Want to generate more revenue through your Facebook & Instagram ads?
When it comes to paid ads, the two platforms share lots of features and functionality as both rely on Meta Ads Manager for campaign setup and optimisation. For that reason, the vast majority of tips presented below are relevant to both Facebook and Instagram.
In 2022, Meta’s net advertising revenue exceeded $112 billion, second only to Google (who came in at $168 billion). So with more businesses pouring money into the platform, you need to make sure you’re using your available budget efficiently to reach your revenue goals in an increasingly competitive space.
Higher campaign price tags, paired with the fact that many consumers have developed a tendency to ignore social ads, reduces the margin for error. If you’re not strategic with your spending, Meta will happily eat up your budget without delivering a significant uptick in sales.
With that in mind, we put an open call out asking for tips to boost performance on Meta. And the response was overwhelming – more than 70 experienced marketers from a wide variety of backgrounds and industries got back to us. For ease of navigation the tips are organised into 6 main categories:
- Ad Creative
- A/B Testing
- Campaign Type & Campaign Structure
- Audience Targeting
- Conversion Tracking
- B2B / Lead Gen
Simply skip to the sections most relevant to you and start taking actionable steps to maximise return on ad spend, avoid abandoned carts, and boost lead quality.
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Some people now claim “creative is the new targeting”. And that’s especially true for Facebook & Instagram paid ads. With Meta’s push towards simplified account structures and automated targeting, you need to rely on your creative to do the talking. Use the tips below to help ensure your ads resonate with the right people:
In 2023 one strategy that’s been working great for us is using customer reviews as the first line of copy. We found this really grabs the users’ attention and stands out from the competition. Leveraging reviews from the website/GMB page for service-based businesses and reviews from Reddit or Quora for eCommerce businesses has done wonders for our conversion rates.
MAXIMISE YOUR REAL ESTATE! It might seem obvious, but many advertisers forget to make the most of all the opportunities to communicate within an ad. A typical feed ad not only contains your creative, primary text and headline, but it’s often forgotten that there is also a description and a customisable display URL which can (and should) be utilised to further enrich the quality of your ad copy (e.g., additional USP’s or product descriptors).
Get creative with your creative. It’s nothing new that Facebook (Meta) thrives on data and lots of it. To get the best performance out of your ads, run multiple creatives to the same audience and mix up it up with video, images, carousels, and collection ads. I’m not a huge believer in A/B testing creative. Producing it is time consuming so let your audiences see it all and exit that learning phase faster.
The key to success is content: ensure the copy directly speaks to your audience, your imagery is of high quality, and the asset links to a landing page with a clear CTA.
Meta audiences have become broader in their definitions over the last couple of years, meaning creative needs to be more impactful to engage your target customer. Creativity drives at least 50% of performance, so requires more thought and investment than it once did, I expect this trend to continue so make sure that creative is at the forefront of your paid social strategy.
Harness the power of current customers! User generated content (UGC) is a powerful asset in your ad inventory. People buy from people! Social media has long been the new word of mouth recommendation, so content showing real people using your product(s)/service should form a key part of your paid strategy. Not receiving UGC? Earn it, take the time to read and respond to your customers, engage in conversation with them and gently encourage them to share their own experiences.
Knowing how your product/service helps the user is KEY. An ad should “help buy” rather than sell.
Want to know what will perform well for paid social? Take a look at what is performing the best organically. Revolutionary, right? After a couple months of analysing social performance and return on organic posts, I identified that anything UGC (video) related was booming. Because of this research, I was able to intentionally build UGC into our paid strategy.
Leverage all the different forms (Static, Reels, Carousel, Stories etc.) on Instagram. If you’re going for Instagram promotions, go all in. Gauge which format worked the best and double down on that. Depending on the asset being promoted, different formats work. For example, stories worked best for eBooks and Reports.
Use a green box with white hook text on the thumbnail of your video ads to increase engagement, ctr, and lower cost per lead.
Here’s an underappreciated KPI: the average age of your top ads. Many focus on CTR and conversion rates. But if you’re using 3-12 month-old creatives, you likely need to invest more in fresh material. Creatives account for about 80% of performance, yet only 20% of time and money is often dedicated to them. To excel, reevaluate your strategy and focus on updating your creatives.
