I recently discussed the four most important factors that impact Meta advertising results. It’s only natural that we follow that up with the most overrated.
This post is necessary. Far too many advertisers waste their time on these three things when the impact of their efforts is often negligible. You should be focusing on those four primary items instead.
It doesn’t mean that these three areas don’t matter at all. In some cases, there’s a common misunderstanding about how something works. In others, a thing matters far less now than it once did.
And that’s the biggest issue here. Advertisers are slow to adjust to the evolution of Meta advertising.
Stop obsessing over these three things. They just don’t matter that much…
1. When you create a campaign, one of the first things you'll do is select an objective. The campaign objective is your ultimate goal. Your selection will impact options, including optimization and delivery. Options include Awareness, Traffic, Engagement, Leads, App Promotion, and Sales. More
I truly believe that this is a case of most advertisers misunderstanding the purpose of a campaign objective from the start. When an advertiser tells me that they are running a Sales The campaign is the foundation of your Facebook ad. This is where you'll set an advertising objective, which defines what you want your ad to achieve. More or Leads campaign, I have to follow up with clarification. More often than not, they are merely referring to the campaign objective.
Your selection of an objective is the first step when creating a campaign…
The choice you make here will impact options that are available to you throughout the process of setting up your ad set and ad. It helps streamline the process to remove irrelevant options. But that’s really about it.
You may think you’re running a Sales campaign because you selected the Sales objective, but that’s unlikely to have any impact on the delivery of your ads. That’s determined by the performance goal.
Here’s an example…
You could select Maximize Number of Impressions are the number of times your ads were displayed to your target audience. Impressions aren't counted if it is detected they came from bots. More as your The Performance Goal is chosen within the ad set and determines optimization and delivery. How you optimize impacts who sees your ad. Meta will show your ad to people most likely to perform your desired action. More using any of the six objectives. You’re unlikely to see any difference in delivery and performance due to the objective that you used. The performance goal determines how your ads are delivered. Meta cares about maximizing impressions only. You won’t naturally get sales because you used the Sales objective.
If there’s any impact on delivery by the objective selection itself — beyond the options that are given to you in the ad set — I haven’t seen that mentioned officially by Meta. But they are very clear about the purpose of the performance goal.
In Meta’s documentation about ad delivery, the campaign objective isn’t mentioned once when it explains the factors that contribute to how your ad is delivered. Yet, “optimization event” (the former name for the performance goal) is mentioned four times.
Your objective selection is not magical. The only motivation for selecting an objective is that it gives you a specific performance goal option that isn’t otherwise available.
It pains me to list this here, but you had to see it coming. I didn’t list targeting among the most important factors that impact your results in the last post. It’s absolutely overrated now.
Look… My whole thing for a decade was microtargeting. There was a period of time when I would have confidently told you that this is the most important factor in your advertising by far.
That’s just not the case anymore. There are two primary reasons for that.
1. Evolution of In most cases, mention of Broad Targeting refers to the removal of all potential targeting filters: No custom audiences, lookalike audiences, or detailed targeting. Instead, rely only on location and letting the algorithm do the work. More. “Going broad” would’ve sounded like insanity a few years ago. But, advertisers started removing targeting inputs, and they still saw good results. Then Meta rolled out Advantage+ Shopping Campaigns, which virtually eliminate targeting inputs. And then Advantage+ Audience, which sees your inputs as mere “suggestions” before going broad.
2. You’re going broader than you think. It kills me when advertisers say that broad targeting doesn’t work for them. And yet, when they use detailed targeting inputs while optimizing for a conversion, Advantage Detailed Targeting is automatically turned on. And when they provide lookalike audiences in these cases, When turned on, Meta can expand your audience if it believes you can get better results by doing so. That expansion will be achieved by increasing the percentage of your lookalike audience, using the original custom audience for training. More is turned on. They can’t be turned off. Meta is expanding your This is the group of people who can potentially see your ads. You help influence this by adjusting age, gender, location, detailed targeting (interests and behaviors), custom audiences, and more. More.
