Your Facebook Ads Questions, Answered.

Data-Driven Marketing Marketing Tools & Tips The Data-Driven Marketer

Digital Marketers want to know more about Facebook Ads. Full Stop.

In the last month, we’ve hosted two separate webinars about Facebook Ads. Each of them had a slightly different focus, but there was one common theme: They both elicited a TON of questions. We tried to keep the webinars short to make plenty of time for these inquiries and curiosities, but we simply couldn’t get through them all.

We figured others might have similar questions as well. So, we filtered through, categorized, de-duped and answered all of them to the best of our ability and wanted to share them with you. Cheers!


Webinar: “Level up your Facebook Ads”


Questions & Answers

Facebook Pixel

What is the Facebook Pixel?

The Facebook pixel is an analytics tracker that enables Facebook to monitor the behaviors of your website visitors. The Facebook pixel is used for 3 main functions:

Technically speaking, the Facebook Pixel is a snippet of code (that Facebook provides you) that lives on the web pages where you want to track conversions.

How do I collect data from using the Facebook pixel?

You don’t collect primary data from using the Facebook pixel, Facebook does. Facebook uses that data to report conversion stats to you about your audiences and allows you to create more relevant audiences for you to target on Facebook.

Once you have the Facebook pixel set up on your website, it works by following and identifying users who visit your website. When someone visits your website and takes an action (like completing a purchase), the Facebook pixel is triggered and reports this action. This is how Facebook knows and reports conversions on someone you showed an ad to on Facebook, clicked on it, and landed on your website. This way, you’ll know when a customer takes an action and will be able to reach that customer again through future Facebook ads.

Is the pixel different than the facebook icon that links back to your Facebook page?

Yes, they are different. As mentioned above, the Facebook pixel is a snippet of code that lives on each webpage you want to track Facebook conversions, like a landing page for a white paper or a blog for instance. Your customers, website visitors, and co-workers will never see the facebook pixel (unless you have an engineer setup the code for you on your site.) The Facebook icon that you’ve added to your site is indicating to your web page visitors that they can find your organization on Facebook and simply acts as a link to your company’s Facebook page.

The Facebook icon that you’ve added to your site is telling your visitors that they can find your organization on Facebook. It simply acts as a link to your company’s Facebook page.

After installing the pixel, I want to be able to serve an ad related to the page they visited. Can you talk about that?

Yes, you can create a custom audience based on which pages on your website they have visited. You can read more about that on the Facebook’s Custom Audience page. 

Do you have any idea if the pixel slows down website load time? We’re having an issue with load time, so we’re avoiding adding the pixel.

From an engineering standpoint, the Facebook pixel should not slow down your website’s load time. It’s written in a way to tell your page to essentially skip paying attention to that code when loading a page.

Where do I get this script for the Facebook pixel? 

Here is a link to the Facebook Pixel Implementation Guide that explains how to install the Facebook Pixel including where to get the script.

Does that Facebook pixel fire for everyone who visits the website or only the paid traffic that you include the parameter for?

It fires for everyone who lands on that web page, not just those who were driven there from Facebook. This is critical information for lookalike audiences on Facebook and retargeting your website visitors on Facebook if you choose to do so. 

If you have your FB pixel ID on all pages and a potential customer visits multiple pages of your website, will FB only consider that one-page view conversion?

Great question! Yes. The pixel can live on every web page of your site. Conversions are determined based on what you assign them to be at the campaign level. So, as long as you have the Facebook pixel on the final page of the conversion process, and the Facebook conversion tracking is set up correctly, it will work. 

As a business school, our conversion is for people to apply for our programs, but they apply on a separate website than the one that we send them to. Is it possible to add my facebook pixel to a second website and is Facebook able to track those conversions through a conversions campaign?

Yes. You can put the pixel on multiple sites. You can put the pixel anywhere. There is a way to make it work properly. 

If your Facebook ad conversion is set up as a standard event, like visit the “application thank you page” then you just need to make sure that the Facebook pixel is set up on that web page. It may make more sense to create a “custom event” to ensure you’re tracking things correctly. We recommend you read up on the difference between ‘standard events’ and ‘custom events’ on this Facebook Help page to find out which will work best for your use case (you’ll have to scroll down about ⅓ of the way down).


