Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Dial In Your Facebook Dynamic Ads for the Holidays

Dynamic product ads are critical to having a successful Facebook marketing holiday season.

These ads dynamically update and feature products from your product catalog, while also allowing you to not only use them in remarketing (aka someone views a product on your site and then later sees a Facebook ad for that product) but also for prospecting, via Broadmatch Dynamic Ads. Furthermore, when done correctly, they function and display seamlessly, so users like seeing them and as a result, the ads convert.

Dynamic Product Ads, or DPAs, are truly one of the most effective tools in a Facebook marketer’s toolbox.

What’s Different About The Holiday Season?

What’s different about DPAs in Q4, however, is like everything else in the Facebook ads world during this time: Dynamic ads are affected by competition.

Hordes of hungry advertisers inundate Facebook and Instagram during the holiday season. As a result, you must set your ads apart by bidding differently and adjusting your time windows for maximum success. You can’t just keep running the same DPAs you’ve been running all year.

Ask yourself: Are my DPAs making the best, most direct pitch compared to the competition? Do these ads make a purchase a “no-brainer?”

In truth, dynamic ads should always meet these requirements, but the holidays place an even greater emphasis on these must-haves.

The Phases of Q4

It’s easier to navigate holiday DPA planning if you break down Q4 into specifically timed phases. Here’s how I like to dissect it:

  • Phase One: Now until the beginning of Thanksgiving week
  • Phase Two: Thanksgiving evening until Giving Tuesday (the Tuesday after Thanksgiving weekend, Nov. 27)
  • Phase Three: Wednesday after Thanksgiving (Nov. 28) until Christmas, or your last shipping date before Christmas (usually Dec. 20 or 21)

Some businesses also extend Phase Three until the end of the calendar year, especially if they want to push post-Christmas sales and year-end promotions.

These three phases help define what specific Facebook/Instagram advertising tactics and strategies you’ll want to use during each timeframe.

For example, it’s incredibly competitive and oftentimes prohibitively expensive to prospect during Phase Two. Because of this, I recommend prospecting during Phase One and building out those audiences early (aka now!) to remarket to them later, as outlined in this post.

If you want to learn more, join us for our Q4 Dynamic Ads Masterclass!

I strongly recommend using dynamic ads throughout all the phases of Q4 — and here’s how!

Phase One

In Phase One, you’re trying to warm prospective customers up to the idea of who you are, what your company is about, and why you matter. You want them to clearly understand your value proposition and hey, if there’s a decent deal there, they might take that, too.

Overall, your Phase One goal should be message testing — which can be achieved through remarketing with DPAs and via Broadmatch Dynamic Product ads. This message testing helps to find potential customers using your previous pixel data. (You can learn more about them in my previous post here.)

Phase Two

In Phase Two, users are expecting a great deal because it’s the Black Friday/Cyber Monday feeding frenzy. They want to convert, so how can you adjust your DPAs to speed up their path to purchase? How can you make your offer truly irresistible?

Your Phase Two goal should be pushing your best products and your best offers/promos to the people you’ve already warmed up in Phase One.

Phase Three

In Phase Three, your goal should be focusing on hard-to-beat holiday bundles. You can also focus on compelling product promos and final year-end sales. For example, offering free shipping or additional discounts when users buy more products can work very well.

If you think through each of these three phases and plan your DPAs accordingly, you will undoubtedly have better results with your Facebook/Instagram holiday campaigns.

Holiday Product Images

Be honest: Are your product catalog images the most visually interesting images ever? Probably not.

A product with a plain white background is technically fine, it gets the job done, but is it the best image you can put forward during Q4? No. So what can you do about it? A few things, actually!

The first option you have is to update the image in your Shopify store (or WooCommerce, but below we show Shopify). Simply go into your best sellers and update the image with a more holiday-feeling, gift-centered image. Something that looks a little more user-generated can work really well here.

You don’t have to remove all of the product images because a user can still scroll through them, but just add another one that gives it a little more holiday pizzaz!

Let’s compare the first image shown here with the image shown a little further below.

The first image is super straightforward, simple, and could be featured any time of the year. It’s pretty basic.

The second image is more colorful, looks like it could be user-generated, and is generally more enticing. It also displays “gift-ability” to the user.

Utilizing the New Custom Creation Tool

Okay, so maybe you don’t want to mess around with your product images because you’ve spent a lot of time and moola on them this year and you think they’re fine as-is. I totally get that!

But did you know that you can now build a product catalog without all the complications of a feed? Yes, you can build a product catalog–to be used in DPAs and other dynamic ads — with a new manual creation tool!

Here’s how, step-by-step:

1. Create a product catalog and choose your vertical.

2. Select “Upload Product Info,” name your catalog, and hit “Create.”

3. Once created, hit “Add Products”

4. Select “Add Manually.”

5. Then, add your products manually!

Here’s a serious [PRO TIP], folks: Focus on holiday-themed images and copy! 

Users really WANT to convert during this time of year, so make it easy for them! Feature product images that look like beautiful and thoughtful gifts as well as products that can be easily bundled.

Add some five-star customer testimonials into your ad copy and some festive holiday emojis while you’re at it.

Holiday Product Set

Even if you don’t do any of the above, at a bare minimum you should create a holiday product set. Creating product sets is an incredible vehicle for grouping together products that are in-stock, always sell well, and don’t include low-margin or low-volume products.

Never done a product set? No worries, you’ve got this. Within your catalog, follow along below…

1. Go to the “Product Set” Menu on the navigation within Catalogs.

2. Then narrow down which products you want by type, name, style or any other field in your product catalog.

3. Advertise to only that set!

Boom! If You Want Even More Helpful Holiday Tips…

Join us for our Dynamic Ads training later this month. The course will ensure that you are fully prepared and that your dynamic ads are in great shape for the holiday season.

