Many business owners have experienced running Meta ads without any tangible results, despite the platform sometimes suggesting it picked up transactions. Nevertheless, I am here to tell you to trust the algorithm!

Meta Ads

With the wrong signals, Meta can waste your hard-earned spend. However, there are plenty of opportunities for clients to get great results by following a simple structure.

Now, more than ever, marketers with budgets large and small are looking at the most effective ways to grow online. Meta could still be that channel for you.

Why scale with Meta ads?

While channels like paid search have higher purchase intent (so you can appear in front of users when they’re directly looking for what you offer), eventually you’ll reach a tipping point whereby further investment into these channels leads to diminishing returns.

This function is known as demand capture. It typically relates to bottom-of-funnel activity around search, shopping and PMAX.

At the other end of the spectrum is demand generation, which has a far wider reach potential. This entails presenting ads to potentially relevant people who aren’t (or weren’t) necessarily in-market until your ad came into play.

Meta ads are a way of introducing new people to your brand. With appealing ads you can grow your reach and expect similar results to paid search, as Meta gathers data on who your customers are and what makes them tick.

Once you have established your performance, your opportunity to scale is vast due to Meta’s machine-learning algorithms,. These can find potential customers based on the data you feed them through the pixel.

When business owners or marketing managers log in to Meta ads/Business Manager, it can be overwhelming. There’s more data than you can shake a stick at. That’s why we’re keeping it simple and diving only into the core elements.

There are four ways in which most advertisers go wrong:

  1. Their audience is too niche
  2. By choosing the wrong campaign objective
  3. By employing Fluffy creative/messaging
  4. They use the home page as a landing page

The targeting part

Targeting used to be the core USP of Meta ads. This was due to how effectively you could segment your desired audience. Audience layering only enhanced this, as it allowed the stacking of different interests to hone in on exactly the type of person you wanted to reach. For example, you would target or test people interested in sports cars + luxury travel who don’t have children to get in front of people with high disposable income for your yacht dealership.

This has changed dramatically over the last two years, especially since the iOS14 update. Today broad (or “Auto”) targeting outperforms highly targeted audiences nearly every time.

Auto targeting works most effectively for e-commerce. We have, however, achieved success with a B2B client offering a service of which people weren’t yet aware. That meant search ads weren’t viable and although we thought Meta would be a step too far, auto targeting immediately outperformed the most relevant interest audience for their offering. Results prompted us to focus on creative landing pages and tracking improvements. This meant more, better-quality data going through a single ad set, which then further enhance Meta’s ability to optimise and find other relevant users.

Meta Ads

It’s important to negate remarketing lists from your top-of-funnel activity. That means Facebook or Instagram page engagers, website visitors, newsletter subscribers, and, of course, previous customers. These audiences have their place within your Meta ads portfolio, but you should always separate them and target with different creative.

There are a number of reasons for this: Meta thrives when conditional training is implemented (rewarded for good behaviour or conversions/sales, in this instance). If you don’t negate remarketing lists, Meta will find out that those users convert much more easily than a cold, new user. It’ll will thus keep targeting users who have previously visited your website, artificially inflating your performance metrics. You’ll think you have a scalable strategy because the KPIs are significantly over-performing. This high-flying audience will, however, inevitably run dry when the remarketing list becomes exhausted.

– Test a broad/“Auto” targeted ad set vs the most relevant targeted audience Meta has for your product. Then push the budget into the higher performing area (which will be auto).

Campaign objectives & KPIs for your Meta Ads

Meta is the best in the business at achieving what you ask it to. It will, however, do precisely what you ask and nothing more. If you run a reach campaign, you’ll receive an abundance of impressions and eyeballs on your ad which is where it stops. It’s rare you get website traffic and borderline non-existent to expect any meaningful action to be taken.

Long gone are the days of a full-funnel campaign with reach or awareness campaigns at the top of the funnel, traffic at mid-funnel & conversions at the bottom of the funnel. Still, you’ll see this in accounts with misinformed clients believing it’s the only way, and that they have to wait months for results.

