Key Facebook advertising changes in 2019

A year of changes

What a year Facebook had with its changes to the advertising platform. I am going to go through the main changes on the advertising platform from the past few months.  

Dynamic Creatives
Advertisers on Facebook can now serve different ad formats to audiences based on the machine learnings prediction of a user’s format preferences. Dynamic creative helps advertisers automatically deliver high-performing combinations of their creative assets to their audiences. Dynamic creative accepts the basic components of a Facebook ad (image, video, title, description, etc) and automatically generates optimised ad combinations based on these components. These ads are then served across placements to explore the performance of each creative element within the given audience. Dynamic creative ads can be applied to Conversion, Traffic, Video Views, Reach, Brand Awareness, and App Install campaigns. This is great and saves time a huge amount of time testing and learning what works by letting the machine do it for you.

Multiple Text Optimisation
Facebook rolled out a new feature called Multiple Text Optimisation, you should already have this feature but if not you will get it very soon. The text variation feature lets you add up to five different text versions for your ad’s primary text, headline and description. This feature is available for single image or video ads that use the Traffic, App Installs or Conversions objectives. Use multiple text options to highlight different aspects of your product or service. They will show different combinations of text to different people based on what they’re more likely to respond to.

Placement Creative
Within the Facebook ads, you can now customise your creative depending on the placement. You can now upload your different sized creatives into the same ad for the various different placements.

Mobile Ad Formatting
Facebook has changed the way ad formats are shown to you in a mobile. Only 3 lines of text show to a user and the aspect ratio on the creative has gone from 2:3 to 4:5. Since 96% of all Facebook users access the network through their tablet or smartphone, it is essential to be up to date on this feature. Optimise for mobile first viewing, make sure that you put the most important, attention-grabbing information at the very front of the copy.

Relevance Score
Facebook’s relevance score was originally a single metric that told advertisers how relevant their ad campaign was to their target audience. This metric was a predictor of success, ads with higher relevance scores could be given priority placements, and they often saw a direct decrease in CPC costs. Now, the single relevance score has been divided into three different metrics. This was done to give businesses more actionable insights, making it easier for them to adapt and improve. These three different metrics are:

  1. Quality ranking: How your ad’s perceived quality compares with ads competing for the same audience.
  2. Engagement rate ranking: How your ad’s expected engagement rate compares with ads competing for the same audience.
  3. Conversion rate ranking: How your ad’s expected conversion rate compares with ads that have the same optimisation goal and compete for the same audience.

Campaign Budget Optimisation
You may have seen that Facebook are encouraging you to use campaign budget optimisation. A campaign budget is a budget you set at the campaign level (rather than the ad set level). The amount you set can apply to each day the campaign runs (daily budget) or over the lifetime of the campaign (lifetime budget). They are pushing CBO to automatically and continuously find the best active opportunities for results across your ad sets. You can create ad sets that have different start and end dates or times, as CBO considers each active ad set’s schedule (ads can run all the time or on a schedule). However, CBO may not spend your budget equally for each ad set, they optimise for your overall campaign budget. For example, if you have two active ad sets in one campaign, they might spend 90% of your budget on the first ad set if that’s how they can get your campaign the overall lowest CPA or highest ROAS (as compared to the other ad set).  Currently you can set your budgets at ad set level or campaign level, however Facebook have been saying they will be removing it at ad set level, it’s not clear when this will happen.


A day in the life of… Charlie!

Tell us a bit about yourself…

After graduating from Bournemouth University with a degree in Leisure Marketing, I decided to pursue my love of the snow which led me to Wanaka, New Zealand, where I trained to become a snowboard instructor. After a few years of back to back winters between NZ and the USA, it was time to settle and I moved into a marketing role for a ski area.

After 13 years of calling NZ home, my husband and I, along with our two young children, moved to Devon for some ‘sun’, sea and sandy adventures.

What’s your job role at Launch Online?

I’ve joined Launch Online as an Account Manager and I’m very much looking forward to getting to know the lovely clients that Launch Online has the pleasure of working with.

How did you get into Online Advertising?

