This week in #bufferchat, we learned how to get the most success from Facebook ads. In the second chat time, we were joined by social media thought leader Mari Smith as our expert guest! We discussed how to determine the objective for creating Facebook ads, what kind of content leads to the best conversion rate, how much is the “right” amount to spend on ads, strategies for A/B testing, and much more!

Read on to discover all of the awesome knowledge and insights that were shared during the chat!

Catch our weekly Twitter chat, #bufferchat, at TWO times every Wednesday for valuable industry insights and to meet hundreds of other smart marketers and social media enthusiasts. Same topic, same place, just at different times – feel free to join in to whichever chat time works best for you!

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Bufferchat on January 11, 2017 (The Topic = Getting the Most from Facebook Ads)

This week’s stats:
1st Bufferchat: 23 participants; 157 tweets; reach of 1,009,032
2nd Bufferchat: 145 participants; 1,041 tweets; reach of 2,301,753

Q1: What might be a marketer’s primary objective for creating a Facebook ad campaign? Can you have more than one objective?

From Mari:

  • A popular Facebook ad objective = to generate leads (email addresses) on or off of Facebook.
  • Advertisers can use Lead Ads (collect emails on Facebook), or send people to their website to opt in.
  • Facebook ad objectives include MORE reach, video views, event attendees, offer claims, etc.
  • Facebook advertisers need to pick one objective per ad campaign. Definitely test a variety of ads & objectives.
  • Facebook recently renamed ‘Clicks to Website’ objective to ‘Send people to a destination on or off Facebook.’ [image from Twitter]
  • A fairly new Facebook ad call-to-action button is Send Message. Love this! (Objective = send ppl on/off FB…)

From the community:

  • “You should stick to 1 primary goal so you don’t lose focus, but it’s possible to accomplish multiple goals in 1 campaign.” @mainstreethost
  • “You can definitely have more than 1 but don’t run before walking. Primary objectives: increasing page reach to new audience.” @GeoffTBlosat
  • “We like having one objective in order to effectively test & measure each campaign. It’s often lead generation for us.” @RivalIQ
  • “To be seen by a targeted audience at an ideal time with a fabulous message.” @Traci_Poole
  • “Objectives can range from increasing page fans, driving people back to website, increasing awareness of product/service.” @lizdaponte

See all the great answers to question 1 here!

Q2: What kinds of content in Facebook ads lead to the best conversion rate?

From Mari:

  • Facebook ad content that converts = educational &/or entertaining + contextual + well targeted. Highly shareable.
  • My favorite recent example is !! Best Facebook ad I’ve seen! 41M video views!! [image from tweet]
  • Best Facebook ad content informs/educates. Instal FB pixel. Then create signature blog post & drive FB traffic.

From the community:

  • “Deliver a compelling offer that gets people to agree to a small ‘yes’.” @Wilde_Agency
  • “Visual content – for sure! I also think people are over all that clickbait stuff. Real stories and real people work well.” @ATSocialTweets
  • “Facebook ads that have higher conversion rates employ well-designed visual content and clear, actionable written copy.” @mr0ach
  • “Clean bold photos. People scroll fast through their feed you need something to catch attention and stop the scroll.” @hacheylifestyle
  • “Video with CAPTIONS (I agree that 90-180 sec works best for & that the content must be super). Ex: Answer a popular question.” @esringwald

See all the great answers to question 2 here!

Q3: How can you determine the “right” amount to spend on Facebook ads?

From Mari:

  • Your ‘Facebook ad budget motto’ = test, test, test. Start small. But know that your first ~$1200 = for testing.
  • Ideally, after your Facebook ad test budget (of approx $1200), you achieve a positive ROI. Then increase budget.

From the community:

  • “Literally saw webinar on this last Sunday. Sales goal (#) x $ cost = profit. Ad = profit / 2 if you want a 2:1 return.” @WPBarista
  • “Budget and Potential. Past conversion numbers can help determine the amount. Spending more doesn’t always mean higher ROI.” @SheffieCochran
  • “Set your budget on an amount you are happy to spend to test first, then decide on a campaign budget after experience.” @stayingaliveuk
  • “You can’t determine until you test. Every co is different – same as every target audience is different.” @EricSachs_SEO
  • “Depends on your goals, current organic reach, time frame, and budget. Pacing is key with FB ads!” @jaclyn_oconnell

See all the great answers to question 3 here!

