Making a Facebook Ad campaign both successful and sustainable for a longer time period take some patience and planning.
I like to approach my own and client ads in terms of “Phases” for long term ad success:
1. The Learning Phase
2. The Peak Phase
3. The maintenance Phase
The Learning Phase:
This is where you are discovering which audience and ad work best together. There will be a lot of different and failed experiments in this phase. This is also where many people quit and say “Facebook doesn’t work”.
This phase can be frustrating as you may or may not be getting a return on your adspend and you will see a lot of ads that you *though* would work that don’t.
Don’t get emotional about it. Have your budget planned out ahead and know that you are seeking a “needle in a haystack”. With persistence you will find it!
This phase will be made more simple by the new (as of Oct 2017) Dynamic Ad Creative feature, which optimizes different variations of your ads for you.
The goal of this phase is to learn from the data and find the ads that are working well.
The Peak Phase:
Once you are in the peak phase you have turned off 80-90% of the ads for this campaign and have a few that are working. These few are your golden ticket.
With these working ads that are providing your goal conversions at an acceptable cost, you can start to scale up. Depending on your strategy, you may want to continue to scale or just find a point of equilibrium. The point of equilibrium is where you are gathering leads (of whatever your Desired action is) at a comfortable cost and rate. (some businesses can only process so many leads in a time period).
You will see the ad run, with fluctuations for weeks or months in this phase. With a focus on the longer term, you still have a comfortable average cost per action.
The Maintenance Phase:
This is another place people struggle and give up. You see the ad go from working to being less and less efficient.
Agin, it’s time for experimentation. While a primary ad and audience is still working, this gives you an opportunity to be experimenting with a small part of the budget. using 5 to 10% of the budget for experimentation extends the life of a campaign and may help you find opportunities you would have otherwise not known about.
An example is an ad I’ve been running for a client for almost two years at this point. (no, I wont show you the ad) It solves a problem related to the product. It converts nicely and maintains a 3-5% CTR to cold traffic. While the ad has stayed the same, I’ve updated the campaign objective 3 times. Once from conversion to Lead ads. Another time I duplicated the ad (using the ad ID) and ran an engagement campaign along side the primary campaign.
Of note in the example, we have a specific budget monthly to spend and we aren NOT continually trying to scale. The algorithm has become extremely efficient at finding leads at less that one dollar for a high ticket product (leads not sales).
Understanding why this can work:
The audience that Facebook shows you, for example a 2 Million person Lookalike audience) is a monthly number. It’s not finite. Each audience has new people entering and leaving each month. With a 2 Million person audience, you are unlucky to reach all of them in any give month. Especially when you are on a standard budget.