iOS 14 and Privacy: What it Means for Advertisers

The latest in the tug-of-war between consumer privacy and effective digital advertising pits Apple against Facebook, Google, and others. At stake for ad tech: significant revenue for ad publishers and app developers, effective ad results for advertisers, and more relevant ads for consumers. At stake for users: consumer privacy protection, the use of their behavioral data for marketing, and possibly – the future of “free” software. Apple’s pending release of iOS 14 is a strong consumer-privacy-first stance and a potential disruption to digital marketing as we know it. But what is the real impact for targeted digital advertising?

What is Changing?

In a nutshell, Apple devices running iOS 14 will now require explicit user opt-in to allow apps to track behaviors across sites using the Identifier for Advertising, or IDFA. The IDFA ties a unique, random number to a user’s device, allowing advertisers and data companies to evaluate ad interactions on an aggregated basis. Blocking user tracking by third parties has already been a staple for privacy-first browsers for some time (Apple’s own Safari, Chromium-based Brave, the Tor browser, and others), and has been offered as an opt-out model within mobile operating systems, as well. However, the shift to a more aggressive opt-in model is expected to be disruptive to app ad targeting and attribution.

Impacts on the the Facebook Ad Platform

Consumer Behavior Data

By losing access to information that links consumer behavior across experiences (apps, websites, etc.), Facebook and other ad networks will have less visibility into user actions outside of their own properties. This downturn in insights may decrease targeting effectiveness in aggregate over time.

Ad Targeting

Without distinct information about potential consumers, networks like Facebook must rely on non-personalized information when determining to whom to serve an ad. On iOS 14 apps and devices, consumers can expect their ads to be less personalized, and advertisers can expect the impact to be far lower as a result.

Attribution & Optimization

Not only is it difficult to determine who an ad is served to, Facebook algorithms will be blind to the impact of the ad, diminishing the ability to understand how many clicks resulted in installs or other conversions. Losing visibility into specific consumers who viewed the ad makes it far more difficult to determine which converted users saw the ad.

Specific Impacts for Facebook Advertisers

This may seem obvious, but this is (currently) only expected to impact consumers on iOS 14. While Apple is a dominant player in mobile devices in the U.S. (58.78% in the US versus Android’s 41.03%), they are less dominant worldwide (24.82% versus Android’s 74.6%). Is this a precedent that could expand, with broader adoption of Apple’s opt-in approach, or will we see networks maintain status quo with the opt-out standards already implemented by companies like Google and Microsoft? Only time will tell. 

Third-party Placements (via Facebook’s Audience Network)

Facebook uses its Audience Network (FAN) to provide advertising placement into non-Facebook properties. These ads are commonly served in apps and games, and are particularly effective because Facebook knows far more about a consumer than the app developer does, giving them an opportunity to target ads and attribute from where positive results originate. Some of the biggest changes to iOS 14 target app access to consumers’ IDFA, requiring an opt-in to use. Advertisers expect this to negatively impact Facebook’s ad effectiveness and behavior tracking in third-party platforms. Based on their tests, Facebook expects a 50% decrease in ad revenue due to a reduced ability to personalize and target ads. This seems to be the leading Facebook risk, and may become so ineffective as to be discontinued.

App Install Objectives

App installs, a type of conversion objective optimization, are reliant on a signal from a consumer device that the desired app has been installed (and possibly opened). This is expected to be significantly hindered for iOS app installs, driving attribution and targeting effectiveness downward. Facebook is asking developers to use a new version of the Facebook SDK to support the new Apple SKAdNetwork API, and also to create a dedicated iOS 14 ad account for these ad campaigns.

Lower Immediate Impact (or None)

Advertisers using Facebook’s First-party Placements

The bulk of Facebook’s advertisers today use Facebook’s first-party placements, which include Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, Marketplace. These placements reach consumers wherever they spend time on the Facebook platform: in-app or in-browser, mobile or desktop, and benefit from full targeting, attribution, and optimization as before. The only exception is for app install objectives.

What’s Next?

