5 strategies: how we squeeze the most out of Facebook and Instagram ads

An article for those who continue to work with Facebook targeting outside of Russia
5 strategies: how we squeeze the most out of Facebook and Instagram ads
An article for those who continue to work with Facebook targeting outside of Russia
The blocking of Meta* and the ban on running ads on the territory of Russia has made life very difficult for us. Nevertheless, we continue to cooperate with our clients from Kazakhstan, UAE, USA and other non-CIS countries on launching targeting on Facebook** and Instagram**.

Still, we at IZI Agency have a boundless love for advertising optimization from FB itself, but a considerable hatred for the eternal bugs and blocking from the system. In terms of performance, in general, there are no questions.

Having gone through a huge number of projects, read a large number of guides and watched hundreds of hours of youtube videos from Russian and English-speaking experts on FB traffic, we keep in our archives the best practices for launching, analyzing and optimizing advertising campaigns in Ads Manager**. And most importantly, ready to share our personal application experience.

In this article I will tell you about 5 structures of advertising campaigns in Facebook Ads Manager and how we put them into practice.
1. Strategy with CBO
This strategy is probably the most popular in the Russian segment. Oleg Gutnik, various authors on VC and experts on other thematic sites have written about it.
What about mechanics?
You run a campaign with Campaign Budget Optimization (hereafter CBO) enabled for three or four ad groups with equal audience size. The essence of this approach is that you fully delegate the budget allocation to the FB algorithm for your chosen audiences.
By way of example:
Goal - conversion and lead generation (for example)

Ad Set 1 - retargeting by customer base (site audience) + Look a Like 1% - ads A and B (turn off ineffective ones)
Ad Set 2 - audience by relevant interests - ads A and B (switch off ineffective ones)
Ad Set 3 - social dems/behavior/other - ads A and B (turn off ineffective ones).

The most effective groups FB will give more budget to the most ineffective groups in order to bring you applications, purchases on the site, etc. as cheaply as possible.

This strategy will not work for small budgets, narrow audience segments or rare conversions (mostly as in b2b), but it can bring good results in low-cost e-commerce, education (language and professional courses especially) and economy-class housing sales. The campaign with CBO also brought us good results in promoting one cashback service in Kazakhstan, we just had to remember to change creatives.

If there is more than one creative in a CBO, you will have to manually disable ineffective ones. The budget is distributed not at the level of ads, but at the level of the whole group.

An important point is that audiences should be equal in volume. For example, if there are 100K people in one campaign and 1 million people in another, then displays and budget will immediately go towards the larger audience.
2. Strategy with mutually exclusive audiences
We use this method in Ads Manager as often as the previous one. The essence of it is quite simple - we mutually exclude overlapping audience segments from other groups for each ad group.
Example 1:
Goal - traffic or conversion (for example):

  • Ad Set - Audience 1 - Look a Like site - Ad A and B (Exclude Audiences 2 and 3)
  • Ad Set - Audience 2 - Customer Base - Ad A and B (Exclude Audiences 1 and 3)
  • Ad Set - Audience 3 - Subscribers - ad (Exclude Audiences 1 and 2)
Example 2:
Goal - traffic or conversion (for example):

Ad Set 1 - Audience 1 - Interest Set 1 - Ads A and B (Exclude Interest Sets 2 and 3)
Ad Set 2 - Audience 2 - Interest Set 2 - Ads A and B (Exclude Interest Sets 1 and 3)
Ad Set 3 - Audience 3 - Interest Set 3 - Announcements A and B (Exclude Interest Sets 1 and 2)
This approach can be contrasted with the A/B testing method, which Facebook so persistently offers. But unlike a special A/B tool, here you can control the timing and budgets of ad groups yourself, as well as edit some settings after the launch.

This structure is suitable for almost everyone, but you will have to spend more time tracking the results by disabling low-performing ad groups.
3. Two-stage strategy for e-commerce
This approach came from the States. We have adapted it and conducted tests on different areas of business, but ideally it brings stable results only in the middle price segment of e-commerce or when promoting wow goods.
What about mechanics?
You launch two campaigns with the goal of "conversion" to purchase a product on the site. In the first campaign you advertise the product or catalog in video format (the video should be at least 15 seconds long), and in the second campaign you run retargeting in 7 days for site visitors and those who will watch the promotional video of the first campaign to the end.
The structure of the first campaign:
The goal is conversion to purchase on the website:

Ad Set 1 - interest set 1 - ads with video A and B
Ad Set 2 - interest set 2 - ads with video A and B
Ad Set 3 - set of interests 3 - ads with video A and B

You can add as many ad groups as you like. If you promote inexpensive goods, test interests related to online shopping (Amazon, Aliexpress, Ebay, for example).
The structure of the second campaign:
The goal is conversion to purchase on the website:

Ad Set 1 - retargeting on site visitors - ads with CTA return to the product card
Ad Set 2 - retargeting on those who have watched the advertising video to the end - ads with CTA return to the product card.

Foreign experts praise this strategy saying that it works with a small budget. For inexpensive wow-goods it may be so, but in more competitive niches with a low budget it didn't work for us, and with expensive goods the CAC was too high.
4. A simple strategy for identifying the target audience
If you are launching a new product on the market and you want to define your target audience more precisely, get new insights, then a media campaign with traffic to the site will work for you. In this approach, it is better to spin off ads with video. As practice has shown, ads with videos often have a higher CTR.
Campaign structure:
Goal - traffic to the site

Ad Set - geography and age - video ad

Next, in analytics systems, track and segment your audience by interest, age, geography and identify the most engaged users with your content. Here, it's important to get the cheapest possible but also high-quality traffic.
5. Strategy with a large budget
Those who have been working with FB for more than a year know that its algorithms are very well trained. And if at the start in the first days, weeks the cost of conversion can be higher than desired, then later the price goes down.

In Facebook/Instaram it is very important both to hit the pain of the target audience and to give a good offer to solve it. Working with Moscow targeting for 7 million people with a good budget and a well-developed offer, it was possible to get stable sales on the site and applications in Direct.

With Performance advertising in FB, only Conversion, Lead Generation and Messages can be suitable targets. By running algorithms even on broad audiences in large cities with large budgets, we managed to attract tens of thousands of app installs, not one hundred sales and applications on websites.
Yes, sometimes inadequate moderation, random bans of the advertising cabinet and a bunch of restrictions really piss you off. But the demand for customization of Facebook ads in the global market remains high and we at IZI Agency continue to study the platform, finding new ways and flyhacks to increase efficiency. Which we will definitely share with you.