Yesterday, Facebook announced changes to its Ads Manager reports, citing a desire to simplify its advertising products. Whilst at first glance it certainly seems to do that from the reporting point of view, it goes further than that for marketers in changing the way we run our campaigns.
Up until now, a good Facebook advertising campaign would start with multiple campaigns with multiple adverts within them, allowing us to test out theories to allow us to optimise quickly to get the best results.
The variables we’re testing at this stage to find out the cost per campaign goal (page like, website click, video play, post share etc) for each are usually:
- Targeting Sets
- Advert Headline
- Advert Copy
- Advert Image
- Advert Placement
- Advert Type
The new Ads Manager reports look likely to shake this up and reduce workload, particularly at the start of a campaign cycle. Instead of having to set up potentially tens or hundreds of ad variations (dependent upon your level of testing/budget) you can cut a chunk out based on the new reporting capabilities.
The new Ads Manager reports will break out your campaign and adverts by gender, age, geography (countries only at this stage), and advert placement. This means that you will no longer need to create these variations at the start of a campaign, or leave variations to this effect running if client market testing is underway.
Using current strategies, campaigns can occasionally suffer from slow starts as the campaign is broken out too far, leaving each individual advert with an estimated reach that is to too low for fair testing, or that is too low for a sustained volume of clicks/actions.
With the new Ads Manager reports, advertisers can start strongly more often and use their testing budget quicker and easier. Getting an instant view on what is working in terms of gender, age and advert placement without having to split these aspects out within campaigns is going to be a big time saver, particularly for in-house advertisers or those at agencies not using bid-budget tools which help with this.
Changing the reports in this way will also help smaller advertisers to achieve more with their budgets. Providing Facebook properly educates these advertisers, and the system is as good as it looks with the drag and drop and checkbox functionality, then smaller advertisers should be able to easily identify the areas to focus their budgets on and maximize their return.
As I’m sure you’ll notice from my variable list earlier in this article, there are some parts missing in theory from this rollout. The ability to pull data on effectiveness of different parts of targeting sets would be useful, although more complicated due to people having multiple interests and sitting across multiple categories in places.
The other variables we test, unfortunately, are not something that can be calculated from fewer ads. Advert copy, image & headline, for instance, are always going to have a subjective element that can only be tested by being set live, and in different combinations. However, being able to identify which copy, image & headline combination works best by age and gender is now a lot easier.
I’d say it’s fair to assume that a decent percentage of advertisers don’t currently test all of their advert combinations against all age/gender combinations to find the best advert for each demographic variation. The new Ads Manager reports will allow this, and mean we can go to the next level of having the best advert for the right demographic more often.
Facebook already has the best ad targeting platform around in my opinion, as I previously discussed here, but adding in an update to Ads Manager reporting moves the platform on even further. This update is much needed due to the inflexibility and old-fashioned nature of the current reporting in Ads Manager, and the added benefits of positively affecting multivariate advert testing should not be underestimated.
- If you run Facebook advertising campaigns, testing variables properly is going to get a whole lot easier
- If you aren’t testing & optimizing your Facebook advertising campaigns already, now is definitely the time to start
- No matter the size of your advertising budget, testing is now more accessible
- It’s now more efficient to optimize to a deeper level, aim high and find the right advert copy, image & headline for each specific demographic for instance
- At an aggregate level, Facebook should start producing higher ROI for it’s clients as advertisers optimize more efficiently
Ben Harper is a former data analyst turned social media expert, having honed his skills within both major corporations and cutting-edge social startups, and it is that unique mix of skills that makes him a key member of the Zazzle Media team.