10 Tips To Maximize Facebook Ad Return

By Madison Taylor
December 2, 2021
Closeup image of a woman's hands holding , using and looking at smart phone in cafe with blur background

Facebook was one of the first sites to launch ads back in 2007 and since then the algorithm that Facebook uses to display ad content has been updated numerous times. The platform reports that 2.8 billion people check their Facebook feeds at least once a month, and approximately 3 million companies are currently advertising to those users.

Creating an intentional strategy to maximize return on Facebook’s ad platform and increase audience appeal is critical amongst such significant competition.

Creating Optimized Facebook Ads

Let’s start with one of the most important pieces of optimizing your ads, the ad itself. Facebook includes a few important capabilities that help to create ads that draw attention and optimize Return on Ad Spend (ROAS).

Understand Facebook’s Ad Learning Phase

Understanding Facebook’s Ad Learning Phase may seem like common sense advice, but failure to do so can be seriously detrimental. The Learning Phase is an automated process of Facebook’s algorithm whereby it learns all it can about your ads to ensure optimized performance. Every time an ad is shown, the ads delivery system is adjusting to responses to determine the best people and places to show the ad. The time period of the learning phase will begin after you submit an ad, ad set, or make any significant changes to your ad at any point within the learning phase.

To ensure an ad’s best performance, do not make any significant changes when the ad or ad set is within the learning phase. Any changes that are made to the ad within this timeframe will prevent stable learning phase understanding and the ad delivery system will not be able to optimize your ad effectively. If too many changes are made, it may even cause the ad to completely restart the learning phase. The learning phase usually lasts about 50 optimization events, but this is after the last significant edit; meaning, if you change your ad constantly you may be sitting through 50-plus optimization events before you begin to see any results. Something as small as a budget chance could potentially create the ad to restart the learning phase.

While you are focusing on the ad and resisting the urge to make changes, hold off on pushing too many ads through the learning phase. Rather than pushing multiple ads or ad sets through the system, causing it to learn little about the ad, combine multiple similar ads to combine the learning.

Using Different Types of Content

A primary goal of all ads is to stand out from competitors. There are many ways to do this within the Facebook ad platform. Among the most effective is to break up Facebook’s natural “scroll pattern” with videos, images, and GIFs. Breaking up the user’s expectations as they scroll enhances ad visibility, and if audience targeting is strategically aligned, increases engagement rates too. Users are up to 1.8 times more likely to purchase after viewing video content, for example. In fact, over 500 million people watch videos on Facebook, meaning that you have a much stronger chance to convert ad viewers by including video in your ad strategy. Facebook allows up to 240-minute videos; however, short and sweet videos are better for audiences that are generally accustomed to instant gratification. Something like a GIF, or a 10-second video, is an easy way to engage a new audience to the product or service without extraordinary effort.

User-Generated Content

Another simple choice for optimizing ad performance is including user-generated content (UGC). Not only will it increase engagement for your already established audiences, but it works well for some of the cold audiences you have yet to interact with. Gathering and stashing UGS for ad creation provides a bank of premade content. On top of having ready-to-use content, 93% of consumers find user-generated content helpful while making a purchase, a phenomenon explained by the concept of social proof. In short, if a plurality in a given social setting, in this case, Facebook, is doing something or buying something, then others will feel they should too.

What Facebook Specifically Has to Offer

Facebook is also set apart by its offer of a Dynamic Creative feature. Dynamic creative takes the basic components of a submitted Facebook ad, elements like the image, video, title, and description, and creates optimized ad sets using different combinations of these components. An algorithm will create a campaign for your ad that is personal, always-on, constantly retargeting, and is designed to generate new leads. It is particularly useful in finding the best audience and placement for the ad set to produce the desired results.

The addition of Facebook Carousel ads is another tool that advertisers should absolutely be considering. Carousel allows ad publishers to connect up to ten images or videos in a single ad set. This tool is useful for either mobile or desktop applications of Facebook and allows you to tell more of a story about a product or service. Each image or video can be attached with a link of its very own, allowing people to swipe through and gain a more well-rounded perspective of your business, product, or service.

Ad Type Breakdown

Considering the types of ads you’re running and their relative breakdown is also important. The first ad type to prioritize is original content around your product or service features, consumer problem and solution messaging, or similar topics. To start out, approximately 70% of all of your ads should fall into this category. This is where GIFs, videos, and other internally created content can be used. With such a high percentage of your ads falling in this category, it is necessary to plan and prepare this content for intentional use.

The second type is content that is relevant to your followers or your warm audiences but not necessarily original or even product- or service-centric. This category should represent about 20% of your ad content to help fuel audience engagement and brand awareness. This may also help create new layers of audience metrics and opportunities to tweak and improve your original content ads.

