Facebook Ads Optimization Guide 2020

Facebook Ads optimization is completely different from optimization on other platforms. The nuances of Facebook ads optimization are more dependent on those parameters which don't apply to other platforms like Google ads. By following these optimization tips, you should be able to reduce your cost per conversion and reduce your Facebook ads budget.

Chris Hoogeland
Post Date:-
May 25, 2021


Facebook Ads optimization is completely different from optimization on other platforms. The nuances of Facebook ads optimization are more dependent on those parameters which don't apply to other platforms like Google ads. By following these optimization tips, you should be able to reduce your cost per conversion and reduce your Facebook ads budget.

What Makes Facebook Different?

Unlike Search engines such as Google or Bing, Facebook ads also consider audience engagement in ranking your ad. Facebook uses three different metrics in evaluating your ranking, with engagement rate ranking being one of those factors unlike other advertising platforms. Engagement rate ranking considers different forms of engagement on your ad such as: likes, reactions, shares, comments, comment threads, and shares. This means that the more engagement you have the better your ads will perform.

Leveraging Old Posts for your Facebook Ads

Before running any advertisements, use the ad creative as a post via your Facebook page and then boost it. When you boost a post, Facebook optimizes your post for reach and engagement by default. This allows your boosted post to receive lots of extra social engagement and if you have a built in following it will help you leverage that as well.

Waiting for the Initial Learning Phase

When Facebook starts delivering your ad set, whether at the start of a campaign or after you edit it, it does not have all the data necessary to deliver it as stable as possible. To gather that data, Facebook shows ads to different types of people to learn who is most likely to get you optimization events. This process is called the “learning phase.”

Once Facebook has all the data, your ad set can experience fewer performance fluctuations. At this point, you can make an informed decision about your ad set. If you’re satisfied with your results, you can let it keep running or increase its budget. If you’re unsatisfied, you can edit the ad set to try to improve its performance or pause it.

During the learning phase, you can expect more performance fluctuations than usual. Do not make any significant edits to your ad set during the learning phase. Doing so can cause the ad set to reenter the learning phase before generating any meaningful information.

Facebook delivery initial learning complete

Learning Phase & Optimization events

Your ad set needs about 50 optimization events after starting to run or since the last significant edit to complete the learning phase. If your conversion window is a 7-day click, the 50 or so conversions you need all have to happen within 7 days of the click that led to them. This means that ad sets with longer conversion windows can need more time to complete the learning phase since they’re likely promoting products or services that have longer consideration times.

A/B Test Hierarchy

If you are familiar with Google ads, it's more likely that you see A/B testing as ad variation and using different ad copies. With Facebook, it's a completely different ball game. With Facebook you can get multiple ideas to test. So, I recommend you divy up your testing into to different sections: Ideas to Theme & Theme to Creatives.

With Ideas to Theme, try to homogenize your ideas into one theme. Do the first A/B test within your theme and decide which theme is performing better. Next, for Theme to Creatives, test creatives within the same theme.

Facebook Exclusion Marketing

Exclusion Marketing on Facebook

Before we jump right away into exclusion marketing to lower Facebook CPC, you need to fully wrap your head around how the Facebook algorithm works.

By selecting a campaign type, you are selecting an objective for your campaign. Facebook will optimize your campaign for that objective. Their targeting algorithms will automatically try to find people within your target audience that are most likely to convert based on the campaign objective. One of the biggest factors in determining whether someone is likely to click on your ad or not is whether they have already clicked on it previously.

People that have already clicked on your ad are obviously interested in what you’re advertising, so they are highly likely to click on it again. Facebook’s targeting algorithms know this and they will often show your ad to people that have clicked on it in the last few days. On the whole, this is a good thing, because not everyone will convert into a sale the first time they click on your ad and come through to your website.

After that first click, a lot of people will take some time to think about what you’re offering or just become distracted and simply forget about it. You don’t want to miss out on easy leads and sales, so advertising to these people is important. But of course, a lot of the people that have clicked on your Facebook ad will have converted into a sale and continuing to advertise to those people is a waste of money.

Facebook Audience Exclusion

You need to distinguish between those people that have clicked and converted into a lead or sale and those people that have clicked and not converted. Once you do that, you can then exclude people that have already converted from your Facebook Ad campaigns. This is called Exclusion Marketing.

