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.

Stay on the lookout for our next post in my Best Practices for Facebook Audiences series. I’ll share how to create audiences that comply with Facebook Special Ads Categories. Miss the first article in this series? Check it out here.
In the meantime, check out our Resources Page for Part 1 of the Best Practices for Facebook Audiences series and other 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.

Global Analysis: Tracking Facebook and Instagram CPMs Alongside Covid-19 Active Cases

Several weeks ago, Tiger Pistol’s Paul Elliott, CEO, began tracking a global analysis of the weekly growth of active COVID-19 cases in eight countries to determine how they correlate with the average Facebook and Instagram CPMs during the same time*, all to discover if CPMs could be a leading indicator of economic recovery.  Since then, we’ve been closely monitoring the trends outlined in Paul’s original publication and will be offering weekly insights.

Updated July 2, 2020

A few days ago, we hit 10 million global COVID-19 cases, a milestone we didn’t think we’d see a few months ago. Now entering the third quarter of 2020, we might begin to see some fluctuations as governments enact long-term plans for the safety and well-being of their citizens.

Overall, we’re seeing cases spike in the United States and a continued rise in Brazil.

In other countries, a slight uptick in cases, but the same sort of fluctuations in CPM from week to week. Within July, we may also begin to see effect of #StopHateForProfit on Facebook advertising, but this might only affect US CPMs. 

Curiosities:

  • Italy has made the biggest comeback, with their CPM regaining strength this week to the highest level since before we began tracking.
  • Canada & Spain are also seeing CPM strengthening.
Updated June 26, 2020

This week’s overarching message can be stated in a word: Instability. Some countries are trying to decide “is this over?,” while others are clearly not out of the woods. 

We’re still in Wave 1 in most places, and a case could be made for Wave 1.5. Studies are showing that being in enclosed places (restaurants, bars, etc.) increases the likelihood of contracting the virus, which leads to a lot of businesses having to make the decision whether or not to reopen or stay closed. Through the end of Q1 and beginning of Q2, it’s clear there was stability in most of the countries.

United States/Canada: Three of the largest populated states in the USA have begun experiencing a rapid spike of cases within the last week, leaving governors to decide to continue or halt phased openings. June as a whole saw an increase in overall CPM, after an initial dip at the start of the month, but with the uncertainties surrounding freedom of movement during the summer, we’re predicting CPMs may drop again in July (as seen in the last week). 

EU: The EU ramped up opening its borders, with most of the countries listed below open to travelers on the continent. Spain has seen a resurgence in cases and while they reopened their borders, a mandatory quarantine is in place and CPMs – while overall had steadied, plummeted the first weekend of reopening. Italy, similarly to Spain, has seen a sharp rise and fall of CPMs in a 3-week period, but have not seen a rise in cases (except for a new set of cases in the southern part of the country). Germany is all over the map, with sharp rises and drops, garnering attention as while the country was set to reopen fully, officials were forced to put that on hold due to a case flare up.

Australia: Australia managed to deal with the outbreak pretty swiftly, with a short spike and then drop off of cases. This has led to a steady rise of CPMs for the region.

Late outbreaks:

Brazil – Brazil as a country is really struggling, drawing eyes not only from a public health crisis perspective, but also from a “discount” perspective. CPMs remain steady since their drop in Q1, as the country has yet to see a drop in cases.

For continued updates, be sure to bookmark this page. To learn more about Tiger Pistol and social advertising at scale for SMB resellers, agencies, and global brands, contact us today!

Unpacking Discovery Ads with Google: What it Means for Facebook

You’ve heard it a million times since the dawn of social advertising, “search for is for intent, social is for discovery!” And for a time, all us marketers constantly reckoned with this fact. The ad tech industry quickly codified itself into specialized tools on either ends of the spectrum, with a few hybrids in between. Though the fact of the matter remains, no one goes to Facebook and just searches for something. They access their feed and view their friends’ content. It’s a more reactive experience by nature. Whereas when users hit the Google front page, the intent is always specific – I am going to search for something, or I am going to click into a specific Google tool, like my email, or calendar. These differing experiences made it easy to think of social and search advertising as separable.

That separability is about to turn on its head, as Google launched Discovery Ads globally just last month. The premise is a familiar one, “Discovery campaigns take their cue from Facebook’s success at exactly this type of visually impactful, native ad format targeted based on audience data rather than search intent”. However, Google is proceeding down this path with caution, only launching one ad slot to start. But Google’s intent is clear here, they are aiming their sights directly at the “discovery media” Facebook has been so effective at collecting. Google’s own documentation on the format positions it just as Facebook would a Reach campaign: “Reach more of Google with a single ad campaign. With the ability to reach up to 2.9 billion people monthly… you can now reach more potential customers as they browse… on popular Google properties.” The idea being that Google will optimize Discovery ads using their customer intent data, just deployed in a slightly different way, to find users likely to be interested in similar products and serve them ads in the Discovery slot.

