facebook marketing

Facebook Ads - The Right Way

Facebook Ads

We all have a love/hate relationship with Facebook's advertising platform. As it evolves, from a business standpoint the platform seems to get more convoluted. From a user standpoint, it seems to be more intrusive. What is a marketer to do when the number one ads platform online has lost its way?

Play smarter.

Just because Facebook offers up a new way to advertise doesn't mean you should take them up on it. I'm sure you've seen those video ads that interrupt the user experience. After convenience, the top reason people don't watch TV is related to intrusive commercials. Why Facebook ever thought it would be a good idea to give that same dated experience on a 21st-century platform is beyond me (money isn't everything) so why "do it" just because Facebook "offers it"?

Then you have their suggestions as to how an ad should be run. Who do you think those suggestions benefit? Time-and-time-again we have tried Facebook's ad suggestions against basic common sense in the interest of the business we represent only to find basic common sense winning. Of course, that's because we have an intimate understanding of the platform.

So, with that in mind, here are some tips to get your Facebook Ads on track straight from our cobweb minds and even the desks of Facebook.

1. Choose an objective that drives business value

Facebook offers a wide range of advertising objectives which can help brands reach their business goals. We no longer live in a world where Facebook ads success is only achieved by running 'Page Likes', 'Website Clicks', or 'Engagement' campaigns - in addition to these, Facebook now offers advertising objectives which include 'Awareness', 'Consideration', and 'Conversions'.

These categories each offer different ad units which are geared towards achieving specialized results.


Objectives which generate interest in your product or service.

Brand Awareness - Reach people more likely to recall your ads and increase awareness for your brand

Reach - Show your ad to the maximum number of people in your audience.


Objectives that get people to start thinking about your business, and look for more information about it.

Traffic - Increase the number of visits to your website

Engagement - Get more people to see and engage with your post or Page

App Installs - Send people to an app store where they can download your app

Video Views - Promote videos that show behind-the-scenes footage, product launches or customer stories to raise awareness about your brand

Lead Generation - Collect lead information, such as email addresses, from people interested in your business

Messages - Get more people to have conversations with your business to generate leads, drive transactions, answer questions or offer support.


Objectives which encourage people interested in your business to purchase or use your product or service.

Conversions - Get more people to use your website, Facebook app, or mobile app. To track and measure conversions, use the Facebook pixel or app events

Catalog Sales - Show products from your catalog based on your target audience

Store Traffic - Promote multiple business locations to people who are nearby.

Don’t be overwhelmed. Yes, there are a lot of options, but choosing the right objective which is aligned to your broader strategy, and drives true value for your business, will make all the difference.

2. Using Placement Optimization

We often get asked which Facebook ad placements are the best. To clarify, a Facebook ad placement is anywhere that an ad is eligible to be served—this includes in the Facebook News Feed, Instagram feed, Stories, Audience Network, and even in Messenger.

According to Facebook, the best way to run campaigns is to activate all placements. This enables the Facebook Ad platform to optimize against which placements are achieving your desired objective at the most cost-effective rate. While we mostly agree, we don't recommend turning on Instagram placement. Instead, promote natively on Instagram. The boost feature is currently the best type of ad on Instagram because it also helps bolster your followers.

Facebook calls this 'Placement Optimization'. The logic here is that the more placements you use, the more data the Facebook Ad platform has to learn from. The more it can learn, the better your campaigns can perform.

But even though this is one of Facebook’s own recommended best practices for Facebook Ads, it is important to consider where you, as the advertiser, want your ads to be shown.

For example, ad placements on Audience Network won’t generate engagements. If you care about that metric, you might want to omit Audience Network from your efforts. We recommend going to market utilizing Placement Optimization and nurturing what performs the best.

3. Embrace Campaign Budget Optimization

Facebook's Campaign Budget Optimization process is a way of optimizing how a campaign uses budget across ad sets.

Typically, an advertiser would set budgets at the ad set level, however with Campaign Budget Optimization, Facebook will continuously and automatically find the best opportunities to achieve your designated objective across your ad sets, and prioritize budget to the ad sets that are performing best. This gives you less control as an advertiser but gives the system more control to use your budget efficiently.

The one thing to be cautious of here is that if there are campaigns that you need to get a certain level of attention, you will not want to use Campaign Budget Optimization. You'll want to set the budget at the ad set level to ensure visibility. Otherwise, this is one of those automation tools you can use with confidence.

