Browing social media

The Do’s and Don’ts of Broad Prospecting

Browing social media

In the new landscape of paid social advertising, most customer success representatives and account managers (whether they are at Meta, TikTok, or Snapchat) are pushing broad prospecting as the new “meta” – pun intended. As a growth agency, we are approached from these representatives often, and historically speaking, advice from these representatives can be super hit and miss. They can generate some good recommendations here and there, but it’s always a good idea to validate their advice and make sure it aligns with the goals you’re trying to accomplish. In the post-iOS 14 paid social ecosystem, we’ve had ample opportunity to test this new strategy, and have created a list of general “do’s and don’ts” of broad prospecting to keep in mind. 

What is broad prospecting in paid social advertising? 

Broad prospecting, as we define it for this exercise, is the intentional effort of creating minimally constructed audiences. These audiences have very few parameters on them: maybe some loose demographic targeting, and a few interests or data points to reference to. These can get up to 10m+ in size, depending on the different parameters included, and are used predominantly on social ads

Why should I use broad targeting as a part of my paid social advertising strategy? 

Casting a wide net at the top of the funnel allows you to show your products to a variety of people that might not have otherwise seen them. The running hypothesis for leaning on broad prospecting as a strategy is that the pixels associated with your ad account are much, much smarter than the advertiser running the ads.

Ironic, right? 

The theory has some merit: a pixel associated with your ad account collects thousands of data points, and is constantly learning. We equate it to cast iron: the more data it collects, the more seasoned it becomes, and the better the result. The whole premise of machine learning depends on the pixel being smarter than what we can come up with manually. Every bid, every ad placement, every conversion feeds the pixel more information. In theory, each action creates a larger data subset for the pixel to continue to optimize, and get better. 

The do’s and don’ts of broad prospecting: 

Do: 

  • Use a variety of  lookalikes
  • Test various broad prospecting techniques
  • Choose a conversion oriented objective 

Don’t: 

  • Use broad prospecting for new ad accounts
  • Optimize for in-platform events 
  • Wait too long to make a change

 

The “Do’s” of Broad Prospecting:

Use Large Lookalikes: 

Lookalike audiences are a powerful way to reach new people in your potential conversion pool. Work smarter, not harder. By using data you already have access to (think: past purchasers, people who have visited your website, people who have engaged with your accounts, etc), you can strategically build lookalikes of this data. Once you pick the source for your lookalike audience, you’re able to go a step further and select the percentage (of lookalike) you want to use, ranging from 1% to 10%. We have seen some of the strongest performance for our eCommerce partners with combining a mix of percentages – Example: Targeting a 1%, 2%, 3%, 4% and 5% lookalike audiences. By combining different levels of intent, you’re able to more broadly target potential customers and maximize your brand’s exposure in one fell swoop.

 

Test Various Targeting Techniques:

Whether you are doing light demographic guardrails, implementing various interest or behavior based targeting, or using lookalike data for your broad prospecting, we say this: move fast, test fast, learn fast. It’s the motto of David, one of our Paid Social channel experts, and I say it daily. Isolate your variables, test things in a consistent manner, and apply your learnings to your next iteration. If you have a winning strategy, isolate it into its own campaign, and continue to use the test campaign  to try  new ideas and refine your broad prospecting strategy. By isolating new techniques into a test campaign, you’re able to work around pushing all of your campaigns back into the learning phase (which can sometimes negatively affect performance).

 

Choose a Conversion Oriented Objective

Don’t waste time and money optimizing for lead generation, or one of the other productive optimization strategies on Meta. For example, if you are an eCommerce store, optimize for purchases or add to carts! If there’s one thing we’ve learned, it’s that the pixel delivers ads based on the objective and the selected conversion event. 

By choosing purchasers, you’re reaching an audience that is the most likely to purchase. If you’re optimizing to add to cart, you’re reaching an audience that is most likely to add a product to the cart. If you’re broad prospecting, adding a simple guardrail of a conversion-oriented objective gives the pixel enough guidance to find the right subset of users you should be targeting in addition to your other parameters. 

 

The “Don’ts” of Broad Prospecting:

Don’t Use Broad Prospecting for New Ad Accounts and Pixels:

The whole theory behind broad prospecting is that it uses machine learning to optimize and deliver your ads. If you have a brand new ad account, or pixel, then the machine doesn’t have enough information to create accurate and insightful learnings. We’ve mentioned “guardrails” a few times in this article: those guardrails serve the purpose of pointing the pixel in the right direction. If you have a brand new pixel without much data, there aren’t enough guardrails built in to deliver your ads effectively, and you’re better off manually targeting the audience you want to deliver ads to. 

 

Don’t Optimize for In-Platform Events 

Take for instance, lead generation ads as an example of an in-platform optimized event. In some instances these ads can be successful – But typically for highly specific goals paired with pretty narrow targeting, think retargeting people who have previously engaged with one of your leads ads. While these ads can be simple and require little effort from the user, they add a step to the process of being able to maximize the potential of this purchase intent. What do I mean by that? Well, when someone fills out your lead form then this data is typically collected in the platform. Once you have that data then you need to download the leads via Ads Manager or your Facebook Page. This seems simple enough, but generally speaking, attention spans are short. If someone is ready to convert, it’s best to capture the intent as instantaneously as possible. If you keep people waiting, the interest begins to wean off and leads might fall through the crack.

 

Don’t Try to Sell to Everyone

You may be speaking to a broad audience, but that doesn’t mean you should water down your message. We recommend using compelling creative that is user-generated to tell the story of your brand and why people should care. Hone in on those value propositions of your business, and test out different  messaging. If you water down your message while broad prospecting, you won’t appeal strongly enough to anyone to get valuable insights for continued optimization. Pro-tip: Not sure what type of creative works best for your audience? Check this out!

Looking for help when it comes to paid social? 

Look no further. Whether it’s a kick-ass creative strategy, a need for structured testing, or guidance on how to find your target audience on paid social, we’re here to help. Let’s talk! 

Ecommerce Store

How to Use Google Analytics to Discover Lookalike Audiences

Ecommerce Store

Do you remember where were you on the day that the digital advertising world stood still? Do you remember what you were doing when iOS14.5 loaded onto scores of devices overnight before their owners even reached onto the nightstand to grab them and open up their social media app of choice? Our ecommerce growth agency jumped into the brand new world of paid social advertising and have taken away a few key learnings for the post iOS14.5 world. 

The Fallout of iOS14.5 

On April 26, 2021, Apple followed through on its promise to prioritize privacy with App Tracking Transparency. This update prompted users to either “allow” or “don’t allow” apps on their iOS devices to track their activities. 

Paid social advertisers in particular felt the blow like they were brave enough to step into the ring with Mike Tyson in his prime. Much of the targeting that advertisers had become so reliant on was either gone or no longer effective. Despite Apple and Facebook (now Meta) warning for months: so many marketers were drastically affected. 

