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.

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.

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. 

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.

Webinar: Bottom’s Up! How Going Local Made Anheuser-Busch InBev the Toast of Towns Around the World

By investing in localized marketing, Anheuser-Busch InBev aggregated touchpoints in communities around the world. 

Join Tiger Pistol and AB InBev at the Digital Food & Beverage Virtual Event, where you’ll learn how this bottom-up approach generates larger and more meaningful results for its brand, drastically lowering cost of advertising, increasing consumer engagement, and fostering loyalty among its worldwide network of bars, restaurants and retailers. AB InBev will reveal how Tiger Pistol’s technology enables this global-to-local strategy, and explain how its versatility helps them promote its local recovery and revitalization initiative for its establishments around the world. Save your spot today!

Bottom’s Up! How Going Local Made Anheuser-Busch InBev the Toast of Towns Around the World

Tuesday, June 23, 2020 
Tiger Pistol and AB InBev Session: 1:50-2:20PM ET
Full Event: June 23-24, 2020 | 12:00-4:00pm ET

Speakers

Key Takeaways

  • Pairing ABI InBev brand equity with local establishments drives a more personal connection with the consumer, increasing relevance 
  • Publishing ads at scale can still be personalized and meaningful
  • Publishing ads at scale does not need to be an expensive endeavor requiring a huge staff
  • Local advertising with the right technology makes pivoting simple and efficient

Register now and you’ll receive a link to join live. Can’t make that time? Sign up anyway, and we’ll make sure you get a recording!

Facebook Shops is a Bigger Deal Than You Might Think

Starting last month any Facebook or Instagram Business Page will have new features enabled allowing Brands to create fully established e-commerce experiences within the app. Facebook announced this feature calling it Facebook Shops, and this move will make it easier for customers to access Shops on both Facebook and Instagram.

The best part is that creating a Facebook Shop is free and you can choose which products you want to feature with a customized look and feel. Anyone can access Facebook Shops on a business’ Facebook Page or Instagram profile as well as discover them through Stories or ads. Facebook has also taken this opportunity to gather more data about your interests and saved products, even enabling checkouts without leaving the app. Take that Amazon!

Photo Credit: Facebook

If you don’t have a Facebook Shop setup yet don’t worry. Facebook will still direct you to your website. As this becomes more widely adopted, Facebook will further establish itself as an e-commerce platform with even greater insight into buying behavior and order tracking. The future of Facebook Shops is an exciting opportunity to tie in other tools, and the possibilities seem endless. 

Facebook Live Just Got Even More Powerful

Let’s take a look at Facebook Live. Originally positioned as a way to broadcast a conversation to your Page, Group, Profile, or Event, Facebook Live now has a new application by making it easier to showcase, shop, and purchase products on your Facebook Store – all without leaving the app. We could see a shopping channel like QVC taking full advantage of this feature once it’s made more widely available.

Photo Credit: Facebook

Facebook’s Move to Loyalty Programs

The next phase of Facebook Shops will be loyalty programs. Whether you have a current  rewards program at your favorite coffee shop or you’re a new business that needs a way to create a program for your customers, Facebook is testing how they can make it easier to earn rewards at your favorite stores without leaving their app. Only time will tell if these features will begin to compete with bigger reward players like Rakuten. Our bet is on Facebook.

 

Photo Credit: Facebook

How Can Facebook Marketing Partners Help?

The introduction of Facebook Shops has arrived at a critical time, allowing companies to sell products directly through the native Facebook Platform and further increasing Facebook’s market share of online interaction. While this could be a game-changer for many small businesses, the need to advertise through all e-commerce channels in order to drive conversions is still a necessity for any company.

As a preferred Facebook Marketing Partner, Tiger Pistol provides the expertise to help you grow your business and test new tools like Facebook Stores as they become available in Facebook’s API. With nearly a decade of Facebook experience, Tiger Pistol provides a SaaS solution enabling Brands, SMB Resellers, and Agencies to localize their message at an unprecedented scale.

Want to learn more? Please contact us, we’d love to connect.

Sources: Techcrunch, Facebook

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 our clients. As a Chicago native, David enjoys exploring the diverse cultures of the city through food, music, and long runs and bike rides through the many neighborhoods.

UPDATED: Global Analysis: Using CPMs as a Leading Indicator of Economic Recovery

Can CPMs be used as a leading indicator of economic recovery?  Tiger Pistol’s Paul Elliott, CEO, and Chris Mayer, Solutions Engineer, put this question to the test. Check out their global analysis of the weekly growth of active COVID-19 cases in six countries and how they correlate with the average Facebook and Instagram CPMs during the same time, based on a cross-industry sampling of 4 billion ad impressions.

