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Tips For Top-Performing Brand Awareness Campaigns On Facebook Ads



One of the most underrated aspects of social media marketing is our channel’s ability to make a difference in any part of the funnel.

As a whole, social media is a lot like a marketing multi-tool.

Think about it. We may not be the sharpest conversion “knife” in the drawer, especially compared to brand search.

But what we might lack in performance superiority, we more than make up for in our versatility.

We can offer various tools to get the marketing job done, regardless of the objective.

Now, I’ve spent the better part of my career as a social media performance marketer, and I’ll admit it’s still my default way of operating.

But there is an entire world outside of lead generation and traditional “CPC,” and it’s a world that can significantly impact the bottom funnel and the bottom line.

I’m talking about the top of the funnel.

“Brand awareness” campaigns, where the impression numbers are big, but measurable attribution can be small.

And it’s a world where performance marketers may feel a little uncomfortable due to the lack of tangible results.

But just because top-funnel campaigns don’t always drive leads and sales as efficiently or directly doesn’t mean they aren’t a vital part of any balanced digital marketing strategy.

In this article, we will go “up-funnel” and talk about how brand awareness campaigns work on Facebook, and how you can set them up for optimal results.

The Strategic Role Of Brand Awareness

Before we get into campaign details, it’s essential to understand the role of awareness in an overall marketing strategy.

For “full-funnel” marketers, this might be a bit of review, but it’s critical to understand how to make the most of these campaign types.

First, let’s nail the nomenclature.

These campaigns have different names and terms that I may use interchangeably in this article.

Brand awareness, brand, awareness, top-funnel, upper-funnel, and TOFU are just a few ways marketers refer to these campaigns.

Image created by author, April 2022marketing funnel

In the easiest strategic terms, brand awareness campaigns aim to introduce your target audience to your brand.

This is accomplished by running introductory and memorable creative to a broad audience.

Think of the funnel stages the way you would dating.

You can run conversion campaigns exclusively.

But it’s the marketing equivalent of walking up to someone and asking them to go out with you – no introduction, no discussion, just right in for the sale.

Sure, that can work if you have “high-intent” customers/singles.

But your chances of successfully closing the deal are higher if you introduce yourself and break down some of those initial barriers.

Where conversion or lead generation campaigns at the bottom of the funnel aim to get people to take action, brand awareness campaigns are meant to introduce you, familiarize you, and get you to stick in the minds of your customers.

Seems pretty straightforward, right?

It is, but the measurement is less definitive than campaigns at the bottom of the funnel.

Measuring Brand Awareness Campaigns The Right Way

Measuring a sale or lead in digital marketing is pretty straightforward.

Brand awareness success lies in more “squishy” and less concrete KPIs.

Here are a few that you should keep an eye on as you’re evaluating success:

Impressions and Reach

This one is simple. We want to serve as many impressions and reach as many people as possible.

Frequency (Impressions/Reach)

We can’t always expect our audience to see or absorb our ad’s content on the first impression.

Sometimes it takes two, three, or 10.

Frequency refers to the average number of times a person in your audience has seen an ad over a given period. The higher, the better.

However, high frequencies could signal over-delivery and potential wear out.

CPM (Cost Per 1,000 Impressions)

If the goal of brand awareness is to get in front of your audience and stay there, we’d like to do this for the most efficient cost possible.

A low CPM is vital to maintain efficiency and maximize your ad’s “staying power.”

Video Engagement

If the creative you’re running in your upper-funnel campaign is video, you’ll have access to a host of specialty metrics that will help you better understand how your message is consumed.

We’ll cover these specifically for Facebook below.

Facebook & Upper Funnel Campaigns: Which Objective To Choose?

Facebook gives advertisers several options when executing awareness or upper-funnel campaigns on the platform. In fact, it can be a little confusing.

Not only are there a few campaign types that apply to what we’re trying to accomplish, but they might appear in a different “Consideration” section.

Without getting into a marketing philosophical debate, there is often some grey between awareness and consideration.

For our purposes, “Video Views” are included as an upper-funnel objective.

campaign objectives on facebook ads

campaign objectives on facebook ads

Generally speaking, you can’t go wrong with selecting either Brand Awareness, Reach, or Video Views as an objective for an upper-funnel campaign.

But there will be subtle differences between the three regarding which KPIs are prioritized.

As Facebook marketers know, the platform is very good at optimizing campaigns to get desired results.

