How To - Facebook & Instagram Conversions Campaigns


In this article we’ll look at the intricate mechanics behind conversions campaigns and we’ll spend some time exploring the most elusive and difficult of conversion events - Purchases.

Check out the short video above, which shows you how to launch a highly-tuned conversions campaign using Leaf Grow’s smart automation platform.


The Holy Grail of Social Marketing

Whether it’s generating leads or getting people to buy something, Conversions campaigns deliver tangible, measurable value, more than any other campaign type, but they also require a lot of surgical testing, intelligent application of data and the patience of Buddha.

Conversions campaigns are largely used for sending people to a destination off Facebook/Instagram (we’ll use website as an example) using a Facebook pixel to track actions/events that people take on your website. This data is fed back in real-time to optimise campaign targeting by showing your ads to the people most likely to take the action you specified as your conversion event. Generally speaking the better the data feedback loop (amount and speed) the more finely tuned the campaign performance.

This is where Leaf Grow’s smart testing and optimisation capabilities can deliver exceptional insight and return on ad spend.


Multivariate Ad Creation & Testing

Scale your experiments


Building The Machine

There is no quick fix for this type of campaign, especially when using the purchases conversion event, which can require extensive testing of creatives, messaging and audiences in order to achieve a stable, scalable conversion trend that delivers a level of ROI that allows you to keep investing in ad spend and grows your bottom line.


Choosing Your Conversion Event

This will largely be determined by your objective. If you want to drive people to a landing page to sign-up to a competition or to register for a newsletter or course of some description, then you’ll probably want to choose the Lead or Complete Registration event. If you simply want to send people to a website to drive awareness of your brand/product(s) then Page Views or View Content will be more suitable. If it’s sales you’re after then you’re probably going to want to choose Purchases or some other payment related event such as Initiate Checkout or Add to Cart.

Generally speaking, the further along a customer journey you’re optimising for, the more expensive it will be to drive the conversion. People fall by the wayside as thy click through the steps, especially when you start asking them to part with their hard-earned dollars. However, as discussed in our blog on link clicks, attrition data can be incredibly useful in helping you to identify key actions that lead to your desired conversion event - people who undertake one action might be X times more likely to purchase something than people who don’t, and this can help refine your creatives, messaging and targeting.

I can’t stress enough how important testing is to the success of conversions campaigns. It’s not uncommon to test 30+ different ad-sets and hundreds of ad variants and messaging combinations. This might sound overwhelming, but with Leaf Grow you can launch a complex conversions campaign with 13 different ad sets and 650 different ad variants in under 10 minutes.

Leaf Grow enables effortless creation and testing of new ads, in combination with existing posts.

Leaf Grow enables effortless creation and testing of new ads, in combination with existing posts.


Establishing Target Metrics

By setting some targets for your results you’ll know relatively quickly whether you’re on a hiding-to-nothing and can stop throwing good money after bad, or you have a genuine opportunity to deliver a meaningful return on investment, in which case you can look to scale your ad spend to deliver an increase in sales.

Work out your desired cost-per-action so you have something clear and realistic to aim for. If you’re selling a monthly subscription of some description and you know what the average lifetime value of a subscriber is, once you’ve factored in your costs, you should be able to set a cost-per-subscription that will deliver meaningful ROI, allow you to scale your marketing spend and ultimately increase your volume of sales at a larger profit margin. If you’re selling physical product and you know that getting to a certain point in terms of sales orders means the unit cost of the product decreases significantly, then set that as the goal for number of daily/monthly sales.

Generally speaking the more expensive the purchase the longer the purchase consideration time and the more ad budget you’ll need to drive the sale.


Campaign Structure & Audience Targeting

If you’ve run conversions campaigns before and have plenty of pixel data a decent sized (10s of 1000s) customer email list and Facebook/Instagram following, then these are probably going to be key conversion drivers. If not, then lookalikes and interest-based audiences are probably going to be more important. However, it’s always worth testing a range of audiences simultaneously as some audiences may feed the audiences that are generating the most conversions. Your web visitor retargeting audience may be performing the best, but it may be because it’s being fed by your Facebook/Instagram page, interest or lookalike audiences, or a combination of all of them. It’s difficult to isolate which audience is the key “feeder” audience but be mindful of this and keep an eye out for any data that helps you identify feeder audiences. 

It’s also good practice to give Facebook options to fall back on - an audience which is performing well may suddenly hit a ceiling in terms of saturation, meaning you’ve run out of people to show your ads to and the cost-per-result can rise dramatically over a short period as your ads are served to the same people too many times. Inversely, an audience that hasn’t been performing well can suddenly ignite. 

You may find that people engaging with your Instagram page have a better conversion rate than people who like your Facebook page, or you may find that your interest based audiences outperform your lookalike audiences. You won’t know until you test it and performance can change dramatically over time.

The objective is to discover the audiences that drive the most cost-effective conversions and test which ones have the legs to go the distance. The two aren’t always the same.

If you’ve had your pixel installed on an active website for a decent amount of time (over 6 months say) then you should have enough useful data to build retargeting audiences. You’ll be able to generate custom audiences of those people who’ve purchased something before (or undertaken whichever conversion event you’ve chosen) and people who’ve visited your website.

Leaf Grow auto-generates all the optimal custom, lookalike and interest-based audiences for your conversion campaign and tests all your ad variants against all these audiences to determine the best-performing combinations of ads and ads sets in driving the most cost-effective conversions.

If you have no preference or limitation on where your sales come from then you can spread the net much wider in terms of territories, and age groups, for a purchases conversion campaign. This is different to other campaign types, or even when using other conversion events, as the targeting can be skewed in favour of the cheapest CPA at the expense of quality engagement, or those audiences who will go on to purchase or sign up for something.

The same applies to channels, placements and ad formats - start by testing them all to see what works instead of deciding which ones to use before you have any data. Just because Instagram Story ads look cool doesn’t mean they’re going to perform the best for your brand/product or campaign objective. Let the data help you make smarter decisions.

The more variables you test the more answers you’ll get.

The more variables you test the more answers you’ll get.


Fighting Against The Tide

You have a certain amount of time to find an optimised cost-per-action and as the campaign progresses the CPA naturally wants to rise. Battling against this will be the ongoing challenge for your campaign. Don’t worry, there are solutions, but you need dedication and diligence. Refresh your content, refresh your messaging and keep your subs warmed up by testing new content and audiences in parallel, so you have a backup for when your star performer runs out of steam.

Once you’ve hit a gold seam, keep digging.

The key to conversions campaigns is to find a scalable cost-per-action. With a sales campaign, where the conversion event is purchases, the natural order of things is that most people don’t want to buy your product. Finding people who do want to buy it, at a specific point in time and finding enough of them is challenging. You’re always going to have to find new people to add to your customer base, but by running well-structured campaign experiments you’ll be able to find your core-audience, target more people just like them and start uncovering high-value conversion trends across audiences, creatives and messaging.