Guide to Facebook Advertising: Advanced Edition
Written by JD Prater, Former Head of Paid Social
Becoming the Expert
After successfully navigating the setup of a Facebook account and the initial round of settings, optimizations, and expansions, the time has come to not only manage your account according to general best practices, but to really identify how your account will flourish.
By the end of this whitepaper, you should have a greater understanding of the audience insights, building personas and audience segmentation, utilizing advanced segmentation for improved targeting, and how to use and find the advanced Power Editor features.
Here’s what you’ll learn:
• How to use Audience Insights for creating advanced audience segmentation
• How to build audience personas
• How to find and utilize advanced features of Facebook Power Editor
Audiences Insights and Personas
Creating and selecting your target audience should be one of your first tasks when crafting your Facebook ad strategy. How you set up your audiences and target them with ads will have the biggest impact on your relevancy scores and performance metrics.
Facebook’s platform is set-up to easily target users that matter the most to your business. Ideally, you’ll want to base your ads off your customer personas, website traffic and email lists. If your company already has personas, then start creating ads using Facebook’s demographic, behavioral, device and location targeting to zero-in on this audience.
Here are few ways to find your audience with Facebook Audience Insights.
Finding Personas With Audience Insights
Facebook Audience Insights is a powerful tool that combines Facebook native data and third party providers (Datalogix, Acxiom, Epsilon, BlueKai) to help marketers uncover deep insights about their audience.
Start by going to your Facebook Audience Insights and clicking on people connected to your page.
Under the demographics tab, you should see an age and gender breakdown of your Facebook fans, like the chart below. This chart helps to quickly visualize the gender and age group composition of your Facebook audience.
Let’s take a deeper look at one segment of the total audience. Keep scrolling down and you will see that Facebook has paired your audience’s interest data based on purchase behavior, brand affinity and other activities to create mini-personas.
For example, a popular lifestyle of this audience is Raisin Grandkids, which is “older singles and couples notable for their active grandparent status. Every household shows the presence of children.”
Building Your Persona With Audience Insights
Let’s say we wanted to create this audience in Facebook, so we could target specific posts and ads – how would we create it? First off, let’s think about what was included in that mini-persona.
• Active grandparents
• Singles and couples
• Presence of children in household
What could we surmise from this information?
• Age = let’s target 50+ just to be safe
• Gender = Male & Female
• Marital status = married & singles
• Household = children are present
• Geography – let’s just assume a national presence
Start targeting all these characteristics, until you have a complete picture of your audience, like the one to below.
Facebook found 200-250K monthly active people that match our criteria for “Raisin Grandkids.” Now that we have an audience built, let’s dive deeper into Facebook Audience Insights to get a fuller understanding of this audience.
Audience Insights Tabs: Understanding Your Persona
The more customer insights we have and understand, the better we can deliver and target our messaging. Facebook updates this data daily, so the results are always fresh.
Since we inputted the demographic targeting, let’s start with Page Likes.
Top categories provide a broad overview of the types of pages this audience likes on Facebook. This will come in handy if you wanted to target specific pages, in hope of reaching this audience.
You can also monitor these pages to see what type of posts or engagement they’re getting from their audience. Plus, use this information to target websites on Google’s Display Network or through your programmatic vendor of choice.
Second, Facebook provides the top 10 pages that are likely to be relevant to your audience based on affinity, page size, and the number of people in your audience who have already liked that page.
In this example, our audience is 5.5x more likely to like the AARP Facebook Page than all the Facebook users. From here, start putting together the types of websites/news/products/organizations/ games this audience is likely to interact with.
Under the locations tab is a list of the top locations for this selected audience, with the likely chance of them being in this group on the right.
This will be useful information, if you want to narrow your geo-targeting to specific regions, states or cities.
Activity is the number of times the selected audience performed these actions on Facebook. It is based on Facebook user activity and environmental data.
