How to Make Your Social Ads Work Better | Travel Research Online


How to Make Your Social Ads Work Better

Do you get as many video views as you think you deserve?

Are you earning as many clicks to your website as you’d like?

If you’ve answered NO to the above… Have you thought about giving up on social ads because you don’t think they work?

Well, don’t give up!

Just test and tweak your next campaigns! If that sounds confusing, here’s some simple steps you can take to learn more about what appeals to your ‘perfect’ client; and, then tweak your ads so they work better for you and bring greater success.

How to Get Your Videos & Visuals Right

Imagine seeing an ad from your favorite destination, but not clicking on it because the video doesn’t interest you. What if this happens for your clients – with your ads? Here’s an easy way to test what works with your unique audiences.

  1. Ensure you have a collection of videos you’d like to test. Try creating a library with a variety of video styles, lengths and visuals.
  2. Choose “Split Test” in your next ad set up and then select “Creative” to test your visuals. (see Figure 1 below)
  3. When setting up your split test, you can include 4 unique videos or visuals. (Figure 2) When planning your split test, consider what ad audience you’ll focus on and how aligned it is with the creative assets you’ve selected for your split test.


Figure 1 – Split test the video & visuals in your next social ad


For example: Maybe you have an audience of people who are active outdoors, love physical fitness, and have a love of cycling or hiking. (yes, you can target all of these interests when building an ad audience) You’ll then want to show them a relevant video that speaks to these interests. You’ll want to avoid showing them a video featuring lifestyle interests that don’t align with their interests. For example, you wouldn’t want to show this audience a video showcasing museums, classical music and art.

Therefore, if your audience is aligned with outdoor activities, include active lifestyle videos or visuals from your collection in this split test.

The bottom line is that you will maximize your ad budget by showing the right visuals to the right people so as to achieve your ad goal. So many advertisers assume that ‘one size fits all’ and miss the opportunity to customize ad offerings and maximize their budget.


Figure 2 – Strategically choose your visuals when split testing.


How to Get your Audience Right

Do you ever wonder how your different ad audiences will respond to a promotion? For example, perhaps you’ve created an ad audience of your client list as well as an ad audience of people who have clicked thru to your website during your last promotion. (yep, this is possible by creating a Custom Audience and a Pixel Audience)

Now you can split test which of these audiences will respond better to your next promotion. This will give you the chance to spend your ad budget wisely by showing the ad to the audience most likely to help you achieve your ad goal.

Figure 3 (below) shows how you choose your ad audiences in a split test. When you click the audience option, you’ll be shown a list of your available ad audiences.


Figure 3 – choose 1 of your own existing audiences for each version of your split test

Other Testing Options

In addition to the “Creative” and “Audience” options you can also split test the “Delivery” and “Placement” options. While these options are critical for advanced users, don’t be intimidated by them if you’re a novice user.

Delivery Optimization

At first, this optimization variable in a split test can be a bit daunting. What to choose? Which is best?

Here’s how I look at this.

Are you looking to have your video shown to people that Facebook feels are most likely to watch your video for at least 15 seconds? These may be people who are most interested in your tour or destination. While this may yield a smaller audience, the potential here is for an audience that is most interested in your ad offering. If this is your goal, choose “Thru Play”. (Figure 4 below)

If you’re looking to deliver your ad (and collect audience info on your pixel) to a potentially larger audience, choose the option “2 second Continuous Video Views”. This audience may be new to your ad offerings, so this is a great choice for top of funnel ads. This is also a great choice if you simply want to increase your re-targeting (Pixel) audience. (Figure 4)

Remember, whichever choice you make you can create a future ad audience of the people who took some action on your ad when you have your pixel installed.


Figure 4 – choose how you want to optimize your ad delivery



Let’s dig a bit deeper into split testing options and explore the “Placement” variable. This is how you’ll get to test the difference in ad success based on where your ad appears.

You’ll quickly learn what appeals to your audiences so that your ads resonate and show a positive ROI.

The main “Placement” categories are;

  1. Facebook
  2. Audience Network
  3. Instagram

Within each of these categories there’s a whole list of visibility options. (see Figure 5) For example, when you open the “Feed” option by clicking the down arrow, you’ll find these extra options.

When you un-tick the boxes your ad will not appear in those Feed locations. The default is all the options that work with your chosen ad goal and assets.


Figure 5 – Facebook Feed options available for a Video ad split test


By clicking on each of the options found in Figure 6, you’ll see a plethora of choices for each. By hovering over a particular choice, you’ll see an ad example that uses that option. You’ll also see more specific details on video sizing. (figure 6)


Figure 6 – here’s an example of how a “Instagram Stories” video ad placement will appear


Here’s the thing, you’ll want to check out each of the placement options to see how they fit with your ad goals, as well as your understanding of how your audience may interact with each. For example, some audiences may not react well to Stories or Right Column ads. Simply un-tick these options to get the most bang for your ad budget. (see Figure 7 & 8)


Figure 7 – Edit ad placements to ensure the reach that’s a good fit for your ad

Savvy Tip – Audience Network

Be aware – “Audience Network in-stream video ads will run before or during videos on third party apps and sites. You can also show video ads in native placements on apps and mobile websites. Publishers on Audience Network have the option to customize how an ad appears on their app or website to make it native to their property.”

Figure 8 – more delivery options

Analyze your Success

Back when I first started using social ads, I launched my ads at around 6am and turned them off around 6pm. Huge Mistake! Now that ads analytics are much more precise, I learned that many people were viewing my ads and taking action on them way past 6pm. I was missing opportunities!

The charts in Figure 9 helped me realize how late in the evening my ads were being viewed and I adjusted the time my ads turned off. In addition, I realized I was wasting my money by targeting an audience under 35 years old.


Figure 9 – Check the time your audience views and takes action on your ads.


Tweak your Ad Success

Now that you have a better understanding how to split test your ad campaigns, what if you find your ads still aren’t generating the results you want.

Figure 10 shows some additional ad tweaks you can integrate into your strategy. These tweaks can be done thru split testing or by setting up The last key point in Figure 10 is NEVER… never give up on social ads.


Figure 10 – What to tweak so your ads perform better

Bottom line: you’ll learn to create ads that resonate and work for your ‘perfect’ clients.

When you update and customize your ads frequently, you’ll be able to spend your ad budget more wisely and avoid ad fatigue.

In the ever-changing social ad landscape, you’ll find new bells and whistles are added frequently. These new options help savvy advertisers create and match the right ads to the right audience so that you reach your advertising goals more quickly.

What will you split test in your next ad campaign?

PictureCatherine Heeg, international speaker and trainer, focuses on social media marketing & communication for the travel and tourism industry. Join the conversation and connect with her at and socially. Connect online for access to free social media resources.

When you ‘like’ her Facebook page you’ll have access to the latest social media news just for travel pros!

Share your thoughts on “How to Make Your Social Ads Work Better”

You must be logged in to post a comment.