4. Use mobile-first creative

It's no secret that social media has rapidly become a predominantly mobile-first experience. Keep this in mind when it comes to creating your Facebook ad campaigns.

You'll want to ensure that your ad creative is attractive, engaging and looks great on the small screen. Consider bright visuals for banners, and be sure that your video ads are under 60 seconds.

Focusing on mobile first creative will enable you to activate more users into your marketing funnels, at a more cost-effective rate. Make sure your ads look awesome on mobile.

5. Understand the value of broad vs specific targeting

In conversations with our partners at Facebook, this best practice surprised me personally.

In the past, the goal of Facebook ad targeting was to be as specific as possible. However, due to increased competition and the evolution of the Facebook Ad platform, being super specific in targeting can sometimes lead to more costly results.

When you go with super-specific targeting, you're telling the system that you want to serve ads to a certain amount of people no matter what. The Facebook ad system then goes after those people, and you, as the advertiser, are battling budgets for a presumably small amount of people who are also being targeted by other advertisers.

This can drive costs up, and Facebook doesn’t have much to learn from. When you go a little broader with your targeting, however, Facebook has more touch points to learn from, and will automatically optimize to serve your ad to the people in your target audience who are most likely to take your desired objective action.

While doing this, the system also looks for the best use of budget in an attempt to drive more results for lower cost. We recommend testing this for yourself - specific targeting always seems great, but consider going a little broader when trying to stretch your budget.


Some times Facebook is helpful and their automation can give you the insights you need to realize success. But, don't rely on Facebook's direction solely. Think about your business and what you want to achieve. Set it and forget it doesn't work.

I hope this has helped you in your pursuit of Facebook Ads supremacy. If you need help with your ads or any digital marketing, let’s talk.

Social Media Prediction: Less is More in 2019

How many brands do you follow on social media? Of those, how many do you actively check out on a regular basis? My guess is less than 10%. Sure, with Christmas just around the corner there is a small chance that number is bumped up a bit but ultimately 10% is a pretty average number. Marketers that I speak to on a regular basis are confused by this. Why would someone follow a brand only to end up ignoring it afterwards?


I believe this is due to a burnout online. There's just too much information flying at anyone on any network to keep up. So, if a restaurant is advertising constantly why would anyone follow them religiously. Simply pumping out ads is not a way to endure yourself to the mass public. So what is a brand to do?

Don't Forget the Reasons People Buy Your Products

Will Smith's character in Collateral Beauty summed up advertising elegantly:

In advertising we are supposed to illuminate how a product or service will improve a person's life. That's the end game. So, our most commonly represented industries are restaurants, real estate, and amusement parks. What can we illuminate?

Restaurants: In general, restaurants unite people through food that they cannot typically make at home. They provide a social space to celebrate on occasion or life in general. Restaurants make people feel a sense of happiness through a full stomach, satisfying tastes, and being treated like they are important.

Real Estate: Again, in general, a real estate agent doesn't sell homes. They sell the future, a place to sleep, raise a family, and a reliable place to escape the pressures of the outside world. When someone buys from a real estate agent they are also buying a sense of accomplishment and belonging.

Amusement Parks: At their core, amusement parks are a place to get away from bills, personal issues, and other topics that dominate our daily lives. You're selling a mini-vacation from life; excitement, community, and adventure. In essence, generally speaking, amusement parks are selling a feeling of glee.

The Crux of This Post

So, what's the point of all this? Well, ask yourself before you put anything out on social media, are you illuminating your purpose in this world? If not, maybe you don't want to push publish on that random post you're putting out there.

Less is going to be more in 2019, so you're going to want to get more creative with your posts and never stop asking yourself that all important question. All you're good for in the eyes of the people is value; how do you bring value, and how do they get it? The second you can't provide value you're lost to them ... likely, forever.

Demographics & Interesting Facts about Facebook

Facebook Logo 3D

When you go out you often look for places that have similar minded people; that's why young adults cover about 99.99% of people in nightclubs and diners have a generally older clientele. Similarly, when you launch a business, you have a target market. You may think you know the demographics of Facebook, but do you really? Here is a snapshot to keep in mind when planning campaigns.

