Study Up on These Social Advertising Hacks

Amy Burke
January 15, 2021

Psst: Want to learn even more about Facebook advertising? We’re hosting a webinar on the topic on January 21 with the Philadelphia Public Relations Association! Register here.


Okay, so we lured you in with the title. But let’s be honest, there’s no “hacking” your way to the top of the social advertising game. That’s the beauty of the industry: there’s no “one size fits all,” cookie cutter way to success. Sometimes, it all comes down to trial and error (looking at you, A/B testing). 

But fear not, readers: with enough tips and tricks of the trade, you can really amp up your social advertising campaigns. 

Get that data

Let’s start with the basics. Do you have a pixel? Because a pixel is the key to unlocking the data of your dreams. A pixel is a piece of code that lives on your webpage and tracks the actions people take on that site. You can use this information to make sure the ads you serve are going to the right people and that those people are taking the actions you want them to.  Pixels are not hard to add, and they give you everything you need to know to make more informed, targeted advertising decisions. 

This leads me to my next trick: UTM codes. UTM-ing adds a string of info at the end of a URL that you can see in Google Analytics. This consists of source, medium, campaign, and content. When you’re putting together an ad campaign that includes a click-through link, make sure you describe that campaign in the URL so when you’re looking through your traffic on Google Analytics, you know exactly which campaigns and which platforms drove the most traffic. Knowledge is power, people.

Once you know what UTMs are, you’ll notice them on your own.
You can see in the URL above that I clicked through from a paid Facebook ad. (Source: screenshot via

Make the most of your audiences

One of my favorite tricks of the trade comes when putting together your audiences. It sounds basic, but did you know that you can save your audiences? Time is money, guys. Why should you manually put together an audience every time you make a campaign when you can save them instead? You can build out audiences in Business Manager, under Audiences, and refer back to them when making a campaign. 

Source: screenshot via Facebook

The same goes for custom and look-alike audiences. You can create them, save them for future use, and ✨ layer✨  them for some awesome results. Let’s say you have a saved audience with age, gender, interests and geo location. You can go as far as layering in purchase behavior, life events (ie: newly engaged, recently moved), places visited and more! My personal favorite is making a custom audience full of people who already made a purchase, filled out a form, etc. and adding them in as an exclusion from your tried-and-true saved audiences. Why waste valuable impressions on someone who already completed an action?

An ad for the exact shoes I was thinking of buying…coincidence? I think not. Screenshots via and Instagram

If you aren’t so familiar with custom audiences, this brings us back to the pixel. You need to place a pixel in order to see the actions people made on your page, and then in order to target them the way you want. This is the beauty of re-targeting. People are much more likely to convert with repeated exposure. You can make specific audiences to target those who came to your page but didn’t convert. And even if you don’t get them the second time, the additional exposure is worth the effort. 

The sneakiest hack of them all

Ever wonder what the competition is up to? Well, no need to hire an undercover mole—just hit up Facebook Ad Library. Here you can literally stalk the competition: you can see every creative and messaging test, what they spent, who they targeted and when they ran. You can even see reach and impressions per ad so you can tell relative success. It’s a simple tool, but boy does it feel sneaky. We love it!

Getting ALL the tea. Source: screenshots via Facebook

These little tricks make a big difference when it comes to targeted results, so play around and find what works for you and your brand. You’d be surprised what pieces of information you can uncover from testing something different, whether that is driving towards different actions based on your pixel, or crafting a seemingly complicated new audience for a wider reach.

Best of luck out there, and happy advertising!