After my time working in ski area marketing, I moved in to an online marketing role for a regional tourism organisation, during this time I met a PPC yoda and I was wooed to the search side.

What is something you look forward to everyday?

Spending time with my amazing mini humans and seeing how my clients accounts are performing #searchgeek

What challenges do you face in your role?

Search is constantly evolving, finding the balance of testing and using AI alongside manual strategies.

What do you like most about your job at Launch Online?

The team. I’m feeling very fortunate to have found such a lovely bunch of people to work.

How do you wind down after a day at work?

I love spending time with my kids, nothing helps me to see the world more clearly than a conversation with my 4 year old. We have recently bought a paddle board and camping gear and plan to get the kids outside enjoying the beautiful South West.

Thank you Charlie! Next up, we’ll be hearing from Jaye, she’s the brains behind Launch Online! Watch this space! 

Insights from Facebook’s Inside Beauty Event

Last week I was lucky enough to be invited to Facebook in London for one of their events. I am under a strict NDA on certain things so I’ll share what I can! Although this event was specific to the beauty industry, the majority of what was shared can apply to the majority of industries.

Creative – what makes you stand out?

The hay day of Facebook Ads are over. With more and more companies advertising on the platform, you need to stand out against the crowd. Facebook are more likely to show good creatives to your target audience, if a competitor has better creatives than you, then they are going to do better! The question is, what makes a good creative? As the saying goes: “People don’t read, they scan.” If the image is intriguing, there is a high chance that customers will stop for at least a second and read the copy on your ad.

  • Video – Facebook are really pushing video for their platform. Facebook video ads receive 10 to 30 percent more views!
  • Instagram Stories – Tailor your creative for instagram stories – this is still an under utilised ad so make the most out of it
  • Mobile First – Are your creatives optimised for mobile? 96% of Facebook users access it on a mobile, so check what your creative looks like on mobile
  • Use different types of creative – Video, carousel ads, slideshows, gifs, static images – test different types of creative
  • No to stock images – Don’t use stock images, remember, people are not on Facebook to buy, make your ads look organic and flow with the rest of your content

Your Facebook Ad copy is as important as striking visuals, so do not disregard compelling copy when creating an ad. People on Facebook and Instagram scan news feeds quickly, with a short attention span, so ad copy that’s short and sweet is key. Only 3 lines of text show in a mobile ad, try not to go over this. Great Facebook Ad copy can boost your ad’s success by a huge margin, especially when it aligns well with your visual. Here are our tips on writing compelling copy:

  • Keep it short and on point
  • Keep your message straightforward
  • Use relevant emojis depending on the message
  • Design your copy keeping your audience in mind. What’s that one important message or a benefit you would like to highlight?
  • Ensure your ad copy goes with your visual
  • Use simple language that is easy to understand

Micro Influencers 

There was a lot of talk about influencers, there’s been numerous articles about the bubble bursting for influencers but beauty brands are finding that micro influencers (people with 50k followers and under) are the most successful for this main reason:

  1. TRUST

Consumers are trusting smaller influencers when it comes to product reviews, consumers are starting to move away from celeb based purchasing behaviour toward the smaller influencers who they feel more close to, who understand their needs and concerns. For beauty shoppers and many other industries, shoppers rely on influencers and reviews for product information. Influencers can work, it’s just about finding the right person for your brand.

Friction is your threat

I really liked the below slide.


Amazon has become a huge success, their customer service and next day delivery give consumers what they want. For years I have been buying a product from a company, the delivery takes 3-5 days and I saw they are now on Amazon, so I got the product I wanted off Amazon and it was with me the next day. I am loyal to the brand but I am not loyal to their website! Shoppers want speed, choice & convenience. Your brand needs to be fast, connected and reaching shoppers on their terms, on the go and where they want. Provide less friction for your consumers, the more friction you have (e.g. poor website, slow loading times, out of stock items, slow delivery, poor customer service), the less chance of success.

You need to be mobile optimised. NOW. You need the best website app and a friction free experience. It’s not seconds that count, it’s nano seconds that count.

