Best Practices

Optimizing Facebook Campaigns for Cost Per Acquisition (CPA)

Achieving a better Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) is possible by optimizing your Facebook campaigns.

Here’s how.

Ad Variations

It’s hard to know what imagery will attract people the most, so you want to have variations that can be tested for effectiveness. Facebook’s algorithm optimizes adverts based on engagement. When your adverts are initially made live, they are all shown to users. After each advert has some exposure, the algorithm calculates which received the most engagement. Essentially it then gives this advert the lions share of exposure from the ad set. This is beneficial as you want the most engaging advert to be shown to users. However, you must do this from the outset. Variations must be added when first creating the ad set, otherwise, if you add variations after it has already gone live the ones added are not tested.

Optimization Rules

How do you avoid spending money on adverts that aren’t achieving your goals? Think through the things that indicate whether or not your advert will achieve your goals. It’s good practice to allow your campaign some time to get exposure before you start to optimize, but here are a few of the indicators you can use for optimization rules:

  • Average Basket Value – calculated from the value sent back by your code
  • Number of Actions Taken – the number of times an action has occurred (e.g., add to basket, go to checkout, etc.)
  • Cost Per Action – the ad set spend divided by the number of actions taken by a user
  • Product Stock Level – is the item still in stock, if not then you don’t want to waste any more money by advertising it

Having a system in place that runs rules, constantly checks performance against them and automatically takes action will help in achieving better CPA. For example, have a rule that checks stock status in your product feed and pauses each advert should the item be out of stock.

Target Audiences

Using Web Site Custom Audiences (WCA) to exclude people, who have already purchased a particular product, ensures you don’t waste money advertising it again to someone who won’t buy it.

Use target variations of your ads to track the audience that is responding best to your ad. You can create ad variations on properties such as:

  • Age ranges
  • Devices
  • Countries
  • Genders

The combination of rules-based optimization with ads segmented for various audiences is the best setup for lowering your Cost Per Acquisition (CPA).

Lowering Cost Per Acquisition (CPA)

Let’s say you’ve set up a prospecting campaign, set it with some reasonably broad targeting, you will be getting conversions from mobile and from desktop, from males and females, from young and older consumers alike.

Some of these demographics are more expensive to target and also are likely to deliver a CPA over what you would ideally spend. The specifics will of course depend on many factors including your product, vertical, etc. Targeting Variations allows you to pause these for underperforming segments without the need to pause the entire campaign. For example, if you’re experiencing a high CPA for +45s, you can pause all ad sets targeted to that demographic.

Another option to reduce CPA is Facebook’s new Multi-Product Ads. Many early adopters are seeing a 45% drop in CPA by using Multi-Product ads.


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