Anyone can advertise on Facebook, but that doesn’t mean anyone can be successful advertising on Facebook. The real success comes when you learn and implement strategies to optimize your ads. When you optimize your ads, you are essentially conducting an experiment to figure out what works best, and in order to do that, you need to assess your goals, content and targeting methods.

When setting up your Facebook ad campaign, the first thing you need to assess is what you are trying to achieve for your brand. Once you can clearly outline that, you can translate your brand goals into relevant goals for your ads, which could be brand awareness, post engagement, app installs, video views, website traffic, etc. Facebook has already tried to make things a bit easier by setting up a menu of marketing objectives so you can easily pick one to start a campaign. If you’re not sure which objective is most important, or you have multiple objectives, you also have the option to create a split test for your campaign. Split tests are helpful when you want to test different objectives and versions of your ads; it allows you to test different creative, ad placements, audiences and delivery optimization strategies to determine which ads perform better.

Once your Facebook campaign is set up, the next step is creating your ad sets. This is where you can play around with your targeting methods. However, when setting up your targeting be sure to not over target and create too many; a safe number is typically two to three ad sets. Another thing to remember is Facebook already has parameters in place to optimize your ads so it’s better to start with wider targeting and let Facebook optimize for you. If your targeting is too narrow to begin with, then you could be missing out on reaching part of your audience.

After you have figured out your targeting and have established a couple of different ad sets, you can plug in your creative for the campaign. All your creative should be working to achieve the same goal, however your creative options are another opportunity optimize. It’s important to include different copy and image options, as some might be more captivating to your audience than others, and you can gain valuable information by testing different sets of creative. Once again, Facebook will help you optimize by automatically putting more money behind the creative that works the best. All you have to do is provide multiple creative options and Facebook will take over from there.

Once your entire campaign is set up and launched, it’s time to watch your ads work their magic – and at the end, assess what worked best. While your campaign is going, it’s smart to keep an eye on the relevancy scores. The relevancy score is calculated based off engagement. With higher engagement, Facebook assumes that your ads are more relevant to your target. The lower the relevancy score, the less they are engaging. This is important because the ads are targeting specific audiences. If you target a specific audience and serve them ads that aren’t relevant to them – for example, corvette ads to soccer moms (though, let’s be real, who wouldn’t love to trade in a mini-van for a corvette) – they won’t engage with the content and Facebook is determining that you either did a bad job with either your targeting or your creative. Boiled down, this number shows how your ad is performing and is a great gauge on what is working or not and whether you need to adjust. Your relevancy scores can also have a positive or negative impact on delivery and cost.

Once the campaign is complete, it’s important to go back and assess what worked best. Be sure to take a look at each ad set and take note of which creative options and targeting methods were most effective. Optimizing is an ongoing process and it’s important to focus on what worked well rather than spend too much time fixing what didn’t. Optimizing is about amplifying what performs well and every Facebook campaign you build should grow on what you learned from the previous one.