Facebook continues to invest in methods to improve advertising and conversion signal resiliency. Some of these, including the ability for businesses to provide external conversion data (such as business transaction matching), or server-side (rather than client-side) signals for consumer behavior, are unaffected by these changes. These require businesses to share first-party business data (activity, conversions) directly with Facebook for attribution and optimization. Using these within campaigns and to create custom and lookalike audiences remain very powerful tools for effective marketing.

At the same time, there is a looming specter of broader governmental regulations, following in the steps of GDPR and CCPA, which look to take a stance on consumer privacy and the use or sale of this data for advertising (or other means). Legislation is being considered or implemented in many U.S. states (Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, and many more) and in other countries like India.

iOS 14 changes the game for monetizing in-app ad placements with their opt-in-required updates for tracking. App-centric campaigns (by objective or placement) are hardest hit, with tests showing a 50% revenue hit as targeting, attribution, and optimization become severely limited. Other first-party campaigns on Facebook’s platform should expect no immediate impact. The trend toward more consumer privacy is clear in products and legislation; what remains to be seen is whether the industry will embrace a new opt-in standard or stand by the current opt-out model

As a preferred Facebook Marketing Partner, Tiger Pistol is committed to helping our clients and their stakeholders navigate changes like these. Contact us today. 

Bob Govia is Director of Product Management at Tiger Pistol. 

What’s the Right Amount of Local for my Brand?

It feels like establishing a digital local presence has been the bread and butter of brick-and-mortar strategy for decades. With numerous specialized agencies and tools, listings management, Google Places, Facebook location Pages, etc.,it can feel like there are a thousand different permutations you need to cycle your brand through with the aim of going local. 

Insurance brands can advertise locally through agents and advisors, as these representatives work out of local offices and service particular local areas.

“Going local” can mean many different things, depending on your industry and how you engage with customers in your buying flow. In some cases, like for a large national insurance brand, the value of locality is self-evident. The brand can advertise locally through agents and advisors, as these representatives work out of local offices and service particular local areas. For other industries, such as consumer products, “going local” might mean marketing through independent dealers or chain partner retailers. Even wholly digital brands, such as delivery service apps like Doordash and Uber Eats, have reason to drive value through local marketing of their partner merchants to their local consumers. The real power of local marketing lies in its flexibility to work across decentralized and centralized networks alike.

So while the buzz around “local” marketing may feel tired at times, brands continue to take the plunge. Yet it’s important to keep in mind that someone else’s version of “local” doesn’t have to be yours. Take Red Bull for example. Going local for them means hosting local events and building subcultural communities to promote them through. A quick search of their brand on Facebook reveals a distributed page presence, such as Red Bull Music, Red Bull Motorsports, Red Bull Gaming. From a marketing perspective, these fronts are reflective of their larger marketing tactics in play, as the product offered never changes. Red Bull simply sells Red Bull. 

Contrast that with a search for “Allstate Agents” on Facebook. You will see thousands of business pages returned from local Allstate agents.

Of course, retailers often use location pages, creating one for every one of their stores to contain their local presence and house store-specific information, namely geo-location, but also hours, WiFi names, and more that are location specific. Many chain stores now have a distributed store page presence across Facebook.

Facebook continues to be the first choice for social media marketing with a local presence. With the right tools, brands are able to take advantage of their local presence with paid media. It’s important to consider holistically where the value lies in paid media activations. At Tiger Pistol, we work with partners across many different verticals, from real estate, retail, consumer products, financial services, and insurance, in addition to digital re-sellers and franchise brands. Every one of our clients is taking advantage of a different flavor of local paid media.The core power of local marketing is truly it’s ability to connect brands, consumers, and everyone in between to holistic ROA-based advertising strategies.

For example, a global beauty consumer products brand leverages our technology to enable salons and retailers to promote themselves through the brand’s Facebook Business Page, with each merchant receiving their own individual campaign, designed and optimized to deliver sales to them. While also empowering their campaign through attachment and association with the global brand’s page. In effect, they use paid campaigns to take the brand to a local level, by featuring specific merchants in what would otherwise be a brand level campaign.