When designing a custom audience, you choose ‘males of a certain age group’ and get an estimate of the audience size. Then you add an ‘interest’ and sometimes the audience size goes up! How can that be when you’re narrowing it?

Our best guess is that you may be accidentally selecting the incorrect targeting by picking males OR interest rather than males AND interest. You’ll need to use the “narrow targeting” options.

If you’re already doing this and you’re sure it’s not working properly, it may be your cache affecting the audience visibility. Try clearing the cache and cookies on your web browser, then try narrowing your audience again. 

If it’s neither of these things, we suggest you reach out to Facebook and submit a ticket with their support team.

What are some reasons to load my customer list into Facebook?

Mostly, you’d add your customer list to Facebook to exclude them from receiving your ads or ads that aren’t relevant to them (ie. “start a free trial”). Of course, you probably have a list of people who aren’t customers yet that are sitting in the top of the funnel who you’d like to specifically target. This is another case scenario where you can upload that list to create a custom audience.

Other reasons include:

Setting up your Ads

What is CTA?

A CTA is a “call to action”. This is the action you want someone to take such as “download” or “sign up”.

What constitutes a “conversion”?

A conversion is whatever you set it up to be. It could range from anything from landing on a specific page on your website to signing up for a webinar. When the user completes any action you’ve set up as the end goal, that is the conversion.

If I’m making an ad for a hotel and the URL is their reservations page, would conversions make more sense than traffic as a goal?

Yes, conversions would make sense as long as you have the Facebook pixel on the final page of the reservation process. You want it to record the conversion after they’ve actually booked at the hotel, so you want the Facebook pixel to fire when your customer has landed on the page after they make the reservation. As long as the Facebook conversion tracking is set up, you should be good to go. Once Facebook learns what sort of users will likely convert, it will begin to show the ad to those users.

When you saw the huge increase in CTR from changing your objective from clicks to conversions, did you change the copy/image/targeting or was everything else the same?

No, we changed nothing at all. Our aim was to test the same audience and the same ads, only changing the objective. We were curious to see what Facebook would do, and it turns out that Facebook does indeed know how to work its magic. In fact, we wrote a blog where we discuss this experiment and the results called, “Getting Started With Facebook Ads for B2B”.

Testing Ads

Is it true that you should go broad at first, or narrow when testing ads? I’ve been taught to go broad and then narrow it down.

There are numerous ways you can narrow down your audience. The method that’s Chris discussed in the webinar begins with setting up your personas, or identifying who you want to target. Once you have a good idea of who this target audience is, you’ll want to brainstorm ways to narrow this group down as much as possible. Then, tailor content to each of those personas. This way, your ads will show more relevant content to the different segments of your target audience.

Let’s say that you sell athletic gear. Your target audience consists of people who like sports. “People who like sports” is a pretty broad target audience, so think about how you can narrow this down. Let’s say it’s October, so you narrow this group down by type of sport – American football, soccer, and basketball. You will want to create separate ad sets for each of these interests.

Why? At first, Facebook’s algorithm will begin running your ads evenly across your audience. As time progresses and people engage with it, it will learn which types of people, say football fans, are more likely to respond to it. Then it will optimize to show your ad to that group more frequently. So if the majority of the clicks your ads are getting are from football fans, then Facebook isn’t going to show your ad to soccer and basketball fans. By creating three ad sets, one for each of these narrow audience segments, you can guarantee that each interest group will continue to see the ad (Facebook can’t optimize them out), you can see which of these three groups are responding to these ads best, the costs associated with advertising to each segment, and have the data in hand to make critical next step decisions (like test a new ad for an underperforming segment).

With all that said, this method can help you confirm if your ads are reaching your intended audience and if they’re actually working on that audience. Starting too broadly won’t allow you understand all of this.

Are A/B tests recommended for a page which is just starting out with little budget?

