An Advertiser’s Guide to Picking a Facebook Objective

With over 2 billion people around the world using Facebook and usage rising during coronavirus, social advertising offers an opportunity to reach an ever-growing audience. When building a social ad, one of the first decisions you’re given is which objective to select. Here, we’ll look at how to pick an ad objective that aligns with your business goals by breaking down three of the most common: Reach Traffic, and Lead Generation. We’ll also provide overall best practices surrounding social ad creative, which are harnessed from servicing thousands of SMB advertisers. 

Reach Ads

Using a Facebook Reach objective maximizes the number of users who see an ad. Choosing this objective helps build brand awareness. When considering the marketing funnel, these ads are at the top, since their goal is to let as many users as possible see your ad. As consumers lower their spending amidst the pandemic, this is a good type of ad to help keep your brand top of mind without pressing viewers to let go of cash. In fact, Huffington Post found that many brands have shifted their ad campaigns towards messages of compassion and support. If you’re looking to raise awareness of your core values or community initiatives, a Reach ad would help set you up for success. 

Traffic Ads

Traffic ads seek to bring more users to a specific destination URL. If you’ve recently switched to a to-go menu or converted to an online store, a traffic objective would find users more likely to click and visit that URL. This objective is further down the marketing funnel because you’re asking a user to take the time to look at a website. Demonstrate the value the user will get from visiting the website, like learning about your new menu items, viewing your most recent product arrivals, or placing an order. Traffic campaigns are also a good option for advertisers seeking to promote a service that requires more information on an accompanying link. 

Lead Generation Ads 

These campaigns allow you to collect information, like a name and email address, from potential customers directly on Facebook. For advertisers running consultations or services that require phone or email contact, lead generation campaigns are best. Make sure to highlight your unique selling point to differentiate from competitors. Since you’re asking users to give you some information, it should be clear what they’ll be getting in return. Some examples of things you can offer include the following:

  • Newsletter Sign-up
  • Price Estimates
  • Business Information

Picking an audience is especially important for Lead Generation ads since they’re closer to the bottom of the marketing funnel. Adding some additional audience parameters, like a Custom Audience or Lookalike helps ensure the people seeing the ad are already familiar with you or similar to your best customers! For advertisers looking to run LG campaigns, make sure you also check out Tiger Pistol’s Justin Chavolla’s advice on how to receive high-quality leads

No matter which ad objective you choose, it’s also important to look at the messaging of your ad. We know how important it is to make every ad dollar count, so here are some quick tips as you move from objective into ad creation: 

  • Have a clear CTA in your ad copy. Don’t assume your audience knows what to do next.
  • Offer a unique selling point. What makes your business stand out?
  • Include strong visuals. Your media needs to support your message to ensure Ad Cohesion. If possible, use high-quality custom imagery over stock photos. 
  • Find your audience. You want your relevant audience to actually see your ad and not just everyone. On Facebook, you will literally pay for everyone who sees and clicks on your ad, so targeting the right people is key.
If you’re looking for more information about advertising during coronavirus, we laid out 50 tips for 50 different kinds of businesses. Looking for something more in-depth? Don’t hesitate to reach out. 

Best Practices for Facebook Audiences: Part 3 – Navigating Facebook Special Ad Categories

In order to comply with all rules and regulations surrounding anti-discriminatory practices, Facebook began enforcing new rules for the way Housing, Credit, and Employment advertisements were managed. Housing, Credit, and Employment ads must be certified as such. The certification process is done at the campaign level and involves checking the following box and republishing:

When you republish, you’ll also need to ensure your ad complies with the audience parameters for Special Ads. This guide outlines what kind of verticals are commonly impacted by this policy and how you can ensure that your ad complies.

Housing Opportunity (or related service): Ads that are running housing-related content. This can include listings for the sale or rental of a home or apartment, homeowner’s insurance, housing repairs, and more.

Employment Opportunity: Ads that promote or directly link to an employment opportunity, including but not limited to part- or full-time jobs, internships, or professional certification programs. Even if you’re just running a one-off employment opportunity, you’ll still need to make sure it is certified.