Note: Last update February 2018

Facebook Statistics

  • Total Number of Monthly Active Users: 2.072 billion
  • Total Number of Mobile Monthly Active Users: 1.66 billion
  • Total Number of Desktop Daily Active Users: 1.368 billion
  • Total number of Mobile Daily Active Users: 1.57 billion
  • Facebook users are: 53% female and 47% male.
  • Average Facebook user has 155 “friends”.
  • 56% of online Seniors aged 65+ are on Facebook and 63% are between age 50-64.
  • 87% of online users of age 18-29 are on Facebook.
  • 74% of college graduates are on Facebook.
  • 72% of online users of income more than $75K are on Facebook.
  • Percentage of user base by age: 13 - 17 (5.4%), 18 - 24 (21.3%), 25 - 34 (23.4%), 35 - 54 (31.1%), 55+ (18.6%).
  • Active small business pages: 40 million.
  • The Facebook like button has been pressed 1.13 trillion times.
  • As of January 2017, 250 million hours of video were watched on Facebook Daily.
  • The average time spent on Facebook per visit is 20 minutes taking the average monthly time spent to 600 minutes.
  • Percent of 18-34 year old who check Facebook when they wake up: 48%.
  • Average number of pages, groups, and events a user is connected to: 80.
  • 350 Million photos are uploaded every day, 14.58 million photo uploads per hour, 243,000 photo uploads per minute, and 4,000 photo uploads per second. Whoa!
  • Every 20 Minutes, 1 million links are shared, 20 million friend requests are sent, and 3 million messages go out.
  • 55 million status updates are made every day.

In the face of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, chances are these numbers will dip slightly, but as you can see Facebook is firmly entrenched in the lives of many young and old, far and wide, so it's likely you have to worry much about the #deletefacebook movement unless they keep screwing up.

Need help with online marketing? Contact SYNC, and let's talk about how we can get you on track.

Written by Jay Hall, Chief Strategist

Is Facebook the New Big Brother?


Facebook has once again publicly denied that they are the new big brother. Now, I'll assume that you're not a huge conspiracy theorist and try to explain why you—yes you—might actually believe they.

I'm sure you've questioned whether Facebook is listening to your real world conversations. Otherwise, how might one explain talking to your friends about organic soy tea and then seeing an ad for that very obscure product on Facebook within days, sometimes hours?

You quickly consider whether you've ever spoken on Facebook about the liquid deliciousness ... nope. Have you commented on someone's status about it? Probably not. So then, the natural conclusion is that Mark Zuckerberg has a secret facility somewhere in the mountains of Russia live recording all Facebook user's conversations through their phone's microphone, right? Oh, so terribly wrong.

In theory, it is possible. iPhone apps can turn on the microphone at any time without informing you, as a researcher pointed out last week. However, it can only do this when the app is open, and this would also break App Store guidelines. Given that Facebook is the biggest app in the world, it probably receives plenty of scrutiny from Apple and Google.

 Why does Facebook Want Access to my the Microphone?

On both Android and iOS, Facebook and Instagram do use the phone's microphone—like any other app, however the user must explicitly opt in to give the apps permission.

The main reason it does this is so it can record videos, such as Facebook Live or Instagram Stories. However, this is only activated when a person (ie: you or me) has the Facebook app open and deliberately typing a status update. Facebook has denied it is used for listening to conversations and that it does not "tag" your profile with the data, only using it to build up a chart of the most listened to songs.

So, you understand the theoretically it's possible that Zucks and his crew might be evil because as I'm sure you're aware, tapping into conversations to make ad revenue but not stopping the many attacks that have been planned over Facebook is pretty damn sinister.

But, enough stalling. Let's assume that Facebook isn't listening.

What on earth is going on with Facebooks Ads?

You're imagining things, and so many people do it that there's a name for your condition. It's called the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon, also known as the frequency illusion, and it's a concept that existed long before Facebook came around. If you've ever noticed that you learn a new word or cultural reference, only to then see it used constantly, it's the same feeling. It's a form of cognitive bias—our tendency to assign more importance to things than they deserve. Have you ever bought a new car then noticed so many others driving it? Same shite different pile.

There is another possibility. Online advertisements are targeted based on many different factors: your browsing history, your Facebook interests and so on. Even if you don't feel that you've given Facebook enough data to target an ad about renal failure without it eavesdropping on you, its algorithms may well be sophisticated enough, based on a number of data points, to suggest that you might be the kind of person that's worried about your kidneys.

