10 Crucial Steps to Master Facebook Ads (How to Profit)

Introduction

Chances are, if you’re a business owner, you’ve dabbled in Facebook Ads from time to time. 

Chances are…the results of those Facebooks Ads fluctuated somewhere between “might be working, but not quite where we want to be” and “definitely not working.” 

And if your Facebook Ads aren’t working in 2020? Quite frankly…your marketing isn’t working. 

The truth is, if you want to find new customers, grow, and ultimately scale your business, you’ve got to master the art of Facebook Ads. 

This article dives into ten crucial strategies that I use every day to master Facebook Ads for my clients—the ones that time and time again actually move the needle and facilitate business growth. 

And that means that they do a lot more than increase the fickle “ROAS” on Facebook Ads Manager.

They increase Shopify revenue. And they increase profits, too.

About the Author:
The last thing any business owner needs is another Facebook Ads “guru” with out-of-date tactics that don’t drive real results in 2020 for growing businesses. I want to share the real strategies I use every day to grow e-commerce businesses—even those with beginner budgets and even during COVD-19. I’m the Director of Paid Social at Fetch & Funnel, and I’m also a former business owner. 

Long story short, if you want to make money using Facebook Ads in 2020… THESE are the strategies to test. 

Facebook Ads Strategy #1 – Dissect the Funnel

If the word “dissect” brings you back to 8th grade science class—don’t worry, no mice or frogs were harmed in the making of this guide. I simply mean that you’ve got to separate each part of the sales funnel and structure your account accordingly.

And sure, structure isn’t as sexy as say… detailed audience targeting or budget scaling. But after auditing thousands of Facebook Ads accounts for businesses, not having a proper account structure is the most common problem I see.

So, why is the structure so important? 

Having the right structure organizes your Facebook Ads funnels so that you can actively guard against user flow bottlenecks and ensure that you’re targeting the right people, at the right time, with the right budget. 

And that means you’re going to get more results for the same ad spend

The way to structure your account is very simple. Break it up into three categories: the top of funnel (a.k.a. TOFU), middle of funnel (MOFU), and finally your bottom of funnel (BOFU). 

Here is an example of how we structure our Facebook Ads accounts: 

Your top-of-funnel section is your cold traffic. In the example above, our top-of-funnel campaign targets Facebook interest-based audiences, but to ensure the highest quality traffic we commonly use lookalikes to find new customers. (We’ll talk more about how to use lookalikes to expand your top-of-funnel in Strategies 4 and 5!) 

In the example our top-of-funnel campaign is a conversion campaign, but we often test alternative optimizations like Add to Cart or View Content, especially when in a period of rapid growth.

Your middle-of-funnel is for folks who have shown some kind of interest in your brand. In the example we target social engagers and website visitors. You could also include video viewers in this category. More often than not, we use a conversion campaign for our middle-of-funnel.

Your bottom-of-funnel is where you’ll put your hot leads. This is for traffic that is ready to convert, e.g. people who have added an item to the cart. 

For bottom-of-funnel campaigns we frequently use dynamic product ads—named “DPA” in the example—so that we can retarget users with the specific products that they’ve already shown an interest in.

KEY TAKEAWAY: Implement a top-of-funnel, middle-of-funnel, and bottom-of-funnel structure in your ad campaigns. This will help ensure you’re showing the right ads to the right people.

Facebook Ads Strategy #2 – The Facebook Power 5

The Facebook Power 5 packages up all of Facebook’s best practices into an easy to understand (and manage!) mega-strategy that’s actually rather simple.

Why should you use the Facebook Power 5? We won’t be coy. This strategy is the number one way to scale your business on Facebook Ads.

It breaks down into five tactics: 

  1. Advanced Auto Matching: This is as simple as flipping on a button. Go to your Events Manager > Click on your pixel > Click settings > And turn on this button. (Warning: The remaining Power 4 aren’t quite so simple!)