Credit Opportunity:  Ads that promote or directly link to a credit opportunity, including but not limited to credit card offers, auto loans, personal or business loan services, mortgage loans, and long-term financing. This also includes brand ads for credit cards, regardless of a specific offer. This is an especially important category for auto dealerships, as ads are often associated as part of a credit opportunity.

This infographic breaks down how Special Ad Categories affect different aspects of Facebook targeting including location, language, age/gender, Saved Audiences, Detail targeting and custom audiences.

Just because you don’t think your business applies here, make sure to be on the lookout for incorrect Special Ad category flags. For example, Facebook might associate the word “work” in your ad’s body copy as being an ad related to employment. If this happens, you can go to the ad level and request an appeal.

It’s also important to know that certification for Special Ads is always done to the individual ad. This means this is a step you’ll need to take for any current and future Special Ads.

Having less choices about your audience doesn’t have to be a limitation. It just means you could focus on finding the media or CTA that is resonating the most with your audience. Perhaps leveraging the possibilities of Facebook Stories will help you engage consumers? The exciting part about social advertising is that there are endless possibilities to help your ads stand out from the rest.

Miss the first two articles in our Best Practice for Facebook Audiences series?  Find them and other social advertising best practices on our Resources Page

Laura Kraay is a marketing services specialist for Tiger Pistol. She got her MFA in creative writing. Outside of work, you’ll likely find her doodling, reading, or spending time with family.

Best Practices for Facebook Audiences: Part 2 – A/B Testing: When in Doubt, Test it Out!

If you’re worried your social media ads are getting stagnant, an A/B test can provide a needed refresh. Running two ads that have only one varying element can offer valuable insights about what is working (and what’s not!) as well as inform strategy for future social campaigns.

A/B testing can be particularly helpful when determining audience. For example, if your goal is to grow your audience base, you could try targeting a lookalike of website traffic against a broad/detail targeting audience. The broad audience will help you continue to establish your customer base and the lookalike will help ensure some of your ads are also directed at users similar to your best customers.

Perhaps you’re still waiting for your Pixel data to gather? Try testing media and move to the audience later. In a world of endless customization, A/B testing offers a low-pressure scenario to freshen up your campaigns and learn more in the process.

Online retailer Sole Society wanted to compare how the square image format performed compared to a traditional landscape format. The ad featured the same pair of black boots. They learned that the square image outperformed the rectangular one and delivered a 27% increase and sales and 32% increase purchased products. For future campaigns, they could now feel more confident in selecting square images.

When trying to decide what to test, focus your goal on what you ultimately want to learn. Perhaps you want to sell more products, get more in-store visits, or simply want to more fully understand a particular aspect of your business. Stepping back like this can help you examine which of Facebook’s tools may work best for your needs.

Read the next post in my Best Practices for Facebook Audiences series, where I share how to create audiences that comply with Facebook Special Ads Categories. Miss the first article in this series? Check it out here.

Laura Kraay is a marketing services specialist for Tiger Pistol. She got her MFA in creative writing. Outside of work, you’ll likely find her doodling, reading, or spending time with family.

Best Practices for Facebook Audiences: Part 1 – Creating Audiences

Creating the perfect ad leads to the next step — who are you doing to show it to?  Here we’ll go over terminology and best practices for creating audiences for your social ads. If you’ve been asking questions about audience size, detail targeting, or Facebook custom and lookalike audiences, this is the guide for you.

Audience Size

When creating audiences, keep an eye on the Potential Reach. Facebook ads can run with a minimum audience of 1,000, but if an audience is too small, Facebook may have trouble finding users to show your ad to. This means your ad might underperform or be shown at a high frequency, causing ad fatigue among users seeing the ad over and over again! While there is no real “sweet spot” for audience size, we recommend trying to create an audience of at least 50,000. If you’re really in a pinch and are creating an audience in a lower populated area, try and keep the size to at least 10,000.

Detail Targeting

When adding detail targeting options, you can select from a variety of Facebook interests. Use OR targeting instead of AND (also called narrow) targeting when you want your audiences to be larger. Let’s talk Dogs, Cats, and Pets to illustrate the point.  In OR targeting, you would fall into the audience if you liked any one of those options (dogs, cats, or pets), but for AND targeting, you have to like all three. That’s why AND targeting produces a smaller audience. You can see the remarkable difference this can make in this illustration, where the audience difference between OR and AND is 590,000 people!

