Our team at Zima Media has put together a series of step-by-step blogs on how to Create A Facebook Ad Account, Facebook Channel on Shopify, Created Facebook Audiences, and Set Up Display or Catalog Ads – if you haven’t done read these blogs yet, then make sure to revisit these pages so you can make the most of your ad campaign.
Running a successful ad campaign on Facebook is about more than a good account structure, enticing ads, and audiences that convert. A successful Facebook ad campaign is continuously monitored and optimized while it’s active. Managing your campaign like this is the only way to ensure that the campaign is on track to achieve your desired results.
In this article, you’ll learn how to increase your ads’ click-through rates (CTR), lower your campaign’s cost-per-click (CPC), reach high-ROI (return on investment) audiences, lower your cost-per-acquisition (CPA), and increase your sales results without increasing your ad budget.
If you want to reach your target audiences and outpace your competition, you’ll need to follow this guide to optimize your campaigns after publishing them on Facebook.
So, where do you start?
Steps To Optimize Your Facebook Ad Campaigns:
Ensure your tracking is working properly
The most important aspect of monitoring and optimizing your Facebook ad campaigns is ensuring that your tracking is set up and configured so you can see results. Previously, we wrote an article on How To Set Up Your Facebook Channel on Shopify; once you do this setup, Facebook will automatically embed your pixel code into Shopify, sync your product catalog, recording traffic and conversions.
As with all automation, sometimes we find problems that shouldn’t be there; make sure to double-check your pixel is working correctly before activating your campaign using the Facebook Pixel Helper.
See the screenshot below for how your pixel should look when it’s working correctly.
Another critical element to successfully managing your campaign is ensuring your account is structured in the most efficient way possible. See the image below for a visual representation of how your account should be structured.
Understanding the campaign structure is the key to running a solid campaign. An organized, manageable campaign structure is the basic foundation for a successful sales and marketing strategy. Typically, we advise having one campaign per objective and as many ad sets as needed to target desired audiences to ensure you’re optimizing for the right results from the right audiences.
Find out more about setting up your campaign structure here.
Focus on real results
Once you have your tracking set up, you will need to make sure your campaign optimizes for the right KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). Luckily, by completing the Facebook Channel on Shopify, your events are automatically configured into Facebook’s Events Manager.
You can run a test to see if your events are working correctly by going to Events Manager.
Click on your pixel code.
Go to Test Events, enter your domain and start browsing your website. As you can see below, our pixel is receiving page views, adding to cart, and initiating checkout.
Optimize for the right KPI
Once you know your events are working correctly, it’s essential to tell Facebook what kind of conversion you want to optimize for. You do this when setting up your campaign, double-check this by clicking on the name of your campaign, and you should see a similar dialog box as below:
Monitoring your main KPIs will allow you to determine if your campaign is successful overall; however, other factors contribute to this success to optimize to achieve the best results.
Custom reports on Facebook can provide valuable insights into how your campaigns, ad sets, and ads perform. In addition, they will allow you to track the success of your campaigns using metrics that are most relevant to your main KPI.
To create your custom report, go to your account in Ads Manager, and click on Reports.
Next, click on Create Custom Report.
You can then use the pivot table to create a custom report based on the metrics you want to track.
For any custom report that you create, you can apply any of the following preselected sets of metrics:
- Performance: See how impressions, clicks, and visits get credit for conversions and how efficiently they perform.
- Conversion efficiency: See how efficiently your ads drove the interactions that you care about.
- Cost efficiency: See the cost of the exchanges you care about.
- Return on ad spend (ROAS): See how ads affect your bottom line and where you’re getting the most value.
Top Tip: Your most important results are sales and conversions not impressions or clicks
Frequency of optimizations
Facebook Learning Phase
After activating your campaign for the first time, it’s crucial to remember that your ads will enter the learning phase. The learning phase is the period when the delivery system still has a lot to learn about an ad set; during the learning phase, the delivery system is exploring the best way to deliver your ad set – by actively trying different audiences, placements, and more – so performance has not yet stabilized.
