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. 

Ad frequency report from Facebook Ads

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). 

Reviewing Facebook Ads with Google Analytics data.

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! 

A user scrolling Twitter on their phone.

Twitter Ads: Three Easy Tests to See If Your Startup’s Audience Is On Twitter

A user scrolling Twitter on their phone.

Should Twitter Ads be a part of your Startup’s marketing stack?

The answer: it depends. In this article we’ll get into three easy tests (two of which are free), your company can run to see if your audience is on Twitter.

Before we get started, at a very high level, we know Twitter has tens of millions of active users. There are 48.5 active monthly users in the US. As of the end of Q1 2020 there are 166 “monetizable” Twitter users worldwide — users who can be served ads, and this number is growing.

Twitter ad stats.

More importantly, however, is your audience on Twitter? The following tests will help you answer this question.

Test Prerequisites: Twitter Ad Account with Credit Card on File

In order to run these three Twitter Ads audience tests, you’ll need a Twitter Ads account with an active credit card on file. Only test 3 will actually cost you money, but Twitter requires a credit card on file to access some of the ad account functionality to run these tests.

Here’s how to create a Twitter Ad Account.

Test 1: Upload A Lead List To Twitter

Easy, right?! In this no spend test, you’ll see if and what percentage of your leads or customers have Twitter accounts.

Steps

  1. Upload a customer or lead list to your Twitter Ads Account.
  2. In your ads.Twitter.com account go to:
    Tools > Audience Manager > select ‘Create New Audience’ > select ‘Upload Your Own List’ > File types CSV TSV, or TXT
  3. Wait 2-3 Days for Twitter to Process the list. Sometimes shorter, sometimes longer. Once processing is complete, how many users are in the audience?
    1. Audience too small – Your audience was matched with fewer than 100 Twitter users. This is not a viable audience for ad delivery, and obviously your list doesn’t have a lot of Twitter users. Maybe Twitter isn’t a good fit.
    2. Audience Size Reported – Let’s say you uploaded a list of 10,000 to Twitter, and the audience size is 2,000. This means 20% of your list is on Twitter.

The question to ask then is, do I want to serve ads on a channel where 1 out of 5 of your users spend time?

Test 2: Build A Retargeting List

Similar to test one, this test is both free and a great way to see if your audience is on Twitter. Retargeting in general is serving an ad to a person who has been to your website or app, a retargeting audience are the users that make up those visitors.

Steps

  1. Add the Twitter universal website tag to your site. (How to)
  2. Then, create a web traffic based retargeting audience.How to create a Twitter ad account.
  3. Wait several days to several weeks for Twitter to associate traffic to the specified page with Twitter users.

Assessing the results:

Did you get the: AUDIENCE SIZE TOO SMALL message? If your results look like this then your site doesn’t get more than 100 users who are associated with Twitter accounts.

Twitter audience size results.

If your site has very low traffic, it doesn’t mean your users aren’t on Twitter, it just means you don’t get enough users to form a retargeting list — a list that could make an ideal audience for Twitter ads.

If your site receives thousands or tens-of-thousands of visitors a month, then this warning is a red flag that your audience does not use Twitter.

Assessing audience count:

If however, you do get an audience count back, it tells you that people who visit your site also use Twitter, and you have a retargeting audience ready to go.

Like with the list approach in Test 1, do a simple math equation to calculate the ratio of Website Visitors to Twitter Audience size. If that ratio is high, then your audience is on Twitter.

Test 3: Twitter Ads Traffic Quality Test

This third test is the only one requiring payola. Let’s send some Twitter Ad traffic to your site!

