February 2021

Optimise your Facebook ads for conversions

by Wouter Buijze

It’s important to be very serious about the goals of your campaign because that’s what Facebook does. If you tell Zuck you want clicks, you get clicks and if you want to reach a big audience, that’s what you get.

I’ve seen many discussions about Facebook’s ad performance covering a too wide range of metrics. A useful rule of thumb is that if the agency managing your account makes the performance analysis complex. They don’t want you to understand it (ouch!).

Facebook’s campaign objectives

The objective determines the distribution and placement options of the campaign. Facebook distinguishes three categories of campaign objectives; awareness, consideration and conversion. Sound familiar? That's right. The majority of sales, marketing and content funnels include these stages.

Creating a scientifically perfect Facebook ads funnel is expensive and should only be considered by big-budget players with videos that include a celebrity cast. Apart from that, the awareness objective can be applied for specific purposes such as raising awareness around a social topic, an offline product launch or promoting a public event.

This post teaches you that you can achieve results by taking a short cut. How? Keep your end goal in mind and focus on conversion along the way.

Why are conversions important in Facebook Ads?

Bidding on conversions will make Facebook deliver your ads to users who are interested in your ad and are likely to convert.

A large share of websites has the Facebook Pixel installed. This means that Facebook can assess the effectiveness of the ads of those websites, but also tracks your behaviour on those websites. Thus, Facebook does not only know how you interact with pages and friends on the platform. Revealing your interests and demographics but also how you interact with other locations on the world wide web.

Maybe it's professional deformation, but personally, I click a lot of Instagram ads. I am amazed by the algorithmic targeting quality of the platform and I regularly check out the products and website as they match my interest. Sometimes I purchase something through an ad directly, but I never like or comment on posts or ads. As a result, the system will show me ads from a campaign with a click or purchase objective as opposed to ads with an engagement objective.

The Facebook conversion funnel

Some companies refer to purchases as conversions. But Facebook makes it easy to soften up. It might be effective to postpone the hard conversions for now and move up the funnel to aim for 'soft conversions' such as content views or add to carts.

But when should you move up the funnel? Facebook needs at least 30 conversions per week to be able to optimise for a particular conversion event. If you don't achieve that, you either increase your budget or choose a conversion event that has a higher conversion rate.

When you complete the learning phase, which usually takes approximately 50 optimisation events, with your high funnel conversion goal, you’ve also trained your Facebook pixel. Now you can start a campaign with a harder conversion goal such as direct purchases or leads. You don’t always have to start with a soft conversion goal, sometimes you hit the algorithmic jackpot right from the start.

Focus on the metrics that matter for your business

Don’t look at all the vast body of social media metrics available. Facebook advertising is about letting Facebook deal with the big data and staying faithful to the metrics that matter for your business.

Don’t rely on reach, impressions, likes or clicks. Awareness and consideration campaigns can be very unpredictable. You might spend lots of money without any results. Soft metrics can help to train the pixel, but only if they support hard conversion in the long run.

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Wouter Buijze

Wouter (aka Wally) arrived in Melbourne via Amsterdam where he founded a successful start-up. He's a natural when it comes to driving business value and strategic growth. His laid back energy and sense of humor are zeer gewaardeerd!

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