When it comes to Facebook Ads, most advertisers don’t actually start with a good strategy—or any strategy at all, for that matter. They jump straight into building the ads, as if just by running them they’ll get the results they want. The reality doesn’t work this way, though; all aspects of your marketing campaigns must be created around an ironclad strategy.
Since Facebook Ads have so many different factors to focus on, we figured we’d make it a little bit easier for businesses creating their Facebook Ads Strategy. That’s why we created this easy one-page plan—which can easily be passed on to your agency or paid social team— that will help you create high converting ads in no time.
You can download the template for our plan here and follow along with the blog post.
1. Choosing Objectives
First, you need to choose your ad’s objectives. This is extremely important because Facebook’s algorithm will reverse engineer who the ad is shown to based on the objective. Your objective will also become the common denominator for all your campaigns, allowing you to create split test campaigns with similar goals to see what’s really working, and then double down on the strategies and campaigns that are working for you.
Facebook updates the objectives every so often, but right now they include:
You should focus on the underlying goal of each campaign when choosing an objective. It’s easy to want to accomplish multiple things with an ad, but that can end up hurting you. If you create a video ad and want to get sales, you should choose the conversions objective and instead of video views, for example. You can want every ad to get engagement, but unless it’s the primary focus for the ad, it shouldn’t be the objective that you choose.
Pro tip: If you’re using a conversion objective on one of your campaigns, you need a minimum of 25-50 conversions per ad set per week for the algorithm to work correctly. If you haven’t reached that volume, optimize one step higher in the funnel.
Select the objective that best reflects your revenue and growth goals.
2. Defining Personas
In this section, you really want to hone in on a niche: nail down that small, targetable segment of your audience, and expand it from there. Starting small will always help you maintain focus, which is why buyer personas are so valuable.
Even if you have an enormous potential audience market, creating audience niches is excruciatingly important—it may be even more important the larger your audience gets. You can’t be everything to everyone at all times; if you try, your ads won’t address the right pain points and you won’t get any conversions.
The personas you create and choose will influence every aspect of your ad, all the way down to the images and copy in the ad itself.
Pro tip: It’s often useful to segment your personas by use case or customer type. Then, you can figure out which segments will get you the most value using the value proposition, and test your personas against both each other and their lookalike audiences.
Make a list of the buyer personas you think will be most interested in your offering.
3. Identifying Target Audience
In this next section, you’ll want to consider your audience carefully. Who exactly do you want to target and why? Do you want to target a cold audience and introduce them to your brand, or do you want to target a custom audience on current subscribers to drive sales of a new software feature? This is a crucial decision that will shape your entire ad.
You can target your audience with demographic targeting, location targeting, behavior & interest targeting, connection targeting, and based on their relationship with your brand and site.
The size of your audience is also essential. You don’t want it to be too big or too small; if the audience is too big, it’s probably not specific enough, making it difficult to create truly personalized ads that will resonate with viewers, watering down your results. If it’s too small, you’ll be isolating a huge chunk of your audience and run the risk of increasing your ad’s frequency extremely quickly.
Pro tip: It’s most helpful to create an audience that’s the appropriate size for your budget. Work back from your target number of conversions that have been multiplied by the acceptable CPC. You can also figure out what percentage of the market you want to reach, and at what frequency. Make a list of all the demographic, behavioral, interests and geographic factors that you’re interested in testing.
4. Deciding on Custom Audiences
Are you going to use custom audiences to retarget warm audience members who are already interested in or familiar with your brand? Easily the biggest advantage of Facebook Ads, when compared to other social ad platforms, is the ability to target the incredible, massive user base that they provide in ways to connect with the exact audience you’re looking for. Custom audiences help with that.
You can choose custom audiences based on uploading a list of customer emails (that you’ve obtained with permission), targeting users who have visited or taken action on your site, or those who have engaged with you on Facebook on your mobile app.
Once you’ve run campaigns that have performed well with your custom audiences, you can create lookalike audiences off those high-value custom audiences. You can show them the same campaigns that appealed to your high-value customers they’re similar to and watch the conversions come in and your client base grow.
Make a list of the custom audiences you’d like to test. Include behaviors, CRM lists and engagement factors.
5. Creating Hooks
Hooks are what draw your users in and help them decide they even want to pay attention to the ad. They should be like a hook in a pop song; it needs to be unforgettable and lovable.
These hooks are often creative and/or emotional appeals designed to capture attention and can be extremely effective when appealing to pain points that matter to your buyer personas.
What most businesses do is test multiple nearly-identical variations of the same ad, all using the same hook. Instead, generate different hooks to try different ways of marketing the same product. Then, when comparing them, you can truly see what works best.
