By Aaron Agius
Image via Shutterstock.
If you want an ad campaign to be profitable, it’s crucial that your ad is shown to the right audience. Your ad promoting beard oil might have the best copy, images and offer — but it will never convert well if it’s shown primarily to a female audience.
The ad would be irrelevant, and you would receive a relevance score which reflects this.
It’s not enjoyable (or profitable) to run a campaign that doesn’t resonate with your audience. Fortunately, poor relevance is a problem you can solve.
Relevance is one of the most important yet under-discussed metrics for Facebook advertisers. This metric is calculated based on implicit and actual feedback that Facebook expects the ad to receive (both positive and negative). The score is updated as people comment on the ad, like it and click through to your landing page (or not).
The ideal relevance score is 10/10. Although this is not common, it’s certainly attainable, and you should always be striving to hit this target through split testing and optimizing.
To find your ad’s relevance score, navigate to Ads Manager on Facebook and add the Relevance Score tab to your ad report. Image source.
Achieving a high score decreases your cost per click (CPC) and ensures your ads are delivered to your target audience — ahead of competitors with a lower relevance score.
If you want to improve your relevance score, check out the following tips.
1. Get super specific with targeting to find your niche audience
Find the fanatics
In order to achieve that perfect 10/10, you need to be extremely specific with your ad targeting.
Every niche has casual fans and diehard fanatics — it’s important to get your message in front of the latter group if you want to run successful campaigns.
Why? Let’s say you’re manufacturing mixed martial arts apparel and want to target fans of the sport. A casual fan might tune in every time there is a gigantic fight night, whereas a fanatic watches every single event, has Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) posters on their wall and even has fighter bobbleheads next to their computer.
Put simply, fanatics are the type of people who won’t think twice about making an impulse buy if they see an ad which correlates with their passion.
Facebook’s Audience Insights is a great tool for gleaning insights about people based on individual pages they like.
In particular, the Page Likes dashboard gives you a highly insightful affinity score for pages. This shows how likely fans of a particular page will be to like other pages compared to the average Facebook user.
A lot of people follow superstar fighter star Conor McGregor, but that doesn’t mean they’ll buy your mixed martial arts t-shirt.
Audience Insights shows that fans of Conor McGregor like a range of loosely focussed pages, such as Joe Rogan, the UFC commentator and comedian, as well as Dana White, the CEO of the UFC.
Also, a bunch of irrelevant pages come up such as Fake SportsCenter and NFL Memes:
Load Audience Insights and click the Page Likes tab.
Now, compare this to fans of Jorge Masvidal — a fighter with minimal mainstream recognition, but who has a strong fan base of diehard mixed martial arts fans.
The 50 most relevant pages for Jorge Masvidal fans are all highly specific to the mixed martial arts niche. In fact, the vast majority are pages for other fighters — which is great if you’re trying to identify the pages that diehard fanatics follow (so you can use them in your targeting).
Load Audience Insights and click the Page Likes tab.
Since you can’t target every interest in Audience Insights when you run ads (some are unavailable, for some reason), it’s a good idea to create a document and record the most relevant pages within your niche. You can specify the pages that are available when you run a campaign of the most relevant pages.
As a general rule of thumb, I like pages that have an affinity score of 100x and above. An affinity score of 100x means that your seed audience is 100 times more likely to like this page than everyone else on Facebook.
Cub Swanson, another niche fighter with a diehard following, has an outrageously high affinity score of 726x for fans of Jorge Masvidal’s page. This is great information if you’re trying to find highly specific pages to target in this niche.
Finally, ensure that at least 80% of the pages in the Top Categories section are relevant to your niche, for every interest you input.
Jorge Masvidal’s page passes this test if you’re looking to market mixed martial arts apparel — even though there are a few erroneous pages (NFL Memes may not be the greatest market for your mixed martial arts apparel).
Load Audience Insights and click the Page Likes tab.
Age and gender
It’s a good idea to create a buyer persona for your business, which includes demographic info such as age and gender. Doing so can help you tailor your messaging accordingly.
Even if they like the same Facebook page, a 22-year-old man probably won’t respond to the same messaging or product as a 62-year-old woman. Show the same ad to these two demographics and get a different relevance score.
Some niches are heavily dominated by one gender, and this should impact the tone of your ads, your copy and most obviously, the products you’re marketing.
For instance, 46% of Facebook users are men, whereas only 17% of those who like pages in the vegan niche are men.
Load Audience Insights and click the Demographics tab.
Unless your product is very specific to one gender, I would recommend running ads for men and women.
By running ads at a low cost, you can get great insights about who is purchasing and who isn’t — which will let you run more relevant ads in the future.
For instance, the following ad promoted a cork necklace to women of all ages who like eco-friendly and vegan Facebook pages. Using the “Age” filter in Facebook Ads Manager, you can see that all but one of the purchasers was over the age of 45.
Ad data taken from a campaign by Vegan Horizon.
With this valuable insight, a subsequent ad campaign was run specifically to women aged 45 and up — with much better results.
