by Sky Littlefield. Facebook has become a marketing playground, where nary a scroll can be done without seeing an advert. What with every business out there trying to get their content seen as the biggest, brightest fish in the sea, you need to apply a few techniques to ensure you’re reaching the right people.

Know who your target market is

Data is at the forefront of any marketing campaign, and it helps your brand to understand which audiences you’re reaching where and when. If you’re new to performance marketing, the easiest way to gather audience data is by using a pixel which you can install on your website, and which will work for both Facebook and Instagram.

You have the option to track page views, standard events, and custom events. Each of these allows you to build an audience that you can then plug into your campaigns for the desired effect. For example, a standard event may be created from website users who have added a product to their basket; you may then turn this into a custom event by creating a parameter for “without purchase”. If someone has added a product to their basket, they’re already high-intent users, so now it’s up to your digital marketing team to ensure they complete the sale. Let’s call this person “user one”.

Choose the correct budget and spend method

When you’re setting up your campaign, it’s easy to click on “lifetime budget” under ad sets, because this method allows your campaign to run with very little engagement required from you. However, this is not ideal for performance marketing. Your campaigns should always be set to “daily budget”, as this allows for granular control and optimal spend with the option to increase or decrease budget, depending on performance.

But, with Facebook’s recent change to move budget to campaign level, you may still make use of the above method with more control than “lifetime budgets”.

How should you determine your budget?

Let’s say you want 300 product sales from your marketing drive. What is the step before making the sale? It is most likely generating leads. If your predicted conversion rate is 30%, that would mean you need about 1 000 leads to hit the goal of 300 sales.

How big of an audience do I need to reach on Facebook to gather 1 000 leads? Data shows that it is likely that 99% of your target audience will be on Facebook at least once over a period of 90 days. Let’s then assume you will be looking at an average frequency of 10–15 displays per lead, which means you should aim to hit a total ad impression count of 10 000–15 000 (leads x frequency).

Now that you have a target ad impression count, you’ll be able to estimate how much these ad impressions are going to cost you.

Make sure your objective is in line with your business goals

The campaign objective is perhaps the most-important choice you may make for your business because there isn’t any point in running a reach campaign if your ultimate goal is to send people to your website to make a purchase.

Drill down to exactly what you want to achieve; is it awareness, signups, or sales? For the purpose of performance, let’s choose sales. You’ll need to have your pixel and custom conversions, or events, installed correctly to ensure accurate tracking and reporting. With your campaign set up for conversions, Facebook will deliver your ads to the people within your audience who are most likely to make a purchase, be it today or in a week. Don’t forget to check that your conversion window is set to your specifications so your conversions are tracked, and you can report back on your campaign success.

Know your Facebook campaign objectives

  • Brand awareness: This campaign objective is a good option if you’d like more people to find out about your brand. You can also use this objective to drive more traffic to your website.
  • Reach: Use this objective if your goal is to reach the maximum number of audience members repeatedly over a shorter period of time. This could be a good option when promoting limited-time offers or when creating remarketing campaigns.
  • Traffic: Select this objective when your goal is to lead people to your website or blog, and there aren’t specific actions you wish them to take.
  • Post engagement: With this objective, Facebook will show your ads to people who are’re most likely to like, share, and comment on your post at the lowest-possible cost.
  • Video views: These ads are great for targeting cold audiences as they’re engaging and help to increase brand awareness.
  • Lead generation: Select this option if you’re interested in creating Facebook “Lead Ads” and getting people to give you their contact details in exchange for downloadable content. Instead of sending users to your website, a lead form pops up which allows you to collect information such as names, emails, phone numbers, etc directly on Facebook.
  • Messages: This is Facebook’s newest campaign objective and it’s optimised to have your audiences start a conversation with your Facebook page. “Message” ads may be effectively used to increase awareness as well as make sales, RSVP to events, and many other goals you may have.
  • Conversions: This is Facebook’s most popular campaign objective as it’s optimised to deliver new leads or purchases. “Conversion” ads are aimed to increase sales, signups, purchases or other desired actions on your website.

Split your ad sets into targeting segments so you know what’s working

To reach ‘user one’, you need to ensure their almost-purchase doesn’t leave their minds. To do this, you split their interests into two ad sets; one is set up on the custom add-to-cart event created, and one is created via page views to deliver similar products.

By allowing these two ad sets to compete against each other, you’ll soon see which one has better-performing targeting. This allows your budget to be put to better use, and will drive user one to complete their purchase, and perhaps even buy a similar product.

While remarketing to your higher-intent users will be your main drive, don’t forget about your prospecting audience. This audience will consist of new users and lookalike audiences, who will fall into very similar segments as user one. And, since we know user one is already interested in your products, these lookalikes will be similar and more open to purchasing.

Test different creatives against each other

What works better: stills, gifs, or videos? This is a fairly broad question and the answer will depend on who you’re targeting and what you’re selling. As a general rule of thumb, try to use motion wherever possible; videos and gifs grab attention far quicker than stills do.

Let’s use footwear as an example. If your aim is to sell a pair of hiking shoes, make use of creatives showing the different applications of the shoes: mountain climbing in the Drakensberg, easy hiking in Cape Town, and a standard fitness shot in Joburg should provide enough iterations to appeal to each specific user. Even better, when you’re allowing the platform to run these ads against each other, they will automatically be optimised to the best performing, ensuring your most-successful ad is the most seen.

Always keep in mind that performance marketing is all about your audience data, as this data is what allows you to deliver your ads to the right people. Marketing is no longer about spraying and praying, but rather about casting a few very specific lines into a very big ocean.


Skye LittlefieldSkye Littlefield is the social specialist at Hoorah Digital Consultancy. She specialises in paid social media strategies and campaign implementation.

“Motive” is a by-invitation-only column on Contributors are picked by the editors but generally don’t form part of our regular columnist lineup, unless the topic is off-column.

Sign up now for the MarkLives newsletter, including headlines, emailed every Monday, Wednesday and Friday!

Online CPD Courses Psychology Online CPD Courses Marketing analytics software Marketing analytics software for small business Business management software Business accounting software Gearbox repair company Makeup artist