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3 Ways to Boost the Performance of Your Facebook Ads



When you consider the rapid adaptation of technology over time, you would expect that another social media platform would have risen up and taken the mantle in recent years, but Facebook, the looming giant in the space, has remained the most stable and powerful, seeing off all challengers thus far.

According to Sprout Social’s ‘2020 critical social media stats’, 89% of marketers now use Facebook as their primary ad platform, while 83% of consumers regularly log into the app. The alignment here makes sense, businesses will go wherever the audience is, and no platform has a larger audience right now.

But reach and resonance are not connected – just because you can reach more people on Facebook, that doesn’t mean you’re going to be able to make them stop as they scroll by and tap of click on your ad. For that, you need to establish effective targeting, you need to understand your audience and what they’re looking for, and you need to align your ad presentation with their preferences.

That takes work – but if you’re looking for some key tips in improving the performance of your Facebook ads, check out these pointers and tools. 

1. Build Effective Retargeting Campaigns on Facebook

Reaching out to old customers, or those who’ve almost become your customers (i.e. expressed interest in your brand but never converted), is one of the most effective ways to boost your Facebook campaign performance.

Both Facebook and Google enable you to optimize your campaign performance based on specific interactions (i.e. events) which occur on your site. Event tracking requires some basic coding knowledge, as you need to insert relevant code parameters on your site.

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Oribi is an easy to use analytics tool that makes event tracking and implemention easy. Basically, Oribi will export your designated event data into Facebook automatically for you to then use in optimizing your campaigns.

Oribi export evnts

It can be an extremely useful tool for small business owners and startups that can’t afford to buy conversion optimization services, or have limited knowledge of event tracking and coding.

Moreover, by seeing which customers are converting, and where they’re coming from, you’ll find it much easier to customize your campaigns, and get better results. I saw a boost in my engagement right away, without having to rely on more complex and expensive analytics platforms. 

2. Start Excluding

Everyone who’s conducted even a starter campaign on Facebook would be aware of the exclusion and focus options in Facebook’s ad targeting tools. I was surprised to find through my own research that many people – even more advanced users who’ve been using Facebook ads for years – are not using them.

In a way, I understand the impulse to include as much of your target demographic as possible – after all, just having that audience in mind has already created a bubble to build on. Why would you need another one?

But social media ads are different than other media options. The more your audience sees them, in many cases, the less likely they are to follow the links.

Why is that? Because social media is a place to scroll and respond in the moment. Because we often buy or click on a whim, much more than if they were discovering a product from a storefront or dedicated search. This is obviously not the case on sites like Pinterest, where building lasting boards is the point, but Facebook is somewhere you go to react and share, not to curate.

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This applies to Facebook ad exclusions, because you can use them to avoid over-exposure to people who, for example, have already purchased your product, or have been in direct contact with your brand. So if someone were to like your page, they can get updates there rather than be bombarded with ads every time they log in.

Here’s a detailed guide on how to exclude audiences on Facebook, and who you may want to prevent from seeing your ads.

Exclude audiences

3. Get Your Customers Involved

Testimonials in ads are nice, but they fail to catch anywhere near the power of direct user to user engagement.

You can customize your calls to action to reflect the platform by asking customers to review the product directly on the thread where they discovered it.

Not too long ago, I ordered a semi-permanent hair dye from a Facebook ad. I received a message from a customer service rep in Messenger shortly after, asking if I would be willing to provide photos of my hair, and a short review in a linked ad. In exchange, they would send me a free bottle of the same or any other color of my choice.

I really liked this approach. First of all, it’s a great way of facilitating word of mouth, and instilling trust by adding authenticity to a testimonial. Second, it works well with the product – it’s a hair dye that needs to be refreshed within a couple of weeks, and it gave me the option of either opting for the same color, or trying another one. This also helped to build a relationship with me, as a customer, as it gave me the opportunity to become more reliant on the product.

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But what impressed me most about this approach was the eventual results. I accepted their offer, and took two photos of the finished product once I had received it. I wrote a couple of sentences about how my hair felt and how easy it was to use. A week later, I had my free bottle in hand, virtually guaranteeing that I’ll use it again. My testimonial got more than thousand likes, and generated a lot of engagement, with both me and the brand itself, where they were able to answer questions, and plenty of people said they had just bought their own, were about to, or were tagging others who would also be interested.

Proof of concept, right there on the page.

As noted, utilizing advanced targeting, and understanding your audience, is key to maximizing your Facebook ads approach. Yes, you can reach millions of people on the platform, but no one will case if your ad is too generic, your audience is too broad, and/or they can’t relate to the advertised product.

These tips will help you address all of these key issues.

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Meta’s Developing and ‘Ethical Framework’ for the Use of Virtual Influencers



Meta's Developing and 'Ethical Framework' for the Use of Virtual Influencers

With the rise of digital avatars, and indeed, fully digital characters that have evolved into genuine social media influencers in their own right, online platforms now have an obligation to establish clear markers as to what’s real and what’s not, and how such creations can be used in their apps.

The coming metaverse shift will further complicate this, with the rise of virtual depictions blurring the lines of what will be allowed, in terms of representation. But with many virtual influencers already operating, Meta is now working to establish ethical boundaries on their application.

As explained by Meta:

From synthesized versions of real people to wholly invented “virtual influencers” (VIs), synthetic media is a rising phenomenon. Meta platforms are home to more than 200 VIs, with 30 verified VI accounts hosted on Instagram. These VIs boast huge follower counts, collaborate with some of the world’s biggest brands, fundraise for organizations like the WHO, and champion social causes like Black Lives Matter.”

