T.P.R. Episode 4 - How to Generate Leads using the Facebook Advertising Platform
Sam: Alright guys, so today we're going to talk about Facebook advertising and hopefully reduce a lot of the noise and the confusion or maybe a little bit of plateauing that you're experiencing running your Facebook ads. So we can really help you focus on generating better qualified leads.
Sam: The Facebook ad platform is booming right now. There are five million businesses that advertise on Facebook every single month. In fact, in just seven months from September of 2016 to April 2017, a million advertisers were added on a monthly basis to the platform, which is incredible. What does it tell us? It tells us that obviously Facebook advertising works. It's a great way to really target your audience and really get granular.
Sam: The targeting features on Facebook are incredible, which we will go into a little bit more detail here. But it also tells us that the way that you use the Facebook ad platform is critical. You need to be super laser focused in order to get the most out of your ad spend and to be efficient and be successful. So that's what we really want to talk about today. We want to really help our viewers and help our listeners to better understand how to use Facebook ads to accomplish the marketing initiatives that you're currently after. So Mikhail, what are things that companies need to consider when they're thinking about advertising on Facebook?
Mikhail: Well, there's three things, I think, that companies should be focused on. The first one being the saturation of content, right? So taking a stock photo of a dentist or taking a stock photo of a house or something like that or whatever industry you might be- it's not going to cut it because there's a million people that just started advertising in the last year so your content really needs to stand out. First of all, when you're doing that, you figure like this- if you have three or four different companies that are using the exact same budget and the same targeting, which one is going to win? The one with the better creator.
Mikhail: The second thing I would say is video transcriptions. What I've seen a lot of recently is, there's a lot of video ads that are going out, which by the way are indexed way better through Facebook so think about doing that. But sound doesn't play automatically when somebody's scrolling through their feed. So having big text showing the point of it or creating a meme out of it will definitely help get somebody to stop and tell your story and get your point across very quickly.
Sam: That's interesting. Actually, over 80 percent of videos on Facebook are viewed without sound.
Mikhail: Yeah that's crazy, right? So you've got to have that text overlay or something.
Mikhail: Lastly is targeting. A big mistake I see advertisers make on Facebook is they'll take one ad- let's say it's a real estate development in Colorado. They'll take one ad and instead of doing home buying real estate investments, they'll also put in skiing, snowboarding, rock climbing, things like that. Other interests that somebody in the area that might have.
Mikhail: Now that's half of it. That's great thinking, we want to target those people. But imagine if somebody gets your ad and they're just interested in rock climbing but not at all interested in the house, you're wasting a view, you're wasting a click, potentially.
Sam: Gotcha. Okay. That's interesting, makes a lot of sense. So Patrick, how does Facebook allow advertisers to optimize their campaigns for specific goals and specific outcomes that they're looking to achieve?
Pat: Well, Facebook, they give you specific options. They give you basically three different levels of options so when you're in the campaign level of your design or build out your campaign, you want to choose the objective that is the primary goal you're trying to achieve.
Pat: In any marketing funnel there is going to be three stages, whatever it's worded as, the principles are the same - awareness, consideration and conversion.
Sam: Buyers journey.
Pat: Exactly. It's exactly the best way to put it. Lucky for us, Facebook has given us these topics. That way, we can optimize for those specific goals for where that person is in their journey. A good place to start outside of the boosted post of course is the objective of traffic which is basically clicks to your site. Now what this means is that Facebook is looking for profiles that are most likely to take the action of clicking on your ad and moving to the next step in that journey.
Sam: So they actually optimize and send ads to users that are more likely to take the action that you're actually looking to achieve.
Pat: Yeah, absolutely. I've actually found a lot of success with this objective, and in my opinion, it will give you some of the most valuable data when you do run campaigns like this. So what I mean is that you'll actually be able to see things like how relevant your ad is, how well your target audience is and how well you're reaching that audience as well as how well you're converting on your landing page.
Pat: So those three things you can test and you can optimize and by using a Clicks to site type of campaign or a traffic type of campaign objective, you'll get better metrics than you would as opposed to trying for post engagements or conversions. So I always recommend that's a good place to start. And then you can optimize and tweak your campaigns from there.
