Facebook’s newest best practices are meant to help provide advertisers with 5 simple “rules” to running a successful campaign or ad account… but are they right for your goals?
First off, the list that Facebook provides is:
- Auto-Advanced Matching
- Simplified Account Structure
- Campaign Budget Optimization
- Automatic Placements
- Dynamic Ads
While mulling it over, there are some solid suggestions in there that you can easily apply to most ad accounts, like campaign budget optimization, but what about the others, like automatic placement or dynamic ads? Below, I go over each of Facebook’s Power 5 and provide my opinion on whether or not they are needed based on specific campaign goals. Let’s begin.
1. Auto-Advanced Matching
Simply put, Advanced Matching is sending “…hashed customer identifiers along with your pixel events, which can help you attribute more conversions and reach more people.” This is a super simple option to turn on inside of the events manager dashboard.
Is it needed? Absolutely and no.
I say no because this will not necessarily help increase your efficiencies or revenue driven by ads when you are looking at third party data as a “source of truth” solution (think Google Analytics or Adobe Analytics). On the other hand, it can help attribute more conversions inside the Facebook dashboard.
On the opposite side of that is an “absolutely.”It’s a simple press of the button in the Events Manager dashboard and boom, you’re automatically tracking advanced matching, attributing more conversions to each campaign. So why not?
If you are interested in setting this up, there are two types of advanced matching: manual and automatic. The manual option allows for a more custom approach to match what exactly you are looking to gain from website visitors. There are 11 customer identification data parameters that you can insert into your pixel (city, country, date of birth, email, id, first name, last name, gender, phone number, state, or zip). These will be hashed before they are sent to the servers in order to try to match specific Facebook users.
The automatic option has a few more nuances to it due to the fact there is no coding implemented on the site beforehand. Before you think about implementing this, check these 5 items to make sure you can even start:
- Your website has form fields that ask for the information you’d like to set up through Automatic Advanced Matching. For example, email address, phone number, first name, last name, city, state, country, ZIP code, and gender.
- The Facebook pixel is placed on web pages where people are most likely to enter the relevant information.
- Your pixel isn’t in an iframe.
- You’re not using an IMG pixel.
- Your business isn’t in a regulated vertical.
If you said yes to the above 5 and want to proceed, it just takes a quick visit to your Events Manager dashboard -> Settings, and then clicking on the toggle to turn on Advanced Matching (see below screenshot). Simple as that.
2. Simplified Account Structure
To say this plainly, Facebook is suggesting that simplicity = efficiency. As advertisers, we can probably all agree that if we could simply throw all our eggs into one basket and performance would get better and better over time, we would all be 100% down for it. After all, KISS isn’t a phrase for no reason. Yes, it may hurt your feelings every time, but it sure is great advice… in almost every scenario.
On the other hand, consumers aren’t simple. Some want a long-form video that tells the brand’s story from start to finish, while others just want a picture that screams BUY ME. Yet, neither will open up their wallets without some sort of customized experience. How do we do that when we are told to keep things simple?
Is it absolutely needed? A resounding NO.
Of all of the Power 5 that Facebook suggests, I like this one the least – and for good reason.
Let’s first talk about what Facebook deems as a “simplified account structure” and judge where it might come in handy and where it doesn’t make a lick of sense.
A simplified structure is one that has the least amount of moving parts in order for the algorithm, or AI learning, to automatically make decisions for us. Sounds good, right? Sure, if you want to create a simple build with one prospecting, one retargeting, and one previous customer campaign where you don’t run sales, you plan on being hands-off, you aren’t testing very much and think you know your audience like the back of your hand. It’s perfectly okay if you fit in that bucket, but I challenge you to think differently; what will help you get the most bang for your buck? This simplified approach doesn’t make sense if you want to consistently test, run sales, run evergreen ads, boost posts, be hands-on, and test even more due to the “set it and forget it” mentality that a simplified approach breeds.
Facebook doesn’t define a simplified structure, but based on my experience, I believe that it would look something like this:
On the flip side, there is a “complex” account structure. “Complex” may not be the right word, but it is more labor-intensive than the simplified one and requires a little more manual work where you are using budget pushes and pulls inside of the Facebook Ads dash in order to make the most out of the ongoing machine learning.
A complex account structure is meant to take the best of both worlds – the AI learning side and the human side – and marry them together to make an even more efficient state than they would be on their own. Here is an example of a complex structure:
While the overall idea stays the same, this structure will allow you to garner more audience learnings rather than lumping them into one ad set and hoping it works. The ultimate goal of a complex structure is to learn, evaluate, adapt, pause underperforming ads, and keep expanding (or consolidate if the audience is truly taking off).
