Author and entrepreneur Tim Ferriss is well known for his personal development books such as The 4-Hour Work Week and Tools Of Titans.
One of the things he encourages readers to do is to “ask absurd questions” to create a completely new framework.
Similarly, in this article we don’t want to look at ways to save a couple of hours a week, instead, our absurd question is:
“How can we do a 40-hour a week job managing Facebook Ads in just 4 hours?”
The answers are not so absurd though!
The standard 9-5 office day is rapidly being replaced with remote working, at least for part of the week.
And that number is likely to be much higher if we take into account just digital marketers. And it’s rising all the time.
This gives us the opportunity to be judged solely on our productivity rather than the number of hours spent in a cubicle.
Also, a majority of ad agencies are paid based on a percentage of ad spend or revenue generated rather than billable time.
So, whether you’re an employee or an agency there’s a strong motivation to radically reduce the number of hours spent working.
It’s 2019, which means it’s been 3 years since you could first order pizza via Alexa and 4 years since the first coffee machine started brewing espresso on the space station. We’re living in the future!
While we might not be driving around in flying cars (but self-driving cars are here, check them out) there are a number of tools to automate most aspects of Facebook advertising.
We’ve divided them into 4 main tasks:
What if we could spend an hour a week on each assignment instead of 10 hours?
It can be done if you use all the tools at your disposal, leaving you with plenty of free time to binge on Netflix and play with your cats!
Or, alternatively, the rest of the working week can be spent on more creative aspects of your business instead of staring all day at your Facebook Ads Manager screen.
Designing ads from scratch is a difficult process, firstly you need to come up with inspiring ideas and then you need to create the graphics and write the ad copy.
So, if you can radically reduce the time taken to produce ads you’ve won half the battle.
In this section we’ll look at five ways to enable this by using:
- Dynamic product ads – produce ads from your product catalog
- Info & ads tab – a way to spy on your competitors to get ad inspiration
- AdEspresso ads gallery – search for the best ad examples
- Facebook creative hub – a curated collection of the best ads for each different ad type
- Automatic post promotion – automatically boost Facebook posts instead of creating standalone ads
Dynamic Product Ads: Let Facebook Keep Your Ads Fresh
If you’re running an eCommerce business then dynamic product ads are for you. These ads are highly effective as they show products which are relevant to the viewer.
For example, if someone visited your website and clicked through to some product pages, you can retarget them with these exact same items they just saw on your site.
The ads can also be used for prospecting – especially if you build a product set of just your best selling products – and for cross-selling and upsells.
They’re a huge time saver as well, just sync the product catalog from your website with Facebook Business Manager and then the product image, name, brand, and pricing can all be displayed dynamically.
As the ad creative is always up to date (assuming you automatically sync your catalog) these ads can often be run for months or even years with next to no maintenance.
Easier still, you can even automate the product catalog sync using an e-commerce plugin. For instance, Shopify stores can use an app like Flexify.
For WooCommerce, AdEspresso has created the holy grail for you – Pixel Caffeine. This plugin is 100% free and designed specifically for product catalog and pixel management.
With either tool you can have catalogs set up in a blink, then it just takes a few minutes to create an ad campaign and you’re all set.
When creating ads we can often iterate on what’s already out there, we don’t need to reinvent the wheel each time.
Here are 3 ways to quickly find inspiration for your next ad campaign:
Facebook Info And Ads Tab: Spy On Your Competitors
As part of their aim to increase transparency for Ads and Pages, Facebook now includes an Info and Ads tab on every page, allowing everyone to view the ads that the page currently has running.
Why not check out what sort of ads brands that you admire are running, and of course, spy on some competitors?
Within minutes you’ll have ideas that you can adapt for the headlines, ad text, and images or video for your next campaign. There’s no need to start with a blank canvas, which is much more time-consuming.
