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We’ve had a growing number of businesses of late asking for help, after finding their Facebook ad account and even Business Manager suspended or completely shut down.
So, we thought we would offer a basic guide to why this may happen and how to prevent it.
Things to be aware of:
1. Repeated Declined Payments
If you’re running ads and your credit card consistently declines, Facebook will ‘red flag’ your account and may suspend it if the pattern continues.
2. Repeatedly violating community guidelines on your Facebook page
This will result in a low page quality score that can put your ability to advertise at risk. Posting misleading content or inciting antisocial behavior can make your page look like a troublemaker and result in your ad account being banned.
3. Low Quality Ranking Scores for Facebook and Instagram Ads
Your ads will be scored for their accuracy and relevance for the targeted audience. Ads that get approved but are still considered to be low quality can also lead to your account being banned or taking longer in the future to get your ads approved. Ad quality is affected by things like:
• Using clickbait – using copy that doesn’t show all of the information or baits people to interact (“you won’t believe what happened next”)
• Too much text over an image (Ads with text covering more than 20% of the image), can reduce the reach and ad quality score. If you feel you’re not smart enough to work this out for yourself, Facebook has a tool for that: https://www.facebook.com/ads/tools/text_overlay
• Ads that get hidden or trigger users to “Hide All Ads From This Advertiser” will affect your ad quality score.
4. Poor Quality Landing Page
Facebook screens any links to websites or downloads to ensure they follow the same set of ad rules. Facebook will scan your landing page and apply their same screening tools to it. A low-quality experience on a landing page includes:
• Too many pop-ups or distractions
• Not enough information or a higher volume of advertising
• Misleading content or not relevant to the ad
• Crappy build such as broken links, low-quality images, videos that don’t play etc
Again, if you need help, Facebook has a tool for that! Go to https://developers.facebook.com/tools/debug and paste your URL into the search box. Then click Debug. Facebook’s Sharing Debugger allows you to see what information Facebook is pulling through from your link or landing page. If you have a landing page that looks like it should be compliant with Facebook’s policies but still gets disapproved when used with your ad, use the debugging tool to make sure the information being pulled through is correct and no flagged terms or policy violations are hiding in the page description or metadata.
This process will also force Facebook to clear their cached version of your content if you’ve made changes to align your landing page with Facebook’s ad policies.
5. Repeated Facebook Ads Policy Violations
Everyone gets flagged for an ad breaking Facebooks policy every now and again (yes even us LOL) but if you consistently break the rules and get your ads disapproved, you’re running the risk of having your Facebook ad account shut down.
Does Facebook have a tool for that? Of course it does! This allows you to review your previously disapproved ads to see which policies you’ve broken and why your ads weren’t approved. You can also check the history of your ad account and monitor any ads that are under review or appeal.
To do this, open Facebook Business Manager and select Account Quality in the Create & Manage section and choose the date range you want to review from the calendar at the top right of the resulting page.
There are of course a load of rules to abide by when creating ads and we’ll cover that in our next blog post.
Facebook has announced that it will be limiting the number of ads a single Facebook page can run at the same time. The new changes plan to be implemented in mid 2020 but “will only affect a small percentage of advertisers”.
Why would Facebook actively limit its revenue earning potential you ask? Quite simple, they’re not! If big advertisers complain about the effectiveness of their ads, they may start looking at spending their marketing budget elsewhere.
Facebook said “We’re implementing ad limits because very high ad volume can hinder an advertiser’s performance. With too many ads running at the same time, fewer ads exit the learning phase and more budget is spent before the delivery system can optimise an ad’s performance.”
Just how many they are limiting it to is yet to be determined – keep watching this space.
Other Facebook News you may have missed:
Facebook is phasing out the 10-second video view metric and the 10 second video views optimisation, both metrics are now being depreciated and replaced with Video Views and ThruPlay optimisation. Video Views are classified as any video play (exceeding 2 seconds) ThruPlay is classified as a video watched for 15 seconds or through it’s entirety – whichever comes first.
