Facebook advertising has been proven to work extremely well and produce steady and consistent results, particularly for different sets of advertisers. However, according to research from MerchantCircle, not everyone has enjoyed success with Facebook ads. Among the one-third of small businesses who say they wouldn’t run another campaign, nearly 70% say that it wasn’t effective in acquiring new customers.
Now, it would be a mistake to conclude that Facebook ads do not work. It simply means that selling on Facebook ads needs a completely different strategy. Facebook have also catalogued a ton of case studies and success stories of real businesses that have generated real success with Facebook ads. You can learn effective strategies from these case studies and apply them to your own campaigns. You can access these at any time by going to www.facebook.com/business/success.
The great thing about these case studies is that you can break them down by business size, the goal you want to achieve, the industry you’re in, the product you want to sell and the region you’re interested in.
Here are the main factors you need to focus on in order to create successful Facebook ad campaigns that will grow your business.
Targeting basically means getting your ads in front of the right audience. This is the real key to success because there is such a massive audience on Facebook. In fact, recent data from Statista shows that Facebook has 1.86 billion monthly users. Essentially, you need to be laser focused in terms of who you put your ads in front of because it is so easy to lose a lot of money without much to show for your efforts. The onus is really on you to get your ads in front of the right people if you want to get the best results for your ad campaign.
There are 3 key ways to target your ads on Facebook. These include:
This allows you to put your ads in front of a core audience by targeting users by location, demographics, interests, behaviour and Facebook connections. Facebook ads present an excellent opportunity to reach exactly the people you want with your advertising.
Most users generally fill in a lot of information about themselves, so an advertiser can be very specific when deciding who to target their Facebook ads to. Interest targeting is a lot more specific than just pages that people have liked. Facebook has a lot of data points on its users, and it looks at all of the information such as what people have added to their timeline, keywords they have used in their status updates, the apps they have installed and ads they have previously clicked on. Facebook groups users into categories based on their interests, and you can use these categories to target people in your advertising.
Custom audiences allow you to target people with whom you already have some sort of relationship or connection. It is much easier to get a conversion out of people that are familiar with your business, rather than targeting people who have are cold and don’t know anything about you or what your business is about.
With custom audiences, you will be remarketing to people who have already engaged with you in some way. For instance, people who have visited your site, subscribed to your newsletter, engaged with your Facebook page, downloaded your app and engaged with it or viewed a video that you have put out on Facebook.
To illustrate the power of custom audiences, say you have an ecommerce site on which you sell the latest range of Beyonce tank top dresses. By embedding the Facebook pixel on pages of your online catalogue, you can target the collection to Beyonce female fans in a particular country with interests in fashion and shopping. You can then remarket to those fans who have viewed and put the products in their shopping cart without checking out. You can also leverage Facebook dynamic product ads to show Facebook carousel ads containing the specific products that appealed to those users and were added to their cart. In addition, you can engage those users with a time-sensitive coupon that will encourage those users to complete their purchase right away.
Equally, if you are looking to generate qualified leads for your cosmetic surgery clinic, you can use custom audiences very effectively. For example, you could use a potent combination of video and lead ads by using customer testimonials and video diaries to build brand awareness and target people based on demographic and location. You can then use lead ads to remarket to a custom audience of people who have been reached by the video and who actually watched the video for at least 5-10 seconds.
You can also use custom audiences to drive engagement with your app. For example, if you are looking to generate interest in your mobile app, you could start the campaign by researching your audience using the Facebook Audience Insights tool. This will allow you to identify your ideal target customers based on the data points that Facebook has collected on its users.
You can then use the data you have collected through this tool to setup a campaign designed to reach users most likely to download and use the app. Once you are happy with the number of people that have installed your app, you can then drive more engagement with the app by creating a custom audience of people, and encourage them to take specific actions.
Lookalike audiences allow you to scale your marketing efforts extremely efficiently. A lookalike audience allows you to reach people who have a similar profile to your current customers. Basically, you want people who look like your best customers, who are the same age, and live in the same location as your best customers. It is a way to extend the reach of our campaign to reach a very large audience of targeted users. This will give your campaign the highest likelihood of working from the get-go.
