Facebook’s advertising platform is not only easy to use, but it also includes some great tools that could help you reach a hyper-targeted audience of quality leads.
However, using Facebook ads through their main platform (known as Ads Manager) has a few limitations.
The best way to make the most out of your advertising campaigns is with Power Editor.
In fact, some of Facebook’s best features for advertising are currently available only on Power Editor. At the date this article was written, the most interesting ones were:
- Bulk editing
- Duplication of Campaigns/Ad Sets/Ads
- Excluding Audiences
- Hidden posts
- Targeting by device and connection
But, is Power Editor enough?
There are some third party platforms in the market that offer additional features not available directly through Facebook. And although you can certainly use Power Editor for your advertising needs, I can assure you that once you have tried some of these tools it will be hard to go back.
The following are the most interesting options available.
1. Ad Espresso
The first thing that gets your attention when using Ad Espresso for the first time is how visual and user-friendly the platform is. In fact, this is not something exclusive to the layout, but also the ad creation process is simple and easy to grasp even for users without prior experience on Facebook advertising.
Most of these advertising platforms for Facebook generate multiple ads by combining different elements, such as images, headings, text, etc. However what makes Ad Espresso different is, you can preview each of these ads in real time as you add new elements to your combination.
The main reason for these multiple ads is doing split (or A/B) testing, which could help you understand which ad gets the best response from users. These split tests can also be applied at an Ad Set level by dividing your target audience into segments (this is also a common feature of all these platforms)
For example: on a link ad you could have 2 headings, 2 body copies and 4 images to combine into a total of 16 different ads (2 x 2 x 4). Then, if your main targeting includes 4 countries – and you decide to test this segment – your campaign would have a total of 4 Ad Sets and 64 ads (16 x 4).
The platform has one small shortcoming when doing this, as it uses a complicated naming format to identify ads and ad sets. This is not an issue if you always work using Ad Espresso’s dashboard, however if you require checking your campaign results directly on Facebook, finding a specific ad could be a bit of a challenge.
Some people argue that split testing is unnecessary though and think that analysing too many ads could be confusing. Ad Espresso solves this problem not only by providing a clear report of which ads and audiences are working best – with suggestions of which elements are more effective and allowing you to pause those under-performing – but it allows you to include some automation into this!
Automation is another feature offered by most of these platforms, but Ad Espresso has a very straightforward process (probably the easiest) to create rules using an ‘if this then do that’ logic. These rules could be applied at a campaign or ad level.
For example, you may want to pause those ads that are getting a CPA higher than a specific value, or increase your bid on those that are getting a high CTR, etc.
One limitation of Power Editor is, interest targeting with multiple elements works always on an ‘OR’ logic. For example, if you are targeting users interested in: ‘Social Media Examiner’ and ‘RazorSocial’, Facebook will consider users who have expressed an interest in either one or the other – but not on both simultaneously.
On the contrary, Ad Espresso allows interest targeting using either, an ‘AND’ or an ‘OR’ criteria. Furthermore, if your campaign includes interest targeting, Ad Espresso allows you to analyse your results with a breakdown by interest. This is something that Twitter offers in their advertising reports – but not Facebook.
There is only one thing I miss from Ad Espresso, and this is having the CPA bidding option available – as most of the other platforms have. Hopefully, they will implement it soon.
Ad Espresso offers three plans with prices going from $49 to $299 per month. Each plan has a maximum ad spending, as well as a set of different features.
There is also a 30-day free trial that includes all features.
Qwaya is another excellent platform to create Facebook advertising campaigns, however, its interface is not as visual as Ad Espresso, and the ad creation process is more complex; users require some experience and prior knowledge with Facebook ads.
Nevertheless, Qwaya has some very interesting features too. It allows working with a team of users, which is certainly a great option for agencies or companies that require managing large advertising accounts – where constant ad monitoring may be needed.
As it happens with all these platforms, Qwaya includes multiple ad creation based on the combination of different ad elements (images, text, etc.) as well as split testing based on targeting. However, whilst other platforms are more restrictive on which elements can be used for split testing, Qwaya allows doing it with almost every element of your targeting.
Furthermore, targeting can be done using either: an ‘AND’ or an ‘OR’ logic for most options – and not just for interests as it happened with Ad Espresso.
