Best Practices for Facebook Audiences: Part 3 – Navigating Facebook Special Ad Categories

In order to comply with all rules and regulations surrounding anti-discriminatory practices, Facebook began enforcing new rules for the way Housing, Credit, and Employment advertisements were managed. Housing, Credit, and Employment ads must be certified as such. The certification process is done at the campaign level and involves checking the following box and republishing:

When you republish, you’ll also need to ensure your ad complies with the audience parameters for Special Ads. This guide outlines what kind of verticals are commonly impacted by this policy and how you can ensure that your ad complies.

Housing Opportunity (or related service): Ads that are running housing-related content. This can include listings for the sale or rental of a home or apartment, homeowner’s insurance, housing repairs, and more.

Employment Opportunity: Ads that promote or directly link to an employment opportunity, including but not limited to part- or full-time jobs, internships, or professional certification programs. Even if you’re just running a one-off employment opportunity, you’ll still need to make sure it is certified.

Credit Opportunity:  Ads that promote or directly link to a credit opportunity, including but not limited to credit card offers, auto loans, personal or business loan services, mortgage loans, and long-term financing. This also includes brand ads for credit cards, regardless of a specific offer. This is an especially important category for auto dealerships, as ads are often associated as part of a credit opportunity.

This infographic breaks down how Special Ad Categories affect different aspects of Facebook targeting including location, language, age/gender, Saved Audiences, Detail targeting and custom audiences.

Just because you don’t think your business applies here, make sure to be on the lookout for incorrect Special Ad category flags. For example, Facebook might associate the word “work” in your ad’s body copy as being an ad related to employment. If this happens, you can go to the ad level and request an appeal.

It’s also important to know that certification for Special Ads is always done to the individual ad. This means this is a step you’ll need to take for any current and future Special Ads.

Having less choices about your audience doesn’t have to be a limitation. It just means you could focus on finding the media or CTA that is resonating the most with your audience. Perhaps leveraging the possibilities of Facebook Stories will help you engage consumers? The exciting part about social advertising is that there are endless possibilities to help your ads stand out from the rest.

Miss the first two articles in our Best Practice for Facebook Audiences series?  Find them and other social advertising best practices on our Resources Page

Laura Kraay is a marketing services specialist for Tiger Pistol. She got her MFA in creative writing. Outside of work, you’ll likely find her doodling, reading, or spending time with family.

Best Practices for Facebook Audiences: Part 2 – A/B Testing: When in Doubt, Test it Out!

If you’re worried your social media ads are getting stagnant, an A/B test can provide a needed refresh. Running two ads that have only one varying element can offer valuable insights about what is working (and what’s not!) as well as inform strategy for future social campaigns.

A/B testing can be particularly helpful when determining audience. For example, if your goal is to grow your audience base, you could try targeting a lookalike of website traffic against a broad/detail targeting audience. The broad audience will help you continue to establish your customer base and the lookalike will help ensure some of your ads are also directed at users similar to your best customers.

Perhaps you’re still waiting for your Pixel data to gather? Try testing media and move to the audience later. In a world of endless customization, A/B testing offers a low-pressure scenario to freshen up your campaigns and learn more in the process.

Online retailer Sole Society wanted to compare how the square image format performed compared to a traditional landscape format. The ad featured the same pair of black boots. They learned that the square image outperformed the rectangular one and delivered a 27% increase and sales and 32% increase purchased products. For future campaigns, they could now feel more confident in selecting square images.

When trying to decide what to test, focus your goal on what you ultimately want to learn. Perhaps you want to sell more products, get more in-store visits, or simply want to more fully understand a particular aspect of your business. Stepping back like this can help you examine which of Facebook’s tools may work best for your needs.

Read the next post in my Best Practices for Facebook Audiences series, where I share how to create audiences that comply with Facebook Special Ads Categories. Miss the first article in this series? Check it out here.

Laura Kraay is a marketing services specialist for Tiger Pistol. She got her MFA in creative writing. Outside of work, you’ll likely find her doodling, reading, or spending time with family.

Best Practices for Facebook Audiences: Part 1 – Creating Audiences

Creating the perfect ad leads to the next step — who are you doing to show it to?  Here we’ll go over terminology and best practices for creating audiences for your social ads. If you’ve been asking questions about audience size, detail targeting, or Facebook custom and lookalike audiences, this is the guide for you.

