Facebook Ad Sets: Why Less is More

Facebook Ad Sets: Why Less is More

The most common issue I see when people come to me with failing Facebook ads is that they over complicate things way too early in the process.

I often hear from people who are unhappy because they spent a few hundred – or even a few thousand – on their paid social and even though the ad creatives got engagement and they were successful in driving some new traffic to their site, they weren’t converting any of these new leads.

The very first question I ask people when they come to me with this complaint is, “What does your ad set look like?” Usually in this situation, people will start to ramble off an ad set that has half a dozen or more demographic characteristics, and it’s probably safe to say that they have no idea which characteristics are succeeding and which characteristics are failing.

Too Much of a Good Thing

The amount of demographic information available today to advertisers on Facebook is just unreal. I mean, how does Facebook know how much money I make, or that I bought a home this year, and that I prefer videos about cats in funny hats over videos about politics?! (Well, I mean, who wouldn’t, right?)

With what feels like a million combinations available to you as an advertiser, it’s easy to get carried away and ultra creative with your ad sets. But if you’re still relatively new to the paid social game (i.e., less than a year’s experience of consistent strategic testing), then utilizing all the options available to you could be seriously hurting your ad budget.

Here’s an example of a real life ad set for a sports apparel line that was failing to convert to sales.

Example Ad Set:

  • Men and Women
  • Between the Ages of: 18 and 60+
  • Who are Interested in: CrossFit, KillCliff, Rogue
  • Income > $50,000
  • Behavior Purchase Types: Workout Apparel
  • Demographic: Homeowners
  • Behavior Mobile Device User: iPhone
  • Demographic Relationship Status: Married
  • Custom Audience: Visited Website in Past 90 Days

Yes, this craziness was a real ad set that someone was putting a lot of money behind. How they chose these demographic characteristics, I really don’t know. But I do know that if you’ve been doing paid social for less than a year, your ad sets look like this, and you are not seeing a return on investment, then there’s your problem. With so many moving pieces, it’s hard to pinpoint which part of the demographic is failing to convert in the end game.

The Fix: K.I.S.S (a.k.a – Keep It Simple, Stupid!)

The fix for this is actually pretty simple – pick ONE thing, and test it. Pick another thing, and test that. Then pick yet another thing, and test it – but keep all of these tests separate. Start a running list of things that have worked by themselves, and things that have failed miserably.

Once your list grows to a decent length – around a dozen successful characteristics – then and only then do I suggest you start testing out more complex ad sets. Again, start simple – take two successful characteristics, and combine them into one ad set. Once you’ve gotten the hang of combining and testing past successful characteristics, you’ll eventually find that one super ad set that will be the answer to all your conversion needs!

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