Sam: Gotcha. Okay so advertisers on Facebook- they really need to have these things worked out as to what their ad is and who that is speaking to and at what place that ad buyer is in the journey, the buyers journey, the decision making process, and they need to understand that. They need to have done that legwork at the beginning instead of rolling in and creating a Facebook ad campaign that really didn't need to do the minor work just so that they can understand where they are targeting.
Pat: Sure. If you don't know who you're talking to or if you're optimizing for the wrong thing, you're going to get really skewed biased results and your campaign is not going to perform the way you hoped it would. And that's where a lot of advertisers and people really get discouraged and think you know Facebook ads aren't working. I don't know why people think this is the best way to do it. It's a very cheap traffic source if you do it right. But again, coming back to that legwork and what Mikhail was talking about with the right type type of target audience, it all plays in together. Once you have that set you, can run a very successful campaign.
Sam: That's some great insight, Patrick. Don't get discouraged, guys. If your ad campaigns are not working the way you want them to on Facebook, maybe start rethinking some things and listen to this podcast and start to better understand where you are targeting people and where they're out in the buyers journey. Are they in the awareness stage? Are they in the consideration stage? Or are they ready to make a decision? And you can optimize your campaigns so they can perform optimally within those given categories.
Sam: Great insight there, Pat. What are some ways that our viewers and listeners can build their audiences? So, now they've selected their campaign goals. What are some key ways? Or some really effective ways that they can build audiences that they want to serve their ads to?
Pat: I typically have a three step way that I look at audience building. The first place I always like to start is with the lowest hanging fruit. You can create a lot of custom audiences within Facebook which is really cool. You know, you can export with a CSV file or an excel sheet with all of your previous customers. People that have bought your product before that have opted in for something that you're offering or you know whatever it is, but basically a list of people that are already customers of your brand or your business.
Pat: So once you have this information in there, Facebook gives you an option to now create what's called lookalike audiences. What it does is that it will start searching for profiles that will match the list of people you've just uploaded. So you're not going directly to cold audiences. It's already doing the work for you and trying to find profiles that are most likely to match what you're really looking for and what you've already sold previously in the past.
Sam: So that's a great way to create a really targeted audience right away is just to take your existing customers to your contact list.
Pat: Yeah, absolutely. I mean that's I think that's where you if you do have a list of course. I mean that's where you definitely want to start. Not everybody has a list. You know and in that case you know if you are going to call traffic you definitely need to get like we're talking about you need to put the legwork in from the beginning and really understand your customer persona. If you don't put that leg work in, if you don't know who this person is that you're trying to sell to- I mean everything that you do from that point is going to be essentially wrong you know.
Mikhail: To add onto that too, a great way to build an audience would be to look at your competitors as well. And then you can create awareness ads based around somebody that likes a competitor or some interests in your industry is not an absolute.
Pat: He's totally right on that. And one of the last things I'd like to touch on is retargeting audience. I mean, that's definitely a little bit farther down the road but retargeting audience is just making sure that you don't lose the traffic that you've already gained. You can target people that have already landed on a specific landing page on your website but did it go to other pages? So that means people have seen your ads, they've looked at your stuff, they're already familiar.
Pat: It's a little bit more of a warmer audience and then you can target them with a different ad down the road. Now not just you know pages that they've landed on but you can also have audiences where people have engaged with your page maybe they've commented on something they've shared a post they've commented or shared an event that you're putting on you can engage with those people and of retargeting audiences.
Pat: And right now they're they've rolled out something recently where you can do it based off of video views. So once you use a video and you put it out there and you can retarget an audience based off of the amount of length that they've watched that specific video. So what that really tells us is that if somebody watches a video for 75 percent of the way through, that's a much warmer prospect or a much warmer lead than somebody who's actually watched the first 10 percent. Right. Some people say 10 percent they don't really care. Maybe they're just scrolling through and it just came through. But if somebody sits and takes the time to watch 75-95 percent of your video you know that's a much much much warmer person.