Audience Size

When creating audiences, keep an eye on the Potential Reach. Facebook ads can run with a minimum audience of 1,000, but if an audience is too small, Facebook may have trouble finding users to show your ad to. This means your ad might underperform or be shown at a high frequency, causing ad fatigue among users seeing the ad over and over again! While there is no real “sweet spot” for audience size, we recommend trying to create an audience of at least 50,000. If you’re really in a pinch and are creating an audience in a lower populated area, try and keep the size to at least 10,000.

Detail Targeting

When adding detail targeting options, you can select from a variety of Facebook interests. Use OR targeting instead of AND (also called narrow) targeting when you want your audiences to be larger. Let’s talk Dogs, Cats, and Pets to illustrate the point.  In OR targeting, you would fall into the audience if you liked any one of those options (dogs, cats, or pets), but for AND targeting, you have to like all three. That’s why AND targeting produces a smaller audience. You can see the remarkable difference this can make in this illustration, where the audience difference between OR and AND is 590,000 people!

In general, it’s best not to overuse detail targeting. A broader audience may lead to potential new customers — you never know who may be interested!

Curious about detail targeting but want to use it to greater purpose? Learn how the conversions objective optimizes the delivery of your Facebook Campaign specifically towards a conversion event, rather than driving general traffic to your site or for brand awareness. This means you can still use detail targeting, but also further optimize for those people more likely to take a specific action on your page like “Add to Cart” or “Sign Up.”

Custom Audiences

Looking to apply remarketing strategies? That tactic begins with custom audiences. To create a custom audience, you will need to provide Facebook with identifiers about your customers (like email addresses or phone numbers) or have a Facebook Pixel installed on your website. Whether the uploaded identifiers or the data from your Pixel, this information is compared with the information on Facebook profiles. The overlapping group becomes your custom audience! To ensure the Information remains secure, it undergoes a hashing process before it’s sent to Facebook. (Hashing turns the information into randomized code.) After the custom audience is created, Facebook deletes the information.

This is a great way to show your ads to people who may have already interacted with your business. For example, having a Facebook Pixel installed means you could create audiences from your website traffic. Specific pages or events can also be used. A retail location who wants to focus on their summer shoes could select users who visited the “Sandals” section of their website.

You can also use custom audiences to exclude people from viewing your social ads. A fitness center whose objective is to get new members might exclude a custom list created from membership email addresses and names. This would ensure that their current customers aren’t in the ad’s audience, ensuring the business doesn’t waste its precious ad dollars.

When Beekeeper’s Naturals wanted to increase orders for its product sampler box, they showed video ads to a Custom Audience of people who had visited the Beekeeper’s Natural website within the last 30 days, added the product to their cart , but did not purchase it. In return, they saw a 39% increase in sales of a specific product bundle. They also had a 4.5X increase in return on ad spend. Custom audiences offered them the ability to show their ads to users who had already shown a demonstrated interest in the product.

In order to upload a list successfully, you’ll need at least 100 matches. This means your list might have to be a bit larger than 100 because it’s matching the information you’re providing with that on a user’s Facebook profile. If your list is uploaded, but you worry it’s a bit small for retargeting just yet, a lookalike audience might be more suited to your needs.

Lookalike Audiences 

A Lookalike Audience offers a way to reach new people who are likely to be interested in your business because they’re similar to your best existing customers. How does it work? Like a custom audience, you need to upload a data source. (It undergoes the same hashing process mentioned above.) Facebook then finds users with similar characters or qualities to that of your source.

In the “Power of the Facebook Pixel” Chris Mayer explains how this works in the case of a Lookalike Audience created from website traffic:

“A golf related e-commerce website might have a lot of users visiting their website, who also like the PGA Tour Facebook Page, and/or are “interested in” golf. The Lookalike Audiences will account for this. Facebook will literally find more people who like the PGA Tour Facebook Page, are also “interested in” golf, and share similar traits and demographics as the website visitors.”

Although Facebook doesn’t reveal which traits are generated, the value lies in its ability to optimize your audience. Clothing retailer Trina Turk was hesitant to turn to Facebook advertising because they were unsure if they could target enough people willing to spend money on a luxury brand. They first ran a dynamic campaign for broad audiences. Utilizing that campaign’s learnings “the team created and reached out to lookalike audiences based on the new shoppers who clicked through to the website from the dynamic ads.” Their year-over-years results for the following period speak to the power of the Lookalike Audience:

  • 75% increase in return on ad spend
  • 33% decrease in cost per purchase

These results are dramatic, so it’s important to highlight the two-part campaign here. Running a broad campaign helped them first get more website traffic. Just like with custom audiences, having an ample amount of data helps produce better results. If you’ve just installed your Facebook Pixel, first try running a broad or detail targeting campaign to further establish your base audience.