Facebook reminded marketers using the Marketing API that, beginning March 31, 2020, they must identify whether or not new and edited campaigns belong to a Special Ad Category(ads promoting housing, employment or credit services and products).
Should you be doing the same? Possibly. But why, you ask?
Back in the old days (2010), the only thing any business with a Facebook page thought about was Likes. How many Likes do we have? How many Likes can I get $100? How quickly can I get another 1,000 Likes?
Growing your social community was critically important. The more Likes your Facebook business page had, the more people would see your content, and hopefully engage with it. The more people engaged, the more people beyond that initial group were also exposed to your posts. This is the basic concept of organic reach. Well, that just proves that you need lots of Likers right? Wrong!
Page Likes and Organic Reach
We remember when we first started posting on Business Pages, organic reach was sitting at approximately 16%, this dropped to 6% in 2014. 2016 saw it sitting at 3% and today? Well today its below 1%, yes BELOW 1%.
If the audience that is exposed to your post interacts with it in some way, Facebook thinks “wow, this must be good content” and will feed your post out to a little more of your audience. But what if the 1 person that saw that post was a “bought” Like or someone who only liked your page because of that “Like our page to go into the draw to win an iPad” competition you ran last year? Well, they probably won’t interact with the post, ergo, the post reach is stunted by the algorithm and your content doesn’t get out there, even if it’s the best, most amazing content your business has produced! With the continued tweaks to the newsfeed algorithm, users who Like your page might never actually see your content organically.
But there is an even more important reason why the quality of Likes is more important than the quantity… and that’s audience purity.
What is Audience Purity and why does it matter?
With the organic reach of Facebook sitting as low as it is, businesses are being forced to turn to paid advertising to get their message or content out there. In order to do this you need to create an audience to send your content out to. The most obvious of these: your current Like base. Of course! But what if more than half of them are “Zombie Likes”. And by Zombies I don’t mean the walking dead (or maybe I do?), I mean non genuine followers. People who are not actively wanting to know more about your business. You are about to spend money pushing your wares to people who don’t want to know. Money that could be spend reaching people who do!
And let’s not forget the most powerful audience tool that we have right at our fingertips, the Lookalike Audience. When you create a lookalike audience, Facebook looks for users with the same demographic and interests etc as your existing audience. You then pay to advertise to them. Before creating a lookalike audience with your Like base, you need to ask yourself’ “What kind of audience am I pulling into my funnel?” This is also true of lookalike audiences from old email lists, event databases etc. The more diluted these audiences are to start, the less robust your lookalike audience is going to be. And that means one thing: your ads are going to be doomed to produce little, or what it does produce is at high cost!
But what about Social Proofing?
At the most basic level, ‘social proof’ refers to the basis that people are (sadly) sheep and follow the flock. People allow their purchase decisions to be influenced by the demonstrated actions of others. To put it another way, when people see other people buying or endorsing a product, they will want it too – ergo a purchase validator.
By now you know that Facebooks is removing Like counts from posts. Their reason? “To emphasise the quality of content users share and take away the popularity aspect, which has associated mental-health implications for teens.” Great, I’m happy to see that vanity metric vanish. But what does this mean for your posts? Even though the Likes can’t be seen, it’s still very important your content is engaging (in particular getting people to comment or share). Remember the organic engagement formula? The more people engage, the more people will be shown your content. And it has an effect on the cost of your ads. Yes, the more “social proof” your ads have, the less it costs you to get the post out to your audience.
Coming back to us, in our case, we’ve been around since 2011. Recently we ran a series of posts through the ad account specifically targeting our Facebook Like base and found the quality of return to be poor. Why? The business we were in 2011 is unrecognisable to the one we are now and the original Likers from 8 years ago are not necessarily relevant to our audience target market today.
