11 experts’ top tips to improve Facebook ads for better results

Do you want to know how experts will use Facebook ads in 2015?

In 2014, Facebook ads became an indispensable tool in most marketers’ toolbox, no thanks to a collapse in organic reach.

But the technical aspect of Facebook advertising can be overwhelming sometimes, even to industry practitioners who use it often.

To help you navigate the dense forest of ads and improve Facebook ads, I reached out to 11 Facebook ads pros and asked for their top tips in 2015.

Vote for your top tip(s)

Before we begin, let’s do a little something different this time.

I want you to vote for your favourite tips (up to 3) in the comments below.

You don’t have to explain why, although it’d be good that you do. In return, I will do my best to invite the top experts back to share their knowledge one day.

Ready to find some forward-looking, practical, and actionable tips to improve Facebook ads? Here are their top tips.

1. The key to great conversions is to put the words in other people’s mouths

The top social marketers realise that the best sellers never come off as outright selling. Ironically, the key to great conversions is to put the words in other people’s mouths. Sponsored Stories used to do this for us, but here are the alternates, which are more effective in 2015.

Promote posts that others have made about you. Yes, send people to someone else’s website, especially if they are high trust. Run workplace targets and custom audiences to amplify this.

Use GSP (gmail sponsored placements) to magnify where you are already doing Facebook retargeting (WCA).

Finally, find partners who will cross promote with you, so it’s neither of you taking about yourselves. Who are your partners and who have you not thought of yet to partner with?”

Dennis is an author at InsideFacebook, AllFacebook, SocialFresh, and TechCrunch.  Got any questions for him? Email [email protected].

2. Focus on designing better Audiences

Most people focus on beautiful creative and effective copy but don’t invest enough time working on the Audience. You should look at all the different possibilities or steps in your sales funnel to design better and smarter audiences.

One simple product could have many opportunities for ads, you can target people that visited the product page but left, another one for people that didn’t complete the transaction and another one for people that did. Design these audiences outside of Facebook and then import them periodically.

Another way is to use the segmentation you already have in place in your email service provider. If you have segments of people that have purchase specific products or have shown different interests. Combining email and Facebook could be very powerful.

Francisco Rosales is the founder and author of SocialMouths.

3. Do your split testing to find out what works best

The most important thing to keep in mind with Facebook ads is to do your split testing to find out what works best.
Many businesses just run one or two ads and they don’t get the results they were looking for and so they assume Facebook Ads don’t work for them. Sometimes it takes testing several different target audiences or several different images before you find the one that performs best. Even different ad types can yield different results - website conversion vs. an unpublished post for example.

So do your testing and keep changing things up until you find what works best for you.

Andrea Vahl is co-author of Facebook Marketing All-in-One for Dummies and also uses her improv comedy skills to blog as Grandma Mary, Social Media Edutainer.

4. Start slow and build up. Try a boost post first. Always be relevant

3 tips and tricks for massive results!

1. Start slow and build up

You want to think long term with your ads – you’re not planning to blow your budget within a few days, after all! Scale up frequency and spend gradually over time, evaluating performance at every stage as you go.

2. Try a boost post first

If you’re not sure whether an ad is going to cut it or not, try it out as a boost post on your fan page.

This is a great way of testing the waters before you start uploading ads. Once a boost post gets the all clear, you’ll have a clear idea of whether or not your ad is going to get approved.

3. Always be relevant.

You can never underestimate how important this is. Remember that Facebook is taking user feedback really seriously – so you should too.

Making sure that your ads and landing page are relevant to what the user wants to see, and are congruent with each other, along with delivering great content, means a lower bounce rate.

Which means that your ads are better served. Bingo!

In short, cut out click-baiting and work on offering users great stories that they really want to see.

Liz Azyan is a professional social media strategist helping small businesses PLAY and THINK BIG.

5. Consider outsourcing your ad management

If you are inexperienced with Facebook ads, and don’t have the time or interest to invest to take a training course in order to get the best results for your business, consider outsourcing your ad management to an experienced professional - there are many of us out there! Professional ad management is effective and a very worthwhile investment if you are looking for proven, cost effective results!

Vanessa Lewis, Director of Social Catapult based in the UK, specialises in Facebook marketing and advertising. Vanessa has years of experience in the full management of Facebook pages and has created many very successful advertising campaigns for a wide variety of clients.