Sam: Sure. And then you don't just keep sending that person the same ad. You change it based on what you know that they viewed the content that they've consumed and that way they're in a different spot right? They're not in the awareness stage anymore or maybe they're in the consideration spot so you can create an ad targeted in create the goal the campaign goal to whatever specific conversion or whatever other goal or outcome that they're looking to accomplish there. So you send them a different ad so you can change things up so you don't just keep sending the same ad to the same people that have engaged with it over and over again, seems like a waste to me.
Pat: Yeah I mean people are going to see this and they're going to be like- well I've already seen something like this before. You know why would we send in the same ad twice. It just doesn't make any sense. So in the second round you know in the retargeting side of things if you send a different message maybe we have to incentivize them a little bit to take that next step. There's always there's different things that you can do at the latter part of the campaigns to get the person to move. But the objective still is the same from the beginning- get the person to move down essentially what the funnel is for to the ultimate goal which is conversion and so forth.
Sam: It's excellent and it's great for our viewers and our listeners are able to really kind of take a lot from that. It's great insight. So Mikhail- Facebook makes it easy to boost posts. Right? So you make a post of a blog post or an image or an article or something like that that you've shared before on your Facebook page. Facebook makes it really easy and they often suggest- hey this this post performed really well it got a lot of reactions and shares and comments, you might want to consider putting some ads behind it and boosting it. In what situations does it make sense to allocate ad spend towards boosting the post?
Mikhail: I actually advise against it all the time just because you're missing out on a lot of the targeting. It's just like the best it is when you hear the kind it's like yeah boosted like a post for 50 bucks and nothing happens. Facebook Ads don't work- says the other million people.
Mikhail: But anyways, regardless of whether or not you're just boosting something for engagement, which is perfectly fine. Do that in your Ads manager because you're targeting everything that you guys are just talking about. You can actually use against audiences that you've already created and people that are really interested in what you're doing. Your engagements are going to be a lot more real and authentic. But additionally too, I think the biggest thing is just like don't ever use a shotgun approach when all of these tools are really there for you. I would say don't just use boost the post ever. What would you say?
Pat: I agree. I mean- boosting posts really depends on what your objective is. If you're just trying to get some small engagement, yeah that is totally fine. But if you're using a boosted post to try to use as an ad I mean it's very few and far between or your convergence is going to be something of quality. At that point.
Mikhail: So it's like instead of boosting a post, go into your Facebook Ads manager, do a post for engagement because you're only boosting it you're not going to get a lot of traffic you're probably just doing it for social proof for likes or something like that. Choose your objectives to be engagement and then you'll get all the likes and all the comments that you want.
Sam: Gotcha. So that's pretty interesting. That helps us to understand. So we're talking about ad creation here. Mikhail, how does a company write copy on their ads so that it performs well? What are some things that they should be thinking about considering and executing when they're writing not only the copy in the headlines but also the taglines for where the headers are in the post itself and also the copy and the calls to action where you can learn more. buy now or download. What are some strategies that they can really consider here?
Mikhail: Well, definitely be clear about your messaging. You know what I mean. So as you're saying there are multiple places where you can actually put ad copy in there. There's the headline, the website preview can even change as well so you can get as many details in there as possible. That being said, make sure that the headline is is concise. You know if it's a $20 off or if it's a register now or if it's free this and this and that- make sure that that's in your headline and then be stylistic in the actual caption part of it or the text part of it is what Facebook calls it. But don't go over the top. The thing is - I have actually seen it and I'd be interested to hear what you're doing to you - if the picture and the video is good enough and your headline is good enough you'll convert it really well but it does come kind of come down to the visual creative there because you have to imagine. I can't imagine anybody looking at their phone and being like oh wow that's really good copy. It's like that's a great picture. That's something I want. Click.
Pat: I agree. I think I think you hit it right on the head- if the creative is on point, it's the first thing that they're going to see. That's where all the messaging is going to come- in the first second. If they're interested, then they'll start going into the copy. We don't have just text ads anymore. You know it's not it's not like an ad campaign where all you have is this. We have the ability to utilize video which is speaking thousand words per minute but it's very important that if the creative is good, I mean, there's no other way around it.
Sam: So does Facebook favor better creative over others as far as the ads that they're serving?
Mikhail: In a sense, yes, because initially somebody is going to, if somebody interacts with a post, it's probably because it was a decent post right? And the more interactions it gets, the more that particular ad or post is actually going to get pushed up in feeds.