Yes, yes, yes! Always test your ads. Test out colors, people, images, faces, font, copy, buttons…. You name it! Make small iterations each time you run A/B tests and make adjustments based on your small learnings. A/B testing is a very good idea even if you have a limited budget. Bonus: if you are A/B testing and begin to spot trends and differences in ad performance, a great way to advocate for more budget is by taking these preliminary findings back to your executive team to demonstrate what you’re seeing.

How long do you test an ad?

We’d argue that it’s not about time frame, but rather about reach. You need enough data to know whether your results are meaningful. If you run an ad for two weeks, but only receive 100 clicks on 5 ads, you don’t have enough data points to make your findings reliable or powerful. Another aspect that’s important when testing ads is spend. The more budget you have, the more reach you will have. These things go hand-in-hand. When you’re testing, start out by spending $10/day on your ad set and let it run until you have enough data to make a meaningful decision.

How much should I spend per month per ad for a Facebook campaign?

That is impossible to answer because it’s really about what works for you. At Rival IQ, we spend anywhere between $100 – $500 a day on Facebook Ads, but we have customers who spend up to $5,000 a day. Your Facebook ad campaign spend is going to depend on budget, conversion goals, and your marketing strategy.

What are some reasons to use ads vs. boost a post?

The primary reasons to use Facebook Ads are to expand your reach and the ability to narrow down your audience segments. Using Facebook Ads will give you further reach into new audiences. Facebook’s robust targeting allows you to get granular in your audience targeting. Boosting is great if you’re simply interested in increasing your engagement more than an organic post would do on its own, but mainly you don’t feel the need or have the time to go back and fine-tune your targeting. It’s also nice when you’re pressed for time, but you want to get the word out about something.

Daily Budget vs. Lifetime Budget, Auto vs. Manual Bidding. Which do you recommend and why?

We will always go with daily budget over lifetime budget, and adjust it every few days based on how things are performing. If you’re doing a time-based campaign, for example promoting this webinar, lifetime makes sense: you have a specific goal and specific timeframe for when it will end. The types of ads we run for lead generation, for example offering a free whitepaper, we want to continue running the ads until the cost per conversion begins increasing and we’ve clearly saturated my audience. By using a daily budget and monitoring it, we’re forced to keep an eye on it and we know when it’s time to pull the ad.

We use auto bidding because we trust Facebook to do what is best based on my objective. After running a few experiments, we know that their algorithm is smarter than we’ll ever be. Check out a blog where we discuss experimenting with Facebook Ad objectives and the results here: “Getting Started With Facebook Ads for B2B”.

What best practices do you have a first timer testing remarketing ads on Facebook?

Here are the best practices we recommend for someone starting out:

Also, if an ad performs well, does it cost less to run it?

Facebook wants to show people content that they like (it’s in Facebook’s best interest). If your content is engaging, Facebook is more likely to show it and charge you less money to incentivize you to create more.

It also depends on what your objective is. Sometimes, a higher quality lead may end up costing your more per click, conversion, etc., but they’re more likely to convert into a customer. Again, it’ll take more testing.

Managing Ads on Facebook

Is there a way of using the Facebook funnel with organic content? With all the ads you run to target different groups, that’s a lot to monitor. How do you manage that? In Facebook or in another program?

Yes, you can create audiences based on people who have already engaged with your organization’s Facebook page. If you’re just running content that’s getting huge engagement, you can create an audience of the people who engaged with that content people too (it’s a new feature!). Learn more on Facebook’s Custom Audience’s page (click the ‘Create Audience’ button to get started. 

How can you best provide budget recommendations for clients? In other words, how can you actually calculate how much it will cost to reach the desired KPI? How do you formulate an ad budget for a client to incorporate the testing period?

This is an incredibly complicated question that has no single answer. If we could work backward and give someone a perfect answer, they wouldn’t need marketing agencies or consultants, right? If we were to walk someone through this process we’d say, “If you want to see good results, you’ve got to spend at least $500 – $1000 a month.”

At the end of the day, it’s a numbers game and if you have low bids because you’re too sensitive to budget, you won’t reach the audience you’re targeting. The impressions won’t be there. You can’t spread yourself too thin.