Here are the differences:

Objective Description/Optimization KPI
Reach Shown to as many people within the audience as possible CPM / Reach Volume
Brand Awareness Shown to people within the audience most likely to recall the ad Ad Recall Lift
Video Views Shown to people most likely to watch/complete the video Cost per View


  • Run this to show your ads to the widest audience, as cheaply as possible, as often as possible.
  • Measure this by CPM and Impression, Reach Volume.
  • Superpower: Unlike the other two upper-funnel objectives, you can set the average frequency goal for Reach campaigns
  • Watch out for poor engagement and click metrics. These campaigns are designed to be cheap and broad, and you will not see the same amount of clicks or video views/completes as you would if you chose another objective.

Brand Awareness

  • Run this to show your ads efficiently to people who are more likely to recall them.
  • Measure this by CPM and Ad Recall Lift.
  • Superpower: Brand Awareness is the only campaign objective that gives advertisers access to a unique metric called “Estimated ad recall lift (people).” It shows how many people Facebook estimates would remember your ad if asked within two days.
  • Watch out for the Estimated ad recall lift metric and its translatability to other brand awareness metrics across different channels. This is a Facebook-specific metric and may not mean much outside the platform.

In addition to the specialized “Estimated ad recall lift (people)” metric, any Facebook campaign spending at least $30,000 or more over its duration is eligible for a Brand Survey Test.

This Brand Survey Test is available in the “Experiments” section of your ad account’s ads manager and allows you to ask up to two preset questions to help determine the brand lift of your ad campaign.

  • Standard Ad Recall (Required) – Do you recall seeing an ad for [page] online or on a mobile device in the last two days?
  • A Second, Optional Questions

brand survey test second optional question

brand survey test second optional question

Video Views

  • Run this to maximize video engagement and drive the lowest cost per 3-second video view.
  • Measure this by CPM and CPV.
  • Superpower: Video View campaigns will optimize to video performance metrics, showing the ads to people more likely to watch them longer and more often.
  • Watch out for CPMs. Video views tend to be more expensive to run (comparatively) than Reach or Brand Awareness. And if video completion or view counts are not as important to you as Impressions or Reach, you may want to opt for another option.

Facebook Video Performance Metrics

Regardless of whether you’ve chosen a Video View optimization, all campaigns with video have access to special video metrics. Facebook has a lot of them, but here are a few you should focus on.


The number of times your video plays to completion, or for at least 15 seconds.

This is also the closest comparable metric to those used by other ad platforms like Google.

Cost Per ThruPlay

The average cost for each ThruPlay.

This metric is calculated as the total amount spent divided by the number of ThruPlays.

Video Plays at 100% (Completions)

The number of times your video played at 100% of its length, including plays that skipped to this point.

Video Average Play Time

The average amount of time a video was played, including any time spent replaying the video for a single impression.

Retargeting: Adding Value To Brand Awareness Campaigns

By raising your target audience’s awareness of your brand, you should improve their likelihood of converting further down the funnel.

That’s why identification of people within your audience influenced by your brand awareness campaign is important.

These potential hand raisers can be retargeted campaigns to move further down the conversion funnel.

Thankfully, Facebook’s wealth of behavioral retargeting options gives you plenty of ways to segment potential would-be customers.

You can learn more about these retargeting options in this article by Tim Jensen, but here are a few you should focus on.

Video Views

Create an audience of people who have watched a percentage of your campaign’s video. The longer they’ve viewed, the higher their intent could be.

Ad/Post Engagers

Create an audience of people who have interacted with your ads or posts within a given period. This engagement could signal their interest in learning more and moving down the funnel.

Website Visitors (With a Twist)

Create an audience of people who have visited your website within a given period.

More specifically, use the exact landing page URL with UTMs to make sure you’re matching 1:1 with the audience you targeted with your brand awareness campaign.


Brand awareness campaigns are critical to familiarizing your brand to your target audience.

Facebook offers many options for executing upper-funnel goals and providing value for full-funnel marketing campaigns.

Reach, brand awareness, and video views are the main campaign objectives you’ll want to use, but they optimize to different things.

Always remember:

  • If you want cheap impressions and the ability to control frequency, go for reach.
  • If you want to deliver to audiences Facebook believes more likely to remember you, choose brand awareness.
  • If you want to maximize the amount and quality of your video engagement, pick video views.

More resources:

Featured Image: kenary820/Shutterstock


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GPT Store Set To Launch In 2024 After ‘Unexpected’ Delays




GPT Store Set To Launch In 2024 After 'Unexpected' Delays

OpenAI shares its plans for the GPT Store, enhancements to GPT Builder tools, privacy improvements, and updates coming to ChatGPT.