Tiger Pistol enabled Ben & Jerry’s to publish on-brand local social advertisements for scoop shops leveraging a local tie-in with Uber Eats delivery. Ads were geotargeted for Uber-Eats’ delivery area, with the call-to-action to “Order Now via Uber-Eats.” Each ad’s “Order Now” button drove to Uber-Eats’ online ordering page for the local Scoop Shop. 

In other cases, it’s about bringing together independent merchants through a distributed local presence, such as our work with AB-InBev where our technology allows merchants to connect their own business pages and receive curated ads, published through them.

There are even cases where the locality is no more than a deliberate messaging tactic. Our Real Estate partners often publish local recruitment ads through their brand Page. This gives them a means to propagate localized messaging quickly that both target hyper-locally and feature creative that is locally aware – allowing their brand to speak to local job applicants in particular locales and feature local office information as necessary. 

As you can see, there are many paths to “Go Local.” They may sometimes include multiple Pages and places, or locality can simply be a messaging tactic – a first touch engagement into a larger national buying path, when it’s important to feature your brand in a specific local community. The value is in being able to quickly get local when it makes sense to, and to complement national advertising efforts through local advertising dissemination. 

It’s easy to deploy a single national campaign. Anything more can be enormously time consuming without the right tools, and you may be missing out on not only happier consumers, but better performance too. Separate local campaigns and marketing tactics can offer marketing flexibility, such as when an insurance brand uses its corporate website data to retarget consumers through a local agent campaign or when digital brands leverage the locality of their partners to distribute their message into particular locales. “Going Local” is about building holistic, responsive strategies that connect consumers to buying paths and speak to consumers more personally, in recognition of where they live and shop. Beyond a closer consumer connection, local marketing can very much also be a means for brands to enable and empower their retail, merchant, and account partners who they rely on to sell their products. 

Let’s talk about a local strategy that best fits your brand. Contact us today!

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.

Should I Stop Worrying So Much About Facebook Placements?

So you’re creating a Facebook ad, and you’ve done all the hard work. You have compelling imagery, persuasive copy, and a cohesive message that will entice your audience, but you’re just not sure where to best display the ad. You know there are plenty of display options, but how are you supposed to know which placement will give you the most performance? While this might sound like a difficult decision, Facebook’s Automatic Placements option actually makes it one of the easiest steps in the entire ad creation process.

When you run an ad on Facebook, the platform’s algorithm will continuously optimize the delivery of that ad to get you the best results, and this kind of optimization is also available for placements. Facebook themselves state that Automatic Placements will concentrate your budget on the combination of placements that is most likely to get you the best overall results, and they recommend it as one of their advertising best practices. Let the algorithm do all the hard work of figuring out where to show your ad; you just focus on making sure the ad itself is as high-quality as possible.

Utilizing Automatic Placements also allows you to cast your advertising net as wide as you can without the risk of spending too much of your budget on an ineffective placement. Your ads might perform extremely well under a placement that you would’ve otherwise ignored, and even if you include a placement where your ad doesn’t perform particularly well, Facebook will realize this and optimize your budget for a different, more effective placement. Automatic Placements can be especially useful if you’re advertising at a large scale where individual manual optimization would be a daunting and extremely time-consuming task.

You might be a little wary of relinquishing control of your ad placements for things like Brand Safety and absolute peak campaign performance, and there are valid reasons to turn off Automatic Placements in those scenarios. However, unless you see hyper-specific trends in terms of engagement on one particular platform, it’s usually best to try and spread your ad out across several different placements instead of putting all your advertising eggs into one basket. Facebook also offers Brand Safety controls so that you can block any apps, websites, or Facebook Pages where you don’t want your ads to appear. This allows you to continue taking advantage of Automatic Placements while still adhering to your brand’s important safety guidelines.

Automatic Placement is an extremely powerful tool that every advertiser should consider putting in their Facebook advertising arsenal. It saves time, money, and can even reveal trends in your targeting audiences that would’ve otherwise gone undiscovered. Depending on your situation, it might be worth it to consider Automatic Placements and take the guesswork out of your advertising.

