January 3, 2019 Last updated January 2nd, 2019 3,492 Reads share

How to Hack Facebook Ads and Crush Your ROI

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Facebook ads can be powerful tools in a marketing campaign. But many marketers do not understand the specific strategies that can make this advertising venue really “rock.”

What follows are very specific hacks that will maximize the benefits of those advertising dollars.

  1. Be Certain You Have Targeted the Right Audience

You have defined your target audience(s) and believe you have selected the right Facebook targeting options that match your demographic. Now, you create your ad sets and begin to run your Facebook ads. Go to “Level: Campaign, give your campaign a name, select start, and end dates, and select the breakdowns that you want from the drop-down menu.


But how do you know that your audience is actually being reached?

You don’t unless you access Facebook Ad Reports and find out.

Once you have run your ad set, you will need to get on Ad Reports and see the results. Go to ad reports and click “Reports” on the sidebar. You will then have options to break down your audience by age or gender. You can also look at the actions that viewers have taken, such as which device they have used. And you can get a daily or weekly report.


Analyzing this report will give you critical information about who is receiving your ads, how many responses you are getting, and what devices they are using.

Until you have analyzed your ad report, you will not know if your targeted audience is actually being reached and responding. You don’t want to make any modifications until you have this information.


  1. Creating Custom Audience List and Targeting

Facebook knows that it’s easier to sell to existing customers than it is to find new ones. That’s why they have given you the ability to create custom audience lists. You can start with your own data such as a customer list. You can upload a CSV or other file to Facebook to get started. They will encrypt the information you provide to them in order to protect your customers’ data privacy.

Once you have created your custom audience list, you can begin selecting targeting options. You can sort and select a variety of demographic information. You can also select interests.

As your customer list grows, you can update your facebook list with that new information. There is also an option to target a ‘lookalike audience’. This will target your Facebook ads to people who closely resemble your existing customer list.

  1. Check Report Details Before You Dump an Entire Ad Set

If an ad set doesn’t seem to be working once you have checked your report, dig deeper. It may not be the entire set – it may be that one ad is performing well and the other two are not. You don’t want to lose the traffic for the successful ad but turning off the entire set will do just that.

You also need to take a close look at your ad copy. You may need to change the content for greater creativity and engagement. If you are targeting a foreign audience, on the other hand, are you certain your translation is solid? You may want to find a translation service through Pick Writers, a translation agency review site that can provide top name companies.

And, if you are targeting a specific age group, and two of your ads are just not getting any “play,” you can use the “Power Editor” to try another age group or to schedule the ads to run at different times.


In the report above, you can see that, if you are targeting the 35-44 age group, your audience is not really there. You are getting much more play from the 25-34 age group. This may mean you have miscalculated your audience and need to move other ad sets to that age demographic.

Using Power Editor, you can also separate your report by individual ads within a set.


There is definitely a learning curve here, but there are many guides for using the power editor tool that will help you. Take the time to get yourself up to speed.

And you need to allow your ads to “cook” for a while before you decide they are not working. Don’t be hasty.

  1. Knowing when to Optimize

Before you make a decision to optimize an ad or an ad set, you will need to look at the most important metrics.

Jason How, the Facebook Ad consultant, explains it this way:

You want to look at the metrics at the end of the conversion funnel on the ad report. You want to look at the cost per sale, cost per engagements, or cost per registration for each ad in a set.

Here is an example he uses for email registrations:


If you look at the only click-through rates, all three ads are performing the same. However, if you go over to the end of the of the results, you will see that ad #2 had a much lower cost-per-conversion.

  1. Don’t Be Fooled by Really Low Costs-Per-Conversion

Facebook lumps all conversions together in their reports. But your ad goal may be only one type of conversion (an email registration, for example). When all conversions are lumped together, you will get a cost-per-conversion for all pixels, not the cost for the single one you want. and the cost-per-conversion will look quite low.

To find out about the one conversion pixel you want to look at, you need to click on the expanded view and look at registrations specifically. This will give you the actual number of conversion for that pixel and the cost-per-conversion.