  • OpenAI has scheduled the launch of the GPT Store for early next year, aligning with its ongoing commitment to developing advanced AI technologies.
  • The GPT Builder tools have received substantial updates, including a more intuitive configuration interface and improved file handling capabilities.
  • Anticipation builds for upcoming updates to ChatGPT, highlighting OpenAI’s responsiveness to community feedback and dedication to AI innovation.

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96.55% of Content Gets No Traffic From Google. Here’s How to Be in the Other 3.45% [New Research for 2023]



96.55% of Content Gets No Traffic From Google. Here's How to Be in the Other 3.45% [New Research for 2023]

It’s no secret that the web is growing by millions, if not billions of pages per day.

Our Content Explorer tool discovers 10 million new pages every 24 hours while being very picky about the pages that qualify for inclusion. The “main” Ahrefs web crawler crawls that number of pages every two minutes. 

But how much of this content gets organic traffic from Google?

To find out, we took the entire database from our Content Explorer tool (around 14 billion pages) and studied how many pages get traffic from organic search and why.

How many web pages get organic search traffic?

96.55% of all pages in our index get zero traffic from Google, and 1.94% get between one and ten monthly visits.

Distribution of pages by traffic from Content Explorer

Before we move on to discussing why the vast majority of pages never get any search traffic from Google (and how to avoid being one of them), it’s important to address two discrepancies with the studied data:

  1. ~14 billion pages may seem like a huge number, but it’s not the most accurate representation of the entire web. Even compared to the size of Site Explorer’s index of 340.8 billion pages, our sample size for this study is quite small and somewhat biased towards the “quality side of the web.”
  2. Our search traffic numbers are estimates. Even though our database of ~651 million keywords in Site Explorer (where our estimates come from) is arguably the largest database of its kind, it doesn’t contain every possible thing people search for in Google. There’s a chance that some of these pages get search traffic from super long-tail keywords that are not popular enough to make it into our database.

That said, these two “inaccuracies” don’t change much in the grand scheme of things: the vast majority of published pages never rank in Google and never get any search traffic. 

But why is this, and how can you be a part of the minority that gets organic search traffic from Google?

Well, there are hundreds of SEO issues that may prevent your pages from ranking well in Google. But if we focus only on the most common scenarios, assuming the page is indexed, there are only three of them.

Reason 1: The topic has no search demand

If nobody is searching for your topic, you won’t get any search traffic—even if you rank #1.

For example, I recently Googled “pull sitemap into google sheets” and clicked the top-ranking page (which solved my problem in seconds, by the way). But if you plug that URL into Ahrefs’ Site Explorer, you’ll see that it gets zero estimated organic search traffic:

The top-ranking page for this topic gets no traffic because there's no search demandThe top-ranking page for this topic gets no traffic because there's no search demand

This is because hardly anyone else is searching for this, as data from Keywords Explorer confirms:

Keyword data from Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer confirms that this topic has no search demandKeyword data from Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer confirms that this topic has no search demand

This is why it’s so important to do keyword research. You can’t just assume that people are searching for whatever you want to talk about. You need to check the data.

Our Traffic Potential (TP) metric in Keywords Explorer can help with this. It estimates how much organic search traffic the current top-ranking page for a keyword gets from all the queries it ranks for. This is a good indicator of the total search demand for a topic.

You’ll see this metric for every keyword in Keywords Explorer, and you can even filter for keywords that meet your minimum criteria (e.g., 500+ monthly traffic potential): 

Filtering for keywords with Traffic Potential (TP) in Ahrefs' Keywords ExplorerFiltering for keywords with Traffic Potential (TP) in Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

Reason 2: The page has no backlinks

Backlinks are one of Google’s top three ranking factors, so it probably comes as no surprise that there’s a clear correlation between the number of websites linking to a page and its traffic.

Pages with more referring domains get more trafficPages with more referring domains get more traffic
Pages with more referring domains get more traffic

Same goes for the correlation between a page’s traffic and keyword rankings:

Pages with more referring domains rank for more keywordsPages with more referring domains rank for more keywords
Pages with more referring domains rank for more keywords

Does any of this data prove that backlinks help you rank higher in Google?

No, because correlation does not imply causation. However, most SEO professionals will tell you that it’s almost impossible to rank on the first page for competitive keywords without backlinks—an observation that aligns with the data above.

The key word there is “competitive.” Plenty of pages get organic traffic while having no backlinks…

Pages with more referring domains get more trafficPages with more referring domains get more traffic
How much traffic pages with no backlinks get

… but from what I can tell, almost all of them are about low-competition topics.

