Hide and Seek with Facebook Ads

Advertising on Facebook over the last few years has continued to explode, particularly on mobile devices, with Facebook seeing a 72 per cent year-on-year growth in advertising on smartphones and tablets to $3.3bn.

Factor in that mobile advertising makes up more than three-quarters of Facebook’s ad revenue, driven by 1.39 billion active mobile users, there clearly continue to be huge opportunities here for both Facebook and Advertisers.

With that in mind, this post is going to highlight a number of features that you may or may not know exist within Facebook Ads due to its rapidly changing landscape. Some of these features are in early testing and as such not integrated to the main Ads platform, some are being tested regionally, and others are just tucked away.

Additional advertising features available through the Power Editor

Facebook Power Editor is great, it allows you to make changes at scale, import campaigns via a CSV file and generally makes project management easier. However at times it is slightly clunky and frustrating, particularly if you have only ever managed campaigns through Facebook’s main Ad Manager interface.

However, Power Editor seems to be where Facebook tests its latest advertising features before rolling them into Ad Manager, so it’s worth getting familiar with and getting over that slight learning curve.

Two useful campaign objectives currently only available through the Power Editor are Lead Generation Ads and Product Catalogue Sales. Open up Ad Manager and these two options don’t appear.

Once you set up a new campaign within the Power Editor we suddenly have features that were previously hidden away from us.

Lead Generation Forms

Quite simply, lead generation forms allow the collection of user information such as contact details, demographic information, work information and custom questions. The major difference to previous methods of data collection  is that all this information can be collected without the user ever having to leave Facebook or visiting your site. Because Facebook already has a lot of this information it can provide a better user experience by prefilling a lot of this information for users.

Currently, Lead Generation forms are only available for mobile devices, but Facebook have often tested features on mobile before rolling them on to desktop.

Jon Loomer has been experimenting with Lead Generation Ads over on his blog and has already been reporting an average cost of $0.71 per email address and excellent engagement levels with follow up emails to his users.

Product Catalogue Sales

Product Catalogue Sales is Facebook’s first step into serving dynamic ads. It is a great opportunity for e-commerce websites to serve users highly relevant ads. Prior to this feature being rolled out, running adverts at scale on Facebook was extremely difficult. Product Catalogue Sales and dynamic ads solve this.

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The process is fairly straightforward to start serving dynamic ads. To get dynamic ads off the ground I recommend checking out Facebook’s “Getting Started Guide”.

Audience research using Facebook Audience Insights

Facebook Audience Insights has been around for about a year and a half now, but coming from a community of SEOs, I feel this is still something that is massively under-utilised. There is a wealth of data in here about users and their interests. This is a great opportunity to build personas around your audience and improve your targeting for SEO, paid search and social.

Where can this be found?

Through both Adverts Manager and Business Manager, Audience Insights can be accessed by clicking on Tools in the horizontal navigation and selected from the drop down menu.

Audience Insights

Once we open up Audience Insights we can start digging into users’ potential interests and improve targeting of our content.

As a starting point let’s imagine we are running a sports website. One audience we may be interested in are those who have a passion in football (soccer). If you already have some idea of demographics from previous campaigns or audience research you should immediately start by filtering using this information.

To start narrowing our audience we begin using some pretty broad terms that we think our audience might be interested in such as “soccer”, “Major League Soccer”.

This immediately gives us an indicator that we have a huge chunk of our audience that fall between the ages of 18 and 44 (88%). Our audience is still huge, sitting at nearly 20m-25m monthly active people.

To trim this further we can set the age range to cover that 88% and start digging deeper to understand where these users are located. As we may have hypothesised before beginning this task, a large number of these users are based in the US and Canada.

Finally let’s narrow our audience by adding these location to our search. This still leaves us with a large audience of 9m - 10m monthly active users but we are able to drill down into the personas of this audience a little more.

We can find categories that interest these users. This immediately gives a list of topics we could produce content about that will appeal to our target audience.

Furthermore, we can see which categories users also have an interest in. Drilling down into each of the pages we can begin to build a list of popular content that really appeals to our newly found target audience.

If we want to continue to profile our users further we can gather additional information such as household income and purchase behaviour and add this to our audience personas.

It is worth noting that this Household and Purchase information is only available for US demographics at present.

Stock Images

Sourcing and creating images can take a huge amount of time. Facebook have made this much simpler, particularly if you don’t have the resources to be generating your own images. Partnering with Shutterstock, Facebook now offer stock photography already in the correct image dimensions for you to use within your campaigns. This can be a great way to easily split test multiple version of an ad extremely quickly.

Where can you find it?

When creating a campaign, select to add or change your image.

At the top of the page there is the option to use stock images.

Perform a search for images that are closely related to your campaign and that you think will resonate well with your audience and potentially increase the relevance of your advert.

Relevance Score really matters

Hopefully you already know this, particularly if you have been working in Facebook Ads for a while or have previously worked in PPC.

For those of you that have never come across Relevance Score, it is Facebook’s equivalent of Google’s Quality Score.

To ensure users are seeing ads that are highly relevant, and to determine how much an ad should cost the advertiser, Facebook uses positive and negative actions to determine its Relevance Score. It is scored on a 1-10 level, and you only receive a score once your ad has received over 500 impressions.

Have a low score and you can easily end up paying over the odds for your ads to be displayed, however if you craft a well targeted ad you can get CPC as low as just a few cents per click.

The data below comes from a study by Adspresso, which sampled 104,256 ads and indicated the distribution of CPC relative to relevance score. With a low relevance score you could be paying nearly 100 times more per click (between $.90 and $1.00), massively decreasing the potential reach you may have with your target audience.

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What is determined as a positive or negative action?

Positive actions are a rating based on the number of times your audience took the desired action on an ad such as:

  • Likes

  • Shares

  • Comments

  • Clicks

  • App Installs

  • Video Views

  • Conversions

Negative actions are a rating based on the number of times your audience hid an advert or indicated a negative experience.

Where can you find it?

To see this metric you need to click through campaigns down to advert level.

By default Facebook hides both positive and negative feedback scores so if you are wanting to view these create custom columns by using the drop down menu located just above the adverts.

From here select to display positive and negative feedback.

Final Word

With Facebook having over a billion users, the opportunities for digital marketers, brands and advertisers are only going to continue to grow. Facebook is continually rolling out new features and ways that we can reach users. With that in mind:

  • What features have you seen Facebook roll out recently or that you have stumbled across that gave you that “ah ha” moment?

  • Have you done any audience research using Facebook Insights? What were the results?

  • Have you had any success using either Lead Generation or Product Catalogue Sales?

Please share any thoughts in the comments below.

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About the author
Tim Allen

Tim Allen

Tim joined Distilled in March 2013 after making a considerable impression upon Duncan and Tom Anthony by wearing a Panda jumper to his interview. Originally moving from Lincolnshire to London to study acting at Reynolds Performing Arts, Tim soon...   read more