If you take a look around, it’s clear to see we are living in a digital era.
While the explosion of digitally driven products and services has created more avenues for businesses to reach their customers, even the most experienced of marketers will agree that knowing where to focus your efforts isn’t always easy. Despite the numerous options – search engine optimization, pay per click, search engine marketing, email marketing – there is one channel that marketers simply can’t afford to ignore: Facebook. According to a recent survey by the Social Media Examiner, 93 percent of marketers regularly use Facebook ads, and 64 percent plan on increasing their Facebook advertising activities in 2018. Surpassed only by Google, the Facebook Ads platform accounts for 10 percent of the digital advertising market. So, what makes Facebook so special?
With more than 2 billion users engaging more than 800 million times per day, Facebook is offering businesses the largest advertising opportunity since organic search. While the Facebook user base is larger than the entire population of China, the reality is, only a small group of those 2 billion active users meet the criteria of your target audience. Part of what makes Facebook advertising so successful is its advanced behavioral and demographic targeting capabilities, enabling advertisers to focus their budgets where conversions are highest, maximizing their ROI.
Sounds pretty good, right?
Well, with so much potential, the competition is high. In a world where the average Internet user is swamped with more than 11,250 ads per month, how does one stand out and become what Seth Godin describes as a “Purple Cow”? While there is no surefire way to guarantee Facebook advertising success, there are a few things you can do to dramatically increase your odds.
1. Know Your Objective
In order to get somewhere, you must first know where it is you are trying to go. The very first step to building an effective Facebook campaign is to have a clear understanding of what you are trying to accomplish. What action do you want people to take when they see your ads? Do you want users to visit your website? Engage with your post?
When setting up your Facebook campaign, one of the first things you will be asked to do is to select your campaign objective. Facebook offers 11 slightly different campaign structures designed to achieve 11 different objectives. Selecting the campaign objective that is in line with your business goal is critical to success. If in doubt, Facebook offers a helpful guide to understanding campaign objectives (Facebook Campaign Objectives Guide).
Once you have defined your objective, assess your current standing and assign a measurable and realistic goal of where you’d like to be and how long it will take to get you there. For this campaign to be considered a success, what needs to be accomplished? If this is your first time running a campaign of this type, using industry averages as a benchmark is typically a good place to start.
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Recently, Six Degrees ran a Facebook campaign focused on acquiring new page followers. We had a budget of $250, and the average cost per click in our industry is $3.08. Although many other factors affect your actual cost per click (geography, relevance score, etc.), we were able to use the industry average to define a loose metric to measure our success: 81 new followers.
2. Target Your Audience
Now that we know what we are trying to accomplish, we need to define the who of our campaign. One of the features that makes Facebook advertising so attractive to businesses and marketers alike is its advanced targeting opportunities. There are three important audience types to consider when building your campaign: Behavioral/Demographic Targeted, Custom and Lookalike audiences.
Behavioral/Demographic Targeted Audience
Facebook provides a variety of targeting options that allow advertisers to home in on a very specific audience of their choosing. Whether you’re new to Facebook advertising or a marketing guru, Facebook’s Audience Insights tool can provide useful and actionable information about your existing audience. Audience Insights provides geography, lifestyle, demographic and purchase information about your page followers. These details can help you form a persona for the type of people engaging with your Facebook page. You can use the behavioral and demographics characteristics of your known audience to build a campaign target audience more likely to engage.
Facebook Custom Audiences allows you to target your ads to existing contacts or individuals who have engaged with you on your website or Facebook page. Time and time again, click-through rates for Custom Audiences prove to be higher than standard targeted audiences. In fact, according to Facebook, ads with Custom Audience targeting had 387 percent greater conversion rates than ads using only demographic targeting options.
Once you have created a Custom Audience, Facebook can use its advanced algorithm to create what it calls a Lookalike Audience. Lookalikes enable marketers to grow their target audience outside of their existing audience pool. Using the characteristics Facebook knows about your Custom Audience, they look beyond your existing audience circle for users with similar characteristics.
Remember, you can always test multiple audiences within a single campaign objective. Just be sure to create unique ad sets for each audience and keep a close eye on the metrics that matter to your overall campaign success.
3. Test, Test, Test!
A/B testing is essential to improve and perfect your campaign and yield the best possible results. In addition to monitoring your high-value campaign metrics, keep a close eye on the relevance score of your ads. The Facebook relevance score is used to determine which ads win the bidding auction and impacts your ad’s delivery rate and cost per click.
Facebook allows marketers to A/B test a variety of campaign elements, such as copy, images, audience demographics, calls to action and more. Remember, when testing different variations, only change one variable at a time. Isolating a single test variant is required to accurately attribute the winning version’s success.
Below are some of the results from our recent series of A/B tests.
- Using stock photos with people produced a 32 percent higher click-through rate than graphics-based ad images.
- Words that create a sense of urgency, such as “now” and “today,” have all proved to boost our conversion rates.
- Ad Type. Carousel ads yielded three times more clicks than single-image ads and a 22 percent lower cost per conversion.
- Call to Action. By changing the CTA from “Sign Up” to “Learn More,” we were able to improve our click-through rate by 14.4 percent.
- Ad Placement. Desktop ads generated a 243 percent higher cost per click than the ads displayed on Mobile Network plus Audience Network.
- Campaign Objectives. If your campaign goal can potentially be accomplished with two types of Facebook campaign objectives, that’s OK! We found that our relevance score varied significantly depending on the campaign objective we had selected, and as the relevance score improved, so did our delivery rate and cost per click.