New Facebook Ads 20 Times More Effective

Yesterday, I wrote a blog post about Facebook’s new Ad Create Flow. I questioned the removal of bidding for CPM and Facebook’s ambiguous explanations of what they actually do with your budgeted dollars. As a very supportive Facebook marketer (a fan boy?), it was probably the most scathing post I’ve ever written about the social network.

Can I make a retraction? WHOA!

Immediately after hitting “publish” on my post, I figured I had better test out the new advertising. What happened during the next 24 hours put me into full-on maniac mode. I could not believe what I was seeing.

Is Facebook’s new bidless advertising worth it? My answer is such an emphatic yes that I question whether there was a bug in my favor. My results were great… TIMES 20!

The Experiment

Like any good social scientist, I wanted to be sure that any new ad I created could be closely compared to one I previously ran on the old system. So I took this one, which was targeted at friends of fans of Jon Loomer Digital outside of the US with several specific interests related to social media business…

Old Facebook Ad Results

It was one of several ads from a campaign in which I spent a total of $25. I’ll help you do the math here…

Total Reach: 116,843
Total Spent: $10.52
Total Likes: 10 (21 of the “Actions” were Page Tab Views)
Cost Per Like: $1.05

That’s what you’d call a pretty pedestrian ad. I probably shouldn’t have run it as long as I did. I consider a “great” ad as one that nets me a Cost Per Like rate of between 35 and 50 cents. I rarely see anything below that, and when I do it doesn’t last long.

The .024% click through rate is decent, though, which is probably why I ran it as long as I did. I kept hoping it would turn around.

So I used that ad to create a nearly identical one with the new system. I spent nearly $20 on it. And to be honest, I should probably spend $200 after you see the results…

New Facebook Ad Results

Ready for me to do the math? Hold onto your shirts…

Total Reach: 35,261
Total Spent: $19.39
Total Likes: 351 (!!!!!)
Cost Per Like: $.055 (!!!!!!!!!!)

Are you freaking kidding me??!!

The decimal has not been misplaced. I was spending only 5.5 cents per like. I very rarely see anything under 30 cents. That is 5% of the rate I paid for my ad using the old system. Incrediby efficient. This… is… INSANE!

Truly Optimized

You’ll note that the total reach of my new ad is about a third that of the old one, yet the cost was nearly double. The CPM price of the new ad is also about six times as much.

As you probably recall, it is no longer possible to bid on CPM ads. Facebook “optimizes” your ad and provides an optimized price. I have no idea how exactly they optimize these ads, but… Yeah. I’m a believer.

I can only make assumptions, but I consider it highly likely that “optimizing” means focusing advertising more on people who are known to click on ads. Facebook knows who clicks and who doesn’t, so it would only make sense that they would use this to make ads more efficient.

Double Checking

I’m still in disbelief. I’ve reached out to numerous friends to see if they are getting similar results, and I’m not hearing anything definitively one way or the other yet. I decided to create a completely separate campaign and duplicate a different ad to see if I still got good results.

This time, I used a failed ad that targeted US users. With that one, I had previously spent $1 and didn’t get a single Like or click. When I ran it with the new system, I spent $5 and received 10 Likes. An exceptional rate (50 cents per Like)? Maybe not. But once again, far better and more efficient than it was before.

It’s all relative. And it’s all been relatively great so far.

Some Notes

One very important note is that with the new ad unit, I could not target friends of fans. I tried to enter the name of my Page, but it would not pull it up. Facebook only seemed to want to find friends of fans of my apps. One would think this would make the ad less effective, but that was clearly not the case.

Another note to make is that in all cases, I’m clearly having much more success with Facebook users outside of the US. This is partly because rates are simply higher in the US. But people outside of the US also seem to be much more willing to click on ads. This isn’t a new development, but is now amplified.

I also need to note that Facebook approved my ads very quickly. I complain about approval time a lot, so I should give them props when it goes well.

