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The following is a guest blog post from Andrea Vahl, Social Media Consultant, speaker and co-author of Facebook Marketing All-in-One for Dummies. Entrepreneur.com named her one of its 50 Favorite Online Influencers in 2014. She blogs as her alter-ego, Grandma Mary, at AndreaVahl.com.

Are you thinking about using Facebook ads? Or maybe you are using Facebook ads, but aren’t getting the results you want. In either case, you can get better return on your investment if you use these easy tips when running your campaigns.

1.    Start with Split Testing Your Facebook Ads

Split testing is basically the practice of varying one thing in a series of ads and measuring to see which change received the best results. So when you are going to split test a set of ads, you’ll test which different keywords, images, text, or types of ads performed the best for you. Split testing is the key to getting cheaper cost per clicks and cheaper conversions.

When you split test Facebook Ads, start with testing different targets and demographics. It’s hard to only vary one keyword or one exact change, but if you can, you’ll know exactly which keyword performed best. Keep the ad itself the same and then only change the different target audiences so you will know which target works best.

Split testing best practices:

  • Start with split testing the demographic audience and then use the best performing demographic in the rest of the tests.
  • Only change one thing at a time if possible.  You can test different things, such as type of ad, image, and text.
  • Run the ad under similar conditions if possible – same time of the day, same bid (although bid prices vary), same length of time, etc.
  • Dig deep into the reports. It may look like one ad did better, but check the conversions.

2. Use Facebook Conversion Pixels

If you are sending Facebook ad traffic to a website, use conversion pixels to track whether the website visitor completes the desired action (purchasing product, opting in to your email list, etc.). Now you will be able to optimize your Facebook ad to get more conversions.

The conversion pixel is basically a piece of code that you install on a web page.  When you create a Facebook Ad, you “tie” the pixel to the ad so that if someone comes from the Facebook ad and arrives on the web page that has the conversion pixel, Facebook then tracks a “conversion” to that ad. Conversion pixels aren’t too difficult to set up and you can get the exact steps here: How to Use Conversion Pixels in Your Facebook Ads.

3. Know How to Dive Deeper into Reports

Once You’ve set up conversion pixels and a split testing plan, make sure you know how to reach the Facebook Ad reports. Typically the default data they show you isn’t enough to make informed decision on how an ad is performing. the best way to view your Facebook ad results is in the Reports area of your Ads Manager.

Once you’re in the Reports area, select teh appropriate Date Range for the as you’ve been running. (The default is 7 days, so you may not see all the data you need.) Change the Level to “Ad Set”, or “Ad” if you have multiple Ad Sets, and Ads under your Campaigns. Then select Customize Columns to select the data you want to see such as Website Clicks or Website Actions (which are related to the Conversion Pixels) since the default data shown in the report isn’t always relevant to making the right decisions about ad performance.

Now when you have the Reports showing you have the right data, you can easily see which ad had the best performance based on how many conversions there were for the ad. You’ll also be able to see which ad is converting at the lowest cost and turn off the ads that are under performing.

When you’re using these techniques, you’ll get better results from your Facebook ads and lower your costs. Facebook can be a powerful place to reach your perfect customer and Facebook ads can help you build an amazing email list.

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