Setting up your Facebook Ads Campaign can be confusing at first but once you discover the Turbo Testing Method outlined in this guide the mechanics of your Facebook Ads Campaign will become easy to monitor and manage.
This guide is for getting a new campaign started the right way. The structure of the campaign is geared towards getting traffic (clicks) and generating leads through your Sales Funnel. There are lots of Facebook Ad strategies out there.
While we didn’t test every strategy out there – we have been using this formula successfully for years. It is based on the strategies implemented by some of the largest digital advertising agencies in the world.
Whether this is your first Facebook Ads Campaign or you have experience under your belt, this guide will help you start a new Facebook Ads Campaign the right way, by:
- Testing Your Copy, Image, and Offer
- Finding Your Optimal Target Audience
- Lowering Your Cost Per Lead
Let’s get into it.
What To Advertise On Facebook
Before we get too deep into this guide, I want to lightly touch on what you advertise on Facebook, your offer.
I recommend you start by promoting something free to get leads. This can be a free trial, free sample, free event, free webinar, free book, free video, free course, or free consultation. If you plan to scale your campaign, your free offer should be scalable too.
This guide doesn’t get into optimizing your sales funnel however, I am working on publishing a guide on this topic. I have linked to additional resources at the bottom of this guide.
Setting Up Your Facebook Ads Campaign
When we talk about a “Campaign” just think “Goal”. A campaign is a goal you want to accomplish with your Ads. Examples of goals:
- Engagement – “I want people to comment on my post”
- Video Views – “I want people to watch my video”
- Leads – “I want people to download my book”
The goal of the campaign we’re building in this guide is focused on getting people to click on your ad and become a lead. In Facebook lingo, your marketing objective is to get “Traffic”.
💡TIP: Make sure you have installed your Facebook Pixel in the <Head> section of your entire Sales Funnel. This will allow you to track conversions from your Ads later.
Your Facebook Ads Structure
Now that you have a goal, you’re ready to set up the Ads. In this section, we’ll clarify the Facebook Ads campaign structure and how you’ll use it.
The combination of Campaigns, Ad Sets, and Ads is what makes up your campaign structure. Knowing what they mean in the context of your campaign will help you understand how to monitor and manage your campaign. Facebook’s campaign structure has 3 parts:
- Ad Sets
Your Campaign is your goal. Inside a campaign, you have Ad Sets organized by the Audience. Your Ad Sets house your Ads which convey your brand's message.
- Campaign (Goal)
- Ad Sets (Audience)
- Ads (Message)
Bear in mind that you are using Ad Sets to test and refine your Audiences. A campaign can include multiple Ad Sets, each with a different audience. Ad Sets also allow you to test and refine your Budget, Bidding, Ad Schedule, and Placements. Keep these settings the same throughout all the Ad Sets in your campaign.
Your Facebook Audience
The best practice for Facebook Advertising is to start by creating and testing multiple audiences (start with 2 to 4). Testing audiences helps you in your journey to lower your cost per acquisition and increase your customer lifetime value. Start your campaign by creating, naming, and (most importantly…) saving your audiences.
You’ll see an option to name and save your audience on the same page where you create your audience. To create your target audience think about who your audience is and how you can target them on Facebook.
Here’s are some of the ways you can target people:
- Relationship Status
- Job Title
- Life Events
- Mobile Device User
This is just a portion of the targeting options. And you can stack these categories to create your target audience.
Using Inclusions and Exclusions
You can increase your audience size with an “OR” inclusions and you can narrow your audience size with an “AND” exclusions.
Let’s say I’m advertising relationship coaching for singles. The target audience might look like this:
- People in the United States (AND) between the ages of 25 – 45 (AND) who are Single (OR) Divorced (OR) Separated (OR) Widowed.
Now let’s say I want to target single business professionals. The target audience might look like this:
- People in the United States (AND) between the ages of 25 – 45 (AND) who are Single (OR) Divorced (OR) Separated (OR) Widowed (AND) Business Owner (Job title)
- “AND” creates an exclusion – Audience must have Characteristic (A) AND Characteristic (B)
- “OR” creates an inclusion – Audience has Characteristic (A) OR Characteristic (B)
You can stack multiple exclusions and inclusions.
