Advertising on Facebook can be tedious, but it doesn’t need to be. I’ve served billions of ad impressions, deployed millions of dollars and acquired millions of users through Facebook ads, and I know which levers to pull and which strategies to enlist. This comes from years of experience with some of the fastest-growing startups in New York including FanDuel, DRAFT, Bermi, and Berminal. This guide will cut through the fluff, explain what makes Facebook so powerful, and teach you how to leverage it for your business in no time.
Facebook has created the most powerful toolset for advertisers online. The sheer volume of available optimization tactics available is unrivaled by other platforms, but it doesn’t require advertisers to leverage all of them to run wildly profitable campaigns.
What I’ve found works above all else, is to first arm Facebook with specific knowledge about your best customers and how they engage with your product, then to instruct Facebook to go find more people who they predict will behave the same way. This works because Facebook has a uniquely deep understanding of user behavior and tendencies, enabled by their vast data collection apparatus. This guide will show you how to speak to Facebook in a way it understands so it can fully leverage its data and work intelligently on your behalf.
This guide will not explain every nook and cranny of Facebook’s Ad Manager, but will instead explain the parts that actually move the needle and how to utilize them. My aim is for you to pick up actionable tactics and strategies to drastically improve your performance. It’s written from the perspective of a media buyer, responsible for campaign strategy, construction and optimization. It does assume some knowledge of the platform, but you don’t need to heavy experience to understand the concepts discussed.
If you’re looking for the basics, Facebook maintains an interactive education platform named Blueprint that toes the line on best practices. Much of it is very good. You’re reading this book because you want to know what actually drives efficiency - whether or not Facebook explicitly recommends it.
Why Facebook Dominates
Facebook has dramatically catapulted to the top of the digital advertising game over the last decade. How?
1. Facebook’s mobile apps are incredibly sticky.
Smartphone adoption was the big macro trend of the 2010s, and Facebook’s family of apps have dominated mobile usage charts over all other apps. The’ve dominated mobile so drastically that 90% of the company’s $55.8 billion in 2018 revenue came from mobile advertising. As recently as 2012, Facebook only generated about $1.1B from mobile and roughly the same amount from desktop traffic.
The takeaway here is that Facebook (and Instagram) have already acquired all the users, the users continue to use Facebook and Instagram at incredible rates, and most of them (and most people in general) are consuming the internet on smartphones. Because of this, you should also prioritize mobile across your business.
2. Facebook Ads are incredibly relevant to the person that sees them.
Facebook collects an incredible amount of data on its users. They do so primarily through the Facebook Pixel and the Facebook SDK, which live inside hundreds of thousands of websites and mobile apps. Website and app developers insert these tracking tools into their properties to collect data and to optimize their growth and advertising efforts.
The catch here is that Facebook also leverages this data to better understand each user, which they utilize when they decide which ads to show each user in the future. In aggregate, access to these tracking tools and all of the data they compile helps Facebook put the right ads in front of the right people.
The takeaway here is that while Facebook has all the users, they also know the most about them. This empowers advertisers to reach audiences with incredible precision and confidence. Because of this, Facebook monetizes their userbase significantly better than the other social networks do. Facebook shows relevant ads to their users at a higher rate than their competitors, so advertisers deploy more money on Facebook than anywhere else, and they do so at a significantly higher average cost per impression.