What they found was a formula that brings a level of certainty to these uncertain times.

Paul Elliott is the Chief Executive Officer of Tiger Pistol. He is a recognized thought leader in integrated marketing and customer engagement, with more than 20 years of experience helping global brands and their local outlets achieve significant results and return on marketing investments. Elliott was a recipient of Ad Age’s 40 under 40 and the Smart Business Smart 50 honor.  

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.

Tiger Pistol Partners with Anheuser-Busch InBev for Worldwide Local Recovery and Revitalization Initiative

Global-to-Local Social Advertising Technology Made Available for 5 Million Bars, Restaurants and Retailers Worldwide

Tiger Pistol, the only social advertising platform that delivers local activation at global scale, has partnered with Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) to support the brand’s worldwide network of local retailers, bars, and restaurants that have been affected by COVID-19.

“We all have our go-to local establishments, whether it’s the neighborhood pub for happy hour, our favorite dinner spot, or our chosen venue for celebrating milestones,” said Paul Elliott, CEO, Tiger Pistol. “Very few companies have a global footprint like AB InBev, and they support their worldwide community and make sure their establishments have everything they need to weather the storm today and succeed in a new normal future.”

Restaurants and bars are among the hardest hit industries across the globe. According to Statista, the year-over-year decline of seated patrons in restaurants worldwide dropped day by day February to May reaching a staggering 100% decline by early May A study by Deloitte states that while global at-home consumption has increased, it will unlikely cover the cost of lost sales even once the situation begins to normalize. In a survey by Technomic, 32% of consumers say they plan to eat at restaurants less often out of COVID-19 concerns. With layoffs and hour cuts prevalent across the industry, restaurants and bars need help to survive the crisis. In a Datassential survey, 33% of operators cited they needed help communicating their establishment’s status, and 25% of local operators cited the need for collaboration to promote traffic.

Tiger Pistol provides the ability to reach deeply into local communities all throughout the world, empowering individual restaurants and bars with locally relevant ads that use powerful messaging alongside globally-recognized brand creative. The ads are flexibly deployed from the local business’ Facebook Page, with objectives in line with state, regional, or city-level government restrictions. This social strategy gives these small retailers, most of whom are suffering during this time, an advertising option to help them continue to drive business and recall the essential role restaurants and bars play in fostering memories and connections in the lives of consumers.

“Tiger Pistol’s global-to-local approach marries two strategies together to ensure AB InBev’s success,” said Elliott.  “First, it brings their brands directly to consumers for immediate identification. Second, the local establishments can drive a personal connection with the consumer. By providing enterprise-strength tools to the local market, the consumer ends up with a highly relevant, localized ad.”

With each region affected differently, AB InBev and Tiger Pistol are working closely with the brand’s global markets to create social media marketing plans to support small businesses during this crisis and to help them recover. AB InBev uses the Tiger Pistol Platform to support the following initiatives, among others, worldwide:

  • Brazil, with tens of thousands of locations with local Facebook and Instagram campaigns that promote new e-commerce options, including through Ze Delivery, a delivery app that ABI Brazil created to promote online ordering and delivery services available from their favorite local spots, and with planned campaigns to help businesses connect with consumers in the post-crisis environment.
  • Belgium and the UK, with campaigns to promote their “Cafe Courage” and “Save Pub Life” initiatives that allow patrons to purchase gift cards or make donations to support their favorite hang outs, and with planned campaigns to help businesses promote their new operating hours and safety protocols to consumers as they begin to re-open.
  • Canada, with campaigns that support local on- and off-premise establishments in promoting take-out and online ordering and delivery options.

These efforts are part of a long-term partnership to provide AB InBev’s worldwide network of restaurants, bars, and retailers with an industry-leading platform for publishing high performance, local Facebook and Instagram ads.

AB InBev first engaged Tiger Pistol for a Facebook advertising pilot in 2019. Tiger Pistol developed a simple, effective way for local establishments to automatically publish on-brand, best-practice Facebook ads straight from the local establishment’s Facebook Business Page. The campaigns produced a 60% lower cost of advertising among other remarkable results. AB InBev continued to expand the program throughout the year, culminating in a global multi-year partnership.

“We are partnering with Tiger Pistol to develop new tools that evolve how we market our brands and build relationships with our network of establishments – both in a time of crisis and in ordinary times,” said Gabriel Mello, Global Vice President of Category Management and Trade Solutions, AB InBev. “Their technology and knowledge of social advertising have made Tiger Pistol the right partner to collaboratively develop a scaled social advertising solution.”

Let’s talk about what Tiger Pistol can do to locally activate social advertising for your brand. Contact us today.