If you’re looking to use digital marketing to build awareness, generate leads and drive sales, running Facebook advertising is a no-brainer.
With over a billion people logging in every day, Facebook is hands down the leading social network to reach your target audience. In addition, Facebook’s impressive advertising platform continues to get better, making it easier for marketers to create engaging and effective ads.
If you’re thinking of running or improving your approach to Facebook ads, here’s what you need to know.
- What are the top benefits of running Facebook ads?
- Do you need to do Facebook advertising if you’re already doing Google Adwords?
- What should be your strategy when running Facebook ads?
- What best practices and hacks are experts recommending?
This infographic nicely summarizes the top benefits of running Facebook ads.
Do you need to do Facebook advertising if you’re already doing Google Adwords?
The short answer is yes.
Each advertising platform provides opportunities to reach your target audience in different contexts. On Facebook, people come across content. They’re not necessarily looking to “convert,” but they could be persuaded to click an ad if the offer is relevant to them.
On Google, there’s more intent. They’re actively searching because they’re trying to solve a problem, buy something or find an answer.
The folks at WordStream offers this insightful comparison of Google AdWords and Facebook ads:
Although advertising on Facebook can be thought of as similar to AdWords, in that advertisers using both platforms are essentially promoting their business via the Internet, this is where the similarities end. Unlike paid search, which helps businesses find new customers via keywords, paid social helps users find businesses based on the things they’re interested in and the ways in which they behave online.
When it comes to the primary difference between Google AdWords and Facebook Ads, you can think of it this way: AdWords helps you find new customers, while Facebook helps new customers find you.
Google AdWords versus Facebook Advertising
Here’s a summary of the main differences between the two platforms.
|Google AdWords||Facebook advertising|
A strategy for getting more leads or customers through Facebook advertising
Your approach to Facebook advertising should follow the marketing funnel. Start by creating AWARENESS of your brand. You can do that by increasing your organic reach and running Facebook ads directing people to your blog or to an ungated piece of content.
Next, create INTEREST by advertising relevant, top-of-the-funnel content to people who have already visited your site. This content should be high-level and should have minimal mention of your product. For B2B companies, this could be a gated high-level, thought-leadership piece.
Increase CONSIDERATION of your brand by remarketing content that’s more closely tied to your product’s value proposition. For example, you could offer a gated e-book or webinar that speaks to someone evaluating your solution against your competitors. For B2C companies, this could be about the benefits of your product’s category.
Finally, lead prospects to DESIRE by remarketing content that’s specifically about your product. Pricing info, a product demo or a free trial are good examples.
To implement this Facebook ad strategy, follow this step-by-step process:
1. Build a compelling, highly engaged Facebook page.
You can get more out of Facebook ads by mastering the basics of Facebook pages. While Facebook is mostly a pay-to-play ecosystem now, many people will come across your page when you advertise. Give them a good first impression by presenting a highly likable page.
Post a good mix of videos, images and links. Share useful, entertaining or thought-provoking content. Encourage your employees, customers and friends to like your page.
2. Install the Facebook pixel.
Before you run your first Facebook ad, you first need to install the Facebook pixel.
This pixel allows you to track conversions, measure your results and, perhaps more importantly, retarget to people who have visited your site.
The pixel is pretty easy to install, but I recommend working with your web developer to make sure that it’s done properly.
You need to have the Facebook pixel installed in order to run conversion ads—the type of ads that are optimized for conversion.
3. Run brand awareness ads.
Facebook’s remarketing tools are powerful—but to be able to use these, you need an audience big enough that you could retarget to. If your audience is too small, you’ll get an error message.
Of course, you can wait until your website gets enough pageviews before running retargeting ads. But if you want to boost your audience size right away, you can run brand awareness ads.
For instance, you could run website click ads directing people to a popular blog post. Or you can advertise a popular infographic. The key is to choose an ungated piece of content that will introduce people to your company. You can reach people who are familiar with your customers or website visitors using Lookalike Audiences.
When creating your ads, target them based on interests and demographics. Consider what a potential customer or lead might be interested in–and reflect those in your targeting decisions.
Pro tip: Not sure if you have an audience big enough yet for retargeting? Check out the Audiences section of your Facebook for Business page. You’ll see the exact size of your audience and whether they are ready to go.
4. Create direct response ads.
Once your audience is big enough, you’re finally ready to create direct response ads. On Facebook, this is called “conversion” ads. With this format, you’re selling people your widget, sending them to a landing page or asking for their information using the site’s lead ads.