We are offline online shoppers

Here’s some facts for you:

  • 60% of in-store shoppers are influenced by social media
  • 61% of 18-34 year olds swayed by influencers
  • 81% of consumers purchased based on social posts
  • Omni channel customers have a 30% higher lifetime value

Consumers no longer have one path to purchase (as highlighted in Jaye’s blog here). They consume online and offline which has meant today’s customers want a borderless brand experience.

Omni-channel is the future of retailing. It’s what customers are demanding. Omni-channel marketing can be simply defined as when retailers use multiple channels to reach the customer to create a seamless, more holistic retail experience.

One brand who is winning omni-channel marketing is UGG. They sell their boots through company-owned physical stores, retail partners, an e-commerce site and a mobile app. With all of these options available to consumers, it’s a seamless shopping experience. Its offerings include buying online and picking in store; searching for in-store products online; loyalty points earned and redeemed across all channels; pricing consistency among channels; and three or more channels available for returns and customer service.

The race is being won by marketeers who embrace the omni-channel shopper.



Why 1+1 Doesn’t Equal 2: A Guide to Attribution

Where are our sales coming from?

We’re often asked by clients about why 1+1 doesn’t always equal 2 and although we’d love to give a simple answer, the reality is that conversion attribution isn’t always a simple sum. Here Jaye, tries to explain why!

Client: “In August Google Analytics is reporting revenue from social as £5521.71, whereas Shopify is reporting it at £3357.75, which is right?

Launch Account Manager: “Are you sitting comfortably, then I’ll begin…”

Firstly it is really important to remember that you can’t track every sale, there are too many buying decisions which can’t be reflected in data, so all reporting is giving you an indication of the sales which can be tracked but not 100% of your sales.

The path to purchase is often not one visit to the website = one sale, it is likely that the user visits the website several times, on several devices and might even have an offline interaction, recommendation, press article etc. Therefore website conversion reporting is not simple and when you add into this equation that each platform uses different ways of tracking these sales.

Last Click Attribution

Most reports track ‘Last Click’ and attribute the purchase to the last channel that sent the user to your website before the purchase was made but this excludes the impact of the other channels which contributed to that sale.

For example, user searches “wooden toys to buy online”, clicks on Google Ads, comes to website, finds something they like but wants to see if it is cheaper elsewhere. Goes back to Google and searches for the product name, shopping results come up, they see you offer the best price, they click on your shopping ad, come to the website and then get distracted by child swallowing marble in lounge.

Later when they are in bed with wine and a biscuit, they scroll through Facebook, like a picture of their friends ugly baby and then see your Facebook Ad, remember they haven’t bought Jonny’s sustainable wooden tractor, click on the ad and then buy it.

Michael Bergmann

Shopify and Facebook will credit Facebook for that sale (if the user wasn’t in private browsing mode in Safari…but that’s another story – Google ITP 2.0) and yet two Google campaigns contributed to this sale and were responsible for the user finding your brand in the first place – which will only show up in the Google Analytics multi channel funnels report.

Top Conversion Paths

The reports we give clients normally come from GA top conversion paths which attribute the sale to the channel whether or not it was the only channel used.

This gives a better indication of the value of that channel. Obviously there are numerous sales which can’t be wholly tracked, especially when mobile is involved as users might not be signed in and therefore reporting is only an indication of the value from a particular campaign.

Here is an article which probably explains it better than I can > Ruler Analytics Click Attribution In addition to the above, each channel uses slightly different code/method to track a sale – Facebook tends to over report as it also credits a sale where there is an impression “The default Facebook attribution window settings show actions taken within 1 day of viewing your ad and within 28 days of clicking your ad.” whereas Shopify will be last click only and Google Analytics is last click in some reports except the Multi channel funnel report.

On top of all of this, recent changes to IOS devices using safari (ITP2.0) mean that tracking from mobiles has got harder so we can’t track the campaigns as accurately as before and GDPR has also had an impact with cookie prevention and ad blocking software.

Are you still there?

Hutomo Abrianto

We hope this explains why the figures don’t always tally, it’s a constant challenge for our industry and just as things were getting better, GDPR came to complicate things. The word on the virtual street is that one day, tracking will be impossible because of user privacy, so enjoy the flawed reports as soon we might not have any reporting.

