5 Facebook Ad Hacks to Cut Costs & Boost Conversions.

It's no secret that Facebook and Instagram ads are getting more costly - but here's how to stay competitive.
Lucas Lee-Tyson
March 8, 2019 - 6 min. read


It’s no secret that Facebook and Instagram ads are getting more competitive. Since 2014, worldwide ad spend on Facebook and Instagram has tripled, from $11.49 billion to $33.84 billion. With an increase in competition, it’s more important than ever to stay on top of your campaigns to get the most cost-efficient results as possible. In this post, I’ll be going over five tactics you can use in your Facebook and Instagram Ad campaigns to minimize your costs and maximize conversions and profits.

Use this simple trick to get more out of your lookalike audiences

If you’ve run Facebook Ad campaigns before, you likely know of Facebook’s proprietary ‘lookalike audience’ technology, which allows you to create targetable audiences of people most similar to your existing users or customers. However, what a lot of marketers and business owners don’t know is that the ‘seed’ audience you base your lookalike audience on has a large influence on the quality of your results.

Let’s use an eCommerce store as an example. Most marketers would create a CSV file of all the customers the store had in the last 6-12 months and create various sized lookalike audiences off of this ‘seed’ audience. However, this is not optimal. In order to get the best results with your lookalike audiences, you want to be giving Facebook your ‘best’ customers. So rather than using all of your previous customers (continuing with the eCommerce example), some better seed audiences might be:

  • Customers in the last 6-12 months that had high average order values (AOVs)
  • Customers in the last 6-12 months that purchased multiple times (repeat customers)
  • Customers in the last 1-3 months (recent customers)

The more specific and targeted you can get with your lookalike seed audiences, the better. Remember, we are essentially telling Facebook to ‘go and find more people that are like these people’. As such, we don’t want just our ‘average’ customers or people that only buy when we run a sale. To get the best ROI possible, we want to find our ‘best’ customers, people that are going to purchase multiple items at a time and come back to buy from us again in the future.

While we want to keep our audiences specific, it is worth nothing that you still want to have your seed audiences be reasonably sized. Shoot for somewhere in the 1,000-4,000 range. Any less or more and you will likely see decreases in your performance.

2. Niche down to your best demographics

By default, your Facebook and Instagram Ad campaigns are going to run for every demographic range, ages or gender. While Facebook’s algorithm is generally pretty good at figuring out who your best performers are, you can squeeze some extra dollars out of your campaigns by segmenting down manually.

Facebook’s built in View Charts function allows you to see exactly which demographics and platforms are performing best for you. To access this function, hover over an ad set and you will see View Charts appear below the ad set’s name.

Facebook Advertising Best Practices

A screen will slide in that will show your ad set’s performance over time. Clicking on the tab ‘Demographics’ will bring you to the following data:

Facebook Advertising Best Practices

At the top, you can see that the blue bars represent link clicks and the green bars represent reach. The higher the blue bar is over the green bar the better. This means that it is cheaper to advertise to that age range. From this screenshot, you can see that women aged 45 and up are currently the best performers when it comes to the cheapest clicks. With this information, you can duplicate this ad set and change the targeting to only target women 45 and up. This method of segmenting down to your best performing demographics is a great way to cut your costs and improve your conversions.

3. Keep your copy concise

One of the most common questions I get as a Facebook Ad consultant is “how long should my copy be?” In my experience, I have generally found short-form copy to be far more preferable to long. The tricky part of this is creating a compelling ad within this short copy.

Take this ad below from Ahrefs: the copy is very brief (only two lines) but still includes all the elements of a good ad. They call out their target audience, cite a specific pain point this audience has, and include a call-to-action for them to fix this pain point.

Facebook Advertising Best Practices

People browsing on Facebook and Instagram generally are not in a ‘reading’ mood. If your ad looks like an entire novel, they are likely just going to ignore you and scroll away. Do your best to keep your copy as brief and concise as possible, while still retaining the elements of a ‘good’ ad.

4. Boost conversion rates with social proof

Imagine you are scrolling through Facebook and see an ad for a waterbed. Since you are in the market for one, you consider clicking on the ad. However, you then see a second waterbed ad with thousands of likes and love reactions. There are people commenting on it, saying how much they love their waterbed, and tagging their friends.

Which one do you think you would buy?

While that was a (slightly) exaggerated example, social proof is a great way to build trust with your potential customers and help them get over the buying hurdle faster. Additionally, Facebook likes posts that have high engagement as well. If Facebook sees that more people are clicking and engaging with your ads, they will reward you with a higher Relevance Score, which is a direct correlation with lower costs to advertise.

Here’s a small trick you can use to add massive amounts of engagement and social proof to your ads. You will notice that when you’re creating any ad that there will be an option to ‘Use Existing Post’:

Facebook Advertising Best Practices

If you use an existing post, it will retain all of the likes, comments, and shares it has. So, an easy way to add social proof to the ads you want is to first run them as Engagement campaigns, which are designed to be shown to the people most likely to like, comment, or share your post. Then, once it’s racked up some engagement, you can use that existing post in a Conversion campaign and reap the rewards. It’s a win-win!

5. Dig into your analytics

By the time you’ve run a campaign for longer than one month, Facebook will have collected a surprising amount of data on the people interacting with it. But I rarely hear of advertisers taking advantage of it!

To access this data, click on Analytics in the top left corner, followed by All Tools, and then Analytics under Measure & Report.

Facebook Advertising Best Practices

Scroll down to the section of the page that says Pixels, click on your business’ pixel, and you will be presented with 10 or so different dashboards.

You could write an entire book (or multiple books, even) about all the different screens and dashboards here. But one of my favorites to begin with is the Funnels tab. In this screen you can see the percentage of people that drop off at specific points in your marketing funnel. To start, click on the green Create Funnel button.

The next screen is where to add the different actions you wish to track for your marketing funnel. In the example below, I’m using an eCommerce store running on Shopify and have added the following ‘funnel steps’:

  • Content view (viewed a product page)
  • Add to Cart
  • Add payment info
  • Completed purchase

Facebook Advertising Best Practices

Right off the bat, we get some valuable data back:

  • About 20% of people add an item to their cart after viewing it
  • About 15% of those people end up adding their payment info
  • About 98% of those people end up completing their purchase

These are some solid numbers. One area that does seem like it could use improvement is the add-to-cart to purchase ratio. To improve this, we could look into minimizing the amount of steps someone has to take to complete their purchase, maybe offer them a coupon for a discount or free shipping, etc.


Facebook and Instagram Ads are an invaluable resource for marketers and business owners to reach new customers and remarket to existing ones. As the space grows more competitive, it’s more vital than ever to stay up-to-date on the latest strategies, trends, and tactics so that you can stay profitable.


Lucas Lee-Tyson is a Facebook Ads consultant and serial entrepreneur. He is also the owner of Growth Cave, a place where marketers and entrepreneurs alike can learn how to create and manage their own profitable Facebook Ad campaigns. You can also find him on Twitter.