One more, important, note: The Like is only the first step. Yes, getting 350+ Likes for less than $20 through advertising is a huge bargain. But the main question will be whether these new fans have value. So far, it doesn’t appear they have provided significantly more traffic to my site. And while my email subscriptions for a typical day doubled, my ad sent them to a tab to subscribe. Most chose not to provide their email address.

So very eye-opening results? Absolutely. This is huge. But in the end, quality matters. What you do with those new people matters, too.

My Recipe for Success

Here are the settings that I used that gave me such ridiculous results. Magic formula? Can’t be replicated? Maybe. But feel free to try something similar…

Destination: Facebook Page

Promote: Facebook Page

Location: India, Ireland, Italy, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa, United Kingdom, Australia, Thailand, Philippines, Brazil, Portugal, France and Germany

Age: 28-58 (no exact match)

Gender: Male and Female

Precise Interests: who like #Affiliate marketing, #Chamber of commerce, #Digital marketing, #Email marketing, #Internet marketing, #Mashable, #ReadWriteWeb, #Search engine marketing, #Search engine optimization, #Small business, #Small Business Administration, #Social media marketing, #Social media optimization, #Social media strategist, #TechCrunch, business on facebook, denver business journal, facebook ads, facebook advertising, facebook business development, facebook for business, facebook for local business, facebook marketing, facebook marketing solutions, mashable, mashable business, mashable social media, mashable tech, small business or small business owner

Broad Categories: None

Connections: Only people not connected to my Page

Interested In: All

Relationship Status: All

Languages: None Entered

Education: Anyone

Workplaces: None Entered

Objective: Like my Page

Campaign Schedule: About 24 hours

Please Share

I have been screaming all day about this, and I’ve yet to find anyone to share in my excitement who is seeing something similar. How about you? Feel free to try a new ad with similar settings to what I used above and let me know how you do.

Good luck!

  • Betsy Kent – BeVisible

    Hi Jon, So I have a bunch of campaigns that have been running since last week. Do you think that those campaigns remain the way that they were originally set-up, and when I create a new campaign, the Create Flow interface will now appear instead of what I used before? Your experiment (thanks for being so generous) makes me want to stop my current campaigns and start them over. Betsy

    • Jon Loomer

      The old ads I created continued to run with the old method, Betsy. So I would click the link to Create Similar Ad and run a completely new one.

      Good luck!

  • Crissy Nolen

    OK! I’ve just created a new ad and am waiting for facebook to approve it! I placed very similar settings. I’ll share with you if I get similar results! :) HOPEFULLY I will…. 

    • Jon Loomer

      Good luck, Crissy! If your ad is anything like mine, you’ll be approved very quickly.

      Of course, your copy and image matter, too, but this sure worked for me!

      • Crissy Nolen

        Thank you Jon! :) AMAZING

    • Yevonne

      Does it matter what type offer?

    • @DanielaBolzmann

      Looking forward to hearing the results!

  • Yevonne

    What type of offer?  I only have games that I can run outside US.  Will that work?

  • Sterling Jackson

    Jon, does it allow you to restrict the occupation/position? My company sells on-demand CRM and ERP and I’d love to try this to reach business owner and decision makers.

    • Jon Loomer

      You can target by specific interests as well as broad categories. An example of a broad category is Small Business Owner. You can’t really target by occupation/position the way you want, but you can certainly get creative by targeting by education level and specific interests that business owners and decision makers in your field may have.

      • Sterling Jackson

        That’s perfect, being able to target small business owner. I’ll give it a try.