Custom and Lookalike Audiences
If people have purchased from you multiple times, you know they’re someone who resonates with your brand. To achieve a great relevance score, consider running an ad to a custom audience of your previous customers.
Follow these steps:
Pro tip: Word your ad as if you are speaking to an old friend, since this is an audience who has already bought from you. Customers who have already purchased from you should convert at a much higher rate than cold traffic.
Lookalike Audiences can be extremely profitable when they work, although they’re somewhat hit and miss in my experience. If you have a seed audience of several hundred customers within a country (ideally, several thousand), click the Create Audience tab and select Lookalike Audience.
Marketing to a good Lookalike Audience can definitely get you a perfect 10/10 relevance score.
2. Split test meticulously
While targeting is the most important part of achieving a high relevance score, the quality of your ad is significant too. For me, a quality ad needs compelling images, persuasive copy, a clear CTA and an offer that your target audience can’t resist.
Quality is, however, subjective. Fortunately, you can use split testing to determine what types of ads resonate with your audience — then refine your advertising to be more resonant in the future.
Sometimes, the ads I think are superbly written fail to convert, while others I think will underperform become huge successes.
Innovate based on the data rather than your assumptions, and you can’t lose.
Innovate based on data rather than assumptions and you can’t lose at split testing.
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When I first launch a campaign, I like to fire three ads at an audience, each with the same image but with different copy. I’ll aim to highlight different features and benefits in order to determine what resonates.
One ad might mention free shipping, while another focuses on the emotional benefits of the product and the last takes a controversial standpoint in order to create a polarized reaction (and hopefully, more engagement).
Check out this example of a split test by Forbes, featured in AdBeat. Forbes ran four different ads to promote their article listing the top 20 highest paid athletes in the world.
Forbes found that option A proved most successful. At the time of running this ad, Floyd Mayweather had been heavily featured in the news. It was also rumored that he took home a big pay check from his recent fight with Manny Pacquiao. Naturally, fans were curious to learn just how much Mayweather had made that year.
While you might want to test a conversational tone versus a formal tone, I find the most significant gains can be made by split testing the headline and CTA.
Using powerful, persuasive language works well in the headline, as does opening your copy with a personalized greeting depending on your niche.
For example: “Hey fisherman/lawyers/cat lovers!”
Also, don’t be afraid to test using negative words. Oftentimes, people are compelled to action through avoidance of pain rather than pursuit of pleasure — as this powerful ad shows:
Once I’ve perfected my copy and have an ad which resonates well with my audience, I start split testing different images.
It’s important that your image looks professional. You can find plenty of free images on Pixabay, or you can give your product image to a freelancer on Fiverr to add some text and make it suitable for an ad.
Some marketers like to use red borders around their images to make them stand out. I think this looks a bit unprofessional, but again, it’s not my opinion that counts — it’s the people who see the ad and convert (or not) that matter.
Interestingly, Search Engine Land found that images of happy women, colorful logos and self portraits tend to convert the best. In my experience, pets and children also convert well, and situational photos often beat traditional product photography — but you must test and see what works best for your niche.
Check out this split test I performed to help a client determine which image to use for a campaign. Using the exact same copy, we let both ads run for three days.
The results were dramatically different.
The first ad received a CTR of 0.60% and zero purchases, whereas the second ad received a 2% CTR and three purchases over the three-day period.
Interestingly, the first ad had a relevance score of 7, whereas the second got a 9 — despite the fact both ads featured the same offer, the same copy and were targeted to the same audience.
3. Landing page optimization
While a great landing page won’t directly influence your relevance score, it is still important to get right.
By including credible social proof (such as video testimonials), persuasive copy, a powerful CTA and keeping your landing page stylistically consistent with your Facebook ad, your ad won’t just be relevant, it will be profitable — which is the goal, after all.
I’ve had positive results attracting B2B clients using Facebook ads. A free strategy session offered in my ads sends cold traffic directly to a case study page on my website.
Because I have a clearly defined buyer persona for my business, I ensure all my case studies are representative of this buyer. Because I target very specific interests and demographics on Facebook, I can ensure that the vast majority of people who click through from my ad will relate to the client in my case study.
By reading about the great results I was able to obtain for similar clients, new prospects are encouraged to get in touch for a free strategy session — where we can begin our relationship.
Through split testing, I’ve found that a bold “Contact Us” section at the end of a case study page works well as a CTA — especially when the colors contrast with the rest of the page (orange is one of the most popular CTA button color choices for a reason).
Get better results for less
Put simply, achieving a 10/10 relevance score will help you lower the cost of getting your message in front of the right buyers.
Because Facebook advertising is becoming more competitive, it’s essential to make your campaigns as cost effective as possible (that is, if you want to be profitable). When multiple ads are targeted to the same audience, a high relevance score will be factored in when Facebook decides which ad will be shown.
When split testing a campaign at a low daily ad spend, relevance should be one of the first things you look at when determining which ad has the highest likelihood of being profitable. In my experience, ads with a 10/10 relevance score usually scale better than those with a lower score.
Can you think of any other ways to improve your relevance score? Please let me know in the comments.