💡TIP: As you create your target audience you’ll notice your estimated audience size change as you adjust your targeting options (see “Your Facebook Audience Size” below for optimal audience size). Keep an eye on your estimated audience size as it will help guide you as you create your target audience.
Facebook Audience Optimization
Facebook is a bidding system which means you will hypothetically pay $0.01 more than the next highest bidder. So if you want to target business owners and bid on an interest such as “Business Owner (Job Title)” well, that’s probably the same thing everyone else thought of too. So you’re probably bidding against one of the most popular interests on Facebook in your category!
If you want to optimize your Ad Spend, you want to get creative and think of other ways to target Business Owners without actually using “Business Owners (Job Title)”.
For example, you could target a list of popular podcasts that only a business owner would listen to… Or a list of book titles only your market would read. Here are some ideas on how you can target your audience and avoid “the obvious” detailed targeting. Use names of:
- Books & Authors
- Magazines, Journals, or Blogs
- Use Specific Location (Cities, ZIP Codes, or pin-drop radius around any location)
- Use your email list as a Custom Audience and then create a Lookalike Audience
It’s not always bad to target the obvious. If your target audience becomes so obscure that there isn’t anything inherent about them that makes them “your audience” then you might want to revert to the obvious targeting options.
Resources by Facebook:
The bottom line, you need to get creative and test different audiences to find what works best for your business. By following the Turbo Testing Method outlined in this guide you will ultimately lower your cost per click, cost per acquisition, and increase your ad relevance score.
Your Facebook Audience Size
There are specific audience sizes you want to aim for when creating your audience. If you’re targeting a local audience, you want to try to target between 50,000 to 100,000 people. For targeting national or international audiences, your audience size should aim to be between 1 million to 2 million people.
Typically, you want your audience size to be as large as possible while still being targeted. This can be more challenging for local businesses in cities with small populations. It will usually cost more to target a smaller audience.
In some cases, you may want to try targeting everyone in the city (using only age and gender if necessary) and use your ad copy to target your audience.
💡TIP: The audience you choose is probably the most important choice you make in your campaign. Imagine selling umbrellas in the rain, water bottles in a drought, or ice cream at the beach. Your message becomes less important the more your audience matches with your offer.
Your Facebook Ad Sets
Once you have created, named, and saved your Audiences, you’re ready to start creating your Ad Sets. You’ll create one Ad Set per Audience. I recommend starting with 2 to 4 Audiences. Inside each Ad Set, you’ll have 4 Ads (see “Split Test Your Facebook Ads” below).
So let’s say you want to target “Business Owners”, you can create your audiences in several ways:
- Ad Set #1 – Target business owners based on their Job Titles (eg, Founder, Entrepreneur, Small Business Owner, etc)
- Ad Set #2 – Target business owners based on Education (eg, Business Degree, Marketing Degree, Entrepreneurship)
- Ad Set #3 – Target business owners based on the types of Software they use (eg, Salesforce, Hubspot, Infusionsoft)
- Ad Set #4 – Target business owners based on a Podcast they listen to (eg, Perpetual Traffic, Marketing School, Your Next Million)
These are just a few examples to show you how you can break up the “Business Owner” into multiple audiences for our Ad Sets.
CASE STUDY: How the White Rock Home Show sold out
I was working with a business that was about to host a local Home Show. The event took place in White Rock, British Columbia (an area near Vancouver, Canada). The goal was to sell the trade show booths and then tickets to the event. The booths sold out fast by targeting business owners in the Home & Garden market with an Application Funnel (learn more in the resources at the bottom of this guide).
To find people who would attend the home show, I tested audiences:
- Ad Set #1: People in White Rock only
- Ad Set #2: People in Greater Vancouver who like Home Improvement (topic interests and renovation related)
- Ad Set #3: People in Greater Vancouver who like Gardening (topic Gardening and garden magazines.