This isn’t the case. If you’re an e-commerce brand you should only be using conversion-based campaigns, ideally optimised towards purchases. Meta will then get you in front of the users who are most likely to buy after seeing your ad, which puts you in a strong starting position.

Once you’ve got this in place, it’s critical you understand your KPIs. If you don’t know what your target CPA (cost per acquisition) or target ROAS (return on ad spend) is, you’re not alone. You should definitely figure this out before investing too heavily in advertising.

We have an Ads Profitability Calculator that can help you understand where performance is vs where it needs to be.

Once you have your Target CPA/ROAS, you’ll have a goal to aim for. Then you’ll be looking at the other elements, which we’ll help you reach.

– Always run conversion campaigns.
– Work out your acceptable ROAS/CPA based on your product margin and other associated costs (delivery, packing, etc.)
– Optimise campaigns/ads with these targets in mind.

Rid yourself of fluffy creative and messaging

Without having to constantly test new audiences, your time can be freed up to focus efforts on the interesting, meaningful tasks around ad creative and messaging.

This is where performance and brand marketers may clash. The fancy polished video is typically outperformed by something much more direct, a bit rough around the edges and not necessarily what you’d see in an organic social profile.

“Sometimes the best copy to sell a horse is ‘Horse for Sale.’”

Jay Abraham

If you sell products, DPAs (Dynamic Product Ads) are likely to be a quick, easy high performer. Meta will get your products in front of relevant users, taking them directly to the product page and making the user journey seamless.

Your ad is a key component of how Meta now targets users, and they have to cater to different personas. It isn’t a case of A/B testing creative and doubling down on a winner.

Variety is the way to scale most effectively, as it allows you to reach a wide range of users, appealing to each of their needs. Some people will respond better to static images which call out the product or service directly, while others will engage and convert better through social proof, in the form of UGC (user generated content).

If you have video assets but you’re not sure where to start with video ads, try the following structure:

1) Strong opening hook to draw in the right audience
2) Trust signals  
3) USPs
4) CTA

– Launch a DPA campaign on auto targeting.
– Test a variety of different ad formats, from static to carousels to UGC videos.
– Speak to your customers to better understand their pain points and address those within your creative and messaging.

Your landing pages and the post-click part

The hard work is done. You’ve lured someone away from endless feed scrolling to your website. Now it’s time for the part that’s all too-often overlooked: The landing page.

I tend to treat paid media traffic like a lazy friend. They need the most relevant and important information put in front of them, and pointing them in the right direction.

This is the area we focus most of our time on now, as it’s the difference between a campaign performing profitably or flopping. “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink.” This is seen time and time again within paid media and especially with Meta Ads. 

It’s our job to direct clients to make changes to landing pages and provide insights into what the traffic is doing once they’ve arrived on the website. We use Microsoft Clarity for screen recordings and heat maps which provide invaluable insights for optimisations.

The most common objections a user has when they land on your website (excluding technical breakages) are:

  • Delivery – “When am I going to get it?”
  • Guarantee & returns – “What if I don’t like it?”
  • Trust signals – “Is this brand trustworthy/credible?”

Here’s an example of this in action with trust signals, delivery info, product guarantee, and returns all clearly outlined on the product page.

– Ensure The ad & landing page are consistent.
– Mobile load speed must be fast or at least acceptable.
– Make sure the structure is easy to follow.
– Ensure your landing page isn’t too text-heavy.
– Clearly point the customer towards the next step.

Extra tip:

Technical issues are part and parcel of digital marketing, and are always going to pop up. Jumping on them as soon as they come up will put your campaigns and business at less risk of retreating into a learning phase. To keep on top of these, we suggest monitoring your standard rates across product page views, ATC, checkouts initiated and purchases.

Shopify, as it does with most things, makes this very easy with a ready-made report in the analytics section, which looks like this:

There isn’t a magic button or secret hack that will transform your Meta ads performance overnight, but if you nail these four key areas, you’re guaranteed to be ahead of 95% of advertisers.

If you’re still unsure, feel free reach out to [email protected], and I’ll be happy to review your account with you and give you a handful of pointers in the right direction.