Social Media Marketing
7 min

The Facebook Advertiser's Checklist For Increased CTR


Losing money on Facebook ads? Spinning your wheels and tired of just “breaking even”?

Or, maybe you have been advertising on Facebook for a while, but you are looking for strategies to increase your return on investment and improve your campaigns.

Whether you are a beginner or an advanced marketer, Facebook advertising is not as difficult as you may think. With the right optimization, you can increase your clickthrough rate (CTR), lower your cost-per-click (CPC), and realize the true value Facebook advertising can offer your business.

Ad Optimization

It’s easy to upload some copy, a quick image, and throw some money at an ad hoping it will perform well, however, this behavior will not make you successful.

The way to increase your CTR and make every Facebook ad dollar work in your favor is to optimize your ads.

Don’t know where to start?

Here is a handy ad optimization checklist:

1. Optimize… Your Headline

The headline is the attention-grabber, the statement that sets the tone of the ad and makes the decision for users of whether or not they want to engage with the ad further.

In essence, it is the MOST important component of the ad.

How do you optimize your headline?

First, consider the benefit of what you are offering, not just the feature. For example, if you are advertising a discount for your low-fat donut shop, a poor headline would mention the feature, but not the benefit…

Get your low-fat donut here.

An optimized headline would nod to the deep benefit of the product…

Eat Our Donuts. Stay Skinny.

This second headline evokes an emotion in people because it displays the REAL benefit of eating a low fat donut, which is avoiding the associated weight gain (pain point).

Note: This is NOT a real example as low-fat donuts will still induce weight gain.

Some other headline tips include:

Address your audience directly:

Example 1 – Attention Donut Lovers!
Example 2 – Listen Up Donut Lovers!

Focus on your audience. For example, if you are advertising offers to local residents for a donut café in San Francisco, you may want to create headlines like…

Example 1 – Att: San Francisco Coffee Lover!
Example 2 – Att: Donut Lover in San Fran

Ask a question…

Example 1 – Do You Love Donuts but Hate the Weight Gain?

Start with an open-ended question and finish the copy in the body of the ad…

Example 2 – Have You Ever Wondered?

Tip: I recently read a study of a business that used the word “Hey” in the beginning of the headline and it had a positive impact on their clickthrough rates. Give it a try! Use it in your email marketing subject lines as well.

2. Optimize… Your Image

Your image optimization strategy will differ whether you use the Marketplace ads located on the right-hand side of Facebook, or Newsfeed ads (Newsfeed ads have a higher CTR than Marketplace ads)

Regardless of the location, your image should stand out and closely relate to your ad. Here are some tips:

For Marketplace ads, consider…

  • Adding a red border around the image – you can do this quickly with the free tool, Jing.
  • Using contrasting or bright colors – two colors that are in contrast with each other draw the eye to the image.
  • Using compelling images to evoke emotions:

Facebook ad of hamburger

Anyone hungry now? I am.

facebook ad for adhd medication for kids with photo of mother and daughter

This ad image connects with parents who are concerned about their children.

  • Use a white background:

facebook ad for louiboutin shoes

For Newsfeed Ads…

Facebook doesn’t allow more than 20% of the image to contain text. Use images that pertain to the ad copy and compel people to read the copy above the ad image.

facebook ad for Virgin America

3. Use the Power Editor

While the majority of marketers use Facebook’s Ads Manager, if you are not using the Power Editor, you are missing out on profits.

Power Editor is Facebook’s plugin that loads on the Chrome browser. It is an editor on steroids; it allows for more detailed targeting, customized bid options, Partner Categories, and ad placement in users’ newsfeeds, as well as mobile and desktop placement (good for split testing). In addition, Facebook loads all of its new features in the Power Editor.

I have tested Marketplace ads versus newsfeed ads, and the newsfeed ads win every time. While there may be specific instances when Marketplace ads will be beneficial, try the newsfeed and test your results. My testing shows the newsfeed garnered nearly three times the CTR of Marketplace ads.

Download the Power Editor here.

For more detailed information on using the Power Editor, read these helpful articles:

How to Use Facebook Power Editor: A Detailed Guide

5 Reasons you Should Use Power Editor to Create Facebook Ads

4. Targeting

Improper targeting is one of the biggest mistakes Facebook advertisers make. Thankfully, with a few quick fixes, businesses can increase their CTRs by a large margin. Precise targeting allows marketers to advertise to a specific audience that will be interested in their offer.

Here are some targeting tips:

Precise Interests

Use the “Precise Interests” field to target the people who would likely respond to your ad. Be specific and don’t worry about targeting a “smaller” number of people (see next point).

facebook ad dashboard targeting screenshot

Sneaky Tip: Use “Precise Interests” to target fans of your competitors. If you are Pepsi, you would add “Coke” to this section and target all of the fans who “Like” Coca-Cola’s Page.

Think Small!

This may sound counterintuitive to success, but you will be surprised by how much higher your CTR will rise when you grasp this simple concept.

It’s a common mistake for marketers to equate a larger target audience to success, but this will not increase ROI.

The more targeted your audience, the smaller, which will result in a greater response since you will be serving the ads to the people who WANT to discover what you are offering. With a more targeted audience, you will receive more clicks, driving your CPC down.

facebook estimated reach screenshot

The above ad would be a likely audience for our San Francisco donut shop ad campaign we discussed earlier in this article. It is targeting people who like Dunkin Donuts (so we know they probably like donuts) and are located in the San Francisco area. I would prefer an even smaller audience (closer to 5,000), but this audience size is worth a test. This advertiser could target by zip code to narrow the audience further.

Create more than one version of your ad per campaign.

I like to create four versions of my ad targeting four different age groups. Note: this will not work if you already know the specific age group (i.e. retirement benefits).

Ad #1 – (18-30)
Ad #2 – (31-40)
Ad #3 – (41-50)
Ad #4 – (51-no max)

Keep all ad elements exactly the same except for the age differences. Run these ads until you notice one CTR leading out the others. Pause the under-performing ads and create three more identical versions of the high-performer, but this time create three different headlines and test them against your high-performer (control).

Continue this process changing ONLY one element at a time keeping the control constant and testing ad variations against the control.

5. Custom Audiences

Another way to target your audience and increase CTR is to take advantage of custom audiences. Custom audiences allow you to upload customers’ email addresses, phone numbers and Facebook user IDs for targeting. Facebook will find the people who match the uploaded information giving marketers the opportunity to target these people directly with their ads.

Now it’s time to start testing!

Take these five optimization strategies and implement them to watch your CTR rise, along with your profits.

If you have any questions or cool Facebook ad optimization strategies, feel free to let me know in the comments.

Ciao. I’m off to get a donut!

Analytics Facebook Social Media Marketing


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