Facebook Conversions Galore

Three tips to improve Facebook conversion campaign performance

If you’re a Facebook advertiser you’ve surely read the platform’s gospel about bidding on the user action you value most. Facebook is confident it can find users who will take your desired action.

For advertisers looking for the closest correlation between ad spend and revenue, optimizing for conversions is a no-brainer. Assigning value to an e-commerce purchase or lead form completion is a simple exercise.

However, with Facebook becoming a dominant advertising channel, many advertisers, especially those with expensive conversions, struggle to get their ads to run.

Here are three tips for getting conversion ads to run, even when the desired conversion commands a high dollar value.

1. Try different conversions

Conversion campaigns on Facebook require a minimum of 50 conversions per week. If you’re an e-commerce brand selling $10 tchotchkes, this is very doable. A $1,000 designer watch is a different ballgame altogether. 

Facebook, being comprised of smart people, has created various conversion options at different points in the funnel. These enable advertisers to try targeting a conversion that isn’t quite the ultimate objective (“Purchase” for example) while generating the conversions Facebook says it needs to fully optimize.

Facebook’s conversion options appear in the screenshot below. These are integrated in your website in the form of event codes in your “Pixel”, Facebook’s version of a tag. Website visitors who complete one of these actions “fire” the appropriate event code, providing conversion data to both you and Facebook.

The “View Content” code is an excellent example of a higher-in-the-funnel event to try if you can’t generate enough conversions at the bottom of the funnel. If you are an e-commerce brand and have the View Content event included in your Pixel on all your product pages, you can optimize a campaign for this conversion and know that users who clicked past your landing or category pages to see a product exhibited a greater level of interest than those who bounced after the first page view.

Facebook now allows advertisers to build campaigns that optimize for clicks until they’ve achieved enough conversions to switch. This is a good short-term solution but don’t forget that user tendencies are weighted strongly in Facebook’s algorithm. Optimizing for clicks can be the same thing as targeting people with oversized thumbs. Optimize for conversions instead of clicks over the long-term.

2) Cut your budget a little slack

At a minimum, your weekly budget must be 50 times your conversion value for your campaign to work.

As an example, if your conversion is valued at $25, your minimum weekly budget must amount to 50 x $25, or $1,250. But this amount forces Facebook to target very narrowly.

Increasing your budget considerably (by 2-3X) at the start of your campaign gives Facebook’s algorithm an opportunity to explore more broadly to make sure it finds the very best users. Try this approach — starting your campaign with your budget set higher than you intend to spend — to make sure your campaign gains traction early.

Similarly, setting your target cost per conversion higher than its true value at the start of your campaign can give Facebook needed room to roam. Conversely, bidding at precisely your conversion’s value, or even lower in an attempt to save a few bucks, can prevent your campaign from building momentum.

If you aren’t seeing the necessary number of impressions, bid higher than your maximum target cost per conversion for a while, then reduce your bid to a more realistic target once your campaign achieves critical mass.

Unfortunately, there will be advertisers of certain products or services who just can’t generate cost-effective paid traffic on Facebook. After adjusting bids and budgets to reasonable levels a few days into a campaign, their impressions simply evaporate.

For these advertisers, Facebook might make sense as an acquisition channel only in the context of the lifetime value (LTV) of a net new customer. In other words, breaking even or losing money on a customer’s first purchase can be considered cost-effective if the average net-new Facebook customer goes on to make several more profitable purchases in the future.

3) Let time fly

An important consideration in any digital campaign, especially one optimizing for conversions, is the conversion window. This is the amount of time that passes between a user impression or engagement and the desired action. The narrower the window in terms of both definition and time, the assured the marketer can be that an ad is deserving of credit for a conversion.

Facebook’s four conversion window options are: 1-day click, 7-day click, 1-day click or view, 7-day click/1-day view. It stands to reason that 1-day click offers the greatest certainty, while giving Facebook credit for a conversion seven days after a click, when a user might have been exposed via other channels, is much less certain.

When deciding on the right conversion window for your campaign, you have to return to thinking about the value of your conversion. If it’s a low-value conversion, i.e. if you’re the advertiser promoting the $10 tchotchkes, 1-day click will probably work fine for you. But if you’re the advertiser running a high-value conversion campaign that will be challenged to generate the required 50 weekly conversions, 1-day click may prevent your campaign from getting off the ground. Consider selecting a more lenient window.

Whatever settings and tactics you try within your Facebook campaign, a third-party analytics tool is critical for validating the conversion data you get from Facebook. Google Analytics is a good baseline. It’s flexible and free, and even includes a way to easily compare several attribution methods. Learn more in AMA San Diego’s digital marketing glossary of terms.

About Jameson

Jameson Slattery is Vice President of Global Marketing at Colorescience, a health-science company based in San Diego. He has more than 10 years of domestic and international marketing experience, as well as advanced market analysis, strategy development and marketing campaign management expertise.