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Facebook conversion ads

General December 4th, 2017

Try these three tricks to improve the performance of your Facebook conversion campaigns

Facebook’s algorithm leverages the intelligence the platform has gathered on user behavior to find the best audience for an advertiser’s campaign.

The company strongly recommends that advertisers bid on the user action they value most because the company is confident it can find the users most likely to take the desired action.

For many advertisers, optimizing for conversions is the obvious choice. Anyone wanting users to purchase a product online or complete a contact form will likely make this selection.

However, Facebook has become an incredibly popular advertising platform. Advertisers with high-value conversion objectives competing for limited inventory often have difficulty getting their ads to run.

Experienced paid social specialists know the best tricks for getting conversion ads to run at scale, even when the desired action has a high dollar value. Here are three of their favorites.

1) Pick the right conversion

Facebook says it needs at least 50 conversions per week in order to run a conversions campaign. If you’re selling $10 coffee cups or t-shirts online, that’s a fairly low bar to clear.

However, generating leads for five-figure executive coaching contracts is another story.

For this reason, Facebook enables advertisers to define conversions at multiple points in the funnel. The idea here is to target a conversion closest to the objective you value most while generating enough data for Facebook to optimize your campaign.

The screenshot below shows Facebook’s conversion options. These correspond with event codes embedded in the Facebook Pixel on an advertiser’s website. A website visitor who completes one of these actions will “fire” the applicable event code, providing a positive feedback loop for both the advertiser and Facebook.

For an eCommerce website, “Purchase” would be the most valuable conversion, while a B2B firm with a sales team that closes inbound leads might use “Generate Lead”. But an advertiser struggling to generate 50 of these a week might place the “View Content” code on its product or lead magnet pages and optimize for this higher-in-the-funnel conversion instead.

Notably, Facebook recently created an option for advertisers to optimize for clicks at the beginning of a campaign before conversions have been achieved at scale.

This is certainly worth a try, but remember that Facebook’s algorithm strongly considers user behaviors. Don’t optimize for clicks over the long-term if what you really want is conversions. For all you know, optimizing for clicks is merely targeting people with really big thumbs who tend to click CTAs accidentally.

2) Spend money to make money

Economics can be an obvious impediment Facebook’s ability to find users likely to convert.

It goes without saying that your budget must be at least 50 times your expected cost per conversion per week in order for your campaign to have a chance of working.

For example, say you value a conversion at $50, your minimum budget per week would be 50 x 50, or $2,500. But this calculation gives Facebook little margin for error. You might have to supercharge your budget well beyond this simple minimum at the beginning of your campaign to get it off the ground.

Doubling the budget for the first few days would give the algorithm a chance to roll the dice on a wider range of users before narrowing its focus to the best ones. You can always reduce your budget to your maximum spend after the first couple of days.

The same goes for your target cost per conversion. An unwillingness to set your bid higher than the maximum you are willing to pay for a conversion at the start is another potential cause for a campaign stuck in neutral.

If your ads aren’t showing, consider bidding higher than you actually want to pay for a few days, then back down to your true value once you see conversions flowing.

Advertisers of certain products and services will find they can’t find cost-effective paid traffic from Facebook. When these advertisers reduce their bids or budgets after the first few days, impressions plummet and traffic evaporates.

For these advertisers, the first sale to a net new customer is not profitable in the strictest sense and the viability of the channel must be considered in the context of the lifetime value (LTV) of a net new customer.

Most businesses would gladly accept a loss of $5 on a $20 first sale for $40 in profits on $100 in future sales. For advertisers where such a business case doesn’t exist, other channels hopefully make more sense.

3) Lengthen the conversion window

The conversion window, or the amount of time that passes between the viewing or clicking of content and the action taken by the user, is an important consideration in any digital campaign.

For most marketers, the narrower the window, the more likely the applicable channel can be reliably credited for the conversion.

Facebook has four conversion window options: 1-day click, 7-day click, 1-day view or click, 7-day click/1-day view. Obviously, the 1-day click option offers the greatest reliability, but a lot can happen in the seven days between a mere viewing of an ad and a conversion.

If you’re running an e-commerce campaign with a low-value conversion, by all means select the 1-day click conversion for maximum accuracy.

But if your high-value conversion campaign will likely struggle to find 50 conversions a week, a 1-day click window may prevent your ads from running at all. In this case, work your way up the list to a more lenient option.

Hopefully 7-day click gives Facebook the flexibility it needs to find an audience. If not, then an even more flexible option may be necessary.

Remember, always use a third-party analytics tool to validate Facebook’s conversion data. Google Analytics is powerful and free, and offers a tool that enables easy comparison of multiple attribution models.

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