Success with Facebook Ads: Is it as Easy as You Think?

By now we all know that Facebook’s advertising capabilities are extremely accessible when it comes to doing it yourself - you can create your Business Page for free, and then with little effort start running ads with as much or as little budget as you like, to pretty much whoever you like, wherever you like.

Sure, I’d definitely say it’s easy to create and launch an ad on Facebook. But is it easy to do it well, and in such a way as to see significant return on investment? Not so much.

To give you an idea, these are the kind of questions you should know the answers to in order to run a well thought-through Campaign, that is likely to give you real, business-value results:

  • Do I want to run an Awareness ad, a Consideration ad or a Conversion Ad?
  • Do I want to include an offer in my advertising?
  • Do I want to use a Custom Audience in my targeting? Would this be better than demographic, interest or behavioral targeting?
  • Where do I want to place my ad?
  • Should I set my budget to Lifetime or Daily? What’s a good budget?
  • Shall I optimize for link clicks, leads, daily unique reach or impressions?
  • Do I want to be charged for clicks or impressions?
  • Do I want standard or accelerated delivery for my ads? Should they run continuously in my set time frame, or only at key times of day?
  • What format do I want my creative? Carousel, Single Image, Single Video, Slideshow, Canvas or maybe Collection?
  • What makes a good ad image? How do I best describe my offering in the limited characters I have available?
  • Which Call To Action button is best suited to my objective?
  • How do I analyze the results and use my learnings to better my next campaign?

Know all the answers? Awesome! You’re all set to go make your business some money with Facebook Ads. Don’t? Let’s break it down and see if we can bring some clarity to some of these key factors.

Objective

On the surface, this one isn’t rocket science. Do you want an ad that increases awareness of your offering, boosts consideration of your offering, or converts users to your offering. You should know that. But which ad type is most effective for each of these three objectives? There’s no straight answer for that one - it depends on your industry, your business, your budget, and your expectations.  You can learn loads more about the different ad types and when to use them in another post by Tiger Pistol’s Laura Sebo.

You also need to consider the long game - of course you want loads of new customers straight away. But will loads of users who’ve never heard of your business jump on board and convert at the first site of your ad? Unlikely.

Many people expect Facebook Ads to be a miracle cure, providing them with immediate ROI where other marketing has not. And while you certainly can get incredible results on Facebook, you have to be clever about how you go about it - running a one-off campaign targeted at the people you think will like your offering just won’t cut it in the long run. You need a well thought out strategy that looks at getting users through the funnel over a period of time, adapting with each campaign to produce a steady increase in customers and ever-increasing ROI.

Offers

Again, simple on the surface. Do you want to use an offer as part of your advertising as an added incentive? Some say no, it cheapens your brand. Some say yes, an introductory offer may help persuade users who are unaware of your business to give it a chance. Is an offer relevant or appropriate to your business? Is it an efficient way of getting new customers or will it just see an influx of one-off buyers rather than loyal, returning customers?

Targeting

The immense detail with which you can target your ads to users is what makes Facebook Ads so special, and unlike any other marketing out there.

But with so many options to choose from, it’s hard to know the best approach. By now you probably have a pretty good idea of your typical customer, so you could just input these parameters into Ads Manager, lining up their demographics, interests and behaviors, and see if they respond. But by doing this, could you be ruling out other potential new customers, without even giving them a chance to consider your offering? Maybe it’s better to start broad. Or you could use that database of emails you have stored away, to see if past customers would consider your new offering. Or maybe a Lookalike Audience of these people? Or perhaps just retarget people who have visited your website recently, because they’re obviously at least slightly interested. But then are you sure you’ve installed your Facebook pixel correctly on your site?

Placements

You could just set this to automatic, because Facebook obviously knows the best place to put an ad. Although, is placing your ad in the right hand column as well as the main feed a waste of your budget? It doesn’t really look that good in there. You could maybe rule out desktop - not many people look at Facebook on desktop these days (do they?). And Instagram is pretty cool, you can put ads on there too, that is if Instagram is appropriate to your audience… And then there’s the Audience Network, Instant Articles and even Facebook Messenger! Do you put your ad in all these places therefore casting the widest net possible, or narrow it down to the most appropriate channels to try and use your budget more efficiently?