The learning phase occurs when you create a new ad set or make a significant edit to an existing ad or ad set. Keep in mind that you need to give Facebook at least 24 hours (if your ad budget is low then this can extend the amount of time your ads are in the learning phase) to adjust the performance of your ads after every new edit, this is why it’s crucial not to make any changes to the ads while they’re in the learning phase. Every time you make a substantial change to your ad, audiences, or campaigns, make sure to wait at least 24-48 hours before drawing any conclusions.
You can review if your ad is in the learning phase or not by going to:
Customize Columns > Delivery
Here you will see if your ad has gained enough data to leave the learning phase because it will say Active rather than Learning:
To exit the learning phase, ad sets need around 50 optimization events over 7 days. If your budget is too low, your ad set will remain in the learning phase for a longer time.
For example, you may get an alert under your ad’s delivery like this:
Ad frequency on Facebook means the average number of times that each person saw your ad. This is an important metric to track because if the frequency gets too high, you could be wasting budget on an audience that won’t convert.
According to Facebook, the optimal ad frequency is between 1 and 2 exposures during the length of the campaign. Therefore, a higher frequency of 3.4 could mean that your ad loses its effectiveness.
Optimize & Manage Ongoing Campaigns
Monitoring Campaign Level Results
For most Shopify stores, you’ll likely be running Facebook campaigns to boost ecommerce sales. This means you should be focusing on the following metrics:
If you have a daily budget on Facebook, Facebook will likely spend around that figure each day. On the other hand, if you have a lifetime or monthly budget on Facebook, your daily spending will likely increase or decrease depending on the day.
Make sure to monitor your spending so that if you create new ads or audiences later in your campaign, you still have enough budget to allocate to this.
Your conversions will be, arguably, your most important metric to track. So make sure that you monitor where they’re coming from and allocate more budget in that direction.
Cost Per Result
The CPR (cost per result) metric should decrease over time. As the algorithm picks up its pace and your ads exit the learning phase, you should see a decrease in CPR. If you don’t, you will need to investigate why.
This metric tends to fluctuate a lot from business to business and customer to customer. So it’s unlikely that you’ll get a true insight into how your campaign is performing – but often, a high conversion value can be the result of a good website.
ROAS (return on ad spend)
The ROAS is very important in measuring how successful your ad campaign has been; many businesses work towards a target ROAS for each campaign.
Now that you understand what to look out for at the campaign level, you can also monitor how your ad sets and ads perform.
When it comes to budget, it’s crucial to remember that if you use a campaign budget then this will be evenly distributed across all ad sets. However, if you find that one ad set is performing significantly better than another then you can use an ad set level budget to allocate more spend to enhance the results.
To reset your budget, go to Ads Manager, click on the name of the campaign you want to edit and scroll down until you reach the Campaign budget optimization section.
Click edit and uncheck the toggle to change the budget from a campaign level to an ad set level budget.
You can then go and increase the budget of the ad set that is performing well and reduce the budget of the least effective ad set.
Top Tip: Make sure that you’re redistributing your budget to enhance the ad sets and audiences that are performing at a higher CTR, lower cost per result, and lower CPC.
Monitoring Ad Set Level Results
Ad sets need to be optimized in a different way to campaign-level optimizations. This is because ad sets are optimized through other variables, such as the audiences and location. Ad set level optimizations allow you to make small changes to improve the performance.
Firstly, let’s look at ad placements. Placements play a big part in how a consumer converts. For example, some consumers would be more likely to convert through an Instagram Story than a Facebook feed post.
To better understand which placement brings the best results and to know whether you should be using automatic or manual placements, you can go Ads Manager, see the banner on the right-hand side of the screen and click the top icon:
Then click Platform. And you’ll be able to see which placements are performing better; you can then readjust your ad sets to Manual Placements and focus on the placements that convert.
When it comes to optimizing and managing the audiences you’re advertising to, and if you’re running an entirely new campaign or promoting a brand new product, then you never know how the market will react. We can make assumptions and bid on a consumer’s interest. Still, nothing is ever guaranteed (unfortunately), so because of this, it’s essential to make sure you’re monitoring which audiences are performing well and which could be wasting your budget.