So, what does this mean? We could be wasting our money and poisoning our marketing funnel! Why? Quite simply, we could be advertising to an audience (both our original and lookalike) that are irrelevant and not interested in our services. This means our top of funnel is polluted which filters all the way down, our social proofing is poor and the cost of advertising is much higher than it should be.
I’ll leave you with this…
An interesting little side fact: According to one study, only 1% of users who Like a brand on Facebook will actually visit that brand’s Facebook Page.
The moral of the story: the number of Likes your page has isn’t important…. The quality of the Likes is important.
Time to revisit your audience and possibly rethink your Like count?
Facebook has just launched arrange of colourful logos. It also announced a new logo for Facebook Inc. to distinguish the corporate parent from its apps.
The logo, which features the word Facebook in all capital letters in a new font, alternates between blue, green and hues of purple, red and orange – colours that represent its other brands. The colours are pretty self-explanatory being Blue for Facebook, green for WhatsApp, black for Oculus and purple, red and orange for Instagram.
The move highlights its effort for clarity with consumers about the apps it owns. “People should know which companies make the products they use,” Facebook said in a blog post Monday.
The company plans to use the new logo on products and marketing materials in the weeks ahead.
When you think of ‘Agency Transparency’, you’ll immediately think of getting a monthly report on the results of their work – and that is something they should supply as standard, not charged as an extra. But have you considered HOW they work? For example, when they run Facebook marketing campaigns for you, are they accessing and managing your page through a personal profile? Whose ad account are they using? Are they using their own Facebook pixel or yours? Not sure why that’s important? I’ll explain:
Managing your page via a personal profile
This is an absolute ‘bell-ringer’ for raising the alarm that they don’t know what they’re doing! Facebook’s Business Manager is best practice for securely managing the company’s Pages, Ad Accounts, Catalogues and Pixels in one place, without sharing login information or being connected to their co-workers on Facebook. It is specifically designed to give you control and security with the main benefits being:
- Ability to manage multiple Pages and Ad Accounts from one Business Manager
- Securely share and control access to your Ad Accounts, Pages and other assets on Facebook
- Complete control to easily add or remove employees and agencies to your account
- Grant different permission levels based on business objectives
- Access valuable Pixel data
- Quickly build custom audiences for your advertising efforts
- Access the Catalogue and build product sets with ease
- Business level reporting for multiple accounts
- Facebook Support will refer to Business Manager when troubleshooting issues
- Manage billing details and spend thresholds
Whose Ad Account are they using?
How do you know? All your campaign spend should be billed directly from Facebook, not the agency. Not only does this offer you complete transparency on spend, it will also prevent the agency from taking a commission or percentage of your ad spend whether it be stealthy or not. In our agency, it doesn’t matter if you spend $1,000/month or $100,000/month, we won’t make a cent on it – and why should we? Surely what you put towards your campaign ad spend, should be spent as such? This also feeds into our third point:
Are they using their own Facebook pixel or yours?
This is a great way to find out if they have any expertise and indeed scruples! For the uninitiated, a Facebook pixel is a few lines of code (like a cookie) that you place on your website. It collects data that helps you track conversions from Facebook ads, optimize ads, build targeted audiences for future ads, and remarket to people who have already taken some kind of action on your website. Firstly, if they know what they’re doing, they’ll ensure your website has one installed and it is indeed working correctly. Secondly, they’ll ensure that your businesses Ad Account (in your Business Manager) owns that pixel. Handy hint: If they have to create a Pixel, ensure it is created as part of your Ad Account. This is important because all the data that Pixel collects, will be owned by your business. Unfortunately, the vast majority of agencies for some reason use a Pixel owned by them or the staff member who set up your campaigns. This means if or when you decide to move on from the agency, all ad campaigns and data collected (that you paid for) goes with the agency – you lose it all and have to start again from scratch! They are then free to potentially use your data against you should a competitor of yours decide to use their services.
In any relationship, honesty and transparency are paramount and if any agency is worth their salt, they’ll be happy to act accordingly. Just remember though, they are allowed to keep a few secrets when it comes to their IP. Telling you how they work is different to telling you how they do it.