Sure with the change, you could still target Android users, and Facebook did roll out new aggregated events to limit the fallout Some damage control measures went into place, but it goes without question that Apple had delivered a near-fatal blow. So, scrappy Facebook advertisers have had to look for new ways to find their target audience online. 

From that scrappiness, new audience targeting strategies emerged that could help social ads strategists and media buyers cut through the crowd and reach their audience. At our growth agency, we’ve identified two lookalike audiences that have proven to be super valuable. Even better, they’re accessible to anyone with Google Analytics installed on their website.

The First Lookalike: Pageviews 

The first audience we’ll discuss today is a lookalike audience based on pageviews. 

Imagine you’re looking at your analytics and you see that you have 347 transactions this week for a product. For a lot of advertisers, they either stop there or ask the question, “How can I get this number higher?”  before they close the tab and move on. Scrappier advertisers take it a step further.

Looking at Google Analytics’ acquisition report we can see the traffic generated from various channels and campaigns.

If you add in a custom segment of Purchasers, you can look at the metrics based on people that have made a purchase on the website. From there we want to know the pages per session.

Pageviews for Google Analytics Purchasers

In the case of this e-commerce company, the Purchasers had a drastically different behavior than the larger pool of all users. And this is where the beauty is.

From the data, we can tell that Purchasers visited 11.47 pages per session. They were more engaged. They clicked around, they viewed a few pages, and they inevitably visited the cart followed by the checkout page. 

We can take an educated guess that a cohort of users with that same behavior pattern would be likely to purchase as well. And that’s what we’re betting on for this first lookalike.

So back in Facebook (still not used to Meta), we’ll make our way to the audiences module within the business manager. Here we’ll be creating a custom audience.

Overview of Meta's custom audience website tool

To do this follow the following steps:

  •  Choose Website as your custom audience source. 
  • Choose the pixel you want this based off of
  • Instead of selecting all website visitors, select PageView from the events dropdown. 
  • Click the Refine by dropdown below, and select frequency. We’ll leave the middle drop-down as “is greater than”….
  • Change the number to the number of pages per session the Purchasers normally have minus 10-20% (so, if it’s 10 pages, then make it 8). We’re subtracting 2 or 3 because it gives Facebook a buffer so that they can have a large enough audience to build the audience from. 
  • Click Create audience, and then create a lookalike from that audience.

The Second Lookalike: Time on Site

The second lookalike audience uses analytics as well. Remember that the Purchasers segment spent around 11 minutes on the site. So again, we can safely assume that Purchasers spend more time on the site.

So the second audience we want to create is a lookalike based on time on site. To do this, create a new custom audience. This time instead of choosing PageView from the dropdown of events, we’ll select Visitors by time spent. 

 For the percentile, start by leaving it at 25%. If the data suggests otherwise in the future, then you could always drop it to 10% or 5%.

Be warned though. As you move to higher percentiles the audience will shrink even more. Once you’ve created this custom audience, go ahead and create a lookalike based on this one too.

Overview of Meta's Site Visitors Percentile Tool

The Real Trick to Using Analytics to Build Facebook Audiences

And just like that, you have two audiences based on data that you could target using your first-party data. And this is just the beginning. There is a myriad of different audiences you could build from the data. 

You could narrow the custom audience further by switching the parameters from Include people who meet “Any Of” the following criteria to Include people who meet “All Of” the following criteria.

You could create custom events and conversions in your pixel based on events that are important to you and build an audience based on their behavior.

You could select specific web pages to narrow your time-on-site audience. 

The possibilities are vast. The important thing is learning how to use analytics to understand your audience beyond the bottom line numbers. From there, you can segment your audience in the way that makes the most sense for your business goals.

Looking to leverage your existing data for your ecommerce site? Our ecommerce growth agency is happy to dive in and work with you on a growth strategy. Let’s chat

Using black crow to build predictive audiences on a computer.

Do Predictive Audiences Work? We Managed $1.1M in Ad Spend for Black Crow Audiences to Find Out

Using black crow to build predictive audiences on a computer.

As an ecommerce growth marketing agency, Tuff is always looking for new tools and tactics to continue to elevate our paid marketing efforts for our partners. In the Fall of 2021, Tuff began working with Black Crow, an AI tool that creates predictive audiences to allow marketers to scale their prospecting campaigns, and make their remarketing efforts more efficient.

Since implementing Black Crow across various partners, Tuff has managed over $1,000,000 in ad spend for Black Crow audiences for our ecommerce partners and has generated key takeaways on how to best leverage their AI marketing tool.  In this post, we’ll outline what we’ve learned and our recommendations if you’re looking to scale traffic and revenue with advanced targeting options for Facebook, TikTok, Pinterest, and more. 

What are predictive audiences, anyways? 

Black Crow uses an artificial intelligence tool to score users in real-time based on their likelihood to buy. This score predicts the value of the user and allows marketers to bucket them on three tiers of purchase likelihood: high, medium, and low. High intent users are users who are most likely to purchase, and low intent users are those who are considered to be unlikely to purchase. 

This form of machine learning uses first-party data only, which helps marketers avoid the restrictions and limitations of third-party data enforced by iOS 14.5. The best part of predictive audiences, however, is that the more data that it generates and collects, the more efficient it gets – as we’ve seen with our various e-commerce partners at Tuff. 

How can I use predictive audiences in my paid acquisition efforts? 

There are two main ways you can incorporate predictive audiences into your paid marketing efforts. At Tuff, we often break our tactics on paid acquisition down into two main categories: prospecting, and retargeting. We use Black Crow for both types of targeting. 

For Prospecting Efforts: 

After installing Black Crow and letting it generate enough data to begin to use (usually within a week based on our experience, but it depends on traffic volume for your website to ultimately decide), you can create lookalike audiences of the high, medium, and low intent users. These lookalike audiences can be used to reach new users who match the characteristics of your most (and least!) likely audiences to purchase, and allows you to scale ad spend horizontally to new audiences without guessing what characteristics they contain. 

For Retargeting Efforts:

The majority of your audience that visits your website isn’t going to convert. Let’s face it- most websites have a bounce rate between 50-70%, meaning that between 50-70% of the traffic leaves the website within a minute without visiting a second page. Usually this rate is even higher for prospecting traffic. 

Since Black Crow allows marketers to use their predictive audiences to bucket users by intent – high, medium, and low, you can control your spend and efforts by the quality of users you’re targeting. It makes sense to focus on users who are more likely to convert, and then remarket education and engagement-based creative to less likely to convert users to increase their intent. These sorts of efficiencies free up additional spend for even more prospecting, increasing your overall marketing reach. 

Do predictive audiences work for eCommerce marketing?

In summary, YES.

After managing over $1 million in spend for Black Crow specific audiences, we can safely say that Black Crow is very effective in scaling prospecting efforts and making retargeting efforts more efficient. (And no we aren’t a partner with Black Crow and they didn’t ask us to write this post). 