Steps

  1. Build an awesome mobile-first landing page — bonus points if this page is only used for your Twitter campaign. (See the Advanced step below).Your landing page needs to offer up a great mobile experience, because 80% of Twitter users are on mobile devices. They’re in a scrolling mode on Twitter and if you convince them to click your ad, you’ll be wasting that click (and ad spend) if the user bounces because the page doesn’t load immediately.
  2. Launch an ad campaign. For this test, we recommend optimizing the campaign for lowest cost clicks, in order to get the maximum amount of traffic to your site, traffic that will provide valuable Twitter performance data in the next step.
  3. Assess your Twitter Ads Traffic.
    1. Using Google Analytics (your ad had UTM parameters, right?!) assess the Twitter Ads traffic quality. Metrics we like to look at are:
      1. Time on site
      2. Bounce rate
      3. Pageviews
    2. Total Twitter reported ads clicks vs. Google Analytics sessions are attributed to Twitter — this important ratio lets you know if people are clicking your Twitter Ad but not making it to your site. Let’s say there’s 1,000 ad clicks, but only 600 sessions reported in Google Analytics. This is a 40% drop off from ad click to your website. Your site’s mobile performance is certainly a factor, but big drop off numbers may indicate Twitter is not a viable channel.
  4. Advanced: Are you able to retarget Twitter Ads traffic on another channel? The spirit of this step is to see if traffic from Twitter will perform better when it’s coming from another channel. Perhaps when a user visits from Twitter, their attention span is too short to act in a desirable way, so by serving them an ad on another channel there’s an opportunity to see if it’s the users or the channel that lack quality.
  5. Because you buildt a dedicated Twitter Ads landing page in step one, you’re able to create page specific retargeting audiences for Google and Facebook Ads. Core questions to ask around this test are:
    1. What happens when you retarget the Twitter landing page traffic on another channel?
    2. Does the traffic quality improve or decline?
    3. How big are the retargeting audiences, especially as a ratio to traffic received from Twitter?

By running these three tests you have a low-cost way to see if Twitter Ads should be a part of your marketing mix.

Have a question about these tests, or need help setting them up? Please give us a shout.

Facebook mobile.

[Case Study] Facebook and Instagram Ads: How to go from $0 to $43,000/day Ad Spend on Facebook in 60 Days

Facebook ads for mobile apps.

Crunch time. An App partner (iOS & Android) needed to get a massive volume of installs ASAP to support a critical holiday important for their annual revenue and new customer acquisition. 

Over 60 days we went from $0 to $43,000 per day ad spend on Facebook & Instagram. Along the way we helped the app achieve its best revenue day ever, tripled their Instagram following (a positive side effect of the massive spend, and engaging ad creative), and brought in millions in lifetime value (LTV), all while keeping cost per install (CPI) on target. 

We’ll be using “CPI” a lot in this article, so take a moment to sear its meaning into your brain before you read on. Say it with me: “CPI = Cost per Install” 

Here’s what’s included:

  • Overview
  • Campaign Setup and Results Summary
  • Days 1-30: Testing to Find Facebook Ads, Audiences, and Settings that Scale
    • Creative that Scale 
    • Audiences that Scale
    • Ads Settings that Scale
    • Tracking Troubleshooting
  • Days 31-60 The Ramp Up and Final Push
    • More testing; audiences, creative, and settings 
    • Push Budgets to Winners  
    • Event Specific Creative Push 
    • Emergency! Account Spend Limit Hit & Workaround 
    • Emergency! App Stability 
    • Final Push and Rising CPI
  • Summary 
    • Top Ads
    • Performance 
    • Final Assessment and Key Takeaways

Campaign Setup and Results Summary: 

App install campaign data from Facebook Ads.

  • The Client: iOS and Android App with in-App Purchases 
  • Primary Channel: Facebook and Instagram App Install Ads
  • Supporting Channels:
    • iOS App Store Ads 
    • Google App Install Ads 
    • Pinterest App Install Ads 
    • Email (To drive in-app purchases and user-adoption post install) 
  • The Geo: 🇺🇸
  • The Results:
    • 60 Days
    • $263,000 Spend 
    • 97,975 Installs 
    • $2.68 Cost per Install (CPI) 
    • 9.2m Facebook Reach 
    • 26.8m Facebook Impressions 
  • Best revenue day in company history 
    • Bonus Performance Metrics
      • 2.1m video views 
      • 54,000 post reactions 
      • 11,000 post shares 
      • 6,000 New Instagram followers
      • Multiple ad variations went viral 
      • Featured in the App Store

Days 1-30: Identify Facebook Audiences, Creative, and Settings that Will Scale 

After an initial planning, strategy, and goal alignment phase we jumped in. In order to protect costs and efficiency, we spent the first 30 days testing creative concepts including layout variations, and ad copy; we tested 68 audiences, and different bid optimization strategies. This section will get into what and how we tested in the first 30 days. 

