facebook ads

Changes coming to Google and Facebook Ads in 2019

Google and Facebook are constantly making updates and changes to their platforms. We’ve summarized a few of the more important one’s in this week’s blog post:


  • Google makes it Easier to Opt Out of Ad Personalization

    • As privacy and trust in advertising continue to be in the spotlight, the major players are taking proactive steps to allow people some choice in how they are advertised to on the web.

    • Google is making it easier to change the ad personalization settings for their users via Google My Account.

    • If you’re a Google user and are interested in seeing if ad personalization is turned on for you go to your own ad personalization settings. You can also see who Google thinks you are, based on personal info you've added to your Google Account, data from advertisers that partner with Google, and Google's estimation of your interests. This is the kind of data that advertisers use to target you with Google Ads.

  • New metric!

    • Google recently rolled out the click share metric, which tells you an estimate of “the estimated share of all achievable clicks that you have received, and is available only for Search and Shopping campaigns.”

    • In the past, we’ve only had impression share metrics (your share of impressions on the Google search results page).

    • We love competitive metrics like this because they are great for macro account optimization. You can use it to evaluate your share of clicks for your best keywords and increase budget on your most profitable ones. Say that you were tracking a 3:1 ROAS on a keyword, and found that you only have a 10% click share. Why not increase your bid and budget for that keyword?


    • Google is going to start serving AMPHTML ads across all websites.

    • AMPHTML ads are a new, better way of building, delivering and measuring ads that are faster, lighter and more secure.

    • Why do you care?

      • Accelerated Mobile Pages (Google’s response to Facebook Instant Articles) are becoming more commonplace on the web. These new ads are well… better. More here if you’re interested.


  • Campaign budget optimization will be the default

    • Facebook’s campaign budget optimization automatically distributes your budget across your audiences based on performance. So if one audience in a campaign has a higher conversion rate, Facebook will automatically give that audience more budget than other audiences in the campaign.

    • Facebook rolled out campaign budget optimization a while ago, and we have been using it since. It’s much more effective than trying to manually redistribute budgets based on results. An algorithm is able to do this much faster than a human.

    • Now that it’s being rolled out as a default it means potentially better ad performance for all advertisers.

    • The caveat is that without segmenting your audiences appropriately, it can favor the larger audiences and you won’t end up seeing performance improvements.

    • There are a few ways around this:

      • You should make sure to group your audiences based on their stage in the buying funnel.

      • Depending on your budget this could mean a lot more campaigns than you currently have.

      • For example, make sure to keep retargeting and prospecting audiences in completely separate campaigns.

  • Facebook will reveal who uploaded your contact info for ad targeting

    • In Q3 of 2018, Facebook added new requirements around using custom audiences. Now Facebook is going to reveal who uploaded your contact information for ad targeting. If you are following the rules and collected your data appropriately, this isn’t going to be an issue. However, if you purchased or collected data like email addresses from a 3rd party and do not have consent from your list - this could potentially backfire as consumers can see how you’ve uploaded your list.

  • Square image sizes

    • Facebook changed the image aspect ratio requirements and rolled out square image sizes that can be used instead of landscape images.

    • This change was largely from feedback from advertisers who found the landscape images too restrictive. Facebook said the change is “to help advertisers like yourself have more creative flexibility and drive better performance.”

Mobile Advertising Tips for Google and Facebook Ads

When it comes to Google and Facebook Ads, mobile device inventory is a given. You are opted-in automatically when setting up a campaign unless you decide against it. Even turning all mobile delivery off would prove challenging if you don’t know what to look for.

Avinash Kaushik said, 2009 was the year of mobile. It’s 9 years later and everyone is still figuring it out. Advertising on mobile can be more complicated, confusing, and harder to drive ROI than on desktop.


It’s stating the obvious to say that behavior on a mobile device is inherently different. People search, browse social media and shop differently on mobile.

You’ll often hear statistics like:

“33% of people who showed interest on mobile, convert on a desktop computer later”

“67% of consumers start shopping on one device and continue on another”

To optimize your efforts, you should consider 3 key things:

  1. How you will manage your campaigns in the platforms specifically for mobile.

  2. How the destination (website) experience will be on the mobile device.

  3. How you will optimize your campaigns for mobile.

These are equally important and easy to mess up.

So how can you optimize your campaign strategy for a mobile, multi-device world?

Google Ads

Maximize keyword -> ad -> destination relevance:

Because Google Ads only appear when someone is actively looking for something, here is your opportunity to help them find what they need. The more helpful and relevant you can be to their search query, the more likely you are to succeed.

Make sure you are matching the keyword used to an ad written for that keyword, and a destination curated for that search. Don’t send them to a website’s homepage, and have a responsive landing page or website. This is a must. Sending someone who searches on mobile to a non-responsive or mobile-optimized website is guaranteed to turn them off.

People expect a great experience now and they will immediately bounce if they are met with an unoptimized mobile experience.

Use device bid adjustments:

Within each campaign, it’s possible to adjust your bid depending on the device used. Don’t assume you know how your strategy is going to play out on different devices. Launch your campaign with either no bid adjustments or minor ones.