Use these 3 prompts at copy.ai to create spiffing ads:
“Research the online behavior of [target audience] to identify needs and interests”
“Research top messaging strategies for [industry] and develop a new messaging strategy for [company], with maximum appeal for [target audience]”
“Product Name: [Product Name] Product Description: [Product Description] Write a PAS for the product Convert the Problem Agitate Solution into [SoMe Platform] ad copy Write a [SoMe Platform] ad headline and advise on optimal visuals for maximising CTA.”
As a performance marketer for an OTT platform, our focus is on content. We promoted Korean shows on Instagram Reels which contributed to 90% of our viewers and a 5% decrease in cost per user view. Our success was attributed to creating engaging videos and vibrant statics for popular shows, that captured viewers’ attention while they were scrolling through reels.
Nobody wants to be bombarded with advertisements that scream “I’m an ad!” It’s absolutely vital that your campaigns offer content that genuinely interests your users and specifically target the right audience. This way, they can feel engaged and not overwhelmed by intrusive marketing messages.
Trust your creative team! While AI is everywhere, being on point with copy, design and touching your target audience on a deeper level is what your human colleagues are best at. Yes, use AI tools wherever they make sense. But don’t trust generated outputs more than your creative’s professional opinion.
You need to promote organic, user-generated content on your ads. A simple phone screen resulting from a discussion between users can create more engagement than a creation with high artistic value. Two of our most successful creations are:
1. Discussions between two customers via Whatsapp.
2. A comment on Trustpilot.
People are increasingly sensitive to advertising on social networks, and credibility and communication via users are the new keys to creating a powerful argument.
At MattressNextDay, we significantly enhanced our paid social campaigns by integrating authentic product reviews and customer “Sleep Improvement” stories. Customers narrated how our products had positively impacted their sleep quality, creating a genuine and relatable voice to our campaigns. This approach not only spiked interest but also increased CTR.
Maintain fresh and engaging messages, especially when targeting niche audiences. Embrace continuous testing and experimentation, as previously successful approaches can falter with increased frequency.
Incentivise UGC through contests or campaigns. When running UGC as ads, keep them simple. Highly edited UGC ads lack authenticity. Use original tweets or Instagram images within a straightforward template. These ads are very likely to have a positive impact.
You may have heard people say ‘creative is the new targeting,’ and it’s true. With Meta’s recent AI advancements, we’ve seen significant improvements to performance by leaning into simplified account structures and targeting, and letting the creative do the talking. With Advantage+ Shopping Campaigns capable of holding up to 150 unique ads, we’re getting out of the learning phase faster, seeing significant improvements to CPA and revenue.
Reduce ad fatigue by adding new creatives. Frequent exposure to the same advertisement can quickly lead to boredom. To maintain the interest of your product and brand to your audience, it is really important to incorporate different kinds of creatives. This approach not only allows your audience to see a wider range of ad variations but also enhances engagement and effectively guides them along their customer journey.
Prioritise mobile! Design your ads with a mobile-first mindset by ensuring they are visually appealing, load quickly, and fit mobile screens seamlessly. Leverage vertical or square ad formats that maximise screen real estate. Video content should be optimised for sound off and less than 15 seconds long. Keeping your messaging concise and impactful will appeal to mobile users with shorter attention spans.
Always be methodical when A/B testing. Understand why you’re doing the test in the first place, plan ahead, only change one variable at a time, and be ready to roll out any conversion-increasing tweaks across your other ad campaigns.
Test. Test. And test some more. The best way to find out what works for your company and product offering is trying out different creative assets, from single static images, carousels, videos and even using GIFs. The creative will do the majority of the work in driving your audience to your landing page. Don’t forget to pair this with Facebook’s audience targeting tool to really understand what creative works with different audience segments.
Don’t be scared to test against “best practice” and expert opinions. Following “best practices” and experts blindly on aspects such as structure, formats, creatives, etc can hold you back rather than drive your activity on.
