Traction and Scale - Measuring Success

How to Train Your Facebook Pixel and Choose Your Facebook Campaign Optimization

Short on time? Get the quick and easy must-knows about training your pixel in this 4 minute read. →

1. Learning Phase - lasts to 50 conversions per ad set.

  • No significant changes can be made: bidding, budget, targeting, ad creative, optimization for ad delivery or scheduling.
  • Optimizing for clicks until you get enough conversions.
  • And other bidding optimization tests - onboarding vs lead for SaaS, AtC vs purchase for ecomm, PPE at MOFu vs CPC at TOFu.

2. How to build a funnel report in 5 minutes.


The Facebook Pixel is the Brains of Your Operations

Okay, in this video we're going to learn how to train your pixel. This is really where the fireworks starts to go off and we see a lot of campaigns start to scale exponentially. So going back to the point that we made in an earlier video, a lot of our job as Facebook marketers is to be a better trainer of Facebook, right?

horsepower   Google Search

Facebook has so much firepower, so much horsepower under the hood that really it's our job to point them in the right direction so that they can optimize, they can do all of their fancy business behind-the-scenes to find the right people to serve your ads to. And then to convert those people into sales. So we're talking about the pixel. And the pixel, if you're not really familiar with what it is, it's essentially the brain of your operations. So when you start advertising on Facebook, you're probably used to pasting this block of code on your website, but what that block of code does, is it tracks kind of every action that happens on your website.

And what it does is it communicates back to Facebook when people are logged into Facebook, like which actions they're taking on your site. So they're able to have a very, very good look into what actions are happening, who's taking those actions, and what they should do with that data later, there's a lot of what we're going to talk about here. So anyways, just remember that the Pixel is the brain of your operation. If for some reason your pixel isn't firing or it's not firing across all the pages on your site, stop this video right now and go fix it. Because this is essential to do on a small scale first before we've really tried to scale to millions and millions of dollars of sales, right?

The Learning Phase

So the first thing I want to point out here is something that Facebook has called the learning phase. So many of you have probably even spotted this in the ad manager, but when we are trying to get to a point where our campaigns are optimized and they're going nuts, finding the right people and delivering your ads and getting conversions, there is this learning phase.

Learning Phase = 50 Conversions Per Ad Set

The learning phase is defined as 50 conversions that need to occur per ad set within one week time. And those conversions, of course, they come from Facebook ads themselves. So 50 conversions per ad set, not per campaign, not an aggregate, within one week of time. Now, it's 50 a magic number? No. Is it going to be different, higher, lower depending on your niche? Yes. But as a guide post, Facebook recommends 50 conversions and that has been kind of our experience as well, anywhere really between 25 and 50 conversions until Facebook can really dial in and understand who they should be serving your ads to get the result that you want.

What You Can't Change During The Learning Phase

So one thing to keep in mind about this learning phase is there are things that you absolutely cannot change and those things are bidding, budget, targeting, ad creative, something called kind of your delivery optimization goal and scheduling. Okay. Now, any of these things that are changed, after you launch an ad set basically starts the clock over. And if you can picture it like this, let's say that you sat Facebook down in math class and then you yanked them out five minutes later and put them into English class. That's pretty much what's happening if you change any of the above parameters because what it's trying to do is learn. It's trying to get to that critical mass of conversions, for whatever your objective is, and it can't do that if you're changing the variables that are at play. So do not change anything related to these items when you launch.

Sit On Your Hands

This is probably the hardest thing to do, as a Facebook marketer, particularly if you're spending your own money, is to just sit on your hands for a few days, or for however long it takes to start getting a critical mass of conversions or data in. 

sitting on your hands Google Search

So some of you might be thinking like, "There's no way I could possibly get 50 purchases per week from my eCommerce brand right now in the budget that I have." Just put a pin in that for a second. Hold onto it for a minute. We're going to get to that later, but what I do want to say is that when it comes to not changing anything, when it comes to waiting and waiting it out, you're really protecting yourself from ending something too early.

Test Who Responds

Now, Facebook has said that during this learning phase they are going out and they're deliberately delivering your ads to different segments of people within your total target audience. So let's go back to that initial video that we did, explaining how Facebook's optimization algorithm works and let's imagine that Facebook has deliberately fishing in these different ponds trying to deliberately test your ad against people in different circles of that total audience.

