Is your Facebook marketing strategy as unbeatable as you think?
While your ads featuring puppies, kittens, or chocolate fudge cakes are undoubtedly awesome, you need more than that to make your Facebook advertising perform well.
With more than 2.80 billion monthly active users, Facebook is still the leading social media network. And the competition among marketers on it is so close you can taste it.
So how can your brand stand out and reach the right audience with the help of ads? You can start by understanding how Facebook Marketing and Good Facebook Marketing are simply two different things.
We sat down with social media marketing consultant and Facebook expert David Lorentzen to break down the difference and dismiss some other social advertising misconceptions. Then, we asked what the challenges advertisers face these days—and how brands can solve them.
The result was this guide to the basics of building a Facebook advertising strategy. From choosing the campaign objectives to reviewing data and creating pointers, these tips can skyrocket your Facebook advertising efforts.
Why Facebook advertising pays off.
Should you spend resources making tons of content to settle for (poor) organic reach?
You don’t want to waste time producing content that doesn’t pay off. And sometimes even the most polished content can fizzle without the right strategy.
Organic social media is not dead but relying on it alone would most likely result in your meticulously crafted content never seeing the light of day. To ensure all your production efforts aren’t wasted, you need to put some ad spend behind it.
Before diving into advertising campaigns, metrics and placements, let’s crunch some numbers for more context.
According to the 2021 Social Media Marketing Industry Report by Social Media Examiner, Facebook ads are used by 75% of marketers, and 61% of those find the social network as the most powerful one for ads.
A variety of ad formats and targeting options, a rich placement offering, not to mention having Instagram and WhatsApp in the mix — Facebook is a marketing platform that’s tough to beat. And although the ad space has become a little saturated, Facebook ads are still doing the magic for brands on social.
Plus, Facebook ads are cheaper than other marketing platforms’ advertising opportunities. And they are more likely to reach both local or global audiences since Facebook supports more than 100 languages and engages 59% of social media users.
So, Facebook advertising is an essential and powerful tool. But how can you make it work for your brand?
Here are some tips and tricks to guide you to your success with Facebook advertising.
1. Know your business objectives.
Stick to the core value of your business when you start with social advertising. Then, define your Facebook ad campaign objectives in line with the business ones.
Your ad campaign objectives are essential to help Facebook understand what you are trying to achieve with your budget.
When mapping your strategy, also consider the marketing funnel. Identify your customers’ journey and keep focused on what you need to achieve.
Only when this job is done will you define how to measure success, i.e., you can finally explain the metrics.
The best part? It will be easier to quantify your social media ROI because your paid efforts will be directly tied to your business goals.
Pro tip: If you aren’t sure how Facebook campaign objectives work, opt for A/B testing. You can run two identical campaigns simultaneously with different campaign objectives and check which one is performing better.
2. Measuring Facebook data.
So, your campaigns are live. Now what?
As your money is on the line, this is the moment you need to stop guessing and start measuring your basic Facebook ads data. Make sure you have been running a campaign for a consistent period (at least two weeks), and take the time to look at what has been performing and what hasn’t.
Keep these tips in mind when looking at Facebook advertising data:
- You don’t need to look at all the social media metrics available out there. If you have a solid social media strategy in place, stay faithful to your objectives and metrics to measure your performance.
- Accept that hyper-precise targeting isn’t possible anymore since Facebook removed over 5000 targeting options. Therefore, it will occasionally deliver ads to audiences of little or no quality. That’s not the end of the world.
- Soft metrics? Yes, but only if they will support hard conversion in the long run. Don’t rely entirely on reach, impressions, likes, or clicks. You can’t really bring those to your boss. You need to know that Facebook has deprecated the old Relevance Score, which measures your ads’ quality and engagement level, to introduce three new metrics: quality ranking, engagement rate ranking, and conversion rate ranking.
- Which metrics should you be looking at? It is easy to become confused by the number of metrics available these days, and I’m sorry to say that there isn’t a single rule to help you out here.
The metrics you choose may vary based on the industry, product, service, the audience you serve, and, mainly, on the objective. Again, stick to your plan.
Pro Tip: Ensure you have a well-structured naming convention for your Facebook ad campaigns, ad sets, and ads. That will make it easier and faster to filter the results and find what you need when creating new reports.
3. Facebook ad targeting basics.
Facebook reigned as social advertisers’ top choice due to its unparalleled ad targeting options—until August 2018, that is. That’s when they shared a blog, “Keep Advertising Safe and Civil,” that announced the removal of more than 5000 targeting options.
Saying that this hasn’t changed the way we reach audiences these days would be a false statement. Nevertheless, you still have plenty of options to choose from such as Gender, Custom Audience, Interest, or Behavior targeting.
