You've designed a Facebook ad, you set up your parameters and sent your ad off into the Meta-verse for approval. You're good to go! Not so fast. There is an auction process that happens every time there is an opportunity to show an ad to a user. The auction determines which approved ad should be displayed to each user. What is that process? I can't tell you the exact formula (only Facebook knows that), but, if you want some parameters on how to create winning Facebook ads to beat the competition, keep reading...
How is a winner selected?
When you set up your campaign, you select your target audience. It is so important to select a targeted client you want to reach for your campaign because if your audience is too broad, you will face more competition to show your ad. If you have multiple demographics, create multiple campaigns targeting each demographic with each campaign.
Once the as ad is approved by Facebook, an auction then takes place to determine which ad wins the spot on user's screens. The winning ad must maximizes the value for both the users and the businesses based on these three metrics:
Advertiser Bid: what budget (daily amount and overall campaign) did you set?
Estimated Action Rates: what is the likelihood the ad will result in your desired outcome with a particular user?
Ad Quality: what is the user's response to the ad? How many views did the ad receive vs. how many people hide the ad? Is the ad low-quality? Does the ad withhold information, sensationalize information or bait the user in any way?
The formula Facebook uses to determine the ad's total value in comparison with other advertisers competing for the same user is:
ADVERTISER BID x ESTIMATED ACTION RATES + USER VALUE = TOTAL VALUE
Facebook's ad auction system is looking at your bid and the ad performance as top factors in winning the auction. In order to increase your positioning, Facebook recommends you raise your maximum bid and refine your targeting so you are reaching the audience most likely to engage with your ads.
Facebook Ad Quality
The highest performing ads will have good creative, which refers to the messaging, quality of graphics/video and if it will help drive results to help you reach your goal. Here are a few examples of formats and optimization for your content:
Still images: use people and/or product images; test different image options to see what resonates with your audience (i.e. content and horizontal vs square images).
Video: you don't have much time to capture attention. Use screenshots, infographics and more.
Carousel: use up to 10 clickable images and videos in 1 ad! Great for product display.
Collection: pair images and videos together to increase sales. Share up to 50 products for people to browse and shop.
Messenger: helps build relationships to guide conversations through your marketing funnel.
Instant Experience: full-screen experiences for mobile devices. Use templates or customize your own. Helps people discover, browse and purchase products.
Slideshow: 3 - 10 images with text and sound to tell a story. Moving ads without having to create a video.
Now that you know what to use, here are tips on how to increase your creative value:
Design ads for viewing on mobile devices.
Make content short and impactful.
Create video/images for sound off, but make it even better with the sound on!
It is recommended you create and use different variations of your content in a single ad campaign. That way Facebook Ads can figure out which of your content pieces performed the best and can then be shown more often.
The impact of ad quality on user action rates can be as high as 50%!
Facebook Ad Relevancy
Ad relevancy is determined when the estimated action rates and ad quality are combined. This means an ad that is more relevant to a Facebook user could win the auction against another business' ad with a higher advertiser bid.
Budget + Targeting + Great Creative = WINNING AD!
Facebook has an ad relevance diagnostics tool which helps you determine if your ads were relevant to the audience your ads reached.
Factors That Impact Ads
There are additional external factors that may impact your overall ad campaign, unrelated to the auction:
Things that influence a consumer from outside the ad itself, i.e. previous experience with a brand, familiarity with the product, where they are in the purchase cycle, etc.
If your audience isn't familiar with your brand or they are ready to make a purchase, increasing the frequency of ad delivery is a good strategy.
Using unique messages with less complexity will be easier for people to visually digest your content. We have been "trained" to scan text so if you keep your messaging simple, users can relate it to information they already know.
Media Environment and Competition
The month, day and hour of an ad can significantly impact the results of your ad. For example, in December, there are more auction to bid ads so the additional competition greatly impacts your ad.
Remember, you will have to monitor your ad to determine if you need to increase or decrease the frequency of your ads, or make adjustments to your message and images/videos.
Since both the business goals and user's value is a factor in the auction process, even the most engaging ads need to be shown at higher frequency to cut through the white noise. Remember, market, message and media factors all have significant influence over your ad engagement.
Platforms and Placements
When running a Facebook ad, you have the option to use any or all of the platforms available: Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and Audience Network. Based on your strategy, ad type and settings selected, different platforms will be available to you for your campaign. If you are new to ads, you can select automatic placements (now called Advantage + placements) and the system will maximize your budget with various placements.
Ads can be displayed in:
Feeds: Facebook or Instagram. It is recommend you use square and vertical (4:5) videos for this type of placement.
Stories: Instagram, Facebook and Messenger Stories. This is to increase engagement with your audience. 9:16 videos recommended.
In-Stream Video ads: 5 - 15 second videos on Facebook and Audience Network. It is recommended you use 16:9 format for Facebook images and 1:1 ratio for videos. Audience Network ads should use 16:9 video format.
Messenger: Use horizontal, 1:1, or 16:9 image formats. Available on mobile only.
Instant Articles: a tool for media publishers to distribute fast, interactive articles on Facebook mobile and Messenger. Use horizontal 16:9 or square images and videos.
Audience Network: extend Facebook and Instagram campaigns across the internet onto thousands of high-quality websites and apps. 9:16 content for Audience Network Native, Banner and Interstitial ads and Audience Network Rewarded Video ads. It is recommended you use 16:9 content for Audience Network In-Stream Video ads.
To learn more about Facebook Ads Placements, click here.
Remember, advertising is an art and a science. There are many factors that play into successful advertising. You will need to monitor your campaign and make adjustments to find the content that will increase your desired results.
If you need any assistance strategizing how to create a winning Facebook Ad, contact Core Marketing Now.