In general, it’s best not to overuse detail targeting. A broader audience may lead to potential new customers — you never know who may be interested!

Curious about detail targeting but want to use it to greater purpose? Learn how the conversions objective optimizes the delivery of your Facebook Campaign specifically towards a conversion event, rather than driving general traffic to your site or for brand awareness. This means you can still use detail targeting, but also further optimize for those people more likely to take a specific action on your page like “Add to Cart” or “Sign Up.”

Custom Audiences

Looking to apply remarketing strategies? That tactic begins with custom audiences. To create a custom audience, you will need to provide Facebook with identifiers about your customers (like email addresses or phone numbers) or have a Facebook Pixel installed on your website. Whether the uploaded identifiers or the data from your Pixel, this information is compared with the information on Facebook profiles. The overlapping group becomes your custom audience! To ensure the Information remains secure, it undergoes a hashing process before it’s sent to Facebook. (Hashing turns the information into randomized code.) After the custom audience is created, Facebook deletes the information.

This is a great way to show your ads to people who may have already interacted with your business. For example, having a Facebook Pixel installed means you could create audiences from your website traffic. Specific pages or events can also be used. A retail location who wants to focus on their summer shoes could select users who visited the “Sandals” section of their website.

You can also use custom audiences to exclude people from viewing your social ads. A fitness center whose objective is to get new members might exclude a custom list created from membership email addresses and names. This would ensure that their current customers aren’t in the ad’s audience, ensuring the business doesn’t waste its precious ad dollars.

When Beekeeper’s Naturals wanted to increase orders for its product sampler box, they showed video ads to a Custom Audience of people who had visited the Beekeeper’s Natural website within the last 30 days, added the product to their cart , but did not purchase it. In return, they saw a 39% increase in sales of a specific product bundle. They also had a 4.5X increase in return on ad spend. Custom audiences offered them the ability to show their ads to users who had already shown a demonstrated interest in the product.

In order to upload a list successfully, you’ll need at least 100 matches. This means your list might have to be a bit larger than 100 because it’s matching the information you’re providing with that on a user’s Facebook profile. If your list is uploaded, but you worry it’s a bit small for retargeting just yet, a lookalike audience might be more suited to your needs.

Lookalike Audiences 

A Lookalike Audience offers a way to reach new people who are likely to be interested in your business because they’re similar to your best existing customers. How does it work? Like a custom audience, you need to upload a data source. (It undergoes the same hashing process mentioned above.) Facebook then finds users with similar characters or qualities to that of your source.

In the “Power of the Facebook Pixel” Chris Mayer explains how this works in the case of a Lookalike Audience created from website traffic:

“A golf related e-commerce website might have a lot of users visiting their website, who also like the PGA Tour Facebook Page, and/or are “interested in” golf. The Lookalike Audiences will account for this. Facebook will literally find more people who like the PGA Tour Facebook Page, are also “interested in” golf, and share similar traits and demographics as the website visitors.”

Although Facebook doesn’t reveal which traits are generated, the value lies in its ability to optimize your audience. Clothing retailer Trina Turk was hesitant to turn to Facebook advertising because they were unsure if they could target enough people willing to spend money on a luxury brand. They first ran a dynamic campaign for broad audiences. Utilizing that campaign’s learnings “the team created and reached out to lookalike audiences based on the new shoppers who clicked through to the website from the dynamic ads.” Their year-over-years results for the following period speak to the power of the Lookalike Audience:

  • 75% increase in return on ad spend
  • 33% decrease in cost per purchase

These results are dramatic, so it’s important to highlight the two-part campaign here. Running a broad campaign helped them first get more website traffic. Just like with custom audiences, having an ample amount of data helps produce better results. If you’ve just installed your Facebook Pixel, first try running a broad or detail targeting campaign to further establish your base audience.

Hungry for more? Coming soon – how you can utilize A/B testing to find your most effective audience. In the meantime, check out our Resources Page for more social advertising best practices. 