Finding Creative the Scales

We went through years of creative in the Facebook Ads Manager and identified ad variations and their attributes of top past performers. We looked at metrics like click through rate (CTR), cost per install (CPI), ad quality metrics and more to identify top ads. We looked at the ads copy, creative, CTAs, and ad formats (single image, carousel, and video). 

This research revealed: 

  • Top formats: Carousel, Single Image, Video 
  • Top creative: was explanatory or had humor 
  • Top Audiences were list and event based lookalikes 

The research resulted in 12 ad concepts to be paired with the different ad formats and creative. We used existing client creative, and worked with their design team on new creative options. 

Creative testing leaned on Facebook’s algorithm to serve the ad variation that would work best. Ad sets typically had 2-6 creative variations, and the Facebook algorithm would move budget to top performers, but the Facebook Algorithm didn’t work alone. 

The Tuff team would monitor ads daily, and turn off any ad variations or ad sets that had high CPI. This would force Facebook to spend more on the other variations, which sometimes would go on to become winners.  

Audience Research

The audience investigation was similar. What audiences had the best performance metrics? Were they segmented by age, gender, or geography? Were there exclusions (users specified not to receive an ad, e.g., existing app users?) 

Though we had initial ideas on what audiences would perform well, seeing historical audience performance, gave us a running start on audience development. 

Audience targeting results on Facebook.

For early learnings we looked at Facebook Demographic reporting in the Ad Account Overview. By Looking at Mobile App Installs compared to Amount Spent, we were able to identify which demographics were likely to have the best performance. In this instance we’re looking at the ratio of mobile app installs to amount spent by age group. To note, this trend didn’t hold through the 60 day push, so it is important to continue to target all ages so opportunities for installs aren’t missed. 

Note: Audiences are selected at the Ad Set level in the Facebook Ads Manager. At times in this Facebook case study, you may hear audiences and ad sets used interchangeably. 

Generally, the Facebook campaign structure is as follows: 

Facebook ads campaign structure diagram.

In the first 30 days we tested 63 audiences, paired with a mix of creative. For our tests, we’d typically have 4-8 ad sets per campaign, and 2-6 ad variations per ad set. Over the course of the test period we would turn off underperforming ads and ad sets to push more spend to winning mixes of audiences and creative variations. 

Facebook campaign structure.

As Facebook Ads performance data came in ads and ad sets we’re turned off, signified in the chart above by “🙅‍♀️”. Only about ¼ of our ad sets survived month 1 testing, and 3 creative variations (of 12) rose as top performers. 

Days 1-30 Summary

TESTED

  • 21 Campaigns 
  • 63 Ad Sets
  • 12 Ad Variations 

RESULTS 

  • $9,821 Spend
  • 7044 Installs 
  • $1.39 CPI 
  • Three top creative variations identified 
  • 15 core audiences identified 
  • Cost-cap bid strategy identified as effective at this scale…
    …but would it last? 

Days 31-60 The Ramp Up

With top audiences, creative, and bid-strategies identified we were prepared to ramp up spend. On day 31 we had 3 campaigns live, 5 audiences, and the top three ad variations running. We spent $950 that day. From there we inched up budget at the ad set level daily, and by day 45 we hit the $2,000/day mark. 

More testing; audiences, creative, and settings

Although some audiences didn’t succeed in the 30 days, there was a chance it was due to the creative and ad settings mix. We ensured these previously tested audiences were given a chance to be paired with top creative and ad settings. 

During this period the client continued to develop new creative, and that was tested as well using the assistance of the Facebook algorithm. We also isolated some creative to guarantee Facebook spend. 

