Facebook Ads Are Dead, Long Live Facebook Ads.
What works and what withers in the realm of Facebook Ads is a constant game of testing, research, and adjustment.
Beyond the usual tumult, Facebook made some significant changes to the platform this 2018 that require adjusting your strategy.
Despite the politics of 2018 for Facebook and the changes to their ad platform, Facebook Ads are still the #1 tool in your social marketing arsenal.
Whether starting out with Facebook ads, or revisiting your social ad strategy, these 4 core pieces will make or break your campaign.
Skip any of these steps, and you’ll be paying more than you need to for a successful Facebook ad push.
1. Know Your Audience
Ensure your ads reach the right people at the right time by getting a good grasp of your target audiences. Aside from general demographics and geographies, understanding their interests and behaviors can elevate your ad targeting tremendously.
This sounds like common sense, but actually taking time to find new and unique ways to understand the interests of your target audience is huge.
Combine different demographic and interest-based targeting options to get your messaging exclusively in front of the audiences most likely to act … and only pay to reach those users.
In light of its privacy scandals, Facebook removed dozens of third-party targets, meaning advertisers can no longer reach certain highly specific audiences, like frequent credit card users, credit score targeting, or those in the market for a Chevy SUV.
Also problematic, Facebook cut most of its workplace targets, only keeping large global brands. Without expansive workplace targeting, B2B marketers have less prospecting opportunities on Facebook, leaving LinkedIn as the dominant player in that space, at a premium.
Despite this roadblock, there are plenty of other opportunities to use Facebook for prospecting, lead cultivation, and customer retention. Upload your company’s email lists to boost retention and referrals among current customers, then create lookalike audiences based on those lists to reach prospects who share similar attributes to your customers.
Brainstorm with your team, or even bring in an expert to help you brainstorm, to come up with new interest-based targeting options that will help you reach the right people with your ads. Consider which of the below items your target audience would like that others might not like.
- Websites, Blogs, Media Organizations
- TV Shows, Movies, Magazines
- Events, Conferences
- Software, Apps
- Celebrities, Famous People
- Nonprofits, Charities, Professional Orgs
2. Content and Creative: Avoid Being Spam
No one likes spam (the content type, not the food).
Facebook implemented advertising restrictions in 2018 to reduce spam appearing on users’ timelines.
Specifically for ad images, text cannot occupy more than 20% of the image. Facebook has gone back and forth on the 20% Rule for a few years, but has finally tightened it up and now heavily limits or completely stops ad delivery for those with excessive text.
A handy tool to determine if your ad images meet Facebook’s standards is the Text Overlay Tool. By uploading your ad creative to the Image Test Check, Facebook will rate your ad from “OK” to “High.” Ideally, you would want a rating of “OK,” so the ads would run normally.
If your rating ranges from “Low” to “High,” you will need to adjust the ad images by either making the text font smaller or removing text. It might take several tries to optimize the ad to the “OK” rating, but this is crucial to ensure the ads have the highest possible reach.
With the media storm surrounding Facebook’s recent political scandals, advertisers who promote anything related to political and/or national issues must adhere to Facebook’s updated political advertising policy. Part of this includes the authorization of anyone managing your page. To become authorized, Page and ad account admins will have to verify their identities and addresses, in addition to disclosing who is paying for the ads.
Even if you do not publish political content, Facebook’s overaggressive automated filters often flag non-political posts, so leave plenty of time for a potential appeal process before starting your campaign.
3. Let’s Talk Money
The beauty of advertising through Facebook is that you can generate impactful results with a relatively low budget.
When deciding on exactly how much money to allocate to your ad campaign, you would need to factor in how long the campaign is, how many ads you’re planning on running, and how large the target audience is.
For example, if you have a small, niche audience, you do not need to spend as much as a statewide or nationwide campaign. Otherwise, your ads will be hitting the same people over and over again.
There is a fine line between reminding people of your ad and annoying them. The ideal frequency in which people see your ads is three.
Whether you are just starting out with Facebook ads or a veteran, consider your budget carefully. Facebook ads can do a lot with a few hundred dollars if setup properly. Your initial ad testing does not need to be huge to show you what works.
4. Testing, Testing, 1, 2…
Utilizing Facebook Ads Manager, you can make the most out of your budget by evaluating how well the ads are performing.
This step is what takes any good results with Facebook ads to great.
As with any A/B testing, it is essential to have different variations of your ads to gauge which ones are helping you achieve your campaign objectives. Facebook has recently made this easier with Dynamic Creative, which automates the process of combining text, images, headlines, and calls-to-action into separate post ad variations.
Soon after your ads have been running, turn off any underperforming ads. Deactivating these ads will prevent you from wasting money on ads that are ineffective.
For instance, if part of your campaign goal is to drive traffic to your website, you would want to turn off ads that have low link clicks.
Consider this: a robust Facebook ad campaign may start with thousands of ad variations, with different combinations of visuals, headlines, and captions. After letting them run for a week, narrow down the ads to the ones producing the best results for our campaign’s goals.
Eventually, you will end up only running the best of the best, generating top-tier outcomes.
You may think you know what will drive the desired action, but you don’t know until you test it.
Post your Facebook Advertising questions in the comments below–we might cover it in a future blog post!
We went into a lot more detail about how to improve your creative, targeting, and testing at Social Fresh 2018. Catch my workshop session and 20 others by getting access to the Social Fresh 2018 Video Pass.