When people first dip their toes in the Facebook Ads water, we find it tends to go one of two ways.
For some, Facebook Ads Manager leads them neatly through the process and it all seems pretty intuitive, so when you click ‘Publish Campaign’ you’re full of confidence that the sales will start rolling in, any minute now.
For others, it’s a process fraught with fret and worry. You don’t know where to start, who to target, what to say, and which of the myriad of options will work best for your business.
No matter the start, it seems for both groups, your first experience with Facebook ads mostly ends up the same - not a huge success.
This is due to there being some common pitfalls that aren’t very intuitive, making it tricky for the inexperienced to spot and sidestep them. So today, we’re going to detail the top 5 things to focus on when starting out with Facebook Ads.
1. Make yourself irresistible
Quite simply, if you don’t put something tempting on the table, your Facebook ads will not succeed. You need to get people to not only stop scrolling, but to absorb what you have to offer and actually ACT on it.
If you’re selling a product or service, discounts work wonders at grabbing people’s attention. If you’re keen to expand your email list, then competitions with unmissable prizes are a great way to get people to hand over their details.
You don’t always need to offer a massive discount. If you can chime in to your target clients passions and motivations, you don’t need a discount at all. Perhaps your business is mindful of sustainability issues, so buying from you helps the environment? Perhaps your business supports local people, charities or other businesses, so buying from you boosts the local economy?
If what you are selling doesn’t stand out, you’ll end up paying for ‘impressions’ - which is the micro-second it takes someone to scroll on by your ad. And that’s no use to anyone.
2. Working out what’s valuable
With Facebook ads, just like Facebook marketing in general, it’s all too easy to get swayed by ‘vanity metrics.’ Things like clicks and social engagement, while important, can in some instances have very little connection to actions that actually make a difference to your bottom line.
More valuable actions to aim for and track are purchases (conversions), email sign ups (lead generation), messages and landing page views (where people actually stay and read your website page, rather than clicking on it and clicking away, as can happen with the ‘clicks’ metric.)
3. Who to put in the crosshairs
Although Facebook’s audience targeting options are pretty much unrivalled in the social media sphere, there are some gaps that can send your ads way off mark.
You can get lucky with picking your location and interests, but your best bet and most cost effective route will be to target people who already know about your business.
To do this, you can create ‘Custom Audiences.’ These are people who have already shown an interest in your business or products, such as your customer contacts, website traffic, Facebook or Instagram connections.
To target people who have visited your website, you will need to have Facebook’s code (Pixel) installed on your site.
If your pixel has been running for a while and you get a lot of visitors to your website, you can really zoom in on specific behaviour. For instance, you can target (or exclude) those who have viewed a specific page or completed an action such as signing up to your newsletter or making a purchase.
NB. If you don’t receive a huge amount of website traffic, setting these parameters would be overly limiting and leave you with an audience that isn’t large enough for Facebook to work with.
Other Custom Audiences we create regularly for our clients target people who have engaged with the business Facebook page or Instagram account. These audiences often perform the best out of all the options, which is likely because Facebook has the most information logged about these people.
Once you have created your custom audiences, you can expand on these to find more people with similar characteristics by creating ‘Lookalike Audiences.’ This is where the data Goliath that is Facebook really comes into its own. Facebook will look at the traits of your custom audiences and find people with the same ones. Then, while your ad is running,it will figure out exactly which of these traitsleads to the best results for your business, and focus in on that segment of your audience.
We suggest keeping the range fairly broad, selecting as large a geographical area as possible and 2% or 3% expansion. This is because it is easier to refine the audience down when you create your ads than to expand it out once the lookalike audiences are set up.
4. Putting your best foot forward
With all this work on the foundations of your campaign, you don’t want to let yourself down with poor quality imagery or unclear ad copy. If you haven’t already, it’s worth investing in high quality business photography.
Because Video performs best on Facebook, they have made it really simple to create a slideshow or a video ad from within the Facebook Ads Manager using your images. Or, if you have high quality videos of your business that aren’t overly long, use these.
When crafting your copy, use the preview section on the right of the screen to check all the ad placements. Ensure the important, tempting and action inducing information is all visible before the ‘read more’ link.
5. Assuming is the root of all disappointments
Facebook doesn’t underestimate the importance of testing, and neither should you.
Facebook Ads Manager makes it really straightforward to perform A/B split tests of everything you need to, and the options that really make a difference are your audience and creative.
You can test up to 5 variations, but as you’ll need at least £30 ad budget for each to get any meaningful result, you’ll probably want to restrict the testing to 2 or 3 options.
Audience testing is particularly useful for working out which interests and demographics selections convert best. Testing the creative allows you to experiment with different imagery and ad copy. You’ll often find yourself surprised to discover which variations convert the best.
Once you have your winning combinations, you can designate more ad spend to these successful campaigns while you experiment with new ones.
6. Bonus tip
Facebook ads can be fickle. Results can skyrocket as the Facebook algorithm learns who’s best to target and focuses its full attention on them. On the other hand, ads that were always strong performers can suddenly start tanking and need to be retired. Make sure to regularly check in on your ad analytics and act accordingly.
With so many businesses hamstrung by the COVID pandemic, competition and ad costs are lower than usual, so now is a great time to take your social media marketing to the next level.
If you would like to hear about how we help businesses stand out with Facebook ads, do get in touch today.
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