Google also notes that the properties these ads will feature on: YouTube’s Home and Watch Next feeds, the Gmail Promotions and Social tabs, and Discover, which for them, is the right way to think about discovery tactics, placing those units on properties where users tend to spend the most time, or in other words, places where people are naturally inclined to search for and consume content as opposed to engaging with specific search intent. So on one hand, the logic is sound. Google does indeed have a ton of user data, and enough for certain, to be able to use machine learning to identify the “interested users” necessary for deployment of discovery ad tactics. 

Does this supplant Facebook? That’s probably not the right way of thinking about it. We have seen new ad networks and properties come and go, and evolve, but rarely are these ever more than evolutions of traditional tactics. Rather than complete re-inventions of digital ad products and strategy. Although, it does mean Google could very well be a bigger part of conversations on Discovery, and the search-social digital framework is going to get muddier in terms of now being able to deploy discovery and intent tactics across both networks. Really though, it’s just one more place to cross-target ads, whether that be off search data and tracking alone, or through combined retargeting efforts across social and search.

When considering SMB advertising, introducing another, separate, Discovery placement into the mix feels premature, especially on the brick-and-mortar side. Consider what a typical scaled social and search strategy looks like. One example is an integrated marketing software for SMBs. This client helps manage web presence and SEO, in addition to paid digital advertising, but they need a way to generate leads reliably through search and discovery efforts. Being that most of their customer base is brick and mortar service providers, shopper-driven, product-based discovery was difficult. They decided to double down on Facebook for lead generation, leveraging the Facebook Pixel to middleman between their inbound activity based on search intent and effective re-marketing on social.

Tiger Pistol worked to develop a full cycle approach to lead generation and lead nurturing:

  • The customer’s contact list is sent to Tiger Pistol via API for automatic creation of a Custom Audience, which is then used to create a Lookalike Audience on Facebook for targeting purposes.
  • Tiger Pistol automatically creates and publishes a Lead Ad, enabling Facebook users who look like their existing customer base to submit their contact information natively.
  • Leads are then automatically sent to the customer’s company contact list, where a lead nurturing track is triggered to drive conversion.

The integration provides the client’s customers a seamless, automated process to drive and nurture leads, allowing the client to spend more time managing its business. As their end-users find their customers on search, those customers are captured and used to find lookalikes. What’s more, each discovery-based lead also feeds the data loop. While one could imagine inserting some Google Discovery into this mix, it’s hard to pin down at this moment whether or not it’d be worth the effort, or if it’s best to wait for more data on the new Google placements. Google also lacks the journey driven lead collection that’s native within Facebook. As such, it’s also hard to imagine scaling a Google Discovery solution for SMBs given that it would require an offsite landing page to support lead collection- whereas Facebook does not, because Facebook enables direct lead collection across all its primary properties.

Facebook and its family of apps remain the destination for discovery-grounded marketing, not only because the idea of the Google network still feels foreign, but also because Facebook has a decade’s head start on developing specific ad tools within the discovery framework. Facebook offers over a dozen marketing objectives and has numerous properties suited to discovery such as Instagram, WhatsApp, or Messenger. It will take Google considerable time to catch up if they continue to go deeper into discovery-based ad optimizations. Place your bets now, I imagine they’ll find a way to make it work eventually. For now, Facebook should remain the focus for discovery, especially if considering a tight budget. Introducing a “third split” so to speak, of sending spend across search, social discovery, and search discovery could possibly mean not doing any of the aforementioned tactics well. Maybe in time, with more data, and evolution from Google, the calculus will change. But it is likely still the case that the most optimal means to focus dollars within the discovery/intent distinction would be to continue to emphasize Google for search-intent tactics with a separate focused discovery effort across Facebook

Chris Mayer, a Solutions Engineer at Tiger Pistol, specializes in helping digital agencies, SMB resellers, and global brands build scaled Facebook advertising solutions with an emphasis on local activation.

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.

Playbook: Social Advertising at Scale for Restaurants & Food Service Brands

While some major platforms have begun to offer advertising objectives that align with local needs such as calls or visits, none come close to the easy, effective tools Tiger Pistol provides to activate and manage your Restaurant or Food Service brand’s social advertising at scale.