How Brands Can Empower and Revitalize Their Reps & Independent Contractors

Skate to Where The Puck is Going

Brands rely on their representatives and independent contractors (agents, dealers, consultants, advisors, etc) to build personal relationships with their customers, support their services and sell their products. With COVID, brands have been faced with a unique challenge to respond to the changes in the marketplace as consumer behavior shifts. 

The roles and responsibilities of their staff went from in-person sales and service support to socially distanced meetups, strict cleaning guidelines, and virtual live streamed events. While some companies have already relied on digital transformation to support their growth, many brands were not prepared to integrate digital technology into their work streams.

For example, network marketing brands have had to evolve through continual changes on Facebook in addition to having to respond to quarantine and stay-at-home orders because of COVID. The forced social isolation undercuts the interpersonal nature of consulting-based selling and has placed new importance on digital tools, such as empowering reps and contractors to connect through messaging, and providing them with personal websites as a means to drive online sales.

In response to these new challenges, comes an opportunity for brands to enable their network of contractors and reps with new tools to promote their products and services online. However, the need to maintain brand consistency and voice remains a vital role with any national or global company.

How Technology Can Breed Innovation

The most critical need is to bring your company into the 21st century with digital advertising. Since the arrival of COVID restrictions in March, Americans have been spending more of their lives online. According to a recent study by Apptopia, Facebook usage has increased nearly 30% since February, and that trend hasn’t subsided. Now more than ever brands need to shift their advertising efforts to where their customers are spending their time.

The tech giants of the likes of Facebook and Google are taking note and providing free tools to small- and medium-sized businesses to usher in change as the world adapts to our new reality. For example, Facebook announced that any Facebook or Instagram Business Page will have new features enabled, allowing brands to create fully established e-commerce experiences. Most recently, Facebook announced the launch of Paid Online Events, “a free product that enables “businesses, creators, educators and media publishers” to set up paid events or classes online and keep 100% the revenue themselves — except on iOS, where event hosts must give up the 30% “App-Store tax,” as Facebook called it.”

How Do We Move From Here?

With some industries, such as Hotels and Hospitality, finding the ability to bounce back relatively quickly has been easier with the boost of summer holidays, though most verticals will take much longer to achieve pre-Covid foot-traffic.

Relative Foot-Traffic By Industry

Source SafeGraph

Here are some examples of how industry leading brands are accomplishing this:

  • Giving their team an advertising option to help them continue to drive social connections – Read Case Study
  • Re-establishing the essential role their brand plays in fostering engagement, connections, and product satisfaction through digital marketing – Read Case Study
  • Acclimating their brand message by the state or city level to respond to the ever- changing customer preferences and local government mandates – Read Article
  • Creating more synergies between sales and their brand team to pivot with the right technology

The Right Tool For The Job

Just like a locksmith wouldn’t come to a job site with one tool – brands have a vested interest in cultivating a marketing technology stack that is right for their business. Often brands wildly underestimate the number of marketing technologies they need to deploy in their organization. My advice to you: Keep things simple. Add new tech only when you are truly ready to execute on it and decide on a strategy before you go in search for the tool. The latter of which is the most important.

For the last 5 years of my career I’ve worked at SaaS companies and I have to say – I utterly hate this phrase. The reason being is that buyers or clients are not just in search of a software as a service. When someone at your organization is looking for a software, they are not just looking for a few cool features and a support email address. The truth is that your leader is looking for a new approach to their business problem. 

Elon Musk said that “Great companies are built on great products,” and if you are looking for a new path forward in these unprecedented times, you must continue to challenge, evaluate, and test new solutions. By providing new resources to your reps and contractors alike, you can align your team with the core values of your business no matter how large or small the use case.

As we have seen with other brands, when they provide powerful digital tools to their consultants and reps. The results are virtuous, driving success for the rep and their business, in addition to promoting the brand’s products at the same time.

If you’re looking for more than just new software, but a new way of thinking to enable your network of contractors and reps, I encourage you to contact Tiger Pistol to learn more about how we can help.

David Delaplane is a Regional Sales Director for Tiger Pistol. With over 9 years of experience in SaaS and paid media, David demonstrates his passions for strategic thinking and problem solving by delivering innovative and custom solutions for his clients. 

