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Best ad set configurations (based on data from 200+ leading DTC brands)

We analyzed thousands of ad set configurations from  200+ leading DTC brands to answer one question: What do the top 1% of performers have in common? 

Advertisers constantly have to reinvent the wheel to find out best practices on their own. So, we figured we’d make life easier for everyone and let you know what’s working best. 

(Spoiler Alert: You might want to try Get Offer as your CTA, among other things)

Methodology

To determine what the best are doing, we compared the configuration of the top 1% best performing ad sets to the middle 50% performing ad sets (based on the most efficient Cost per Purchases). 

The median monthly ad spend for companies included in the analysis is $90K USD. And we only included ad sets with at least $5K monthly spend. 

Targeting Takeaways - How should you be targeting?

Targeting Specific Interests

Takeaway: Try not setting interests at all. And if you do, choose more rather than less

What the best are doing:

  • Only 20% of best performers set specific interests
  • When interests are set, 12 on avg. are chosen

What the middle 50% are doing: 

  • 35% of middle performers set interests
  • When interests are set, 8 on avg are chosen

Targeting Specific Age Ranges

Takeaway: Try increasing your max age to 65 if that’s not already set

What the best are doing:

  • 90% of best performers set max age of 65
  • 60% set min age of 18
  • 50% set both min age 18 and max age 65

What the middle 50% are doing:

  • 75% of middle performers set max age of 65
  • 60% set min age of 18
  • 50% set both min age 18 and max age 65

Targeting Specific Placement(s)

Takeaway: Try setting a targeting position. Try the feed and also where you’re currently seeing the best results. 

What the best are doing:

  • 30% of best performers set a targeting position
  • Most placement targeting is to the Feed on Facebook

What the middle 50% are doing:

  • 15% of middle performers set a targeting position

Creative Takeaways - How to setup a killer creative?

CTA Text

Takeaway: Try adding Learn More and Get Offer into your CTA mix

What the best are doing 

  • 65% of the best performers use Shop Now 
  • 25% use Get Offer
  • 25% use Learn More

What the middle 50% are doing:

  • 60% of the middle performers use Shop Now 
  • 4% use Get Offer
  • 50% use Learn More

(note that some ad sets include multiple CTAs, which is why it adds > 100%)

Using Video vs. Photo vs. Text-only

Takeaway: In addition to both photo and video, consider giving text-only ads a shot. 

What the best are doing:

  • 50% of best performers included video
  • 30% had only photos
  • 15% had text only

What the middle 50% are doing:

  • 55% of middle performers included video
  • 40% had only photos
  • 5% had no photos nor videos

Number of Ad Bodies per Ad Set

Takeaway: If you use a lot of ad bodies per ad set, try and reduce them

What the best are doing:

  • The best had an average of 4 and median of 1 bodies

What the middle 50% are doing

  • The middle had an average of 5 and median of 3 bodies

Number of Creatives per Ad Set

Takeaway: If you use a lot of creatives per ad set, try and reduce them

What the best are doing:

  • The best had an average of 7 and median of 4 creatives

What the middle 50% are doing:

  • The middle had an average of 10 and median of 5 creatives

Ad Format Type

Takeaway: Give Carousel a shot

What the best are doing:

  • 90% of the best performers use automatic formatting
  • 10% use carousel

What the middle 50% are doing

  • 98% use automatic formatting
  • 2% use carousel

Conclusion

There are a lot of pieces in the puzzle to achieve outstanding ads results. The best way is to test strategies that have worked for others, and to see what works for you. By getting signals from what the best advertisers are doing, you can take some easy and actionable steps to testing new ideas today. 

Tweets

Chase Dimond | Email Marketing Nerd 📧
@ecomchasedimond

Bottom line: I’m recommending Varos to you all because it’s FREE (for now) and it’s already added a ton of value for myself and my clients.Check it out 👇

Social Savannah
@social_savannah

I would definitely recommend checking out Varos. With Varos you can easily see how your peers are performing, for free. You get insights into not only TikTok Ads benchmarks, but also similar data for Facebook Ads, Google Ads, and more. #VarosAmbassador

jason wong
@eggrolI

Varos allows thousands merchants to upload anonymize marketing data across meta and google and aggregating it to show what the average is across different categories and ad spend

Cody Plofker
@codyplof

With varos.com, I can see exactly how our performance across channels stacks up against our competitors in our space.

Barry Hott ☄️
@binghott

Compare your ad performance to benchmarks of companies just like yours, anonymously.
I would've killed for this tool years ago and now it's here and oh it's free. Amazing.

Ron Shah
@obviceo

I've been seeing some content about @Varos_com so we decided to check it out.

One underrated feature of theirs is the Shopify Benchmarking, which is FREE btw.

Literally impossible to access this data anywhere else. Check out what we're seeing at @my_obvi 👇

William Harris
@wmharris101

I'm loving what @Varos_com is doing with providing much more relevant benchmarks for #ecommerce... especially since it shows that we are absolutely DOMINATING @Elumynt on #facebookads!

This is in the Baby and Children vertical.#fbads #ppcchat #retail #dtc

Chase Dimond | Email Marketing Nerd 📧
@ecomchasedimond

Bottom line: I’m recommending Varos to you all because it’s FREE (for now) and it’s already added a ton of value for myself and my clients.Check it out 👇

Social Savannah
@social_savannah

I would definitely recommend checking out Varos. With Varos you can easily see how your peers are performing, for free. You get insights into not only TikTok Ads benchmarks, but also similar data for Facebook Ads, Google Ads, and more. #VarosAmbassador

jason wong
@eggrolI

Varos allows thousands merchants to upload anonymize marketing data across meta and google and aggregating it to show what the average is across different categories and ad spend

Cody Plofker
@codyplof

With varos.com, I can see exactly how our performance across channels stacks up against our competitors in our space.

Barry Hott ☄️
@binghott

Compare your ad performance to benchmarks of companies just like yours, anonymously.
I would've killed for this tool years ago and now it's here and oh it's free. Amazing.

Ron Shah
@obviceo

I've been seeing some content about @Varos_com so we decided to check it out.

One underrated feature of theirs is the Shopify Benchmarking, which is FREE btw.

Literally impossible to access this data anywhere else. Check out what we're seeing at @my_obvi 👇

William Harris
@wmharris101

I'm loving what @Varos_com is doing with providing much more relevant benchmarks for #ecommerce... especially since it shows that we are absolutely DOMINATING @Elumynt on #facebookads!

This is in the Baby and Children vertical.#fbads #ppcchat #retail #dtc