Stop creating Ads…Start creating campaigns

I was working with a coaching client yesterday and as we were working through her campaign it started to become very obvious that she needed to take a bit more time planning. Not planning the end result, but planning all the possible ways we were going to get there.

Stop running ads and start running campaigns.

When we are doing any kind of marketing we should be thinking in terms of campaigns, and not individual ads. Running a bunch of ads that don’t fit together in a cohesive unit doesn’t get us very far. Running the same ad to different audiences doesn’t work well either. We have to talk to each of our audiences differently. Even if we are offering the same thing to each audience, the way we need to talk with them probably differs.

Planning a campaign and not some ads is the way to accomplish this.

Lets start with how Facebook organizes our campaign for us.Campaign (1)

Campaigns are the highest level in the hierarchy.
At the campaign level is where we are going to choose what we want to have happen…do we want visits to our website, conversions, video views, etc. We can only have one objective per campaign.

Ad Sets are where we set our audience and budget.
Each ad set gets its own audience and each audience gets its own budget.

Ads are the end product that the user sees.
In the ad set level we split our our audiences to make sure we can track what is happening. In the Ad level we are going to offer a couple of different options for images or copy to see what works well with each audience.

Planning at each level of the campaign.

At the Campaign level there isn’t as much to do. You have to choose your overall objective for the campaign (you are forced to do this part by Facebook!) Treat picking your objective like the menu at a restaurant. If you want people to go to your website to just gain traffic, then choose “Increase visits to my website”, but if you want them to do something once they get there choose “Increase conversions to my website”. Tell Facebook exactly what you want to have happen. Don’t order the fish and hope you accidently get the chickend! And while you aren’t forced to choose a budget you also need to have that in mind as well so you can work backwards into the total spend when you are setting up your ad sets.

Our Ad Creation ProcessThe Ad Set level is where the planning really begins. You can squish as many of your audiences together as you want, but the more you separate them the better you can tailor your creative and copy to each audience. It will also help you determine which audience is working best and which one is a dud. Once you determine what is working and what isn’t you can move your budget around accordingly to add more money to the good ones that is left over from the bad ones you have turned off.

This is also the point you need to start asking some questions about your audience. Has this audience already purchased something from you? Have they simply visited your website but haven’t bought yet? Do you already have some sort of social proof with them because you are running a “Friends of Fans” audience? Or are they a completely cold audience that has never had an interaction with you before? These are the types of questions you have to ask yourself before you begin to craft your ads. Take the time at this point to jot down what you know about each different audience and how you think you are going to talk with them. What could the “hook” be that gets someone in a particular audience to click on your offer?

The ad level is when our creative juices can really get flowing. Once you have answered all the questions about your audiences it is time to start coming up with images and copy to use in your ads. Take the notes you made in the ad set level about each audience and choose images and copy that correspond with each audience. Actually write out each ad copy (Headline, Text, Newsfeed description, etc…) so that when you go to create the ads all you have to do is copy and paste. Find all the images you need as well. Don’t just write down what type of image you want, actually find the exact image you are going to use and make sure it’s the right size. The better prepared we are when we open ads manager or power editor the less likely we are to settle for something that isn’t exactly right for our campaign.

This needs to be a step by step process. Don’t get ahead of yourself and run straight to the creative without getting all of the other stuff in place first. Get all of your ad set ideas done before you start picking out images and writing copy. Don’t worry, you can always go back and add another ad set if you decide you need to.

We use a spreadsheet to keep all of this straight and help us make sure we have covered all the steps in the process. To me there are two distinctly different phases of campaign creation. First, the process of coming up with the offer, who to offer it to, and how to talk with them. Second is the technical process of getting the ads running on Facebook. We use this spreadsheet to bridge the gap between those two stages.

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We know this method has helped our clients and we hope it’ll help you too! Remember that failing to plan is planning to fail…

Good luck out there in the digital world!

560 thoughts on “Stop creating Ads…Start creating campaigns

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