220: How I Optimize Facebook Ads to Get the Results I Do
Most marketers understand that Facebook is unmatched in its ability to connect advertiser content with consumers’ unique concoctions of interests. Almost every conversation I’ve had with clients and prospects about Facebook targeting revolves around finding the right prospects by demographic and interest categories. That’s surely valuable information, and those conversations should happen with every auction. (With niche assets, those conversations should precede signing the auction contract.)
Marrying the right text and visual content with this targeting is the next biggest challenge. Thankfully, with A/B testing or Facebook’s new “Dynamic Content” tool, we can test and adapt the bait on our hooks as we fish amongst those prospect groups. For years, though, Facebook has offered another way to get more bites on our lines. Maybe only one or two clients have asked about it in the past five years.
Facebook knows more than just our likes & dislikes, demographics & interests. It also knows how we’re likely to engage with paid advertising. To continue with the fishing analogy, Facebook’s artificial intelligence engine doesn’t just get us to the right lake; it knows which fish are likely to bite and even which are likely to steal the bait and swim off. For every ad or promoted post I’ve created for a client, I’ve been required to choose how I wanted the content to be optimized—how we want Facebook to cast our line and reel it. It’s required. You can’t run an ad or promoted post without selecting one of the options below. I choose different optimizations for different situations. Here is a list of when I use each of those options.
Landing Page Views
A landing page view is usually my primary objective. Auctioneers pay me to get potential bidders to their websites. A landing page view means someone left Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, WhatsApp, or a site on the Audience Network and then stayed on the auctioneer’s website long enough for the first page they visit to completely load. The algorithms know which slice of our target audience is likely to visit your site for at least that length of time. It stands to reason that these prospects are also the most likely to bid online or to investigate details regarding bidding at an offline event.
This is the objective I choose the second most often. Candidly, I use it only because landing page views require a Facebook pixel to be installed on my client’s site. Almost half of my clients have no pixel—theirs or mine—on their sites. So, I have to resort to the next best thing: link clicks. This is a definite step down from landing page views, though, because a lot of people who click on links immediately click right back to the Facebook platform without letting the page load. I’ve seen campaigns where this happened for more than 30% of the clicks.
Daily Unique Reach
Most of my campaigns have a reminder ad that starts three to ten days prior to the auction. It targets those who either visited the website (if my clients have installed a Facebook pixel) or interacted with their Facebook content during the marketing period (if they don’t have a pixel). This might be a slideshow, video, or promoted photo album. I want to show these proven prospects the auction in a different way than they saw it the first time. I usually switch up the text, too. For these folks, I set the optimization to daily unique reach so that they see this reminder every day on whichever part of the Facebook platform they use.
This selection means “show this ad to this audience as many times as possible.” I’ve seen this result in viewers seeing the ads at an average of more than 20 times. As you could imagine, that makes the response rates highly inefficient. It also makes the ads feel obtrusive, which can annoy your prospects. I use this option for what I call “poaching”—when we target attendees at a home, car, or farm show or bidders at a competitor’s on-site auction of similar assets. (I’ve also used this for my ads to auctioneers at NAA conventions.) Outside of those instances, this is only an “in case of emergency, break glass” option.
This is another “last resort” option. Believe it or not: I still have clients who don’t have auction information on their website. There’s nowhere for me to link an ad, and Facebook requires links in ads. So, my only option is to post a notice on the business’ Facebook page, promote it, and optimize it for engagements. What that means is that Facebook will serve the ads to those most apt to like, comment, or share the post. A couple weeks ago, this worked really well for a rural horse auction, where more than 1,000 people shared the post and we had more than 20,000 engagements with the content. I’d still prefer to have 20,000 people come to my website than interact with a Facebook post, but it’s a good option when the infrastructure isn’t there to move leads through a sales funnel.
None of these options are inherently right or wrong. Your situation will dictate which one you use and when you use it. For many of my campaigns, I use more than one—because I’m not always fishing in the same lake for the same fish.
Stock images purchased from iStockPhoto.com