Unlocking Local Activation at Scale is the social advertising playbook that reveals just how simple and efficient Tiger Pistol’s social advertising platform makes it for Restaurant and Food Service brands to onboard and empower their locations or channel partners with brand-approved, best practice, Facebook and Instagram campaigns — all customized for their local audiences.

Tiger Pistol, with Realogy, Named Finalist in Digiday Media Awards

Tiger Pistol Honored with Realogy for Social Advertising Strategies that Turned Real Estate Agents into Powerful Local Marketers

Tiger Pistol, the only social advertising platform that delivers local activation at global scale, has been named a finalist in two categories, Most Original Use of Social and Best Brand Partnership – B2B, in the prestigious Digiday Media Awards for its collaboration with Realogy, the largest residential real estate company in the US, for their Social Ad Engine product.

“By pairing Realogy’s real estate industry expertise with Tiger Pistol’s knowledge of social advertising at scale, we were able to deliver a large scale social advertising capability that drives remarkable results for Realogy’s real estate agents,” said Paul Elliott, CEO, Tiger Pistol. “Our relationship with Realogy is a true partnership, and the campaigns we execute together dramatically exceed expectations for effectiveness and cost efficiency. These honors from the Digiday Media Awards highlight Tiger Pistol’s industry leadership, as well as the collaborative nature of the relationships we share with our partners, like Realogy.”

Social Ad Engine’s industry-leading platform enables Realogy’s agents and brokers a seamless experience to publish high performing Facebook and Instagram ads. Every listing campaign leverages Social Ad Engine’s best-in-class, automatic A/B testing to ensure agents’ budgets are spent effectively to drive the best outcome. Agents realize the benefit of local social advertising with campaigns that are published directly from their Facebook Business Page versus from an office, company or brand page. For agents without an active listing, Social Ad Engine enables the auto-creation of branding campaigns to ensure agents can promote themselves anytime across the Facebook family of apps.

“Just like every Tiger Pistol platform offering, we developed Social Ad Engine with users in mind, simplifying the arduous process of publishing social ads for each listing by building behind-the-scenes automation,” said Talia Wachtel, VP Client Management at Tiger Pistol. “Our platform lets agents onboard and connect their Facebook Business Page quickly and publish thumb-stopping ads with only a few clicks. Agents can easily see what they are accomplishing with intuitive dashboards to view their campaigns, metrics, results, and other key elements. Moreover, they can download a report to demonstrate campaign success to their clients.”

“Tiger Pistol’s knowledge of social media campaigns, service level, attention to detail, and true commitment to our partnership were integral pieces of the successful simultaneous launch of Social Ad Engine to five of our brands,” said Christian Russo, Senior Director of Product Management, Realogy. “The dedication and enjoyment in their work and platform is evident in everything they do. When we established our long-term partnership, we had no idea how impactful it would be in today’s environment, however with Tiger Pistol’s help, we are able to deliver a level of certainty in these uncertain times with the speed and flexibility needed to let our agents and brokers own the recovery.”

Tiger Pistol’s partnership helped Realogy pivot seamlessly in a time when the real estate industry has been forced to undergo dramatic operational changes.  By accelerating the development roadmap, Tiger Pistol and Realogy were able to provide new and meaningful tools to agents through Social Ad Engine. Among some of the major changes made was a way for agents to speak to their communities in a more personal way through promoting agent advertisements, not just listings. Video and Carousel ads have also recently launched to enhance campaign performance and to give agents new ways to promote their listings and themselves.

Tiger Pistol and Realogy’s Social Ad Engine faces off against Questus and Fannie Mae HomeStyle® Renovation, IDG Communications, Inc. and Splunk, Verizon Media and Procter & Gamble, and the Financial Times and CFA Institute for Best Brand Partnership – B2B. The competition is equally stiff in the Most Original Use of Social category, contending with Sputnik France for Paris Mayday, ESPN for Dear Kobe, Zyper, E! News, and Bleacher Report. Winners will be announced Thursday, June 25 at 2:30PM EST in a virtual ceremony.

COVID-19 Response Program for Healthcare

As clinic operations evolve under COVID-19, healthcare providers need a responsive local strategy – with the ability to provide accurate information to patients.

In our playbook, we outline Tiger Pistol’s COVID-19 Support Programs for the Healthcare Industry.  You’ll learn how templatized local campaigns give you the ability to shift creative and messaging based on in-person appointments, virtual appointments, and vital healthcare updates, with easy tools to turn campaigns on or off based on changing local orders and pandemic scenarios. Get the playbook now. 

