Facebook Ads Optimization Guide with 2019 Tips

Facebook ads optimizations are completely different from other ads platform optimization. The nuances of Facebook ads optimization are more dependent on those parameters which might not fit on other platforms such as Google ads. By following these optimization tips, you should be able to reduce your cost per acquisition and save advertising cost on Facebook.

Leverage old posts in Facebook Ads

Unlike Search engines such as Google or Bing, Facebook ads also consider audience engagement in ranking your ad. If you have not already, then, Facebook uses three different metrics in evaluating your Facebook Ad rank and engagement rate ranking is one of the factors as well. Engagement rate ranking considers different forms of engagement on your ad in terms of likes and reactions, shares, comments, comments thread, shares, etc. The more engagement, the better.

If you ever wonder how some advertisers manage to get thousands of reactions on a post and hundreds of share, here is an example.Leverage old posts in Facebook ads

Gather engagement

So, before you decide to run an ad, boost the ad creative as a post. When you boost a post, by default, Facebook optimizes your post for reach and engagement. That way, your boosted post receives a lot of social engagement.

Use old post in the ad

Now, when you start creating the ad, you can select an existing post while creating an ad. Select the post boosted in the previous step. And, you are done.

Wait for Initial Learning Phase

When Facebook starts delivering your ad set, whether at the start of a campaign or after you edit it, it does not have all the data necessary to deliver it as stable as possible. To gather that data, Facebook shows ads to different types of people to learn who is most likely to get you optimization events. This process is called the “learning phase.”

Once Facebook has all the data, your ad set can experience fewer performance fluctuations. At this point, you can make an informed decision about your ad set. If you’re satisfied with your results, you can let it keep running or increase its budget. If you’re unsatisfied, you can edit the ad set to try to improve its performance or pause it.

During the learning phase, you can expect more performance fluctuations than usual. Do not make any significant edits to your ad set during the learning phase. Doing so can cause the ad set to reenter the learning phase before generating any meaningful information.

Facebook delivery initial learning complete

Learning Phase & Optimization events

Your ad set needs about 50 optimization events after starting to run or since the last significant edit to complete the learning phase. If your conversion window is a 7-day click, the 50 or so conversions you need all have to happen within 7 days of the click that led to them. This means that ad sets with longer conversion windows can need more time to complete the learning phase since they’re likely promoting products or services that have longer consideration times.

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A/B Test Hierarchy

If you are used to Google ads, A/B testing to you will more likely be ad variation and using different ad copies. With Facebook, it might be a different game. You can get multiple ideas to test. Here is what you need to do:

  • Ideas to theme
  • Theme to creatives

Ideas to Theme

Try to homogenize your ideas into one theme. Do the first A/B test within your theme and decide which theme is performing better.

Theme to Creatives

The second step would be to test creatives within the same theme.

Facebook Exclusion Marketing

Exclusion Marketing on Facebook

Before we jump right away into exclusion marketing to lower Facebook CPL, you need to know how facebook algorithm works. By selecting a campaign type, you are selecting an objective for your campaign. Facebook will optimize your campaign for that objective. Their targeting algorithms will automatically try to find people within your target audience that is most likely to convert based on the campaign objective. One of the biggest factors in determining whether someone is likely to click on your ad or not is whether they have already clicked on it previously.

People that have already clicked on your ad are obviously interested in what you’re advertising, so they are highly likely to click on it again. Facebook’s targeting algorithms know this and they will often show your ad to people that have clicked on it in the last few days. On the whole, this is a good thing, because not everyone will convert into a lead or sale the first time they click on your ad and come through to your website.

After that first click, a lot of people will take some time to think about what you’re offering or just become distracted and simply forget about it. You don’t want to miss out on easy leads and sales, so advertising to these people is important. But of course, a lot of the people that have clicked on your Facebook ad will have converted into a lead or sale. And continuing to advertise to those people is a waste of money.

Facebook Audience Exclusion

You need to distinguish between those people that have clicked and converted into a lead or sale and those people that have clicked and not converted. Once you do that, you can then exclude people that have already converted from your Facebook Ad campaigns. This is called Exclusion Marketing.

In my personal experience of doing Facebook ads optimization, this is a huge factor in reducing facebook cost. That’s why I have dedicated a whole blog on Facebook Exclusion marketing and I would suggest you read that too.

Be Minimalist Advertiser

Facebook ads are more about attention and creatives. If your ads are not attention-grabbing, they might not work. But, the story does not end here. After someone decides to read or scroll through the carousel ads or watch the video, you will have the first few seconds to grab their attention. Here are some of the tips on optimizing Facebook Ads attention:

  • Instead of display brand/ product/ service USPs on different cards, use a video to describe them all at a single place along with important USPs or brand messaging in the cards
  • Have attention-grabbing headlines
  • Make sure your landing page resonates with the ad copies and creatives
  • Though this tip is not related to Facebook, but, you should also try to cut short the conversion steps. Even, you can do an A/B testing of different landing pages with a different number of funnel steps and observe their performance before deciding on one.
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Address Ad Fatigue

Ad Frequency

Under Facebook exclusion marketing, we have already discussed how Facebook prefers to show the same ad to the same engaging audience again and again. After a certain number of an ad impression also called ad frequency, the non-converting users start to get ad fatigue. In that case, you need to address the ad fatigue. Here are some tips on addressing ad fatigue to improve your facebook ads campaign

  • Creative a different set of creatives for ad fatigued audience and rotate your ads. You can find the ad frequency in your facebook ads manager.
  • I generally consider a frequency of 4 or above to be ad fatigue though it also depends on the product. You can rotate your ads by creating different ad sets to run on different days of the week or hours of the day.
  • Similarly, you can also create a separate set of ads for remarketing audience

Monitor overall Reach, Impression, Frequency & CPA

This could become an interesting case. Have a deeper look at the screenshot below and try to find something unusual

Ad Frequency and Cost per result

What’s unusual here?