  2. Campaign Budget Optimization: Okay, maybe I lied. Technically, all that you have to do to use CBO is turn on a button in the Campaign section of ad building. But there are right and wrong ways to use CBO. (And ways that have made our ROI soar!) If you want to go in-depth on CBO, you have to read our 2020 Advanced Guide to Campaign Budget Optimization. We’ll show you the exact strategies we use to scale. But at the very least? Click that button. 
  3. Dynamic Creative Ads: Imagine being able to rapidly test ad creative on almost any budget. Enter Dynamic Creative. This feature allows you to rapidly test multiple combinations of images, videos, text, headlines, and CTAs. Facebook will then dynamically create the ad that will perform the best for any given user. It’s not just about finding the best ad… but also about being able to find the best match for the best user. It’s super powerful. To make use of this feature, gather together your best creative, copy, headlines, descriptions, and CTAs. Then select Dynamic Creative at the ad set level and test away!
  4. Account Simplification: Gone are the days of managing hundreds of ad sets in a single account. Once upon a time you’d get better performance in Facebook Ads by breaking everything down by gender, age, platform, and demographic…all on top of testing different lookalikes and interests. Nowadays Facebook suggests that you use one campaign for each objective. And while we find best results by separating our conversion campaigns between top-of-funnel, middle-of-funnel, and bottom-of-funnel audiences, that’s still much simpler than it was in the days of yore.
  5. Automatic Placements: Alright, caught in another lie. This is an easy one too. Automatic Placements allows Facebook to determine the best place to show your ad. To use it, simply select “Automatic Placements” at the ad set level. 

KEY TAKEAWAY: If you’re having problems finding traction or scaling, try using the Facebook Power 5. We’ve seen a big impact with all five tactics and use them regularly in our accounts. You can read more about the Facebook Power 5 (including an easy step-by-step how-to!) here.

Facebook Ads Strategy #3 – The CBO Broad Audience Hack

OK so maybe you’ve got an ad set that performs well, but you haven’t figured out how to move beyond it to grow your audience. 

That’s where this little gem of a strategy comes in. It’ll help you find the right people to target to scale your business. And it’ll allow you to do that WITHOUT a whole lot—or really almost any—hands-on work required. 

If you can’t tell by Strategy #2 or our popular 2020 Guide to Advanced CBO Strategies, we’re pretty big fans of campaign budget optimization. 

And one of our favorite ways to put CBO to use is by pairing it with a broad audience. 

First things first: What’s a broad audience? 

Simply put, a broad audience is an ad set with little to no targeting. Maybe a few guardrails on age and gender if applicable, otherwise it’s a completely open audience with basically no targeting. You’re targeting all of Facebook. 

So… why the hell would you want to do that? 

The trick is to pair a broad audience ad set with your current best performing ad set. 

Your best performing ad set will act as a guide for the broad audience ad set to find customers that look like your best performers.

And when you find customers that look like your best performers, odds are that they’re going to act like them too. In fact, we know they are, because we use this tactic all the time. 

It works. And it’s a great way to scale.

And what’s even better than scaling your business?

Doing it without having to strain your brain or your fingers from all the managing and clicking and testing and whatnot. All you have to do is increase your budget. No audience testing. No creating of new campaigns. As long as results are consistent, just keep increasing your budget and watch your audience grow. 

KEY TAKEAWAY: When using CBO, pair a broad audience ad set with one of your best performing ad sets to act as a guide. Sit back, relax, increase that budget, and watch your audience grow. 

Facebook Ads Strategy #4 – Get Creative with Facebook Lookalike Audiences

Ah yes, lookalike audiences. They’re like the salt of the Facebook Advertising world— they just make everything better.

But we’re not talking about simply creating a lookalike audience of your purchasers and calling it a day. (Although this is a great place to start!)

If you want to keep expanding your reach, you not only need to find new customers, but you need to find new kinds of customers. You can’t do that if you’re only testing purchaser lookalikes.

To really figure out where your best customers are hiding, test all of the following lookalike audiences on your account: 

  1. Lookalike of Pixel Purchasers, last 180 days.
  2. Lookalike of Pixel Purchasers, last 30 days. (These are your new customers.)
  3. Lookalike of purchasers of a certain product.
  4. Lookalike of Customers who Made Multiple Purchases.
  5. Lookalike of Entire Customer List.
  6. Lookalike of Entire Customer List with a Lifetime Value.
  7. Lookalike of your VIP Customers. (This would be a list of your best customers, likely in the top 50% to 20% of your customers’ lifetime values.) 
  8. Lookalike of your email list.
  9. Lookalike of social media engagers. (You could segment out Instagram from Facebook if your audience tends to be on a certain platform.) 
  10. Lookalike of the top 25% of visitors to your site.
  11. Lookalike of add to cart-ers.
  12. Lookalike of website visitors of certain product pages. (Particularly if you have a best selling product.)
  13. Lookalikes of users who’ve clicked an email in 90 days.