AdEspresso Ads Gallery: The Place to Go for Inspiration
The Info And Ads option that we’ve just covered does have two major limitations:
- It only displays ads that are currently running
- You have to check each business page separately, you can’t search across all advertisers at once.
This is where the AdEspresso Ads Gallery comes in handy.
We’ve collected 1.8 million real ads into a searchable database. Best of all, it’s free for AdEspresso customers and non-customers can still get access to 180,000 ads from the gallery.
So, should you be using the Info And Ads tab or the AdEspresso Gallery as your main source of inspiration?
They both have their pros and cons which we cover in this article, essentially we recommend using both tools together.
Facebook Creative Hub: For Your Designer Team
As the name suggests, Creative Hub is the portal in Business Manager for anything related to ad creative.
It includes a “best of” selection of ads for all different types of formats.
This is perfect if you have a copywriter or graphic designer who isn’t used to working with Facebook ads or a specific ad format and wants to see some top quality examples.
You can also create mock-ups and collaborate on projects, allowing for rapid ad creation with team members.
Automatic Post Promotion
One time-consuming aspect of advertising is having to boost lots of page posts individually. For example, at AdEspresso we publish 4 blog posts a week on our Facebook feed.
We’ll let you into a little secret; every single post we publish gets boosted but we haven’t done this manually for years.
Instead, we use Automatic Post Promotion which is built into AdEspresso.
Start by choosing the rules for boosting e.g. the creative format, whether it contains a link, any keywords and the required amount of social proof.
Then select the audience and the budget, and away you go with a true “set it and forget it” solution for boosting posts.
Not only does this save huge amounts of time but it means weekends and vacations aren’t interrupted by having to create campaigns.
Audience creation used to take hours of planning every week, each audience was handcrafted and involved user research and customer personas to get just the right combination of interests.
These days we can create highly effective lookalike audiences with just a couple of clicks, plus we have some email automation and powerful audience insight tools at our disposal.
For cold traffic prospecting we can use lookalike and interest-based audiences and for retargeting we can sync our email lists:
As we saw in the news last year Facebook knows everything about you…or at least it feels like that at times. Facebook has data on who engages with posts, who watch videos and, thanks to most websites integrating the Facebook pixel, it’s possible to see who is visiting websites and buying, and even how much.
All these signals and data points can be used to create a lookalike audience, this is where you give Facebook a seed audience and then it creates an audience of people with very similar characteristics.
The seed audience could be from customers, leads, website visitors, or Facebook fans amongst others.
Not only are lookalike audiences very powerful but they can also be created with a couple of clicks.
Better still, if your lookalike audiences are based on a dynamically updating seed audience such as website visitors, then they will self-update over time so they won’t need to be recreated in the future.
If you are advertising for e-commerce then a value based lookalike is worth considering.
This is where Ads Manager looks at the recency, frequency, and value of each purchase when building the audience:
If lookalike audiences aren’t a good fit for your business or if you’re trying to find new ways of targeting then interest-based audiences are very popular.
What interests should you pick though? Let Facebook Audience Insights tool do the research for you.
We cover this in more detail in our Facebook targeting Guide but essentially Audience Insights is a tool within Business Manager that you can use to analyze the interests that your Facebook fans have in common and build a list of perhaps 5-10 to target.
For example, we can see above that AdEspresso fans are curious about advertising on Bing, follow Facebook Ads gurus such as Jon Loomer and use other marketing tools such as Leadpages and Marketo.
Email Custom Audiences
Warm audiences are people that have interacted with our business in the past, such as leads or purchasers.
We can create these audiences using the Facebook pixel but that only captures data for a maximum of 180 days, so it’s still useful to upload email lists from our CRM as they last for all time.
It’s time-consuming to update the audience though, perhaps once a week you have to export a CSV file from your database and then upload it to Ads Manager. It’s much easier to use a specialist sync tool to automate this.