6. Video is the new black

My top tip for Facebook advertisers in 2015 is to consider the use of video.

Plenty of data exists to support that video outperforms other types of content in terms of engagement but many companies still aren’t using it. Why?

Generally the answer I hear is because they don’t have video content and they feel that producing video is too complex and costly. The reality is that today there are a variety of solutions to fit almost any budget.

If you’re a small or medium business, creating a basic 30 second profile video for your company provides an asset that can be used as both a video ad as well as on your website to improve SEO.

Ben Pickering, President of SoMedia Networks.

He is a digital and social media veteran, having worked with everyone from small business owners to Fortune 500 companies to develop and execute digital strategies. Ben has been featured in publications such as Mashable, Huffington Post and Social Media Examiner and as a speaker at events including the AllFacebook Marketing Conference and ReelSEO Video Summit.

7. Create specific Facebook-only offers

In 2014 we saw great successes for local businesses using the offer feature on Facebook. The problem for most businesses however, was they found it hard to track conversion rates of these ads. Unlike online sales, you cannot set up conversion tracking where people are claiming a special offer in a local store.

My top tips for local businesses who want to use the feature in 2015 are

  1. Ask your fans and customers what offers they would like to receive
  2. Create specific Facebook-only offers
  3. Include a whisper code or ask them to take a particular action when claiming the offer and track it manually
  4. Run your offer for a limited time only
  5. Create a Facebook ad to promote your offer to fans and their fans

I generally advise brands to promote to your fans only. However for local businesses with limited audience reach, I find that promoting to friends has attracted new fans and customers.

I would also advise local business owners to focus on continually building their audience. Use a combination of like ads to target:

  • Your Customer list
  • People in your locality
  • People in your locality with particular interests
  • People who in your locality who like your competition on Facebook
  • Use local awareness ads - although you may not have this feature yet

Facebook ads in 2015 are a necessity for local business owners, and even if you have a small budget you can now reach thousands of new prospects every week with Facebook ads.

This was a Facebook offer we created for a local salon and promoted to fans and their friends. The combination of services was only available on Facebook and the claimants had to quote Facebook when making a booking. The Facebook ad budget was €20 and 29 offers were claimed with a conversion rate of 15 offers actually redeemed. For a spend of €20, the salon generated €1053 in additional sales, 52.65x in ROI.

Jenny Brennan is passionate about Social Media and Facebook Marketing in particular! She makes it her mission to show her clients how to connect with customers in a meaningful way that will build long term trust and loyalty.

8. Native video posts become a killer marketing tool

“We’re committed to making Facebook the best place to share, discover and watch videos”, revealed Facebook in September 2014, and we can clearly see they are delivering on this - barely visible a year ago, Facebook native videos exploded in 2014. According to SocialBakers, they’re becoming so popular that should be now surpassing the number of YouTube videos shared on the network.

Adomas Baltagalvis's top Facebook ads tip in 2015 The auto-play feature, the count of video views, which stands as an incredibly powerful social proof, call-to-action buttons and improved … - all of it makes native video posts a killer marketing tool. YouTube videos, on the other hand, became a second-hand material: very often they don’t play directly in the news feed and look terrible on mobile, especially when promoted - even videos from Instagram are winning on this, if not the 15s video length constraint.

The competition will only intensify in 2015, so I don’t think it will take long before marketers will ruin the users’ experience with a videos overload. It’s crucial that you incorporate videos into your communication strategy nonetheless - tell your brand’s story, share behind the scenes videos, promote any special offers by uploading a video directly to Facebook or Instagram, in order to create a multi-sensory experience and form a deeper relationship with your followers.

Adomas Baltagalvis is a Facebook marketing and advertising geek that helps clients around the globe to nail Facebook ads and achieve their business goals. You can learn more about him and read his thoughts on social media marketing on www.AdomasBaltagalvis.com.

9. Add a conversion pixel to track conversions

Andy Colwell's top Facebook ads tip in 2015 Add a Conversion Pixel to track conversions If you are sending Facebook ads to an opt-in page to gain leads, always ensure that you have included a conversion pixel in the “Thank You” page. The conversion pixel will track how well the Facebook ads are converting for you.