Try offering to do a two-week discovery phase where we spend $50/day per an ad set that will amount to $500. With this information, you can determine what your budget will be moving forward. That budget will vary depending on if they’re looking for ad clicks vs. conversions. Collect as much information as you can during the discovery phase so you can try to offer them a realistic, slightly conservative estimate for an impactful budget. We understand this isn’t a very satisfying answer, but it’s honest. Success really depends on:

  1. Their goals
  2. Their target audience
  3. Their budget

Facebook Ad Analysis

Where can I find which part of the audience/placement of an ad is underperforming?

The best way to do this is by narrowing down your target audience into smaller segments you’re interested in testing. To reiterate, Facebook’s algorithm will begin running your ads evenly across your audience. As time progresses and people engage with it, it will learn which types of people, say football fans, are more likely to respond to it. Then it will optimize to show your ad to that group more frequently. So if the majority of the clicks your ads are getting are from football fans, then Facebook isn’t going to show your ad to soccer and basketball fans. By creating three ad sets, one for each of these narrow audience segments, you can guarantee that each interest group will continue to see the ad (Facebook can’t optimize them out), you can see which of these three groups are responding to these ads best, the costs associated with advertising to each segment, and have the data in hand to make critical next step decisions (like test a new ad for an underperforming segment).

If you’re already doing this, and you’re asking how to identify underperforming ads, we recommend you use Rival IQ’s Facebook Ads Analysis tool. Once setup, it syncs up to your Facebook Ads data (in real time) and alerts you when an ad is underperforming based on all the other ads you’re running. The alert provides you with a direct link to that ad in Facebook Ads so you can turn it off or make adjustments. Otherwise, you’ll have to sign into Facebook Ads and manually analyze your ads to see which ads aren’t performing so hot.

Organic Posts

Knowing Facebook only promotes your content to 1/3 of your fans unless you promote it. What’s the best way to reach most of your fans without pissing them off? I have heard that most of your audience who already likes your page generally does not see your posts. How can you change that without huge money put towards boosting.

You have a couple of options. One, you can begin boosting your posts. Boosting is different from Facebook ads in that it takes an organic post from your page and turns it into an ad. You can choose to boost it to your existing audience. Boosting posts puts your content at the top of their feed.

Alternatively, if you don’t have the extra budget to increase your reach, you can increase posting the media type that Facebook’s algorithm prefers. For instance, Facebook wants you to stay on Therefore, posting content that will keep consumers of your post on Facebook will help increase your reach. Think native images, native video (not youtube videos–that drives traffic to youtube) and instant articles. Facebook prioritizes video. The more consistently you post native video, the further your organic reach. Keep your eyes open for a blog post coming soon about this from Rival IQ.

Can’t you boost posts to audiences that you chose outside of your followers?

Yes, you can. However, if you’re looking to reach a very specific audience, then jumping into Facebook Ads Manager and creating an ad is probably a better idea (for your budget). Boosting posts is a great tool when you’re in a hurry or looking to expand your reach to your fan base, but when you’re looking to optimized cost per click, we always recommend using Facebook Ads.

Resources and Tools:

Can you say his name again? john who?

Jon Loomer – Hands down the best resource for Facebook Advertising. Follow this guy @jonloomer ‏on Twitter!

What tools do you use?

  1. I use AdEspresso, owned by Hootsuite to simplify A/B testing and bundle results of ad sets so they’re easy to consume. They have great reporting and updating of their ads
  2. Rival IQ’s Facebook Ads Analytics has a great display of the demographic breakdown of my ads and tell me when my ads are underperforming.
  3. The Chrome extension
  4. Facebook’s Ads Mobile App is good for digging into demographics and tweak ad sets on the fly.
  5. If you use Hubspot, use their ads reporting. It’s stellar!

Danica Benson

Originally from the Portland Metro Area, Danica migrated north to work as a marketer in the startup arena after earning her MBA. She’s a small business advocate bringing her passion to the tech world. Outside of the office, Danica spends her free time on outdoor adventures and exploring the great city of Seattle.

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