A range of options exist, these include:
- AdEspresso Data Sync – covers over 10 of the most popular CRMs and is built into AdEspresso, so if you already use it for campaign creation it means there’s no need for a standalone sync tool and there’s no extra cost.
If you have an unusual CRM that isn’t supported (or don’t use AdEspresso for Facebook and Google management) then check out the alternatives below.
- LeadsBridge – this tool has a huge number of integrations (over 360) and starts from $29 a month on a yearly plan.
- Driftrock – their sync tool is part of a range of tools designed for agencies and so pricing is upon application.
Producing ad creative and audiences is only the start of the process, once the campaigns go live they need regular monitoring and optimizing. Ads that are doing well can be scaled by adding more budget and those that are underperforming need pausing. Without this constant checking, it’s very easy to burn through your budget on Facebook and not get any results to show for it.
With Facebook users online around the clock and the possibility of campaigns running in multiple timezones, it can be a 24/7 job keeping on top of the ads. Thankfully there are some tools that can save us time and save our sanity.
Facebook Adverts Manager Mobile App
Ok, we’ll admit this isn’t a time-saving tip as such, but using the dedicated mobile app that Facebook provides for advertisers gives you more flexibility.
Instead of being tied to your desk you can monitor and create ads while on the go, this is ideal if you travel a lot.
The Creative Tools section of the app allows you to quickly create engaging graphics from a selection of templates and stickers, giving more options than the desktop version of Ads Manager.
Apart from that, the app is limited by the small screen size of most cell phones, therefore it’s best used in combination with other tools such as custom rules and automatic post promotion.
Facebook Custom Rules
For performance marketing – where the aim is to get leads or sales – often there isn’t a fixed budget for each campaign. Instead, the CPA (cost per result) will be monitored and if targets are being met the budget will be scaled and alternatively, if ads are underperforming they will be paused.
This can be time-consuming, especially when working with high budgets where performance may have to be monitored several times a day, 7 days a week.
Thankfully, Ads manager has a powerful custom rule option built in.
For example, the budget could be scaled by 20% every day for adsets if the CPA is under $40 after serving a minimum of 8,000 impressions.
Although rules can’t replace humans completely they can handle a majority of the scaling and pausing, that way an ad account might only need a quick 5 minute check every couple of days.
For agencies, a lot of time can be taken up with additional client tasks, and this can get very time consuming when multiplied by dozens of clients. Depending on the client and the industry they may need to approve campaigns before they go live and they’ll certainly want regular updates on performance.
Accessing all the brand assets can also consume a significant amount of time when onboarding a new client.
Thankfully, there are a range of solutions out there for agencies and we’ll focus on three main topics:
Not only do clients want regular updates on the amount of budget spent and their main performance metrics, but they also need the reports in a professional format so that they can be shared within their organization. Quick screenshots won’t cut it and Ads Manager reporting is way too complex, meaning Word and Excel documents have to be generated if using Ads Manager.
These manual reports take time and in response many agencies default to weekly or monthly reporting. This in turn means clients keep emailing or calling with questions between reports, taking up even more precious time. So, automated reporting can save time and reduce client questions, producing a double win.
Klipfolio is a dashboard tool with multiple integrations and it allows you to produce customized PDF reports which can be emailed on a regular basis. Other dashboard and reporting tools exist, the best one for you will depend on what integrations you require and the pricing.
Hootsuite Impact is a good choice for organizations that want to combine results from both organic and paid social media in one dashboard and it also gives actionable advice on what’s working. It’s aimed mainly at Enterprise level businesses and agencies rather than small businesses.
Finally, AdEspresso provides PDF reports which can be built using a drag ‘n’ drop method. These can be automated on a daily, weekly or monthly basis meaning you can set it and forget it and by using a mix of detailed daily reports and high level weekly reports it can significantly cut down on questions from clients.
Some businesses are in regulated industries such as financial services and healthcare so they require every ad to be approved before going live. Even in non-regulated industries many clients want to have a final check, especially when first starting out with a new agency.