Sam: Sure, so Facebook wants to serve ads that people are reacting positively to. What happens if someone reacts negatively or asks to not see posts like this before or sort of negative feedback happens on that?
Mikhail: Well, that person won't get it. But it's not going to change it by that much, o be honest with you. There are so many people on Facebook where if some one person doesn't do that and that's fine. But what I would recommend to everybody is in their editor go through if you're using multiple pictures go through and see how many clicks did this get? How many clicks did this get? How much traffic did this get? You'll see some that are performing really poorly. In fact you might see that one variation of your ad is like 20 cents per click and the next one is $3 per click. We'll figure that out and reverse engineer why didn't people react well to this. A lot of times now it's like text in the picture or you know something like that.
Sam: Patrick, any advice that you have for just running a simple split test like when Facebook gives you an option to run a split test when you're creating a campaign. What's the one way that an advertiser - a simple way or a simple variation of a test - can create?
Pat: Well, there's a lot of different things that you can split test if you're on the ad level you can test different creatives- one video to another video, a video to an image. You can utilize essentially this, if you have the same creative with a video and then you can you can test your headlines you can test text. I mean there's a lot of different things that you can test buttons on the testing you know a learn more button do a shop now or no button at all. You know you have those different options to do on the ad level if you're doing it on an ad spend level, you can create individual ads and I've actually found good data doing this before as if you create different ad sets with different audiences and use the same ad. Then you can see which audience is actually you know moving the needle for what your campaign is trying to do. So there's different ways you can test there's a lot of different variables. And you know there's there's really no right formula from the beginning. You have to put it out or you have to see what the data is telling you the numbers aren't going to lie. And once you have everything set then you can start to trim the fat from how that being this way to getting really honed in and narrow. And that's kind of where you're going to hit your sweet spot. And then once you get there, everything is different at that point.
Sam: Okay. Excellent. So that leads us in- so you're talking about buttons pattern. What are things that the advertisers should consider when they're selecting the right call to action to put there? Sometimes one call to action may not be appropriate for a certain type of outcome they're looking for even a certain type of ad. Walk us through that.
Pat: So with the buttons alone- I've tried a lot of different things and I've seen. I'm really kind of impartial to the buttons. It's kind of tricky, to be honest with you, I mean there's a lot of things and it's good because it will tell the consumer what you want them to do, right? Shop now, buy something, or contact us, call us, or send us a message, or a direct call to action like that's what you want them to do. However, there's a caveat to that because if people see these buttons, they'll assume this is automatically an ad and people get turned off by ads because they don't want to be sold to all the time. Fortunately it's just one of those things that I've seen different results with having a button and having no button. But like I said there's not really an answer to that. You have to just go out and tell us it's all testing at that point because, it depends. I mean what are your thoughts on that?
Mikhail: Honestly, it was funny, I smiled when you asked that question because it's like- use common sense and don't ever think. If you want somebody to book an appointment, it literally says book an appointment. Book now. Yeah. Book now or whatever it might be you know shop now everything that you're going through. But again test everything. A lot. And in some industries, in some markets, you know somebody may respond to opting into an e-mail list or something like that or a free offer before they want to book an appointment a thousand times.
Sam: Asking someone to book an appointment when it's the first time they've ever heard of your company. That's crazy. It seems inappropriate, right?
Mikhail: You've got to look at it like dating. It's like- Hey what's up. Hey what's up. Hey what's up. Let's go out. For me, it's like six months of hey what's up. And then finally, they're like all right let's go get drinks.
Sam: Man it's incredible you guys are really knowledgeable on this and hopefully our viewers and our listeners have really been able to maybe get over the hump or maybe have a question answered that you're looking for. I know that we've had a lot of feedback from our clients and a lot of questions from our clients on how to run effective ad campaigns and hopefully this was able to really clear some things up for you. Great stuff.
Sam: This has been the fourth episode of The Production Room brought to you by Replay- The Collective Marketing Agency. We thank you so much for joining us, really appreciate you guys stopping by. My name is Sam Smith and from all of us here at Replay- Keep growing. Don't ever ever stop growing, Don't ever stop.