There are four ways to natively build Facebook Ads: Ads Manager, Mobile Ads Manager, Boost Post Button and a browser plugin built by Facebook for bulk ads editing called Power Editor. Two years ago, I said the only way to build serious Facebook ads was in Power Editor. At the time, the Self Serve Ads Tool was somewhat limited, the mobile ads manager was a joke (Okay, it’s still not great.) and the boost post button worked kind of like a mugging that you requested.
Now, I only use Power Editor a little over half the time. The Self Serve Ads Tool has great UI and works for checking the status and day-to-day performance of ads. Also, to give credit where it’s due, the once money-wasting “Boost Post” button is able to launch instant ads targeting saved and custom audiences. That makes it a great tool for the day-to-day social media manager.
The improvements mean I’ve had to spent a lot less time downloading and uploading changes in power editor. But Power Editor is still my primary tool for building ads, because…Power! That’s why. In no particular order, these are the reasons I’m hooked on Power Editor:
Bulk Editing & Bulk importing
When I build a client’s ads for the first time, it’s not a couple of ad sets with a few ads in each. I almost always test 5-10 different creatives and 20+ different targeting groups. You can guess what image or copy may resonate with an audience, but testing is the only way to know.
Power Editor has the ability to quickly duplicate ads, ad sets and campaigns, making it much faster to build these multiple variations. The Self Serve Ads tool does have the ability to duplicate your ads with a function called “Create Similar Ad.” But, I can’t duplicate Ads Sets or Campaigns and Power Editor offers more than just a better duplicate function.
By selecting multiple ads, I can make bulk changes to both the creative and targeting with ease. That’s something that is missing from the standard, self-serve tool. If I have a lot of changes, rather than a uniform change, I can even export a CSV file of my ads, make changes from a spreadsheet and import them back into Power Editor.
Bulk changes make life more convenient, but bulk importing can turn you into a Facebook ads wizard. Power Editor will let you build every piece of your ads from a spreadsheet and bulk import. It works so well that I sometimes refer to myself as Gandalf, in a British accent, while I pore over my spreadsheet.
More Accurate Targeting Counts
I often run micro targeted ads and even use Facebook ads for data mining. So, when I build an ad targeting a small audience, I’d like to know how small–not just, “fewer than 1000 people,” as the Self Serve Ads Tool will tell me. The image below shows a screenshot of the audience size of a small target in both the Self Serve Ads Tool (left) and Power Editor (right). 260 is less than 1000. It’s also less than 3,127 and more than 26, but I’m not a fan of playing guessing games with data like I’m a playing the Clock Game on “The Price is Right.” When I want to know how many girls living near Austin embrace irony and like Twitter on Facebook, I want to know exactly. Now, rock on, young hipster. Rock on.
Set Ads to Run at specific Times of Day
From Power Editor, I can now schedule ads to run during specific times of day–just like with Google Display Network and most other only ad networks. It’s great, since sometimes I know that my targeted audience is just not on Facebook and I would prefer not to spend money. Somewhat annoyingly, this only works with Lifetime Budget not Daily Budget, but at least it’s something.
New Features Roll Out First
Many of the features that were exclusive to Power Editor are now available in the Self Serve tool. That is how Facebook tests them–by letting the die-hards play until the feathers are well tested and can be simplified for the rest of the world. For this reason, I’ve chosen to not name every feature that is currently exclusive to Power Editor.
Some useful things currently only in Power Editor, like multi-product ads and some of the bidding options, seem likely to make it into the Ads Manager quickly. Thinks like Ad Scheduling and Bulk Ads upload from a spreadsheet are more for pro users, and seem unlikely to ever come to the self-serve tool.
But, not long ago, CSV uploads for custom audiences were not available outside of Power Editor. Now, there is a very robust Audiences tab that even allows users to copy and paste a customer list. So I wouldn’t bet on anything.