It’s more important to test different hooks than different subtle changes like color or photo. Oftentimes, there’s one hook that will greatly outperform the others.
Pro tip: When you’re testing the hooks, start by watching your CTR as the proxy for resonance; this is the metric to keep an eye on when you want to see how engaging your hook is.
Make a list of all the potential hooks that may be tested to market your product or service.
6. Mapping Your Sales Funnel
Which stage in the sales funnel is your ad focusing on? Ads designed for users in the discovery stage will look very different than an ad meant to upsell to customers in the loyalty stage.
You also need to look at how your ad fits into the specific sales funnel it’s meant to be part of. If you want to sell, where will users be taken after the ad? Your site, or a landing page, or a newsletter sign-up meant to nurture leads into sales long term?
Analyze your current conversion rates on past campaigns to help you determine which stages in the funnel require your immediate attention. Do you need to generate new leads now, or push for more repeat customers? Your analytics can tell you all of this.
Pro tip: Facebook works great for funnel based businesses, as you can have separate campaigns for each individual funnel stage and then remarket to those who engage with previous funnel stages.
This part will take some thought. Map out your funnel, including the conversion rates at each step, to help guide your FB ads strategy.
7. Setting Up the Pixel
The Facebook tracking pixel is essential for Facebook Ads, allowing you to target custom audiences from users who have viewed your site and tracking traffic and conversions from your campaigns.
Custom audiences have some of the highest conversion rates and CTRs, and the lowest CPAs. This is because you’re targeting “warm” audiences instead of cold audiences, so you can target users who are familiar with you. In some cases, you’re even targeting users who have taken a specific action, like visited a certain page on your site or watched your on-platform video.
Being able to accurately track and measure your campaigns so you can see what’s working and optimize your campaigns.
You just need to install the pixel on each page of your site, and there are a number of different tools that can help you install the pixel and monitor its data. AdEspresso’s Pixel Caffeine is a free WordPress app that makes it incredibly easy to install the pixel, for example, and create custom audiences from it. There’s also a Chrome extension called Facebook Pixel Helper that will help you troubleshoot your pixel in real time so you can make sure that it’s working correctly.
It’s even simple to install the tracking pixel on your Shopify Store; all you have to do is add your pixel ID. To do this, have a Shopify admin click on “Online Store,” and then “Preferences.” Paste the code into the Facebook Pixel account prompt.
Pro tip: if you have an app, install the Facebook SDK. This will allow you to track app installs and set up specific conversions that you can optimize for.
Make a list of the behaviors and actions you want to track and measure with the FB Pixel.
8. Lifetime Value vs Cost Per Acquisition
Most businesses want to know how much they’ll need to spend to see conversions. That answer isn’t so simple. You need to calculate the lifetime value of the customer against the cost of acquisition (CPA); this is what high growth VC-backed startups use, and it’s what we use, too.
Your lifetime value metric (LTV) is the total amount of profit you’ll receive over the lifetime of a customer, and it matters just as much as the first conversion/CPA ratio. If you’re a startup, this number is just a hypothesis, so keep measuring and adjusting as you grow.
The target CPA should be 1/3 of the LTV in profit. This will ensure that you have the ability to grow your business quickly. This is a good goal to work towards, and you should focus on getting your CPA down towards this goal.
Pro tip: Be patient. You’ll have to run a number of experiments to test what will drive the lowest CPA.
List your LTV as revenue, LTV as profit and your target CPA = 1/3 of LTV (as profit).
Is this a retargeting campaign? Will you use this campaign as a method of retargeting in a future campaign?
Retargeting allows you to connect with very specific audience members while knowing exactly what their relationship is with your brand and products. If you’re targeting an audience who watched 50% of a video ad you had previously run, you know that they’re at least familiar with who you are. You can target users who have taken a certain action in an app with ad pushing for in-app purchases, and target abandoned cart users with an offer to tempt them to purchase.
Create a list of all the segments, visits, conversions and behaviors that you’d like to retarget.
Every Facebook Ad you run should be carefully created with a specific strategy in mind, and these are the essential steps you need to follow for well-developed, solid Facebook Ads that will get you the results that you’re looking for.
Use this one-page plan to help align your various teams and agencies, and educate them on how the various pieces move together when tracking CPA.
Facebook Ads is an incredibly powerful ad platform, which can help you scale your business thanks to its second-to-none targeting system. The platform also has detailed analytics, allowing for accurate measurement of every ad campaign you run. You just need to know how to get the system to work well for you and your business. Our One-Page Plan helps you do just that.
Don’t forget to download our One-Page Plan for Facebook Ads so you, your team, and your agency can use this process to start seeing results, too.
And don’t forget to check out our guide on Facebook Ads for Hotels.