Tiger Pistol Honored with AdExchanger Award for Best Social Media Campaign

Anheuser-Busch InBev’s Localized Campaign Supporting its Worldwide Network of Local Bars, Retailers, and Restaurants Earns Top Prize

Tiger Pistol, the only social advertising platform that delivers local activation at global scale, has been named the winner of “Best Social Media Campaign” in the prestigious AdExchanger Awards, based on the remarkable results from the campaign that localized Anheuser-Busch InBev’s (AB InBev) national advertising, making the brand the toast of towns around the world. 

Through the Tiger Pistol platform, AB InBev shifted its budget to local social advertising, specifically Facebook and Instagram campaigns, aggregating touchpoints in communities around the world. This bottom-up approach generated larger and more meaningful results for its brand, drastically lowering advertising costs, increasing consumer engagement, and fostering loyalty among its worldwide network of bars, restaurants and retailers. 

“For nearly a decade, Tiger Pistol has been obsessively focused on building the world’s most effective and efficient social advertising platform for local activation at scale,” said Paul Elliott, Tiger Pistol CEO. “This recognition by the AdExchanger Awards is high praise, and further validates our company’s legacy of delivering ‘first-evers’ that drive client value. With our disruption-proof technology, we’re able to pivot seamlessly for AB InBev, bringing the speed, versatility, and flexibility necessary for our current world situation, that’s truly region by region and business by business.”

Tiger Pistol powers AB InBev’s Covid-19 local social strategy, giving the brand’s network of independent restaurants and bars, most of whom are suffering during this time, advertising power to help them drive business and reinforce the essential role restaurants and bars play in fostering memories and connections in the lives of consumers. 

Pre-pandemic, AB InBev offered its establishments brand-funded, direct-response local social campaigns to drive foot traffic. Tiger Pistol continues to give AB InBev the opportunity to provide their establishments brand-level creative and messaging, but has shifted to ads structured around community building, gift cards sales, home delivery, or no contact curbside pickup in impacted communities. 

“Our platform’s capability is based on the flexibility and versatility needed to run more personalized, localized social campaigns.” said Elliott. “In the thick of this pandemic and beyond, we’re going to see some establishments open, some closed, some with varying business operations, and some that could even be closed for a day or two for cleaning. These fluctuating situations are highlighting the added benefits of our technology, as we empower our clients, like AB InBev, to function at a local level, which now has a much higher degree of importance in recovery and revitalization efforts.”

AdExchanger, an award-winning integrated media company devoted to data-driven digital marketing, annually recognizes excellence, innovation, and the advertising and marketing world’s brightest achievements through the AdExchanger Awards. 

Learn more about Tiger Pistol and AB InBev’s award-winning social advertising. Register now for the free Digital Food & Beverage Virtual Event, where Daniel Ingram, Global Director of Trade Innovation at AB InBev, and Talia Wachtel, VP Client Management at Tiger Pistol, will present together at 1:50PM ET on June 23.

To learn more about how Tiger Pistol’s award-winning social advertising technology can help your brand adapt in today’s environment and beyond, visit www.tigerpistol.com 

On-Demand Webinar: The Critical Role of Local Social Advertising in Economic Recovery

Tiger Pistol’s Casey Zaffin, VP of Client Management, discusses why local social advertising is a must have for your economic recovery and revitalization efforts, the role of local social advertising in the economic rebuild, and how facilitating connections can be done at scale, whether you are a large multi-location brand, and agency, or an SMB reseller.

During this webinar, you will learn:

  • Companies that invest in local social advertising with precise targeting, refocused and flexible creative and messaging will capitalize on recovery opportunities and dominate in 2020 and into 2021.
  • With store visit optimization still off the table in many areas, we’ll define what measurements can be used to define social advertising success. ○ How engaging with consumers and the community on a personal level will establish a long-lasting connection and how ads can be dynamically scaled for localization.
  • How SMBs should take advantage of conversational commerce ○ Best practices in social advertising through the lens of three industry-leading companies:
    • A Global Fortune 500 beverage company using social to reach into communities to support local bars and restaurants
    • A Fortune 500 real estate company that’s enabling its agents to make critical connections at a time when human interaction is limited
    • A leading SMB reseller that’s empowering their customers with new and innovative tools to enhance personal connections.

Watch The Critical Role of Local Social Advertising in Economic Recovery 

COVID-19 Response Program for Financial Services

As customer behavior evolves under COVID-19, local Facebook marketing strategies need to adapt as well.

In this playbook, we outline Tiger Pistol’s COVID-19 Support Programs for the Financial Services Industry.  You’ll learn to how adapt your marketing with Conversion and Lead based Campaign templates focused on lead acquisition, virtual consultations, and online quotes.