Budget

It could be best just to set a daily budget so that you know what you’re spending each day, and then you can just turn it off whenever you want. Or you could set start and end dates, so you don’t accidentally leave it on in the background racking up a big bill. Although it has been said that Lifetime budget can produce better results - Facebook optimizes delivery depending on performance. But what if it was doing really well? You’d probably want it to just keep ticking over bringing in results, rather than turning off at the height of its game. Hmmm. And wait, how much are we even spending here? What’s an appropriate budget for the kind of ad you’re running?

Optimization & Charging

Link clicks, leads, impressions or daily unique reach - in other words do you want your ad shown to people who are more likely to click on it (than the average user, which tends to cost more), shown to as many people as possible (potentially multiple times), or shown to as many unique users as possible?

And when it comes to the breakdown of what you’re paying for, do you want to get charged every time someone clicks on the ad, or every time someone sees the ad? Which would give the best results whilst being the most cost effective?

Scheduling & Delivery

You could have your ads run continuously throughout your selected time period - this is probably the easiest. Although if you’re promoting a specific offer that’s only available on a certain day or at a certain time, is it worth spending budget when the user can’t act upon the ad when they’re shown it? You could instead run the ad at specific times of day, for example if you had 2-for-1 lunches at your restaurant on certain days, you could just run the ads on the morning of those days. But then again running ads on and off like that could mean the ad often doesn’t pick up traction, so you may see better results running a continuous ad…

Format

OK, so we’ve finally decided who you want to show your ads to and how. But what does the ad actually look like? You could just use a single image - clear, to the point, no messing about. But then again having multiple images in a Carousel format could allow you to get your point across better, seen as you only have limited text to work with. You could animate multiple images into a slideshow format - we all know how users are attracted to moving images - so in fact you could just do a video ad (if you have a good video to use). Or else there are those fancy Canvas ads, where you could include text, images, gifs, videos - whatever you like! Now that would impress users. But it might be tricky to create one that looks really good, or at least have the time to do one properly.

Creative

Do you know the best kind of imagery to use in Facebook Ads? Would a user be more likely to click on a really high-quality professional image, or would they rather see a more candid image of your team doing what they do best? Then you’ve got to figure out how best to describe your business, your offering and what you want the user to do with your ad, in very limited characters. They might not even see all the text, depending on what device they’re using and how much you choose to write. Should you be straight to the point and use the ad to get them towards a conversion, or would it be better to go for a soft sell approach, enticing them to your site and allowing your offering to do the talking in its own environment?

Which also begs the question of which Call-To-Action Button is the most appropriate. ‘Learn More’ is a bit wishy washy - it could be better to get them to ‘Shop Now’. Yeah, you may get less clicks, but then the people who do click have shown that they’re willing to potentially buy something. But then, could it be better to use a less direct approach; get as many people to your site as possible, casting the net wider with the possibility of converting those who may not have even considered it originally? Worth thinking about.

Learning & Applying

So now you’ve run your first ad. It went well. You think. Aside from the number of desired actions, and the cost per action, how do you know if your ad has done well? Because, in the world of Facebook advertising there is more to success that the amount of people you managed to send to your website, or the amount of leads you got.

And now what? Do you run the same ad again? Or could you use insights from your last one to make the next one better, reach more people, potentially lower your cost per desired action or get more of them?

As you can see, there is a heck of a lot to consider when it comes to running Facebook Ads. Yes, they can work miracles. Yes, they can give you great ROI, boost your customer numbers, make you money and the rest. But - and it’s a big but - you’ve got to know how to set them up properly, run them properly, and analyze them properly to allow them to do that.

Not to worry though - we can help with that too. Check out our post, “The Low Cost, Insanely Easy Way to Get Results with Facebook Advertising” to learn the secret sauce behind small and local social ad success!

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