So we answered the question that these Black Crow audiences do, in fact, work for ecommerce and that they’re effective. Now let’s answer the question of how effective? Let’s put our money where our mouth is. Since incorporating these audiences, we saw cost per purchase drop and our conversion rates jump across the board over the course of 90 days:  

  • Prospecting = 48% decrease in CPS and a 55% increase in CVR
  • Retargeting = 53% decrease in CPS and a 16% increase in CVR

Like a cast iron skillet, the more the pixel was used, the better our predictive audiences became (in both prospecting and retargeting). It stands to reason that predictive audiences refine the accuracy of their lookalike data, as well as create better predictive scores for a more refined user targeting experience the more it is used. 

Alongside these Black Crow audiences, we were running broader interest/behavior audiences and other retargeting audiences. To further put into perspective the effectiveness of Black Crow:

  • Prospecting = 23% of total prospecting purchase volume came from two Black Crow audiences
  • Retargeting = 58% of the total retargeting purchase volume came from three Black Crow audiences 

By utilizing Black Crow predictive audiences across different paid platforms, we were able to get a comprehensive look at the significant impact these audiences had (and are still having) on performance. 

What advertising channels can I use predictive audiences for? 

Any advertising channel that supports the use of first-party data should allow you to use predictive audiences as a part of your targeting efforts. At Tuff, we use Black Crow for a variety of paid acquisition channels, including: 

  • Facebook (Meta)
  • Instagram (Meta)
  • TikTok
  • Snapchat
  • Pinterest
  • Google Search (as an observation audience)
  • Youtube

Ready to use predictive audiences in your ecommerce marketing strategy?

Want to unlock further ecommerce scale and efficiency, or learn more about how to leverage predictive audiences for your ecommerce scaleup? Let’s chat!

scrolling pinterest on a computer

Advertising on Pinterest: Ad Formats, Campaign Types & Best Practices for 2022

scrolling pinterest on a computer

Imagine someone is preparing for a trip to Oahu for the first time. They’ve never been a big traveler and they honestly can’t remember the last time they took off from work for a week and took a vacation. They don’t know what to do when they get there. They don’t know how to pack. They don’t know much about the different airlines and they certainly don’t know what workouts they should do to prepare for the incredible pictures they plan to take. So what do they do?

First they go to Google, as anybody would when they have a question. They scroll a bit and see some pretty commercial articles, so they decide “ehh, I’d rather read something else”. They click a couple YouTube videos in the search results, and those help a lot! The problem is, they saw all of these fun things to do but there are still so many questions. So what now?

Well, they take a scroll on Pinterest to find the answer to all of their questions. They find articles on traveling to Oahu, and pins about outfits to wear. They look up what to pack for their trip and they come across this pin about this incredible revolutionary thing called packing cubes from this company called Away. It piques their interest, so they click it and after reading a pretty good article, they’re absolutely convinced they need packing cubes otherwise their trip won’t be as good. 

So they do what any reasonable 20 something old would do. They head over to Amazon to look for packing cubes. They scroll and scroll but for some reason they can’t make a decision. All of these cubes look great! And they look the same! But in the back of their mind, they’re thinking about those packing cubes from Away. So after spending way too much time on Amazon, they go back to Pinterest and look up which packing cubes are the best. Again, they see this pin from Away! This time they’re convinced it’s fate. So they type in Away into the google search bar, land on the website and buy themselves those packing cubes from Away.

This is the beautiful power of Pinterest and Pinterest Ads for brands. Pinterest, one of the largest social networks, is a visual based social network that allows people to share all kinds of video and blog content in the form of Pins.  These Pins are shared over and over giving brands a plethora of exposure as users scroll through looking for inspiration for their next endeavor in life.

Benefits of Pinterest Ads

There are so many reasons why Pinterest ads might just be worth the squeeze. With a growing audience, it’s no wonder why advertisers are flocking to the social media site to place their products in front of prospective customers. As an e-commerce growth agency, this is a channel we’re constantly testing and optimizing as we look to diversify the overall channel mix. 

Your next customer is on Pinterest

It’s true. Your next customer probably uses Pinterest for inspiration, recipes, or finding new workouts to make them look like a pro in the gym without setting off the lunk alarm. In fact I’d argue that the odds are in your favor. Pinterest has over 475 million monthly active users and between October 2020 and March 2021, there were over 1.2 billion total visits. So, the numbers are there.

But Who’s Really On Pinterest?

Well the easy answer is everyone. And for the parts of everyone that aren’t there yet, they’re coming soon like a long awaited Marvel movie. While over 75% of users on Pinterest identify as female, male users have grown 40% year over year and continue to grow. 

No matter what age your target audience is, chances are that Pinterest has them covered too. Gen Z Pinners are up 40% year over year, and Millennial Pinners are up 35% in the same period. Over a third of Pinterest users are 50+ years old and another third falls into the 30-49 year old camp. The last third represent us Zillennials (too old to be Gen Z but too young to be Millennials) and our oft confused colleagues, Gen Zs.

But Does Pinterest Drive Purchases Though???

I hear you. I hear you. Having users is cool, but the real question is does Pinterest drive purchases, or leads, or conversions?

Fortunately there’s an answer to that quandary.  It is no secret that many Pinners come to the platform for inspiration. In fact, 89% of users reported using the platform for just that very purpose. The behavior that followed though may be enough to make you clean your glasses.

98% of Pinners reportedly go out and try ideas they see on Pinterest (*cough* ab workouts and birria tacos?? *cough*). And that’s not even the most exciting part for brands. Let’s make things more interesting eh? 

89% of users use Pinterest for purchase inspiration, and according to Pinterest, 80%…yes EIGHTY percent of weekly Pinners make purchase decisions on Pinterest. Zooming out just a wee bit, and about 50% of all Pinners have made a purchase after seeing a Promoted Pin.  Add in that  2/3rds of Pinners have discovered a new brand, service, or product they might not have otherwise known about thanks to a Promoted Pin, and it gets harder to deny the obvious potential here.

So How Do Pinterest Ads Work Then?

That’s a bit of a loaded question don’t you think? But I’ll answer it as best as I can.

Bidding on Pinterest

 For starters Pinterest, like most other paid acquisition channels, use bidding to decide what ad to show and at what cost. In Pinterest you can either set custom bids, or you can let them do it for you. 

With custom bids, you set the maximum you want to spend for a particular action or bid. Then Pinterest will attempt to get you the most results that it can given your maximum spend limit. You can adjust and tweak this as often as you’d like throughout the day.

With Automatic Bidding, Bids are updated by Pinterest automatically throughout the day. Pinterest aims to get you the most Pin clicks at the lowest possible cost per result while also spending your entire budget. This may sound fantastic, but automatic bidding comes with its own risks. There is a potential for price fluctuations as Pinterest works to learn what customers to go after to get the best results and adjusts for competition.