Testing is the key to success with social media ads. Whether it’s your creative or audiences, always test one thing at a time.
Never forget to take tests, even when the performance looks good. You may have cases where a specific approach worked before or currently for a particular product. Use the experience you received in the past but continuously evolve. Competition, algorithms, and markets change. As a professional, you should always keep a hand on the Facebook algorithm’s pulse to be ahead of the competition.
Place your bets, launch your experiments, and draw actionable conclusions to optimize your ads. But remember, the most important thing is to capture your audience’s attention because nowadays we’re not just buying clicks, we’re buying real attention. Make sure to allocate budget liquidity, big audiences, great creatives, and intelligent placements.
Continuously test different ad formats, visuals, ad copies, and calls to action to identify the most effective combinations. Use data-driven insights to optimize your campaigns, improving click-through rates, engagement, and conversions.
Always be testing your ads. Test various ad formats. Image vs Carousel vs Video. Test your ad headlines and descriptions. Just a small percent of uplift can make a big difference.
Gone are the days of simply choosing an image, whipping up some ad copy, hitting the big green button and thinking “yep, I’m good for a while”… Ads can make or break a campaign and it’s now harder than ever to stop the scroll. The solution? Test, learn, repeat. Test different ad formats, creative designs, ad concepts, and copy. Use content pillars and test audience-led content. You have the power to guide the algorithm. Don’t waste it!
Put together a collection of images, videos, and ad copy that you can use to build out new creative. I also highly recommend testing different creative designs than you’ve used in the past, especially if you’re targeting the same audience regularly. Change up the layout and colours – you’ll likely be pleasantly surprised by the results!
Campaign Type & Campaign Structure
Meta’s new automated campaign type, Advantage+, is delivering impressive results for many eCommerce brands. But traditional campaign types offer more control, making them more useful in certain scenarios. Use the tips below to identify campaign types and structures that are best suited to your unique goals.
Event response campaigns do a great job at creating awareness and directly resulting in ticket purchases. They’re an excellent middle ground between a traffic and conversions campaign. Additional benefits include building up a valuable retargeting audience and having the option to keep users engaged with organic content posted on the event page. We have seen success with them on smaller budgets and also larger ones, with other campaign types supporting ticket purchases.
The Meta Facebook Advantage Plus (FA+) has recently become a game-changer for e-commerce businesses. Initial concerns about relinquishing control to AI and machine learning have been dispelled. I recommend embracing this platform, as hesitating means you’re missing out on significant opportunities. In my experience with Meta FA+ for multiple clients, I have seen a 15% reduction in the cost per purchase conversion. Just ensure that you provide relevant assets, as the AI and ML algorithms learn from the data they are fed.
When planning for a Bottom-of-Funnel retargeting campaign on Meta, match rates will be your best ally (or enemy!). Let’s say you want to run a reactivation campaign targeted at churned users. On average, you should expect Meta to reach roughly 25/30% of your initial audience. You’ll want to maximise that number. With this in mind, it is often suggested to see paid media as a secondary channel for this strategy, supplementing other more relevant channels such as owned media.
Consider the importance of your organic social media for conversion. Prospective buyers checking you out on Facebook will not register as engagement, but may convert enquiry to sale.
Work with the algorithm, not against it. Think of the most simple structure that will still let you optimize for your goals. You need to exit learning quickly in order to become efficient! Rethink your campaign and ad set structure.
Have faith in the algorithms! Use automated shopping campaigns (ASC) to maximise your campaign’s sales potential as well as reaching out to new customers you otherwise might miss out on with granular targeting strategies. Alongside this, don’t make any frequent daily changes, be patient so the campaign can exit the learning phase, and your ROI will begin to increase over time.
This is my 8-step strategy and framework for Personalization in Paid Media and Performance Marketing:
1. Segment the audience based on demographics, interests, and behaviours.
2. Collect and analyse data to understand preferences.
3. Customise content to address pain points and needs.
4. Utilise dynamic ads for real-time personalization.
5. Test, optimise, and track performance metrics.
6. Implement remarketing and retargeting campaigns.
7. Monitor ROI and adjust based on evolving platform trends.
8. Continuously iterate for ongoing success.
Traffic campaigns are underestimated. Some marketers only focus on Sales or Leads objectives and fail to realise that Traffic campaign serves as long term investment for a holistic marketing strategy. We rolled out Traffic alongside a Sales campaign for a client at a negative ROAS while with another agency – they only ran Sales as their objective. 2 months after shifting the strategy, the client now has positive ROAS, increased website visits, conversion rate and CTR, and decreased cost per result.