Insights from the Google Retail Summit 2019

5 PPC Changes You Need to Know About Now

Google made 3,200 changes to its search system last year alone! Stay ahead of the curve with our top 5 PPC changes you should know about >

1. New Ad Formats

The first rule of betas are there are no betas…just be aware that we’re testing lots of new ad formats in Google Ads, some of which are super exciting and getting great results but we can’t talk about them yet! However, helpfully, Search Engine Land reported on one of the formats here. That’s one of the top reasons to use a Google Premier Partner agency because we are able to get access to these new features first and test them to make sure that when they are released to all accounts that our clients can be early adopters. Not all our clients qualify for betas so don’t be disheartened, you’ll benefit from the testing we are doing and you can be first out trap when they come out of beta.

2. No More Avg Pos

We wrote about this earlier in the year here but for a quick summary, you will no longer be able to see average position as a metric in Google Ads. Instead new metrics have been added – Impression (Absolute Top) %,” “Impression (Top) %,” “Search absolute top impression share” and “Search (Top) IS”, which will give advertisers a better indication on whether they are getting the visibility they want in the search results page. For a more in depth analysis read Frederick Vallaeys article on Search Engine Land.

3. Bing Ads is now Microsoft Ads 

The name change isn’t the most groundbreaking change in our industry but if you want to sound like you know what you are talking about then make sure you use “Microsoft Ads” now! On a side point, we find Bing Ads…sorry…Microsoft Ads give a good return on investment across most verticals and are a great way to increase sales using campaigns already set up in Google Ads. They are also keeping Ave Pos metric…for now anyway!

4. Ad Customisers 

Google Ads for a long time have had the ability to use Ad Customisers to be able to serve countdown ads or variations of ads based on a users location or the time of day. For example, on Black Friday we use countdown ads to say “Mega Sale Ends in xxx Days”. Microsoft Ads have just announced that they now support ad customisers and even better, they can be imported easily from Google Ads.

5. The biggest threat to Google is Amazon

As a retailer, you might be nailing your PPC campaigns but are you advertising on Amazon yet? An increasing number of users go straight to Amazon to search for products so don’t miss out on these potential customers. We’re getting great results for one of our retailers with low budgets and huge ROAS (return on ad spend) so if you sell through Amazon, then let us help you drive more sales.


A day in the life of… Becky Dickinson

Tell us a bit about yourself…

I’m Becky, I joined Launch Online last summer after being on the receiving end of their advice! I was Head of Marketing at a tech company and I used Launch Online to do my advertising for a few years. I have had to use lots of different agencies in past roles and Launch were one of the best I have ever used, so when I was ready for a new role back at an agency, I stalked Jaye until she gave me a job! I was born in West Yorkshire and moved to Devon when I was 7 years old. I’ve lived in a few different places with a couple of years in Sydney, but have always stayed by the sea!

What’s your job role at Launch Online?

I joined Launch Online to support with the overall marketing & advertising strategy for our clients but I have a very mixed role so I dip my toes in lots of different things. 

How did you get into Online Advertising?

I graduated from Bournemouth University with a degree in tourism and hospitality management, my plan was to go and do an internship with a big hotel group and travel the world managing hotels! I actually ended up working for a small marketing agency as a junior account executive and after a couple of years became the senior account manager for Schwarzkopf Professional. I worked on their brand presentations, websites, video creation, newsletters, social, the lot! I really enjoyed working at a small agency for a big global client as I got thrown in the deep end, I learnt far more than I would have done in a larger company. Since then, i’ve worked within agencies and within in-house teams from overall strategy to the nitty gritty.  

What would a typical day look like for you?

In the morning I check all my social campaigns for my clients, check everything looks as it should be. Once I have done this, I will then go through my emails. Every day is different, I could be putting together a strategy for a social media competition, putting a deck together for a proposal, creating social ad campaigns, writing blogs, creating a digital strategy for a client or advising on design. My role is very varied and I love it. 

What is something you look forward to everyday?

I love being creative with my client accounts, especially our smaller clients. My Mum has always had her own business so I understand every penny counts, I want to make sure I get as much return as I can for my clients. When I see I am helping them grow it really makes me happy!