To get the Conversion pixel:

  • Go to Facebook Ads Manager
  • Click on Conversion Tracking on the left sidebar
  • Then click the green button in the top right corner that says “Create Pixel”
  • A popup box will appear that asks you to name the pixel and choose the category.
  • Once you click “Create Pixel”, another popup box appears with the code.
  • Copy and paste this code into your “Thank You” web page.

Andy Colwell is a Social Media Manager and Owner of Andy Colwell Social Media.

10. Facebook ads testing will become the norm for all advertisers, big and small, in 2015

After creating thousands of ads over the past 4+ years, I can say one thing for certain…Facebook ads require patience, persistence, and lots and lots of testing!

Julie Lowe's top Facebook ads tip in 2015 Testing has always been important, but was often reserved for more advanced marketers. Most businesses didn’t bother with extensive testing, and in many ways, it was barely needed. Facebook advertising wasn’t nearly as competitive, even just a year ago, as it is today.

In the past, most industry experts would advise you to combine all of your interests together, aim for an audience size between 250,000 to 1 Million, and call it a day. Testing focused mainly on ad copy and images. If your targeting didn’t seem to be working, you would change up the interests, but extensive audience testing was rarely mentioned.

In 2015, I believe that thorough testing needs to become the norm for all Facebook advertisers. Not just big businesses, but solopreneurs and small businesses as well.

But where to start? Testing often seems daunting to non-marketers. (As if Power Editor wasn’t complicated enough to master, now you have to put your geek hat on and do a bunch of testing too!?)

Testing really doesn’t have to be complicated though, and Facebook provides a lot of free tools to help you find your ideal audience. Start by using Graph Search and Audience Insights to find pages and interests in your niche to target with your ads. (Graph Search is simply the search bar on Facebook, and Audience Insights can be found in the Ads Manager.)

Once you have a list of potential audiences to target, start testing them one by one, each interest in their own ad set, rather than targeting multiple interests at once. If you glom them altogether, you’ll never know which interests are failing and which are bringing you a great return on investment.

Pause the losers and analyze the ad sets that are doing well to see how you can improve them further. Advanced ad reports will show you which demographics, countries, and placements are converting the best for you.

And very importantly, make sure you’re focusing on the metrics that matter, and not just “vanity” metrics such as clicks. Hint: clicks means any click on the ad. Be sure to look for “link clicks” and also track for conversions. Link clicks are great, but if the goal of the ad is a sign up or sale, all the clicks in the world won’t matter if you’re not converting that traffic.

Testing should be the theme of the year for all Facebook advertisers, and I think everyone will be happier with the results they see moving forward.

Julie Lowe is a social media strategist, Facebook advertising pro, and the founder of Socially Aligned. Learn about Julie’s Power Editor Master Class and 1-on-1 sessions at www.SociallyAligned.com.

11. Run a cross-channel remarketing campaign on Facebook

72% of all adults that are online at least once a month also use Facebook at least once a month and the social media giant does its best to make advertisement more effective. Notice I didn’t say cheaper, so let’s look at the number one way to outsmart Mr. Zuckerberg: Cross-Channel Remarketing.

Rocco Alberto Baldassarre's top Facebook ads tip in 2015 Remarketing campaigns target website visitors who didn’t convert again with the same platform. Yes, you can be more specific than that by setting a minimum visit duration and more with Google but this is the basic concept. Remarketing is known and something any advertiser should be familiar with but cross-channel remarketing has not had its breakthrough – yet.

Cross-channel remarketing refers to the idea of driving traffic with one platform, like Google AdWords for instance, and setting up a remarketing campaign on a different platform, like Facebook, to target the same users again in a different way and environment.

Cross-Channel Remarketing Infographic Online Advertising PPC Marketing The advantage of setting up a Facebook remarketing campaign that is integrated with Google AdWords is that you can drive keyword based traffic with Google and then target the same people on Facebook which they associate with family, friends, and other positive things. Additionally, you can show them content that is based on the pages they visited instead of just generally throwing an all-purpose remarketing ad at them that – let’s not forget – already didn’t work the first time around.

If you have tried Facebook in the past and didn’t get results, try it again now since the new call-to-action button they launched increased the click-through-rate by 2.85 times. If your costs and conversion rate are the same, you might have a winner right there!