Meta’s latest updates on AI-Powered tools offer significant benefits for advertisers and developers. Advantage Suite provides a comprehensive set of automation tools that leverage Machine Learning and AI to enhance ad campaigns. Billions of dollars have been pledged towards the development of these AI tools, highlighting Meta’s dedication to fostering innovation and advancing the capabilities of AI in the industry.
Don’t sleep on Advantage + Shopping campaigns! They allow your clients to seamlessly integrate their product catalogues with Facebook, enabling them to showcase their products directly to a vast user base. Secondly, Advantage + Shopping campaigns leverage Facebook’s advanced targeting capabilities, ensuring that ads are delivered to the most relevant audiences.
Determine a clear set of objectives, then decide on your target audience and the most suitable campaign structure. Remember this can be both at the lower funnel stage with retargeting and for higher funnel consideration and brand awareness. Determine what metrics you are going to use to measure the delivery of your objectives both on Meta and elsewhere such as brand search uplift.
We have seen great success leaning into Advantage Shopping Campaigns (ASC) with a diverse variety of creatives. Deploying static, video, gifs, UGC, etc. into a broad campaign fuels successful creative-led targeting. In turn, you see greater reach and efficiency which drives growth. Of course, for this to work, you must be feeding the algorithm event signals. Make sure you are up to date on CAPI and have a high event match quality (EMQ).
In today’s AI-driven paid social environment, the quality of input will define your results so use your first-party data smartly in order to feed the algorithms. When it comes to campaign structure, more often less is more and there aren’t golden rules anymore as there were before. Create a structure which will allow continuous testing and don’t rely on the old learnings and rules too much.
We tested automated ads on Meta and we saw our paid installs double in a span of 6 months. There is less visibility on what happens inside the campaigns but the results showed us that it’s a strategy worth continuing in the future.
Offering a chance to win a free entry-level product in exchange for an email is a great way to gain a high number of emails of users who are interested in your product. As a bonus, send them to a landing page on your site to fill out the survey so that you can capture cookies and retarget ads to them after. It’s also recommended to breakout groups by new-to-brand and existing users to monitor performance for future optimizations.
Including partnership ads into your campaign strategy is a great way to leverage your brand partnerships and make your campaigns more relevant to your audience.
When you launch your first app-install campaign on Meta, use Advantage+. Leave the campaign as broad as possible and let the AI guide you. Work with a simple structure, it is much more important to focus on SDK implementation and creatives. Create at least 4/5 creatives with different angles and make sure that there are micro-conversions in the 24/48 hours after the app is installed so that you can segment users precisely later with push notifications or remarketing campaigns.
For us educational marketing on Paid Social is the primary strategy. Since we offer quality content for free, we prioritise direct response campaigns over funnel performance marketing. Also, targeting audiences larger than 1MM helps us optimise our campaigns. When desired event or course registration and conversion rates aren’t achieved, we pivot and adjust ads accordingly. We utilise advantage placements and customise ad dimensions per placement. Finally, we make sure our ad copy addresses the user’s pain and clearly emphasises benefits.
Use these tips to deliver relevant messages to specific groups of people who are most likely to convert. When it comes to maximising ad spend efficiency, it’s all about striking the right balance. Your audience targeting settings need to be just right – not too broad or too narrow.
When using Facebook ads make sure to switch off all optimisations for users. This way you retain more control and don’t get any weird combinations which you hadn’t accounted for! Sometimes (often) the human mind trumps AI.
We consider the lifestage of the audience being targeted and what their intent for a web visit is. If it’s a first touchpoint, a dynamic informative experience introducing the Industrious’ value prop is on our landing page. But if it is the second or third visit via retargeting, a completely new conversion driven experience is delivered. Allows us to pay off the audiences experience with our brand and combat relatively lower national brand awareness.