Sign up here:

The post Dial In Your Facebook Dynamic Ads for the Holidays appeared first on Jon Loomer Digital.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Facebook Custom Audience Sizes Have Returned (sort of!)

Facebook advertisers continue to experience challenges when using the platform’s custom audience feature to estimate potential audience sizes. In particular, many advertisers report seeing errors that state the audience size is “not available”.

In conversations among advertisers in the Power Hitters Club groups, these issues have been a recurring topic, with members sharing differing experiences (and frustrations!).

But there’s hope: Some advertisers are again seeing custom audience sizes. This post covers scenarios when audience size data may be available. We’ll also bring you up to speed on why this problem exists in the first place.

A Brief History on Facebook Custom Audience Size Issues

In March of this year (2018), Facebook removed the ability to view custom audience sizes. This was in response to a vulnerability that could be potentially exploited, allowing an advertiser to identify individual user data.

The official Facebook response (via a post on the Bug Bounty program page) stated that custom audience size data would simply no longer be available. The issue also made it into the platform status tool, and it appeared this would be the new normal.

While not directly related, Facebook’s recent issue with the log-in information of almost 50 million accounts may lead to increased scrutiny of user data. These types of issues are unlikely to disappear anytime soon.

Based on these challenges, it may seem safe to assume that advertisers will no longer have access to custom audience data.

However, it’s not that simple, and for some advertisers, the size data has returned.

Facebook Custom Audience Size Back? (Sort of!)

After reviewing several scenarios, we know that some advertisers are once again seeing custom audience size estimates. We haven’t been able to identify why this is available for some, but not all, advertisers.

Based on what we’ve seen, advertisers are not seeing custom audience sizes for website audiences, but they are populating for certain engagement audiences. Here’s an updated screenshot from this week to illustrate:

Facebook Custom Audience Size Example - Engagement Custom Audience

However, there are certain scenarios where the data becomes unavailable. In the example screenshots below, I’ve replaced the audience names for purposes of illustration:

1) If you use a custom audience as the base for a saved audience, the size will not populate. Instead, you will get a “Data is not available” error in place of the potential reach:

Facebook Custom Audience - used as base for Saved Audience - Size not available

Similarly, saving the audience generates a “Not available” message on the main audience screen:

Facebook Saved Audience from Facebook Custom Audience - Size not available

2) If you combine two custom audiences together for a saved audience – the size will not populate:

Facebook Custom Audiences Combined for Saved Audience - size not available

3) Using the custom audience to compare overlap with any other audience gives the message: “To protect the privacy of people on Facebook, the audiences you selected are unavailable for audience overlap.”:

Facebook Custom Audience Overlap - Size Not Available

*If you need a refresher on how to compare audience overlap, check out this write-up from Jon.

Funny enough: In the above example, the Test Custom Audience 1 shows as “Not available” under the audience title name, even while the audience number does appear in the main audience list:

Facebook Custom Audience - Size appears in Audience list

Using Ads Manager, Estimated Potential Reach during ad setup will also not populate for custom audiences, even if the audience number does appear in the main Audiences screen:

Facebook Custom Audience Potential Reach - Ads Manager - size unavailable

As a final note, Audience Insights still displays no data for these custom audiences.

Implications for Advertisers: Custom Audiences

If inconsistency in the display of custom audience data is any indication, Facebook is still working through these issues. Given the high public scrutiny of any potential privacy irregularities, it’s unlikely we’ll see the wide availability of deep data for custom audiences anytime soon.

But, things change quickly, and as always, advertisers must adapt. We will continue to monitor this space (along with the advertisers in the Power Hitters Club!).

Regardless of the changes, custom audiences can still be a highly valuable feature for advertisers.

If you’re looking for inspiration on custom audiences, check out this fantastic guide to 55 custom audiences from Jon.

And remember, you can still use audience data for non-custom audiences for clues about your potential target groups, such as comparing Facebook and Instagram audiences.

Your Turn

Is your experience of seeing custom audience sizes any different from ours?

Let me know in the comments below!

The post Facebook Custom Audience Sizes Have Returned (sort of!) appeared first on Jon Loomer Digital.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Facebook Partner Categories Removed: What Now?

Facebook’s removal of Partner Category targeting options has been a topic for some months now. However, Facebook recently sent out an email to advertisers, warning them that they may have campaigns using these now-defunct targeting options. Here’s the email:

Removal of Partner Categories - Email Sent By Facebook

If you’re left wondering what to do with these changes, read on.

What is Partner Category Targeting?

Partner Categories are simply targeting groups that Facebook had previously made available based on partnerships with third-party data providers. This type of data sharing is common practice in digital advertising realms, but following various challenges (i.e. Cambridge Analytica news stories), Facebook has removed these targeting options.

After a somewhat murky period following the brief Facebook announcement that Partner Categories were being removed, Facebook updated their Partner Category help article with a phased schedule for the changes:

Facebook Partner Category Removal Schedule

As noted in Facebook’s recent email to advertisers, after October 1st these campaigns may be “paused or modified.” The “paused” component of this language is what could cause some advertisers to experience a mild panic.

Which leads us to….

Confusion About Facebook’s Warning Email to Advertisers

There are a number of factors contributing to advertiser confusion.

  • Facebook’s email does not make clear whether campaigns with partner category targeting will simply be paused, or if targeting changes will be made automatically.
  • It appears the link in Facebook’s warning email does not lead advertisers directly to their campaigns which may be an issue.
    • Instead, this link simply opens Ads Manager, which leaves some doubt about what to do next.
  • It also seems that advertisers may have received the email even in cases where they have an unused, paused ad set.
    • This often happens with ad sets created with a daily budget, which advertisers may have paused long in the past and never used again.
  • To add to the challenge, it seems there are no warning or error messages that are appearing in the Ads Manager overview.

