How to Get the Cheapest Facebook Ads Without Sacrificing Quality

When you're doing Facebook advertising, or any type of advertising, your objective is not to get a win right out of the gate. That's typically not going to happen. Your objective is to find some semblance of traction and start bringing the numbers up over time while looking for key spots to optimize.

Cut Ads with Bad Click-Through Rates

Let's start with Facebook ads. Go into your reporting, in the ads manager, and take a look at the placements that are costing you too much money. For example, if you're targeting ages between 18-65 (I hope you're not!), you can see which age segments perform the best for your ads.

Facebook Ads

For example, if I'm selling enterprise software, I probably don't want to reach out to the segments of 18-25 years. I probably want to reach people who are 25-55.

But you're not going to know anything until you have actual data. Once you do, you can clearly see your cost for acquisitions and the click-through rate engagement numbers, and from there you can decide which placements to cut.

The other thing I like doing is looking at CTR. The way Facebook advertising works is they typically look at how many impressions they’re serving up and how many clicks you’re generating. The more clicks you generate, per impression, the cheaper they will charge you per action.

So what you want to do is identify the placements with the worst click-through rates. Typically, your side bar ads have terrible click-through rates and your Instagram campaigns will be hurting your numbers. If you start turning off the campaigns, the side bar ads or the Instagram ads, you'll notice that your Facebook overall ad costs go down, and your relevance score will go up.

Related Content: Instagram Stories: How Brands Can Benefit from this New Feature

What’s a Relevance Score?

Relevance score is a 0-10 metric that Facebook uses to identify how good your ad is. The higher your relevance score, the cheaper your cost per click, per like, etc.

When your relevance score is a 2-5, they're going to charge you more, because they're showing your ad to a ton of people who basically aren’t interested. So if you're not getting a lot of clicks, that means you're just wasting money.

Facebook relevance score

If you scroll through your Facebook feed, sometimes you're going to see posts or advertisements that have thousands of likes and tons of people sharing it. I used to wonder—how the heck do I get there? Because, for me, I might be lucky to get even 10 likes, or 10 shares, on an advertisement.

The key is that you want to make sure you're promoting only one specific post. A lot of times people will make 10 different ad sets because they want to try different variations or different types of targeting. But instead of doing that, you want to run just one advertisement instead. That way, you can let that engagement build up on just one post.

If you do that, you're going to drive your CTRs higher, because people like to click on things that a lot of other people are supporting already. Then your CPCs are going to go down and your overall CPA, your Cost Per Acquisition, is going to go down as well. Then you’ll be making money from your campaign.

Images Are More Important than You Think

Another thing you should start looking at are your images. After your ad has been running for a while, you'll notice that the same people are seeing it over and over again. When you can keep your frequency as close as possible to one, you'll notice that your cost for advertising is lower.

In order to do that, you need to continually upload new images. I know this is really simple, but you'll be shocked by how many people don't do this. Facebook shows you the frequency. So if the frequency starts getting too high, you'll notice that you'll start paying through the roof for those ads. Because if you keep seeing the same ad over and over again, and you never clicked on it in the first place, why would you click on it later? Chances are you won't. For that reason, you need to continually adjust your images. This also helps you A/B test them.

Learn More: How to Run A/B Tests that Actually Increase Conversions

I was running a marketing-related campaign targeted towards Brazil and was trying to get them over to my fan page, which is purely about marketing, and like it. So I tried different images of Brazil, like the Brazilian flag, a yellow Camaro (for some reason there's a really popular song in Brazil about how girls love yellow Camaros), etc. And I noticed that the cost per click was going down. In fact, the costs per like were the cheapest when I was using the Brazilian flag or the yellow Camaro.

Can You Automate Your Advertising?

If all this intuitive marketing sounds a bit daunting, there’s always programmatic advertising as well, which automatically shuts off ads or segments that aren’t performing well.

AdEspresso lets you create a ton of different variations at once. They'll basically make different variations for your headlines, your images, everything you want to test, and then you can just set certain thresholds for your bare minimum CPA and if your CPA goes too high it's going to shut down automatically. In every case, it will auto-optimize for you and show you what's winning over time.


Another great programmatic advertising solution is Qwaya. Qwaya and AdEspresso are very similar. AdEspresso has really good content on Facebook ads and just advertising in general.

If you're going to make ads at scale—let’s say you want to make 5-6 ads at a time so that you can test rapidly—don't do just one, then go to your designer and have him do another one, etc. Quite frankly, designers hate banner ads and they're going to kick your ass if you keep asking them to do banner ads. Trust me, I've done this before and I've gotten the hate from designers. Instead, you should go to Design Pickle, which is $370 per month for unlimited designs.

Design Pickle

Another option is to just subscribe to a stock image supplier, and use high-quality stock pictures (that almost look like they aren’t stock). Some people use Google images. I don't do that, because there's a lot of copyright issues.

Cheaper Isn’t Always Better

When you're running your ads, another thing that you should test is not optimizing for cost. A lot of people look at campaigns or clicks to a website and try to get clicks or likes for the cheapest dollar amount. But what you'll find is that not every single visitor or every single like is created equal.

For example, when we were running a like campaign for Brazil, we ended up with over 100,000 likes, just from marketers in Brazil trying to learn more about marketing.

One campaign was costing us around 3 cents per like. Another campaign was costing around 10 cents per like. Some ad people examined the campaigns and were like, “You should be turning off the one that's 10 cents per like. Why would you pay 10 cents when you could be paying 3 cents?”

But when we really looked under the hood at clicks and engagement, the 10 cents per like campaign was getting 7x the comments and shares than the one that was 3 cents per like. That's a huge difference.

It's not about getting the cheapest fans in the highest quantity, it's about quality. Why would you want fans that don't engage? You want the best fans. In fact, if you have fewer fans but more of them are sharing your content, Facebook will start showing that content to their friends and other people. That's virality.

When you're driving traffic to a website, don't just look for the cheapest clicks, either. Target the right people: your ideal buyers. Cut out anyone who may not be your ideal buyer. Sure, you may end up spending more per click, but your campaign will convert way better.

For example, I have a webinar and we drive Facebook traffic to it. We started off doing re-marketing and getting clicks at around 20 cents per click, which wasn't too bad. And it was converting.

Single Grain webinars

But you know what? We started paying $1 per click and I instinctively made a sour face. I was like, “Whoa, whoa, whoa. How are we going to make the numbers work?” But those people were way more qualified. Sure, it cost more money, more than 5x, but the conversion rate was so much higher that it was actually more profitable than those 20 cent clicks.

What Are Facebook Lead Ads?

To cap things off, Facebook Lead Ads are something you may or may not have heard of. Basically, you're allowed to collect information directly from Facebook's app.

Learn More: Facebook Lead Ads: How to Increase Mobile Conversions

There's this Lead Ads study done by AdEspresso where they found that when you're asking one question, your conversion rate is way higher than if you're asking 7-8 questions. If you have one question, your conversion rate can be as high as 30-40%. If you add too many questions, it's going to drop super low and you're going to be paying a lot of money.

The idea is, because you're entering information directly within the app, the conversion rates are going to be higher. You can use tools like Connect Leads to connect Facebook ads into your CRM, into your Webinar Jam, into your Go-To-Webinar, whatever you're using. You can start collecting leads and signups that way, and start to make more money.

This post was adapted from Marketing School, a 10-minute daily podcast in which Neil Patel and Eric Siu teach you real-life marketing strategies and tactics from their own experience to help you find success in any marketing capacity. Listen to the podcast version of this post below:

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