Keyword Targeting On Pinterest

One of the really cool things about Pinterest ads is that the platform allows you to use keywords. In fact Pinterest is one of the largest search engines in the world after Google and YouTube. So it makes sense that there would be some search engine like functionality in the ads platform right?

Well there is, and using this correctly definitely makes a difference for both paid and organic pin strategies. We’ll stick to the paid for this discussion though.  

Keywords can be an incredibly powerful arrow in your arsenal. It is so powerful in fact that there is a small legion of bloggers across the web that swear by keyword only campaigns. They may have a point. There are over 2 billion searches typed in on average per month and 98% of searches are unbranded. That’s a lot of opportunity to get in front of customers that are looking for inspiration and new solutions to their problems.

So maybe that aforementioned blogger legion has a point but I’m more keen to use all the tools to get the job done instead of settling for Maslow’s hammer.

ad targeting options on Pinterest

Interest Targeting On Pinterest

That’s where interest targeting comes in. Inside of Pinterest’s ad platform, you have the option to target interests. Pinterest, like TikTok, has a list of interest buckets that you can target. Users and content are placed into those buckets based on their search history and interests. Then you can target them. The problem is the interest targeting is a bit limited. There’s not as expansive a list of interests to target on pinterest as what you’d find on Facebook Meta but, there are quite a few options that could move the needle.

Ultimately, the name of the game is testing. Test Fast. Learn Fast. Move Fast. Setup AB tests to determine which strategy works best for you. Maybe it’s an only interest campaign. Maybe it’s a keyword only campaign. Maybe it’s one set of keywords vs another set. Maybe what works best for you is to use both interests and keywords in the same ad group! With paid social, try not to get too hung up on what worked before in one platform. Instead keep an open mind and try different things intentionally.

pinterest advertising targeting options

Pinterest Ads In Action 

This is exactly the approach that we took with one of our Ecommerce partners, let’s call them Brilliance to keep their identity anonymous. Brilliance sells a product that is absolutely perfect for women of all ages, especially women with some disposable income. The product positions incredibly well beside coffee and tea products. 

So we came up with a theory. We theorized that if we combined interest targeting with keywords, we might just be able to get our product in front of people that would actually purchase it. We quickly came up with a plan that would include keyword targeting and combined targeting. We opted not to test interest targeting in this instance because we had seen bad results with it in the past.

The results were better than we hoped. We initially launched with the combined targeting and after the first week, we saw a CPA (cost per acquisition) that was 50% of what we saw on Meta. 

Not trusting our eyes, we gave it another week, and again results came in strong. We weren’t done learning yet though. So, we created the keyword only campaign. Out of the gate it struggled with CPAs about twice as high as Meta results. 

We knew that Pinterest used view-through conversions though, so we decided to give it up to a week in accordance with our attribution window of 7 days post click. The results?

I’m glad you asked. The CPAs DID drop as time passed and Pinterest learned more about the right customers. So we did what anybody would do when they struck gold. We added more shovels! Well in this case we added budget incrementally. As we did this, costs rose slightly but the results continued to hold.

Custom Audiences On Pinterest

Along with the option to target specific keywords and interests on Pinterest, as an advertiser, you also get the opportunity to target custom audiences. These custom audiences will look familiar if you’ve used any other ad platform before. From prospecting audiences like act alikes to retargeting audiences, there are choices for you to accomplish your goal.

Act Alike Targeting 

Think of this like a lookalike on Facebook. This is an audience that looks and acts just like the audience you used as the source. This is a great way to find an audience that has behavior similar to people who already took an action you like.

Engagement

This audience goes after people that recently interacted with your Pins. This audience can be super powerful for a bunch of reasons. Since I’ll explain it later in another less lengthy post, I’ll summarize here. This audience uses in platform behavior signals, and that means that Pinterest has full ability to track them. Engagers also interacted with your content recently so they’re warmer than somebody that never heard of you. As far as retargeting goes, there aren’t many better options.

Site Visitors

This audience targets people who have visited your site and been tracked via the Pinterest tag.  This is a great audience because it means that the person is definitely familiar with you and probably lower in the funnel if they’ve visited your site.

Customer List

This audience targets people who have a pinterest account and are on a customer list you upload. This can be a great way to retarget prior purchasers with a new offer, or product launch. There’s even some evidence that suggests that Pins with the word New on them see a pretty substantial engagement lift. 

Should You Use Pinterest For Your Business?

Pinterest is definitely not for everyone and every business. That caveat being said, there is definitely opportunity there for ecommerce brands and service businesses. The important thing to remember is that people come to Pinterest to look for inspiration, and not necessarily to buy a product or service. So before you decide that Pinterest is right for your business ask yourself a few questions:

  • Who is my target audience?
  • What products or lifestyle activities does my product or service fit next to?
  • What DIY problem am I solving? 

And always remember that social ads and digital marketing is always about testing. If you answer the above questions and still feel fuzzy just follow my mantra: Test Fast, Learn Fast, Move Fast.

working to increase budgets on different ad platforms

How To Scale Ad Spend Quickly (Without Spiking Costs)

working to increase budgets on different ad platforms

Scaling effectively is one of the hardest things to do with your Facebook ads. As a growth marketing agency, one of the problems potential partners come to us most often with is that they’ve gained some sort of traction with their Facebook ads, but don’t know how to efficiently ramp up spend. 

To someone not well versed in Facebook advertising, this seems like an easy solution. You’ve got campaigns that are working, so just jack up your daily budgets and start counting your profits! Makes sense right?

If only it were that easy….

Anyone who has experience running Facebook ads knows just how fragile account performance can be. A number of different factors can take your performance for a roller coaster ride, and changing ad spend is one of the largest ones. Growth Marketers are on a seemingly endless quest for stability and predictable results. While that quest will likely never be completed, being mindful of how we adjust our spending on Facebook and our other ad channels will get us one step closer to the promised land of steady results.

Before you can begin increasing your spend on Facebook you need to answer an important question.

Is my ad account ready to start scaling?

One thing we really stress here at Tuff when looking at budgets for our social ads channels is that adding additional budget at an underperforming channel or campaign won’t help your results. There are many problems in life that can be solved by throwing money at them, but poor advertising results isn’t one of them. 

There are three stages to running campaigns on Facebook when you’re looking to achieve success at scale:

  1. Traction 
  2. Scale
  3. Profit

To sum these steps up, traction is where you put in the work to achieve consistent profitable results, scale is where you increase budgets steadily while still maintaining profitability, and profit is where you swim in your money Scrooge McDuck style.

You’ve got to walk before you can run. The traction phase is where you define what profitability looks like from an account results standpoint. This benchmark will vary greatly depending on your business model. It could be a specific cost per lead, ROAS number or cost per new customer. Whatever it is, you need to understand this tipping point before considering scaling up your budget. This should really be figured out before running ads at all, but that’s for another blog post.

Once you’ve defined your profitability metrics, you’ve got to go out and hit them. Go test audiences, ad creative, and copy combinations until you’ve determined the targeting and messaging needed to hit your profitability metrics.