However, there are actions you can take to make sure your affected campaigns are clear of issues. Read on…

How to Address Ad Set Targeting Issues

To make your ad review easier, I suggest you only look at Active, Scheduled, and In Review ad sets. Previously completed or unused ad sets should not have any issue, unless you plan to activate them again in the future (in which case, you should review those setups as well!).

You can apply a filter in Ads Manager to view the ad sets that meet these conditions. Click the Filter button, then Ad Set Delivery, then select Active, Scheduled, and In Review:

Facebook Ads Manager - Filter Ad Set View

Now you’ve used a filter to populate only the campaigns, ad sets, and ads that meet the applied conditions.

You can review your ad sets and individually inspect the targeting set up for each of these.

To do this, follow these steps:

1) Select the ad set tab. I also suggest making sure you have the Lifetime date range selected, as viewing an overly specific range of time can inadvertently miss relevant, active campaign data:

Facebook Ad Set Selection - Lifetime View

*The Lifetime date range will reflect the dates in your ad account’s lifetime range, so it will appear different than in my example.

2) Select the ad set you want to review by checking the box to the left of your ad set name.

3) Select the Edit button, which looks like a pencil, to the far right of the screen:

Facebook Ads Manager - Select Ad Set and Edit

Once you select Edit, you can scroll down to the Detailed Targeting section to review the targeting in place.

We have found that ad sets with partner categories included display a warning message, such as this example:

Facebook Removal of Partner Category Targeting Warning Message

You can remove problematic targets individually, or simply click the removal button in the warning message to make changes automatically.

Once you have changed the target options, you can click to Review and Publish changes from the main Ads Manager screen.

What Happens Now to Partner Category Targeting?

Partner category targeting as an “easy-add” option is no longer available.

However, some advertisers have reported to have negotiated agreements directly with some of these same data providers. It seems that there may be potential options to establish independently with providers (such as Axciom). That said, we’ve heard from some members of our Power Hitters Club that this process can be somewhat slow.

Facebook is a constantly changing platform. Advertisers need to continuously learn and adapt to keep up. If you’re looking for ways to remain competitive in an environment that now has over 6 million advertisers (and counting), you should check out an upcoming training from Andrew Foxwell and Jon: “Q4 FTW”.

Your Turn

How are you responding in the wake of the removal of Partner Category targeting? How might these changes affect your strategies?

Let me know in the comments below!

The post Facebook Partner Categories Removed: What Now? appeared first on Jon Loomer Digital.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Quick Facebook Ads Tests To Run Now for Q4

The fourth quarter is the most wonderful time of the year for direct-response Facebook advertisers. Consumers are actively online and looking to purchase. They intentionally want to buy gifts for family, friends, and even themselves.

In 2017, Facebook reported that 70% of millennials are influenced in their holiday buying by Facebook and/or Instagram. And indeed, based on the years I’ve been advertising on Facebook, CPMs (cost-per-thousand impressions) during this time typically rise, but CPAs (cost-per-acquisition) decline rapidly.

Q4 Phases

The days between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday are when most consumers are looking for deals. Discounts and free shipping abound. Look at the spike of interactions on Black Friday in the graph below.

*Source: Facebook IQ Study

However, most advertisers forget that there are various profitable strategies that you can apply in the days and months before Thanksgiving week and after Cyber Monday. And if you do it right, you could maximize customer lifetime values and revenue while positioning yourself for success in the following year. It doesn’t have to be held to just those five days, aka “Phase Two.”

The “phases” strategy proves that warming consumers up to your company/offer before mid-November (Phase One), combined with targeting previous customers and re-marketing during Black Friday through Cyber Monday (Phase Two), and then continuing to re-market plus a small amount of prospecting post-Cyber Monday (Phase Three) can really be successful.

Utilizing multiple objectives in Q4, especially in Phase One, can also help you spend horizontally, versus vertically. This tactic helps you reach people in new ways and doesn’t require you to only focus on “converters.” Converters are only a small portion of the overall Facebook audience, so targeting potential and past customers with Page Post Engagement ads is a great first step in the horizontal methodology.

There’s plenty of nuance to this approach so if you find this topic interesting, we’ll be diving deep into these phases in my upcoming course with Jon!

What’s Your Q4 Plan?

Even while considering these phases, many advertisers lack a comprehensive plan. You have potential customers, existing customers, your email list, your website Custom Audiences, and more at your disposal for targeting.

But how do you use them all? You want to generate new creative assets, but what should you do first? These examples and more sum up why it’s absolutely essential to have a solid plan going into Q4.

I’ll be brutally honest: you can’t just keep running the ads you’ve been running all year. You need ads that are specific to Q4 and to the offers you’re putting out throughout the holidays. They should be different because consumer demands are different.

Next, we’ll go over some creative and audience testing you should start NOW to help inform your Q4 plan.

Creative/Copy Tests

Since you’ll be speaking to potential customers, previous customers, previous engagers, and previous website visitors all within Q4, ensuring they all don’t see the exact same message is ideal.

You want general message alignment, yes, but speaking to different people in different parts of their customer journey will help to drive revenues and lifetime values higher.

Different people respond to different types of ads and ad sizes. Some may convert on a 1000×1000 photo post (to the right) while others might convert on a video carousel. This is why it’s always important to test, test, test.

There are a few must-do creative tests you’ll want to run before early November. Why? This testing will help inform the ads you create for Black Friday through Cyber Monday, thanks to a better understanding of what consumers are responding to.

At a minimum, you’ll want to test the following with your ads:

  1. Lifestyle vs. product-focused imagery
  2. Bolder colors vs. neutral colors in your creative
  3. User-generated content vs. traditional product imagery
  4. Customer testimonials vs. product benefits in the copy

Having a clearer understanding of these creative and copy components before Black Friday can help optimize your ad spend and give you greater confidence in knowing what consumers are going to be interested in. They can guide image and copy decisions and make you more confident during some of the most important days of the year.