Top expert tips for Facebook advertising optimization
On a tactical level, here are a few things to consider to get more out of Facebook ads.
1. Use Facebook ads to promote content that are doing well naturally.
Get more out of Facebook ads by amplifying content that you know people will love.
This tip is from Larry Kim, founder of WordStream:
Only promote your very best content. Not the “good” stuff, not even the “great” stuff – the very best. By “best,” I mean the stuff that is performing the best, so not just what you want to perform well, but the content that is already getting a lot of attention and engagement from your audience.
Data can help you find content that’s resonating with your audience. Use Facebook Insights, Google Analytics or Twitter Analytics to look for social media updates that are doing extraordinarily well.
2. Select the ad format that matches your marketing goal.
When you create an ad on Facebook, there are 13 objectives to choose from:
- Clicks to Website
- Website Conversions
- Page Post Engagement
- Page Likes
- App Installs
- App Engagement
- Offer Claims
- Local Awareness
- Event Responses
- Product Catalog Promotion
- Brand Awareness
- Lead Generation
- Video Views
These objectives are self-explanatory, but the key is to choose the one that matches your business goal. For instance, if you want people to download an e-book from your site, you should choose the ‘website conversion’ objective, not the ‘clicks to website’ objective.
3. Optimize your images for Facebook ads.
Generally, ad creatives that have a single focal point work best on Facebook. Aim to use photos that reveal the personality of your brand. Entertain, educate or amuse people.
Avoid using text in your images. Facebook actually warns you when you’re creating your ad that having too much text in your pictures could result to lower reach.
4. Keep your relevance score up.
The best way to keep your Facebook ad costs down is to increase your relevance score.
So what is your Facebook ad’s relevance score and how is it derived? Facebook offers this explanation:
Relevance score is calculated based on the positive and negative feedback we expect an ad to receive from its target audience. The more positive interactions we expect an ad to receive, the higher the ad’s relevance score will be. (Positive indicators vary depending on the ad’s objective, but may include video views, conversions, etc.) The more times we expect people to hide or report an ad, the lower its score will be.
The best way to keep a high relevance score is, not surprisingly, to be relevant. AdEspresso offered the following tips on how you could do so:
- Test your images and select the ones that perform better
- Target as narrowly as possible or use custom audiences
- Choose CTAs that are most relevant to your ad objectives
- Experiment with videos
5. Try “silent” videos.
Videos auto-play on Facebook, and many people tend not to turn on the audio when they’re scrolling through their newsfeed. In fact, an astounding 85% of Facebook videos are watched without sound, according to Digiday.
To mitigate this problem, some companies have been producing videos with closed captions. Others, like this one from Hotel.com, were specifically created for muted videos.
6. Use call-to-action buttons.
Using Facebook’s CTA buttons is a no-brainer. Adding a button helps your ad stand out, and it explicitly asks your target audience to do the action you’d like them to do.
You can add a CTA button to Facebook ads that have Website Clicks, Website Conversion, App Installs, App Engagement or Local Awareness objective.
7. Try Instagram ads.
Yes, this blog post is about Facebook ads, but given that Instagram ads can be launched from Facebook Business’ ad platform, there’s no reason not to try it.
Facebook says creative that works for Facebook generally works for Instagram as well, so you don’t necessarily have to create separate campaigns for Instagram. That said, I generally prefer to create separate ad sets for Facebook and Instagram ads. Doing so allows me to use unique tracking codes for each one, making it clearer on Google Analytics where the traffic and conversions are coming from.
8. Retarget to a list.
Use Facebook Custom Audiences to target people from your email database.
Facebook advertising expert Jon Loomer explains it this way:
“Too many businesses, when they’re just getting started on Facebook, start trying to find audiences based on interest. That’s not a bad thing to do, but it completely neglects the most important group of all: the people who already know your business and your services.
That’s why a feature like Custom Audiences is so important, because it lets you use your existing databases, like email lists, to find your existing customers on Facebook. These are the people who have already bought from you, so they would be the people who most likely want to hear from you.
For B2B companies, Custom Audience could be a good tactic to supplement email nurture programs—you can double the chances of your content being seen by retargeting people in you email database with a Facebook ad campaign.
Test, test, test
Facebook advertising continues to evolve, so it’s crucial to test your assumptions. Today’s best practices could be outdated by tomorrow if Facebook users get tired of certain tactics.
Do you have questions about Facebook advertising that I haven’t addressed here? Leave a comment and I’ll do my best to answer them!
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