This is great information to analyze before setting up ads, because you want to understand the behavior of this audience. Do they engage with posts by liking, sharing or commenting? Do they click on ads? If so, do they redeem promotions?
At first glance, I would expect to see good results from relevant ads, because this audience is heavily engaged on Facebook, compared to average users.
• They like a lot of pages
• They comment and like posts more than they share
• They like to click on ads, but don’t redeem promotions
Next, try to understand what and which type of devices they prefer. It appears 55% of the audience uses a hybrid of computers and mobile, which means our device targeting should be set for both in order to reach this audience.
Moreover, 73% of the audience primarily uses their mobile device. Of those mobile devices, there are more Android users than iPhone users. This will be important to review when optimizing the campaign.
Within the Household tab, Facebook provides household income levels, homeowners vs renters, household size, home market value, and spending methods.
For the sake of ad targeting, we’re most interested in their spending methods. Based on this data, this audience primarily uses cash to make purchases.
This is interesting, because ecommerce websites may want to hold off on shopping ads and try to gain their trust and interest with engaging blog posts or videos.
The last tab of information Facebook provides for this audience is the Purchase behavior. We know this audience primarily uses cash when spending money, so let’s see how they shop online.
There are basically two types of audiences here – high retail and high online spenders vs low retail and low online spenders. For an ecommerce retailer, it may be wise to weed out the low online purchasers to really hone in on the people who are more likely to make an online purchase.
Lastly, what does the purchase activity look like for this audience?
The Raisin Grandkids audience is more likely to make business purchases, buy clothing and pet products, and spend money on food and drink.
Now that we have all this persona data, let’s compare it with Google Analytics data to see how this audience performs.
Compare Google Analytics Performance Data
Go to Google Analytics and create a new segment based off some of the same demographics we targeted in Facebook. At a basic level, let’s see how this audience performs by age and gender.
Here’s what my new segment looks like:
After saving this segment, start analyzing the data by looking for performance trends across device, age and gender.
I can quickly see this audience outperforms the average site visitor and 63% of the conversions happen on a desktop with an 11.2% conversion rate. This is definitely worth remembering when choosing device placements for your ads.
To see more granular metrics, break it down by age and gender. 53% of their goal conversions come from females 45-64, and the highest conversion rates come from males and females over the age of 65.
Now that we have a basic understanding of performance levels for this demographic audience, let’s move back to Facebook to target them with ads.
Targeting Your Persona With Facebook Ads
By using this tool, we found a specific Facebook audience segment, collected multiple data touch points and analyzed its general performance within Google Analytics.
So how would you target this audience within Facebook?
Since the audience is already saved, the next step is to create a campaign for this audience. Based off of the Google Analytics conversion data, I would recommend creating different ad sets to measure performance for each age group and gender (ex. 65+ Female and 65+ Male).
Now that the campaign and ad sets are in place, here are a few tips to keep in mind with your ad creative and optimizations.
• Craft specific messages to entice the audience to click through
• Select images that will appeal to this audience
• Don’t be afraid to try different ad styles, like video ads or carousel ads
• Consider using placement targeting (remember character limits are different)
• Review primary devices used by your audience
• Choose the appropriate CTA, based on where the audience is in the funnel
• Set up an ad schedule of when your audience is most likely to be online and when they’re most likely to convert (they can be different)
Combining Facebook Audience Insights with Google Analytics provides a lot of data points that can easily be connected into a full buyer persona.
Taking the time to understand your audience and gain deeper insights into their interests and behaviors, will help improve your ad performance and increase ROI.
1. Lookalike Audiences: Create new audiences based off email lists and website audiences to find new customers.
2. Don’t neglect your fans: Using audience insights, segment your Facebook fans into small audiences to deliver tailored messages.
3. Don’t guess, use Google Analytics: You already have a lot of data points in Google Analytics. Analyze your website visitor data in Google Analytics to glean valuable insights about your customers. Use this data for demographic, device, location and behavioral targeting in Facebook campaigns.