From an agency point of view using an approval system can be useful, it eliminates any complaints from clients or claims for a refund for any ad spend if a campaign has mistakes. The downside is it can slow down the publishing process, especially if screenshots have to be taken and emailed to the client. Automating the approval system benefits everyone.
Facebook Creative Hub which we covered above allows you to get approval and publish the mock-ups that were created. An advantage is that you can do everything within Facebook Business Manager, however separating the ad creation from the campaign creation can be confusing for some agencies and clients.
AdEspresso provides a Collaboration Hub which is a portal for campaign approvals. AdEspresso’s process is to create the campaign and then it can either be published immediately or sent to a client for approval using a customized email, the approval requirement can also be made mandatory for selected ad accounts.
Only some elements need to be included in the approval request, for example if you don’t want a client to see what audiences are being used that can be left out. It’s a neat process as it’s integrated with campaign creation, but obviously it’s only useful if you use AdEspresso for campaign creation.
Before an agency can get to work creating campaigns, they require access to the client assets i.e. the Facebook business pages and ad accounts. This is done via Business Manager (BM) and isn’t an intuitive process for most businesses as the BM interface can be confusing to new users.
One way of streamlining to the onboarding process is to use a dedicated agency tool, such as the Onboarding Requests feature which is part of AdEspresso’s Collaboration Hub which we mentioned above.
Onboarding Requests allows you to send a customized email to a client and then they can click the link and follow the step by step process to connect their Business Manager account to yours.
We’ll be covering the easiest ways to onboard clients in our upcoming Business Manager Mastery webinar.
Read below to learn more and reserve your seat!
Get your Facebook Advertising Off to the Best Start in 2019
Sign up today to our next webinar Facebook Business Manager Mastery.
This unique FREE one-hour training will be covering everything you need to know to achieve success with Business Manager.
Click on the image above to reserve your spot and the chance to learn from AdEspresso’s Head Of Education Paul Fairbrother.
These aren’t strictly related to Facebook Ads but we use Calendly and Zoom on a daily basis to keep in touch with colleagues and clients when working remotely so we wanted to include them as we find them invaluable.
“Can we have a call on Wednesday?”
“Sorry I’m traveling then, how about Tuesday?”
“I’m at a conference then, how about Thursday?”
“Ok, how about 11 am?”
“What timezone are you?”
“So 11 am your timezone or my timezone?”
“What timezone are you?”
And so it goes on, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
Automating even a minor task such as booking calls can save dozens of emails and a significant amount of time every week.
With Calendly you can give someone a booking link which syncs with your calendar and allows them to book a slot.
Meeting times can also be changed with a couple of clicks and you can add in rules for bookings, such as telling Calendly to book no more than 3 calls a day.
Has anyone ever managed to get to get a Skype call to reliably connect more than three people at once? We’ve wasted so much time trying to get group calls started, and another downside is often contacts will friend you and then keep asking you questions via Skype messages even months after a call.
There are plenty of other call platforms such as Google Hangouts and the call option in Slack, but none of these are a core focus for the companies that created them. We’ve tested them all and found none are as good as Zoom which is a company dedicated to making video call software.
Zoom is the most flexible and the most versatile, with desktop, mobile app and call options.
It’s easy to record a call and share screens and you can even split out audio tracks for podcast recording. We also love the “touch up my appearance” option for video, especially for early morning calls before the first coffee of the day!
Being able to 10X your productivity isn’t something that can happen overnight, but there are benefits even when starting out.
What if you can enjoy a one-hour lunch break instead of grabbing a quick sandwich? Next, aim to take Friday afternoons off and then take a whole day off, and so on.
Always keep in mind that using too many tools can actually take up more time in administering them all and can get expensive, so evaluate a range of options then try and stick to a few highly effective processes that save you the most time.
What do you think? Please share with us in the comments what tools work for you – and which ones don’t – and how much time you’ve been able to save.