For example, this lyrics page for a Neil Young song gets an estimated 162 monthly visits with no backlinks: 

Example of a page with traffic but no backlinks, via Ahrefs' Content ExplorerExample of a page with traffic but no backlinks, via Ahrefs' Content Explorer

But if we check the keywords it ranks for, they almost all have Keyword Difficulty (KD) scores in the single figures:

Some of the low-difficulty keywords a page without traffic ranks forSome of the low-difficulty keywords a page without traffic ranks for

It’s the same story for this page selling upholstered headboards:

Some of the low-difficulty keywords a page without traffic ranks forSome of the low-difficulty keywords a page without traffic ranks for

You might have noticed two other things about these pages:

  • Neither of them get that much traffic. This is pretty typical. Our index contains ~20 million pages with no referring domains, yet only 2,997 of them get more than 1K search visits per month. That’s roughly 1 in every 6,671 pages with no backlinks.
  • Both of the sites they’re on have high Domain Rating (DR) scores. This metric shows the relative strength of a website’s backlink profile. Stronger sites like these have more PageRank that they can pass to pages with internal links to help them rank. 

Bottom line? If you want your pages to get search traffic, you really only have two options:

  1. Target uncompetitive topics that you can rank for with few or no backlinks.
  2. Target competitive topics and build backlinks to rank.

If you want to find uncompetitive topics, try this:

  1. Enter a topic into Keywords Explorer
  2. Go to the Matching terms report
  3. Set the Keyword Difficulty (KD) filter to max. 20
  4. Set the Lowest DR filter to your site’s DR (this will show you keywords with at least one of the same or lower DR ranking in the top 5)
Filtering for low-competition keywords in Ahrefs' Keywords ExplorerFiltering for low-competition keywords in Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

(Remember to keep an eye on the TP column to make sure they have traffic potential.)

To rank for more competitive topics, you’ll need to earn or build high-quality backlinks to your page. If you’re not sure how to do that, start with the guides below. Keep in mind that it’ll be practically impossible to get links unless your content adds something to the conversation. 

Reason 3. The page doesn’t match search intent

Google wants to give users the most relevant results for a query. That’s why the top organic results for “best yoga mat” are blog posts with recommendations, not product pages. 

It's obviously what searchers want when they search for "best yoga mats"It's obviously what searchers want when they search for "best yoga mats"

Basically, Google knows that searchers are in research mode, not buying mode.

It’s also why this page selling yoga mats doesn’t show up, despite it having backlinks from more than six times more websites than any of the top-ranking pages:

Page selling yoga mats that has lots of backlinksPage selling yoga mats that has lots of backlinks
Number of linking websites to the top-ranking pages for "best yoga mats"Number of linking websites to the top-ranking pages for "best yoga mats"

Luckily, the page ranks for thousands of other more relevant keywords and gets tens of thousands of monthly organic visits. So it’s not such a big deal that it doesn’t rank for “best yoga mats.”

Number of keyword rankings for the page selling yoga matsNumber of keyword rankings for the page selling yoga mats

However, if you have pages with lots of backlinks but no organic traffic—and they already target a keyword with traffic potential—another quick SEO win is to re-optimize them for search intent.

We did this in 2018 with our free backlink checker.

It was originally nothing but a boring landing page explaining the benefits of our product and offering a 7-day trial: 

Original landing page for our free backlink checkerOriginal landing page for our free backlink checker

After analyzing search intent, we soon realized the issue:

People weren’t looking for a landing page, but rather a free tool they could use right away. 

So, in September 2018, we created a free tool and published it under the same URL. It ranked #1 pretty much overnight, and has remained there ever since. 

Our rankings over time for the keyword "backlink checker." You can see when we changed the pageOur rankings over time for the keyword "backlink checker." You can see when we changed the page

Organic traffic went through the roof, too. From ~14K monthly organic visits pre-optimization to almost ~200K today. 

Estimated search traffic over time to our free backlink checkerEstimated search traffic over time to our free backlink checker


96.55% of pages get no organic traffic. 

Keep your pages in the other 3.45% by building backlinks, choosing topics with organic traffic potential, and matching search intent.

Ping me on Twitter if you have any questions. 🙂

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Firefox URL Tracking Removal – Is This A Trend To Watch?




Firefox URL Tracking Removal - Is This A Trend To Watch?

Firefox recently announced that they are offering users a choice on whether or not to include tracking information from copied URLs, which comes on the on the heels of iOS 17 blocking user tracking via URLs. The momentum of removing tracking information from URLs appears to be gaining speed. Where is this all going and should marketers be concerned?