At the start of this month, Facebook was supposed to shift all advertising campaigns over to campaign budget optimisation (CBO). If you currently advertise on Facebook, you will be affected by this change but as far as we know, the changeover has been pushed to November with a final date of February 2020.
We’ve been testing Campaign Budget Optimisation since the middle of the year and have a few findings to share.
When CBO is activated in Ads Manager, Facebook automatically shifts ad budget to whichever ad set in a campaign is most effective. You get to control the definition of what ‘effective’ means by specifying a goal for each campaign.
Tip: NEVER use video against other asset formats in CBO if you’re not running a video views campaign. It seems to bully the other ads and feed the budget into the video.
Early reports did emerge of CBO not working as well as human-managed campaigns. However, the algorithm has developed since it first launched but there is still definitely room for more learning. Nevertheless, you will get a better return on ad spend (ROAS) – why? Your campaigns as a whole will be more effective because Facebook is optimising the best campaigns for the goal you’ve set.
We’ve found that if a campaign is set up properly and the bids are high enough, CBO will generally obtain better results than a human can but bear in mind I said “if the bids are high enough” as it seems you will need a budget increase. You will still be able to control spending (to an extent) with ad set spend limits. If you set a minimum spend for an ad set, Facebook will dutifully spend at least that amount but will not go over any maximum limit you set.
Give CBO time to work. The algorithm needs about 50 conversions per ad set, per week, before it accrues enough data to ramp up your campaigns. And speaking of ramping up campaigns, if you want to scale your campaigns, CBO is extremely effective. Especially if you keep feeding it new, high-quality audiences.
On the topic of audiences, play close attention to them. We have found that CBO works best for split testing audiences and placement but at one category at a time. If you’re creating a funnel, we have found that anything more than two ad sets isn’t as effective. The reason being, the top performing ad set will syphon all the budget and this can have a big effect on your overall funnel results. So, best practice seems to be separating each level of your funnel into separate campaigns. Also, when using CBO within a single campaign – audience deduping is a thing of the past because Facebook is now optimising on delivery, so the audiences are no longer competing against themselves for the budget.
The benefits of CBO are there, but you need to start testing now to see how to make it work well for you. You may need to run multiple week-long tests to get the hang of this new budgeting strategy. As you begin to test and measure CBO, don’t get too attached to the results of individual ad sets. Look at the campaign level for an overall view on how things are going.
You’re probably familiar with the old saying, “Jack of all trades, master of none.” Nowadays, there are a complexity of nuances in many different areas of digital marketing. To say you’re a master of all is a BIG call to make. To be honest, after being in the industry for the last 20 years, I can tell you right now there are none! Whilst an agency might claim it can service all areas, it generally means, they’re very good at one or two key areas but have someone in the office who can do a bit of the other.
Why do they do this? They’re just trying to cover all bases so when you first enquire with them, they don’t lose you to a competitor who say they can do all that you’re after. But what they won’t admit to is which of their services are generally lacklustre or ‘fillers’.
Why work with a specialist agency
If you work with a specialised agency, you’ll know exactly what they’re good at and generally if it’s their sole business driver, you can be pretty sure they’re really good at it. After all, a specialized agency should not be afraid to say what they suck at! Most will already have a bank of other agencies or businesses they’ve partnered with or at least have an association with that they’re happy to put their name to in order to fill the gaps in their offering. So, if you’re more interested in hiring the best instead of the most convenient, this is the way to go.
So, what are the pros for working with agencies that specialize?
Bigger isn’t Always Better
This is especially true as you consider that small agency clients have greater access to senior level talent, such as agency founders. Also, a lot of small, specialized agencies “punch” weight WAY above their size. The expertise they offer tops that of bigger firms. For example, do you think the global agencies just know it all because they have a big team and charge more? The answer to that is a big fat ‘no’. How do we know? Because we train some of them!
