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Are Your Facebook Ads Battling Themselves?

Improve ad efficiency and results through correct Facebook ad account structure.

If your ad account structure is set up poorly in Facebook Ads Manager, you risk creating clashes between your own ads in different ad sets for the same spot at Facebook auction. Such internal rivalry weakens ad efficiency and results while also leading to ineffective budget spending and increased CPO (cost per objective). Bad news all around. The auction bid of an incorrectly arranged ad account will grow artificially, while your target audience will burn out ahead of time.So how do we stop this happening? While issues with high CPO can be resolved by changing your ad creative and/or bid and budget management (manually or automatically), without the correct ad account structure any fix will be short-term. The inefficiencies will flare up again.

As Tanya Frantsuzenko, SMB Account Manager at Facebook, says:


“It’s crucial to remember that everything published on Facebook and Instagram competes with each other for a spot in your News Feed – regardless of whether it’s your friend’s post or a sponsored message from a brand you like. Following simple rules for launching campaigns can increase your chances to emerge in the News Feeds of the users who are most likely to make a conversion. Facebook’s algorithm will form part of your settings by itself, saving your time for optimisation.”


Overall, if you have the wrong structure in your ad account, it can lead to:

  • a significant reduction in campaign efficiency;
  • rapid audience fatigue; and
  • an increased ad auction bid and, as a result, inefficient spending on the entire campaign.


Hang on, isn’t Facebook really smart, with its e-commerce ad pathways designed to work with great efficiency?

While all of this is true, an incorrectly chosen ad account structure won’t allow you to use all the benefits of advertising on Facebook or set up your campaigns the optimal way to get the required e-commerce KPIs, such as a precise number of conversions.

For instance, splitting ad sets by targeting and placements results in a narrowing of original audiences, inside of which Facebook’s algorithms can’t learn to show your ad to those most likely to give you the results you want. Instead of showing your ad to users more likely to make conversions, the algorithm will have to show the ad to random people from the set audience.

No matter how advanced Facebook’s tools are for ad delivery and optimisation towards users’ behaviour and interests, they won’t bring about substantial results if your ad account consists of many campaigns with similar audiences, hundreds of ads, and ad sets optimised for Link Clicks in campaigns, where the main indicator of efficiency is a purchase rather than a click.


Okay, so what should I do?

The solution is simple.

The optimal e-commerce ad account structure contains two active campaigns. The first, Retargeting, is aimed at those who have already shown an interest to your brand: visited your website or added something to Cart. This data is collected by Facebook Pixel. The second campaign is Acquisition, intended for new customers. Acquisition focuses on those who haven’t interacted with your brand, but have similarities to existing customer interests, and Lookalikes

First of all, make sure you exclude customers who have made a purchase (Pixel Event: Purchase) from targeting in every ad set. You wouldn’t like your already-bought new autumn boots to chase you across the world wide web for a long time, would you?

You want to build any Retargeting campaign from the following ad groups:

  • Users who viewed your product range on your website (the ViewContent event), excluding those who added goods to an online shopping cart (AddtoCart event); and
  • Those who added goods to their cart (AddtoCart event).

In an Acquisition campaign to gain new customers, there could be three groups of ad sets:

  • Broad Audience, which excludes ranging by interests and lookalike audiences;
  • Interests Audience, which excludes lookalike customers; and
  • Lookalike Audience, which excludes ranging by interests.

Using such a structure prevents your ads competing with themselves at the ad set level, and minimises the risk of blowing your ad budget with an unnecessarily high CPA.

Pixel events optimisation can multiply the effectiveness of your advertising. For optimal machine learning, at least 50 conversions per week are required in each ad group. With less than 50, it’s worth replacing the optimising event with another higher in the purchase funnel.

We recommend using all the placements and paying more attention to Audience Network and Instagram Feed and Stories, which have recently strengthened their positions in terms of audience reach and engagement. Don’t confine yourself to Facebook Feed by old habit.

Choose automatic placements when setting up the adset: the algorithm automatically will find the most effective place to show your advertising at the time.


Ok that makes sense, what else do I need to know?


Audience intersection of active ad sets

The simultaneous presence of many ad sets for different products targeted at overlapping audiences leads to artificially inflated competition at auction. To avoid brands self-competition, the system removes all overlapping ads from the auction, except for the most competitive ones*.

Ad sets with a higher overlapping rate have low effectiveness and high CPO.


How to tackle it?

In order to avoid the negative consequences of ad set overlapping in future, you should not create a multiple ad sets with the same intended audience. In an ideal world, every ad set should be dedicated to its own unique audience.


Ad sets competition at the ad subject level

Ad set conflict can also occur in relation to the same ad subject, e.g. Facebook Page, mobile app or landing page.

Facebook fights for ad quality and its effectiveness throughout your whole campaign. It achieves this by maintaining positive user experience and preventing banner blindness: a user cannot see different ads from one subject more often than once every 3–12 hours, regardless of the source account. Therefore, the more ads you have the higher your brand’s internal competition.


How to tackle it?

When creating a campaign bear in mind that even if you’ve ensured there are no overlapping audiences, your ads may compete with each other at the ad subject level. Many ad sets with multiple ads in one account do not deliver more impressions, but will increase your CPO.


The way forward

To wrap things up, to build an effective campaign structure you should stick to Facebook’s recommendations and Aitarget’s expertise after working with many e-commerce clients:


First, consolidate all similar ad groups

For detailed reports, Ads Manager offers statistics by ad subjects with a breakdown by cities, regions, placements, gender, age, etc. It also gives complex ad statistics with different breakdown options in Excel format.


Second, avoid audience overlapping

  • Do not split ad sets by Instagram and Facebook if the targeting is the same;
  • Exclude Lookalike and other custom audiences from other acquisition campaign ad sets.

Elvira Deryabina, Client Solutions Manager at Aitarget, says:


“We’ve been observing typical mistakes and success stories in e-commerce for a long time, and can say for sure that there is no single formula for prompt scaling on Facebook. Yet there are many misconceptions, which at the end of the day lead to inefficient spending of ad budgets. We recommend taking an extra hour to think about the structure thoroughly before launching your campaign, so that afterwards you can dedicate only 15 minutes per day to optimisation instead of unraveling the tangle of ineffective creatives and targeting based on the unsatisfactory results of the campaign, when nothing can be changed.”


Business can feel like a battle, but it shouldn’t be one with yourself. Take a chance to review and brush up your ad account to avoid creating an internal war at the Facebook auction.

Here at Aitarget we wish you “Peace, dude”, and efficient ads with effective performance


Olga Loginova
September 28, 2018

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