What Facebook actually does is to use a source audience such as a custom audience of website visitors to find similar people on Facebook. This makes it possible to turn a source audience of 10,000 Beyonce fans as described above into a highly targeted audience of over 100,000 users.
Facebook Audience Insights
Facebook Audience Insights helps you get highly specific data about the people that will see your ad so that you can laser-focus your reach before you actually spend any money on the campaign. This ensures that you’re giving your campaign the best possible chance of succeeding. Facebook does this by providing access to all of the data that they have on everyone.
Essentially, Facebook purchases data from 3rd party data companies on its users. So when you sign up for a Facebook account, Facebook doesn’t just collect data on what you do on the platform, they cross reference their users against data aggregators to refine the data they have on their users. This is the power behind this tool.
Specifically, the Audience Insights tool allows you to break down audiences to learn a whole lot about them, including:
- Age and Gender
- Relationship Status
- Education Level
- Job Title
- Pages Liked
- Location and Language
- Activity on Facebook
- Devices Used to Access Facebook
- Household Income
- Home Ownership
- Household Size
- Home Market Value
- Spending Methods
- Purchase Behavior
- Type of Car They Drive
The Facebook Insights tool is a really powerful way to build an audience from scratch when you don’t have a mailing list, website traffic or have never built an audience.
With the insights from the tool, you’ll be able to refine your campaign to a really target audience that you’re going to show your ads to. You’ll be able to narrow down your target audience from an audience of millions of people that are:
- Most similar to your ideal target customer.
- Are the same age range as your ideal target customer.
- Live in the same location as your ideal target customer.
- Already like and buy products from your biggest competitors
Setting Up Your Campaign
You can take a look at the different types of Facebook ads by going to the Facebook ads guide which will show you what the different types of Facebook ads look like in real life.
Your Ad Creative
Your ad creative is one of the biggest factors in the success or failure of your ad campaign. This is what people will see in their news feed. There are 4 elements to a successful ad:
- It needs to be visual. There will be a lot of competition for eyeballs in the news feed, so your ad needs to stand out and capture attention. Bright colours and interesting faces will really stand out.
- It should be relevant to what the image you’re using in the ad is about.
- The ad should include an enticing offer, something that will catch the attention of the viewer of the ad.
- It should also include a strong call-to-action that will encourage the user to learn more about the offer in the ad.
A/B split tests one version of your ad against another version. If you want to maximize your budget, you need to find out what is most effective in terms of imagery, ad copy, targeting, etc. A/B testing is a relatively simple type of test that you can run with less traffic and fewer resources. You’re trying to determine which of your ads perform the best.
For example, you can have 2 ads with everything identical except for the headlines to see which headline is more effective. Equally, you can do the same thing with images. If you’re selling a product, you can test by using a picture of the product in one ad and in another ad, you can use a picture of a person using the product to see which ad generates a better click through rate or conversion.
Another important element you should be testing is the landing page you sending people to. You need to see which of your landing pages actually leads to conversions, and which of your pages is performing poorly. You can also test the placement of the ad in terms of whether Instagram generates better results than Facebook desktop or Facebook mobile. You can also test targeting by country, gender or interests to see which ads work best with specific audiences.
Testing is an essential component when optimizing your Facebook campaign. If you have great ideas for ad copy, there’s no way to know which ad copy will generate a higher clickthrough rate or conversion rate without running a test. No two ads will perform the same. The most important element to test in an ad are the images and the headline. You need to test your headlines to see if it is generating clicks, and you need to test your images to see which ones are attracting attention.
Tracking & Reporting
You need to track the success of your ad campaign and use reporting as a feedback loop to improve your next campaigns. Start by defining your business goals, setting KPI’s for the ads and assessing the results. Metrics like CTR, CPC and CPM are important to understand but your main focus should be on conversions and how much it is costing to get the desired actions such as the cost of a like or click through to your site. Note that if you want to track conversions, you will need to enable conversion tracking by installing the Facebook Pixel on your site. You can also track conversions through Google analytics