Then after running the campaign for a while, use data to make adjustments based on your KPI’s. Most of the time that is going to be cost-per-conversion. This can be done at the campaign, or ad group level.

The formula for this is:


Making device level bid adjustments is incredibly tedious so we use Opteo to be more efficient. It alerts us anytime an optimization opportunity arises so we can make the improvement immediately.

Disable Mobile App Inventory:

For Display ad campaigns, this is enabled by default.

Turn it off!

Unless you are actually promoting an app, we recommend always turning mobile app inventory off.

The reality is that this is some of the worst traffic you can buy. The audience is distracted and ‘fat fingers’ notoriously lead to accidental clicks and 100% bounce rates.

Facebook Ads

Facebook mobile strategy is inherently different from Google. When someone is searching on Google they are already looking for something (intent). When someone is on Facebook or Instagram or any social network they are in recreation mode.

People are especially in a different mindset when they are using social platforms on their mobile device.

They might be:
- Commuting
- Watching TV
- Waiting in line at Philz coffee (unlike the pros who use the Philz mobile app and don’t have to wait in line)

Likely what they are doing has nothing to do with commerce or business.

Instagram is predominantly accessed via mobile device, with very few people signing onto Instagram on their desktop computers. Currently there are no ads on the Instagram desktop version.

Consider these when running Facebook Ads on mobile…

Opt-out of the Facebook Audience Network:

Have you heard of the Facebook Audience Network before? Chances are you haven’t. Yet it has been around since late 2014.

It is the equivalent of mobile app inventory on Google. The app owner has joined the Facebook Audience Network to monetize their app, and made it available for advertising.

We recommend opting out of Facebook Audience Network, due to the fact that it is mobile app inventory. Unless you are doing remarketing only. In that case, it may provide another place to reach your highly valuable remarketing audience.

Have a multi-touch marketing strategy:

Smartphone conversion rates are around half of desktop conversion rates.

Luckily, with how Facebook audiences work, it is easy to reach your audience on every device that they use. Since users log into one of their properties (Facebook or Instagram) where they control the ad inventory you are able to serve ads to that audience across all of their devices.

Shopping behavior on mobile often looks like this: user sees an ad on mobile -> clicks -> visits the site but does not purchase due to the fact that they are on a mobile device. They then return later on a desktop to purchase.

It is very important to continue to market to them via remarketing, email etc. as it can take several interactions before someone decides to make a purchase or convert.

Use video if doing branding and awareness:

Video ads are becoming increasingly popular on Facebook and Instagram. They give you an opportunity to tell your brands story without the viewer ever having to leave the platform.

You may, however, see higher cost-per-conversion and lower overall conversion volume with video ads. This is due to people not wanting to leave the social platform.

They still get your message, and you can even retarget people who have watched a certain percentage of your video. This is a great way to drive conversions.

Summing it up

Assume that mobile is going to make up a significant portion of your ad campaign delivery, and have tactics in place to maximize your return.

As always let us know what questions you have by emailing andrew@levelup-digital.com.

How to See Your Competitors Facebook Ads

Facebook recently released a new section on every businesses Facebook page that allows anyone to see the organizations currently active ads, and any boosted posts they are running.

Facebook rolled out the feature in light of the Cambridge Analytica scandal as an effort to provide increased transparency around ads and pages. Before this, the only way to see what ads your competitors are running was to actually get targeted by one of their ads yourself. Now you can see all of their active ads across each of their networks:  Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and Audience Network.

You can access it a couple of different ways.

1) Pull up any Facebook page, and look for the ‘Info and Ads’ link in the left side nav:

Screen Shot 2018-09-13 at 8.25.54 AM.png

2) Or just replace [Page Username] with the Facebook page name and it will take you there directly.

https://www.facebook.com/[Page Username]/ads



https://www.facebook.com/pg/moo.comUS/ads (check these guys out for some Facebook Ad creative inspiration)

Do you know if your competitors are running any Facebook Ad campaigns?

Now you can find out. Not only can you see their ads, you can also click through to see where they are driving traffic. This is helpful to understand and possibly reverse engineer their strategy.

What you may be able to figure out from analyzing your competitors ads:

  • Are they using landing pages or are they driving to their main website?

  • Are they testing landing pages? (maybe hard to tell unless you know exactly what to look for, but a sub-domain and subtle hints in the URL might indicate that they are. Ask us if you need help identifying this.)

  • Are you seeing similar versions of the same ad? They are likely testing their ad creative for better performance over time.

  • Are they targeting ads to people in different stages of the buying cycle?

    • While you can’t see the targeting of the ads, you may be able to infer their target from the messaging.

    • Ads should be tailored to each audience and where they are at in the buying cycle. An ad targeting a new audience that has never heard of you before should be very different than an ad used in remarketing.

There is also an ad archive to see ads that ran in the past, although it doesn’t seem to be very up to date.

Give it a try and let us know what you think.

Should You Do Outbound Advertising on Facebook?

‘Outbound advertising’ or ‘prospecting’ is the type of advertising you do when you are trying to reach a new audience with your ads.