Hungry for more? Coming soon – how you can utilize A/B testing to find your most effective audience. In the meantime, check out our Resources Page for more social advertising best practices. 

Laura Kraay is a marketing services specialist for Tiger Pistol. She got her MFA in creative writing. Outside of work, you’ll likely find her doodling, reading, or spending time with family.

Playbook: Social Advertising at Scale for Restaurants & Food Service Brands

While some major platforms have begun to offer advertising objectives that align with local needs such as calls or visits, none come close to the easy, effective tools Tiger Pistol provides to activate and manage your Restaurant or Food Service brand’s social advertising at scale.

Unlocking Local Activation at Scale is the social advertising playbook that reveals just how simple and efficient Tiger Pistol’s social advertising platform makes it for Restaurant and Food Service brands to onboard and empower their locations or channel partners with brand-approved, best practice, Facebook and Instagram campaigns — all customized for their local audiences.

On-Demand Webinar: The Critical Role of Local Social Advertising in Economic Recovery

Tiger Pistol’s Casey Zaffin, VP of Client Management, discusses why local social advertising is a must have for your economic recovery and revitalization efforts, the role of local social advertising in the economic rebuild, and how facilitating connections can be done at scale, whether you are a large multi-location brand, and agency, or an SMB reseller.

During this webinar, you will learn:

  • Companies that invest in local social advertising with precise targeting, refocused and flexible creative and messaging will capitalize on recovery opportunities and dominate in 2020 and into 2021.
  • With store visit optimization still off the table in many areas, we’ll define what measurements can be used to define social advertising success. ○ How engaging with consumers and the community on a personal level will establish a long-lasting connection and how ads can be dynamically scaled for localization.
  • How SMBs should take advantage of conversational commerce ○ Best practices in social advertising through the lens of three industry-leading companies:
    • A Global Fortune 500 beverage company using social to reach into communities to support local bars and restaurants
    • A Fortune 500 real estate company that’s enabling its agents to make critical connections at a time when human interaction is limited
    • A leading SMB reseller that’s empowering their customers with new and innovative tools to enhance personal connections.

Watch The Critical Role of Local Social Advertising in Economic Recovery 

On-Demand Webinar: How Going Local Made Anheuser-Busch InBev the Toast of Towns Around the World

By investing in localized marketing, Anheuser-Busch InBev aggregated touchpoints in communities around the world. 

Watch and learn how AB InBev’s bottom-up approach to advertising generates larger and more meaningful results for its brand, drastically lowering cost of advertising, increasing consumer engagement, and fostering loyalty among its worldwide network of bars, restaurants and retailers. AB InBev reveals how Tiger Pistol’s technology enables this global-to-local strategy, and explains how its versatility helps them promote its local recovery and revitalization initiative for its establishments around the world.

Key Takeaways

  • Pairing AB InBev brand equity with local establishments drives a more personal connection with the consumer, increasing relevance 
  • Publishing ads at scale can still be personalized and meaningful
  • Publishing ads at scale does not need to be an expensive endeavor requiring a huge staff
  • Local advertising with the right technology makes pivoting simple and efficient

Speakers

Daniel Ingram, Global Director of Trade Innovation, Anheuser-Busch InBev

Daniel develops, tests, and scales innovative media, technology, and hardware programs for bar and retail customers across ABI’s global footprint to enhance consumer experiences and drive incremental sales. Daniel is a Level II Certified Cicerone, and is passionate about bringing people together over a great pint of beer.

Talia Wachtel, VP Client Management, Tiger Pistol

Talia has extensive experience working with national and global brands to generate meaningful business results from digital marketing. Talia’s expertise lies in the productization, go-to-market and operational fulfillment of scalable social ad products, with brands such as Realogy, Yellow Pages, Anheuser-Busch InBev and Web.com leveraging her to consult on the ideation and launch of successful social ad solutions to their end advertisers.

Ready to see how Tiger Pistol can develop a global-to-local strategy to suit your brand’s needs? Contact us today!

UPDATED: Global Analysis: Using CPMs as a Leading Indicator of Economic Recovery

Can CPMs be used as a leading indicator of economic recovery?  Tiger Pistol’s Paul Elliott, CEO, and Chris Mayer, Solutions Engineer, put this question to the test. Check out their global analysis of the weekly growth of active COVID-19 cases in six countries and how they correlate with the average Facebook and Instagram CPMs during the same time, based on a cross-industry sampling of 4 billion ad impressions.

What they found was a formula that brings a level of certainty to these uncertain times.