Rocco Baldassarre is the Founder and CEO of 1DollarAd.com, International-PPC.com and Zebra Advertisement, a leading advertising agency and Google Partners All-Stars Winner 2014. He consults companies regarding online advertising strategies with Google AdWords, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and cross-channel advertising among other things.


I hope you liked all the responses I gathered from these 11 pros!

Which were your favourite tips to improve Facebook ads in 2015? Vote for them in the comments below and I’ll do my best to invite them back again to share their knowledge.

  • http://portage.co/ Dennis Yu

    Jason- thanks for rounding up these expert tips!

    Notice how important ads are to getting exposure on Facebook? Follow the GCT principle and you’ll never be left behind when Facebook makes changes. http://www.insidefacebook.com/2014/12/29/dennis-yu-reveals-the-3-thing-you-must-know-about-facebook-ads-in-2015/

    • http://jasonhjh.com/ Jason HJH

      Great stuff Dennis, I read that a couple of days ago!

      Thanks for contributing and looking forward to featuring you again soon.

  • Shanice

    Point 10 is great news! However, I wonder is audience insights only available in the US market? hmmm they seem to have all the good stuff.

    • http://jasonhjh.com/ Jason HJH

      Hey Shanice, thank you for voting!

      You’re right in saying that Audience Insights is like a powerful tool for people in US, as Facebook partnered with several data mining companies to provide in-depth consumer behaviour data.

      But there are still several other things you will be able to see with an audience outside of the US, such as the top pages that they like, and the devices they use to serve Facebook.

      Like you, I also hope to see more developments in the tool that cater to non-US businesses!

    • http://www.sociallyaligned.com/ Julie Lowe

      Shanice, my hope is that Facebook will roll out Audience Insights to everyone eventually. They seem to be rolling it out pretty slowly, even for some in the US. Thanks so much for taking the time to read & comment!

      P.S. If you happen to not have Graph Search either, the trick there seems to be to set your language (on your personal profile) to American English. It almost always works to get Facebook to give you Graph Seach. (You might have to log out and wait a bit.)

  • http://andycolwellsocialmedia.com/ Andy Colwell

    Hi Jason, excellent round-up of Facebook advertising tips.
    Thank you for including me in the list :)

    • http://jasonhjh.com/ Jason HJH

      No problem, looking forward to hear more stories from you!

  • http://www.digital-matchbox.com/ Liz Azyan

    Hi Jason, thanks so much for writing this post. I’m learning loads already. I do agree with Vanessa. It’s tough enough for us to keep with changes and new features, I can’t imagine how someone who doesn’t do this day in, day out can keep up. Definitely outsource, saves business owners loads of time and they can at least get the results that they want.

    Thanks for including me in this round-up! :)

    • http://jasonhjh.com/ Jason HJH

      Exactly Liz! I’d think that business owners and social media team leaders should understand how ads work fundamentally, but for the execution part, they could leave it to full-timers who will keep up with FB’s changes!

    • Merav Chen

      Liz, appreciate your tip (it was a 3 in 1 actually) - scaling up properly is key. Jason, thanks for putting this great list together.

      • http://jasonhjh.com/ Jason HJH

        Thank you for voting, Merav! I appreciate you taking the time to share with us what your favourite tip was. Hope Liz’s tip will help you improvement in the performance of your ad campaign. Do keep me updated and ask any question you may have!

      • http://www.digital-matchbox.com/ Liz Azyan

        @meravchen:disqus, I’m glad you found my tip useful! Happy New Year.

    • https://www.facebook.com/SocialCatapult Vanessa Lewis

      Thanks so much Liz! In my experience there is SO much to learn, and so much depends on experience too - especially with all the testing, testing, testing! So many businesses just don’t know where to start, and have no awareness that this is a service you can outsource. Your tips are spot on! For the small business owner sometimes a boost post to fans and their friends can make a huge difference for a small budget, and if they make that extra little effort to promote the post in Ads Manager to an audience with relevant interests they can pick up extra targeted fans in the process! Thank you Jason for including my tip!

  • http://www.sociallyaligned.com/ Julie Lowe

    Thanks so much for inviting me to contribute to the roundup, Jason! Some great insights included here from everyone!

