Facebook Ads is a wonderful thing but it gets a lot of flack from people whinging that they don’t get great results. In almost all the cases we’ve seen, this is down to the structure of the account.

The Biggest Problem With Your Current Facebook Ads Structure Is You!


Did you know that your ads can end up competing with each other if you haven’t structured your account correctly? Yep, sometimes the person you’re fighting against is you! Doesn’t make much sense does it.

Competing with yourself prevents some of your ads from showing as Facebook puts the best ad forward in the auction. This means some of your ads will rarely (or worst case scenario, never) get shown. We’ve seen it seriously affect the performance of an account and hinder it from growth. Don’t do it.

When it comes to setting up your Facebook Ads account the most common advice is to create different campaigns for different goals.


Facebook Ads Structure Marketing Objective


One for awareness, one for leads, one for sales etc. This is definitely good advice however it fails to warn you that each of those different campaigns may be relevant to one person. Your ideal customer will be interested in your brand, likely to subscribe to your offer and also likely to purchase your product.

Without a strong structure you will have three (and sometimes more) ads competing for the attention of that one person. So how do you get around this? By matching campaigns with different audiences.

There are several different ways you can create audiences in Facebook Ads. We’ll go down the list starting with the highest converting audiences first.


1. Pixel Based Audiences


Pixel based audiences are the best audiences you can use. Don’t have the Facebook Pixel implemented yet? Getting this done needs to be at the top of your list. The very top. If you have a WordPress site there are lots of different plugin options. If you’re using Google Tag Manager (which we highly recommend) you can use a Custom HTML tag to insert your Facebook Pixel code. The other option is to get help from an awesome Facebook Ads agency (like us!). 😉

When you have the pixel implemented it automagically tells Facebook who has been on your site and what pages they visited. You can then setup custom conversions in Facebook, based on your pixel, to group people who have visited your site, read a blog post (or two!), signed up to your newsletter, or purchased your product. You can then use these audiences to create a sales funnel (we’ll share some examples further down the page).

Top performing pixel audiences include:

  • people who have already converted
  • your email list
  • people who have completed a contact form/visited your contact page
  • frequent website visitors
  • website visitors


2. Lookalike Audiences


The next best option is to create Lookalike audiences, based on your pixel audiences. Not sure what a Lookalike audience is? Facebook uses the vast knowledge they have on their users behaviour to identify people who are similar to those in your pixel audiences. Instead of only being able to target the small number of people in your pixel audience, you get access to hundreds of thousands of people that show similar behaviours to your most valuable audiences. Once you’ve found a pixel audience that works well for you, expand your reach by creating a Lookalike audience based on that pixel.

You’ll find this option in the audiences section of your Facebook Ads. Start by creating a 1% Lookalike audience for your top converting country.


Facebook Ads Structure Lookalike Pixel


You can also create a Lookalike audience based on your Page. If you have a small number of fans or receive low engagement this may not be the best option. By all means test, but try with a small budget first!


Facebook Ads Structure Lookalike Page


3. Interest & Demographic Based Targeting


The third option when it comes to creating audiences for Facebook Ads is selecting interests and demographics of the people you’re trying to reach. To be completely honest, we don’t use interest targeting much anymore as the Lookalike audiences perform so much better.

This option is a great place to start though if you don’t have a pixel set up, or if your website and Facebook page are brand new and don’t have much of a following yet.

Got Google Analytics?

If you have Google Analytics data use this when deciding who and what to target. Never tried using Google Analytics data to target ads before? You’ll find this post on targeting super helpful.

If you are at the very beginning of your journey with zero Google Analytics data to guide you, try targeting a competitor or influencer in your industry. Find ones who have a large amount of followers and get good engagement on their page. But, the minute you get enough data to create a Pixel or Lookalike audience change over to one of these.


Eliminating Overlap In Your Facebook Ads Audiences


Now that you’ve got some great ideas for audiences, how do you then structure your account to make sure there’s no overlap? Simples. When you add in your chosen audience to target, exclude all other audiences you’re using in other ad sets across your account.

Do this at the Ad Set level for all active Campaigns to make sure you don’t compete with yourself. When you have lots of different audiences this can get quite messy so be strategic about it.

If you have ad sets that target people who have converted in the last 30 days and 90 days, make sure you exclude the 30 days audience from the ad set targeting the 90 day audience to stop overlap.

If you then have another ad set targeting a lookalike audience, you can just exclude the 90 days converters as this audience will also include the 30 days converters too. Make sense?


How Can I Tell If My Audiences Overlap?


Check your overlap by heading to the Audiences section in Facebook Ads, selecting multiple audiences and choosing Show Audience Overlap from the Actions menu.

Facebook Ads Structure Audience Overlap


If we didn’t exclude the other audiences being used we could end up competing with our other Ad Sets and harming their performance. You can see from the image above that there is an overlap over 50,000 people. 2% sounds small, but 50,000 is a significant number.


So What Does A Great Facebook Ads Structure Look Like?


  • Separate campaigns for different goals (page likes, website visits, conversions etc)
  • Each ad set should target a different audience and exclude other audiences being used
  • Audiences should be based on a pixel first and foremost, then lookalike based, and finally interest based


Here’s an example for lead generation:


Campaign A

Goal: Brand Awareness/Website Traffic
Ad Set 1 Target: 1% Lookalike based on Existing Leads or 1% Lookalike based on Website Visitors (depending on how much data you have) – exclude Existing Leads


Campaign B

Goal: Email Signups
Ad Set 1 Target: Website Visitors – exclude Existing Leads


Campaign C

Goal: Lead (enquiry/consultation/trial etc)
Ad Set 1 Target: Email Signups – exclude Existing Leads

If you don’t have large audiences of website visitors and signups, you can use Lookalikes for these too, making sure you then exclude the Lookalike audiences used in Campaign A.

Here’s another example, this time for an e-commerce site:


Campaign A

Goal: Brand Awareness/Website Traffic
Ad Set 1 Target: 1% Lookalike based on Website Visitors – exclude 1% Lookalike based on Existing Customers


Campaign B

Goal: Conversions
Ad Set 1 Target: Existing Customers 30 Days
Ad Set 2 Target: Existing Customers 90 Days – exclude Existing Customers 30 Days
Ad Set 3 Target: Website Visitors 30 Days – exclude Existing Customers 90 Days
Ad Set 4 Target: Website Visitors 90 Days – exclude Website Visitors 30 Days and Existing Customers 90 Days
Ad Set 5 Target: 1% Lookalike based on Existing Customers – exclude Existing Customers 90 Days, Website Visitors 90 Days and 1% Lookalike based on Website Visitors

It starts getting more complex as you try to reach more people more effectively, but we promise it’ll be worth your while. We’ve seen results improve immediately after restructuring. If you’ve had a new structure running for a week and haven’t seen an improvement yet, get in touch, we’ll happily take a look for you.


We really hope this has inspired you to take a look at your current structure and make sure it’s working for you in the best way possible!

If you’re not sure what the structure should look like in your particular circumstance, why not drop us a line? We’d love to hear more about your business and suggest a structure that will help you increase the performance of your ads and position you for growth.

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