Small Shops Can Get Things Done
A smaller agency often has greater agility, meaning if you need specialist treatment, or need to get something done in a hurry, they obviously don’t have any bureaucracy to deal with and can react without delay.
Less investment for better results
The smaller the agency, the smaller the overhead. This in turn will keep costs down as there are obviously less mouths to feed.
At the end of the day, you may just prefer to put all your eggs in one basket and deal with just one agency for everything, and that’s fair enough, but just be aware; experts get better results than dabblers!
Are you driving traffic using Facebook and using Google Analytics to analyse that traffic?
If you are – then you are likely to see multiple referrals like the ones below:
• m.facebook.com / referral
• l.facebook.com / referral
• lm.facebook.com / referral
• web.facebook.com / referral
• touch.facebook.com / referral
• facebook.com / referral
• mobile.facebook / referral
• business.facebook.com / referral
What are these Facebook referrals?
Facebook referrals come from a powerful Facebook tool called ‘the Link Shim’ that has been built to help protect the privacy of its users or protect its users from malicious websites, content and links.
It is really a tool Facebook uses internally to manage links.
For example, when you see a l.facebook or lm.facebook it means that someone passed through a Link Shim before landing on your site (the m is just for mobile). This person would have seen a warning and asked if they wanted to continue to a website or to cancel.
Mostly, these are triggered because of privacy not because of a malicious site. You can always open one of your links from Facebook and it will show you if a site has been flagged as it will show a warning.
Do these split up referrals help you?
These multiple referrals don’t help you in any way to analyse your data and really only split your data. When your data is split – it makes it more difficult to analyse your Facebook ads and posts.
For example, if you want to segment your referrals by location e.g. cities, it is going to be more difficult to do that with multiple referrals. You really need one referral for each of your marketing platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
To tidy things up you can indeed combine all versions of FB referral within your Google Analytics and you also need to know which ones to combine. We suggest combining the following which we know come from real users:
Others, like business.facebook.com, are likely to have another source and do not come from real users.
Of course, everyone knows the traditional sales funnel and you can of course apply that to a lot of marketing avenues. So how do you apply it to Facebook? With Facebook Ads!
Created and maintained well, a Facebook Sales Funnel will do just what it says on the tin – funnel sales to your business. There is no doubt, done properly, a sales funnel will not only drive an insane amount of business, but give you a solid, measurable ROI.
Unfortunately, it’s not an easy task. If you’ve ever tried Facebook ads before, you’ll understand exactly how complicated they really are – and that doing them wrong will end up costing thousands of dollars with absolutely nothing to show for it!
Facebook Ads nowadays is like rocket science. Saying you know about Ads because you know how to create an ad and put money behind it, is a bit like saying you know the working mechanics of a car because you know where to put the fuel in and how to turn the ignition on.
So instead of just creating an advert and putting some money behind it, there’s an insane amount more stuff you can and have to do.
If you have loads of time to spare, you could of course just seek out one of the many self-proclaimed Facebook sales funnel gurus who are offering free downloadable templates. Download it, become part of their funnel (yes, you’ve just fallen into theirs) and set it up. However, what type of funnel is it, what does it look like? Where does it land? Why? Does it suit your offering, your business and your target market? Probably not. Facebook funnels are not a ‘one size fits all’ solution. For example, we manually build each and every Facebook sales funnel from scratch for each and every client of ours. There are no templates. None! Everything about the business has to be taken into consideration before you even consider what type of funnel to build.
So, you’ve now built your funnel. You now have to build your ads. Do you know all the Facebook rules and regulations regards writing an advert? Know your scoring? What about your target audience? Have you got that right, because it’s kind of a biggy! Are you re-targeting? Are you using evergreen audiences? Have you created multiple adds and formats for different devices? Do you have the ad sequencing right? Have you any automation? We could go on and on.
So, what’s next? Budget! How much are you going to invest and how did you come up with that number?