    • http://jasonhjh.com/ Jason HJH

      You’re most welcome Julie - thanks for accommodating my invitation amidst the busy festive celebrations! Hope to have you back again for another roundtable soon :)

  • http://www.AndreaVahl.com/ Andrea Vahl

    Thanks Jason! Great set of tips here and thanks for including mine!

    • http://jasonhjh.com/ Jason HJH

      The pleasure is mine! Thank you for accepting my invitation and I hope to have you contribute again!

  • http://dottimedia.com Angela Ponsford

    This is a fantastic post. Thank you so much for putting this together. You all rock :)

    • http://jasonhjh.com/ Jason HJH

      You’re most welcome, Angela.

      Which was(were) your favourite tip(s)? I’ll do my best to invite the most voted expert back for another feature someday!

      • http://dottimedia.com Angela Ponsford

        4, 3 & 10 :)

        • http://jasonhjh.com/ Jason HJH

          Awesome, thanks Angela!

        • http://www.digital-matchbox.com/ Liz Azyan

          Glad you liked my tip @angelaponsford:disqus! xx

        • http://www.sociallyaligned.com/ Julie Lowe

          Glad you liked #10 Angela! Thank you!

    • http://andycolwellsocialmedia.com/ Andy Colwell

      Thanks Angela :)

  • Emanuel García

    The point 11. Great Post! - From Innato C.

    • http://jasonhjh.com/ Jason HJH

      Hey Emanuel,

      Thank you for voting! Rocco will be glad to hear this.

  • http://www.infoartblog.com/ Haydn Symons

    All great tips here Jason, a great blog post for Facebook ads! I’ve never actually used Facebook ads before, but I’ll certainly come back to this page when I do.

    I especially liked no. 2, no.3 and no.4 - all great tips, here’s why I picked them;

    Firstly no.2 caught my eye because of how important designing a better audience is. The whole point of Facebook advertising is to target the right customers - or you’ll be wasting your money!

    No.3 is another highlight as experimentation should be done throughout business, and by the looks of it, on Facebook too!

    Love this quote - “Many businesses just run one or two ads and they don’t get the results they were looking for and so they assume Facebook Ads don’t work for them” - I can see this is probably a large amount of people.

    And then finally I enjoyed No.4 because the tip would work for a lot of small businesses, wanting to improve their reach. This is a tip which you wouldn’t have to spend a lot, and can build over time!

    • http://jasonhjh.com/ Jason HJH

      Hey Hadyn,

      Thanks for voting! The experts would be glad to hear all that - hope to see you again when you consider running Facebook ads :)

      • http://www.infoartblog.com/ Haydn Symons

        Thanks Jason! I’ll be sure to share your up and coming blog posts on Twitter too :-)

        • http://jasonhjh.com/ Jason HJH

          Thanks a LOT Hadyn!

    • http://www.digital-matchbox.com/ Liz Azyan

      Hi @haydnsymons:disqus, glad you enjoyed my tip! Thank you for your feedback :)

      • http://www.infoartblog.com/ Haydn Symons

        @liz_azyan:disqus No problem Liz! Made some great points! :-)

  • http://2asuccessdreamblog.com/ Alecia Stringer

    Great ideas to go full circle.

    • http://jasonhjh.com/ Jason HJH

      Thanks Alecia! Do you have a list of top 3 tips?

      • http://2asuccessdreamblog.com/ Alecia Stringer

        always making that list…

  • Jane Willmott

    I think point 10 is great, I know so many people who run Facebook ads and say they’re no good because it’s cost them so much and had no returns, but their simply not testing it out first. It’s so important to find out the optimized targeting so you can ensure you can really get the best results. I completely agree with Julie it’s an excellent point and one many don’t bother doing!

    • http://www.sociallyaligned.com/ Julie Lowe

      Thanks so much Jane! Yes, I’m afraid a lot of people give up too soon because they’ve not done any testing at all!

    • http://jasonhjh.com/ Jason HJH

      Hey Jane,

      Thank you for voting!

      It’s great to hear more and more ad managers concur with that. Do you find more clients or other ad managers say that they’re not finding returns?

  • http://www.herbhedgerow.co.uk Lorraine @ Herb & Hedgerow

    Tip #10 is my favourite - couldn’t agree more. It’s so important to cull the dud ads and learn from your mistakes.