Paul Elliott is the Chief Executive Officer of Tiger Pistol. He is a recognized thought leader in integrated marketing and customer engagement, with more than 20 years of experience helping global brands and their local outlets achieve significant results and return on marketing investments. Elliott was a recipient of Ad Age’s 40 under 40 and the Smart Business Smart 50 honor.  

Chris Mayer, a Solutions Engineer at Tiger Pistol, specializes in helping digital agencies, SMB resellers, and global brands build scaled Facebook advertising solutions with an emphasis on local activation.

COVID-19 Response Program for Restaurants

As patron behavior evolves under COVID-19, local Facebook marketing strategies need to adapt beyond dine-in traffic.

Unlike other advertising platforms, Tiger Pistol can support a quick and responsive local strategy, ensuring that restaurant brands can more easily account for different scenarios. You’ll learn how templatized local campaigns give you the ability to shift creative and messaging based on curbside pick-up, dine-in, or full closure, and easy tools to turn campaigns on or off based on changing local orders. 

In this playbook, we outline Tiger Pistol’s COVID-19 Support Programs for the Restaurant Industry, revealing how local social advertising supports your recovery and revitalization efforts by reaching deeply into communities with both sales-driven and purpose-driven content. 

Beyond Store Visits: Better Objectives for Current Times

When the world is not under stay-at-home orders, it’s easy to gravitate towards Facebook’s Store Visits Objective as the best option to drive foot traffic into brick and mortar locations, but it’s far from the only option. Especially considering SVO’s setup requirements, now’s a better time than ever to consider how multi-location businesses can leverage other objectives locally. It also doesn’t hurt that Facebook’s overall cost of advertising is down between 20 and 40% (dependent on placement) across its family of apps, and previously passive users are becoming more active and engaged. This is the perfect recipe for businesses that want to re-engage their communities with social, gaining brand impressions while usage is at its peak and competition is at its lowest.

Locality, by its very nature, is a chief concern during the COVID crisis. As different states and countries have different responses to the COVID crisis, marketing campaigns must be flexible enough to shift to a highly volatile landscape. For large, multi-location brand clients, this might mean that some of their stores are open, some are closed, some do delivery, and some don’t. Therefore, preserving your execution flexibility is paramount. You don’t want to be caught with a singular national campaign that suddenly doesn’t work in certain regions.

Of course, given the COVID-19 situation, the very concept of driving footfall is more difficult. But this is exactly why you don’t necessarily want Store Visit Optimization to be the only tool in your toolbox. A more adaptive framework that allows campaigns to still operate with the hyper-locality of a SVO campaign, but without the specific objective requirements is timely, not only because of COVID, but also for your strategic flexibility overall. This framework can actually be replicated with other objectives too, especially with specialized tools. Developing campaigns across other objectives that utilize local pages and localized copy still provides the same local performance benefits as an SVO campaign, as well as the attribution models to ensure you can still prove ROAs.

For service-based businesses, Conversion or Traffic campaigns that utilize offline event sets to attribute footfall engagement is another means to achieve the same end. Especially when the buying decision is complex. Take for example car shopping, where there is value in driving users to view content and engage in top-of-funnel sales activity, while still preserving the ability to know whether or not these campaigns resulted in a consumer coming onsite.

A responsive local strategy that allows for different tactics ensures that you can more easily account for different scenarios.

  1. That local Conversion Objective campaign that facilitates online ordering for in-store pickup might also need to be a Conversions campaign, driving people to convert online purchases for home delivery for the state next door.
  2. Many businesses explicitly address COVID-19 concerns publicly, in terms of supporting donations and community efforts. Ads can cover content-based and awareness-driven needs, even in cases where stores are shut down, providing credibility and continued presence in the local community allows you to identify early stage micro-conversion events that can shift to full scale attribution as situations begin to normalize.

In either case, being able to do both at the same time ensures you can still deliver results for your partners, customers, or clients that operate and deliver the same results in aggregate as any Store Visits campaign. It’s not as straightforward as it was before, of course, but with the right tools, these sorts of scaled activations can be executed with just as much ease as a SVO campaign. It’s just a matter of thinking outside the box and utilizing the great toolbox of advertising options that Facebook offers.

Ready to discuss a scaled social strategy that helps your business stay ahead of the curve with the best opportunity for revenue growth in 2020 and into 2021? Contact us today. 

Chris Mayer, a Solutions Engineer at Tiger Pistol, specializes in helping digital agencies, SMB resellers, and global brands build scaled Facebook advertising solutions with an emphasis on local activation.

 

How Local Ads from Local Pages Increase Relevancy and Decrease Advertising Costs

There is much talk in social media marketing about the importance of “local” social. But what does that really mean in practice? Put simply, localization drives ad relevancy. 