A big driving force behind this rapid Facebook Ads ad spend ramp up was a holiday important to our client’s business, and we wanted to ensure that creative specific to the holiday was served. We tested 10 holiday ad variations, and only one version took off. It would become one of our best ads for the entire 60 period, though it underperformed two non-holiday specific top ads. 

An interesting take away from the top three ads is that the event specific creative didn’t perform as well as more general app functionality ads. This may be due the holiday not being applicable to everyone who sees it. 

Facebook ad example.

Here is the top event-specific ad. It was a carousel and showcased the product offering. More on how they ad variation performed in the results and summary section. 

With top audiences and creative identified we were ready push spend way up leading up to the holiday, however, the the path to spend ramp up we encountered two speed bumps.

$5,000 Ad Account Spend Cap Hit & Workaround

Did you know Facebook has a default $5,000 ad spend cap per ad account, even on established ad accounts? That’s right! This spend cap is different from the ‘spend limit’, and can only be increased by Facebook Support. Unfortunately, support can have a several day turn around, which would be after our peak push. 

In this instance, we were able to find an immediate workaround that allowed us to keep advertising. We created new ad accounts. With each ad account having a $5,000 cap, we created 6 additional ad accounts that would take us up to the $35,000 per day in spend.

We did finally hear back from Facebook Support and get the spend limit increased, but this was a good stop gap measure to keep ads rolling. 

App Stability Issues

With this massive ramp up underway the app encountered some stability issues due to the influx of new users. This led to a temporary pause on campaigns while app capacity was addressed. 

The takeaway from this experience is that if you are undertaking a massive app install or web traffic push, have the app and website stability on your radar. How many users can your app support? Who and how will stability be addressed if there’s a crash?  

Thanks to the app’s solid team of developers, app stability issues were resolved quickly and the ramp up would continue. 

Final Push and Rising CPI

The final push up to $43,000 was made possible by attention to detail and willingness to sacrifice CPI for more spend around the important holiday.

Facebook CPI results for app installs.

As we spent more in the final days of the campaign, CPI rose as well. We followed our earlier approach of pushing budget to top ad sets and creative variations, and some of these groupings had literally hit their limit (See $5,000 account cap section above). 

The cost cap bid optimized campaigns also weren’t spending their full daily amount as Facebook struggled to find users at the cost and volume we had set forth, so most campaigns were switched to a lowest cost bid strategy, which contributed to rising CPI. Low cost bid optimization, however, increased volume and ensured campaigns would spend their set amount daily. 

Fortunately the increased CPI in this final push was acceptable because the volume of installs, and subsequent LTV supported the costs. 

Summary 

Top Three Ads:

Facebook ad results from installs.

Our top ad was a carousel. Carousels are known to do well on mobile devices, because they can be used to convey information without the bandwidth of video. This particular ad was also highly engaging and received thousands of reactions and 100s of shares over the course of the campaign. 

Facebook ad results from installs.

Our second best ad was an informal video shot on an iPhone, that shows the end product of the app (a physical card and gift). This video was paired with concise text and a headline on what the app does. The informal nature of the video may have been what made it resonate with people. 

Facebook ad results from installs.

The third best ad was event-specific, and also in the carousel format. It showcased end-products of the app, and also had the clear concise message about what the app does. Because it was event-specific, costs may have been higher, as it wasn’t relevant to everyone who saw it. All this said it was our third best ad of dozens of ad variations run over the 60 day campaign period. 

Results 

Facebook ad results for install campaigns.

Getting to $45,000/day didn’t happen right away. There was little visible activity in the first 30 days while the hard work of research, audience, and creative testing was executed. Increasing spend was only possible because of this critical foundation established early on. 

Spend peaked several days before the event this campaign was based around, after which we settled in at $1,000 – $2,000 / day spend. 

Facebook ad results for install campaigns.

Installs tracked closely with spend. This consistency was the key to our confidence as we pushed budgets up. 

Facebook ad results for install campaigns.

CPI was initially very high. To note the budgets on these learning days was very small. And CPI dropped considerably and stayed low once initial learning was complete. 

