There are a lot of moving parts to a successful Facebook ad campaign; Compelling copy, awesome images, device placement, but targeting is the most important of them all. Without great targeting, your Facebook ad can have the best of the best of the other variables mentioned above and still have NO shot at winning…ever. Targeting is the key.

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When it comes to setting it up your Facebook ads, one little mistake can turn an otherwise successful ad campaign into an expensive lesson on what not to do.

Everyone focuses on the interest targeting options and the power of Custom Audiences and Lookalike Audiences. Rarely do they talk about conversion optimization and ad delivery optimization. Facebook does not show your ads to everyone in your target audience. It actually shows them to only a small segment of your target audience, and your conversion optimization settings tell Facebook which segment of your audience to show ads to. Facebook themselves even stress how important these settings are:

For the ‘Optimization for Ad Delivery’ setting, Facebook says:

Choose how you want us to deliver ads based on what you’re trying to achieve. Your selection affects who sees your ads to get you the best results for the lowest cost”.

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Optimizing for a Conversion Event

Awesome, you selected ‘Website Conversions’ as your campaign objective , but that does not mean your ads are optimized to get the conversions you want. You still need to tell Facebook which conversion event you want to get more of.

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When you select a Conversion Event to optimize for, Facebook will show your ads to people in your audience who are likely to complete that specific conversion action.

Here’s how it works…

Every time someone completes a conversion event on your website, Facebook takes note of who that person was and what type of conversion they completed. Facebook builds up more and more data about the people completing each of your conversion events. Facebook is constantly learning and adjusting its algorithm to show your ads to more people who are also likely to convert. Building up this conversion data is commonly known as ‘seasoning the pixel’.

As you get more conversions for your chosen event, your ads will perform better. This is because Facebook has more data available to optimize your ads.

Select the Conversion Event That Will Get You The Best Results

To help understand how to choose which conversion event to optimize for, let’s consider a basic ecommerce sales funnel:

1) A customer clicks on an ad and lands on your product page. They have completed the ‘Website Content View’ conversion event.

2) They are on your website and add an item to their shopping cart. Now they have completed the ‘Add to Cart’ conversion event.

4) They begin the checkout process, completing the ‘Initiate Checkout’ conversion event.

5) Finally, the customer person completes the checkout and completes thus completes the ‘Purchase’ conversion event.

So which one should you choose?

It would be easy to assume you would optimize for the ‘Purchase’ event because sales is ultimately what you want. After all, it doesn’t matter how many people add an item to their shopping cart if none of them buy…it is not quite that simple. Remember that Facebook needs people to complete your conversion events to be able to optimize your ad sets for that event. If no one is converting, Facebook doesn’t have any data. That means it can’t optimize for those conversions.

You need to be getting at least 15-25 conversions PER WEEK for Facebook to have a chance to optimize for a particular conversion event. And more is better.

Here’s what Facebook have to say about it:

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If you aren’t getting 15-25 purchases per week, there’s no point optimizing your ad set for the ‘Purchase’ conversion event. You need to move up the funnel and select a conversion event that is being completed AT LEAST 15-25 times per week.

For an example, let’s assume you’re getting 50 ‘Add to Cart’ conversions, but only 10 ‘Purchase’ conversions per week.

That means you could try optimizing for the ‘Add to Cart’ conversion event instead of ‘Purchase’. Once you start getting more purchases, you would create a new ad set that’s optimized for the ‘Purchase’ event. You want to optimize for the lowest conversion event in the funnel that gets at least 15-25 conversions per week.

But if you have other conversion events a little higher in the funnel that get lots more conversions (e.g. 100-200 per week), you might find you get better results optimizing for those.

*Remember, there are no set rules with Facebook advertising. It’s important to test different options and see what works best for you.

Optimization & Delivery 

There are 7 main delivery optimization options:

  • Link Clicks to Website
  • Conversions
  • Impressions
  • Daily Unique Reach
  • Video Views
  • Post Engagement
  • Page Likes

The good news is that you have hopefully noticed you don’t need to choose from a big list like this each time you create an ad. The list of delivery options is determined by the campaign objective you choose. If you create a campaign with the ‘website clicks’ objective, you’ll see these options:

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Notice you can only choose either:

  • Link Clicks to Website
  • Impressions
  • Daily Unique Reach

How do you know which one to choose to get the best results? It depends on what you’re trying to achieve.