For example, say that I have 5 lookalike audiences that I want to promote to and the goal is to find out which are the best and which can provide the opportunity to spend more on efficiently. I break them out into their own ad sets so that I will have 5 inside of one campaign vs the one audience that a “simplified” structure recommends.
Due to the fact that Campaign Budget Optimization is active, I’m giving the Facebook algorithm its needed slack to find those individuals inside of each ad set within the campaigns that are most likely to purchase from the site. Once we reach statistical significance, we can go ahead and pull the data, evaluate it, and then pause the underperforming ad sets, set minimum spend thresholds on the top-performing ad sets, and then introduce new targeting into a new ad set to start the test and learn all over again.
If this was a simplified structure, as Facebook suggests, we would have 5 lookalikes inside of one ad set where we have no clue which is working or not working in order to trim the fat – a very manual, human thing. While there are a number of other flaws with a simplified account structure (e.g. running sale ads in the same campaign as evergreen), I feel that this is the biggest flaw in the structure.
3. Campaign Budget Optimization
CBO for short, this is a newer feature that Facebook has rolled out and is going to be mandatory in early 2020 so whether you like it or not, this is happening. The blurb on FB is “Campaign budget optimization helps advertisers improve ROI by automatically distributing spend to top-performing ad sets in real-time. Simply set a central campaign budget to optimize across ad sets, boosting both cost and time efficiency.”
Is it needed? Absolutely.
Testing into CBO has been extremely fruitful in driving down costs and increasing efficiencies in every industry due to AI learning shining like a bright light in a place that has been historically very dark (and manually intensive). I’ve written an in-depth how-to on CBO for anyone that would like more information, but the general theme of this is that the budget is set at the campaign level and the FB/IG algo will distribute the spend between ad sets inside of that campaign towards those individuals that are most likely to perform your goal (purchase, registration, etc.) no matter what audience it is in. Below is a visual example of this that may be easier to understand.
Moving from ad set budgets to campaign budgets will be mandatory early 2020, so I say go for this Power 5 suggestion.
4. Automatic Placements
Plainly put, this is letting Facebook decide what inventory placements to serve ads into, or in Facebook’s words: “Deliver the right ad to the right person at the lowest possible cost across all placements.”
Is it needed? Yes, when starting fresh, and no, after gaining learnings.
This is another one of those iffy ones where if you’re running a new ad account, tactic, or campaign, you really should just stick with the default automatic placements option in order to serve consumers ads in all types of locations and websites because you aren’t quite sure where your performance is going to stem from.
On the other hand, if you 1) have a mature account, 2) already tested a number of campaigns, 3) have a reasonable amount of spend behind your ads, or 4) only want to show up in a few select places, you should evaluate your existing performance as platform and placement breakdowns. You can then see if there are any that are wildly inefficient based on your overall cost per acquisition averages, and pause them down.
Here is a quick use-case: My ad account is a few years old, I’ve spent $1M in those years so the overall account learnings from an algorithm standpoint are very mature, I have run purchase conversion campaigns with a 7 day click attribution goal for a while now and want to find out what other efficiencies I can garner.
In the above case, I would highly suggest pulling some data on the platforms and placements in order to find out if there are any placements that are 2X+ CPA cost goals that you can pause in order for other, more efficient placements to take more money – and ultimately, drive down costs. The example below will show you what this might look like, albeit with different goals and numbers.
I have thrown a few boxes in the data pull and you can see that the green boxes are the three lowest-cost placements, setting the benchmark to judge the rest. Once you do, you can see that Facebook Marketplace and Instagram Stories are less efficient for this KPI. Now, if you are also looking at revenue, AOV, or ROAS, then you will have to look at a few more data points. For this exercise, we can use these at face value and decide whether we want to pause those placements or take other actions like examining the creative message for those placements to get them to work better.
There are some cases where humans are needed, this being one of them.
5. Dynamic Ads
“…automatically deliver the right product ad to the right person, based on the interest they’ve expressed from your site, app or elsewhere on the internet.”
Visually, this is how it works:
Is it needed? Absolutely.
If you have the ability to create dynamic ads, you should have done it yesterday. Seriously, these ad units are amazing at driving efficient results in every vertical and industry. There are countless case studies on case studies on case studies of these ad types driving down costs and driving up revenue, so there isn’t much I can say about this Power 5, except that if you are not using these and you have a product catalog, you are missing out on a lot of revenue or leads for your company.
- Auto-Advanced Matching: Yes and No.
- Simplified Account Structure: No.
- Campaign Budget Optimization: Yes.
- Automatic Placements: Yes and No.
- Dynamic Ads: Yes.
And never forget: A “best practice” is only a best practice at that time – you never know how social media marketing is going to change with new testing and learning.