Audience Tests

Ask yourself this question: What audiences do I currently have in my toolbox that I could target during a sale?

Most advertisers and business owners will list out some of the following audiences:

  • Best/VIP Customer List
  • Customer Email List / Previous Purchaser FB event Custom Audience
  • Email List
  • Previous Website Visitors

These audiences are all popular (as well as typically successful) because they are already familiar with you. If you have a smaller budget, focusing on these audiences during the Black Friday – Cyber Monday timeframe will likely be enough to show some serious ROAS and revenue.

But what if your “galaxy” could be expanded for use in Phase Two? You shouldn’t wait to target new customers as soon as Black Friday hits because every single major brand will be trying to do that — and they have the bucks to do it. And to be honest, you probably don’t have the budget or time to compete with those insanely priced CPMs.

So, what’s the solution?

Audience Tests: Examples

My solution is to target prospecting audiences, with a variety of objectives, between now and the week of Thanksgiving to expand your galaxy. An example of what I’m proposing is something like this…

Conversion Campaign

  • Ad Set 1: 1% Purchaser Lookalike, 1% VIP Purchaser Lookalike
    • Variety of ads being tested here as mentioned above
  • Ad Set 2: 1% Past 60 Day FB/IG Engager Lookalike
  • Ad Set 3: 1% Lookalike of Top 25% Last 45 Day Website Custom Audience, 1% Lookalike of 2X Page Views Last 30 Days
  • Ad Set 4: Interest-based grouping of relevant interests

Page Post Engagement Campaign

  • Ad Set 1: 1% Purchaser Lookalike, 1% VIP Purchaser Lookalike
  • Ad Set 2: 1% Past 60 Day FB/IG Engager Lookalike
  • Ad Set 3: 1% Lookalike of Top 25% Last 45 Day Website Custom Audience, 1% Lookalike of 2X Page Views Last 30 Days
  • Ad Set 4: Previous Purchaser Target

Video Views Campaign

  • Same audiences as above

Lead Gen Campaign (purpose is to capture emails to grow your list for future use in Black Friday sales announcements)

  • 30 Day Website Custom Audience Past Visitor, excluding email list
  • 30 Day Engager Custom Audience, excluding email list

Messenger Campaign Driving To a Subscribe via a Chatbot (purpose is to capture Messenger audiences to grow your list for future use in Black Friday sales announcements)

  • 30 Day Website Custom Audience Past Visitor, excluding email list
  • 30 Day Engager Custom Audience, excluding email list

After the Tests…

Now, once you’ve run these tests, look at how you’ve expanded your galaxy well before Black Friday and at a lower cost! Here are your new audiences:

  • Messenger Broadcast list
  • Video Views to 75%
  • Lead Form open but not submit list
  • A bigger Top 25% Website Custom Audience Visitor pool
  • Previous Engagers
  • Fans
  • Dynamic Ad Pools are bigger

On top of…

  • Best/VIP Customer List
  • Customer List
  • Email List
  • Previous Website Visitors

PLUS you’ve made more people familiar with you and your brand, more potential customers have been to your site, and more people have engaged with your products. Seriously, triple win!

To be clear, I’m not suggesting you have to do all of these things in this exact sequence. The purpose of mentioning them is to simply provide options in utilizing multiple objectives which can help you grow your awareness and audiences as we go into a very competitive advertising time.

Learn More

This is just skimming the surface of what’s possible — learn more about these testing strategies and more in the upcoming course we’re doing all about Q4.

The two-part course will provide participants with a deep and thorough understanding of all the planning and execution strategies required for a successful holiday season. You’ll learn the following:

  • Specific tactics you should start implementing in your ads right now
  • Setting up your ads in each phase of Q4 for maximum profit
  • Combating competition
  • How to scale effectively and efficiently
  • Hitting your perfect audience at the optimal time
  • Ensuring ad profitability, even during the most expensive time of the year

Sign up for the course here:

The post Quick Facebook Ads Tests To Run Now for Q4 appeared first on Jon Loomer Digital.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

How to Compare Audience Sizes on Instagram vs. Facebook

Instagram continues growth at a fast pace, and Facebook advertisers are becoming more accustomed to considering Instagram as a placement for their campaigns. At the same time, Instagram continues adding new features that make ad setup easier than ever.

With Instagram recently passing the 1 billion monthly active user mark, advertisers may wonder just how large is their potential Instagram target audience? Thankfully, there are tools available to help answer this question. We can use these to compare audience sizes on Instagram and Facebook.

Why Does Audience Size Matter?

We normally recommend you focus on specific objectives, rather than merely audience sizes, when prioritizing ad placements and activities. However, with the growth of Instagram, many businesses ask if they should be planning a more permanent presence on the platform, or if they should consider creating campaign assets specifically for Instagram use.

Though Facebook has made it easier to simply use Instagram as another place to publish your ads, my recommendation is to create specific assets optimized for each platform whenever possible.

This is particularly important to harness emergent options, such as Instagram Stories. While you could have a standard static image that appears in this type of placement, more dynamic assets that are customized specifically for this purpose are far more likely to perform better.

Audience size can be an initial “yardstick” metric to better understand how important Instagram may be to your objectives. You may even be surprised to find that Facebook is much larger than you had expected!

Accessing Audience Sizes: Instagram and Facebook

To estimate audience sizes, we can create a “dummy” campaign. This means we’re going to create a campaign that we won’t actually use or make live, but one that can give us an understanding about a particular target audience.

To do this, follow these steps:

First, navigate to Ads Manager. If you use Business Manager, you can go to to access. If you do not, you can go to to access.