- Ad Set #4: People in Greater Vancouver who watch HGTV Shows ( topic HGTV and names of shows and celebs on HGTV.
By testing these audiences I discovered the majority of results in our campaign were coming from people who watch HGTV. Not only did we discover where we were getting the lowest cost per click and the most conversions. Now we knew the value of the HGTV brand with our audience. Future events by the company featured personalities from HGTV at the Home Show which drew even larger crowds.
Creating Your “Ad Themes”
This is where the magic happens. It’s time to start writing your Ads. To do this you’re going to use “Ad Themes”. You can use themes to test what message (or hook) your audience will respond to best. The reason I started using themes was to help myself write ad copy faster… and it worked!
Then I found there were a lot more benefits to using the theming system I had created…
Creating Ad Themes will help you learn about what your market responds to, while advertising. When you start to notice one theme converting better than the others, you may consider creating more content around that theme. This could also help you adjust the copy in your sales funnel to improve conversion rates.
A theme can be “save time” or “save money” or “travel the world” or “spend more time with the family.” You’re looking for the types of themes that are relevant in your industry for your product/offer.
CASE STUDY: How Tim Ferriss came up with the title for his book “4 Hour Work Week”
Using text-based Ads on Google for a few days, Tim Ferriss collected a few hundred clicks while testing various titles for his then-upcoming book. One of the titles he tested was “Selling Drugs for Fun and Profit”, a different theme! Luckily, the title “4 Hour Work Week” outperformed the other variations by a long shot. The book went on to sell millions of copies and launched the Tim Ferriss brand.
💡TIP: If you need ideas, check out your competition and see what kind of themes they’re using in their marketing. Research every hook, angle, and language pattern your competitors are using. This process will undoubtedly turn you into an expert in the marketing used inside your industry.
Writing Your Facebook Ads
Next, you’ll start writing Ads for each of your audiences. A Facebook Ad has 3 primary elements:
- Call to Action (Headline)
Let’s start by writing the “text” portion of your ad. Step 1, start your ad copy by asking a question that your ideal customer will answer YES to. Let’s give it a try: What is your “Yes” question? Step 2, you’re going to give people a reason to take action using the Facebook Sales Letter formula:
- Here’s what I got
- Here’s what it will do for you
- Here’s what I want you to do next
Step 3, have a strong Call to Action (CTA) in your Headline with scarcity. Having a clear Call to Action is important, but having scarcity in your CTA is even more important. You need to create a short and punchy “Scarcity Statement” which tells your audience why they should take action right now. What is your strong CTA (Scarcity Statement)?
Elements of a winning CTA:
- Is there limited time OR limited quantity?
- Is there a sense of urgency?
Emphasizing a sense of limited time or limited quantity pushes people to take action (learn more in the resources at the bottom of this guide).
Creating Facebook Ad Images
The next step is to use an eye-catching and attention-grabbing image that POPS! Facebook says the top 3 images that convert the best are Faces, Food, and Animals. So that gives us some ideas. I’ve experimented with 100’s of images and here’s what I’ve found works:
- Pictures of happy customers
- Pictures of you speaking on stage
- Picture of your product or something that represents your product (This can be metaphorical)
- Arrows or fingers pointing to a specific area of an image (Point to the product or down towards the CTA button)
- Extremely attractive men and women (I know this is silly but it works)
- Utilize 20% text in your images (Facebook limits your reach if there’s too much text in your images. Use the amount of text you’re allowed to emphasize your Call to Action)
It should go without saying, your image must be relevant to your product/offer… If you’re selling Real Estate and you just have a picture of a cute dog, it’s probably not going to convert well for you.
Elements for a winning image:
- Does the image grab attention?
- Is the image relevant to your product/offer?
Resources by Facebook:
- Facebook 20% Text Guidelines
- Facebook 20% Text Checker
- Facebook’s Free Stock Image Library
- Facebook’s Library of Active Ads
💡TIP: Before I start searching for images I write down what I envision my image is going to look like and then I find it or get it created. It’s okay to use stock images but using your custom images will typically do better. Here’s a document I use for planning my Facebook Ad creatives before I even log into Facebook Ads Manager.