Another massive job – the sales funnel has to be continually tracked, maintained and optimised to ensure the best result possible like split testing and reducing your cost/lead etc. This again has multiple points to action – too many to mention here.
So, is a Facebook Sales Funnel all that it’s made out to be? Hell yes! Is it something you can do yourself with a bit of knowledge about Facebook ads? Most definitely not! If you outsource it to a professional company, will you generate a very healthy ROI? More than likely! But, like anything, choose carefully. If they claim they’ll double your revenue overnight and turn your business into a money-making machine without knowing anything about your business, run a mile! If they ask a million questions about your business and seem almost cautious about taking on your business, persist. They are most likely making sure they can do a good job – which indicates they know what they’re doing. However, don’t be surprised if they turn you down either. The truth of the matter is, Facebook sales funnels do not suit all businesses.
If you’re currently advertising on Facebook, or thinking about it, STOP and get a Facebook Pixel installed on your website right now before you do anything else!
The Facebook Pixel is an essential tool you have to manually add to your website. It enables you to collect and use essential data to optimize your Facebook advertising.
It works by placing and triggering cookies that track users as they interact with your website and your Facebook ads – across multiple devices.
So, what exactly can you do with it?
- Remarketing: Re-advertise to people on Facebook who have already visited your website. You can also use the Facebook Pixel to find new customers who are similar to your website visitors by creating a ‘Lookalike Audience’.
- Conversion tracking: Ascertain how successful your adverts are by finding out what happened as a direct result of them.
- Optimise: Build better targeted ads and improve your ad spend by showing your adverts to only the people who are most likely to convert.
How you install the Facebook Pixel will depend on whether or not you’ve created a pixel in the past:
- If your pixel was created prior to 9 June 2015, you have an older version of the pixel.
- If it was created after 9 June 2015, or if you’re unsure about what kind of pixel you might have, you can check. Look for the comment tag which is located on the very first line of the pixel code. This means you have the new pixel. If you can’t see the comment tag, you have the old pixel. Both pixels are OK, but the standard events vary based on the type of base code.
Once you have your custom pixel, you can use Facebook pixel tracking to collect data on two different kinds of ‘events’. An event is simply a specified action that a visitor takes on your website. There are a set of nine ‘Standard Events’ that Facebook has predefined along with ‘Custom Conversions’ that are events you set up yourself.
Standard Events represents the types of actions people take on your website, for example when someone completes purchase. The standard nine include:
- View content: When someone lands on a page of your website (Note: your pixel will already have this on every page by default)
- Search: When someone uses the search function on your website to look for something
- Add to cart: Someone adds something to their shopping cart on your site
- Add to wishlist: Someone adds something to a wishlist on your website
- Initiate checkout: Someone initiates the checkout process on your website
- Add payment info: Someone enters their payment information during checkout on your website
- Make purchase: Someone completes a purchase on your website
- Lead: Someone signs up for something, submits personal details or otherwise identifies themselves as a lead on your website.
- Complete registration: Someone completes a registration or subscription form on your website.
Helpful Hint: Always remember to place the Event on the subsequent page that you want to track. For example, if you want to track completed purchases, place the event on the ‘Thank You’ page, NOT the payment details page as they may drop off here meaning you’ll get incorrect data.
You can use custom conversion events in place of standard events to collect more/other details.
Custom conversions use URL rules based on specific URLS or URL keywords. So, for example, you could use Facebook pixel tracking to record how many people are viewing a certain product or category on your website. For example, if you’re a financial advisor, you can track how many people are viewing your ‘debt consolidation’ page over your ‘first-time home buyers’ page.
Something else you can do is create ‘Custom Events’ by adding more details to Standard Events using additional bits of code called ‘Parameters’. This means you can customize Standard Events based on:
- The value of a conversion
- Product name, category, or ID
- The number of items someone adds to their shopping cart
- A specific search string
- The status of a registration
So there you have it! Now you’re armed with this information, it’s time to get serious about your Facebook marketing! Of course, if you need any help, you know where we are.