One Easy Way To Increase Facebook Ad Performance

One Easy Way To Increase Facebook Ad Performance

Whether in print or online, when creating any kind of advertisement, your audience should be at the forefront of your decisions. Facebook ads are no different. At every step, it all comes down to the question of what will grab someone’s attention and hopefully encourage a visit.

There is, however, one tool at your disposal that I think provides the biggest bang for your buck in creating really smart audiences for Facebook ads. And, for how colossally important I think this tool is, it’s a shame that it’s almost hiding in the interface.

Look closely within Facebook’s advertising tool and you’ll see two links located under the detailed targeting fields.

Facebook advertising interface #1

Not much to go on if you’ve never explored these options before, but these little links can make a big difference if you know how to use them. For the purpose of making it simple, think of it this way:

  • Narrow Audience = “And”
  • Exclude People = “But Not”

If you haven’t clicked these buttons before, good news! Your social ads might be about to perform a lot better! If you use these tools regularly, then keep it up or even consider doubling down and try to use them even more.

The Power of the ‘AND’ Operator

Let me give you an example from my own work.

My coworkers and I were running an ad for women between 50 and 65 in Chicago who may be going through or considering a divorce. To target this group, we focused a blog and an ad on college educated, higher income women who were parents, possibly to older or adult children.

In targeting this audience, we wanted the ad viewer to meet all of those demographic points, not just one or two of them. In other words, we need them to be a woman and live in Chicago and be a parent and be upper middle class and college educated. So, our targeting ended up looking like this.

Facebook advertising interface #2

Facebook advertising interface #3

By using the Narrow Audience feature, we are essentially adding that critical “AND” between parts of our targeting plan. As a result, despite targeting a huge city and surrounding area, we end up with a reasonable potential audience that feels right, about 80,000 people.

The Importance of Using “Or” Correctly

If we had used the exact same demographic definitions but not used the Narrow Audience function, our targeting would have looked more like this:

Facebook advertising interface #4

At its simplest, this approach is the same as just putting an “OR” between every element.

So, instead of making sure this shows up only to middle-age, upper-middle-class moms in Chicago, it could show up in a lot of other timelines that don’t fit:

  • a new college graduate living on a shoestring budget with roommates. Or,
  • a new mom living happily married in the suburbs. Or even,
  • an unmarried corporate executive with no plans to marry.

In other words, it could show up for a lot of people who won’t connect with, or care about, your ad.

In fact, without using Narrow Audience, the potential reach for this ad balloons to almost a million people. At that scale, probably 9 out of every 10 people who see this ad won’t be part of our target audience.

Don’t Forget About “But Not”

Switching to another recent campaign, I wanted to attract ad viewers who may be interested in information about how car accident lawsuits work. However, we know from data that when we use general car accident interest targeting, the audience can end up including a large population of lawyers or auto body repair technicians themselves.

Here’s where the Exclude People function can help.

Facebook advertising interface #5

By using Exclude People you can add employer information, interests or demographics that might help trim out people who share interests with your target audience but aren’t actually good candidates to view your ad.

Another example of this is immigration ads, where some viewers may be people with a serious immigration need while others are more interested in immigration as a political issue. But using the exclude functionality to clarify that your ad isn’t for people interested in immigration as a political issue, you not only improve the quality of your audience but probably save the firm from contentious comments on their ads.

Real Talk — Facebook’s Kind of a Pain

I’m not sure I’ve ever interacted with Facebook’s business interface without thinking that it could be better designed and easier to use. As powerful as Facebook’s targeting capabilities are, some of the most important, performance-improving options are hidden behind drop-down menus or lost in a clutter of options.

Even if you’re perfectly aware of and realize the power of narrowing audience or using exclusions to keep unwanted viewers from seeing your ad, it’s still incredibly easy to miss those key buttons. It took me being extremely conscious of thinking about how narrow my audience needed to be on every ad to get in the good habit of clicking them.

What I can tell you from experience actively testing audiences against each other, is that in almost all cases, when I used narrowing and exclusions to refine my audiences, my ads almost always performed better. If you’re a DIY Facebook advertiser, you owe it to yourself to find and use these features on your next campaign.

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