In my personal experience of doing Facebook ads optimization, this is a huge factor in reducing cost. That’s why I have dedicated a whole blog to Facebook Exclusion marketing and I would suggest you read that as well.

Be a Minimalist Advertiser

Facebook ads are more about attention and creatives. If your ads are not attention-grabbing, they might not work. But, the story does not end there, after someone decides to read or scroll through the carousel ads or watch the video, you have only the first few seconds to grab their attention. Here are some of the tips on optimizing Facebook Ads attention:

Addressing Ad Fatigue

Ad Frequency

Under Facebook exclusion marketing, we have already discussed how Facebook prefers to show the same ad to the same engaging audience again and again. After a certain number of ad impressions also called ad frequency, the non-converting users start to get ad fatigue, when that occurs, you need to address ad fatigue. Here are some tips on addressing ad fatigue to improve your facebook ads campaign.

How to Address Facebook Ad Fatigue

Monitor overall Reach, Impression, Frequency & CPA

Take a long look at the screenshot below and try to see if you notice anything unusual...

Ad Frequency and Cost per result

What’s unusual here?

Why is the CPA going up?

The main reason, the CPA is consistently increasing is because of the following reasons:

Audience Exhaustion

The overall Reach of the AdSet is around 210K but the overall reach combined over the entire month is 385K because Facebook can't find any new audience based on the targeting defined at the AdSet level. Which is causing Facebook to recycle the same audience again and again. Again, we cover how Facebook decides to show the ads to a set of audience in Facebook Exclusion Marketing

Ad Fatigue

Due to audience exhaustion, Ad Fatigue is happening when the same audience is being reused over and over again.

Audience Saturation

Sometimes overly narrow targeting can limit your reach and result in a saturated audience. Here is a screenshot from such an AdSet:

Audience Saturation on Facebook

If you look at the above data, this AdSet has spent around $1300 and reached only 739 with a lifetime frequency of around 37.

Reasons for Audience Saturation

You can find the audience saturation levels of any Adset by clicking on 'Inspect' below the AdSet name.

Inspect button at AdSet level

Addressing Audience Saturation

Cost Control & Bid Strategy

The lowest cost bid strategy provides no direct control over costs. Costs may rise over time as cheaper opportunities are exhausted or the budget is increased. If you’re trying to keep your average cost at or below a specific amount, consider switching to the cost cap bid strategy.

Cost Cap Bidding

Cost Cap bidding on Facebook

How does Cost Cap Bidding work on Facebook?

The cost cap bid strategy controls how high costs can rise. It aims to get the cheapest opportunities possible below your cost control to maximize volume. Facebook may not be able to spend your entire budget if there aren’t enough opportunities at or below the cost control you entered. If you hit your cost control, increasing your budget may not get more results unless you also increase your cost control.

Lowest Cost Auction Facebook

Lowest Cap auction on Facebook

How does the lowest Cost Auction Work on Facebook?

The lowest cost bid strategy aims to get you the cheapest opportunities possible while spending your entire budget. Costs may rise over time as fewer opportunities are available. Costs may rise as budget is increased. The lowest cost bid strategy prioritizes spending the entire budget, and costs can rise with no limit until your budget is fully spent.

Optimize for Age and Gender

Although Facebook tries to define the right audience by learning from the initial learning phase, it might not always be correct and so you need to keep a check on that. The best way to do this is by breaking down your campaign or AdSet performance by age and gender and that will allow you to see which audience is performing better.

Optimize for age and gender

For example, in the above case, Facebook decided to spend more on females from 18-24 but females from 25-34 were actually the best-performing ones. You can use similar breakdowns to optimize your Facebook campaigns based on:

Use Automated Rules for Facebook Optimization

Using automated rules, you can achieve any of these four conditions on ads platforms.

Setting up automated rules

Create Facebook automated rule

Automated Rules:

Facebook automated rules example
Courtesy: Adespresso

Proper Budget Allocation

Make sure that you implement a proper budget allocation strategy to reduce the cost of your Facebook Ads campaign and increase your overall return. Here are some examples of the right budget allocation

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