Some of the more well-known examples on this front are Shudu, who has more than 200k followers on Instagram, and Lil’ Miquela, who has an audience of over 3 million in the app.

At first glance, you wouldn’t necessarily realize that this is not an actual person, which makes such characters a great vehicle for brand and product promotions, as they can be utilized 24/7, and can be placed into any environment. But that also leads to concerns about body image perception, deepfakes, and other forms of misuse through false or unclear representation.

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Deepfakes, in particular, may be problematic, with Meta citing this campaign, with English football star David Beckham, as an example of how new technologies are evolving to expand the use of language, as one element, for varying purpose.

The well-known ‘DeepTomCruise’ account on TikTok is another example of just how far these technologies have come, and it’s not hard to imagine a scenario where they could be used to, say, show a politician saying or doing something that he or she actually didn’t, which could have significant real world impacts.

Which is why Meta is working with developers and experts to establish clearer boundaries on such use – because while there is potential for harm, there are also beneficial uses for such depictions.

Imagine personalized video messages that address individual followers by name. Or celebrity brand ambassadors appearing as salespeople at local car dealerships. A famous athlete would make a great tutor for a kid who loves sports but hates algebra.

Such use cases will increasingly become the norm as VR and AR technologies are developed, with these platforms placing digital characters front and center, and establishing new norms for digital connection.

It would be better to know what’s real and what’s not, and as such, Meta needs clear regulations to remove dishonest depictions, and enforce transparency over VI use.

But then again, much of what you see on Instagram these days is not real, with filters and editing tools altering people’s appearance well beyond what’s normal, or realistic. That can also have damaging consequences, and while Meta’s looking to implement rules on VI use, there’s arguably a case for similar transparency in editing tools applied to posted videos and images as well.

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That’s a more complex element, particularly as such tools also enable people to feel more comfortable in posting, which no doubt increases their in-app activity. Would Meta be willing to put more focus on this element if it could risk impacting user engagement? The data on the impact of Instagram on people’s mental health are pretty clear, with comparison being a key concern.

Should that also come under the same umbrella of increased digital transparency?

It’s seemingly not included in the initial framework as yet, but at some stage, this is another element that should be examined, especially given the harmful effects that social media usage can have on young women.

But however you look at it, this is no doubt a rising element of concern, and it’s important for Meta to build guardrails and rules around the use of virtual influencers in their apps.

You can read more about Meta’s approach to virtual influencers here.

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Meta Publishes New Guide to the Various Security and Control Options in its Apps



Meta Publishes New Guide to the Various Security and Control Options in its Apps

Meta has published a new set of safety tips for journalists to help them protect themselves in the evolving online connection space, which, for the most part, also apply to all users more broadly, providing a comprehensive overview of the various tools and processes that it has in place to help people avoid unwanted attention online.

The 32-page guide is available in 21 different languages, and provides detailed overviews of Meta’s systems and profile options for protection and security, with specific sections covering Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp.

The guide begins with the basics, including password protections and enabling two-factor authentication.

It also outlines tips for Page managers in securing their business profiles, while there are also notes on what to do if you’ve been hacked, advice for protection on Messenger and guidance on bullying and harassment.

Meta security guide

For Instagram, there are also general security tips, along with notes on its comment moderation tools.

Meta security guide

While for WhatsApp, there are explainers on how to delete messages, how to remove messages from group chats, and details on platform-specific data options.

Meta security guide

There are also links to various additional resource guides and tools for more context, providing in-depth breakdowns of when and how to action the various options.

It’s a handy guide, and while there are some journalist-specific elements included, most of the tips do apply to any user, so it could well be a valuable resource for anyone looking to get a better handle on your various privacy tools and options.

Definitely worth knowing either way – you can download the full guide here.

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Twitter bans account linked to Iran leader over video threatening Trump



Twitter bans account linked to Iran leader over video threatening Trump

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei meets with relatives of slain commander Qasem Soleimani ahead of the second anniverary of his death in a US drone strike in Iraq – Copyright POOL/AFP/File Tom Brenner

Twitter said Saturday it had permanently suspended an account linked to Iran’s supreme leader that posted a video calling for revenge for a top general’s assassination against former US president Donald Trump.

“The account referenced has been permanently suspended for violating our ban evasion policy,” a Twitter spokesperson told AFP.

The account, @KhameneiSite, this week posted an animated video showing an unmanned aircraft targeting Trump, who ordered a drone strike in Baghdad two years ago that killed top Iranian commander General Qassem Soleimani.

Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s main accounts in various languages remain active. Last year, another similar account was suspended by Twitter over a post also appearing to reference revenge against Trump.

The recent video, titled “Revenge is Definite”, was also posted on Khamenei’s official website.

According to Twitter, the company’s top priority is keeping people safe and protecting the health of the conversation on the platform.

The social media giant says it has clear policies around abusive behavior and will take action when violations are identified.

As head of the Quds Force, the foreign operations arm of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Soleimani was the architect of its strategy in the Middle East.

He and his Iraqi lieutenant were killed by a US drone strike outside Baghdad airport on January 3, 2020.

Khamenei has repeatedly promised to avenge his death.

On January 3, the second anniversary of the strike, the supreme leader and ultraconservative President Ebrahim Raisi once again threatened the US with revenge.

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Trump’s supporters regularly denounce the banning of the Republican billionaire from Twitter, underscoring that accounts of several leaders considered authoritarian by the United States are allowed to post on the platform.

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