This is a guest post from Jennifer Spivak, who is a Solo PR Pro Premium member and a digital marketing specialist. She is also a marketing instructor and curriculum architect at the Startup Institute and an adjunct professor at The City College of New York. Jennifer has been recognized by PR News' Digital PR Awards and PR Daily's Social Media Awards.
“But we’re already running Facebook ads.”
As a Facebook Advertising specialist, I hear this one all the time. While sitting in a new business meeting, the prospective client tells me that they are already using Facebook Advertising in-house. The problem (though they may not know it at the time)? They’re using Facebook Advertising poorly.
It’s quite easy to set up a campaign, and Facebook makes sure this is so (Zuckerberg knows how to pull in the big bucks!). But being able to follow the steps in the Ads Manager doesn’t mean you’re leveraging Facebook Advertising properly and getting the most out of it for your business. So when a current or prospective client tells you that they’re already running Facebook ads and don’t need your help or advice in this area, you get to school them with these 6 ways to refresh, revamp and improve any existing Facebook Advertising initiative.
- Set The Correct Campaign Objective
This the biggest mistake I see over and over again – and the biggest opportunity to improve a campaign. Too many businesses don’t understand the importance of selecting the correct objective from the start, nor how doing so can have a huge impact on the quality of users your ads will be shown to (e.g., select Page Likes as your objective, and you’ll get a lot of people who like everything on Facebook – you know the type – instead of reaching users who might actually buy from you). If the client is driving traffic to a page outside of Facebook and expecting the user to do something (fill out a form, make a purchase, sign up for a newsletter, etc.), refreshing their campaigns so that they are tracking and optimized for conversions can make a huge difference. And if they’re already correctly using conversion tracking, make sure to upgrade them to the new Facebook Pixel! (The “old” pixel will be phased out entirely later this year.)
- Test New Ad Copy
It may sound like a given to us communication pros, but too many clients take a “set-it-and-forget-it” approach with Facebook Advertising – meaning that they are still running ads with the same copy from when they launched 6 months ago. A copy refresh is always a good idea, and one of the best ways to highlight why this is needed is by pointing out the ad frequency – if it’s too high, then your audience has essentially been saturated with this specific ad. And continuing to show them the exact same copy over and over again certainly isn’t going to move the needle.
- Test New Creative
I’d argue that this is even more important than #2 above, since the image is such an integral piece of any Facebook ad. It’s usually the first thing that users see when scrolling through their timelines. And it's really your only opportunity to stop the user in their tracks – amidst all the other, much more exciting stuff on Facebook like baby pictures and cat videos – and get them to consider clicking on your ad. Even if the client hasn’t been running the same creative for an extended period of time, refreshing the ad creative and testing new options side by side can be beneficial – especially if the client is using boring stock photos or trying too hard to incorporate their logo and/or branding. The best ad image isn’t necessarily the most on-brand image; it’s simply the one that gets users to do what you want them to do (click, convert, etc.), at the lowest cost per action possible.
- Introduce Custom Audiences And/Or Lookalike Audiences
There are lots of ways that clients can get Facebook ad targeting wrong, but one of the easiest ways to improve their targeting is by introducing one or both of these advanced audience creation features. If your client has an email list (even if it’s small), this list can be uploaded into Facebook and “matched” with existing user accounts in order to create a targetable audience of the users on your list. This usually creates an audience of much “warmer” leads, since they’ve likely had some interaction with the brand already in order for you to have their email address.
And to take Email Custom Audiences one step further, you can also introduce Lookalike Audiences to your clients’ campaigns by simply telling Facebook that you want an audience that statistically looks like your custom audience. You can still layer additional targeting parameters (demographics, interests, etc.) on top of this Lookalike Audience, but you’re starting with a much more qualified baseline (e.g., instead of starting with all of Facebook, you’re starting with a baseline audience that is similar to your existing customers).
- Add Instagram Into The Mix
Though Instagram may not make sense for every client that’s using Facebook Advertising, for some brands it provides a way to reach the unreachable – the users who no longer log onto Facebook regularly but who are avid Instagram users – with the exact same features and functionality as advertising on Facebook provides. Although Instagram is considered only a placement inside the Facebook Ads Manager (i.e., you can simply check a box to have your existing Facebook ads appear on Instagram), you can explain to your client why the unique aspects and demographics of each platform call for customized ads.
- Try A New Ad Type
If your client has been using the standard Facebook ad format, shake things up a bit with a carousel ad or even a lead ad. With a carousel ad, you can showcase 3-5 images and links within a single ad unit, and Facebook will auto-optimize the performance of your ad by selecting and ordering the best performing images and links for each person who sees your ad. With a Facebook lead ad, you can collect a user’s information and generate leads without requiring the user to leave Facebook (which can improve the user experience).
Jennifer is a digital marketing specialist with 7+ years of experience driving digital campaigns for brands and individuals looking to sell products and services online. She is a marketing instructor and curriculum architect at the Startup Institute, an adjunct professor at The City College of New York, and has been recognized by PR News' Digital PR Awards and PR Daily’s Social Media Awards. Merging her background in PR and love of analytics, Jennifer specializes in creating engaging, on-brand Facebook Advertising campaigns that drive cost-efficient results and positive ROI.