Photo courtesy of Sticker Mule.
Why mistakes in Facebook advertising are so dang easy to make, and how you can avoid making them.
Imagine that you are scrolling through your Facebook newsfeed. (Or don’t, considering you may already be doing so.) You come across a post that reads “Sponsored” at the top. While you instinctively roll your eyes, something catches your eye, whether it be a shoe sale or a vacation that you’ve been dying to take. Do you ultimately decide to ignore the ad, make a mental note to visit the website later, or click through the ad and make a purchase?
As a consumer, these are the split second decisions with which you are faced. As marketers, these are the questions we spend hours upon hours contemplating. While placing ourselves in potential customers’ shoes is hardly a new practice, we must constantly update our techniques with an ever-growing advertising base.
For Facebook alone, the evolution of campaign and targeting options over the last year has been monumental for advertisers. It covers branding, data retrieval, purchases, and retargeting in one all-encompassing platform. Throughout our education, we have learned countless do’s and don’ts of Facebook advertising. We have highlighted our top 5 below.
DON’T: Scale and optimize campaigns that are already working. Facebook is programmed to use campaign budgets to get the best results for the given targeting. If this number is constantly changing, Facebook will be unable to obtain enough data for optimization. Therefore, increasing a daily budget in hopes of multiplying current ad results may do just the opposite. The same goes with ad optimization: If ads are being changed too often, Facebook will continuously reset its algorithm and will never gain enough traction to reach the right people.
DO: Adjust targeting regularly. Rather than changing budget and ads, this assures that the right people are being reached, but not over and over again. This includes reaching out to new audiences and cutting out lower-performing audiences. Each new audience target should be created in new ad sets in order for Facebook’s algorithm to optimize each campaign individually.
DON’T: Use targeting that is too big or too small. There are several types of targeting to choose from, including interests, behavior, demographics, flex, and custom audience. If the target is too small, ads will reach the same people over and over, causing a decrease in impressions over time. If the target is too big, the right people may never be reached.
DO: Utilize flex targeting and lookalike audiences. The sweet spot for each ad group should have a reach between 500K and 2M Facebook users. Flex targeting means using “and” targeting, versus “or” targeting, which allows us to find a happy medium between being too broad and too specific. Additionally, we can use page followers, email lists, and website visitors to create lookalike audiences for a higher possibility of conversion.
DON’T: Use only one creative. Facebook tends to penalize advertisers for not being creative enough with fewer impressions, as it gives them fewer options to feed to users.
DO: Create three different ads in each ad set. This is where it’s important to keep a control in our ads: one photo with three different versions and lengths of copy, or one set of copy with three different images. Facebook will make these ads last longer and bring in a higher number of impressions.
DON’T: Use the wrong objective. If a client’s main objective is to generate leads, but we create an ad to bring people to the website “just for awareness,” Facebook will not align the two different objectives. We will end up reaching people who are more likely to click on an ad than sign up for an email list. Trying to trick the system will result in a high bounce rate and frustrated users.
DO: Establish goals for each campaign. Facebook uses different algorithms for different ad objectives. If a client’s main goal is website conversions, and we create a campaign to generate conversions, Facebook will show ads to people in our target audience who are known to be converters. This is why it’s so important to establish goals with clients before advertising for them.
DON’T: Create cookie cutter ads. Starting ad copy with a generic list of benefits or leading with fear is a highway to being ignored. Cost per desired action can be up to 3x higher due to poor messaging.
DO: Be authentic and conversational. Write posts as if they are organic, reaching out to users as friends. When people see the word “Sponsored,” they subconsciously have their guard up, so we must find ways of bringing it back down. If Facebook’s algorithm detects that an ad is improving user experiences, the reward is more impressions.
As a superhero of the online marketing world, Facebook is a powerful tool, but with great power comes great responsibility. We vow to use these do’s and don’ts to run effective and successful campaigns for our clients.
SJ Marketing Online Media Coordinator