Facebook Ad Campaigns 101: Know Your Data

The social media sphere is in constant flux. There’s never a dull moment, which means that both opportunities and challenges arise daily. Whether it be a new targeting capability, the addition of live videos or a new variety of ways to express emotions in response to the things we see, social continues to be a quintessential tool for advertisers to connect meaningfully with consumers. But with all the sophisticated audience targeting and multitude of ad types, we may sometimes find ourselves straying from even the most basic steps for being successful in a social media campaign. So, let’s take this time to take a step back for a moment, and refresh our knowledge of what makes a strong ad campaign, with Facebook as a focus.

Campaign Segmentation

One of the biggest audit findings we come across when beginning work on a new account, is that nothing is segmented out or named in a way that makes the data easy to read. It’s not always something advertisers think about, especially when just getting their feet wet on Facebook. But this can ultimately create major challenges in the future, particularly when you’re trying to form a comprehensive analysis of your data and campaign performance.

If you want to be able to tell a cohesive story with your data, the way you segment your campaigns and ad sets is critical. If done correctly, you’ll be able to run much more efficient campaigns by more immediately knowing what’s working and what’s not. More importantly, you’ll be able to detect how to best allocate your spend, rather than simply dumping all variables into the same campaign pool and trying to dissect the jumbled information afterwards. Before setting up your campaigns, it helps to make a list of any variables up front, including:

Placement – Breaking down your campaigns by mobile, desktop and right hand column can help you better track user trends over time, and where your money may be better spent depending on the campaign objective

Audiences – If you’re targeting more than one audience, separating out by ad set will help you better dissect the numbers (i.e. a look-a-like model may perform much differently than Retargeting)

Ad Type – Ad types can make a huge difference in overall ad performance.  Depending on the campaign objective and where the intended audience falls within the consumer lifecycle, the way the content is presented can make a significant impact on whether or not someone interacts with an ad.  This gives ad managers an opportunity to dial up or down for those ad types performing better or worse than others, while also lending to future campaign strategy for similar objectives.

Creative / Copy Testing – Similar to ad type, testing various headlines and creative can help ad managers better plan for future creative, and help streamline the ad creation process by better understanding what key elements make the biggest impact and return.

Once you have your list of variables, you’re in a position where you can more easily break out your spend allocation by priority and anticipated areas of high impact, keeping in mind that optimizations can be made after campaigns go live and efficiencies are identified.

Campaign & Ad Set Naming Structure

Something else that I wish someone had taught me in my very early days of Facebook campaign setup is: be smart about how you name your campaigns and ad sets. The idea is to name things in a manner that makes your key variables easily recognizable when reviewing historical data, or examining data for trends. It also comes in handy when you’re looking to quickly read data for live campaigns within Facebook’s reporting dashboard – this will be a huge timesaver!  For this reason, it might be a good idea to create both a campaign and an ad set naming structure within your team, so that you’re leveraging the same nomenclature.

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