Testing out all of these lookalikes is going to help you expand your reach and ferret out more potential customers than you would with just purchaser lookalikes.

KEY TAKEAWAY: Try using more lookalikes than just a pixel purchase to reach customers you wouldn’t otherwise reach.

Facebook Ads Strategy #5 – Think Big With Facebook Super Lookalikes

This is my favorite tip out of the whole bunch.

If you want to scale, then you need to think BIG. Specifically, you need a big audience. 

You might think that serving your ads to a smaller, niche audience who you know will be interested is the best, most efficient way to spend your budget. 

But in 2020? Nope. 

Facebook’s algorithms have improved so much that the platform actually works better when you have bigger audiences. To the tune of more than 4 million people in a single ad set. (And by the way, feel free to go up to 20+ million!) The reason bigger is better is that Facebook’s machine learning needs data in order to optimize your campaigns. So you need to cast a wider net in order to get the best audience that’s most likely to convert. 

So how do you get more than 4 million people in a single audience while still maintaining quality targeting? 

You do it by combining audiences that have already proven to work for you. 

You see those lookalikes that you’re testing in Strategy #4? When you find a few of them that are working and driving purchases for your business: Put them into one ad set

We call this a Super Lookalike audience. 

You can also do this with interest targeting. So, if you’ve tested a few interests and avatars, put them into one campaign and see what they do. 

This is the best way to cast a wide net and let the Facebook algorithm do its thing so that you can scale. 

KEY TAKEAWAY: Combine your best performing lookalikes into a single ad set. Do the same with interest targeting. 

Facebook Ads Strategy #6 – Write Facebook Copy that Sells the Click

When you’re targeting cold audiences, your messaging—whether it’s in your ad copy or in your visual creative—needs to have a purpose. And that purpose is to sell the click

Please note that I didn’t say sell your product or service. I said Sell. The. Click. You need to get users to visit your website. That’s it. 

So, what kind of copy gets people to click?

The place to start is to think about what your users need to hear. Which, when you’re prospecting for new customers, is whatever will get them interested in your brand. 

And what’s going to pique their interest? Of course the answer is that it depends on your brand and on your audience. You’ll have to test out different options to see what works. 

I know that’s not a super satisfying answer. But what can I say, I’m not here to bullshit you. Broadly speaking though, you would do well to keep these two major prospecting copy principles in mind:

  1. Make an authentic connection with your audience.

If your ad inspires a feeling of connection between your brand and your audience, you’ve gone a long way toward warming that audience up and ultimately moving them along the road toward making a purchase.

There are a variety of ways you can go about fostering such a connection. 

One great one is to highlight the ethics and values your company holds that you might share with your customers. Like this ad from Everlane:

This ad highlights a commitment to sustainability, and it also gets extra points for piquing interest with a little mystery.

Another way to foster a connection, If it suits your brand, is through humor. (Just remember not to be clever for cleverness’s sake.) Here is a good example from Invisasox, which is funny but also stays on message:

If you can amuse your audience AND get them to want to find out more about your socks? Great work. 

  1. Focus on value props.

The second principle is to focus on value props rather than going for a hard sale. 

Highlight pain points that your product or service relieves. Take this ad from Hyros as an example:

The Hyros ad is an excellent example, because while it highlights pain points, it also piques interest. It doesn’t tell you everything, just enough to get you to click. Plus, it’s funny. That’s a triple whammy.

Be sure to educate your audience about the unique benefits of your product or service. Here’s another good example from Invisasox:

Lastly, straight from prospecting ads 101 (it’s basic but it’s true): You can offer an introductory deal in exchange for signing up for your email list.

KEY TAKEAWAY: For prospecting ads, write copy that’s designed to entice a click. Focus on piquing interest in your brand, and be sure to TEST TEST TEST to see what works.

Facebook Ads Strategy #7 – Write Facebook Copy That Converts

Strategy #6 is all about how to write copy for your cold audiences. But you’ll have to change that strategy when you’re targeting your middle- and bottom-of-funnel audiences. 

While prospecting copy needs to sell the click, retargeting copy needs to go one step further. It needs to drive the audience to purchase. So, how to do that?