Key Takeaways to Ramp Up Spend Quickly on Facebook 

  • Test to identify top audiences, creative and settings 
  • When an audience fails, try new creative 
  • Be considerate of technical issues 
    • Is your site or app capable of the increased traffic from this kind of ramp up? 
    • Have you requested that the default $5,000/day ad spend cost cap be lifted on your Facebook ad account? 

Finally, with these principles in place, don’t be scared to push up ad spend.

Facebook has a propensity to spend what you give it especially with low cost bidding, but this spend isn’t always paired with the desired results. In this case, however, through the approach of finding audiences, creative, and ad settings that would scale, we were able to achieve a massive spend and results ramp up in a 60 day period. 

Advertising brand on Instagram.

A Crash Course in Instagram Audiences for Your Social Media Ads

Advertising brand on Instagram.

With a global following of over one billion active monthly accounts (as of June 2018), it’s no wonder Instagram (IG) advertising is such a popular way for brands to build awareness. But where does one even begin on this beast of a platform?

Like with any platform, finding your ideal audiences will be a good start, and segmentation is a very effective way to do this (and it can be easily done on Instagram!). Once you’ve narrowed these down, you can start to test and segment your audiences to determine the very best ways to target them with social ads. Finally, you’ll want to keep them engaged over the long term so that your brand can continue to thrive, grow, and prosper.

In this post, we’ll talk you through ways to build Instagram audiences for social media ads, plus share ideas of how you can put these audiences to the best use.

How can I narrow down my Instagram audiences for ads?

Most likely you’ve already defined your brand, but if you haven’t already, it’s the first thing you’ll want to do. A solid understanding of your brand or brands will give you key insights into who your demographic is so that you can start narrowing down your Instagram audiences. It’s not rocket science, but you do want to be strategic. Doing so will save you so much time when crafting your content.

By the way, your Instagram audiences ARE your target consumers. On Instagram. That being said, not all of your target consumers are on Instagram, and not all Instagram users are your target audience, so a little IG research is going to go a long way.

Assuming you know the who, the what, and the why behind your product or service, you can start searching Instagram for the brands most similar to yours. For example, if your company makes simple graphic design tools for users, then maybe you’ll want to search for brands like Canva, PicMonkey, and Crella, for example. Dig deep here and figure out how their followers are engaging with them.

During your research, see if you can gauge which users are actual customers of your competitors. It’s really easy for people to like, follow, and even comment on Instagram, but if you can determine which ones spend (or intend to spend) money based on how they’re engaging, this will be really useful data.

Speaking of Canva, here’s an IG post for a current campaign of theirs where they’re donating all proceeds from paid images to Australia emergency bushfire relief and recovery programs.

Instagram ad example.

Check out the user comment on the top right and compare her comment with the user’s comment at the bottom with the clapping emojis. While there’s nothing wrong with claps because they still signify engagement, the user at the top is indicating more interest. Of course, there’s no concrete proof that she’s a Canva user, but it appears she has an affinity for the app. The more intel you can gather on users like her, the better. Take note, as these will be the types of followers you’ll want to go after (in your respective niche, of course).

What are some ways that I can test my audiences on Instagram?

Once you’ve narrowed down your market and gotten that part out of the way, the most daunting part of building up a following is done. The fire is lit, so what’s next?

For starters, you’ll want to determine how your followers are engaging with your Instagram content, and analytics tools are great for this. There are quite a few effective IG analytics tools that are totally free and there are some great ones that you can pay for as well. It really just depends on the types of features you want. There’s nothing wrong with reinvesting a little cold hard cash back into your brand, but it’s also nice to save those dollars from time to time. Try mixing it up.

IG analytics tools can give you actionable insights about your followers’ behavior –– information like when they’re online, what they want to see in their feeds, and what types of products they’re buying. This is going to help you to really target your audience which, in turn, will help you allocate your marketing budget more effectively.

