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Direct marketers and investors alike are starting to see the light at the end of the Facebook tunnel. One of the delivery mechanisms that has helped turn things around for Facebook advertisers is the Page Post Ad unit.

From here on, let’s assume we are only targeting News Feed desktop and mobile – no right-hand side ads in this mix.

1.   Photo or Link Ads?

It is a question worth considering, but I can say that from my testing so far in the ecommerce space, Page Post Photos (PPPs) are a better fit than Page Post Links (PPLs). Lead gen/B2B may be another story, but I don’t have conclusive data on that yet.

While PPLs can often have higher conversion rates than PPPs, they also can have lower CTRs. After all, people want a nice photo to click on… it is Facebook.

Facebook page post link ad

But even with higher conversion rates, the economics just don’t pan out for PPLs because, as you know, low CTRs beget high CPCs, which is usually enough to drive CPAs up over your targets. For most advertisers, this is all that matters.

Facebook page post photo ad

 2.   One Page Post Per Campaign

There are still some campaign managers out there who place multiple ads with common targeting in a single campaign. Maybe this approach works well for them, but I think they’re not giving each ad a fair shake.

In my experience, it’s better to use metrics like CPA and conversions to inform decisions like whether to run or pause an ad rather than let Facebook’s algorithms make those decisions based only on CTR.

The end result is perhaps more work on your part: setting the proper date ranges, downloading the data to Excel, analyzing it all, and picking the winners, but because you’re using conversion data to inform decisions, you’ll be better off in the long run.

3.   Understand How Tracking Works

When Facebook serves up the ad in your target audience’s News Feed, parameters are appended to the URL, i.e. utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=cpc. These parameters can be set in the Optional URL Parameters section. When visitors click the link in your ad, their visits to your site are tracked properly using these parameters.

Facebook parameters

But when someone clicks the photo, which is often what we want, they are no longer looking at an ad unit but a Facebook photo. At this point, all parameters are LOST, and along with it your tracking. In that case, visits are logged as referrals from Facebook, i.e. source=facebook.com and medium=referral.

The step below offers a solution to this problem, but also raises new concerns.

4.   Use Bitly, But Only If Necessary

This step is worth testing, and to do it right, you need to launch your control and test ads at exactly the same time.

It is entirely possible to encapsulate all of your parameters into a Bitly link (or some other URL shortener). In this case, you don’t need to add the optional URL parameters when you set up your ads. Just wrap the link containing all of your necessary tracking parameters in a shortened URL, and visits will be properly tracked for the duration of the campaign.

 use bitly

But this poses a concern: you just lost a branding opportunity by taking your website’s domain out of the ad. I would also argue you’ve lost some trust as well. “How do I know what’s behind that bitly link?”

Whether or not this is a big deal is up to you. In my experience, I have seen lower CTRs with shortened URLS, but it’s your call. I’d rather live with the aforementioned tracking issues while building trust and branding my website.

5.   Monitor the Conversation to Maximize Conversions

This is perhaps the most important step to seeing your campaigns through to greatness. For each Page Post campaign, log the post’s URL on a shared doc that your team can access. You’ll want to sweep all active posts regularly, looking for negative comments and questions about your products.

page post ads negative comments

The comments are a great place to gather FAQ ideas, but they’re also a place where haters with an ax to grind will undoubtedly have their say. One negative comment can quickly lead to 3 or 4, taking a considerable toll on conversion rates.

Facebook’s policy on hiding comments is obviously pro-comment: they want brands to engage visitors openly and honestly. However, there is no excuse for folks to hijack threads with inappropriate garbage. In the world of D.R. (direct response), we can and should do whatever it takes to maximize conversions. It’s up to advertisers and campaign managers to figure out how to best represent the brand.