As a general rule, we always select the option that’s most closely aligned with the top level goal of the campaign. 

95% of the time, that objective is ‘Website Conversions’. To understand why it’s important to choose the right objective, let’s look at how Facebook’s targeting changes based on your decision.

The first thing you need to know is that Facebook will show your ads to different people depending on what you choose to optimize for. You’re probably thinking you’ve already selected your targeting options, so what does this have to do with targeting? Remember, Facebook doesn’t just show your ads to everyone in your target audience. Facebook selects people in your audience to show your ads to based on your Facebook ad optimization choices.

Facebook will show your ads to the segment of your target audience who are most likely to perform the action you choose under ‘optimize for ad delivery’.

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Facebook knows who is most likely to click an ad, most likely to complete a conversion action, likely to engage with an ad, and likely to do nothing. That means if you choose ‘Link Clicks to Your Website’, Facebook will show your ads to people in your target audience who are most likely to click an ad.

If you select ‘Conversions’, Facebook will show your ad to people in your target audience who are most likely to click your ad AND continue on to complete your chosen conversion event.

The same goes for Page Likes, and for every other option. This is why you should choose the option most closely aligned with your top level goal. Facebook will help you achieve your goal by showing your ads to the right people within your target audience.

For example:

If you want to get people to purchase your product, your top level goal is conversions. That means you will select conversions under ‘optimize for ad delivery’, NOT website clicks. If  you select ‘Link Clicks to Your Website’ when your real goal was conversions, Facebook would show your ads to people in your audience who are likely to click, but not necessarily likely to convert.

Impressions & Daily Unique Reach

There are two optimization options that stand out as not being directly correlated to any conversion goal. They are: Impressions & Daily Unique Reach. So when should you choose these over the other options?

Choosing Impressions tells Facebook that you want your ad shown as many times as possible to anyone in your target audience. Facebook will not optimize for any particular result (click, conversion, etc.).

It also will not limit the number of times ( frequency)  a person may see your ad each day. A heavy Facebook user may see your ads several times in one day using this option. If the frequency rate gets too high, say 3X,  you will start ti impact your ads relevance score.

The only thing Facebook cares about when optimizing for impressions is displaying your ad as many times as possible. Whether that’s 50 times to 1 person or to 50 different people, it doesn’t matter.

Daily Unique Reach (DUR)

Optimizing your ads for Daily Unique Reach means Facebook will show your ad to as many different people in your target audience as possible, but only once per day.

This allows you to reach as many of your target audience as possible without overwhelming them with a flood of ads. Daily Unique Reach is a good option for small retargeting audiences where you want to make sure as many people as possible see your ads. It allows you to ensure as many people see your ads as possible without overwhelming them.

Conversion Window 

You need to think about how you expect your leads and customers to behave and make a choice based on that behavior.

Conversion-Window

Wondering when would you want to choose 7-day click or 28-day click?

Think about how your e-commerce site works. The path from your Facebook ad to completing a purchase might look something like this:

  1. Someone sees an ad for a product while on their mobile device.
  2. They like the product, but don’t want to pull out their credit card and complete the checkout while standing on the train on the way to work.
  3. So they add the item to their shopping cart to come back to later.
  4. 3 days later, it’s the weekend. They’re sitting at home and suddenly remember that they wanted to purchase the product. So they open up their computer, go back to the website, and complete the checkout process.

In this case the purchase conversion happened 3 days after clicking the ad. If you’re in e-commerce and this sounds like it may be a common scenario in your business, then a 7 or 28-day conversion window may be best for you.

If you are selling a lower cost impulse product say under $40 you may have better results with a 1 Day Click or View as most of your purchases should come in a 1 Day window. When in doubt test each option three to four times to get an idea on what works best for your product and or offer.

Conclusion 

There’s much more to Facebook ad targeting than just selecting the best target audience. A lot of the optimization that will dramatically improve your results is handled by Facebook behind the scenes.

Naturally you want to make sure you’re giving Facebook the best chance to optimize your ad sets for you. To do that, you need to get your optimization settings right.

That means:

  • Optimizing for a conversion event that’s as low in your funnel as possible, while also making sure you get at least 15-25 of those conversions per week.
  • Optimizing your ad delivery to help Facebook show your ads to the segment of your audience likely to perform the desired action
  • Selecting the conversion window that suits your sales funnel and not just selecting one that is right for someone else