Changes Hinder Scale

And because of that, the performance is going to be wildly different, right? Because on purpose they're trying to test who responds and who doesn't. But if you try to make decisions or changes while they're doing that, it just introduces more complexity into what they're trying to calculate and it starts the clock over. So many of you, if you've done this in the past, this is your enemy of scale. This is the primary thing that has kept you from getting to the next level of sales-per-day, and it's just restarting the clock. You start the learning phase over on day two and now you have another seven days or 10 days. Start it again on day five, you just start the clock over and you get kind of this hamster wheel of never really being able to move forward and lock in on your ideal audience. So respect the learning phase, respect it, and give it the time that it needs to achieve that kind of 50 conversion approximate amount, right, to dial in and start finding the audience.

Exceptions to the Rule

Now, if you're getting less than 50 conversions, but you're starting to see amazing performance, okay, maybe your magic number was 25, but the point is respect the learning phase. Don't change things. Resist the urge to make changes, okay, I have to give exceptions to the rule. It's just the way this stuff works. If you're coming out with a really big budget, you're going to accelerate your learning, so you're going to accelerate the amount of volume of actions that people are taking and thus you may be learning quicker and thus you may be able to shut things down that there are clearly not working. So to give you an example, if you're starting out with five or 500 or a thousand dollars a day or even more it might be evident to you that after two days you're going to have some stuff that's just not working. It's not getting click through. It's okay to kill that stuff.

Lower Budgets

But keep in mind that most of you are probably starting with lower budgets and it's going to take time to accumulate the data needed in the learning phase. Okay. I mentioned to you before the objection, maybe or the concern, "Hey, there's no way I could ever get 50 purchases on the budget I have right now. It would take me weeks." Okay. This is kind of another way to get there, right? Because remember, the whole principle here is that we're trying to train Facebook to do our bidding, right? So we call this kind of backing into your goal or backing out or however you want to say it, but, let's pretend again that you're running an eCommerce store, that ultimate goal that you want to be optimizing for is purchases, but you're having a hard time getting to 50 per week because you just don't have the budget yet.

Can't Get to 50 Conversions

Maybe it's the daily budgets or for whatever reason, you aren't receiving enough conversions to reach 50 conversions per week. So what we want to do is want to step back. We want to back out from that goal, what's the event that would happen? Maybe you're right before purchase, someone's going to initiate a checkout, right? And what happens before that? They're going to add to cart. What happens before that? They're going to view a product page or the view content event. What happens even before that, that I haven't even drawn here? Somebody's probably engages with your ad, right? They commented on it, they liked it, they shared it. What happens before that? They saw it and had an impression of the ad, so you can kind of draw a line from your end goal all the way back to the first time somebody even sees your ad and this whole cycle or this whole curve is something that we would call a persons path of intent, right?

So any of these actions along the way, they indicate somebody's intent to purchase or if you're a lead generation business, it might indicate somebody is intent to fill out a form and become a lead request, or request a sales demo, whatever it might be. So what we want to do is we want to enable Facebook to be able to optimize for some of these conversions or events that are along the path of intent, but a little bit earlier on. Okay.

Benefits of 50 Conversions

Let's take this one, for example, view content or viewing a product page, you would want to optimize for this if you have a lower budget and you're not getting those purchases because it's getting you more "at bats," if you're not familiar with that phrase, it's really getting you more chances to get the purchase right, because we know that a certain percentage of people who view the product page will then add to cart and then a certain percentage of those will initiate the checkout. Another percentage will actually purchase.

It's a simple purchase funnel, a simple sales funnel here. So substitute whatever funnel you might have, but the point is once Facebook locks in and they're able to get those 50 conversions a week on, let's say link clicks or let's say view content events, viewing the product page, they're going to get really good at it. So suddenly your cost per click of getting somebody, of getting that At Bat in the first place goes from down from a buck 50 to a buck to eighty cents to 50 to thirty cents. And now with the same amount of budget, you're getting exponentially more people to view the products and then have a chance to buy it. So as you're optimizing for this objective, you're going to get people that are adding to cart, you're going to get people who are initiating checkout, you're going to get people who are purchasing.