Before you start scaling, you’ll want to be sure you’re hitting these numbers with some consistency. With how volatile Facebook advertising can be, it’s very likely that you can hit these goals one day, and not even come close the next. You’ll want to see results above your profitability threshold for a significant amount of time before you begin scaling. The amount of time will be different depending on what budget level you start at, but a good rule of thumb is 2-3 weeks of hitting KPIs before increasing your budget.

So now that we’ve got traction, it’s time to look at increasing our budgets, which is the whole reason you’re reading this article. As I mentioned earlier, scaling up too quickly can shock the Facebook algorithm and tank your results, so we always look to scale methodically to avoid that. There are two methods of scaling that we use, which we refer to as vertical scaling and horizontal scaling. We use a combination of these to increase overall budget. Let’s get into what they are. 

Scaling vertically

Vertical scaling is the easiest way to increase your ad spend on Facebook. When you scale vertically you’re taking your existing campaign structure and increasing the daily budgets for those campaigns or ad sets. In reality, this is just fancy marketing speak for taking your budget and making it larger, but there is some nuance involved.

It is possible to kick your ad sets back into the “Learning Phase” if you increase your budgets too quickly. An ad set being in the learning phase is an indicator that the algorithm is still working to stabilize your results. While in this state you can expect more volatility and higher than normal costs per action. An ad set leaves the learning phase after about 50 conversion events, at which point performance stabilizes a bit.

Needless to say we want to get out of the learning phase as quickly as possible and stay out of it.

learning phase in ads manager

“Large edits” to a campaign or ad sets will move ad sets back into the learning phase, with large increases to budget being one of those possible edits. Specifically, more than a 20% increase in spend to a campaign or ad set will be enough to get sent back to learning phase time out. 

All of this is to say keep your daily spend increases to 19% or less of your budget if your ad sets are out of the learning phase. If your ad sets aren’t out of learning just yet, it’s probably a good idea to wait for that to happen before increasing spend.

Scaling horizontally 

There is always going to be a point when scaling your existing structure starts to yield diminishing returns. As much as we’d like to scale effective campaigns and ad sets to infinity, there comes a point where you’ve maxed out the amount of spend you can pump into a campaign structure before you have to expand outward to find new efficiencies.

Horizontal scaling is where you look for opportunities outside of your existing structure, usually in the form of new audiences, to spend budget. Audience testing is a huge part of being successful with Facebook advertising and chances are if you’ve made it to the point where you are scaling up your budget, you’ve done your fair share of audience testing already (remember finding traction?)

You’re definitely going to want to find these avenues of potential scale before you need to, so as you’re scaling vertically, it’s always a good idea to test new audiences to see if you can gain traction outside of your existing structure. 

When introducing new ad sets, it’s generally best to set the daily budget equal or lower than what your other campaigns/ad sets are at. The last thing you want to do is introduce a new audience at a really high daily budget only to see no traction and burn through a significant amount of ad spend without much return.

Once you see traction from a new audience, you can apply the vertical scaling principals I outlined earlier in the article, rinse and repeat.

Conclusion

Facebook loves consistency when it comes to running an ad account. Want to make a big change to an existing campaign? You’re usually going to get punished in the form of higher costs for a period of time. When scaling up your spend, make sure to stay below that 20% per day threshold to avoid having your ad sets get kicked back into the Learning Phase. Seeing rising costs as you’re scaling your existing structure? It’s probably time to look to scale horizontally with some new audiences.

Want to learn more about how we help our partners achieve results at scale? Set up a call with our team to discuss how we can apply our growth marketing expertise to your business! We’d love to hear from you! 

Person getting ready for a jog.

Kicking Dynamic Creative Ads to the Curb: How we Decreased CPA by 66% For Joyn

Person getting ready for a jog.

Joyn represents everything positive about the future of movement. True, we’re biased, but one of the best parts of what we do is choosing who we work with. And the truth is, our jobs are much, much easier (and more fun!) when we believe in our partners’ business. So, it goes without saying: we’re big fans of Joyn. 

Simply, Joyn is a movement app for every body. Built on the conviction that feeling the joy and freedom of movement shouldn’t be exclusive to muscular influencers in size 00, Joyn’s online library includes a wide range of videos led by instructors that are positive, warm, and inclusive—truly. At the beginning of each class, the instructor introduces themselves, shares their pronouns, and takes a moment to talk through their recommended modifications to the movement they’re about to facilitate. That way, people that might need to be seated can still have fun and participate. 

When Joyn reached out to us in late 2020, they had a well-established brand, product market fit, and a growing (and super excited) audience. But what they were looking to accomplish was replicating their positive growth across multiple channels and supercharging it with a growth marketing agency like Tuff. 

The Backstory

When we jumped in and got access to Joyn’s Facebook Business Manager, there was already quite a bit of historical data accumulated from past campaigns they had been running.

Similarly to many new Tuff clients, Joyn knew that Facebook Ads were a key tactic for scaling their subscription user base, so their in-house team jumped in, whipped up some creative, and launched ads to start getting a finger on the pulse of which combination of targeting and creative would drive the most conversions on the site. 

Truthfully, for any startup seeking product-market fit, this is the perfect approach. Get scrappy, launch some ads, glean some learnings, and when you’re established and ready to scale, call in more resources. 

When we stepped in, we did it with a pointed goal: drive down CPS. We paired with a clear game plan:

  1. Dig into the historical data 
  2. Test Non-Dynamic Creative 
  3. Get UGC Influencer Style Creative 
  4. Optimize what performs, ditch the rest

Joyn’s Facebook Dynamic Creative Ads: Were they Working?

After pulling and organizing the historical data, we realized that Joyn was relying heavily on dynamic creative ads, giving us an excellent place to jump in and uncover more insights. 

Dynamic ads require the Facebook strategist (or whomever is executing the ads strategy) to jump into the platform and upload several different types of creative along with several different headlines and body copy. Then, when the ad is published, Facebook—using its algorithm—automatically tests different combinations, eventually prioritizing the combinations that are most effective (“effectiveness” is measured based on whether you’ve chosen to run a conversion, traffic, video views, reach, brand awareness, or app install campaign). While generally, marketers can see some positive results using this approach, there are some significant drawbacks:

  • It’s a challenge to drop in creative that’s going to be cohesive no matter what combination Facebook serves
  • It’s relatively challenging to optimize on the fly with dynamic creative campaigns

So, we decided to take matters into our own hands and launch non-dynamic ads. The results speak for themselves. 

Launching Non-Dynamic Ads: a 66% Decrease in CPS

Our main goal when we launched non-dynamic ads was to first optimize spend toward the best performing asset. Although typically when we pivot to test new Facebook strategies (whether it’s a new audience, new bid type, or new ad creative) results are far from immediate—especially given Facebook’s seven-day attribution window.

But, after just $545 of spend, we saw a sharp drop of 62% and within the very first week we saw a 66% decrease in CPS. 