In layman's terms, you see a thousands ads per day in all likelihood, and you search for all kinds of associative data; of course there will be a link from time-to-time. But, just think of all the times that there weren't a link. You can take your tinfoil hat off now.

Ad Blocking: The Next Digital Marketing Challenge

Ad Blocking: The Next Digital Marketing Challenge

Currently, in the US, 30% of internet users are using ad blocking technology on their cell phones. By this time in 2017, that number will increase over 60%. Desktop ad blockers are on the rise as well. The big players like YouTube, have announcedYouTube Red to combat this trend. For $10/month you can enjoy YouTube without any ads.

So, the questions needs to be asked. Are people more willing to pay for premium services or are they going to accept ads as a part of their digital eco-system?

Will They Ad Block?

I believe that the above question comes down to income levels. Those in a higher income bracket, with a credit card in hand will likely pay for ad blocking on their favourite services like YouTube. However, those in lower income brackets will view ad blocking like buying a car with spinners on it (do they still make spinners?). There’s just no need to put spinners on a car when money is tight.

The case can also be made that if presented properly, everyone’s willing to click on an ad. This is why remarketing works so well. Remarketing ads are simply showing you what you’re already interested in.

General Ad Blockers

Now, where everything gets a little hairy for advertisers is in the use of general ad blockers like AdBlock and AdBlock Plus. An app like this walks into a virtual room and tears down all of the virtual posters. There’s simply little that can be done about these services on websites across the WWW.

That’s why advertisers are being forced to get savvy, and really understand the customer. It’s also why content is king.

The Right Kind of Ad Delivery

People generally don’t like ads because they find them invasive. I can appreciate that. An ad for a product you’ll never use is the virtual equivalent of an obnoxious, uninvited guest to a dinner party.

The right kind of delivery can change that experience though, and your brand must associate itself with being on the right side of user experience (UX). Based on a poll by Marketing Sherpa, we can see what the right kind of delivery means to the 1000 people interviewed.

  • 54% prefer to receive ads by mail (although 32% admitted that is because it’s easy to discard of the ads they don’t like).
  • 49% prefer to receive ads via a eNewsletter they set the frequency for.
  • 38% visit a company’s website when looking for promotions.
  • 28% want to get their dose of ads in-store.
  • 24% wish to receive ads from an eNewsletter with pre-determined frequency.
  • 20% enjoy receiving ads from the brands they follow on social media.
  • 17% are fine with opt-in text messaging.
  • 15% receive ads through a mobile app.
  • 8% prefer not to receive ads at all.

The Details Behind the Numbers

This survey tells us a lot about how we should be advertising to the public. For one, it tells us that mailers are ineffective because they are getting tossed in the garbage by many. Mailers are also generally 5x more expensive than virtual ads.

eNewsletters and websites do well because the person has a choice as to whether they see the ads. The public will always prefer that which they can seek, over that which seeks them. 

That’s why social media is next on the list. People have become more protective over their feeds, and are choosing to only follow brands that interest them. There’s no more adding for the sake of adding.  Only 20% of people said they are okay with social media ads, but over 80% said that is due to the fact that they see ads for services and products that they have no interest in. Target those ads people.

Be aware that the text and mobile app numbers relate only to big brands, and small businesses with a cult following. Do not be fooled by these numbers. If you don’t fall into one of these two categories, stay away from using them. You’ll spend more money and time on them than they’re worth.

The Conclusion

It all comes down to a simple principal. People don’t hate ads, they hate ads for products and services they have no interest in. Well, 92% of people anyway. Serve your potential customer great content that they will show interest in. If you’re a restaurant, display your fantastic meals, and when advertising, pick demographics and interest groups that you know have the highest chance of relating to your customer. Again, this is why remarketing is so successful.

Here’s a great social media example. Let’s say you own a burger joint in Los Angeles. Instead of just blasting out an ad to everyone, serve it up to fans and friends of fans in LA. Then, if you’re looking to bring more people into your network, try this:

  • Los Angeles
  • 18 - 50
  • Male
  • Interests: Burgers, McDonalds, Hamburgers, Fries, Beef

Now, this is a general example, but gives you an idea about what kind of options you have. A fan of burgers is more likely to be interested in burgers than someone who could potentially be a vegan.

As the noose tightens, make sure you are staying ahead of the digital advertising curve, and you’ll be alright, friends.

If you need help with your ads, let’s talk.

Written by:
Jay Hall - Chief Strategist