Click the “+ Create” button on the far left:

Facebook Ads Manager - Click Create Button for Campaign

This will open the Quick Creation screen. You can leave all the settings as the default:

Facebook Campaign Creation - Ad Set and Ad

To name the campaign, ad set, and ad, I’ve typed in “Audience Size Test” for this example. You can enter whatever you’d like, though I find it’s helpful to name them something to easily identify in Ads Manager, in case you accidentally make something live.

Once you have given a name to the campaign, ad set, and ad, click “Save to Draft” on the bottom.

You should now see that Ads Manager defaults to the Campaign view, and the Campaign will appear in your campaign list as a Draft. From here, you will click the second tab to go to do the Ad Set view:

Facebook Ads Manager - Campaign View

You should now see that the second tab is selected, and you’re on the Ad Set View:

Ads Manager - Ad Set View

From here, you can scroll down the Ad Set creation window to the Audience section. This is where we can enter our target details.

Identifying Platform Audience Sizes For A Target Audience

To demonstrate, I’ll use a very general audience of everyone in California aged 25-35:

Facebook Audience Selection - Ad Set Level - California Users Aged 25-35

Notice that the platform tells us our Potential Reach. In this case, it’s 9,600,000 people. You can ignore the Estimated Daily Results section for now, as this is based on the schedule, budget, and ad account history. Since we’re just looking at the overall audience number, these more specific results are not important.

The 9,600,000 people in this example are based on automatic placements. These placements are selected by default.

For my setup, this normally includes Facebook Feeds, Instant Articles, Right Column, and Marketplace, along with Instagram Feed and Stories, and various Audience Network and Messenger placements.

If we would like to understand specific audience sizes for different types of placements, we can do so by making changes to the placement(s) selected. The placements section is further down the Ad Set edit screen:

Facebook Ads Manager - Edit Placements

When you click the Edit Placements button, you should see any that are selected. Here are the placement options shown for me using the pre-selected Automatic placements:

Facebook Ads Manager - Default Automatic Placements

Selecting Specific Platforms For A Target Audience

Since we’re trying to compare Facebook vs. Instagram, we can be very general, or we can be specific. For the purposes of this demonstration, I want to compare Facebook Feeds vs. Instagram Feeds, as this is where both paid and organic content most typically appears on both platforms on a regular basis.

First, let’s select Facebook Feeds only, and de-select all other placements:

Compare Audience Sizes in Facebook Ads Manager - Facebook Feeds Only Selected

Here we see that the Facebook Feed placement has 7,300,000 people from our target audience of people 25-35 years old in California.

Let’s compare that with the same target for Instagram Feed placement. We do this by selecting only Instagram Feed, and de-selecting all other options:

Compare Audience Sizes in Facebook Ads Manager - Instagram Feed Only

Here we can see that Instagram Feed placement has 6,700,000 people in our target audience of people 25-35 years old in California.

It’s important to note that these two audiences are not necessarily exclusive of one another. We can take another step to understand how many unique people are in both groups (Instagram Feed and/or Facebook Feed). Select both placements at the same time:

Compare Audience Sizes in Facebook Ads Manager - Instagram Feed and Facebook Feed combined

Now we have 9,100,000 people who are in the target audience of people 25-35 years old in California. There are this many people who are available in either Facebook Feeds, Instagram Feeds, or both.

Comparing Audience Placement Sizes – Nerdy Deep-Dive

You may be interested in learning how many users you have in your target who only use Facebook or who only use Instagram. We can use some math to identify the numbers of available people only in one platform or the other.

From our example, to find only the Facebook Feed audience, we take Combined Placement minus Instagram Feed. That is: 9,100,000 – 6,700,000 = 2,400,000 people who are only available via Facebook Feed.

For only the Instagram Feed audience, we take Combined Placement minus Facebook Feed. That is: 9,100,000 – 7,300,000 = 1,800,000 people who are only available via Instagram Feed.

If you’re extra curious…. To find the audience of people who are users of both platforms, we take Combined Placement minus Facebook Feed Only minus Instagram Feed Only. That is: 9,100,000 – 2,400,000 – 1,800,000 = 4,900,000 people. This means, in our target audience of 25-35 year olds in California, there are 4,900,000 people who use both Facebook AND Instagram.

Bringing this all together, we have the following data in our target of 25-35 year-old people in California…..

  • Users of Facebook OR Instagram OR Both: 9,100,000
  • Total Facebook Feed: 7,300,000
  • Total Instagram Feed: 6,700,000
  • Only Facebook Feed: 2,400,000
  • Only Instagram Feed: 1,800,000
  • Use both platforms: 4,900,000

For illustrative purposes, here’s a visualization of these data:

Facebook and Instagram Target Audience Size Overlap with Exclusions

**Bonus Tip: If you would like a handy Excel file to guide analysis of different groups, CLICK HERE.

Audience Comparison Formulas

If you love a good formula structure, here’s a simple summary:

    • Facebook Feed Only = Combined Placement – Instagram Feed
    • Instagram Feed Only = Combined Placement – Facebook Feed
    • People in BOTH placements = Combined Placement – Facebook Feed Only – Instagram Feed Only

You can use this approach to compare any placements. This comparison process can be helpful for accurately understanding the potential audience sizes of people who are using various platforms, instead of basing your decisions on assumptions and/or guesswork.

Quick Reminder: When you are finished with configuring your estimates, be sure to click the Discard Draft button and not the Publish button. This will ensure you do not accidentally make your dummy campaigns live.

Where to Go From Here

In the future, I’d love to see Facebook separate Instagram and provide more detail in tools such as Audiences and Audience Insights, so that advertisers could better understand user differences.

Until then, it’s great to manually understand audience sizes. This helps advertisers prioritize efforts and better identify types of ad content they may develop.

Your Turn

What have you learned from analyzing your audience sizes for various platforms and ad placements?

Let me know in the comments below!

