Experts’ Hive #2: How to optimize your social media ads – tips and tricks

Optimizing your ads can save you a lot of money, time and nerves. Everyone is talking about optimization, but what actually stands behind ads optimization? Today, we’re going to cover this topic and answer how you can optimize your ads without breaking the bank.

Let’s dive in.

Why should you optimize your ads?

First of all, ads optimization helps you recognize the best placements and creatives, so you don’t spend money – and time – on things that don’t deliver. 

By identifying “shining stars” – posts that perform extremely well – you’re more likely to draw some conclusions and replicate them in the upcoming campaigns.

By checking “shooting stars” – posts that performed well for a moment but now don’t deliver at all – you can see what part of your strategy may need improvement and dig deep into reasons of such a situation. 

Saving money is an aspect of concerns for many marketers. The remaining budget can be spent on the creative side of the business or company development.

You can never over-optimize your ads. Applying improvements today doesn’t mean you shouldn’t optimize your ads tomorrow. 

Good practices for optimizing your ads

Below, you’ll find a list of things you can apply today to your campaigns in order to optimize them and make them more successful than ever before. 

Test placements

Each placement is a different story and can be suitable for a different type of content. We’re going to get you through a few “infamous” placements and show you how to turn their usage into a marketing success. 

Right column myth

For example, many marketers abandon the Right column on Facebook in their campaigns. Why is that so? There is an urban legend that the majority of ad spend is being burnt in that placement, so marketers decided to untick it in the Placements section. In reality, though, the right column can work wonders.

The placement is fairly small, which means that the creatives need to be clear and visible in order to drive conversion. If you have such creatives, give them a go in the right column and check conversion in a few days. It can turn out that splitting your campaigns via placements and dedicating one of them to the right column placement can bring really satisfying results. 

Stories placement

You can also place your ads in Stories. Such a placement can bring you a lot of extra visibility at a fairly low price. Does it really work, though? It can drive you both brand awareness and traffic since it enables the “Swipe Up” option. If your creatives are really captivating, you can bring results fairly quickly. 

Placement dividing

It’s better to create a couple of ad sets dedicated to one placement than to use one ad set with various placements. Why is that? Your ad spend can be distributed to the cheapest placement in the overall campaign, neglecting the other placements. If you want to make sure that each placement is used equally, then you should consider setting up separate ad sets for each placement. 

Facebook vs Instagram

It is said that if you run a campaign with both Facebook and Instagram placements, your ad set will run out mainly on the Instagram part. If you don’t want to mix them up, think about separating those two media platforms, too. 

Mobile vs desktop

If you don’t differentiate it in your ad set, mobile placements may take the majority of your advertising budget for a particular campaign. While it may not have a big impact when it comes to brand awareness (actually, mobile can work even better in that case), it may disturb your campaigns that would work way better on mobile. 

For example, if a landing page of your campaign is nothing but a long-form (and you can’t really shorten it), sending such a request via mobile it can be deadly for the campaign and result in a very high bounce rate. It could have been easily avoidable if you had changed the placements before the campaign kicked off. 

Juggle with objectives

Of course, your campaign should always have some business goals. They are normally reflected in Campaign Objectives. It also comes as a natural decision to choose an objective that hits the closest note to what you want to achieve. However, there are quite a few tips and tricks you can test out here to improve your performance. Below, you’ll find some practices applicable to Facebook campaigns.

Engagement instead of traffic

In the Traffic campaign, you’ll be charged by CPC. It sounds fair, especially if you really want to track your efforts and see how much you’re spending. However, if CPC only makes your side result for now, you may want to run a CPC campaign with a link post, but promote it via Engagement objective. This way, you may reach more people potentially interested in your services (if you target them well), but pay less for reaching them while CPC may stay the same (you can access some statistics revealing the cost of clicks).

Video views instead of traffic/engagement

3-sec video views may not mean a lot in many campaigns. What can you see during a few seconds of the campaign? Not much. However, if your offer is sweet and short, or when actually the first 3 seconds of the video are enough to give a glimpse of your offer, you may want to give this option a go and see if it brings you any results. 

Try to use Video Views – Facebook will optimize your campaign via video views, you may spend less money on promoting it, but still drive some engagement (likes, comments and shares) or even traffic. Give it a try and let us know!