  • Dynamic Spend: $6,583.44 | 153 Start Trials | CPS: $43.03
  • Non-Dynamic Spend: $1,744.40 | 121 Start Trials | CPS: $14.41

faceboook cps decrease chat

True, non-dynamic ads aren’t for everyone. They necessitate a much closer eye and the oversight of someone that can spend time reallocating budget to best performing assets and manually testing creative combinations frequently. When done right, though, the results speak for themselves. 

Fresh Creative: Tapping Into Influencers

Next up on our agenda for Joyn was to deep dive into their creative assets and emerge with…

  1. A full assessment of the creative that’s historically been performing at the top of the pack
  2. Clear ideas for new types of creative we’d like to test

Here’s a peek at what that looked like.

We noted that the strongest-performing creative tended to be shorter videos that open with high energy and/or full-screen movement. Both of our best-performers featured a modified way to access the movement, and bright colors with quick, varying shots. Finally, we were immediately able to see recognizable Joyn branding. 

Strength Training Video  |   Yoga Video

So, the next steps: recommending fresh creative. Joyn’s library of body-positive movement classes is populated by a cohort of inclusive, positive, extremely personable coaches. So when we recommended testing influencer content, we were able to create fun, big-energy new creative on a few day turnaround without having to source or negotiate with influencers. 

We were able to get two raw videos back from two of Joyn’s most memorable coaches, Kanoa Greene and Anna Chapman, use Joyn’s internal team for some extra editing and text overlay, and deploy them without a hitch. 

While there are a few extra steps to take (both on the Joyn Instagram page and on the influencer’s personal page) once we began promoting the two videos, the results were extremely interesting.

  • Kanoa Greene Influencer Campaign: $643.18 | 14 Start Trials | CPS: $45
  • Best-Performing Audience: “Female Leaders” — CPS: $14.81

The name of the game for Joyn: drive a CPS of less than $20. And while our results for Anna’s influencer campaign were not quite as tight, serving Kanoa’s ad to fresh audiences, rotating in new copy, and testing new placements have us seeing results that are closer to what we’re aiming for. 

Ready to See What Works Best For You on Social?

While we have been able to deep dive into both creative strategy and rigorous optimizations with Joyn, no two brands are built the same. Have a suite of creative you think we could supercharge? 

Let us take a deep dive into your brand and develop a strategy built for your business. 

Download a Sample Growth Marketing Proposal

Got a Crappy iPhone Video? You’ve Got the Perfect Facebook Ad

A selfie of three smiling friends on the beach

There’s no one-size-fits-all recipe for successful social ad creative. After working with 50+ brands in all kinds of industries and executing countless A/B tests, we’ve learned a thing or two about what good paid social creative looks like. 

Disclaimer: what works for one account might not work for another. Make sure you’re testing different kinds of creative to find what works best for your brand. 

Yes, every Facebook ad account has its creative differences. But when it comes to the Facebook ad creative that works the best in 2021, there are definitely some common themes. Check out our tips for developing Facebook ad creative that yields the best results.

Low Fidelity Video > Everything Else

Say “hello” to iPhone videos, and “see ya later” to hella expensive video production. On most all of our accounts, low-fidelity iPhone quality video typically outperforms the polished high-end video we’re testing against. 

Typically, brands think that developing video assets = 💸💸💸. But that isn’t the case. Shoot the video on your iPhone, edit it together in TikTok, and export it to use on other social channels. Mimic the latest video editing trends on social, and you can get scrappy with creating your own video content — and see great results.

We tested this for Felt — an app that lets you send handwritten cards right from your phone.

Note: our Facebook campaigns are optimized for app installs, and one of our primary KPIs for measuring success is cost per install (CPI). 

The CPI for ads that featured low-fidelity video assets was 20% lower than its high-fidelity video counterparts and 50% lower than image ads. 

 

 

The data above shows the average CPI for $36K in Facebook spend. 

 

Curious? Check out some of our ad creative for Felt. This will help give you a better idea of what we’re talking about when we say low fidelity and high fidelity video content. 

Low Fidelity Example | High Fidelity Example

Over time, we’ve gleaned a few other tidbits for editing video for social ads. Selfie-style video of someone talking about your brand works really well (this could be the founder, an employee, or an influencer you’ve partnered with) – just make sure you add subtitles! We’ve also noticed that videos with subtitles and graphics that match the in-app design features are also some of our top performing video assets. Ask yourself: What are the kids makin’ on TikTok these days? And how can I copy and paste that style for my brand in a way that makes sense? 

What are Non-Dynamic Ads?

Dynamic ads allow you to upload up to 10 images, 7 videos, 5 captions and 5 headlines, and the algorithm will pair different combinations of creative together to make what it thinks is mostly like to perform the best. 

In theory, Facebook’s dynamic ad creative option sounds too good to be true. And my grandma always told me that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. 

For some brands, Facebook dynamic ads can work. But if you’re currently using dynamic ad creative and seeing less-than-stellar results, try switching back to the regular non-dynamic ad creative.

Non-dynamic ads give you more control to make optimizations, and it’s much easier to translate the data into actionable insights. 

When we onboard new clients at Tuff, we often see that they’ve been running dynamic ad creative on Facebook – especially if someone in-house has been running their Facebook ad campaigns because it’s such an easy ad format to execute. 

We experienced this with two Tuff clients: Joyn and Team Boocamp. One of the first optimizations we made was to switch their Facebook campaigns from dynamic to non-dynamic ads. 

And by making that simple switch, our cost per signup for Joyn and Team Bootcamp decreased 42% and 47% respectively. 

a sharp drop in Joyn's CPS after launching non-dynamic ads

Images with Text > Lifestyle Images

You would have never, ever caught me saying this two years ago, but well, here I am. Social media advertising is ever evolving, and so is our approach to developing creative for Facebook ads. 

Creating images with text used to be one of the biggest Facebook ad creative faux pas because of the 20% text rule – AKA the bane of my existence. 

When Facebook semi-recently did away with the 20% text rule (praise be), it changed the type of image creative that works best for ads. Now, images with graphics and text overlay tend to perform better than the typical lifestyle image. 

When you add a bit of text to an image, you give yourself more real estate to get your message across. Think about a text overlay on your image as your headline, and the native text elements in Facebook ads manager as supporting copy. 

We put this to the test for Offline – a restaurant subscription service in North Carolina. We found that graphics yielded an 48% lower cost per signup (CPS) compared to regular images with no text overlay. 

Aside from CPS, we saw that graphics had a stronger CTR, lower CPC, and drove healthier traffic to the site – doubling the time on site (TOS) compared to regular image ads. 

a chart that shows the decrease in price and increase in efficiency between images with graphics and images without

 

Interested in learning more about our A/B testing methods for social ads? Give us a shout

 

tuff-six-signs-its-time-to-update-your-facebook-ads

Six Signs It’s Time to Update Your Facebook Ads

Editor’s Note: This post has been updated with new links and examples for you to use! 