The post How to Compare Audience Sizes on Instagram vs. Facebook appeared first on Jon Loomer Digital.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Publish an Unpublished Post on Facebook: How to

Facebook’s unpublished posts, also referred to as “dark” posts, are actively used by advertisers. The “Info & Ads” tool has pulled back the curtain on just how frequently advertisers are utilizing this feature.

Sometimes unpublished posts are intentional, such as cases where advertisers want to test out multiple posts, but without all the ad variations appearing on their page. Other times, they are the result of Facebook’s functionality (Example: Lead Ads are unpublished by default).

Let’s cover what unpublished posts are, when you might want to publish them, and how to navigate the publishing process.

What is the Difference Between a Published Post and an Unpublished Post?

A published post means that the post appears on the Facebook page associated with the post. An unpublished post never appears on the Facebook page, and instead only on News Feed (or other placements as applicable). These are often used as advertised (also referred to as sponsored) posts only. However, both published and unpublished posts can be either sponsored or organic.

Why Would you Use an Unpublished Post?

There are sensible business scenarios when advertisers might use an unpublished post. These are just a few examples:

Creative Testing of Ads: An advertiser may test out multiple creative or copy combinations and may not want the page’s visitors to see all of the variations.

Lead Forms: Posts for Facebook’s Lead Forms are created within Ads Manager, but the Lead Forms themselves can be created directly from a page. This means that by default, Lead Form posts on Facebook are unpublished posts.

Canvas Ads: Posts for Canvases tend to be created from Ads Manager, though there is also an option to create Canvas ad posts directly from the Canvas section of Page Tools.

Why Would You Publish an Unpublished Post?

There are multiple reasons why you may want to publish an unpublished post. Here are a few:

Creative Testing of Ads: You may let multiple posts run for some time before determining the best performer. You might then select the top performer for publishing directly to the page, thereby ensuring that page visitors would see the best you have to offer.

Lead Forms: You may want to publish Lead Form posts directly to the business page to be certain that Facebook users can find them easily. This might be particularly important when running a contest that is likely to generate high interest, for example.

Canvas Ads: You may find it easiest to create posts for Canvas ads from within Ads Manager, particularly if you are creating many versions of ads at a time. If you want these posts to be discoverable from your page, you will need to publish them directly to your page.

Remember that the Canvas creative unit is only viewable from mobile devices, even though the initial post may appear on desktop. For this reason, I only recommend publishing Canvas ads if it is absolutely required that they be visible on your page. Otherwise, keep them unpublished to avoid frustration from users visiting your page on desktop.

How to Publish an Unpublished Post

To publish an unpublished post, navigate to Ads Manager. If you use Business Manager, you can go to to access. If you do not, you can go to to access.

From Ads Manager, click the drop-down “stack” at the top left, and from the Create & Manage section, select Page Posts.

Publish Unpublished Post on Facebook - Page Posts Tool Selector

You’ll see a Page Selector drop-down on the top left. If you are unable to locate your page in this drop-down list, make sure you have selected the correct Business Manager account, or Ad Account, from the top right of this screen:

Facebook Page Posts Tool - Sample Screen

*I’ve labeled the two drop-downs in this example.

You’ll see various Posts options on the left: Scheduled Posts, Published Posts, and Ads Posts. The list will normally default to Ads Posts.

  • Scheduled Posts shows posts that are scheduled to be published to your page, but have not yet been published.
  • Published Posts shows posts that have been published to your page. These are already visible to your page visitors, provided that you haven’t restricted the audience.
  • Ads Posts shows posts that have already been used in ads. These are the posts which we can now publish directly to our business page.

From here, you can select the specific post you’d like to publish:

Publish an Unpublished Post - Facebook Page Posts Tool

You can choose to “Publish,” which will immediately place the post on your page, visible to page visitors.

You can also choose  “Schedule,” which will allow you to set the time and date for when you’d like the post to appear on your page. Be careful not to mistakenly select “Delete.” This would completely delete your post.

The option to Create Ad allows you to create a new ad using the same post used previously. Remember that multiple ads can use the same post, which is a common tactic for building on “social proof.”

Locating Unpublished Posts in the Page Posts Tool

To see your unpublished posts, you can use a search bar in the Page Posts tool to navigate through your Ads Posts. This is particularly useful if you have a large volume of posts associated with ads.

You can search by the text copy within the ad post using this search bar. You can also search by the Post ID number.

Remember that you can locate the Post ID in Ads Manager by navigating to the Post Preview of an ad. Here’s a quick review of the steps to do this:

1) Navigate to a specific ad within Ads Manager, and check the box beside that ad.

Facebook Ads Manager - Select Post to Publish

2) Select the edit button on the far right. It looks like a pencil icon:

Facebook Ads Manager - Edit Ad Selector Button

This will now display the Ad details. We can use the post link here to locate the post ID.

To access the associated post link for the ad, navigate to the Ad Preview section, and select the small upward right facing arrow. From here, choose the option Facebook Post with Comments:

Facebook Ad Preview - View Facebook Post URL and Post ID

This will open the link to the URL for the post associated with the ad. The Post ID is the very last string of numbers, after the “/posts/” segment of the URL. It will look like this:

You can copy the Post ID, and search in the Ads Posts of the Page Posts Tool search bar using this number.

Considerations on Publishing Unpublished Posts

The Page Posts tool we are using to publish unpublished posts has a history of being a bit buggy. I’ve found that it often works best in Google Chrome, but sometimes switching between browsers can resolve errors.

Some users have recently reported permission errors as well. If you happen to run into issues, you might try again in a day or two, as these errors tend to resolve themselves. If you continue to have problems, you might try reaching out to Facebook Support for help.

Your Turn

What other scenarios do you have for publishing unpublished posts?

Let me know in the comments below!