When we look at the factors that make an ad more relevant, it boils down to two modifiers on your advertiser bid: Estimated Action Rates and Ad Quality. It’s the combination of these modifiers that underpins the ad relevancy calculation, and more relevant ads “win” out over less relevant ones in bidding

So how can you bump up your scores on these modifiers, thereby making your ads more relevant? It’s a combination of things across your campaigns structure:

1. Use a Local Facebook Page over a Corporate One

“Local” Pages can mean different things. For example, a CPG brand that relies on channel partners to sell their products might consider their channel partners’ individual store Pages the most local option, as it allows them to tie their products to a specific local point of sale. Whereas a real estate brand might consider their agent’s Business Pages as the local Page. For franchise groups, this is often local store Pages over a single corporate branded Page. In either case, ads that come from local pages tend to be considered more relevant. Whatever the flavor, you want the page you publish through to be as close as you can get to your consumers and where they transact. 

2. Localized Creative 

Creative that is locally aware is also important. This means having both copy and media that references the local area, whether by calling out the location or neighborhood in the copy or even by differentiating media content by region. The more your creative can literally speak to your local audience, the more relevant it will be to them (See: Ad Quality).

3. Hyper-Local Targeting 

Especially when it comes to marketing for local businesses, you want your campaigns to always be reflective of their true sales area. This is another case where vertical is important, as some businesses have naturally large sales areas. The logic is simple; an ad is going to be less relevant to a user if they see travel time as a blocker.

4. Strong, Focused, Calls-to-Action

It can be easy to fall into the trap of trying to do too much with your campaigns, wanting to promote multiple products or key selling points, Yet another paramount factor in ad relevance that Facebook also notes is, Estimated Action Rate. – “an estimate of whether a particular person engages with or converts from a particular ad” Put simply, if you focus on a singular campaign goal, which Facebook Objectives by their nature are intended to do., you also want your copy to explicitly direct the user based on the campaign objective, i.e. “book an appointment online”, “click to sign up.” This encourages interested users to take the exact action of your campaign’s objective.

These items may all seem small on their own, but they all come together to produce a more relevant ad. The challenge often comes with adapting to vertical-specific needs, as well as how to juggle so many local elements at once. We have seen in our data that a locality-focused campaign structure can even work at scale and with many different types of businesses. 

Our Data Proves this Time and Again


A CPG client used Tiger Pistol for distributing brand-approved campaigns to hundreds of restaurants and bars worldwide. They saw 60% lower CPMs across the local campaigns compared to their national brand efforts. The secret? More relevant ads. Comparing the national effort, which targeted the same consumer base, vs. the local campaigns, the differences are night and day. The distributed framework of the local campaigns meant the client had more exacting control in only geo-targeting the sales areas where consumers could get to the point of purchase. Additionally, unlike the national campaign, having local campaigns in-market meant that the creative could be region- or even hyper-specific.


A national quick-service restaurant chain was continuously looking for insights and performance advice to improve social advertising campaigns. The client was running multiple brand-level campaigns off of the corporate Facebook Business Page, targeting by DMA across multiple locations. Tiger Pistol ran social advertising via local Facebook Pages, and the results were clear: local store Pages generated better results, with 35% more impressions and 30% lower CPMs than running the same campaigns through the national brand Page. 


A Fortune 500 real estate services company engaged Tiger Pistol looking for a partner to help build a scalable, social advertising workflow solution that enabled their agents to promote their listings with auto-configured, best practice Facebook and Instagram campaigns. Tiger Pistol’s platform gave agents the ability to publish campaigns directly from their own agent-branded Facebook Page. While other real estate marketing platforms support Facebook ads, such ads are usually rudimentary, driving impressions around the listing, with little room for the agent to generate leads. Our platform leverages the most relevant Facebook Ads Objectives to drive the results that matter, increasing agent awareness, increasing agent website traffic, and increasing lead generation, all while significantly decreasing the cost of advertising.

Local Advertising Just Makes Sense

It’s intuitive the more you think about it. Are you more interested in buying a product or service from a brand located across the country (or even a business located across the county?), or would you rather purchase the same product or service from the business down the street? It’s understanding holistically how all the different elements of a Facebook campaign can work together to create locality: it’s targeting, creative, and the very framework that unlocks reliable efficient delivery.

Find this article insightful? Check out Are Facebook CPMs Rising? Depends How Local You Go. 

Chris Mayer, a Solutions Engineer at Tiger Pistol, specializes in helping digital agencies, SMB resellers, and global brands build scaled Facebook advertising solutions with an emphasis on local activation.