For example, as you can see below, we have specific ad sets targeting business owners in different states in the US. The business owners in the New York ad group have achieved a total of 7 clicks but are performing at a lower CTR and a higher CPC than Business Owners in Kansas.
From this screenshot, you can also see that the ad set for Business Owners in Virginia has nearly spent as much as the Kansas ad set yet received no clicks at all.
In this case, we switched off the ad group for Virginia to not waste the budget on unnecessary ad placements.
If you’re using Remarketing audiences, it’s typical for you to have a higher CTR and a lower CPC. This is because the consumers seeing your ads will already be familiar with your brand and, therefore, more likely to click on your ad. For any audience – interest-based or remarketing – you will need to follow the same protocol to identify the best performers vs. worst performers.
If you need some help understanding and creating audiences on Facebook, check out our blog!
As Facebook audiences can sometimes be very broad, ensuring that they don’t overlap is crucial to make sure that you’re targeting the right audience with the right ad. Fortunately, Facebook has an easy-to-use tool within the Audiences section of business manager. To access this tool simply open up your Ads Manager, go to Assets, and then navigate to Audiences.
Next, you’ll need to select all the audiences you are using at the ad set level, go to the drop-down menu under Actions, and select Show Audience Overlap.
Click the 3 dots next to the Delete button, and click show audience overlap.
The first audience you select will be listed first as the “Selected audience”. You can select multiple audiences and the other audiences will be listed as a “Comparison audiences” section. You can change the selected audience by choosing a new one from the drop-down in the top right-hand corner of the tool. You can choose from any of the audiences you’ve selected.
You can only get useful overlap information from audiences with at least 10,000 people, so consider that when selecting which audiences to compare.
Monitoring Results At Ad Level
Optimizing the results at the ad level again differs from monitoring the campaign or the ad set performance. At the ad level, you will be looking at the performance of specific ads, and you’ll need to look at each ad set and make changes to the ads based on their performance.
This performance will be dependent on several variables; things to consider at the ad level are:
- Cost per result
- CTR (click-through-rate)
- Quality ranking (ad relevance to the landing page)
- The above screenshot shows two different ads; it’s essential to compare other ads based on their type. For example, you could have image ads, carousel ads, shopping ads, or video ads. The best way to measure their performance is to monitor which ads are:
- Bringing conversions (red column)
- Operating at a lower cost per result (blue column)
- Have the highest click-through rate (green column)
- Have the best quality ranking (yellow column)
Some ads will perform better than others, so it’s key to monitoring the performance of the different types, the assets, the best performing headline/description/ad copy.
As you can see from the above screenshot on Facebook Ads, the best performing ad has the highest CTR, most clicks, and a CPC under $1. In this instance the best performing ad in terms of CTR is Mike’s Video’s – 5, however, the only ad that has converted so far is Pet Food_1. This demonstrates how videos often have a better CTR than display ads.
It’s important to note that the ads are the most critical aspect of your campaign, make sure not to make too many changes to the ads that are performing well and switch off the ads that bring no value to your campaign.
Quality ranking (ad relevance)
The relevance score is calculated based on the positive and negative feedback we expect an ad to receive from its target audience. This is important because ad relevance can lower the cost of reaching people, and so reduce the cost of your marketing budget.
Conduct A/B Tests
A/B testing on Facebook lets you change variables, such as your ad creative, audience or placement to determine which strategy performs best and improve future campaigns. For example, you might want to experiment with a new audience strategy that could outperform an interest-based audience strategy for your business. An A/B test lets you quickly compare both strategies to see which one performs best.
To conduct an A/B test, follow the steps in the screenshots below. Go to Ads Manager, Campaigns, and click A/B tests.
You’ll then get a dialog box for a Test Setup, here you can choose whether to create a new A/B test of existing ad sets. For example, here we have compared our Branding Campaign and our Catalog Remarketing Campaign.
Optimize your campaigns easily with our weekly and monthly checklist!
As marketers, we know it can be overwhelming staying on top of the data, understanding when to let the algorithm do its thing and when you should be making changes and editing your ads.
This is why we’ve created a free Facebook Advertising Checklist, where we’ve broken down the items you should be monitoring either weekly or monthly.