What I’ve learned spending close to $1M on Facebook ads

15. February 2020
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When it comes to Facebook ads you often feel like you won the lottery if they perform well, but you couldn’t be further from the truth. Over 4 years, I’ve spent more than $900K on Facebook ads.

Facebook ads are very complex and nuanced, and those who succeed know a hell more than those who don’t.

Spending close to a million on eCommerce, real estate, festivals, mobile apps, and much more at SH1FT, I can say that we’ve learned a thing or two about running successful Facebook ads.

#1 Keep a bigger audience

When people start running Facebook ads, they often try to have the most laser-targeted audience and often end up aggregating around 100,000 people. This might seem like a big audience, but it really isn’t. 


people sitting


What’s more? By targeting “interests” people have, you have to remember that those are not set in stone. For example, Facebook thinks I like hunting but I’ve never done any. It’s why it’s important to target a larger audience of at least one million people at first and let Facebook find people who like what you are promoting.


#2 Retarget with a large enough audience

Don’t start segmenting your retargeting at the beginning. For example, having an audience of people who visited your website in the last 7 days, last 14 days and 21 days. 

I suggest regrouping all your custom audiences at the beginning to make sure your audience is big enough. If you don’t, everyone in your retargeting audience will have seen your ads 100 times and your results will most likely suck.


woman sitting, phone


#3 Don’t scale unless you get results

A lot of people want to spend more on Facebook ads too aggressively. They get a sale, spent $2 and made $10 and now want to spend $100 a day. 

Make sure you get sales every day for at least two weeks before starting to be aggressive with your scaling. You might have been lucky getting the first sale but it really doesn’t mean you’ll find consistency and that’s what you need to scale.


#4 Retargeting is everything


target, image example


You’ll make most of your money from retargeting. I know your budget for Facebook retargeting is often smaller than the one from your cold audience, but it’s the most important audience.

You should spend as much time creating new Facebook ads creative for your cold audiences than your custom audiences. 


#5 Low CPC doesn’t mean results

You should look at your return-on-investment on your Facebook ads rather than your CPC. 

Getting a good cost per click is awesome if your goal is just to get traffic, but not all traffic was created equal. I’m sure you’d rather have 4 people converting from 50 visitors then 1,000 visitors with 1 person becoming your customer.


#6 Analyze & optimize your demographics




It’s really key to take a look at which ages, gender or location brings you the most results. 

One word of caution, don’t draw conclusions after you’ve at least reached 2,000 to 10,000 people. If you don’t, you’ll probably become really confused because your conclusions are probably false.


#7 Do these before you scale

Make sure you have a credit card limit high enough to spend the amount you want. Take into consideration that it might take you a little bit of time for your credit card to receive your payment.

This is cash flow management, but for scaling it’s very important. One trick is to have multiple credit cards, because if your ads stop you most likely will lose the optimization you had and thus your results.


wallet and credit cards


Also, make sure Facebook allows you to spend the daily amount you want to spend.

One last word of advice, go slowly. You might realize that $100/day gives you the most profits, just like you might realize that $100K/day gives you the best results.


What really matters with Facebook ads?

Once you’ve mastered all the technicalities of Facebook ads, all that matters is being aware of the traffic temperature of your audiences. 

You essentially want to create ads that attract people by finding a way to make them appreciate what your brand is about. The best results we got from Facebook ads didn’t come from the ads themselves but rather the relationship the brand had prior with their clients.

Remember, Facebook ads are only a distribution channel and there’s only so much you can say to change people’s minds. The art is in the entire digital marketing strategy, everything has a part to play in your success.

About the author

This article was created by Aristide Basque the co-founder of SH1FT, a PPC, CRO & Inbound marketing expert. His goal is to master everything there is to know when it comes to PPC, CRO & Inbound and in turns use his strategies to grow other businesses.
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