Use the ‘affinity categories’ (AC) tool in GA to find the right personas for your Top of Funnel audiences. AC shows a number of interests you can search for in Meta, such as hobbies and even what entertainment your site visitors enjoy. You can scratch below the surface and find ideal customers to retarget further down the funnel and drive those conversions.
When you need to target specific niches or groups of people, its best to create customer audiences using an existing list of phone numbers or emails.
For best results in retargeting, work alongside your CRM flows by integrating your CRM audiences directly with the platform to ensure there’s proper exclusions and up to date targeting lists.
Understanding audience behaviours and preferences are key. Invest in creative, high-quality content and visual appeal. Don’t underestimate the power of remarketing – it helps re-engage hesitant buyers. Optimise for mobile, it’s where the world is. Monitor, analyse, tweak, repeat – paid social isn’t a set-and-forget strategy, it’s a constantly evolving process of improvement.
In the era of big data and AI it’s easy to lose sight of what really matters when it comes to marketing: the people you’re trying to engage with. If all you do is follow the data, you’ve already lost the game. Use all the tools at your disposal, but never lose sight of the fact that ultimately we are people trying to connect with people.
When pulling together an eCommerce strategy for Meta, don’t be afraid to adopt a more streamlined approach, utilising fewer and broader audiences. The platform’s targeting capabilities have advanced significantly over the years, and often adopting a highly granular audience approach will only lead to inefficiencies and limit your ability to scale investment into the platform. Look to adopt strategies such as Advantage+ Shopping, and refocus your efforts on increased ad-level and landing page testing.
Now that Meta has released the ability to drive sales campaigns to both the website and Facebook and Instagram storefronts, it’s important to remember to re-engage those new prospects taking meaningful action in your shops. Create audiences based off these interactions happening beyond just your site to re-engage people or encourage cart abandoners to purchase.
My motto is simple: Voice of Customer is everything. Talk to your salespeople, listen to call recordings, analyse chats and reviews. Put to good use these insights – incorporate your customers’ emotions into a unified journey from paid ads to LP copy.
Long gone are the days of targeting granular interests – go for the broad bucket where those interests reside. Consolidate & keep it simple.
Refine your targeting by creating custom or lookalike audiences based on your existing customer data. This ensures your ads are seen by individuals who are most likely to engage with your brand and convert into valuable customers.
When it comes to targeting audiences, then take a “DYA” (Define Your Audience) approach to be effective on Facebook. You can use the Facebook Audience Definition and Facebook Audience Insights and it’s super helpful to define your ideal audience. This approach will help your keep your copy simple, relevant to that audience, lead with value and persuade them to take actions – likes, comments and conversions. Keep experimenting until you know (based on your metrics) what works well.
Always make sure your pixel is working correctly. Meta Pixel Helper reports common errors that can happen after installation, so start there to get the basics right. Beyond that, the tips below will help improve the alignment between the figures you’re seeing on Meta and the figures within your CMS and Google Analytics data.
Setting up a Conversion API is a must-have for Paid Social in 2023. CAPI allows your team to have a more complete picture of your backend data when optimising and reporting off of in-platform performance.
Be wary of an over-reliance on conversions as an optimisation metric! It may seem counterintuitive, but doubling down on these tactics at scale will lead to over-saturation, with Facebook ultimately expanding out to decreasingly relevant users, leading to spiraling CPLs. Make sure reach and awareness campaigns are part of your mix to keep building the pot of conversion-ready users.
If you have many products and variants, you should implement item_group_ids. This attribute allows you to group variants into one item in Commerce Manager. In doing so you can improve the quality and performance of your dynamic retargeting. As Meta can now prevent your ads from retargeting audiences with variants unlikely to result in conversions. Additionally, you should check your Catalogue Match Rate and ensure product IDs in your feed match up with IDs in your pixel.
Use the Breakdown function to understand what your best converting placements are and to make your budget more efficient, show your ads just to these placements.
