Finding the right combination of digital marketing tactics can be difficult. It’s kind of like cooking—there are a few ways you can do it right, but there’s definitely one mix of spices and flavors that works better than the rest…and a few that simply don’t work at all. We’ve been working on our own mix for 2018, and I think we have a pretty good idea of what tactics and tools you’ll need to use to get your Facebook ad recipes right in the coming year. These are the 11 must-have parts of your Facebook advertising equation.

Don’t rush the campaign build

Picking the right campaign setup is a crucial part of getting optimal performance for your campaign. Take time to strategize the best setup based on your goals, audiences, and budget. Are you looking for a registration in exchange for a white paper download? Use Lead Generations. Are you trying to drive traffic to your site? Use Traffic. Is your goal to drive a specific conversion on your website? Use Conversions. It’s pretty intuitive stuff. But there are some less intuitive campaign setup tricks that you should try in 2018 too…

1. Use Conversion objective with the landing page as a custom conversion to drive traffic to your site.

If you’ve never tried this I would test it against a normal Traffic objective setup. This is a way to ensure you’re drawing meaningful traffic to your site instead of just clicks.

2. I highly recommend using Landing Page View as the optimization in a Traffic campaign instead of Link Click optimization.

Users can give “link clicks” while staying on Facebook’s property or bouncing before your landing page fully loads. Using Landing Page View as the optimization instead will ensure you’re setting campaigns up to bring traffic to your site instead of just clicks on your ads, and will more closely align with the traffic reported from Google Analytics. Win-win.

3. Apply the Campaign Budget Optimization feature (which is still in beta, so it may not be available in your account).

This feature allows your budget to be set at the campaign level instead of the ad set level, meaning your budget can move fluidly through audiences similarly to AdWords. I recommend this if you want to test multiple audiences with the same placements (it doesn’t work well if your ad sets have different placements selected). One thing to remember is each ad set needs to have the same conversion event.

Test, test, test

You can’t optimize campaigns without testing all of your variables, from the campaign objective all the way to the ad copy. Testing is the only way to know what works, what doesn’t, and how to improve the things that could be improved. Here’s some specific variables you should start testing this year:

4. Multiple images and copy variations, even if they’re just subtle changes.

I usually try to make two or three versions of the same ad and then pause the losing ads a week or two in. It doesn’t take long to get enough data to understand which ad is the winner.

social ad testing example

Tweaking ad copy can lead to big wins, so make sure you test a few ad variations.

5. Different calls to action, if there isn’t one perfect for your ad.

Sometimes there’s a perfect CTA for your ad and when this is the case by all means run with it, but when there isn’t, just test a few. For instance, with awareness videos sometimes it’s hard to decipher whether “Watch More” or “Learn More” is more appropriate for the ad—in that case I would just test both. Also, always use a CTA. Always. Even for awareness campaigns.

6. Lookalike audiences in prospecting campaigns.

The three different ways you can build lookalike audiences are from people who like your Facebook page, from conversion pixels, or from any of your existing Custom Audiences (including uploading a customer list). I would recommend testing all three. Lookalike audiences should just be one type of prospecting audience, though, don’t abandon your other forms of audience targeting completely.

Track your results

How do you know whether your optimizations are working? Use Ads Manager to track the results of your optimizations and look for ideas of new ways to optimize. If you’re not already tracking the below metrics, get them on your radar, stat:

7. Frequency.

This is a great metric to examine to see whether you need to increase your audience size or refresh your ads.

8. Relevance score.

Check this out to see whether your audience is engaging with your ad—it’s a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best score. If you’re scoring low here I’d rethink either your creative concept or the audience targeting you have in place.

9. Cost per result.

I have no doubt you’re already keeping close tabs on this metric, but I just can’t leave it off because it’s too important. Every update you make should work to improve this.

10. Cost per landing page view.

This one is my new best friend, cost-per-click is dead to me.

11. Placement breakdown.

I keep my eye on this and weed out the placements that are bringing down my KPIs. The “automatic placements” that an ad set defaults to increase your inventory, but not all placements are created equal.

Find your best mix

This is just a start to what you can do to gain insights into how well your Facebook advertising efforts are performing. These 11 tactics and tools will help you establish a great foundation for analysis, and from there you can build out based on the specific needs of your business and your unique strategies. By taking your time with the campaign build, testing, and tracking your results, you’re sure to succeed—or at least know where and why you aren’t so you can fix it.

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Katie Payne

Katie’s curiosity is key as Paid Media Manager, helping her take the details and connect them into cohesive programmatic marketing campaigns.