Do you advertise on Facebook? Or plan to?  If so, then you should know that there have been some big changes lately.

To help you navigate these, here are 4 recent improvements which will help you advertise on Facebook more effectively.

Facebook is changing how brands deliver content on the platform. Unpaid, or ‘organic’, reach has declined dramatically and Facebook has made it clear that this trend will continue.  This is bad news for companies who have built their business on reaching customers on Facebook at no cost.

But for those who are willing to pay, Facebook has been much kinder.  They are now regularly updating their ad tools to make it easier for businesses to advertise on the platform and reach those who might be interested in what they have to offer.

These changes have happened so frequently lately, though, that it’s hard to keep up. And the changes happen sometimes without much of an announcement. So to help you keep track of some of the more recent changes, I’ve compiled a list of 4 biggies which affect just about everyone.

The Power Editor

Note that most of these changes are only applicable to the Power Editor (which I have written about before), but I presume that all professional marketers are using Power Editor now over the consumer-grade ad tool – so I won’t cover it in any detail.  

If you have seen anything else new or have an additional thought about these improvements, then please get the discussion going in the comments section! 

1. Dayparting

The improvement

In August 2014, Facebook added a feature which allows us to automatically turn ads on and off depending on the day and the time of the day.  

That is, you tell Facebook what days and what times you want your ads to run, and it flicks the on/off switch for you.

Details about this are covered in my post here, but here’s a quick screenshot:

Why it’s useful

Marketers typically know when their audience is most active and it makes sense to help them spend most of their ad dollars during those times.

Most companies will probably be turning the ads off overnight and back on again in the morning. Others, though may run multiple campaigns with different levels of spend depending on the hours of the day.  

It can be as simple or as complicated as you like! 

What could still be improved

One annoyance is that in order to enable dayparting, it is necessary to budget a lifetime amount for the campaign instead of a daily spend.  

Perhaps this helps with the algorithm, but it is quite annoying for marketers who have to decide whether to keep rolling campaigns on a regular basis.

So, in future, having dayparting even for campaigns with daily budgets would be a great improvement.

2. Editing page post ads

The improvement

In October of 2014, Facebook introduced an update to their ad building tool which changed a number of things, but the most significant was the ability to edit a page post ad without having to re-enter all of the ad details.

Why it’s useful

Previously, page post ads were unpublished page posts – and once they were created they had to be created again from the beginning to affect any changes.

Now it seems the underlying data structure has changed, so you can take an existing ad and change the photo, the headline, the copy, etc. without affecting anything else. It’s a much better way to tweak ad creative.

Have a look at the form below for how it works now:

What could still be improved

I suppose a screen which told you where your copy would be cutoff on mobile would be useful – or an image editor, perhaps. But I won’t complain as recent improvements have made it much easier to create and edit ads!

3. Moving targeting and pricing up to ad set level

The improvement

In September/October 2014, Facebook rolled out a new 3-tier model for Campaigns which replaced the simpler Campaign-Ad model.

Essentially, all it did initially was to create a middle layer so that Campaigns had ‘Ad Sets’ – and Ad Sets contained the Ads. But soon after, Facebook made another change and moved ad targeting and pricing up from the Ad level to the Ad Set level. 

So, instead of targeting and pricing individual ads within a campaign, ad audience configuration and costing takes place at an Ad Set level.

 

Why it’s useful

Anyone who ran multiple ads in a campaign will recall how laborious it was to check that every ad was targeted correctly. And testing was hard, too. Sure you could have two variations of an ad – but any more than that was too hard to manage without third-party software.

Now, with the Ad Set layer, it’s easy to run 2 or more versions of the creative at Ad level, duplicate the Ad Set, and then tweak the targeting in the Ad Sets to run extensive tests. 

What could still be improved

Although it’s possible to duplicate everything in Power Editor, what might be nice is to be able to create a campaign template filled with ad templates that wouldn’t run until the details were filled in.

That way, you could create a standard campaign once and have all of your variants ready to go – but not worry that you will run a bad version of an ad that you failed to change when you duplicated. 

4. Cross device reporting

The improvement

In August 2014, Facebook unveiled new reporting functionality which surprised a lot of people. Using the standard reporting tool, it is now possible to see where someone who converted first saw your ad and where they ultimately converted. 

So, if someone was browsing Facebook on their mobile phone on the bus and then went to your site on their home PC to fill out the form or purchase something, you would be able to see and track that flow.

Why it’s useful

Cross-platform attribution is currently one of the most sought-after metrics in digital marketing right now.  

The problem is that a lot of money is spent on mobile advertising, yet the ROI for the actual ad seems low and there is some concern that people are not converting on the device where they see the ad. 

The mobile ad spend, therefore, could be responsible for the initial interest even though the desktop is what got the customer over the line. Knowing what role it played is essential to deciding where ad spend should be going in the future – and being able to provide this information will be critical to all digital ad networks going ahead. 

What could still be improved

One thing which would be good is to know how many times someone saw the ad before clicking – and before converting. Right now you can see the frequency of delivery per user on average, but there’s no way to delineate people who just saw the ad from people who acted on it.

That said, the Facebook Reporting Tool is a treasure trove of useful information and I, like many others, have only scratched the surface of what it has to offer to help improve campaigns.

So…

The Facebook Ad platform – and specifically the Power Editor – has gone through quite a few changes recently but I think they are all good, for the most part.

The one downside of constant improvements to the platform is that it takes a lot of time an effort to keep on top of the changes so that your ad spend remains optimized – but hopefully this short tour of recent improvements helped you do so to some extent.

And, again, if you can think of anything else that I missed please do add it to the comments!