Laura Kraay is a marketing services specialist for Tiger Pistol. She got her MFA in creative writing. Outside of work, you’ll likely find her doodling, reading, or spending time with family.

Facebook Launches Grant Program to Help Small Businesses

On Tuesday, May 17th, Facebook announced an upcoming grant program aimed to help SMB retailers during COVID-19. It will consist of $100 million in cash grants and ad credits for up to 30,000 eligible businesses. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg expanded on the importance of this initiative in her Facebook post:

Small businesses are the heartbeat of our communities, and many of the people who run these businesses are heavily affected by the crisis …We’ve listened to small businesses to understand how we can best help them. We’ve heard loud and clear that financial support could enable them to keep the lights on and pay people who can’t come to work.

The program is aimed to help businesses cover things like rent and operational costs, as well as connecting with more customers and keeping the workforce strong. For those interested in applying, stay tuned, as more details will be available in the upcoming weeks. You can also sign up for updates directly from Facebook here

In the meantime, Facebook has updated their Business Resource Hub with a page specific to managing and building resilience during this ordeal. It includes ideas for staying in touch with customers (like pinning your important updates) and other concrete steps for the unexpected challenges we’re facing. 

We love and support our SMBs. Tiger Pistol is here to answer any questions you may have.
Facebook Pixel Uses and Best Practices

The Facebook Pixel | Uses & Best Practices

According to Facebook, “The Facebook Pixel is an analytics tool that allows you to measure the effectiveness of your advertising by understanding the actions people take on your website.”

But what does that really mean?

The Facebook Pixel is a piece of code added to a website that tracks user data through cookies, allowing you to access useful analytics about customer website behavior. This data can then be used to inform strategy and find new potential audiences. Here are just a few concrete ways the Pixel helps advertisers: 

  1. You can now show social ads specifically to people who visited your website.
  2. You use your website visitors to build a Lookalike Audience to find and target new customers that have similar interests/behaviors/demographics as your current ones.
  3. You can utilize more more Facebook optimizations, such as Landing Page Views.

The Facebook Pixel is like a net that catches all user activity (referred to as events) and allows marketers to use these events to optimize and create more powerful ads. Facebook has seventeen standard events set up, such as  ‘Add to Wishlist,’ or ‘Complete Registration. ’ Custom events also allow users to add input their own categories.

This has clear and instant appeal for e-commerce, but the Pixel offers unique opportunities for all advertisers. The Pixel also gives retailers the chance to create custom audiences that can be useful in re-marketing efforts. Additionally, Pixel data can also be used at scale with the ability to share information across SMBs or rolled up into corporate systems. This way, brands can use location level data to help form more targeted audiences. 

The Pixel also offers the ability to create Lookalike Audiences from custom audiences. This creates a brand new audience which mirrors the preferences and values of the original. In “The Power of the Facebook Pixel,” Chris Mayer writes how Lookalike audiences are a great way to find new customers without relying on dwindling 3rd party data:

The lookalike process is anonymized: you won’t know exactly what traits the hash aggregates, but that’s okay. The resulting Lookalike Audience generated will include users with similar characteristics whom have not yet visited the website.

Clothing company Wren + Glory used value-based, international lookalike audiences on Facebook and Instagram to expand the company’s sales outside of the US.  They received 62% more orders compared to the previous period. 

In a world where data is crucial, the Pixel helps establish clear results. In fact, Gold’s Gym used data from their Facebook Pixel to learn that their recent Facebook ads produced a 2.2X lift in free trial sign-ups. Geoff Tobey, their Director of Digital Media mentioned that by “being able to jump into a Facebook testing opportunity, we learned that ads in Messenger Stories were more successful in driving an incremental lift in leads, and lowering cost per conversion, than we’ve seen on other channels.”

Whether you’re looking to test new optimizations, employ re-marketing strategies, or find new customers, social media advertising allows customization and proven results. The holidays may be a whirlwind, but the Pixel can help you stay on track along the way. 

Learn more about Facebook Advertising Best Practices from Tiger Pistol’s experts. Browse our resources now.