Something important to be aware of is, your daily budget is applied to each segment of your split test (thus, each Ad Set), rather than divided across all of them – as most platforms do. So if your budget is $50/day and you have created 4 segments in your split testing, then your real budget will be $200/day!
Qwaya also includes automation with ‘if this then do that’ rules, however the platform takes this concept one step further by offering ad rotation, which as the name suggests automatically changes the ads being served every few days. This is certainly an advantage for long term or branding campaigns.
But probably one of Qwaya’s best features is the CPA bidding option, which Facebook launched in April 2013 through their API but hasn’t been rolled out into the Power Editor yet. It seems to be limited to: page likes, offer claim, offsite click and app install; however these should be enough for most campaigns.
The pricing model on Qwaya is very simple, with only two plans at $149 and $299 per month (plus the option to have a tailored plan for agencies). However both plans include all features, with the only difference of having up to 5 different users in the higher option.
The platform also includes a 14-day trial for free.
3. Social Ads Tool
This is a platform designed mainly for agencies and large accounts, usually with advertising budgets in excess of $10,000 per month. In fact, Social Ads Tool allows creating campaigns with up to 5,000 ads in bulk, something that none of the other platforms offer.
However, the ad creation process through the main dashboard is limited to a maximum of 125 ads. If you need to create more ads (do you really?), then you’ll need to use an import template similar to the one available on Facebook. The ad creation process is easy and intuitive, including most of the features available on other platforms, like the multiple ad combination, CPA bidding, or rule automation.
However, Social Ads tool also includes some features that are exclusive. One of these is the possibility of calculating the ROI of your campaigns automatically, which is displayed as an independent metric inside the reports. Another great feature is the Page Optimization, which creates a campaign that automatically boosts only the most popular posts of your page, thus making sure only your best content is promoted.
But probably the best of all are dynamic ads created from an XML feed. This option is particularly interesting for companies that require advertising a lot of products from a large inventory that could change frequently.
For example: imagine a classifieds business (like eBay) where the content of the page gets updated ever few minutes. An XML feed would allow creating ads automatically pulling some of the information available on each product.
Reports are easy to use and very intuitive, allowing you to configure the most relevant metrics for your campaign in just a few clicks. Plus, they also include interest breakdown – which as mentioned before is something not offered by Power Editor.
Social Ads Tool also allows defining a specific naming convention for your ads, which could help you identifying them easily when reviewing your campaign data directly on Facebook.
Social Ads Tools works with a mixed pricing model that includes a minimum monthly fee $500 per month, plus a % of the advertising spend. It may look a bit pricey; however let’s not forget this is a tool designed for large accounts that require a lot of advertising.
They also offer a 15-day free trial.
4. Ad Stage
If you think online advertising is important, quite probably you don’t limit your campaigns to Facebook only. And this is where Ad Stage becomes really useful; as it is the only platform that allows working with multiple networks.
At the moment, Ad Stage allows creating ads with: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Adwords, and Bing Ads. The platform lets you compare figures from one simple report, pausing campaigns on those networks that are not performing well, or increasing budgets on those with good results.
When it comes to Facebook ads, Ad Stage offers a very easy interface and ad creation process. It includes most of the main features available in other platforms, like: CPA bidding and rule automation; however multiple ad variation is not available at the time this article was written, although the website mentions this feature will be ready very soon.
However, Ad Stage also has its own unique features, and one of the best ones is what they call ‘overlapping targeting’, which allows combining both: ‘AND’ and ‘OR’ logics simultaneously at any levels of the targeting (other platforms allowed you to choose either one or the other).
For example, with Ad Stage you could target users who follow ‘Social Media Examiner’ AND either ‘RazorSocial’ OR ‘Socially Sorted’. Ad Stage also integrates with some very popular third party apps that could help you create even better advertising campaigns.
Ad Stage offers three different plans with prices from $99 up to $399 per month. The main difference between plans is the monthly advertising spent and the number of advertising accounts used. However all plans include access to all networks.
There is also a 14-day trial available to evaluate the platform.
Power Editor is a fantastic tool to manage your Facebook advertising needs. However, it still lacks many great features that Facebook has made available only through their API. And this is where these tools become an interesting alternative.
In fact, options like multiple ad creation or rule automation – which are common to all of these platforms – are good enough to make a huge difference in your campaigns’ performance. Add some of the other features exclusive to each platform and you will have many good reasons to keep using any of them.