Whether you’re starting your first Facebook advertising campaign or are just looking to increase your effectiveness, taking your social presence to the next level through paid advertising can seem overwhelming.
However, a quick checklist can help streamline the process to get your ads up and running faster and on your way to growth. While these four steps can’t guarantee success, they do simplify the campaign launch and provide a focused roadmap for testing and measuring success.
Goals and Objectives: Why Are You Advertising?
This may seem pretty simple, but it’s shocking how often this is overlooked or forgotten as the campaign continues. Setting a clear goal in the beginning will inform not only the ad format and creative you choose, but will keep you from getting distracted by metrics and analytics that can be irrelevant to your main business objective.
For example, if you’re trying to generate leads, you likely wouldn’t select a “reach and frequency” objective and you probably wouldn’t select a video for an ad format due to the low click-through rate. In addition, your key metric to gauge success will be based on cost per acquisition (CPA). If one ad set has a lower CPA but converts poorly, it’s easy to get distracted by the low media cost. Maintaining your focus on your original goal is key.
Write it down. Make it specific and highly measurable. This will help you evaluate success once the campaigns are live. For example, perhaps your goal is to acquire 500 email addresses at a CPA of $2 or less. If your campaigns come in anywhere above that CPA goal, you know you’ll need to optimize the creative, the landing page experience, your targeting, or a combination of all variables. Effectively setting up your tracking will ensure you’re able to view key performance indicators in seconds.
Analytics Foundation: Pixels, Rules and Reports
Determining how you’re going to measure success—and ensuring you have the proper tools in place—is best done before you hit “go” within the ads interface. Facebook has some of the best measurement and data collection capabilities natively within their platform than most other networks. Use them to your advantage. Advanced features like Rules allows you to somewhat “set and forget” your campaigns. Properly placing and optimizing toward a placed pixel can even reduce media cost. As an added bonus, customize a report within the ads interface to highlight only the metrics most important to the campaign. Save the report and set it as a default to ensure you’re maintaining focus on the most important metrics.
If you don’t already have your Facebook pixels placed, you’ll want to allow your development team a few days to ensure proper placement and testing, so be sure to plan ahead.
Set Your Budget
How much budget should you start with? How much budget is “enough”? This is actually a fairly simple question to answer, though it often stumps marketers. Going back to your goal, if you made it specific and measurable, you actually already have your answer.
In the example above, acquiring 500 email addresses at a CPA of $2 or less would cost you $1,000. So, assuming your goals are realistic, your budget should be set at $1,000. The same mathematical equation can be applied for many different types of goals and objectives. If you can’t arrive at a mathematical equation to determine your budget, go back to step one. Your goal may not be specific enough.
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Create Your Testing Matrix: Targeting and Creative
One of the most common problems I see in improper ad setup is limited testing variables. Depending on budget, I typically test 60 to 100 different ad variations upon campaign launch (depending on budget). Before I even go into the ads interface, I outline my testing roadmap in an Excel document. Going back to my goals and objectives, I brainstorm 10 to 20 various targeting parameters to identify my ideal target. Then, I come up with five to 10 headline and body copy variations for each target, along with five to 10 images.
After developing this ad testing matrix, I prioritize the targeting parameters and creative options that will work best based on my experience and what I know to be true about the market. Once I have a clear winner, I have several tests all lined up, ready to go. This saves me time when I’m conducting optimizations and ensures I have a constant bank of variants to continually try and outperform my top performers.
What are your biggest roadblocks when starting a Facebook campaign? Any steps you would add to the checklist?
Melissa Wisehart is managing director at Moore Communications. She has more than 10 years of national and international marketing, social media and advertising experience. Consumer brands such as Macy’s, Sears, Kmart, Victoria’s Secret and Nordstrom have relied on her creativity and analysis to build innovative campaigns to deliver the brand message and generate consumer demand.