  • The overall frequency of the AdSet is 4.21 but the same frequency over individual months have never crossed 3
  • The overall Reach of the AdSet is around 210K but overall reach combined over the month is 385K
  • Cost per result is going consistently up each month starting with May until the first week of August. The CPA becomes almost three times in the fourth month

Why CPA is going up?

The main reason, in this case, the CPA is constantly going up is because of the following reasons:

Audience Exhaustion

The overall Reach of the AdSet is around 210K but overall reach combined over the month is 385K because Facebook cannot find any new audience based on the targeting defined at the AdSet level. That’s why Facebook is recycling the same audience again and again. We have already covered how Facebook decides to show the ads to a set of audience in Facebook Exclusion Marketing

Ad Fatigue

Because of the Audience exhaustion, Ad Fatigue is happening as the same audience is being repeated again and again. We have already addressed before in this article on how to address Facebook Ad Fatigue

Audience Saturation

Sometimes Overly Narrow Targeting can limit your reach and result in the saturated audience. Here is a screenshot from such an AdSet:

Audience Saturation on Facebook

If you look at the above data, this AdSet has spent around $1300 and reached only 739 with lifetime frequency around 37.

Reasons for Audience Saturation

  • Overly narrow targeting
  • not many interests or targeting method available for the target audience

You can find Audience Saturation of an Adset by clicking on Inspect below the AdSet name at the AdSet level.

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Inspect button at AdSet level

How to Address Audience Saturation?

  • New Lookalike Audience: Combine the audience list with as much data as possible to create a new custom audience. Based on which create new sets of lookalike audience.
  • Avoid Audience Overlap: Have a separate audience list for each campaign.
  • Remove common targeting from AdSet level targeting such as common interests
  • Add More placements in AdSet
  • Switch to Automatic Placement
  • Broaden AdSets Interests
  • Exclude Leads

Cost Control & Bid Strategy

The lowest cost bid strategy provides no direct control over costs. Costs may rise over time as cheaper opportunities are exhausted or the budget is increased. If you’re trying to keep your average cost at or below a specific amount, consider switching to the cost cap bid strategy.

Cost Cap Bidding

Cost Cap bidding on Facebook

How does Cost Cap Bidding work on Facebook?

The cost cap bid strategy controls how high costs can rise. It aims to get the cheapest opportunities possible below your cost control to maximize volume. Facebook may not be able to spend your entire budget if there aren’t enough opportunities at or below the cost control you entered. If you hit your cost control, increasing your budget may not get more results unless you also increase your cost control.

Lowest Cost Auction Facebook

Lowest Cap auction on Facebook

How does the lowest Cost Auction Work on Facebook?

The lowest cost bid strategy aims to get you the cheapest opportunities possible while spending your entire budget. Costs may rise over time as fewer opportunities are available. Costs may rise as budget is increased. The lowest cost bid strategy prioritizes spending the entire budget, and costs can rise with no limit until your budget is fully spent.

Optimize for Age and Gender

Although Facebook tries to define the right audience by learning from the initial learning phase. However, that might not always be right and you need to keep a check on that. Breakdown your campaign or AdSet performance by age and gender and you will get to see which audience is performing better

Optimize for age and gender

For example, in the above case, the Facebook ads platform decided to spend more on females from 18-24 but females from 25-34 are the best-performing ones. You can use similar breakdowns to optimize your Facebook campaigns based on:

  • location
  • platform
  • placement
  • device
  • hours of day
  • day of week etc.

Use Automated Rules for Facebook Optimization

Using automated rules, you can achieve any of these four conditions on ads platforms.

  • Turn off your campaign, ad set or ad
  • Send notification to the ad manager
  • Adjust budget (increase/decrease daily/lifetime budget by…)
  • Adjust manual bid (increase/decrease bid by…)

Setting up automated rules

  • Login to Facebook Ads Manager and select the campaign(s)/ad set(s)/ad(s)
  • Click on the “Edit” button.
  • Click on three dots and click on the “Create Rule” button

Create Facebook automated rule

Here is how automated rules look like

Facebook automated rules example

Courtesy: Adespresso

Right Budget Allocation

You right budget allocation strategy to reduce Facebook cost and increase overall return. Here are some examples of the right budget allocation

  • Give more budget to AdSet with remarketing and/ or lookalike audience
  • Give more budget to the audience with a history of highest conversions in terms of eCommerce
  • Cut down the budget on peripheral targetings

Address

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