Tiger Pistol Takes Home Two U.S. Social Media Awards, the Latest in a String of Honors for the Company

Tiger Pistol Recognized for Excellence in Social Media Advertising, Innovation, and Strategy

Tiger Pistol, the only social advertising platform that delivers local activation at global scale, announced today that it recently won two U.S. Social Media Awards – Best use of Facebook/Instagram and the Innovation Award. The company was also runner up for Best Use of Paid Social, Best Social Media Campaign, and Best Strategic Use of Social Media. 

With these latest awards, Tiger Pistol is now the most awarded and recognized social platform of 2020. In the span of eight months, Tiger Pistol was recognized by Digiday as the Best Social Media Marketing Platform, by Street Fight for Best Social Media Campaign, by Localogy as Best Localized Marketing Campaign, by AdExchanger for Best Social Media Campaign. Additionally, Tiger Pistol took second place in the Franchise Innovation Awards. The company was also named a finalist for three Shorty Awards for Best Facebook Campaign, Best Strategic Use of Localization, Best Use of Social for Consumer Products; and a finalist for two Digiday Media Awards for Best B2B Brand Partnership and Most Original Use of Social. 

“These honors really speak to the quality of our social advertising technology, our company culture, and our common mission,” said Paul Elliott, Tiger Pistol CEO. “We want to help our clients grow. We’re highly competitive and fearless. You’ve got to be bold when you’re competing in a highly dynamic marketplace. We like to say we can accomplish the things that everyone else says ‘no’ to – what’s assumed to be too big or too scary or simply can’t be done. These are the challenges that propel us forward with great success.” 

See how the award-winning Tiger Pistol Platform can unlock local activation at global scale for your business.  Request a demo today!

Navigating Facebook’s Special Ads Category for Financial Services

In mid-2019, Facebook rolled out the Special Ad Category, which limits advertisers running Housing, Employment and Credit campaigns. Campaign audiences must adhere to a specific set of parameters and have a Category applied or else they will be rejected. The most important takeaway from these changes is making sure your geo-target is greater than 15-miles, your audience age is 18-65+ and your detailed targeting parameters are accepted under the new policy.

Now, how does this affect Financial Services? Facebook defines a Credit opportunity as “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.” 

You’re thinking “okay, this doesn’t affect me in any way.” In some cases, you’re right – you probably won’t be affected. But Facebook’s algorithm is strong, and our experience dictates that it will catch anything and everything they deem requiring a Special Ad Category.

What does this mean? If your copy or your landing page makes mention of the above topics, we can guarantee your ads or your advertiser’s ads will be rejected especially if your audience doesn’t fit within Special Ad Category parameters.

The best and fastest fix is to update your audience and apply the Credit Category to your campaign and republish. This takes less time than appealing and potentially waiting for Facebook to hold firm on their rejection.

Related Article: How Best to Use Facebook’s Conversions Objective for Financial Services

Analissa Moreno is the Data Operations Lead for Tiger Pistol’s Client Success team. She has an MA in the History of Photography. As the data guardian, she owns all aspects of reporting as it relates to client support and manages non-engineering data projects. She also uses her creativity to elevate the business by making small, but impactful changes on a daily basis. When she’s not face-first in data projects, Analissa’s baking moderately complicated recipes, watching Harry Potter reruns and having fun with her dog, Rollei.

How Best to Use Facebook’s Conversions Objective for Financial Services

It’s important when choosing an objective to choose the one that aligns the best with you or your agent’s or advisor’s business goals. Naturally, advertisers want to reach potential customers who may be interested in their product or service. Facebook’s Conversions Objective takes this one step further, by targeting those customers who are not only interested but also most likely to take action on your offer. 

Take for instance the example of a national insurance provider whose customers typically submit a form for a consultation and quote on their website. For the local Page running a campaign, tracking web traffic events on a Landing Page is invaluable information. This is where the Conversions Objective is a great way to optimize Facebook and Intsagram campaigns towards these form submissions on the individual landing pages. Running the Conversions Objective directs Facebook to find those customers who have shown intent for the Conversion Event you identify as relevant to your campaign. In this case, Facebook can find those customers who perhaps visited a competing insurance company’s submission form, but did not finish completing their information.