This is a crucial thing to do for any company looking to grow, but these days you don’t have many choices for doing this online, it really boils down to two platforms: Google and Facebook.

While Facebook has incredible reach, and audience targeting capabilities, there are a few things to consider before launching a campaign:

1. Can you reach your audience?

Most smaller companies are going to have a very defined customer base. For one of our clients, Quimbee, this is current law students. For Rentec Direct it’s property managers and landlords with 10 or more units under management.

When setting up your Facebook campaign, you need to input all of the targeting parameters telling Facebook which users you want to serve ads to.

There are many ways to do this, including interest targeting (targeting users based on their page likes, profile etc.) lookalike audiences, demographics and more.

facebook interests .png

While all of these seem to make perfect sense on the surface, there is more to it:

  • Interest targeting is not always accurate.

  • Lookalike audiences are great, but they still are limited by what information Facebook has on its users.

  • Demographic targeting is often too broad for most advertisers and doesn’t lead to any real results.

  • Behavioral targeting is better suited for larger advertisers with a product that appeals to a broad audience.

2. Do you have the right creative?

Consider that the people you are reaching have never heard of your brand before. This is your first impression.

Your creative needs to:

  • Communicate quickly and effectively what your product is and why someone might need it

  • Capture their attention enough to drive them to your site so you can continue marketing to them from there

This is even more challenging given people’s short attention spans these days. On the plus side, it is easy to test creative quickly on Facebook, but you're going to need to spend some budget to do so.

3. Are you set up to continue to marketing to the new audience?

Assume that the audience needs to hear from you again before they convert/register/buy.

You should have methods in place to continue to speak to this audience.

Typically advertisers will follow up via:

  • Social platform likes/follows

  • Email/newsletters

  • Direct outreach from a sales person (if you capture their contact information on the first visit)

  • Paid remarketing via Google, Facebook etc.

4. Are there better ways to bring new customers to your website?

Search should be the foundation of any advertiser's digital marketing.

Since people are already searching for something, and are therefore in-market, these are the people you want to reach. Many software and SaaS companies have been built entirely on search traffic.


Anyone with a Facebook account can use the audience insights tool to research their opportunity before launching a single ad.

The tool will allow you to determine if you can reach your target audience, and also understand the size of that audience.

Another way to really narrow down your targeting is by using boolean logic:


By doing this, you will have a much smaller but more relevant audience that is more likely to respond to your message.

If you're interested in learning more about this, feel free to reach out to me at andrew@levelup-digital.com.  

4 Facebook Ad Strategies for Software & SaaS Companies

Facebook is a great place for software and SaaS companies to target their exact audience on a personal level. This level of precise targeting is what is getting Facebook in trouble, but as of right now nothing has changed with the ability to target this way, only with some of the data and insights you have access to.

This level of targeting is available through a free Facebook Ad account to anyone, you just need to know the right way of setting it up.

Here are few ways you can use Facebook ads to bring in new customers and keep the ones you already have:

1. Prospect using 1% lookalike audiences:

Facebook "lookalike audiences" are new audiences that Facebook creates based on a current audience that you have already aggregated.

This could be a list of people that are already customers of your product or if you have the Facebook pixel installed on your website, an audience of your website visitors.

By exporting a list of your current customers from your CRM and loading this to Facebook, you can select the top 1% of users on Facebook that most closely match the users who are on your list.

The tricky thing in marketing to this new audience, is having the right message. The people on the lookalike list are more than likely hearing about your product for the first time, and it’s going to take more than one ad to get them to convert. One highly effective way is to create ads from a popular posts on your website’s blog to bring them to your website for the first time.

The better the quality of the people on the list the more effective your lookalike audience will be. If you have the data, use a source audience of your highest value customers as the seed audience for the lookalike.

2. Retain current customers:

When customers stop using your platform, the more likely they are to churn.

Allocate a small amount of your marketing budget to target current customers to keep them engaged. Provide updates on new features, blog posts, or personality pieces.

Your ads will likely cost less because they will have high engagement. Depending on the size of your audience, a budget of $5-$10 a day might be enough to cover your bases here.

3. Drive traffic to landing pages:

Driving prospects off of Facebook to a landing page is a solid strategy for turning prospects into leads and sending them directly into your CRM.

By using a landing page (not a page on your website) designed entirely around capturing their contact information, you reduce the chance of them losing interest and leaving your site.

Once you have captured their contact information, make sure to follow up with them immediately.

4. Remarket to free trial cancellers:

Not everyone who doesn’t go from free-trial to paid subscriber is a lost opportunity.

They might have gone on vacation or had a busy few weeks at work. If they do lapse and aren’t automatically set up for a paid account you should encourage them to sign up.

Setup a custom audience to reach them again with a specific creative about their free-trial ending.

This might have to be a manual process depending on what CRM you use. Zapier offers the ability to sync  many CRM's with Facebook custom audiences, however some companies will find themselves having to this manually.


These are just a few ways you can use Facebook to market your software or SaaS company. And there are so many more…

the key to Facebook ads is having the right audience targeting and message match. This way you can speak to your prospects and customers depending on who they are and where they are at.

Good luck and let us know if you have any questions!