The last content bucket represents around 10% of your ad content and should be purely self-promotional. Drive your value proposition messaging home with these ads. The 70/20/10 mix is a good starting point, but it is essential to adjust and capitalize on the content that is resonating with your audience.

Creating Conversation

Increase Post Page Engagement with Conversations

Post engagement is a way to see how people have interacted with your ad. Facebook calculates all of the action taken with your ad to find the target audience who may also like, comment, or share your ad. If you are not receiving a lot of post engagement, Facebook will show your ad to people less and less even though they fit within the warm audience range. A good way to begin to receive page engagement is to start a conversation about your ad. The more you can push the ad out to your current warm audience the more likely it will receive a higher post engagement. By doing so you are increasing the likelihood that your ad will be driven out to other audiences that Facebook has targeted to interact with your post.
“Lookalike Audiences”

Lookalike audiences on Facebook are a quick and effective way to expand your audience to groups that share common characteristics. By first creating a custom audience of more than 1,000 existing customers, you can have a source audience pulled from Facebook. This will help Facebook understand your target audience and push your ads out to similar groups. Depending on the product or service, you can create 500 lookalike audiences based on the demographics, interests, and behaviors of your custom audience.
Once you have implemented all of the specifics that you want to optimize from, you can manipulate the percent of how closely this lookalike audience correlates to the custom audience.

Build a Community

The community strategy does not rely on the Facebook ad platform specifically, but some businesses may be able to use Facebook Groups to build or join communities in order to bolster their paid ads and also get in front of audiences organically that were lost as Facebook has diminished organic reach on the platform. To find communities, begin by searching at the top of the main page on Facebook. By clicking “See More Results” you can access thousands of pre-existing groups that share common interests. If nothing else, finding the right groups can help reveal information about what your audience wants to see; as well as see what competitors are doing. Try looking for active groups of 500-5,000 or more members.

The goal of engaging communities is not only to potentially build your captive audience, but also to gain insight on how your ad messaging aligns with authentic community conversations, and also to potentially draw inspiration from those conversations. Passively observe group interactions before engaging or pushing out your product or service messaging. As appropriate, work to establish your role in the community, gradually building trust with the audience.

Layering your Searches

Layering involves incrementally honing in your ad targets using a sequence of identifiers. Layering the audience you are targeting will help improve the likelihood that they will positively interact with the ad. The first layer is the basic demographic information. Things like gender, age, location of the consumer. Virtually every advertiser uses these demographics, so don’t stop here.

The second layer is interest targeting. If your product is specific to cooking, there may not be a need to include people who are solely interested in gardening, even if the age, gender, or location is within your range. Use interest targeting judiciously to ensure your ROAS is not negatively impacted by too little or too much whittling away of your target audience.

The third layer is based on consumption habits. Similar to the interest layer, your goal in this layer is to find people who are pop-culturally engaging with products, services, articles, or other competitor ads that are similar to what you are advertising. Layering two or more of these consumption habit categories creates a more refined target audience, resulting in a stronger probability that you will be pulling from a warm audience on the first go-around.

Timing is Key

There are two components of the timing of your ad. One is finding a time where your warm audiences are online and looking to engage with your ad. Play with the timing of when you release an ad, as well as how long you keep the ad up. Depending on your audience there may be a better time for your audience to see and interact with the ad. You also want to be aware of the ad fatigue that comes with posting an ad. If an audience continuously sees your ad, they will become desensitized to what it is that you are offering. Setting an ad frequency cap on your post will help limit the number of times your audience is seeing the ad, allowing a sense of freshness to the post. On average a person doesn’t see an ad from a single page more than once every two hours. If they are seeing the same ad every two hours, an audience will generally be less likely to click on the ad.

The second component of timing involves creating a sense of urgency by using time-sensitive offers. This method applies positive pressure to engage with the ad. More users will be inspired to act on the ad for fear of missing out on the ad offer.

Facebook ROAS Summary

Facebook is one of the most influential social media sites available to advertisers, but can also quickly become its own cost center. Maximizing your return means making the best use of Facebook ad features to target the right audiences at the right time with content they want to see, like videos, GIFs, or UGC. Building a community to participate in relevant conversations helps increase exposure beyond specified ad audience targets and builds organic momentum that can bolster your intentional ad strategy.

Layering audience targeting techniques on top of quality content delivered at the right time ensures you’re not spending money to get in front of consumers who won’t respond to your messaging. Done correctly, these implementations can increase the return on your Facebook platform ad spend significantly.