Reach instead of engagement

Reach is quite an underestimated option for Facebook campaigns, however, it can provide you with great results if your main goal is engagement. Facebook will focus on showing your campaign widely in a chosen target group, but more conversion goals may not be that optimized. Reach itself is one of the vanity metrics, but if you take into consideration reach in your target group, then it may make sense to try this option in your upcoming campaign. 

Be smart

Social media campaigns can really unleash your potential when it comes to… being smart. Find out a few simple tricks and step you can make so your campaigns are even more tailored than before. They don’t require extra budget or a lot of efforts – just using the options you never knew you always had at your disposal. 

Postcodes for the win

How to optimize very local and temporary ads? Try to target them through postcodes. Let’s say that you run an event – use Pins on the map that you’re given when creating a campaign. Choose a few locations where people could be interested in your event (mainly because of the proximity, but you can as well use this method for targeting “rich” districts or business centres) and run your campaign. It may turn out to be more expensive than a normal campaign, but it’s better targeted.

Free stock images

Did you know that Facebook campaigns allow you to make your own creatives when actually setting up ads? What’s more, you can use some Shutterstock creative images for free in the creator. If you struggle with graphics, or you’re tired of free sources of stock photos, you may want to give it a go and use high-quality photos in your campaigns. You need to run a campaign to use them – there is no possibility of downloading them or even previewing without watermark. This saves you time and money you’d have to spend on looking for alternatives, and we believe that you may have more ideas to implement in your strategy than browsing photos.

Video creator and slideshow

We’ve given you some ideas for video campaigns, but you may have that one excuse of “not having any videos”. You can create short and simple videos easily with multiple online creators, but you have this option in Facebook ad creator as well and in Creator Studio. You can even make the most of some simple effects, filters or stickers it offers to make your videos even more attractive. If you never tried this option, it may be a really nice alternative to test out, refresh your content strategy and enhance it with easily-created video content.

Run ads on a schedule

Let’s say that you run a cafe, and the cafe is open from 6am to 6pm. You may not be willing to pay for advertising for your daily menu at 11 pm when no one can visit your cafe or when you actually may run out of the ingredients. Running ads on schedule helps you with ad optimization and ensures that the ad is only shown when someone can actually use your services. 

Get rid of ad fatigue

Do you run some campaigns that perform just great? Well done! Remember though that it may not last forever, so you need to take a look at the analytics. The very first sign of ad fatigue is when the ad stops reaching new people and the ad frequency (for visibility) is high, but the costs are increasing as well. It may be one of those indicators when people are simply tired of your creatives. It’s not the end of the world – try to change the budget, update the target group or make some minor changes in your copy. If it doesn’t work, simply consider putting this campaign on hold.

For example, if you run an ongoing Christmas campaign, make sure that you stop it… at Christmas. It’s likely that people won’t interact with your campaign – or even mock it – after Christmas time is gone. 

Split test

Social media encourages split tests and A/B testing. If you’re not sure which set of creatives may work better for your needs, or you simply want to test out a few CTAs, options and images, then A/B testing should be definitely a part of your strategy. Make a few creative batches and create separate sets that you’ll be able to easily recognize and analyze.

Get addicted to data

If you expect any social media platform to send you a huge pop up saying “optimize your ads”, then you may be wrong. Even though platforms like Facebook can indicate that a particular campaign is doing well, it may not be precise enough for you to make you take another step towards optimization.

Use common sense – and data. Give your campaigns some time after you’ve launched them, but if they don’t deliver after a few days, have no mercy and turn them off. Don’t wait for miracles to happen and focus on optimizing your ads.  

Use tools

For example, using Adzooma can support your ad optimization when it comes to Facebook, Google and Microsoft. Adzooma makes the most of their machine learning engine and shows you areas for improvement. You can apply quick fixes in just a few clicks. 

RocketLink spices up the game here, though. 

To wrap-up

We hope that our short guide will come in handy when optimizing your ads. People tend to think that optimization is incredibly difficult, so they avoid applying it even if they should. With a bit of analytics, optimization and smart practices you can take your campaigns places, and forget about burning your marketing budgets. To speed things up, you can also book one-to-one Facebook ad consultants on platforms like GrowthMentor. The money (and time) you save can be distributed to more creative tasks and sides of the business, helping your business grow. Who wouldn’t like to try it out, then?

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