Here are three of our favorite free and paid Instagram analytics tools:

  • Sprout Social: Sprout Social’s data-driven IG analytics tools is one of the most powerful analytics tools out there. It lets you do things like identify top posts during specific times, schedule and streamline your posts, and monitor hashtags. Plus, the reports themselves are very clean and easy to read.
  • Instagram Insights: IG Insights is, of course, a freebie and you definitely don’t want to underestimate its robustness. After all, it’s got the insider’s inside scoop on what’s happening with your audience, and it’s a very user-friendly tool as well. You can analyze your followers and access your precise demographics as well. Like Sprout, the reports are also easy to read, and the metrics it provides are super valuable.
  • Union Metrics: Union Metrics offers a full suite of tools for a fee, but they also have a free Instagram Account Checkup Tool. With the checkup tool, you’ll have access to detailed reports that analyze your most dedicated followers, average post engagement, and show you what your top hashtags are. It allows you to easily understand your metrics so that you can generate more effective campaigns.

Companies like Socialbakers, Iconosquare, and Squarelovin also make great analytics tools. The best way to test your audience is to switch up your ad content as often as possible and to try as many different tools as you can.

Another fantastic way to collect valuable data on your audiences is by taking advantage of the Instagram stories and polls feature to learn more about their likes and interests. The more data you’re gathering in different ways, the more you’ll be able to spot trends with accuracy so that you can really finetune your targeting tactics.

How should I segment my Instagram audiences?

Once you’ve uncovered some key trends within your audience, you can then start showing relevant ads to different segments of your IG followers. The reason why marketing segmentation is so important, in general, is that you can maximize your marketing budget and resources by targeting them more effectively. So, let’s get to segmenting on Instagram, specifically, and show you how to do this effectively.

First, if you’re using IG’s hyperlinked hashtags feature, this can be a great place to start. Presumably, by now, you’ve been doing your homework and testing your audiences, so you know who’s clicking on what. Your hyperlinked hashtags can give you some of the most valuable information you’ll collect on your followers because it tells you precisely which products they’re browsing. It’s also something that brings them one touchpoint closer to a purchase. If certain audience members are clicking repeatedly on specific hashtags, you now have some valuable information you can use to segment.

Generally, segmentation can be broken down into four main categories:

Instagram audience segmentation.

  • Geographic: Geographic segmentation lets you target your customers based on where they live. It’s effective because audience interests, values, trends, and preferences are going to vary in different cities, states, countries, and regions.
  • Behavioral: Through behavioral segmentation, you’re targeting your audience based on things like their purchasing habits, how they go through their decision-making process, and their attitude toward the brand.
  • Demographic: Demographic segmentation is the most popular segmenting strategy among marketers. It involves the process of dividing your followers up based on variables like age, gender, family size, and income, among other things.
  • Psychographic: Psychographic segmentation can be a little more challenging because it’s highly subjective, but it’s also very effective because of this. You’re targeting based on intrinsic traits that have to do with your respective audiences’ values, personalities, interests and opinions, motivators, and lifestyle choices.

If you’ve been in business for a while, but you’re simply trying to get more Instagram engagement (or you’re new to the platform altogether) the good news is that you probably know most of this stuff. Once you’ve figured out how to navigate Instagram and do the things we’ve already covered, like narrow your market and test your audience, you can segment based on what you already know about market segmentation.

After you’ve narrowed down your segments, Instagram lets you easily create custom audiences for your business by going to the “Audience” tab on your insights dashboard.

Custom audiences on Instagram.

Once you select “Audience”, you’ll be given the option to “Create a Custom Audience” from the dropdown menu. Follow the prompts from here to start creating your segments. Once you’ve done this, you can start using your marketing prowess to create ads that appeal to your different segments. Easy-peasy.

When is it time for me to test new audiences?

Finally, if your I.G. marketing strategy just isn’t working anymore, then it might be time to test out new audiences. Something to keep in mind is that demographics are always changing. New trends are constantly emerging, audiences get older, and populations become more racially and ethnically diverse. Remaining nimble and ahead of the curve will be a better tactic than simply waiting until your engagement is dropping, but if it does get to that point, try to act fast. Stay on top of what your followers are doing as well. All of this will help you to regroup and re-segment if and when necessary.