  • Lea

    Jon, do you have any experience or insight into the new FB ads directing to an external URL (instead of to a FB page)?  I am currently running 3 campaigns, 2 of which direct to an external URL (a page on my site) and am curious whether these fantastic improvements will translate to those campaigns, too.  Which leads me to my 2nd question:  am I understanding you correctly that, even if I’m running campaigns (which I’ve been running for nearly two months, since beginning of April 2012), I should DISCONTINUE my current campaigns and RE-CREATE them using the new system?  Is that what you’re saying?  Thanks…

    • Jon Loomer

      Hey, Lea! I haven’t run an ad to an external site lately, but I would not expect great results from it. In general, Facebook charges more for such ads and they have every reason to encourage advertisers to drive people to pages on Facebook. Feel free to try it and report back though!

      Correct on your second question. I would stop your current campaign and click Create a Similar Ad to start a new, identical (or nearly identical) one that should be optimized.

      Also, I’m assuming everyone has the new ad design. I read something on today that leads me to believe not everyone has it. Can you confirm that you do?

      • Lea

        Hi Jon, 

        Before I go to check (whether or not I have the new ad design), I figured it wise to ask: How would I know? lol…  Is there some new wording or something I should look out for that differentiates the new “Ad Create Flow” from the old interface?  What should I look out for?  Thanks..

        • Lea

          sorry for the redundancy…

          • Lea

            Ok, Jon, thanks for the explanation.  Yes, I do have the new system.  And I went ahead and tried it for both: my Page and my external URL…we’ll see! One last thing I was curious about, however:  on your “formula” in the above blog post, you didn’t mention your “daily budget” that you specified when creating the ad.  You did mentioned that you ENDED UP spending around $20, but I was wondering if you specified that $20 amount before you placed the ad??  I’m a little nervous about specifying such a high daily spend, as my current (old-style) campaigns total about $15/day…and that’s between 3 campaigns (4 ads total)! So, to allot $20 for 24 hours on just one ad is kind of a tall order..Thanks again!

          • Jon Loomer

            I TOTALLY understand, Lea. I don’t spend much on Facebook advertising either. I actually only use a LIfetime budget and I typically start at $5. If I see that it’s doing well, I then increase the amount and extend the end date. I did not start with a $20 budget.

            Hope this helps!

        • Jon Loomer

          If you have experience with the old format, it’s pretty obvious. It’s broken down in steps. You can’t proceed to the next step of ad creation until you tell Facebook what you want to advertise first. And the biggest addition is Objective, which is right before setting your budget. That is where you will determine whether the goal is to get more Likes or get more Clicks. While you should notice from the design itself, the inclusion of Objective is the biggest — and most important — difference.

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  • Alfred van Kuik

    I have never tried ads before, and we decided to do so just a few days after the big changes, so I have no idea how it was before. The results though, are really impressive! A lot better than we expected at least.

    We went with CPM. We went into the campaign with 70 likes on our page, and now have 282, with just over a week and only €14 spent! I don’t know how many of those come from the ads (161 actions according to the stats, but I don’t know where the other 50 came from. Social reach is 41).

    We stepped in at the right moment, apparently, and will sure be using ads more often in the future!

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  • Farrukh Naeem

    Hi Jon – I was happy to find one voice here that asked ALL the right questions about the vague CPM bidding removal answers given by FB. Just wondering, the 2nd screenshot in your blog post shows a bid range. How is that possible if you were bidding CPM?

    • Jon Loomer

      I’m not really sure, Farrukh. There was definitely no bidding involved. It’s possible Facebook has since removed displaying that information.

      FYI, you can still do the old CPM bidding if you use the Power Editor. More info here:

      How to Use Facebook Power Editor

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  • Wedding Album Cafe

    Thanks Jon for the excellent information i am about to run an ad exactly as you have prescribed with the exception precise interests. one thing i’m curious about, did you run your ad for 24 hours only or what was your budget per day?

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  • Lars Pedersen


    A gree it is worth it :-)

    After struggelig to get 66 likes (in the spanish edition) and 13 like (in the english edition), look what happend after just 1 week (12/12/2012) with add´s on Facebook:


    … it is worth the little money it costs !



  • Kuy Ty

    Cambodia also cheap, I’m a director of an online advertising agency in Cambodia. Mark