So the strategy here is as we're optimizing for events kind of earlier on in that funnel, you're going to start seeing these events trigger. So maybe you've run this campaign for one or two weeks and you start to get 20, then 30, then 40, then 50 purchases. Now you can switch the objectives to optimize for the purchase because you've trained Facebook by optimizing for something earlier in the process. You've trained them to note and remember the people who also purchased that came through from that ad.

Wrap Up

So just to kind of wrap that up, I know we kind of went very quickly over this piece of it. If you can't get the critical mass of volume on your ultimate objective, go earlier in the buying process and monitor when it might be appropriate for you to switch the objective over to the purchases. If you do it too early, you're not giving Facebook enough information to optimize.

And if you're doing that too long, they're just going to be spinning their tires and not getting you the results that you want. But, the biggest thing to celebrate, is when you hit that critical mass of purchases off of your view content campaign or link click campaign, because now you know it's going down, it's time to switch it over and now, it's going to be exciting for you to start scaling because you're optimizing for the right thing. And Facebook's going to be finding those circles of people who are most likely to buy. Okay.

Run Fewer Ad Sets in the Beginning

I want to leave you guys with a few just basic and kind of tactical takeaways here as you're starting to run campaigns like this because I know this might be new for some of you and I want to give you something specific. So first, it's probably going to be a good idea for you to run fewer ad sets in the beginning. And here's what I mean. Let's just say it's going to take 100 bucks for you to actually complete the learning phase even on one of these earlier objectives. If you have 10 ads sets targeting all these different audiences, and you spend a thousand dollars, that's great. You got each of those ad sets, each of those 10 ad sets to the point where they've completed the learning phase, but now you've spent $0 in the optimization phase where you're starting to gain momentum and get sales for a better return on ad spend.

Now, scratch that back for a second. Let's see, you only have one ad set and you spent $100 to reach that learning phase to complete it. Now, you have $900 to start scaling and optimizing and getting that better return on ad spend, getting more volume of sales. So if you have limited budget, it's not a bad idea for you to really focus on a few key ad sets early on that you can really get through the learning phase as quickly as possible and then scale those up, then moved to something else, scale those up right?

Refine Your Audience

So keep that in mind, everybody's situation is different, but if you're dealing with lower budgets and wanting to really drill down, this is the place to start. The other piece here is to expand or refine your audience. So what happens if you get through this learning phase, and you just can't get to your goal, even by going earlier on in the funnel? Well, it might be a good idea for you to kind of change who you are going after. Maybe your audience is too small. I don't want to go too far on this because this is more of a traction question, but again, it all cycles back to really training the optimization objective. So if you need to just create a better lookalike audience, if you need to maybe expand your targeting a bit, you're giving Facebook more room to work with and more people to show your ads to, but consider your audiences as one of the variables that might not be working well for you.

Test Creative and Copy

Now, test more creative as the last one here, so if you're just not getting that link click. If you're not getting whatever the objective is that you're going after, it could be that you're creative just isn't hitting right. So the audience that you've chosen, you're not speaking to their pain points, you're not really even telling them that there's an action for them to take, like they need to click through and actually view the post or view the products. So test more creative. You'll notice that we said don't change your creative when you're in the learning phase, but that doesn't preclude you or keep you from doing some meaningful creative tests in this learning phase. So creating multiple ads, changing up the headline to speak to a benefit versus a pain point, making some very bold kind of changes to the ads before you enter the learning phase. That's the time to do it. If it doesn't work for you, you can't get to that critical mass. That's fine. Pause and restart and have, you know, more creative that you're testing.

So those are the things to try. This is an exciting journey to be on. It can be hard to wait. It can be hard to just sit on your hands for a little bit and let Facebook do its thing and learn, but it's worth your time. It's worth your money. And if you haven't figured out how to create these custom reports, I think we're going to have some resources for you to do that so you can kind of see where you are in this process but yeah, go forth and optimize and respect the learning phase. This is like a critical thing as you're building up your campaigns to be scalable.

About the Instructor

Josh Sturgeon, Co-Founder

Clean & Elegant
Fully Responsive