The key to getting your ideal ROI from Facebook ads is simple, but the path to lowering your CPA is not as cut and dry as understanding the end goal makes it seem. If it were, simple actions like better targeting and a lower bid cost would carry the day. In reality, those tactics were already behind the pack half a decade ago, today you need to adapt to the tools of the time to get ahead. What does that mean? For starters, it means accumulating data. You’re going to need to see how your ad campaigns are working to make good decisions. Luckily, Facebook’s ad management dashboard now includes data about impressions at a granular level.

The first step is looking at when your ads have the most impact, and with whom. Looking at activity by age and gender as well as the time of day and other factors can help you get a better idea of the people who respond to your ads. Then, you can write content that will be more appealing to them. It’s always easier to write to your customers when you have a detailed idea of who they are. It’s also a lot easier to pivot your marketing to a new group when you understand what groups your existing strategies appealed to. From there, you need better targeting. Luckily, the automated tools have you covered there as well.

Facebook allows you to use lookalike audiences. The LLA tool needs your data to generate good Facebook ads, though, and the more detailed the better. If you have online store data, using your sales information to create an LLA means seeding it with the profiles of people who have decided to buy. If you don’t have a lot of sales, though, you’ll want to target another group. Some great examples include people who like your page, those who get to the cart and then exit the site, or those who regularly reshare your content. These groups will be less effective generally than those who buy from you, but you need a critical mass of data points before the LLA tool is able to pull a large number of very closely matched accounts when it targets your ad to users.

How many data points do you need? The more the better. If you don’t have at least a hundred or so profiles, the LLA will just be too broad to be useful as targeting. Over 500 is where you really start to notice a change in behavior from general ads, and when you get past 1000 it gets easier to see how the LLA helps. When you accumulate more data, make sure to update your campaigns so your Facebook ads become even more effective.