Has your Facebook ads performance dipped? Maybe your ads never achieved your desired outcome like increased eCommerce sales or lead generation. Facebook ads performance can drop off — or never take off at all –– for a variety of factors, but one of the most crucial is your ad creative (copy, images, and video). 

Across our clients, Tuff manages anywhere from $1,500 – $100,000 / month in Facebook ad spend. This article pulls from this experience and outlines six factors we’ve identified that can indicate it’s time to update your Facebook ads creative. 

If you don’t have the time to read these detailed explanations, here’s the tl;dr on when to know it’s time to replace your Facebook ads creative: 

  • Campaigns costs are going up / objective completion
  • Ad frequency is getting high causing dreaded ‘ad fatigue’ 
  • Facebook ‘Ad Diagnostic’ scores are ‘below average’
  • Google Analytics is telling you performance has declined 
  • Facebook makes an update to any part of the user experience
  • You’re not selling more or generating more leads despite an initial bump in performance after the campaign launch 

If your ads just didn’t perform in the first place, check your targeting. Even the best ad creative will tank if you aren’t targeting the right audience.

Before jumping into this read, please note, much of what we discuss is irrelevant if your tracking is out of whack. This article assumes that the Facebook Pixel, Google Analytics, and/or other tracking mechanisms are in place to measure your Facebook Ad performance. Unless otherwise stated, all mentions about measurement and metrics are in reference to data available in the Facebook Ads manager and Google Analytics. 

Campaign costs are going up. Is the cost for your campaign objective going up?

We typically focus on Facebook campaign objectives of traffic, leads (website conversions), or eCommerce website purchases. If you’re seeing the average costs for these objectives go up, it may be time to update your ads. For instance, if your campaign used to average $4 per website conversion, but now averages $6, it may be time for an ad refresh.  

Before you get an update underway, verify that the ad set level learning phase is complete (it takes at least 50 events to exit the learning phase, so depending on your budget and campaign objective, it could take a few weeks to exit the learning phase!), no major edits have been done to the campaign, and that there aren’t external factors at play. For instance, an eCommerce apparel brand might see spikes around the holiday shopping season but then dip at the start of the new year. Or a boot camp designed to help med students study might see huge growth at the beginning of the semester, but then taper off after a few months.

Your ad frequency is getting high (AKA ad fatigue)

Ad frequency is an average of how many times people in your target audience have seen your ads. It’s calculated by dividing the total impressions by the total reach. 

Although there’s no hard and fast rule to abide by, our team likes to evaluate ads for declines in performance at around a frequency of 2. Ad frequency is more of an art form to evaluate though, because frequencies that trigger declines in performance may vary by industry and audience. We have seen frequencies of over 10 lead to conversions in niche B2B verticals. 

High frequencies often lead to a phenomenon called ‘ad fatigue’ wherein your audience is simply tired of seeing your ad. Unlike paid search where intent is high, social ads are intrusive, and interrupt a user’s feed. High frequency and decreasing performance may mean your audience is tired of your ad, and that you should fire up new copy and creative. 

Facebook Relevance Scores are Average or Below Average

Facebook has assigned a ‘relevancy’ score on ads for years. In summer 2019, they broke out relevancy into three categories outlined below. The relevancy scores are now out of three possible ratings, above average, average, and below average. If your ads are scoring ‘below average’ especially in the ‘conversion rate ranking’ or ‘quality ranking’ category, consider a media and copy update. 

Facebook Ad Relevance Diagnostic Categories 

  • Quality Ranking – does your ad ‘fit’ within your audience’s newsfeed? Your ad will receive the worst rating of ‘below average’ if your audience feels like the ad is salesy, trashy, or spam. 
  • Engagement Rate Ranking – similar to organic post’s engagement metrics, are users liking, commenting, and sharing your ad? If your ad can make these things happen you’ll land best marks of ‘above average’ in this category.  
  • Conversion Rate Ranking – will users take the conversion action you’ve optimized your campaign for? Scoring an ‘above average’ here, means users are more likely to ‘convert’ from your ad than average Facebook ads. 

These Facebook Ad Relevance Diagnostics are scored comparatively across ads on Facebook. The ‘below average’ rating in any category will also tell you if you’re in the bottom 35%, 20%, or 10% of ads overall. Poor marks in ad diagnostics are one of the best indications your ad creative should be updated. 

What does Google Analytics reporting tell you?

Google Analytics can be a great arbiter of truth by offering an unbiased look at your Facebook Ads performance. At Tuff, we’ve made it a practice to gut check Facebook campaign reporting with Google Analytics reporting (don’t be surprised when you see that the analytics differ between the two platforms – we often find our Facebook metrics to be slightly inflated compared to Google Analytics). 

Using UTM parameters on all Facebook ads allows us to see how the campaign objective, audience and creative perform. In Google Analytics, take a look at your Facebook campaign and individual ad set’s cost per session over time. Look at goal completions. If costs are going up or conversions are going down as reported by Google Analytics, it’s a good indicator that it is time to refresh your ads. 

Facebook makes (another) update

Facebook and Instagram are constantly evolving to improve the user experience, and some of those changes call for updates to your ad creative to stay timely and relevant. For example, TikTok and Instagram Reels have changed the way people watch video. Short, vertical videos edited in a style that matches a particular sound are killing it right now. 

When an update like this happens, it might be time to update your antiquated video creative to stay relevant. Remember, social ads interrupt a user’s feed – make sure you’re interrupting it with content that makes sense. 

How’s your bottom line looking?

Facebook and Google Analytics tracking isn’t perfect for a variety of reasons, so at the end of the day, it’s important to evaluate your own balance sheet. Are more or fewer customers becoming leads or making purchases online? Have increases to Facebook campaigns correlated with upticks in business? 

Because of differences in attribution between the two platforms, we often see goal increases in organic and direct site traffic that correlate with an increase in Facebook spend, even though Facebook has a seemingly negative ROAS. 

Is that uptick starting to wane? Use common sense, if you launched a $10,000/month Facebook campaign and saw an uptick in business, the campaign is likely playing a role. When performance declines, it’s time to reset.

Conclusion

Facebook thrives on novelty. People are on Facebook for a number of reasons, but when they’re in the app or on Facebook.com, it’s rare they’re looking for an advertiser’s product or service specifically. Ads should be optimized to stop someone’s scroll and get them to take action. 

As a rule, it’s often good to start planning your next round of Facebook ads before performance ever dips. This way, you’re not caught on your heels when one of the above factors causes a dip in performance. Though great ads paired with ideal audiences can have a tenure of several months, we like to plan for new Facebook Ads creative every 4-6 weeks.

Own Your Assets: How to Set Up Your Facebook Account for Success

You’re ready to start running Facebook and Instagram ads, but not sure where to start? Or you’re not sure how to keep all of your assets organized?