What do you like most about your job at Launch Online?

I love the variation in my role, I would say one of my biggest downfalls is I can get bored pretty easily so I love being challenged everyday! That’s why I love marketing & advertising – it changes all the time. I have to read lots of articles every day to keep up with the changes in our industry. Jaye is also an awesome boss, I have learnt so much since working at Launch, Jaye invests in us, it’s a lovely work environment.

How do you wind down after a day at work?

I am a HUGE paddle boarding fan, I have my own blog, recommending people on where to go paddle boarding in the South West, I have actually found myself slowly becoming an influencer in this area! Who would have thought it?! You can read my blog over here if you also love a paddle! I also love cycling, a did a charity bike ride around Zanzibar a couple of years ago and fell in love with road biking. I like to think I am pretty creative, my Mum had an interior design business for years and so I love interiors. I have a little cottage in Exeter that I am slowly renovating! I can spend HOURS on Pinterest looking for inspiration!

Thank you Becky! Next up, we’ll be hearing from Jaye, she’s the brains behind Launch Online! Watch this space! 

9 Ways to Improve Your Facebook & Instagram Advertising from SMX Seattle

I am always a tad dubious when it comes to conferences and whether you learn anything, but wow, I learnt so much from SMX Seattle and couldn’t wait to action learnings on my clients (Jaye will be thankful we spent her profits on something worthwhile)!

It was also great hearing I am doing things right! There’s so much I learnt but I’m going to focus mainly on Facebook & Instagram advertising which was a hot topic. Here are some key takeaways on what we’re doing which were highlighted at SMX Seattle:

Instagram Stories – the uglier the better!

Instagram specific advert stories which are fairly new to Instagram are seeing some great results! I’ve been trialling some ‘instagram polls’ with some clients and the engagement is great.

However, those brand guidelines go out of the window a little bit (sorry brand guardians). I mean that talking dog gif with sunglasses… yeah people love it! What I am trying to say is make your advert look organic and not too pristine, customers want something real and the less ‘stocky’ image, the better. Get on instagram story adverts like it was yesterday!

Attribution – oh gawd!

As marketers, it’s our biggest challenge, especially when Facebook likes to count everything under the sun! Yes social advertisers, you know what I’m talking about! However, there was talk of a tool (I was gloating at this point because I already use it). It’s called Facebook attribution and it brings in all your data sources, you can select different attribution models and time frames, it’s SUPER COOL! Get it set up asap as it takes a while for the data to come in! You don’t need to be using Facebook ads to use it either.

If you’re looking at Facebook and other marketing channels separately, then stop. They work together! What if someone clicked a Facebook advert, did not convert and then clicked a Google remarketing ad, what worked? The Facebook ad or the Google Ad? THEY BOTH DID! Everything is connected and you need to be looking at customer journeys in detail to understand the path to purchase. Companies that look at marketing channels separately will lose.

Let Facebook learn guys!

Have you turned off your Facebook campaign after a week because it wasn’t converting? Well that was a bit silly, don’t do that! Facebook is a machine and like any machine learning, it takes time to learn. Every time you change something in a campaign, you’re giving Facebook a signal that it’s working or isn’t working.

Secondly think about how long it takes your customer to purchase something, do you book a holiday straight away? No, most of the time you don’t, so don’t switch it off so quickly and this leads on to my next point:

Why are you even focusing on conversions bro?

We don’t know exactly how the Facebook algorithms work but if you select conversions as your objective, we think Facebook will show your ads to the people that tend to convert off Facebook rather than your ideal person. A conversion objective is the most expensive objective you can choose on Facebook.

A lot of companies make a mistake by choosing conversions as their objectives for all campaigns and I’ll explain why this isn’t the best strategy.

Let’s say I am a package holiday provider. I have my remarketing audiences set up in Facebook and I have also created some new audiences to target. These new audiences I want to target don’t know who I am yet, they don’t care about by brand yet, they are in the top of the sales funnel so they’re really unlikely to convert straight away. Therefore, why would I choose the ‘conversion’, most expensive objective to target them?