We are not going to dive into all the Facebook targeting options, but to make it simple, we broke down how you should segment your audience before moving on to choosing any targeting:
- Branding: Here is where you touch your main target audience.
- Core Audience: You always must nurture people that have shown interest in your business.
- Automation: This step helps you map the ad-hoc user journeys based on behavior.
- Campaign: A seasonal focus.
Advertising on Facebook lets your target saved audiences, custom audiences, and lookalike audiences.
Saved Audiences are based on criteria such as interests, gender, behaviors, income levels, etc.
Custom Audiences are leads that already know or have interacted with your brand.
Lookalike Audiences are comprised of new people for your business that might have never heard of it but have similar interests or behavior to your buyer persona in Custom Audiences.
Pro Tip: If you are implementing video content as part of your strategy, you can easily retarget the people who have viewed your Facebook and Instagram videos with video custom audiences.
4. Make strategic choices.
Overthinking your approach too much won’t do any good for your social advertising campaigns in general. Owning what you are doing will be the first step in maximizing the return on your ad spend.
Commit to your decision and run with it. If it doesn’t work, some considered adjustments will likely make it work eventually.
Help yourself by building a regular review structure to check on your campaigns. The most common mistakes are:
- A) Failing to check on your ads’ performance.
- B) Constantly tweaking campaigns, g., changing bidding, targeting or ad content. Not only will this ruin your results, but it will keep you from gaining concrete learnings and real conversions.
Let a campaign run for a while before looking at data/numbers. If you are curious to know how much your peers are paying for ads on social media, check out this handy guide.
Pro Tip: Block a bi-weekly and a monthly slot on your calendar to check the performance.
5. Don’t forget to be creative.
Building personalized and engaging content that resonates with the right people is essential for driving results. Consider this – 74% of users say there are way too many ads. You can’t afford to settle for mediocre ad copy or creative.
“When using paid ads to support your ongoing communication, your job is not to be an advertising expert, but still to be a communication expert.”
And when you are a communication expert, you can’t afford to leave other departments out. Designers, copywriters, and digital and social media managers should all work together. Gather them together to brainstorm ideas. Fresh eyes will help you out to nail the message.
- All the learnings from earlier campaigns. What worked and what didn’t?
- What’s the format that best fits the message?
- Build a consistent theme for the whole campaign.
- Reflect on where your audience is most active; should you go for Stories or Newsfeed or both?
Now it’s time to get creative. Each ad element has a goal, but all work together to communicate the message and support a good user experience.
The headline: The main title of your ad. The perfect length? Around four words.
The text: This teases and attracts attention, possibly tapping into an emotion, feeling, or a common struggle. Don’t use five lines of text to express a concept that can be told in one line. Try to keep it within 70 characters.
The description: It is usually placed under the headline, and it’ll help you give more context to your product/service.
The visual: How do you communicate your product/service visually? Keep in mind, less is more. Don’t play with too many elements and watch out for the quality of your images. They need to support the text message directly. Only if the image and text are in sync, you’ll be able to communicate a strong story.
The call-to-action: Don’t be shy, encourage your audience to act. After reading your ad, you don’t want users to be confused about what to do next. Customize the button and reinforce your call-to-action also through the text.
Pro Tip: Never launch only one ad execution per campaign. Create different ad variations to prevent ad fatigue. Plus, you might want to test out different messages/formats to cover more ground.
6. Learn from your mistakes.
Oops! I did it again. Don’t worry, we won’t spiral into Britney lyrics. Here we cover David Lorentzen’s answer to the big question: what are marketers frequently doing wrong?
These are some of the most common Facebook strategy mistakes:
- Not using the data that you collect. You should always follow up on your content results. This could be as light as a mid-campaign check-in with your team to evaluate a campaign.
- If you focus on conversion, you’ll forget about the people who almost converted. Ah (sigh), the ones that got away. Craft ad-hoc content to build a follow-up with the people who engaged with your content but didn’t convert. Try to understand why and what could inspire them to take that extra step.
- Stop constantly testing. Don’t get me wrong, testing is important, but take it easy. If you need to make changes, don’t do it every week. You won’t get a clear overview of what you are doing or how effective it was.
- New advertising tricks won’t save your content—ever. You can’t win if you don’t have great content and a good product. So, invest time into translating the power of your product or services into relevant stories for your audience and then boost those on social media.
Be mindful of your mistakes. You can learn a lot from them, whereas repeating the same ones over and over will hurt your business and waste budget.
That’s a wrap, digital marketers!
Try following a few of these tips to create your paid Facebook ads strategy. It won’t transform you into an overnight marketing unicorn, but it will make your life easier and help you bring precise results to your boss and win more ad budget for next year.
If you are interested in learning more about the digital marketing trends in 2021, check out our guide.