Analysis,  Digital Marketing

I Ran Facebook Ads for My Website for Two Weeks, Here are the Results (Malaysian Edition)

Few weeks ago, I ran Facebook ads for this website as an experiment. The goal was to see what results I will get in terms of traffic when I started running the ad. In this post I will break down what I did and what happened as a result.

At the start of this experiment, I set aside USD 100 as a budget for testing Facebook ads. I didn’t set a timeline of how long I will run the ads for but my goal was to exhaust this budget.

1st Attempt

My first attempt was a boosted post. I selected an article that got very high traction on my website and provided valuable information to people.

It was my Investing Workflow post:

Ad Copy

Right off the bat, I knew the copy of the post wasn’t good. All it had was the title of the article, a long-ass link and a Learn More button. Nothing really stood out and I’m 100% to blame for it. I often slack off when it comes to writing good copy for my own content. It’s bad form especially when I should be showcasing my skills for any potential new opportunities. An agency looking at this copy will dismiss me as incompetent.

If I’m not making an effort to showcase my skills to promote my personal brand, why should anyone expect me to do the same for them? I am going to actively work on improving this in the future.

Ad Set Up

Barring the copy of the ad, here are some other details about how I set up the ad:

  • Campaign: Traffic
  • Lifetime Budget: $70
  • Schedule: 7 days (April 2nd to April 9th)
  • Targeting: People who live in Malaysia, 18 – 65+, Men and Women
  • Detailed Targeting: I used interest keywords related to personal finance such as money management, investing, passive income, etc.
  • Placement: Automatic (eg: Mobile News Feed, Facebook Right Column, Instagram Stories, etc)
  • Optimization for Ad Delivery: Landing Page Views

Results

Within the first day, I knew something was wrong with the ad.

As you can see, the ad delivered to about 1k people per day. My budget wasn’t being spent and my ad was under-delivering. This means that Facebook’s algorithm was struggling to find people to deliver the ad to. Which doesn’t make any sense considering the potential reach for my target audience was 14 million people.

I dived deeper into the metrics to troubleshoot and I found out this:

I was only getting 10-ish link clicks a day and zero landing page views. The ad was detecting link clicks but wasn’t measuring landing page views.

Since my ad was set up to optimize for landing page views (meaning to deliver to people who are most likely going to click on a link and wait for the webpage to load), this is a problem because there are no data points for the Pixel and Facebook’s algorithm to match and find new potential readers.

And so, I spent the next day trying to figure out why Landing Page Views weren’t being picked up by my Ads Manager. I checked everything but nothing was amiss. My website Pixel was firing properly, my website loads within 3 seconds, and I even had a friend click the ad to go onto the website to browse. I couldn’t figure out why this was happening. Finally, I chalked it up to a bug in the Ads Manager. This requires me to contact Facebook’s support team to get it fixed but that was going to take some time. I decided to stop the ad and change my approach.

2nd Attempt

This time I wasn’t messing around anymore, I took the ad creation process seriously.

I decided to create a new ad from scratch with a new copy. Here’s how it looks:

Ad Copy

In the copy, I wrote a description of the article and gave people a reason to click through to my website. I included keywords that might attract a reader such as “investing”, “the Malaysian stock market”, “step-by-step guide”.

I also changed the image to a square format stock photo that had a more attractive color compared to the original image.

This time around I really wanted the ad to have an impact and get more people reacting to it and clicking it.

Ad Set Up

The set up was similar for this second ad with some crucial changes.

  • Campaign: Traffic
  • Lifetime Budget: $70
  • Schedule: 7 days (April 3rd to April 10th)
  • Targeting: People who live in Malaysia, 18 – 65+, Men and Women
  • Detailed Targeting: I used interest keywords related to personal finance such as money management, investing, passive income, etc.
  • Placement: Automatic (eg: Mobile News Feed, Facebook Right Column, Instagram Stories, etc)
  • Optimization for Ad Delivery: Landing Page Views Link Clicks

With this second ad, I’ve changed the delivery to link clicks because it was a metric that was working in the previous ad. I wanted the ad to deliver to people who showed link clicking behaviour but they may not necessarily wait for my website to load before clicking away. The idea here is to get as many people landing on the website in the hopes that some of them actually stick around to read the content there.

Results

By the second day, there was a massive improvement in the ad delivery.

I was reaching an average of 11k people per day and spending about USD 10 daily. I received 600 unique link clicks from the ad alone (landing page views were still not registering but that’s okay). My overall cost per link click was USD 0.08.

3rd Attempt

The ad paused by 9th April because I had set an account limit at USD 50 (in the event I overspend). But since I had another USD 40 to spend, I increased the account limit and I restarted the ad again with the same setup but this time with a shorter time frame of 3 days. This meant, on average, I’d be spending USD 13 per day.

A friend mentioned that he had seen the ad at least four times since it started running so I also excluded people who have already interacted with the previous ad in my targeting.

The results improved, likely because of the higher budget.

As you can see, the overall cost per click dropped to USD 0.07 and the website received around 540 link clicks.

Analysis

In total, I spent USD 95.61 for a period of 11 days. That is an average of USD 8.70 per day. According to Ads Manager, I received 1,148 unique link clicks to this website. The ads reached over 100k people. This means that 1% of all the people the ad reached actually clicked on it (also known as the click-through rate).

The ad also had a trickle-down effect. I received around 10 new Facebook page likes organically and the post itself had a good reaction with over 160 likes, 3 comments, and 4 shares.

Since I can’t measure the landing page views from Facebook’s Ads Manager, I turn to Google Analytics to help me figure out how many people actually decided to stick around on the website after clicking the ad.

Here’s the website data from April 1st until April 15th on Google Analytics:


There are some discrepancies between the numbers being reported on Google Analytics versus Facebook Analytics. Since I’m not running an e-commerce website and I don’t generate any income from this site, these discrepancies don’t affect any sort of profit. But it is still irritating, to say the least. I will troubleshoot this at some point, but for now, let’s just go over the metrics with this in mind.

Google reports that the post received 473 views and people spend on average about 4 minutes on that post.

This number was obviously different from what was reported by Facebook Analytics and even WordPress stats.

WordPress stats
Facebook Pixel

As you can see, Facebook Pixel reports 1.4k events on said post and WordPress says about 500 people read the article. I’m now the Oprah “what’s the truth” gif.

My bounce rate was also high at 80% which can indicate that the content wasn’t attractive enough for people to click on other pages on my website.

Based on behavior on social media (especially on mobile), people tend to click away after reading one article because they want to get back to scrolling on the platform. This why web developers build more mobile-friendly websites to get people to stay on the site longer.


From the placement breakdown, the data shows that most of the link clicks came from Instant Articles. This means my ads are shown at the end of articles on websites that open natively within Facebook (such as LADBible, SAYS, etc). This could be another reason why the bounce rate is high because people click off to go to other websites or articles. After all, I did target people who love clicking on links, right?

Final Thoughts

I’m happy with the results of running these ads. I hope I managed to get more people reading a helpful article. Granted, I don’t think I did a good job of retaining my website visitors because I haven’t been posting anything consistently here or on my social media as of late. But I think this is a good way to raise awareness of this website.

Overall, this was an interesting experiment. I wanted to test ads for a while now. And having done them already, I do enjoy the process of analyzing the results much like how I like to analyze the performance of my investments. This is, after all, an investment into growing my personal brand.

What do you guys think? Could I have done better? Have ideas on how to troubleshoot my analytics? Hit me up on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

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