For these new audiences, choose a cheaper objective such as brand awareness or reach. Make them aware of your brand first (a much cheaper targeting option) before trying to get them to convert straight away. If they convert in this campaign it’s a bonus, if they don’t convert straight away but are interested, they will go into Facebook remarketing anyway. Facebook remarketing is where you should use the ‘conversion objective’ as they are at the bottom of the sales funnel and more likely to convert – so it’s worth the higher bidding.

By separating your top and lower sales funnel out into different campaigns and adjusting your objectives you should be able to bring your CPA’s down. Now obviously every industry and campaigns are different and will require different strategies but really think about what your objectives are before pressing that publish button.

Sucks to be you, UK!

GDPR came up a lot in Seattle, they’re loving programmatic advertising over there and their different segmenting options within it (I got showed a demo of one, and wow, it was terrifying who they could target)! They were seeing some great results from the detailed targeting.

Unfortunately (or not) we can’t be as targeted because of GDPR. However, California already have the CCPA so I don’t think it’s long before the rest of America joins in and goes down the GDPR route.

Creativity is king

Agencies or in-house depts with a great creative department will be the winners. There is so much noise out there that you need to stand out. I have also found putting the keywords from my landing page in the ad works really well – test this out. Put effort into your creatives, test, test, test and make them a priority, not an afterthought.

Facebook used to be ‘easy’

Remember when Facebook ads came out, wasn’t it awesome! The results we got were amazing, it was new and shiny and we could really stand out! However, now that huge numbers of companies use Facebook Ads, a lot of the agencies in America have found that their lookalike audiences are no longer working and are having to pick 2-3% matches, at the moment, I am finding my 1% still work great. Is the US getting to saturation point and are we going to find ourselves there too? Time will tell.

Facebook want people to stay on the platform, therefore if your advert isn’t great, it’s going to prioritise another advert, probably one of your competitors. The hay days are over and it’s time to be creative.

Let the machine do it for you

Facebook is investing heavily into its ad platform, take advantage of their new features, dynamic creatives are working really well. Let it do the learning for you so you can focus on strategy.

Your competitors are not your competitors

You think you know all your competitors? No, I don’t think you do. Facebook ads can be really great for startups, they can target the biggies but the biggies can’t target the little ones!

What you also have to remember is that consumers compare you not only against your own industry but against others. If I have a seamless transaction with a retail client, I expect the same seamless experience with a travel client despite the fact they are in a different industry. However, UX is a whole other story for another time!

That’s it from me!

A short note from Dids on SMX Seattle

How Google Chrome’s cross-site cookie & fingerprinting changes will affect advertising

Google Chrome is one of the world’s most popular web browsers, it has a market share of above 60%.

Google recently announced some changes coming to Google Chrome that could have an impact on marketing and advertising.

What are the changes?

The changes coming to Google Chrome address cookie privacy. Cookies are bits of information left on your computer or device to help websites or apps remember who you are. They can keep you logged into websites and can also track what you do on a website. Some cookies also follow you from one website to another, allowing them to build up a profile of who you are and your interests etc.

The new change will prevent cross-site cookies from working across domains without explicit consent from the user. Users will be able to clear all cookies but allow them to keep single domain cookies (e.g. user logins and settings).

How will it effect advertising?


One way it could impact on advertising online is through remarketing. When we ‘re-market’ to people on Facebook and Google Ads, we are marketing to people who have been on your website, we know they have been on your website through their cookies. Although remarketing coookies are not ‘cross-site’ cookies, the ease of disabling cookies could mean the amount of people we’re able to remarket to decreases.


It could also have an impact on attribution. Depending on results from campaigns, advertisers will allocate budget appropriately, if users are clearing their cookies more often, it will make it harder to see what campaigns are working and how users are interacting with adverts.

Customer journey

Understanding the user journey of a customer could become less transparent. Cross site cookies allow us to see the different touch points customers have had before making purchase. If users are clearing their cookies more often, it may become less transparent on what adverts they have clicked and how long it took to make a purchase. 

However, what we need to remember is that Google Chrome is owned by the advertising giant so only time will tell if there is going to be an impact, we very much doubt they will want their own changes to have a negative impact on advertising!