Did Facebook Targeting Expansion Get More Conversions? ($565 Spent Testing)

Did Facebook Targeting Expansion Get More Conversions? ($565 Spent Testing)

By: Corey Philip
Updated: October 3, 2020

I WANT MORE CONVERSIONS FROM MY FB ADS!!!! I’m always searching for a way to get them. Then I realized there was one setting I haven’t played around with yet. The Targetting expansion setting in the adset level…

So I had to set up a test, sink in some of my own money, and see for myself!

Here I explain, what it is, how the test was set-up and my results.

Let’s go!

What Is The Targeting Expansion

The ‘targeting expansion’ toggle lives in the adset setting of Facebook Ads manager.

The text next to the toggle reads ‘Reach people beyond your detailed targeting selections when it’s likely to improve performance.’

Reading that, and considering other documentation out there on the subject, makes it seem to me like Facebook creates a ‘lookalike audience’ behind the scenes from everyone.

Toggling the setting takes my audience from 1,300,000 to over 9,000,000. Whoa!

When I noticed targeting expansion.

A quick Google search reveals this targeting expansion setting has been around since 2017 (possibly earlier) however I didn’t notice it until 2020. It seems that now the setting is on by default when you create a new ad!

I’m going to test this thing!

After knowing about the setting for some time, on October 3rd 2020, I had to test it out.

To make this valuable I need a conversion objective that made money.

This was important… because as you know if you’ve ran a fair bit of Facebook Ads; Impressions don’t mean profit. Link clicks do not mean profit. Whatever vanity metric Facebook gives you does not mean profit. This fools a lot of marketers.

For example if we had an adset targeting link clicks, expanding the targeting might get more links clicks… not necessarily business and not necessarily clicks that would turn into business.

This is really problematic in markets where you need ‘qualified’ buyers. Your current targetting may qualify the users, but expanding the targets just gets you more non-qualified buyers.

For the purpose of this, I wanted to test it using something that had something monetable behind it… so I was optimizing for money in my pocket. You could use a sales pages for your service, or a trip wire. In my case I decided to use affiliate leads. Every lead I generate, I get paid. A lead was my conversion … and regardless of the the lead quality, I would get paid as an affiliate.

Using my established Adset

I decided I would split test it against one of my solidly performing adsets that I was looking to increase the budget on — one that was also using a target conversion

I simply cduplicated my established adset and chose the ‘split test’ option.

Duplicating Social Proof

Let’s go back a step… before duplicating the adset.

My current adset had some solid social proof built up from running for a few weeks. Dozens of likes, several comments, and a few shares no doubt help adsets perfom better, so it was crucial to maintain that social proof.

In order to duplicate that social proof and maintain social synergy of having a like/comment show on ads in both adsets, I made sure that the ads were set to ‘use existing post’ before duplicating the adset.

If you are set up properly, your ads in the manager will look like above.

Launch + a successful test takes time.

With an established adset, that has direct and traceable impact on money flowing in (revenue) AND social synergy, it was time to launch this test!

I started with $60/day in total adspend on the test split 50/50.

One of the big mistakes people make when setting up tests or running Facebook Ads in general is fiddling around, making changes, or stopping, before anything meaningful is derived.

As a rule of thumb, I only analyze results on make edits on a basis no shorter than 1 week. I’ll be sticking to that rule of thumb for this test.

What happened?

I let the test run for 9 days, and spent $565.

Watch the video below where I cover the outcome!

Corey Philip
October 3, 2020
Corey Philip

Founder of a home service / specialty trade contracting company (think patio's and deck) with a focus on customer experience. Quantitative investor. Data driven marketer. Runner.