Optimization #1: Split Test Your Ads
Split testing is important when running ads because we can never know which ad is going to perform better than the rest. Even Facebook ads experts split test their ads to see which ad option performs better, so that they can turn off the ones that aren’t performing well.
There are 2 ways to think about split testing. One way is to split test with minor differences, for example, a minor change in copy or using different colors for the button. The other way to split test is by running totally different visuals or copy that are distinct from each other.
There are many things you can split test, such as copy, creative, targeting, campaign objective, and so on. Visuals are easy to test, audience is another good place to start, however copy is tough because you are either good at writing copy or not.
Either way, split testing allows you to pick a winner without any pre-assumption. I recommend that you split test the larger stuff first, such as testing your offer first.
However, split testing does not work if you do not have the budget for it. If you only have a budget of a few dollars a day, it is not enough to gather enough data to come to a conclusion.
That said, Facebook has built-in feature that allows you to do split testing of creatives. You can test six different images within the same ad set on the same budget. Hence even if you’re only spending five, ten, fifteen dollars a day, Facebook will automatically give you the opportunity to split test six different images.
Optimization #2: Use the automated captioning tool for your videos
Did you know that up to 85% of videos played on Facebook are played without the sound on?
Just by simply using Facebook’s auto captioning tool to add captions to your video ads, you can increase watch time by 12% on average.
Optimization #3: Get better at targeting with Facebook Audience Insights
Facebook has a tool called Facebook Audience Insights that helps you understand better who is engaging with your content on Facebook.
Knowing more about your customers is the key to better optimizing your messages and targeting.
With the tool, you’ll be able to view the demographics of your audience, locations, Facebook usage, purchase activity and likes for other pages.
Optimization #4: Ensure that your targeted audiences do not overlap and A/B test your audiences
When you start a new campaign, it i
s quite common to have different audiences that overlap.
For example, if you are advertising a social media marketing course, you might be targeting people who are interested in social media marketing as well as marketers. Those two groups of audiences might overlap.
You’ll want to aim for the different groups of audiences to overlap as little as possible.
Once you set up different audiences in your campaign, you’ll want to see which set of audience perform and have the highest ROI. Shut off the ones that aren’t performing well.
Optimization #5: Assign a higher Daily or Lifetime budget at the beginning
Sometimes, it can take days before you have enough data to start optimizing, especially if you have a smaller budget to work with.
You can accelerate the optimization process by assigning a higher budget at the beginning, and once your ad reaches 10,000+ impressions, you can evaluate what’s working and what’s not.
After the initial accelerated kickoff, you can reduce the budget to the original planned budget.
Important: Do not choose the accelerated delivery option because Facebook will choose delivery speed over quality and cost.
Optimization #6: Picking the best optimization for conversions
If you are running a conversions campaign, you’ll be able to tell Facebook exactly which conversion event you are optimizing your ads for.
For example, a lot of us want our ads to optimize for purchases, so you can select Purchase if you want Facebook to optimize showing the ads to people in your audience who are most likely to purchase.
However, Facebook needs enough conversions to have the data to optimize. If you aren’t able to meet at least 15-25 of that particular conversion type, you would want to select the closest conversion type that meets that minimum number.
In this case, instead of purchase conversions, you will want to select initiate checkout or even further up (add to cart).
Once you start getting more purchase conversions, you can then create a new ad set optimized for purchases.
I like to optimize for the conversion event as far down the funnel as possible, hence instead of moving up the funnel and selecting another conversion event that meets the minimum conversions, I might bump up my budget to quickly get the minimum purchase conversions I need.
GOOGLE ADWORDS OPTIMIZATION
Optimization #7: Review and refine your keywords
Since you are bidding on keywords that people are searching for, their popularity can change over time. New keywords will also be emerging.
Running a Search Query Report in Google AdWords will show the specific searches that your ads appeared for and you can use these to further refine your Ad Groups.
When you find new keywords, you’ll want to add them to the relevant existing Ad Groups. If there aren’t any relevant Ad Groups, create a new one.
Additionally, you’ll want to analyze your keywords within your Ad Groups to see if they can be used to create new Ad Groups with their own ads and landing pages. This will help create more relevant ads which will increase the Quality score and lower the cost per click.
Optimization #8: Segment your data
The easiest way to spot a crappy ad that is not performing is by segmenting your data in Adwords.
From the drop down menu in your Adwords campaign, you’ll find the option to segment your data in several ways, such as by Device and Network which tells you if mobile, desktop, or tablet is performing better.
Optimization #9: Use Phrase Match and Exact Match bid types
Are you using all Broad Match keywords? Check out the search queries for that keyword… sometimes the search terms are so far out that you wonder why your keyword was triggered in the first place.
On the other hand, Exact Match is the exact keyword you are targeting so your ad only is served when someone searches for that exact term. This delivers the best response and should be given the most budget because these are searchers you want most to see your ads.
Make your Phrase Match 75% of the Exact Match keyword amount since they aren’t as targeted, and your Broad Match 20-25% of the Exact Match amount because it converts the worse.
That said, Broad Matches don’t always perform the worst. As always, you’ll need to test to find out.
Optimization #10: Connect your Adwords campaign to Google Analytics
While AdWords already offers a ton of insight to ad performance, Analytics takes it a step further by providing audience behavior data on your website and landing pages.
For example, it shows you which pages have the highest and lowest session durations, which landing pages have the best and worst bounce rates, and more.
You can use Analytics to link e-commerce transactions to create custom dynamic remarketing ads, which will show display ads of products shoppers viewed previously, so that they may return and complete their purchase.
Other things you can do include: identifying the best performing keywords using the “% new sessions” metric which identifies the percentage of new users who are landing on your landing page through a keyword, setting up a Google remarketing list, and find and optimize poor landing pages.
To link Adwords to Analytics, head over to your Analytics admin dashboard and under Property, click Adwords linking. Then click add New Link Group and select the accounts you want to link.
Optimization #11: Map your campaigns to different buyer stages
Image source HubSpot
Are your campaigns mapped out to different buyer stages? If they aren’t, your conversion rate might be affected due to poor matching between the messaging and the buyer intent at that stage.
There are 3 different buyer stages: Awareness, Consideration, Decision.
Awareness is the earliest stage when the searcher is looking for ideas or trying to identify the problem. For example, they are looking for symptoms if they think they are suffering from an illness. At this stage, they aren’t ready to make any purchases or decisions.
Consideration is the stage where they are evaluating their options. For example, they might be trying to figure out the different treatment options and are doing a comparison. They are still not ready to make any decisions at this stage.
In this stage, your goal is to concretize your product and brand as the authority.
Decision is the stage where they are ready to make a decision or a purchase. For example, they are looking for an oncologist for treatment. In this stage, you are bidding on long-tail keywords with convert intent. Once you map your campaigns to specific buyer stages, identify the opportunities to expand. For example, if you’re focusing on the decision and consideration stages, expand into the awareness stage.