Creating Facebook Video Ads
If you don’t already have a good video ready to go, I recommend not starting a new campaign with videos.
- It’s time-consuming to write and produce a video
- It will slow down the launch of your campaign
- You may not know which “hook” is going to convert best yet
That being said, I have found testimonial videos work fantastically well every time. So if you have a video ready to go, you can run with a video instead of images. Use the same formula for “Writing Your Facebook Ads” to write an outline for your video and tell your customer's story.
Tips for producing Facebook Video Ads:
- Record videos with your phone (Unpolished video Ads work)
- Record videos with Facebook Live (You can turn Facebook Lives into Ads)
- Record vertical videos (Vertical videos take up more real estate in the newsfeed)
- Make eye contact with your camera (Speak as if you’re speaking to one person)
💡TIP: Videos are also great for building custom audiences because you can retarget people on Facebook who watch your videos. You can also find your video's attention drop-off rate inside your videos analytics which can help you discover what’s keeping attention and where you’re losing attention.
Split Testing Your Facebook Ads
Creating Ads is a creative process that involves a lot of “guesswork” when you’re first getting started. The basis of the Turbo Testing Method is to seek data and test your assumptions so you can optimize your campaign's performance.
To optimize Ads and discover specifically what gets your audience to take action, you must create Split Tests. A Split Test starts by creating a “Control”, the Ad that you *think* is going to perform best.
Starting with your “Control” (Variant 1) you’re going to test each element of your ad – Text, Image, Call to Action (Headline). Change only one element of your Control for each Variant.
For example, on Variant 2 change only the Text. On Variant 3 change only the Image. On Variant 4 change only the Call to Action (Headline). Here’s a chart I use to organize my Ads:
Ad #1 – The “Control”
- Text A
- Image A
- Call to action A
Ad #2 – Text test
- Text B
- Image A
- Call to action A
Ad #3 – Image test
- Text A
- Image B
- Call to action A
Ad #4 – CTA test
- Text A
- Image A
- Call to action B
You only want to change one thing at a time so you can learn what works when you run your Ads. For example, if Variant 2 gets more clicks, you’ll know it was because of the change in the “Text” from that ad. Better yet, when one ad performs better than the others, you’ll know WHY. You can use the results of these Ads to continuously improve your cost per click, cost per acquisition, and ad relevance score.
You can repeat the process up to 4 times per Ad Set (using 4 different Themes), so you can end up with a total of 16 Ads per Ad Set. However, if you add more Ads into your Ad Set it will require a higher Ad Budget (see “Your Facebook Ads Budget” below).
Case Study: “Freelancer” versus “Digital Nomad”
A few years ago I published Ads for my Social Media Director Certification program around the theme of “travel the world”. The Ads referenced my customer as a “freelancer” while the variation referenced them as a “digital nomad.” We waited about a week to see which would get the most clicks. Can you guess which ad won? Digital Nomad! And, I had been using the word “freelancer” in my marketing for years.
Optimizing Your Ads Performance
Run the Ads for 7 to 10 days and find the winners. You could turn the winning Ads into a new “Control” and create 3 new variants to test against it. Repeating the process. But, if you have an ad that is getting you conversions at a rate that works for your business, you’re ready to start scaling your campaign.
Take the converting Ads that won, and move them into a new campaign. If you make significant changes to your Facebook Ad Campaigns you can mess up Facebook’s Algorithm. So instead, when creating a new Ad Set, you can pull the Ads from your previous campaign.
Select “Use existing post”, search in the “Select post” area, or enter the Post ID which is the string of numbers in the URL of your Ad.
This method will also pull the comments/likes/shares from the previous Ad so you can continue to stack the social proof.
Your Facebook Ad Budget
Your starting minimum budget should be no less than $5/Day Per Ad. So if you’re running 4 Ads inside your Ad Set, your Ad Set budget should be set to $20. You should have more than one Ad Set (recommend 2 – 4 to start). So your daily budget will range from $40 to $80 per day to start. You won’t need to run your campaign for very long to know if it’s working (see “Measuring Your Facebook Ads Performance” below).
