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How to Survive Facebook Advertising As Best Practices Evolve

Published: March 12, 2014

Author: Kristina McLane

Facebook has made several huge changes in the last six months (check out these posts: 1 and 2). In October, objective-based ad buying was made available to the public, ad sets are being steamrolled out this month, and the ability to create ads from old ad types is going to be removed by April.
While most of these new features aren’t necessarily revolutionary, there will be a need to approach Facebook advertising a little differently.  As best practices will continue to evolve with every change or new feature, it is time to acknowledge that change is coming and ask: “What am I going to do about all this?”

Step 1: If you are using old ad types, it might be time for a move.

If you have been avoiding Facebook’s objective-based ads, it is time to surrender and make the most of the change.  Yes, old ad types are still available in the Power Editor for now.  However, with new campaigns demanding objectives and April only a few weeks away, it is probably best to make the switch before you have no choice in the matter.

Step 2: Be ready for the ad set restructure and know your approach. 

This month, at one point, we are going to login to our Facebook account and notice that ad sets have been integrated into your account. From that moment forward, any new campaign that you create is going to need a single objective. Most of my own accounts work primarily in the realm of conversions. This makes my own approach pretty straightforward.  My campaign objectives will be website conversions.
However, if you want page likes, installs or maybe some combination of both, you’ll have to know what makes the most sense for you and your account.
If you have ads that have multiple objectives that coexist within the same campaign, you will be unable to set a campaign objective until they are segmented out into individual campaigns.  You will want to get these separated into individual campaigns. Because all ads within an ad sets have the same audience, you don’t want to unintentionally compete against yourself.  With setting objectives, Facebook automatically optimizes your account towards your goals. Facebook will be unable to optimize between ads if no objective is set. However, this is at the ad level, not the ad set level. If in multiple ad sets you are targeting the same audience, the ads will end up competing for impressions. 

Step 3: Decide if you want to listen to Facebook’s best practices or you have to create your own.

Before you can decide for yourself, I’ll need to address what Facebook has outlined as the best approach to the entire process. If you would like to view for yourself, Facebook has made it available in both video and PDF format.
Each objective should have one or more campaigns. Each campaign should have ad sets segmented by audiences. If you have had multiple ad sets with the same audiences, they will compete against each other for impressions. Within each ad set, there should be multiple ad variations. Facebook will choose the ad from the ad set that has the best likelihood to meet your goals.
If you trust Facebook to make the correct optimizations for your objectives, this process should be pretty effective.  Depending on your objectives, it might be your most effective option.  However, if you aren’t willing to give up that control yet, we will still be able to set up and control our own ad tests between ad sets.
Because ad sets that are have the same target audience compete for impressions, it is similar to any other A/B test: Set up your different ads in two different ad sets with the exact same targeting.  We are limited to 1,000 campaigns, 1,000 ad sets, and 5,000 ads to each ad account. As we begin to develop new best practices, there is plenty of capacity to test what works best in our accounts.
Good luck, and check back in soon…there are sure to be more changes around the corner!

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