Unlocking the power of Facebook Ads
Whether you are a start-up entering a new market or an established brand looking for growth, the opportunity behind paid social can be game-changing. The likes of Facebook and Instagram, offer a new playing field for those who have either maxed out or couldn’t compete on channels like PPC.
We are working with brands who are now investing more in paid social than other direct response channels, testament to the improved targeting and measurability of the platforms. The brands who are winning understand that successful execution relies on bringing together brand marketing with direct response to create a rewarding experience for the consumer.
In this article, I will reveal some of the tips and tricks to get started with paid social, focusing on one of the most lucrative platforms — Facebook.
Before you get started
Get your Facebook pixel installed and start building audiences based on your 1st party data. This will allow you to build custom audiences, retarget your website visitors and build lookalike audiences.
If you don’t have a seasoned pixel, another option is to import your CRM data. This is a secure process as the data is hashed locally on your browser and then sent to Facebook. It’s matched against their existing list of users’ hashed IDs and the matches are added to your Custom Audience.
Defining the right strategy
The first thing to remember is that much of your success with Facebook ads will ultimately be determined by factors beyond Facebook. It sounds obvious but if you don’t have a good product that people want to buy, coupled with a strong offer, you will struggle to drive conversions.
Remember — you are distracting people, luring them away from memes and cat videos, to purchase your products or services. So before you jump in with the direct response ads…
i.e. ”Here is another product…buy it”
…you should think about the customer journey. How will you engage your target audience and move potential customers from awareness through to purchase?
Read on for 6 top tips to maximise the performance of your campaigns…
1. Choose formats to fit your objectives
At the top of the ‘funnel’ (citation: funnels are dead) you will want to create awareness, introducing your brand to potential customers and thus, generating demand. Video is great for this as the more engaging your content, the cheaper it is to advertise. This is because Facebook wants people to enjoy using their platform so, top tip — invest in quality, engaging content.
Objectives: Entertain, educate and introduce your brand.
KPIs: Engagement, video views, cost per view & reach.
Once you have an engaged audience, you will then want to introduce your product or service in more detail. Think of it as a second date. Canvas ads are perfect for this, allowing you to create an immersive experience within the platform itself. This could include a variety of rich media showing the key features and benefits of your product (video and lifestyle shots work well here). If building a Canvas is proving difficult, Carousel ads or just a single image ad can also work well.
Objectives: Introduce products and emphasise USPs.
KPI’s: Content views & add to carts.
You’ve built an engaged audience and got them to your site, now it’s time to collect. Dynamic retargeting allows you to show users the specific product(s) they have been viewing — either in a Carousel or a single image ad. This is where you will see the bulk of your conversions as you are advertising to people who have already shown an active interest in your offering.
In order to show dynamic adverts, you will need to upload your product catalague to Facebook. Once uploaded, you will also be able to tag specific products in Facebook posts which is a great way to add a direct response element to your organic posts.
Objectives: Clarify value, nudge to purchase & remove barriers.
KPIs: Add to cart & purchases.
2. Refine your audiences
You will generally see the quickest wins via retargeting to your existing audience. However the opportunity to scale relies on identifying, and prospecting, new customers. Facebook’s free Audience Insight tool is great at helping you identify and build relevant audiences. The trick is to get as specific as possible, ensuring you reach a more targeted user, whilst avoiding going head-to-head with the competition.
For example, if you want to market a new range of clothing to adventure sports enthusiasts. The temptation would be to target a general interest of ‘Adventure Travel’ however if you drill down, you may find that people interested in brands like ‘GoPro’ or ‘Patagonia’ may form a more targeted and defined audience. Facebook will then show you common interests and demographical information which you can use to build targeted audiences.
Generally speaking an audience size of 400k–1.5m is a good number to aim for, allowing you to scale without being too broad. Top tip — test audiences with small amounts of budgets, initially on page post engagements, and see how they engage. More on this in my next article…
3. Start a conversation
Use engaging content and messaging to start a conversation. This will increase your organic reach, helping you to reach a wider audience for a lower price, whilst improving the perception of your brand. People actually ‘liking’ adverts..? Yes, that should be happening! In return, your ad relevance will be higher and the cost of advertising, cheaper.
4. Keep your creative fresh
Have you ever been followed around by the same ad for weeks on end? Even if the ad is particularly interesting, this will get on anyone’s nerves and, from an advertiser’s perspective, is a waste of money. Monitor the frequency of your ads and rotate your creative often, this will help keep your relevance score high and your serving costs low. The best campaigns take users on a journey, with different messaging depending on what they’ve already been exposed to or how they’ve interacted with the brand.
5. Create lookalike audiences
Lookalike audiences are the holy grail when it comes to scaling. You are essentially asking Facebook to find people who have similar demographic information, or interests, to your existing audience.
You can create lookalike audiences based on people who performed certain actions on your website such as added to checkout or purchased. You can then take this a step further by targeting people who have converted off the back of your Facebook ads, creating hyper targeted audiences. Remember your audience must contain at least 100 people for Facebook to create a lookalike audience.
6. Test & refine
For continued growth you will need to regularly analyse your data to work out what is working well. With so many variants at play including products, platforms, creative and audiences, this can be an overwhelming process.
We build automated reports using a tool called Supermetrics, which means more time can be spent analysing data instead of navigating through Business Manager. We also use machine learning tools like Smartly to manage budgets across campaigns, maximising ROAS.
Facebook advertising allows you to generate demand by targeting relevant audience groups. If you have a demonstrable product with a defined audience, it can be particularly powerful. It’s important to think about the customer journey and how you will target customers at different stages.
Once you start to see some initial success, the next challenge will be how to scale, whilst retaining your desired ROI. This will be discussed in my next article.