Q4: How many interests should one use for targeting in ads, and why? Any tips for this?

From Mari:

  • Could be 3-12+ interests in Facebook ads. Goal is audience size of, say, 30k-300k. BUT depends on your budget!
  • BIG mistake novice Facebook advertisers make is create audience of 1M+ and try to reach with $20 budget.
  • Facebook ad algorithms ‘know’ if you are an inexperienced advertiser. One clue is massive audience & teeny budget.
  • Best to narrow audience down using Detailed Targeting (& exclusions). But, best is Custom Audiences.
  • Ideally, create Facebook Custom Audiences: upload email list; website traffic; video views; page interactions. [image from tweet]

From the community:

  • “Think of it upside down: Not who do you want to reach but what action do you want to inspire? Begin with the end in mind.” @BillSkowronski
  • “When testing, I like to run split tests with different interests. Figure out which net better results, then hone in!” @hirenoah
  • “Interests should be tied closely to buyer personas. Document this ahead of time, and apply it to your paid social strategy.” @mr0ach
  • “Focus. Have one message one goal and a clearly defined audience in ads and all content for social success.” @thedavepepper
  • “The more you narrow down the interests of your audience the better; you want to be sure you’re targeting the right people.” @brebiai

See all the great answers to question 4 here!

Q5: What are strategies for A/B testing the success of several Facebook ads?

From Mari:

  • Ideally, change just ONE element in your Facebook ad split-testing.
  • E.g. start with 3-6 image variations in the same Facebook ad campaign. Find the winner.
  • Next, test various audiences within the same Facebook ad campaign (objective).
  • Also, it’s good practice to test which Facebook ad OBJECTIVE works best for your desired results.
  • Hot tip: Facebook ad algorithms favor conversion/lead/click ads + FB pixel installed + Custom Audiences.

From the community:

  • “Definitely only change one variable at a time. Changing multiple at one time will not give accurate metrics.” @theandreweddie
  • “Test different creative / CTA / copy / link description to see what the audience responds to best.” @DrivenLocal
  • “Change only one thing at a time, and test everything (even the stuff that “won” last time).” @JillLiles1
  • “Create 4-6 ads in one ad set. Each ad has the same image but different text. Turn off ads that are underperforming.” @kouroshbehnam
  • “We are going to give a quick plug for having an amazing tool for A/B testing Facebook Ads.” @socialxpresso

See all the great answers to question 5 here!

Q6: What are the top 1-3 KPIs you could use to determine if an ad campaign is successful?

From Mari:

  • First, totally depends on what you’re trying to achieve: reach, video views, clicks, messages, RSVPs, installs…
  • Some Facebook advertisers look at CPC, CPM, CPA, etc. Can be overwhelming. Best to simplify.
  • Hot tip: THREE Facebook ad stats to observe ① Relevance Score. ② Frequency. ③ Result Rate.
  • 1. Relevance Score = 1-10 & represents how well your target audience is responding to your ad. If <5, stop ad.
  • Hot tip: Facebook ad algorithms favor *fresh* ads. If your ad isn’t performing, stop & create fresh one w/ change(s).
  • 2. Frequency = how often your ad is shown to your audience. Ideal is 3-5. Any higher & best to stop/pause ad.
  • 3. Result Rate = likes/clicks/views/installs etc. divided by reach. Facebook says 1.5% or higher = success. Woa!

From the community:

  • “Very important to look at the overall goal. Many clicks on an ad and low sales or leads is not necessarily a success.” @MagnifyDigital
  • “Set campaign objectives & make sure the KPIs support the objectives! KPIs will vary significantly by objective.” @RedSageAL
  • “For most businesses, the most important KPI is the conversion rate: Are users completing a defined action that has an ROI?” @milestech

See all the great answers to question 6 here!

Q7: Where are great places (articles, blogs, people) to learn more about Facebook ads?

From Mari:

Suggestions from the community:

See all the great answers to question 7 here!


Thank you so much to everyone who participated and helped each other in this chat!

Do you have any comments or answers to these questions? Leave your thoughts in the comments! We’d love to hear from you!

Image sources: UnSplash

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Written by Arielle Tannenbaum

Community Strategist at Buffer. In addition to her love of community building, Arielle also loves vegetables, cooking, practicing yoga, meditating, living mindfully, and exploring the connections between health and happiness!

  • Alex Henry

    Fascinating. Definitely bookmarking this page. Really valuable info, thanks for posting.