Relevant Audience Targeting
Now that your audiences are in place, let’s work on getting more granular. Facebook offers many targeting options to drill down your audience, such as:
Use these options to target and build personas, by layering different targeting options.
As David Ogilvy said, “Do not… address your readers as though they were gathered together in a stadium. When people read your copy, they are alone. Pretend you are writing to each of them a letter on behalf of your client.”
One thing to keep in mind is demographics, interests and behavior targeting are considered “OR” statements, unless you take advantage of “AND” statements. For example, let’s say you want to run an ad targeting people with an interest in “travel” and “beaches.”
Facebook will build one audience, including everyone who has an interest in “travel” and everyone who has an interest in “beaches.”
However, if you narrow your audience with “And” targeting, you can find the overlap of people who like “travel” and “beaches.”
It’s also important to note that you can exclude people based on their demographics, interests or behaviors.
Granular Targeting by Ad Placements
Below is an example of ad sets broken down by men or women desktop users over the age of 45 with an interest in tourism (we ran another campaign with the same criteria, but only for mobile users).
By narrowing our targeting to specific devices/demographics/interests, we found that men outperformed women with 46 more conversions, but at a 28% higher CPA over the same time period. With this information, we shifted budgets to meet the client’s goals.
Here’s another example of how ads performed in the News Feed versus Right Column.
1. Desktop vs Mobile: Create ads specifically targeting device placements. You could
even subdivide desktop by News Feed and Right Hand Column.
2. Men vs Women: Run more targeted ads by breaking out men and women.
3. Geo-Targeting: You can also add/exclude locations from your campaigns to focus on your target market.
Schedule Your Ads Around Your Audience
Show your ads at the right time, by knowing when your audience is online. Analyze your website traffic and audience insights to find the optimal time(s) to show your ads.
There’s no sense in showing your ads 24 hours a day, if your target audience is only online from 6:00 AM – 11:00 PM. Find out when your audience is most active on Facebook and if there are certain days and hours you should schedule your ads to be more effective.
Consider funneling your time period down even further by analyzing when you’re audience converts. Just because your audience is on Facebook early in the morning, doesn’t mean they’re ready to purchase.
Here’s an example of website conversion peaks and valleys over a 30 day period. I wish it performed like the first week, with a steady increase, but that’s not realistic for this audience.
Conversions and Cost Per Result
Next, review to see if there are any conversion trends by day. Maybe Fridays performed better than Mondays. With this information, you can make sure to allocate budget accordingly.
1. Custom Daily Schedule: If you know what time of day your audience is online, run a daily schedule. Selecting a Lifetime Budget, rather than the default Daily Budget, will allow you to run a custom ad schedule.
Advanced Power Editor Features
Power Editor is a great tool, designed for large or advanced Facebook advertisers. By using this tool, advertisers can create, update and launch ads at scale and in bulk.
Before you can succeed with Power Editor, you must understand how to make the most of it. There are six main tabs for navigating through Power Editor:
1. Manage Ads – edit and create new campaigns, ad sets and ads in this tab
2. Audiences – see a list of all audiences
3. Image Library – upload new images and see all previous uploaded images
4. Reporting – create, save and schedule performance reports
5. Page Posts – view your scheduled posts, published posts and ad posts
6. Tools – access your pixels, custom conversions and account settings
Under the Manage Ads section is where most of the work is done. In here, you can create new campaigns, edit current ones and import and export new creative.
There are a few features that will help you maneuver around the interface and become more efficient.
• Search – use this feature to find what you’re looking for, without having to hunt through old campaigns or ads
• Filters – there’s a lot filters covering delivery, objectives and changes
Again, it’s a great way to focus your attention on what truly matters.
• Export & Import – This is a great feature for SEMs who like to use Excel to make changes in accounts. Facebook allows you to make changes to multiple campaigns, ad sets and ads with Excel by using Power Editor’s export and import features by copying and pasting info or by uploading files.
