January 23, 2018

One Trick to Get a 10x Improvement in Your Facebook Ads

Dan Kerpen

When working with a new client, Likeable Media typically begins with an audit of historical ad performance. One of the most common mistakes we see isn’t just an ad strategy that doesn’t drive brand results, but also one that’s annoying to users. The problem is targeting too broadly, leading to users seeing ads they have no interest in — which means that brands are wasting their efforts by speaking to the wrong people.

Fortunately, both users and brands have a way to fix this problem, or at least make it a lot better.

Getting Started as a User: Your Ad Preference Settings

As a Facebook user, you can have better ads in your News Feed by following a few simple steps. First, access your Facebook Ads Preferences by going here or by following these instructions:

  1. While logged into Facebook on desktop, click the down arrow in the top-right corner and then click Settings (which should take you here).
  2. In the left menu, click Ads.

Now, if you have the exact same interests as one member of Likeable’s ads team, you should see this:

At least, that’s what it looks like after removing the embarrassing and irrelevant ones. And it could still use some work. Let’s say you happen to dislike first-person shooter games. You can just mouse over it and click the X in the corner. And now it’s gone from the list.

This means that advertisers trying to talk to people interested in first-person shooters will no longer be wasting their effort on you, and you’ll be a lot less likely to see irrelevant first-person shooter content in your feed. According to Facebook, there are roughly 305,216,610 users interested in first-person shooter games already.

What does it mean that some advertisers are trying to target audiences of over 305 million people? It means a lot of things, but, for one, it means you’ll want to press that X a lot.

Pro-Tips For Users: What To Hide From Your Feed

You’re going to want to hide the vague categories that don’t speak directly to you. Advertisers worth their salt won’t be relying on these anyway without additional modifiers, but you don’t need to take that chance. We can’t tell you all the interests you’ll want to hide, but here are a few of the worst offenders along with their size and where to find them as of this writing.

Now maybe you disagree with some of the entries on this list. Maybe Toilet and Toothbrush are tremendously important parts of your life and you want to see ads about them. To each their own. This is just a compendium of the most ineffective ad targeting criteria that we’ve seen.

Advice for Advertisers: Sizing Audiences

If you want to drive results that matter, you have to shift your way of thinking. On social, impressions don’t matter in and of themselves. They never did, and they never will. (Look at those targets up there. How could targeting so crude possibly help your brand?) What matters is reaching the right audience with the right message at the right time, and getting them to take actions that in many cases they actually want to take.

A good ad helps out at least a few percent of its audience. It reminds them of something they care about. It entertains them. It draws them into a conversation. It adds valuable information about the world around them. You can’t do that very often by targeting 50 million people at a time.

We come across a number of missteps when auditing accounts, but the single most common error is targeting too broadly:

If your business has a potential for five hundred customers, you shouldn’t be targeting fifty million people with an ad budget that couldn’t plausibly reach more than fifty thousand people.

In a world where consumers have growing power to opt-out of ads completely and to adopt technologies that limit how much they can be tracked or how many ads they see, it is increasingly important for brands to approach ads with less of a hammer (a.k.a. TV ads) and more of a scalpel.

The exact audience sizes that are right for your strategy will take some experimenting to figure out, and your ads should undergo regular tweaking of audiences, content, or both. Although advertising efficiencies require larger audiences sizes than your exact goal, you should never go too big. Your brand’s success may depend on it.

If you have any questions or need help with your targeting strategy, please contact us.

Tags: Best Practices, Facebook, Paid Media

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