

What we’re essentially testing is whether or not a landing page with full details of your service does a better job of pre-qualifying the lead. Other things you can test for improving lead quality include the copy and imagery in the form, the questions you ask and so on but the big ‘lead form vs. landing page’ is where to start.

If you do go ahead and use the lead gen ads then you’ll need to get a mechanism in place to collect feedback on the quality they produce. To do this, you can make use of Zapier to link up your lead gen forms with Google Docs, Mailchimp or your client’s CRM system.

If your client doesn’t have a sophisticated CRM in place, I’ve found a shared Google Doc where the sales team can mark off progress (such as which leads have progressed to proposal) as a good way of understanding quality.

Objective Two: Grow Your Audience

Rather than focus on a direct increase in sales, the objective here is to grow a pre-qualified audience for the future. Like any investment, we’re building something that will (hopefully!) provide a positive return in time.

audience building with facebook ads

Imagine you need to promote an event or offer 2-months down the line, how much easier would that be if you’ve already got a sizeable audience in your back pocket? That’s what we’re getting at here.

Promoting Content, Not Products to a Cold Audience

The first point of call here is going to be promoting a base of content to a cold audience, and then using engagements with that content to create a remarketing list for future use. To get this moving, we’re going to get the following three items arranged:

  1. A cold interest based audience of people we believe are going to be most interested in our content
  2. A new custom audience for anyone who has interacted with the blog section of our site more than twice in the last 30 days
  3. Ad creative to promote your content

When it comes to the website custom audience, I’ve found that refining the audience by frequency (i.e how many times someone has viewed a specific part of your site) means you’re picking out the best of your potential audience. The theory being, if someone has viewed your content more than twice in a specific period, they know the brand and appreciate what you’re doing.

website custom audience facebook
Custom audience: people who have visited by blog twice but not yet converted

Regarding ad copy, I have personally found carousel ads promoting multiple pieces of content work well. Of course, you should definitely test this out against a single image ad to see what works best for your audience.

Pre-Qualify via Video View Campaigns

Essentially, we’re adding in new step here, but the theory is the same – how can we use content to pre-qualify brand interest, and save that audience for future use?

The benefit with video campaigns is that they’re super cheap to run and every 3-second video view classifies as an entry onto a remarketing list. With video views of less that 0.5p you can see how quickly this can scale.

You have the option to build a list of anyone who has viewed the video (for at least three seconds) or people who have viewed 25%, 50%, 75%, 90% and 100% of your video – you have to make a call on what percentage of a full view determines genuine interest.

video view retargeting audience facebook

Depending on how you want to structure your campaigns, you could use this tactic instead of promoting your blog content, or you could test a combination of sending people who have viewed your videos to your blog as a secondary stage of qualification. The key is to test and find out what works best for you.

Obviously the two objectives outlined in this post can be combined very effectively to create an ever-increasing funnel.

Email Sign-up Ads Followed by Content Nurturing

Unlike a direct sales campaign where you would follow up with leads as sales prospects, what we’re talking about here is running lead gen ads and then nurturing people through a program of content to a point at which they are warmed up to the brand.

Generally speaking, this process looks a bit like:

  • Run Lead Gen Ads – Either to a cold or pre-qualified audience
  • Send Auto-Response – Onboard with an overview of content and value adding information
  • Nurture – Keep the focus on content for the initial few weeks
  • Sell – Once ready, start gently introducing commercial offers

The above can be achieved easily using Zapier to connect your lead forms to your CRM or email software of choice.

It goes without saying that you’ll need a very high standard of content to make this happen. Right from the ‘hook’ you’re offering to convince someone to sign-up in the first place, through to the content you’re going to be sending out, whether this works or fails is determined by the content.

Hope this proves to be a useful overview of how I would approach a new campaign set up. Obviously there are a huge number of things to test and optimise, but as a starting point the above should be a good start.