Best Practices for Structuring DPA Campaigns

Jose Kantola Mar 29 2016 9 AM | 4 min read


Does it really matter how I structure my Facebook campaigns? Yes. And it matters a lot when you want to increase your marketing volumes without skyrocketing costs.

There is no one single structure that works best for everyone, but from our experience working with advertisers across many verticals, markets and different kinds of products we collected a set of best practices to share with you.

Benefits of well structured campaigns include:

  • Campaigns are easier to manage and analyze.
  • Audience performance history is collected to one adset, making optimization and analysis more reliable.
  • Optimization works better. A fixed structure and non-overlapping audiences make optimisation straightforward and predictable, also at a large scale.
  • Increasing marketing spend efficiently is simple because you can easily see which audiences work best and allocate more budget to them first.

Find the Best Audiences for Your Marketing Funnel

What are the steps in your customer lifecycle that you want to advertise to? You might be focusing on only one step such as prospecting for new customers to signup or install your mobile app. Alternatively, you might target the whole lifecycle starting from prospecting new customers, continuing with retargeting to attract them back to your website and upselling more expensive items. Then, finally, re-engaging your existing customers through cross-selling, promotions and generic intent-arousing advertising.

Once you have a clear idea of your funnel, look for the best target audiences for each step of the funnel. Starting from Lookalike audiences and interest and behaviour keywords for prospecting, continue towards Website Custom Audiences, DPA product audiences and custom audiences from your CRM data.

Selecting between different audiences is always a tradeoff between accuracy and reach. The more accurate i.e. targeted your audience is, the fewer people you're going to reach. The less accurate your audience is, the more people you're going to reach.


Remember to exclude the more specific audiences from the broader ones, so you don’t target the same group of people multiple times. Duplicate targeting may lead to unstable delivery and makes it more difficult for you to control performance.

Campaign Structure Basics

Facebook's current campaign structure has three levels: Campaign, Ad Set and Ad. For easily manageable campaign setup we’ve learned to recommend a specific purpose for each of the three levels:

  • Each campaign should have a unique objective. For example Prospect new customers, retarget customers who left website without converting or re-engage existing customers. Some advertisers also like to have separate campaigns for Android and iOS users, or for different placements.
  • Each ad set should represent a unique targeting segment. Prospecting campaigns should contain several ad sets for different lookalike audiences and keyword groups, and retargeting campaigns should have audiences split by retention time windows, product categories or estimated customer value.
  • Ad level is for engaging each audience with the most suitable and attractive creatives. A good best practice is to have 2-4 active creatives in each ad set at all times, so that you and Facebook can compare the performance and pick the best ones for each audience.

A Campaign Targeting Every Stage in the Customer Life Cycle

Check out this example of how your campaign structure could look like when advertising includes all of the prospecting, retargeting and re-engagement stages of the customer lifecycle.


In this example each objective (prospecting, retargeting, re-engagement) has its own campaign, and the latter two are also split into dynamic DPA campaigns and static custom audience campaigns, as they cannot be mixed at the moment. Custom audience campaigns are used for target segments for which you don’t yet have product level data (required by DPA) or for which you have plenty of your own data such as average basket size, repeat purchase history and estimates of their lifetime value.

We already mentioned the importance of exclusions to avoid overlapping audiences. In the image above, you would work these out by starting from the bottom, i.e. Inactive existing customers should be excluded from all other ad sets, also in other campaigns.Website Custom Audience (WCA) of catalog page visits should be excluded from all audiences above it, but not from the more specific audiences below it. A best practice for excluding DPA audiences is to replicate them with a similar WCA audience and use that for the exclusions in other ad sets and campaigns.

How does your current campaign structure compare to these best practices? We’re interested to hear about your experiences with this or different kinds of campaign structures.

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Jose Kantola

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