5 Reasons You Should Be Using Optimization Rules
Let’s be honest:
Optimization rules are nerdy. There’s no way around it.
On the face of it, they seem like one of those geeky, superfluous features only hardcore Facebook advertisers would find value in.
Hundreds of thousands on the line? Cool — you’d probably be knee deep in optimization rules.
Everyone else? Why bother. Sounds like a 1% improvement while you should be chasing 10% improvements, instead.
So they’re easy to dismiss. (Or more appropriately, completely ignore.)
But that would be a mistake.
Because beyond cutting out some of the boring, time-consuming stuff out of your day, there are five extremely compelling reasons to use optimization rules.
1. You need enough reliable data before pulling the plug too early.
“But Facebook ads don’t work,” is the common whine you’ll hear from people who throw down $100 bucks without understanding how the platform actually works.
Case in point: The objective you pick.
The little setting, alllll the way at the beginning, can often dictate what results you eventually see. Facebook needs to see enough reliable data in order to self-optimize or self-correct over time.
And what commonly happens, is that someone gets cold feet before that happens. So they pull the plug too early before realizing any of the benefits.
So yeah. You might see a high Cost Per Click for a few hours or days. But ecommerce experts agree - that’s no reason to quit before you get started.
Optimization rules can save you from yourself. You can create a ‘backstop’ to pause a campaign if the CPC is too high… but only after analyzing previous performance over a few days (so that results average out).
2. But ad performance will rot over time if left unchecked.
Facebook ads decline over time. There’s no way around it unfortunately.
Banner blindness takes hold. Frequency creeps up. And ad fatigue sets in. Performance drops like a rock.
AdEspresso’s own data shows that you can see CTR declines as quickly as three days! And a 50% decline in only five days.
But optimization rules can help keep you on guard, alerting you to any possible drop-offs before they happen (and before ad budgets get squandered).
3. Cost Per Clicks can be a vanity metric.
This ad has a cost per engagement of $2.30. Not bad! 50% better than your other ones.
Which means… what exactly?
How does that get you closer to your ultimate goal of, you know, actually making money?
Cost per Clicks can work the same way.
A $2 CPC in one industry is expensive. In another, it’s cheap.
Because the ultimate metric you’re after is Cost Per Lead. Cost Per Conversion or Action.
For example, Digital Marketer ran a test.
They used the same exact ad with the same exact targeting. The only difference was the objective:
The first campaign generated 59 leads on $460.81 for a $7.81 cost per lead. While the second generated 332 conversions on $458.63 for only a $1.38 Cost Per Lead.
4. Define the limits of your scenario analysis.
Ad campaigns aren’t static. They move and evolve over time.
On the one hand, that makes it difficult to know what’s going to work ahead of time. In fact, you often don’t. It’s impossible. You just gotta roll the dice sometimes.
But on the other hand, that means you can prepare a simple scenario analysis to create your own internal checkpoints. A few minutes on a spreadsheet will help you define those ‘outer limits’ of a campaign. You’re able to identify ranges for all critical variables (like acceptable CPCs, CTRs, or CPLs) so you can adjust course as needed.
For example, a higher CPC is ok (as we’ve learned) if you’re able to convert a higher percentage of those people. The math still pencils out at the end of the day. Everyone wins.
But if conversion rates start dropping off below a certain point, and CPCs creep up at the same time, you’ve got a problem.
Optimization rules help you define the scenarios that work in your business. You can set limits on either side to know that if (and when) ad performance starts going off the rails, it’ll catch you before it’s too late.
5. And sometimes performance drops with no easy explanation.
Spearmint Love has grown 991% year over year thanks in large part to Facebook ads.
But that doesn’t mean there weren’t a few speed bumps along the way.
Co-founder, John Lott, had no idea why ROI suddenly started falling off a cliff in his campaigns in 2016.
His initial thought? Ad fatigue.
They must be going stale. Time to make a few tiny tweaks.
But results didn’t budge. In fact, they only got worse. And he didn’t know why for a full six months.
Apparently “the cohort simply moved on,” according to their excellent Facebook ad success story on BigCommerce.
They sell baby clothes. Babies don’t stay babies forever.
“His work to change the superficial variables had failed. His copywriting wasn’t off. His understanding of human growth and progression during the child-rearing stage was.”
So piggybacking on the past few points, optimization rules help you hedge your bet. They can help you avoid the downside while taking advantage of the upside.
If (and when) external factors start influencing results, you’re safe. And instead of getting bogged down in Facebook ad minutia, you can stay focused on the big picture stuff.
Freelance Content Strategist. Helping brands find a right voice, one story at a time. Passionate about animal onesies, meaningful conversations and well-spoken people
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