    • http://www.sociallyaligned.com/ Julie Lowe

      Thanks Lorraine! Yes, there will be plenty of duds along the way for sure! But if you learn from them, you’ll be rocking it before long. :)

      • http://jasonhjh.com/ Jason HJH

        Hey Lorraine,

        Thank you for voting!

        I’ve a question for both of you, Julie and Lorraine: at what point do you decide to cut ads or change things around? What are your cues and signals?

        • http://www.sociallyaligned.com/ Julie Lowe

          I like to give ads at least 48 hours, if not longer, to get some reach and to also let Facebook do its thing in the background, testing and tweaking who they present the ad to. Ad performance often improves over time, if it’s doing well to start. Usually, if an ad is totally bombing after 48 hours however, that’s usually a sign it’s not going to pick up at all.

          The cues I look for vary depending on my goal for the ad. I’m looking at reach and engagement, but if I am driving traffic, I am looking for not just clicks, but LINK clicks, and if I am tracking conversions, I want to see that they are not just clicking, they are converting. Lots of clicks and no conversions usually signals an issue with the landing page, so I would start tweaking that. Other results would have me looking at other elements to tweak.

  • http://leapfrogvanetwork.com LeapFrogVA Network

    #10 for sure is what I’ve found over the last few years. When I test things I can see what’s working and what’s not and made adjustments…. especially with ads! Great info here everyone!

    • http://www.sociallyaligned.com/ Julie Lowe

      That’s so true - testing applies to all areas of business, doesn’t it?

    • http://jasonhjh.com/ Jason HJH

      Thank you for voting! I’m sure Julie is proud to hear that :)

  • http://www.simpleeonline.com/ Rebecca Berggren

    #10 for sure. Testing - especially audiences is key. I have a message intended for a specific type of client and need to make sure I’m talking to the right people otherwise my ad won’t resonate and I’m wasting money on the wrong people who aren’t aligned with my offering and message.

    • http://jasonhjh.com/ Jason HJH

      Hey Rebecca,

      Thank you for letting us know your favourite tip! You’re absolutely right! As one of my business partners, Liz, would say, it’s important to ensure congruence across your entire digital conversion funnel, like what you promise in ad A after they click has to be fulfilled after the click-through!

    • http://www.sociallyaligned.com/ Julie Lowe

      So glad you agree, Rebecca! The audience targeted plays a huge role in the results you get, and is one of the things I like to focus on testing the most!

  • http://jasonhjh.com/ Jason HJH

    Hey Flora,

    Thank you for voting! Indeed, money is unfortunately a key resource we can’t waste. What have you done with Facebook ads?

  • Africa Archield

    My vote is for Comment 10 from Julie. She is on the spot! Testing ads really helps zero in on optimization. I know lots of testing has helped me not only narrow my audience, what kinds of images they like, and the language that moves them into action.

    • http://jasonhjh.com/ Jason HJH

      Hey Africa,

      Thanks for letting us know which your favourite tip was. I’m so glad you personally found results with her tips - she’d be proud!

    • http://www.sociallyaligned.com/ Julie Lowe

      Thanks Africa! Glad to hear you’ve found the same!

  • lws2012

    My view, I would go wtih 4, 7 and 10. I am not convinced video is enough as people fall in lovve with the ads not the products. Need to test and know what is workign and build from there.

    • http://jasonhjh.com/ Jason HJH

      Thanks for voting!

      You raised an interesting point. Could you elaborate why you think videos would distract users from accomplishing the goal?

    • http://www.sociallyaligned.com/ Julie Lowe

      Thanks! Glad you liked #10. :) I think I know what you mean about video, particularly when looking at really creative videos coming out from big agencies. For example, a funny commercial that you love, but then you can’t remember who was selling what in it. Is that what you mean?

  • http://www.sociallyaligned.com/ Julie Lowe

    So true, every penny counts for solopreneurs especially! Thank you for voting! :)

  • http://blondish.net Nile Flores

    Thanks for rounding up this list. I’m actually only familiar with a 1/4 of the list, so I will have to check the others out. Most of the tips, I previously already implemented. Definitely worth sharing. :)

    • http://jasonhjh.com/ Jason HJH

      Thanks Nile, glad to have you here :)