Is it possible that blocking URL tracking parameters in the name of privacy will become a trend industrywide?

Firefox Announcement

Firefox recently announced that beginning in the Firefox Browser version 120.0, users will be able to select whether or not they want URLs that they copied to contain tracking parameters.

When users select a link to copy and click to raise the contextual menu for it, Firefox is now giving users a choice as to whether to copy the URL with or without the URL tracking parameters that might be attached to the URL.

Screenshot Of Firefox 120 Contextual Menu

Screenshot of Firefox functionality

According to the Firefox 120 announcement:

“Firefox supports a new “Copy Link Without Site Tracking” feature in the context menu which ensures that copied links no longer contain tracking information.”

Browser Trends For Privacy

All browsers, including Google’s Chrome and Chrome variants, are adding new features that make it harder for websites to track users online through referrer information embedded in a URL when a user clicks from one site and leaves through that click to visit another site.

This trend for privacy has been ongoing for many years but it became more noticeable in 2020 when Chrome made changes to how referrer information was sent when users click links to visit other sites. Firefox and Safari followed with similar referrer behavior.

Whether the current Firefox implementation would be disruptive or if the impact is overblown is kind of besides the point.

What is the point is whether or not what Firefox and Apple did to protect privacy is a trend and if that trend will extend to more blocking of URL parameters that are stronger than what Firefox recently implemented.

I asked Kenny Hyder, CEO of online marketing agency Pixel Main, what his thoughts are about the potential disruptive aspect of what Firefox is doing and whether it’s a trend.

Kenny answered:

“It’s not disruptive from Firefox alone, which only has a 3% market share. If other popular browsers follow suit it could begin to be disruptive to a limited degree, but easily solved from a marketers prospective.

If it became more intrusive and they blocked UTM tags, it would take awhile for them all to catch on if you were to circumvent UTM tags by simply tagging things in a series of sub-directories.. ie.<tag1>/<tag2> etc.

Also, most savvy marketers are already integrating future proof workarounds for these exact scenarios.

A lot can be done with pixel based integrations rather than cookie based or UTM tracking. When set up properly they can actually provide better and more accurate tracking and attribution. Hence the name of my agency, Pixel Main.”

I think most marketers are aware that privacy is the trend. The good ones have already taken steps to keep it from becoming a problem while still respecting user privacy.”

Some URL Parameters Are Already Affected

For those who are on the periphery of what’s going on with browsers and privacy, it may come as a surprise that some tracking parameters are already affected by actions meant to protect user privacy.

Jonathan Cairo, Lead Solutions Engineer at Elevar shared that there is already a limited amount of tracking related information stripped from URLs.

But he also explained that there are limits to how much information can be stripped from URLs because the resulting negative effects would cause important web browsing functionality to fail.

Jonathan explained:

“So far, we’re seeing a selective trend where some URL parameters, like ‘fbclid’ in Safari’s private browsing, are disappearing, while others, such as TikTok’s ‘ttclid’, remain.

UTM parameters are expected to stay since they focus on user segmentation rather than individual tracking, provided they are used as intended.

The idea of completely removing all URL parameters seems improbable, as it would disrupt key functionalities on numerous websites, including banking services and search capabilities.

Such a drastic move could lead users to switch to alternative browsers.

On the other hand, if only some parameters are eliminated, there’s the possibility of marketers exploiting the remaining ones for tracking purposes.

This raises the question of whether companies like Apple will take it upon themselves to prevent such use.

Regardless, even in a scenario where all parameters are lost, there are still alternative ways to convey click IDs and UTM information to websites.”

Brad Redding of Elevar agreed about the disruptive effect from going too far with removing URL tracking information:

“There is still too much basic internet functionality that relies on query parameters, such as logging in, password resets, etc, which are effectively the same as URL parameters in a full URL path.

So we believe the privacy crackdown is going to continue on known trackers by blocking their tracking scripts, cookies generated from them, and their ability to monitor user’s activity through the browser.

As this grows, the reliance on brands to own their first party data collection and bring consent preferences down to a user-level (vs session based) will be critical so they can backfill gaps in conversion data to their advertising partners outside of the browser or device.”

The Future Of Tracking, Privacy And What Marketers Should Expect

Elevar raises good points about how far browsers can go in terms of how much blocking they can do. Their response that it’s down to brands to own their first party data collection and other strategies to accomplish analytics without compromising user privacy.

Given all the laws governing privacy and Internet tracking that have been enacted around the world it looks like privacy will continue to be a trend.

However, at this point it time, the advice is to keep monitoring how far browsers are going but there is no expectation that things will get out of hand.

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