These inputs are way fuzzier today than they were a few years ago. The specific interests you provide don’t matter a whole lot. Meta’s going broader anyway. The specific lookalike audiences that you target don’t matter that much either.
There’s way more overlap now. That’s why it’s insane to take the 2018 approach of creating five to 10 An ad set is a Facebook ads grouping where settings like targeting, scheduling, optimization, and placement are determined. More targeting different groups of interests and lookalike audiences. You’re just competing with yourself and confusing the algorithm. You’re driving up your own costs due to Auction Overlap and Audience Fragmentation.
I’m not saying that you should never use detailed targeting, lookalike audiences, or custom audiences. If we’re to be honest, I’m not as aggressive about this as some broad-targeting-advocates are. They’ll tell you to never use those things.
It doesn’t mean that completely broad targeting works for everyone. I think you should experiment with it, sure. And I do believe that those who resist it aren’t giving it a true chance.
There’s no need for more than two cold audience ad sets in a campaign for the purpose of testing. There just isn’t. Limit your effort because the multiple ad sets you’re creating result in an inefficiency.
I still do some remarketing, though I do it differently than I once did. I now only truly remarket when using the smallest of audiences (like abandoned shopping cart). Otherwise, I might provide broader custom audiences as Meta's AI-powered targeting option. Meta will attempt to find your audience for you based on pixel activity, conversion history, and ad engagement. You can also provide targeting suggestions that Meta will initially prioritize before going broader. More suggestions.
That’s also how I’d use detailed targeting or lookalike audiences, if I were to use them at all. Don’t obsess over which ones you’re going to use. Use a few as targeting suggestions and move on.
It’s just not that important. The choices you make aren’t that impactful. And the day is likely coming soon when you won’t have a choice about going broad.
There was a time when removing placements made sense. The algorithm wasn’t particularly smart and some placements were a waste of money.
At the same time, I’d say that advertisers overreacted to this as long as a decade ago. I once wrote a blog post (10 years ago!) trying to convince people to stop removing the right hand column A placement is a location where your ad is shown. Examples include Facebook's mobile Feed, Messenger, Instagram feed, Audience Network, right-hand column, and more. More because the cost per impression was so much lower — which led to efficient results.
Advertisers still do this. In some cases, they only use Facebook and Instagram news feed because “that’s what is most effective.” It’s also what’s most competitive and expensive.
There are weaknesses, of course. If you ever optimize for The link click metric measures all clicks on links that drive users to properties on and off of Facebook. More or Landing Page View is a Facebook ads metric that represents when people land on your destination URL after clicking a link in your ad. More, it’s in your best interests to remove Audience Network. Otherwise, you’re going to get a ton of cheap clicks that result from accidental clicks, bots, and click fraud (before it’s discovered).
But that weakness is no longer an issue if your performance goal is A conversion is counted whenever a website visitor performs an action that fires a standard event, custom event, or custom conversion. Examples of conversions include purchases, leads, content views, add to cart, and registrations. More rather than link clicks. The algorithm will adjust with the goal of getting you conversions. If ads shown in Audience Network is a network of mobile apps that have been approved to monetize their apps with ads. This is how you can show your Meta ads to people while they are away from the Meta family of apps. Audience Network and associated groups are among your placement selection options in the ad set. More don’t lead to your performance goal, expect very little money to be spent there. In fact, I rarely see money spent there at all when optimizing for conversions.
There’s no reason to remove placements simply because you believe they are less effective. Allow the algorithm to figure that out. Removing placements when optimizing for conversions only restricts the algorithm, thereby limiting impressions and driving up your costs.
The only reason to remove placements is due to a weakness related to your performance goal. Beyond that, you’re overthinking it.
I’m sure I’ll get some disagreement on some of these. Again, it’s not that these three things mean nothing at all. But advertising has evolved to the point where they mean far less than they once did. Yet, many advertisers obsess over them like they are more important than they are.
Any other overrated factors that you’d add to this list?
Let me know in the comments below!