Here at Tuff, we work with businesses who’ve just begun to run Facebook ads, those who spend thousands of dollars each month on the channel, and many in between. We’ve learned a thing or two about how to (…and how not to) set your Facebook accounts up for success. 

This blog has plenty of Facebook jargon. Here’s a handful of definitions to help you keep things straight:

  • Facebook Asset: One of the many Facebook properties that have to be created in order to run ads on the channel (page, ad account, pixel, and product catalog are the main ones).
  • Business Manager: Facebook’s central hub for organizing all of your assets.
  • Personal Profile: Your personal Facebook account, where you go to connect with friends and groups you’re part of. This is granted access to your Facebook page via Business Manager (if set up correctly), but is separate from your business’s Facebook assets. 

Common Mistakes

When we onboard new clients, we often run into two common setup mistakes:

  1. Previous agency partners own the brand’s Facebook ad account, pixels, pages, and product catalogs because they created them.
  2. Their ad account and page is owned by a personal profile rather than a Business Manager account. 

One of the biggest hiccups we run into is when a previous agency or marketing partner creates the ad account and pixel for the brand. This often means that the user who created the asset also owns the asset. And when that partnership ended, the previous agency still owned all those assets they created. 

This is why Tuff coaches our clients on how to create their own ad accounts, then grant our team proper access to it. 

Why It’s Important to Own Your Own Assets

Fundamentally, we believe in transparency with our clients, and that starts with how we set our channels up before we launch campaigns. When you own your Facebook assets, you also own the data you need to make marketing decisions. 

What is Business Manager? 

Facebook Business Manager helps advertisers integrate Facebook marketing efforts across their business with external partners (like Tuff!). It acts as a central place to manage your business, separate from your personal Facebook profile. 

This free platform allows you to run and track ads, manage your pages and ad accounts, and add agency partners. 

As Facebook advances the measures it takes to prevent spam accounts, it’s becoming more essential for brands to set up a Business Manager account rather than own all assets through a personal profile. 

It’s essential that someone on your team—usually the business owner or marketing manager—creates the Business Manager account. The personal profile that creates the Business Manager will also own the Business Manager. If necessary in the future, you can change ownership, but you have to go through Facebook support to do so. 

Giving Your Agency Partners the Correct Access

Once you’ve created your Business Manager account, you’ll want to assign your agency’s Business Manager as a partner. Then, you’ll click “Share Assets” to give them the access they need to your ad account, pixel, page, etc.

Here at Tuff, a Growth Marketer will provide you with detailed instructions during the onboarding phase to help make sure you’re set up properly! 

Interested in learning more about our social advertising service? Give us a shout! 

 

iOS 14 is Coming: How Improved User Privacy Will Affect Targeting, Tracking, and Optimizing Facebook Ads

Apple’s latest iOS update will restrict data usage in an effort to hold apps to a higher standard when it comes to user privacy. At the heart of it, this will affect how your Facebook pixel receives data, which could negatively impact your targeting, tracking, and optimizations. Have you thought about what this means for your Facebook ads strategy? We have! And we’re here to help. 

What exactly is the iOS 14 update? 

As part of Apple’s new AppTrackingTransparency framework, there are two big changes coming with iOS 14 that impacts how apps use your data. 

  1. Apps will be required to describe how they’ll use your data in the App Store.
  2. You’ll begin to receive a notification from each app asking permission to use your data to track you across apps and websites.

Facebook anticipates that many people will opt out of app tracking on iOS devices, which could negatively impact targeting that allows for a more personal advertising experience for users and performance reporting. 

Changes Facebook’s Making To Prepare for iOS 14

In preparation for iOS 14 and Apple’s AppTrackingTransparency framework, Facebook’s making a few notable changes to Ads Manager that will impact how we build out campaigns. (Some of this gets technical, so bear with us!) 

Check out this list of changes that Facebook’s making and how you can prepare your ad accounts for them!

#1 Conversion Events

Starting in early 2021, advertisers will be limited to using only eight conversion events per domain set up on your Facebook pixel. Once this goes into effect, ad sets optimized beyond the eight prioritized conversion events will be paused. 

How You Can Prepare:

 

#2 Value Optimization

This update will really only affect e-commerce brands with large product catalogs that rely on dynamic ads. If that’s not you, skip ahead to number three!

Value Optimization is a delivery setting you can currently enable at the ad set level in Facebook Ads Manager. It tells the algorithm to bid on audience members who are most likely to spend more money. In theory, this helps improve your Return on Ad Spend (ROAS). 

Value sets will be moved from the ad set level to Events Manager, and will count as part of the eight conversion events that are allowed per domain. 

How You Can Prepare:

  • Start moving away from Value Optimization delivery (if you currently use it!)

 

#3 Tracking and Measurement

Facebook will be eliminating its 28-day attribution windows and instead, all ad accounts will default to the 7-day click attribution window. Attribution window settings will also be controlled at the ad set level instead of the ad account level. This will help ensure that conversions being measured are the same ones used to inform campaign optimizations. 

For app and web conversion events, the ability to use breakdowns is going away. You’ll no longer be able to break down your results for these events by age, gender, region, placement, etc. 

We won’t know definitively until the iOS 14 updates fully roll out in early 2021, but we’re expecting this change in attribution window to cause cost per results to increase. 

How You Can Prepare:

  • Update any automated rules using a 28-day attribution window.
  • Begin using the comparing windows feature in ads manager to see how conversions attributed to ads compare across different attribution windows. You can access this by creating custom columns in Ads Manager, then click “Comparing Windows” in the bottom right corner.

ios14-facebook-ads

#4 Dynamic Ads

No major changes will be happening to Dynamic Ads, but if you use them for Retargeting, you could start to see audiences sizes decrease and lower performance. For now, Facebook’s expecting minimal impact to broader prospecting audiences being served Dynamic Ads. 

How You Can Prepare

  • Verify your product URL domains in the catalog feed and avoid the use of URLs redirecting users to a different domain (no bit.ly!)
  • Prepare to use one pixel per catalog to optimize for prioritized conversion events across all catalog items.

 

There’s still so much to learn about how iOS 14 will impact Facebook advertising. 

At the end of the day, we won’t truly know the impact iOS 14 will have on Facebook advertising until these changes roll out. 

We don’t know how many Apple device users will opt-out of app tracking (although my gut says it’ll be the majority). We don’t know exactly how targeting and tracking will suffer. 

Each brand’s volume of iOS users will differ. Some brands will have higher percentages of iOS users compared to Android and desktop users than others. Start researching this in your ad account now by analyzing your device impressions breakdown.

While Facebook will be going through massive changes this year, several other social advertising channels have made huge strides in their paid acquisition offerings. Platforms like Pinterest, TikTok, LinkedIn and Twitter are upping their game, and now might be the time to diversify your social advertising channels if you’ve been reliant on Facebook up until now. 

If you’re interested in talking more about how to prep your ad account for iOS 14 or broaden your social advertising to other channels, let’s talk!