So, what does this look like at scale? Simple – utilize individualized landing pages for each of your locations but install the same Pixel on all Pages. Each location will be able to run its own individual Facebook campaign to its target sales area but can benefit from the national brand’s inbound corporate data while still enabling local campaign optimization. In this way, both local and global partners empower each other.

About the Conversions Objective

In Facebook’s arsenal, the Conversions objective is a strong option when you not only want to drive users to a destination but to encourage them to take a specific action on this page. To be able to track specific actions such as page visits or leads, a Facebook Pixel must be installed. 

While “conversions” imply sales, in truth a “conversion” can mean many things, which is what makes the objective so flexible. For the insurance industry, a conversion might mean free quotes or scheduling a consultation on a landing page, whereas a brick and mortar QSR might consider a conversion someone viewing their menu online. 

The key to the Conversions Objective is that it enables marketers a pathway to define what success looks like through data, and its power comes from its strategic flexibility. Ultimately, what you or a user predefined as the conversion event, Facebook’s algorithm will work to find users who will do exactly that. For Financial Services in particular, where there is a reliance on a combination of online and offline attribution, the Conversions Objective is the perfect choice to empower both ends.

Best Uses of The Facebook Pixel In Financial Services Conversions Ads

Though we can’t talk about the Conversions Objective without first discussing the Facebook Pixel, as the two are inextricably linked. The Facebook Pixel is a piece of code for your website that lets you measure, optimize and build audiences for your campaigns. Using your Pixel, you can use it to measure the effectiveness of your advertising by understanding the actions people take on your website, to drive sales, and most importantly, make sure your ads are being shown to the right people.

When it’s properly installed, the Pixel will fire when a user has taken an action on your site. This is inclusive of booking appointments, adding an item to their cart or even purchasing a product. These actions are known as “Events” and may be monitored via your Pixel’s Events Manager page. Once a user has taken an action that fired the Pixel, you’ll be able to reach this customer again through custom audience targeting.

Recommendations for Financial Services

The Conversions objective is particularly useful for the Financial Services vertical. Out of the 17 Standard Events available to install within a Pixel (either by embedding in the code or by using Facebook’s Event Setup Tool for Web), we recommend adding the following to your toolkit:

Website action

Description

Complete registration A submission of information by a customer in exchange for a service provided by your business. For example, signing up for an email subscription.
Contact A telephone, SMS, email, chat or other type of contact between a customer and your business.
Find location When a person finds one of your locations via web, with an intention to visit. For example, searching for a product and finding it at one of your local stores.
Lead A submission of information by a customer with the understanding that they may be contacted at a later date by your business. For example, submitting a form or signing up for a trial.
Schedule The booking of an appointment to visit one of your locations.
Submit application The submission of an application for a product, service or program you offer. For example, a credit card, educational program or job.

By parsing out specified events – separate from the default “PageViews” event – you can find out more information about your business. This could include discovering which areas of your website are getting a little more love than others or even which buttons might be getting more clicks.

Conclusions

The Conversions Objective is a powerful tool for financial services firms to optimize the delivery of Facebook campaigns to the best customers for your products and services. Yet, leveraging the Conversions Objective across a network of agents or advisors has historically been challenging and time-consuming. Tiger Pistol’s Conversions Objective capabilities allows brands and agencies to deploy conversion campaigns at scale with a single click. We make leveraging the Conversions Objective at scale has never been easier for financial services firms. 

To learn more about how your financial services brand can find your best customers by scaling your conversions campaigns locally, contact us today. 

Related Article: Navigating Facebook’s Special Ads Category for Financial Services

Analissa Moreno is the Data Operations Lead for Tiger Pistol’s Client Success team. She has an MA in the History of Photography. As the data guardian, she owns all aspects of reporting as it relates to client support and manages non-engineering data projects. She also uses her creativity to elevate the business by making small, but impactful changes on a daily basis. When she’s not face-first in data projects, Analissa’s baking moderately complicated recipes, watching Harry Potter reruns, and having fun with her dog, Rollei.

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.