This is where having the right structure comes into play. Yep, all the way back to Strategy #1! When you separate your audience into two or three groups you can communicate with them more effectively.

Your retargeting copy needs to focus on the information that will give your audience the confidence they need to make a purchase. 

Three of the most effective ways to do this are:

  1. Use testimonials. You can shout all day about how great your product is. No one is going to believe you until they hear it from another customer. 
  2. Offer a discount. If someone has added to cart and not made a purchase, offering a discount is a pretty simple way to get them to take the plunge.  
  3. Go in-depth on specific products. If a user has shown an interest in a product, TELL THEM MORE. Tell them everything! Especially all the unique selling points and ways that your product is going to relieve pain points.

We wrote a very detailed guide that dives into ad copy that you won’t want to miss. Read that here. 

KEY TAKEAWAY: For your warm middle- and bottom-of-funnel audiences, write copy that inspires the confidence your prospects need in order to make a purchase. 

Facebook Ads Strategy #8 – Make Your Videos Mobile-First

If you’re using video in your advertising campaigns (and you should be!) you want to make sure that this content is mobile first. 

What is mobile-first content, you say? 

Simply put, mobile-first content is content that is made to be seen and heard on a mobile phone. 

And, why should you use mobile-first content? 

Because it’s likely that a user will discover your brand on their phone. The trend for the last few years has been, “Discovery on mobile, purchase on desktop.”

That means, if you want your audience to stop scrolling when they see your ad, you’ve got to make it mobile-first.

So, how does one do that? 

The criteria for mobile-first content include:

  1. Vertical aspect ratio: 5:4 or 9:16
  2. Contains a logo within the first 5 seconds
  3. Video should be 15 seconds long (up to 30)
  4. Designed for sound-off
  5. Contains quick and fast movement to attract the attention of people scrolling through the feed

Just five simple steps and you’ll ensure you aren’t missing out on your—likely quite large—mobile-using audience.

KEY TAKEAWAY: Follow our five simple guidelines to ensure your video content is mobile-first.

Facebook Ads Strategy #9 – Make Ads for Instagram Stories Only

Want more eyeballs for less money?

Take the Strategy #8 a little further and create content for Instagram Stories. And then target people with that content exclusively on Instagram Stories. 

It might seem counterintuitive—especially if you’ve already implemented the Facebook Power 5 and firmly believe in using automatic placements. 

For the most part, you SHOULD use automatic placements. However, for Instagram Stories placements and targets we make an exception.

Why? Impressions are a lot cheaper on Instagram Stories as opposed to the feed. So, like I mentioned above…more 👀 less 💰.

Plus, bonus: Instagram Stories are super engaging, and the right target audience spends A LOT of time here. So that means not only more eyeballs for less money, but more ENGAGED eyeballs for less money. 

KEY TAKEAWAY: Get more out of your ad spend by creating content exclusively for Instagram Stories. 

Facebook Ads Strategy #10 – Facebook Metrics That Actually Matter

So, we’ve gone through a lot of tactics in this article. But none of them will mean anything unless you know which data to look at to determine if your new strategies are working or not. 

There is some variation here, but if you’re using Facebook Ads to make money then you’ll definitely want to track Purchases, Purchase Conversion Value, and ROAS. Nothing else is going to matter as much as whether you’re driving revenue at a cost that’s profitable to you. 

Other secondary metrics are going to matter more in the early days when you’re testing and trying to figure out what’s working. You’ll want to look at things like Link Click-Through Rate to determine if your ads are driving traffic. You’ll want to check out your rate of Add to Carts to see if people are starting to move down the funnel. You’ll also want to track your Leads and Cost Per Leads to see what other kinds of growth the ads are driving aside from straight revenue.

KEY TAKEAWAY: Once you’re beyond the testing stage, be sure to track Purchases, Purchase Conversion Value, and ROAS to ensure your new strategies are working.  

Conclusion

In every single successful ad account that I’ve grown this year, I’ve tested all ten of these key strategies. We end up implementing many of them as long-term strategies for the accounts that we’re scaling and growing—and yes, this applies even during a pandemic. 

My advice is to use this article as a guide to determine what strategies to test next in your campaigns. The key word here is, as always, test. Find what works for you, and ditch the rest.

If you’re struggling with something on Facebook Ads: Leave us a comment! We’d love to take a look at what’s happening and help.

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