The ideal Facebook advertising structure: single objective
As Facebook campaigns get more complex, adopt an account structure that makes for easy management. Columnist Brad O'Brien shares his go-to method.
There are multiple ways you can structure a Facebook advertising account. What I’d like to share today is a tried-and-true method I’ve honed over the years. It’s a structure that we follow 100 percent of the time for our clients.
At its core, it’s simple and logical, yet it is not how most advertisers are structuring their accounts on Facebook. It’s based upon the principle of isolating single objectives at the campaign level, which I’ll explain further in this post.
An objective is a single goal you wish to hit for your organization. Maybe you want to grow new user acquisitions for your SaaS product in Australia. Or you want to acquire new buyers of high heels for your e-commerce fashion brand. Perhaps it’s moving customers from a free subscription to a paid subscription. These are all isolated objectives and should be treated as such at the campaign level. Then it’s all about working down from there, with ad set parameters and the ads that will best meet your desired objective.
Think of account structuring like a hub-and-spoke model. Your campaign objective is at the hub, and the spokes are all the elements that need to come together to achieve that objective most optimally. This is illustrated below:
At 3Q (my employer), we’ve dubbed this methodology our “Social Framework.” Following the framework judiciously allows you to isolate top performers and build their scale, all while continuing to optimize. This framework also demands the separation of evergreen objectives from promotional ones.
We all know Facebook advertising can be fickle once you add, remove or change too many elements. Don’t allow yourself to get into the scenario where a short-burst promotion disrupts the success of your ongoing campaigns.
The setup guide
So, exactly what elements should you control at each level of Facebook account structure?
Campaign: Single Objective
Ad set: Placement, Audience, Bidding, Budget
Ad: Creative, Copy, Destination URL
You’re probably wondering why I’m so insistent on such a structure. The reason is that this structure is highly defensible and accommodates real business needs. Let’s walk through a (fictitious) brand example and explain why and how they would adopt this structure.
The brand is “FashionFinds,” a women’s apparel and accessory e-commerce retailer. FashionFinds has the current goal of growing new customer acquisitions for their core categories of Jewelry, Handbags and Shoes.
If I were structuring the Facebook ad account for FashionFinds, I would separate Jewelry, Handbags and Shoes into separate Acquisition campaigns. But why? Several reasons:
- The reality of selling several goods or services is that they will all have different profit margins. Separating them out at the campaign level allows you to manage the microeconomics of Facebook advertising most efficiently.
- If you want to put more or less emphasis on a product line or service, you can do so seamlessly because everything is neatly contained within its own campaign. For retail, things can and do sell out, as well, and you can “stop the presses” immediately by pausing at the campaign level.
- You can grasp performance data immediately. A good litmus test for your Facebook structure should be: “Could anyone in my organization log in and, with limited knowledge, understand performance?” Imagine the cross-channel transparency this structure could allow at your organization. If you’re an agency, then it’s all about data transparency. Smoke and mirrors through under- or over-segmented campaigns with confusing naming conventions means you’re not being a good partner for your clients.
- Everything needs to come full circle. Your landing pages, ads, audiences, placements, bidding and so on should all be tailored to best meet an isolated objective. If you’re trying to use the same approach to sell someone shoes vs. jewelry, that’s a problem.
Ad set structure
Now, let’s dive into the ad set level of your Facebook ad account structure.
Example Campaign: Acquisition_Jewelry
Ad sets I would start with:
- Lookalike one percent based on your highest-valued (LTV, AOV) jewelry buyers. The custom audience should be between 1,000 and 5,000 (post-match).
- Lookalike one percent based on a website custom audience of jewelry visitors (with the website custom audience auto-excluded).
- Website custom audience of those who have visited jewelry URLs (excluding converters through Facebook pixel).
- Always exclude audiences from one another to isolate distinct audience segments.
- You could/should segment your website custom audience to find a Lookalike one percent. If jewelry URLs get lots of traffic, define a 1,000 to 5,000 seed audience like those who have visited jewelry URLs AND added to cart, as that is a sign of intent.
- Do not confuse retention and remarketing. Remarketing can absolutely be an acquisition tactic, as shown above in my third list item. While remarketing has finite scale for acquisition, it should still live in the same campaign as your broader audiences. Retention campaigns should be reserved for targeting actual customers.
Lastly, we’ll talk through what elements we would control at the ad level.
In our Jewelry Acquisition campaign example, your ads should contain the creative, copy, offer and landing page experience best tailored to WHO you’re speaking to and WHAT you want them to do. We know we want to acquire new jewelry customers. That means we’re targeting those who know little to nothing about our brand. We’ll want to use striking visuals that create “thumbstoppers” in the News Feed, a strong CTA and offer and a seamless on-page experience that puts the jewelry they saw in the ad (plus others) in front of the potential new customer.