• Duplicate – after selecting a campaign, ad set or ad, a few other features will appear. The duplicate option is one of them. Use this feature to quickly duplicate your previous work rather than repeating the process over again. This is great for creating A/B ad tests when you’re changing the image or ad copy. If you copy and paste a campaign, Power Editor will duplicate the ad sets and ads in the campaign too.
• Campaign Tags – another overlooked feature is the campaign tag. Use these tags to label campaigns for quick reporting, experiments or objectives. There are numerous ways to use them and multiple reasons why they could be beneficial to you.
• Campaign Analysis – select a campaign and on the right-hand side, you’ll have the option to edit it (pencil) or analyze the historical performance (graph). Select the graph icon to view several metrics from which to analyze the campaign’s performance.
Here are the nine metrics you can choose from.
Once you select a metric, you can see a graph based on the time frame of your choice.
In the Audiences tab, you’ll see all your custom audiences that have been created.
• Filters – use filters to quickly sort through your audiences by either quick look, type of audience, availability or source.
• Audience Overlap – choose an audience and compare the number of people and the overlap with up to five other audiences. Start by selecting two different audiences to compare the overlap.
Here’s an example of two Lookalike audiences – one created from an email list and the other from website visitors. This diagram shows there’s a 19% audience overlap or 360,000 people that are in both audiences.
You can add up to five different audiences to compare the overlapping number of people.
The Image Library houses all the images you have used in your ads or uploaded to the account.
• Sort Images – within the image library, you can sort through your images in a variety of ways. Use this feature to find an image’s size or date uploaded.
Automated reports can be useful in receiving updates on performance, when you can’t necessarily be in the account every day. While it’s strongly recommended that you are in your accounts each day, automating reports can provide a snapshot that tells you what you need to know, as often as you need to know it.
Automated reports are extremely simple to create, schedule and export.
• Creating your report – start by selecting the filters of how you want to report on performance.
Then, narrow it down to the campaign, ad set or ad level to get more granular reporting. Once these are in place and you’re happy with the report, it’s time to save it.
• Save and schedule report – once you have the metrics you want to report on, click save report. From here, you’ll be given a screen that looks like this.
Name your report then choose how often and when you want to receive the report. Next, you can add subscribers to receive the report. Keep in mind; only people with access to the ad account can receive scheduled reports.
Under this tab, you’ll find the option to view all your scheduled, published and ad posts on your page.
• Published Posts – a favorite feature for creating quick and detailed posts. Using this option gives you more control and options over the post. For example, the ability to use a call to action and import pictures using the URL.
Under the Tools tab, you’ll find access to your pixels, customer conversions and account settings.
• Pixels – With the same pixel you have been using to create Custom Audiences, you can now view website traffic from the pixel and use it for conversion tracking and optimization, in addition to remarketing.
• Custom Conversions – Custom conversions allow you to optimize for and track actions without having to add anything to your Facebook pixel base code. They also allow you to optimize for and track actions that are different from the 9 standard events that come with the Facebook pixel.
You can also add different parameters for each standard event code, such as Content ID, value and currency. These are optional, besides the Purchase standard event, which requires the value and currency parameters to work.
Once the conversion pixel is in place, you can start optimizing your campaigns for that objective and tracking the results within the Facebook interface.
A Quick Recap
These are the things you should be familiar with now:
1) Advanced audience segmentation with Audience Insights.
2) Building audience personas with Facebook and Google Analytics Data.
3) Understanding how to create the most value from Facebook Power Editor.
4) Utilizing advanced features in Power Editor for a simpler and more efficient account management.
But of course, this is not a comprehensive list of everything you could know about Facebook Advertising, but it’s a good start. As the world of Facebook constantly changes, there’s always something new to learn. So keep reading, keep experimenting, and make sure you are actively taking part in PPC communities, events, and resources. You’ll be the expert you strive for before you know it!