Other good times to test new audiences are in situations where you’re introducing a new product or service, or if you’re going through a company rebrand. If you’re already in the habit of constantly retooling your marketing message and adapting your product or service to suit a wide array of demographics, then an adaptation marketing strategy can also be very effective. When you have a business that experiences steady growth, then it’s a near guarantee that your audience is going to evolve and change, so just be prepared.
_____

Understanding your Instagram audience is the best way to create growth strategies that work. The platform has the highest average engagement rate of all social media platforms, so it really is one powerful tool. Use these tips and tricks to make the most out of it so that you can start segmenting effectively and continue watching your brand soar to new heights.

Got more questions about finding your perfect audience using segmentation? We have answers. Give us a shout at hello@tuffgrowth.com or schedule a 30-minute strategy call with our team here. We’re looking forward to chatting with you and helping you plot your growth.

 

tuff-customer-acquisition-using-facebook-ad

How To Scale User Growth Using Facebook Ads

We sometimes get questions about how other clients work with Tuff to reach their growth goals — so we’re sharing some stories to help bring our services to life. 

Fresh Meal Plan is a healthy meal delivery service located in South Florida. Looking to find traction in the Florida market and scale their growth, they partnered with Tuff to launch high-impact Facebook and Instagram campaigns to increase ROI and quickly drive key learnings on what’s working and what’s not.

Why Fresh Meal Plan Tapped Into Paid Social Acquisition

Scaling growth is hard and it requires you to be rigorous about the channels you experiment within the early stages of your business. It might seem easy to find one right away and then dump all your money into that one tactic but that almost never happens. As a startup, you have to work towards the right channel – and understand that it takes time.

One of the channels we saw the most success with for fueling user acquisition for Fresh Meal Plan was with social ads. With a wide range of targeting options to help you find the right niche, customer acquisition using Facebook ads can be a highly cost-effective channel. After an initial kick-off meeting with Fresh Meal Plan to align on goals and ROI expectations, we launched geo-specific Facebook and Instagram campaigns following a 3-step process.

The Three Step Process

Step 1: Conduct user research before design

Figuring out the right targeting is key to reaching the audience most likely to convert. Be it in-depth customer segmentation or listening to customer phone calls, we never create a Facebook or Instagram without researching user behavior first. As an agency, you can lean on your client’s customer-facing team members or, if you’re in-house, partner with your support team to learn more about your customers.

We’ve found that it’s better to spend more time building out target segments and do the right design for them than doing the right campaign for the wrong users. For this account, we built out 5-10 core and custom audiences in Facebook.

For our core audiences, we relied heavily on interest and behavior targeting. For example, we created an audience of users who expressed an interest in CrossFit on their Facebook page. In addition to core audiences, we also built out Lookalike Audiences using website traffic and existing customer email lists.

Step 2: Develop custom creative for each audience

After building out our target segments in Facebook’s audience panel, we created Facebook campaign concepts for each target segment. Both the copy and creative is developed with a particular audience in mind.

Step 3: Retarget with a compelling offer

To combat ad invisibility and get the most of customer acquisition using Facebook ads, we try to always include a compelling offer or call to action in our retargeting effort. Doing so can drive great results, especially if your goal is to generate sales rather than solely drive clicks.

 

Results

Over the course of 30 days, we achieved the following results for customer acquisition using Facebook ads, driving significant market awareness and sales for the brand. Since then, we have doubled the budget and scaled our acquisition efforts to new markets:

  • Clicks: 1,984
  • New Customers: 228
  • CPA: $15.85

Whether you’re just testing the waters or ready to scale, figuring out how to acquire new customers on Facebook and Google is difficult. We’ve spent the past few years working with all kinds of different businesses, with small and large budgets, across a range of industries to help them figure this out. 

If you want to explore more about how to scale your customer acquisition with Tuff, or want a first-hand look at the data showcased above, touch base to set up a free, 30-minute growth strategy session with our team. We’d love to learn more about who you are and what you do so that we can help you find your way to the next level.