To get to the expanded view, just click “customize columns” on the left menu bar, and then click what you want – key page views, actual email registrations, the cost per page view, and the cost per registration. Now you will get the right figure.


  1. Patience in Optimization – Choosing the Right Time

When we develop our great and sets and schedule them for posting; when we truly believe we have the right demographic targets, we want to see results right away. That’s not how Facebook ads work. It takes time for ads to reach an audience, and their performance cannot be analyzed until there is a reach of about 1500.

So, check your ad reports and look at the “reach.” Once that is 1500 or more, you can begin to dig into the report and check the performance.

  1. Think Beyond Conversion Rates

Of course, you want to learn the conversion rate per reach. But you also want to know how much those conversion rates are costing you.

For this, you will want to look at what is called the CPM, or cost per 1000 impressions. Here’s how you figure this out.

Suppose you are selling a product for $50. You first want your viewers to sign up for your email so that you can provide them with great information about the value of your product.

Your Facebook campaign is to get those email subscribers – you’ll take care of the rest once you have those addresses.

You can set up two ad campaigns and do some A/B testing on which one is more cost-effective.

Your report shows that the cost per thousand for the first set was $10 and you got a 10% conversion rate. So, you got 100 subscribers for $10.

The second ad set CPM was $1.00, and you got a 1% conversion rate. So, you got one subscriber for $0.10.

Both ad sets are equally cost-effective.

The point of looking at these CPM’s is to determine who much a single conversion is costing you so that you can modify your ad campaigns to get the biggest bang for your buck.

  1. Determining Frequency of Ad Postings

Do not confuse reach with viewing. Your ad may “reach” 2,000 people, but that does not mean they have all viewed it.

While there is no set “rule” about frequency, a general rule is that you place ads in news feeds fewer times than you do on sidebars. Most recommendations are to place an ad a minimum of three times in a news feed, and a minimum of ten times on the sidebar. Maximum numbers are respectively 10 and 40.

The only way to gauge optimal frequency for yourself is to compare reach and views in your ad report. If you attempt to use the newsfeed too many times, viewers will feel harassed and turn it off. On the other hand, you do want them to see you enough that they will be inclined to click through.

  1. Don’t Keep Modifying Without the Data

As you modify ads and ad sets, let them run, check the results regularly, and don’t move too quickly before modifying again.

When you do modify, changing audiences, for example, look at changing the images you use too. Each demographic will be different in terms of what visuals are most appealing.

If you change the scheduling for your ads, don’t change anything else. You will not get correct data if you do.

  1. Facebook Video ad hacks

Video ads have great potential for amazing ROI. They are attention grabbing and memorable. Still, it takes a certain amount of skill to create videos that truly connect with your audience. Here are some video ad hacks for making this happen.

  • Make Sure the Visuals Tell The Story – Remember that people may be viewing your video ads at work or in public. Most video ad views are done with the sound off. This means that everything you communicate should come across visually.
  • Pair Video Ads with Product Launches or New Developments – Video ads are a great tool for creating excitement around a new product that is about to drop or other exciting news.
  • Use Design Elements to Create High Production Values – Find a video editing package that you like. Then, take the time to learn it inside and out. You’ll be able to pick up several production and editing tips to add eye-catching elements to your videos.
  • Keep Videos Short – Remember that people have short attention, especially when it comes to advertising. Put the important stuff at the beginning of your video. Keep in mind that you could lose the majority of your viewing audience before your video is halfway over.


If you are new to Facebook ad campaigns, do not be overwhelmed by the complexity of the reporting and how you can analyze and interpret the results. This understanding will come over time, as you access and use those reports. But one thing is certain: you cannot ignore them, or you are wasting ad dollars on things that may not be working.

As a newbie, you will want to access the help that is available by Facebook itself. It has a great tutorial on campaign structure (https://www.facebook.com/business/a/campaign-structure), and you should study this carefully before you jump in.

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Elisa Abboott

Elisa Abboott

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