The post Publish an Unpublished Post on Facebook: How to appeared first on Jon Loomer Digital.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Facebook Location Targeting: A Detailed Guide

Facebook Location Targeting options can provide powerful methods to reach specific users in certain areas. However, as Facebook has created additional options, advertisers may be confused about how to take complete advantage of these features. Some also may not fully understand how Facebook determines target audience locations.

Note that this post is focused primarily on paid targeting. I’ve also written about restricting your audience using location targeting at the page or post level.

This post dives into what Facebook Location Targeting is and how location is determined. We’ll also cover scenarios when you might want to use the different capabilities offered. Along the way, we’ll take a nerdy detour into segmented audience analysis.

Let’s get to it…

What Is Facebook Location Targeting?

Location Targeting on Facebook simply allows us to tell Facebook the relevant geographic locations where we would like to show our ads.

At the time of this writing, Facebook allows you to target by Country, State (or region, depending on the country), City, Zip/Postal Code, and Business Address. In the United States, you can also target by DMA, which is a media market as defined by Nielsen.

You can also target multiple locations within a single targeting group, though there are limits to how many specific targeting parameters you can build. For example, you can include up to 25 individual countries, or up to 250 individual cities, in a single group.

Facebook also offers very broad targeting capabilities, including the “Worldwide” targeting option. You can also target by broad region, such as Asia, and by Free Trade Area. A list of options is available here. If you are using broader target groups, there are limitations to what Facebook will include. We’ll cover these in more detail later in this article.

How to Use Facebook Location Targeting

There are three phases when you can define locations to target: during the campaign creation process, when creating a saved audience, or when using Audience Insights.

Within each of these phases, there are three primary methods for selecting a location:

1) Type the location:

Facebook Location Targeting - Typing in California

In this example, as we type “California” the various options populate. Be sure to select the correct geolocation!

2) Perform a “Drop Pin” on a map.

Navigate on the map using the +/- options, and also by dragging the map, to where you’d like to drop a location pin. Once you’ve found your location, click the “Drop Pin” button:

Your mouse pointer will now be highlighted with a “check” mark, which you can drop wherever you’d like on the map:

Once you click to drop the pin, the map will populate with the GPS coordinates for the location you’ve chosen:

Facebook Location Targeting - Drop Pin with GPS

You can now click the mileage/kilometer radius to adjust as needed. You can type in the new radius, or slide the bar to the desired location:

3) Bulk Upload Locations

This less common method is useful if you need to target many locations, and you don’t want to have to manually select them. Facebook covers this method here.

How to Exclude Locations

Instead of targeting a location, you can also change the selector to the left of the location name to exclude specific locations from your target:

Facebook Location Targeting - Exclude Locations

As an example, you could target people in a State, but exclude a specific city (or cities). Here’s an example targeting people in California, while excluding San Diego:

Facebook Location Targeting - Target California but Exclude San Diego

*Excluding locations has some special considerations, which are covered later in this article.

What Types of Locations are Eligible for Targeting?

Facebook has four options for location targeting:

  • Everyone in a location
  • People who live in this location
  • Recently in this location
  • People traveling in this location

Strangely, Facebook’s help articles indicate that Everyone in a location is the default option, though in my own experience I have seen the People who live in this location seems to be the default selection when creating a new audience.

You might wonder how Facebook determines whether a user lives in a location, or is just passing through. Glad you asked!

How Facebook Determines Location of a User

Facebook uses multiple signals to determine (or more realistically, to estimate) a user’s location. The platform may use IP address, mobile device info, a user’s profile data (i.e. city listed in their profile), and sometimes a combination. They can also use info from the locations of the Facebook user’s friends.

Thankfully, Facebook does shed some light on this. The data source they use depends on the location segment (i.e. Traveling In, People who Live In, etc). Location data sources are defined by Facebook as follows:

  • Everyone in this location: People whose current city on their Facebook profile is that location, as well as anyone determined to be in that location via mobile device.
  • People who live in this location: People whose current city from their Facebook profile is within that location. This is also validated by IP address and their Facebook friends’ stated locations.
  • Recently in this location. People whose most recent location is the selected area, as determined only via mobile device. This includes people who live there or who may be traveling there.
  • People traveling in this location. People whose most recent location is the selected area, as determined via mobile device, and are greater than 100 miles from their stated home location from their Facebook profiles.

It’s important to remember that Facebook uses multiple signals to determine a user’s location (with the exception of the Recently in this location target, which is based solely on mobile device signals).

You may be surprised to see that the Recently in this location group can include people who live in the location as well as those traveling, based on Facebook’s definition. Some may assume that Recently in this location would exclude People who live in this location, but that’s not the case…

Nerd Break Warning: Audience Location Overlap

If you are interested in slicing, dicing, and diving deep into comparing the different Location segmentation audiences, this section is for you. Feel free to skip ahead to the section “Quirks/Limitations to Consider with Location Targeting” if this is a bit too much detail.

Thinking back to how Facebook defined the data source for the Recently in this location audience, we might assume that this audience would automatically include everyone who is in the People who live in this location audience, at the very least.

Let’s do a quick experiment using the Audience Overlap tool within Facebook’s Ad tools to see if that holds up. We can use it here to better understand Facebook’s definition of the various Location audiences, and how they interact with one another. Sidenote: If you want to dive even deeper into this tool specifically, Jon wrote about it here.

Audience Segmentation Analysis

Access the Audiences tool within Ads Manager:

Facebook Ads Manager - Audiences Tool

Choose the option to Create Audience, and select Saved Audience:

Facebook Ads Manager - Create and Save Audience

Enter the name of your audience. In this example below, I’ve used the very basic “People Who Live in California.”

Change the Location selection from the drop-down menu to choose “People who live in this location,” and type California into the location list:

Facebook Location Targeting - California Audience - Living In

Click the “Create Audience” button on the bottom right to save this audience.

Now that we have our People who live in this location audience set for California, let’s now set up a Recently in this location audience for California.

