Testing 1, 2, 3… Refining your audience for your Facebook ad campaign


When it comes to Facebook ads, we know that the key to success is, first and foremost, finding the right audience. But what many businesses often seem to forget is that the second key to success is just a tiny, four-letter word: test.

Testing can seem like an intimidating process requiring a lot of work, sometimes resulting in a reluctance to undertake the task, especially for small businesses where the association with ad testing tends to be wasted money. The reality is very different, however. To get the best possible outcome from a Facebook ad campaign, it seems that testing is a key gateway to success. What is most encouraging is that Facebook provides a plethora of targeting options that will help you refine your audience and target the right group based on your business objectives. 

How to refine your audience

Once you’ve established who your audience are, in a broader sense, we can begin to target and refine our audience. Facebook provides different customer segments for you to choose from in order to create your own custom audience. Let’s explore these options.

Customer File

With this option, all you need to do is simply upload a list of your current customers and their relevant data, such as email addresses, telephone numbers, demographics, and Facebook will match them with other, similar Facebook users and then create an audience based on these data points. In most cases, Facebook will match approximately 60-80% of that list. This custom audience is ideal for creating highly targeted remarketing campaigns.

Website Traffic

By placing the Facebook pixel on your website, you can gain access to an abundance of data, such as visitors’ behaviour onsite in the last 180 days, and voila, a new world of various targeting options opens up for you! You will be able to create the below custom audiences and, on top of that, a custom combination tailored to your specific objectives.

The newest feature provided by Facebook — based on time spent on your website — allows you to target the top visitors to your site, focusing on the top 5%, 10%, and 25% of your most active users.

App Activity

You can create a custom audience based on the actions users took when they used your app or game on desktop or mobile. So, depending on what your goals are, and what the various actions users can take are, you are able to create a very specific target audience from this data.

Engagement on Facebook

You can now create a custom audience made up of people who have engaged with your content or ads on Facebook in the last 365 days. Specifically, you can create a custom audience based on their activity on your Facebook page — for example, people who watched your videos, people who opened your Canvas, those who completed or opened a lead advert, or anyone who interacted with your Facebook page in any other way. This custom audience option is most useful if your objective is to improve the engagement and reach of your Facebook page.

What’s next? A/B testing

Now that you know how to refine your audience based on your objectives, it is time to set up your Facebook ads. Before starting though, you mustn’t forget the importance of A/B testing. Yes, that’s right, it’s that dreaded word again: more testing.

Why use A/B testing?

When it comes to Facebook ads, it can be hard to know what’s going to work and what isn’t, unless you test first. With A/B testing, you can determine what appeals most, and to which audience, and then optimise your ads to get the best results.

A/B testing can seem overwhelming, especially when there are so many variables to play around with: headlines, copy, different ad formats, — images, videos, carousel, etc. — call-to-actions, links, placements, audiences. The options are limitless. So take a deep breath and start by simply creating 3 or 4 versions of your ad, with different ad designs and target audiences, and then set your campaign live. Within the first few days you will be able to see which ads are the most effective and which audience is most interested in your product or service.

The main purpose of A/B testing is to save you money in the long run, so you should be mindful of not testing just for the sake of testing. Depending on the purpose of your ads, you should determine from the start what elements — images, copy, etc. — and audiences — age, gender, location, etc. — you want to test that would have a meaningful impact, without wasting your budget.

You will soon realise that A/B testing is an ongoing process. Each time you set up a new Facebook campaign, you should start from scratch, testing different elements and scaling your budget when you identify the best performing ad.

Is A/B testing the same as Split Testing?

You may have already noticed on your Business Manager account a new feature from Facebook called Split Testing. You might be wondering what the difference is between this and A/B testing?

The main difference between A/B testing and Split Testing is that the latter allows you to test up to three different ad sets with the same ad, but with two or more versions of a single variable, such as audience, optimisation, — ie. optimised for conversions, impressions, link clicks, or daily unique reach, for example — conversion window, or bid amount.

Split Testing is currently only available for specific campaign objectives, such as website conversions, mobile app installs, and lead generation.

Ready to test?

As you can see, there are many testing methods available for Facebook ads and it’s up to you to decide which ones to apply based on your objectives and available budget. If you could use a hand with ad testing, we’re always happy to help. Drop us a line today if you’d like to see how we can work with you.

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