As we head on to 2024, be ready for more changes to Facebook Ads Manager, as it will probably follow suit from Google’s move to deprecate Universal Analytics and fully embrace non-cookie based tracking. Verify your FB Conversion API (CAPI) setup to make sure you have it done properly and any other cookie related tracking – make sure it is looked at. The trend is moving away from cookies.
While running acquisition campaigns on Meta it’s a must to analyse view-through conversion via the ad reporting to understand the true effectiveness of each ad creative. Alongside to the main conversion goal, Meta will always play a role as a display channel with a brand & awareness side-effect.
In 2023 and beyond with the decrease in third-party tracking capabilities focusing on first-party data and solutions like Segment and CustomerLabs is a must. If the underlying data isn’t right the ad targeting the overall performance will suffer.
Invest in learning Tracking and Attribution: SKAD, pixels, SDKs; MMPs and Aggregated Event Measurement. With the correct tracking you can increase your correct performance.
Setup Conversions API and aim to get your conversion ‘event match quality’ as high as possible by sending first party data with each event, we saw significant uplift by implementing this.
B2B / Lead Gen
Generating qualified leads through paid social will always be challenging. There is no secret formula that will instantly 10x your revenue. But following the advice below will help you avoid some of the common pitfalls that limit conversions and waste your allocated budget.
Don’t dismiss B2B advertising on Instagram and Facebook just because conversion rates may appear low. Consider this: when others shy away from the untapped potential, daring to venture into the wild side will make you stand out. Embrace the opportunity to capture attention in a less crowded space, and be the one who gets noticed amidst the noise.
Understand audience interests to target specific needs for generating DM leads. Opt for video ads over images for higher engagement and conversion rates. Craft crisp and clear ad copy focusing on selling points or values. Monitor data regularly to optimize targeting, creative elements, and messaging. By implementing these tips, you can enhance your Instagram ads for better lead generation.
I recently tried out tailored Facebook lead generation campaigns for my property ads and the results were amazing. The quality of leads improved significantly. And I saw a lot more engagement from potential buyers. It made a big difference in attracting qualified leads and getting people interested in our properties.
Keep messaging short and visuals strong – designed around the problem you are solving and the value you can add. Ideally, use someone else recommending you – e.g. Simon Sinek uses Steven Barlett’s testimonial on Instagram ads. An external entity recommending you is way more powerful than you recommending you. Then use native lead capture forms (on Instagram) rather than sending users to a landing page – make it easy to enquire/buy.
I recommend utilising Lead Form ads, followed by seamlessly integrating those leads into an automated workflow or drip campaign. By leveraging Lead Form ads, you can efficiently capture valuable user information and quickly initiate personalised follow-ups.
We’ve implemented Lead Generation campaigns in our target markets with great success and have managed to make complex financial product easier to access, bit by bit. This makes it an effective content distribution channel and assists in converting those interested prospects, dividing our CpL by up to 15x.
Lead-gen ads don’t have to be boring. Meta recently expanded the options available when building lead forms to allow more “conversational” message flows within the form, alongside an Instant experience-esk “Custom” form option. These features allow us to filter out low-quality or unqualified leads before a submission takes place, which can massively improve conversion rate and workflow. This, paired with the option to involve multiple CTA’s and exit points, allows us to have one Lead gen campaign with multiple KPIs.
Maximise Your Paid Social Efficiency
We previously interviewed paid social expert Fiona Bradley, Founder of FB Comms, to include her insights in our Performance Marketing Efficiency Playbook.
Fiona was named Social Media Business Woman of The Year 2023, and has worked on campaigns for Coca-Cola, the NHS, Rolex and many more. A committee member for the After Work Club and Guest Lecturer at Durham University, she has a proven track record of delivering outstanding campaign results.
In her chapter, Fiona outlines the key key things she does to maximise her return on ad spend across all major social channels. You can download the 115-page playbook for free – no form fill required. Expect to learn:
- How to calculate your Marketing Efficiency Ratio (MER)
- How to obey the 10 ad copy commandments
- The 1-1-3-1 rule for landing pages
- Ideal B2B & B2C PMax campaign structures
- “Outside the box” targeting strategies for paid social
- And lots more
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