Similar to above, we’ll select Create Audience again, and then choose Saved Audience:

Facebook Ads Manager - Create and Save Audience

As before, we’ll enter the name of our audience. This one I’ve named “People Recently in California.”

We’ll change Location selection drop down to choose “People recently in this location,” and type California into the location list:

Facebook Location Targeting - People Recently In California Example

Here’s where the fun begins. Click to Create Audience at the bottom right of the audience creation screen.

From our main Audiences screen, we should now see both audiences listed:

Facebook Audiences Tool - Audience Selector

The first thing to notice in our example is that the “People Who Live In” audience is larger than the “People Recently In” audience. Based on the way Facebook defines each of these audiences, this result doesn’t seem possible. Let’s investigate further by comparing the Audience Overlap.

Select both audiences by checking the box to their left, then from the Actions drop-down menu choose the Show Audience Overlap:

Facebook Audiences - Show Audience Overlap Example

Here’s what we find:

Facebook Location Targeting - Audience Overlap People Recently In vs People Who Live In California

Here’s how we read this chart: The top shows the base audience. The bottom chart is the Comparison Audiences section, which reports the comparative audience against the base audience. In our example, 9,396,000 of the total people in the “People Recently In California” audience are also in the “People Who Live In California” Audience.

Interpreting Our Audience Overlap Findings

This comparison exercise suggests that a literal interpretation of Facebook’s definition of People Recently In would be incorrect. We should not assume that People Recently In includes all of People Who Live In AND People Traveling In.

When we review the data sources and definitions of the different targeting options (as outlined earlier in this article), this makes sense for several reasons. First, the target for People Recently In is determined using only mobile device info as the signal, whereas the other targeting options use additional signals.

Just as we can create audience groups and compare them in Audience Insights, we can also compare People Recently In with People Traveling In to test our assumption that a literal interpretation of Facebook’s audience definitions would be incorrect:

Facebook Audience Insights Overlap - Traveling vs Recently In - California

Here we find that the People Traveling In audience includes people who are not also within the People Recently In audience, confirming our assumption that the Recently In audience does not fully encapsulate the entire audience of Traveling In. I’m not certain whether this is because the two are based on different data sources, or if Facebook is categorizing users as Recently In if they normally live in that location but are currently elsewhere.

It’s helpful to be able to compare different audience segments and their overlap patterns. If you like this sort of thing, check out this write-up from Jon specifically on the use of the Audience Overlap capability.

Quirks/Limitations to Consider with Location Targeting

1) Excluded Cities When Using Broad Targeting

When you target broad locations, such as Country (or Worldwide), certain cities are sometimes not included. Most of the locations subject to this limitation are islands, or in locations where Facebook usage is limited or restricted, such as China.

For a complete list of locations that exclude cities when using broader targeting, check out this Facebook help resource page. The list is located near the bottom of the article.

2) Excluding Locations

If you exclude certain locations from your advertising audience, keep in mind that this only guides Facebook to not run an advertisement in this location. It does not prevent people in those locations from seeing the ad.

We can illustrate with an example: Let’s say we tell Facebook to target people in California, but exclude people in San Diego. Facebook will not show our post as an advertisement (i.e. sponsored post) to people in San Diego. However, there might be someone who lives in Los Angeles, who shares our post. That person in Los Angeles could have a Facebook friend in San Diego. The friend in San Diego may see our post as an organic placement because their friend in Los Angeles shared the post.

If you need to completely restrict people in a location from seeing the post, you have some options. I covered those options here in a more detailed article regarding Restricted Audiences on Facebook.

3) Drop-Pin Radius Limitation

If you elect to use the “drop pin” method, and the radius of the circle crosses into another country, that country is not included in your target audience. Facebook covers other reminders about radius targeting here, near the bottom of the page.

Scenarios When You Might Use Different Location Targeting Options

1) Everyone in this location:

You could use this if you don’t mind whether the people in your target live in the area or are just traveling through. Coffee shops, restaurants, online sales, etc.

2) People who live in a location:

This targeting segment is for something more relevant for people who live their daily lives in an area and may use services or products on a regular basis. Think gym memberships, community centers, etc. It could also be useful for services related to property, such as home repair, plumbing, electrical HVAC, security services, etc.

3) Recently in this location:

I’ll be honest – I have trouble thinking of times when this is more useful vs. the other targeting options. Facebook’s help article suggests this segment for time-sensitive sales. An example might be inviting people back to a location – local visitor bureau ads, perhaps? If you have an idea for a great use of reaching people recently in a location, tell me in the comments!

4) People traveling in a location:

This is naturally suited to tourism offerings. If you have a tourist attraction, event tickets, hotel, rental car company, or any other service of use to a traveler – go for this.

Not All Who Wander Are Lost

Location targeting was one of the first “fancy” targeting options to become available on Facebook. The potential from this is often overlooked, likely because of newer targeting options based on travel behavior. From our dive into Facebook location targeting, here’s what we covered:

  • You can target very broad (as broad as the entire globe) or very specific (down to a one-mile radius of a pin drop) locations.
    • Broad targeting does not always include all cities in a location. There are exceptions.
  • You can exclude specific locations from targeting… but this doesn’t mean the users from excluded locations will definitely not see an ad.
  • Facebook uses different data sources to determine estimates for the various location segments. These segments are: Everyone, People Who Live in, Recently In, and People Traveling in.
    • The definitions of these estimates are not aligned exactly with the realities of each segment.
  • Different situations call for different targeting options.
    • You might have a business justification for wanting to target only users who live in a location, and other times people traveling in a location. Facebook offers options for these.

Your Turn

Do you use different Facebook Location Targeting options? Is there a way you use it that I’ve missed?

Let me know in the comments below!

The post Facebook Location Targeting: A Detailed Guide appeared first on Jon Loomer Digital.