We’d love to work with you.

Schedule a call with our team and we’ll analyze your marketing, product, metrics, and business. Then, present a Growth Plan with actionable strategies to find and keep more engaged customers.

tuff-facebook-ad-copywriting-strategies

Refining Your Facebook Ad Copy For A Lower CAC

Person updating Facebook ad copy on laptopReady to start using Facebook ads to acquire more customers? 

As an agency with social advertising experts, we’re fortunate to run and test quite a few Facebook ads every week. This means lots of copywriting opportunities and the need for fresh inspiration.

“Brevity is the soul of wit.”
— Shakespeare

“A word after a word after a word is power.”
— Margaret Atwood

“It ain’t whatcha write, it’s the way atcha write it.”
— Jack Kerouac

“The greatest part of a writer’s time is spent in reading, in order to write; a man will turn over half a library to make one book.”
— Samuel Johnson

No matter your writing muse, communicating your message in a compelling way with a limited number of characters ideal for social media is hard. It’s an opportunity to challenge yourself, your creativity and your vocabulary. It’s also an opportunity to increase reach, leads, and revenue for your business.

When I feel myself hitting a roadblock, I bring myself back to four pillars I’ve found effective for Facebook ad copywriting:

  • Timeliness
  • Humanizing
  • Emojis
  • Wordplay

Below we’ll share and comment on these four strategies. Under each strategy the first two ads will examples will been written by Tuff and the third example will be another company we think has practiced this strategy well.

Timeliness

Timeliness is an awesome tool for Facebook ad copywriting. Being able to take advantage of the excitement and hype surrounding a big or seasonal event can go a long way. It also shows your audience that your ads and content aren’t on a set and repeat schedule, your aware of what is going on in their world and following along as well.

Here, we capitalized on the Madness of March.

 

With Valentine’s Day coming up before this ad, we were communicating the value of Xendoo — it saves you time.

 

Example: We like how Penguin Books makes you feel all the fall feels.

 

Humanizing

This year Facebook, as a company, has been making a number of changes to incentivize interactions and engagement. They’ve been noticing trends of users being quite passive on Facebook, mostly scrolling throughout content without interacting with it. So, rather than prioritizing content that might grab a user’s attention, but drive little interaction, Facebook will favor the content that sparks conversations and brings people together. One way we like to try and attempt this is through humanizing brands and ads by using photos of real people and customers rather than graphics and illustrations of people. The second way we practice this is through using real names, locations, and jobs in ads.

Instead of a picture of the meal, we used a photo of a person this audience might relate to.

By using “Sally” and “Philly”, we built a character similar to the target audience.

Outside Example: We love the photo 17hats uses here. It shows they know who their audience is.

Emojis

We love emojis! In some A/B tests we’ve also seen them performing quite a bit better than there emoji-less counterparts. With the right brand, they make a lot of sense. Depending on the demographic, including emojis likens the ads to the text messages and Facebook comments with their personal network. We especially like to use emojis as bullet points, like in the 2nd and 3rd example here. It turns Facebook ad copywriting in emoji-writing.

Wordplay

It can be easy to tune Facebook ads out. But, when the copy makes the reader think, laugh, or challenges them with a pun, it can create willingness for deeper engagement. If you need an assist, this Pun Generator can help get the juices flowing!

Divine Spaces is a marketplace focused on unique event rentals. “Open your doors” applies to both the literal and metaphorical doors.

Readers likely aren’t used to fill in the blank type ads. We were hoping to surprise them here.

Over to you…

What Facebook ad copywriting strategies do you use for Facebook ads? Send us a note and let us know.

If you’re feeling stuck writing Facebook copy, challenge yourself to write four different ads practicing: timeliness, humanizing your brand, emojis, and wordplay. Then, pick your favorite out of the four.

We’d love to work with you.

Schedule a call with our team and we’ll analyze your marketing, product, metrics, and business. Then, present a Growth Plan with actionable strategies to find and keep more engaged customers.