11/04/2014 06:57 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Lessons Learned From a $15,000 Facebook Ad Campaign


We recently wrapped up a month-long Facebook Ad campaign with a client who had a simple goal: to significantly grow their Facebook likes in 30 days. The campaign allowed us to learn a few key lessons about optimizing Facebook ads that we think are worth sharing.

Our campaign objective was gaining page likes, and therefore the key success metric was cost per page like (CPL), which steadily decreased from $1.00 to $0.32 throughout the campaign. Here are some tactics that contributed to this trend:

Cast your net wide and be open to changes
    We started our campaign with 11 images and a few captions per image. We tested the success of each image/caption combo and were able to narrow our materials down to two highly successful images. We were surprised by their success -- these two images far outperformed other images that we thought would be more successful. We also concluded that shorter captions and images that communicate immediacy work far better. This makes sense, given the short attention span of the average Facebook browser.
Custom audiences work best, but there are a few workarounds
    If you have a custom audience (i.e. an email list), that is usually your best target audience. You can then expand it by building a lookalike audience. However, if that's not the case:
    • Go for the low-hanging fruit: when you are building your target audience, if possible try to optimize for a cohort that skews in favor of liking pages and engagement with posts.
    • Given our strategy and size of the budget, we quickly noticed that a larger target audience resulted in lower CPL. Ideally, we would like to compare our results with the CPL of highly targeted ads with a specific "hook" tailored to a target audience with a unique interest or behavior. Stay tuned!
    • Lookalike audiences are powerful, but it is unclear exactly who you're reaching, as Facebook hides that information. This lack of transparency makes it difficult to be sure you're capturing an audience that is actually going to be interested in your company.
    All these recommendations can be implemented from the "Audience Insights" page, which is found in the left-hand menu of "Manage Ads".
Facebook likes are only valuable if you can build engagement
    It's easy to think that many Facebook followers result in a successful page. But the number of followers is actually more indicative of the page's potential reach - your page will only achieve its full potential if posts have high engagement. If not, Facebook will not feed your content to your fans.


Giuseppe Crosti is the founder of SocialProvidence, a social media marketing agency that focuses on growth and engagement. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter.