The roll-out of Apple’s iOS14 marked a seismic shift in the world of digital advertising. The sudden lack of data visibility has complicated the job of every digital marketer around the world. Experts in the field added fuel to the fire by predicting that this would be the end of Facebook Ads. Despite a decrease in Meta’s stock value and an increase in employee layoffs, Facebook Ads is alive and well and is still an extremely valuable platform for any company and/or brand hoping to scale up their e-commerce advertising spend.
In my career, I’ve been fortunate to work with many notable e-commerce brands, which I’ve helped grow through Facebook Ads. Below, I will outline some tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way. I hope these recommendations prove helpful and serve as a launching pad for you to strengthen your relationship with Facebook Ads. Let’s dive in.
Table of Contents
Your Facebook Ad Campaigns should be split between Top of the Funnel (TOF) Campaigns and Bottom of the Funnel (BOF) Campaigns.
Top of the Funnel (TOF) Campaigns
70% to 80% of your daily budget should be attributed to your TOF Campaigns.
The purpose of your TOF Campaigns is to build brand awareness. Therefore, these Campaigns will target cold audiences—essentially, those users who have never interacted with your brand. You can ensure this is the case by excluding the following key audiences:
- Visited Website – 180 Days: Users who have visited your website in the last 180 days.
- Purchased – 180 Days: Users who have purchased from your website in the last 180 days.
- Engaged Facebook – 180 Days: Users who have engaged with your Facebook page in the last 180 days.
- Engaged Instagram – 180 Days: Users who have engaged with your Instagram profile in the last 180 days.
Regarding TOF targeting, you can target interest-based audiences or lookalike audiences or keep things open (e.g., no interests or lookalikes). Depending on the vertical you operate in (e.g., apparel, beauty, home goods, etc.), you may find success with one audience or the other, with a combination of two audiences, or even with all three audiences running together—in separate Ad Sets!
When deciding on which audiences to use for your TOF targeting, prioritize the use of lookalike audiences. Lookalikes are a valuable asset for TOF targeting. From my experience, the percentages that work best for lookalike audiences are 1%, 3%, and 5%, though your results may lead to different conclusions. Ultimately, the percentage will depend on the vertical you operate in and the location(s) you operate in. Keep an open mind when testing lookalike percentages. Remember that the higher you go in percentage, the lower the similarity between your lookalike audience and your base audience.
Bottom of the Funnel (BOF) Campaigns
20% to 30% of your daily budget should be attributed to your BOF Campaigns.
Your BOF Campaigns aim to capitalize on the users who have engaged with your brand. These Campaigns will target warm audiences—essentially, those users who have engaged but have not yet purchased from you. You can ensure this is the case by limiting your number of exclusions down to one:
- Purchased – 180 Days.
In BOF targeting, you should target users who are closest in the funnel to purchasing. This means targeting users who have recently added to their carts or recently initiated a checkout, though don’t limit your audiences to just these two types of users. Test out other audiences as well. Some BOF audiences that I’ve found success with include:
- Engaged Facebook & Instagram – 30 Days.
- Visited Website – 7 Days or 14 Days.
- Viewed Content – 3 Days: Users who have viewed your content in the last three days.
Additionally, BOF Campaigns are where you should be targeting users who have visited specific pages on your website. For example, let’s say you operate a jewelry brand. You should be targeting users who have visited the page where you display your ring collection, or the page where you display your necklace collection, etc. These users should be targeted with category-specific Ads (e.g., Visitors of the ring collection page should be targeted with ring Ads, etc.) that employ category-specific Ad Copy. This will require a little more work on your part, but the results from this personalization will prove to be worth the extra effort.
Keep an open mind when testing lookalike percentages. Remember that the higher you go in percentage, the lower the similarity between your lookalike audience and your base audience.
General tips and tricks
Here are some general tips and tricks for your Facebook Ad Campaigns:
- If you’re operating with a limited budget, put the bulk of it into your BOF Campaigns, leading to more substantial results. Once your BOF audiences have been “maxed out”, then you can redistribute the budget and allocate more to your TOF Campaigns.
- If you have a Customer List, exclude that as well from both your TOF and BOF Campaigns.
- Create lookalike audiences based off of your Customer List.
- There should be no more than 3-4 Ads per Ad Set.
- Test different Ad formats (e.g., Image Ads, Video Ads, Carousels, Instant Experience Ads, etc.)
- Invest in video and user-generated content.
- Ensure proper URL parameters are used to track data through Google Analytics accurately.
- If your client’s primary KPI is Return on Ad Spend, do not optimize for anything other than Purchases. Optimizing for Adds to Cart and Initiate Checkouts does not work. You might see a drop in Cost per 1,000 Impressions (CPMs), but the traffic quality takes a nosedive.
- If you run into issues with high CPMs, try switching your Campaigns over to Campaign Budget Optimization and using Minimum and Maximum Budgets to manage the spend on an Ad Set level. I tested this across multiple accounts and saw CPMs decrease by over 20%.
- Ensure the use of Cost Cap Campaigns in your funnel. They are low-risk and an efficient way to scale.
2022 was a challenging year for Meta, and there is no guarantee that 2023 will be any better. Despite that, Facebook Ads persist. It continues to be a valuable resource for those determined enough to make it work in their favor, and hopefully, I have provided you with enough tips and tricks to do just that.