Resources by Facebook:
💡TIP: Only increase your Ad Budget budget by 20% at a time. Wait for 2 to 3 days and monitor your campaign's results closely. The Facebook algorithm needs time to adjust to new budgets. If your campaign improves, increase your budget by another 20%, if it worsens decrease your budget by 20%.
Measuring Your Facebook Campaign Performance
There isn’t a one size fits all answer to measuring campaign performance. You need to calculate how much you’re able to spend to acquire a new customer. If you hit your target, you have a benchmark to improve upon.
To find your benchmark, you’ll need to reverse engineer your numbers to find your Cost Per Acquisition. If you have an established business you can look at how much it’s currently costing you to acquire a customer as a benchmark. Or you can simply choose the maximum amount you are comfortable spending to acquire new customers at scale.
Keep in mind, if your competition is willing to choose a much higher number, they’ll outspend you and probably win more market share.
Money Spent Advertising / Number of Customers = Acquisition Cost
Measuring Your Sales Funnel Performance
Once you’ve had 100 to 200 unique visitors from your Ads to your Landing Page you’ll know.
- Your average Cost Per Click (CPC)
- Conversion of your Sales Funnel
When you know your Cost Per Lead and Number Of Transactions, you can optimize various parts of your Sales Funnel to decrease your Acquisition Cost.
- If your cost per click is too high, you need to optimize your Ads or test a new Audience
- If your conversion rate is too low, you need to optimize your Sales Funnel
💡TIP: “Cold Traffic” (aka people who click on your Ads) will covert much differently than traffic from the mailing list that already knows you. So it’s important you measure the conversion rate from the traffic of your Ads and not rely on previous stats from your Sales Funnel.
Measuring Your Facebook Ads Performance
The primary metrics you should look at for this campaign are your Cost Per Click, Cost Per Lead, and your Ad Relevance Score (6-8 points will get you good results).
Your Facebook Ads campaign is not working if:
- You’ve had 10,000 – 20,000 impressions in your Ad Set and little to no conversions
- You’ve had 100 to 200 Unique Clicks from your Ad Set and little to no conversions
If your Facebook Ads campaign is not converting, consider:
- Do you have the right audience?
- Does your offer appeal to your audience?
- Is there a technical glitch on your landing page or funnel?
Turning off your Ads, review the entire campaign with your team, and consider hiring a Facebook Ads expert to help you.
Initial benchmarks to shoot for:
- $1.86 per click or less (Facebook CPC average 2019)
- $11.20 per 1000 impressions (Facebook CPM average 2019)
- 1.33% average click-through rate (Facebook CTR average 2019)
- 20% conversion rate on your Landing Page (Optin Rate)
These are meant as benchmarks only. I found these stats by Googling “average CPC Facebook 2023” etc. They come from third-party sources, not Facebook. I didn’t verify the stats however, they sound about right.
You should aim to do much better than this. I have seen Facebook campaigns pull $0.16 clicks. I have seen others pull 70% opt-in rates. Your business may earn a healthy profit with completely different metrics. You must calculate the metrics that work for your business.
💡TIP: If you are getting 50 conversions per week Facebook’s advertising algorithm will learn who your customers are and fetch more people from within your audience who are most likely to convert. At that point, you can move your Ads into a Conversion Objective campaign and bid on a cost per conversion (eg, cost per lead or sale). This is key to scaling your campaign and lowering your acquisition cost.
This Facebook Ads Campaign structure is especially for starting a new campaign. Once you have tested and refined your audience and the message you are ready to start scaling your campaign.
If you’d like to learn more about Facebook Advertising, stay tuned for future posts on this blog and check out the Ultimate Facebook Profits Course (Promo Code “WebFriendly” 20% OFF). If you’re looking for someone to help you create your Facebook Ads Campaign you can reach out to us via email or Facebook Messenger.
For more information, check out the following guides:
A digital marketing enthusiast who is passionate about publishing, startups and the creator economy. Matt is the CEO of Web Friendly and helps write, recruit and improve content across the website.
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