Facebook ads have been historically rocky. Many businesses find the platform far more lucrative just as a social media site, ignoring the advertising. Some have found great success through advertising. Occasionally, you invest hundreds of dollars for a return of near zero. What steps can you take to better guarantee a positive return on your investment?
1. Provide content, products and services worth the conversion.
In order to gain a return on your investment, you need to sell your product or service. In order to sell your product, you need compelling content to entice your readers and point them in the direction of said product or service. Advertising on Facebook is just another way to push them towards that content and get them started on the path to conversion.
To that end, you need to make sure that your product or service is compelling. It’s the foundation of your business, so it should be, but it can’t hurt to give it a once-over to make sure it can appeal to your Facebook audience.
More importantly, you need to make sure the content you’re posting is compelling and effective. Your ads just drive users to visit your content. If your content doesn’t push them further, your ads do nothing for you. Optimize your content to appeal to your audience, specifically the audience you’re targeting with your Facebook ads, which may be different from the audience your site as a whole targets. Don’t worry about it standing out on your site; as long as it’s relevant to your niche, it will work in your favor.
2. Make use of your other marketing channels after you run your ad.
Your primary goal with your Facebook ads is to lead users to the content that leads them to conversion. When they convert, you’ve done your job. If they don’t, your ad fell flat. Or has it? You’ve still exposed users to your site and its content. They may have enjoyed your content itself, though not enough to convert. Perhaps you gained a regular blog reader or a new signup for your mailing list from running your ad.
When you run an ad, monitor what the users who visit do. Optimize their experience after they click, so that they will keep coming back. More visits, particularly return visits, means more opportunities to convert them into customers.
Remember, the process doesn’t end when they click the ad; it begins. Trace them from the moment they click to the last moment before they leave. Take steps, via an optimized landing page and directed calls to action, to guide and shape that user experience.
3. Split-test ads using unpublished posts.
An unpublished post, also known as a “dark” post, is a powerful tool for Facebook advertising. Essentially, a dark post is a post that is posted but invisible on your Facebook page. Users clicking your page or following your profile won’t see it. The only users that see it are those who have a direct link.
Dark posts are limited in utility, but they are a powerful tool for split testing. You can create several dark posts, each tailored to a given audience, and test them with different Facebook ad campaigns. Take elements of the one that does better and use them in other ad campaigns and in ongoing split testing.
In order to create a dark post, you must use Power Editor, a Facebook app for Chrome. It can be found on Facebook itself, here: https://www.facebook.com/help/194355723944655.
4. Avoid broad-spectrum targeting of non-fan users.
5. Target existing fans in moderation.
Jon Loomer published the results of an ad analysis he ran on a one month, $300 ad campaign set. The results are interesting:
- Marketing directly to fans had a massively positive ROI. The audience was already interested in his product, so they converted in large numbers. Unfortunately, they were soon saturated with a profusion of ads beyond what may be considered reasonable.
- Broad-spectrum advertising to an untargeted audience did nothing. Though he ended his campaign early, what he found was that a number of variant ads to non-fan users did nothing. A longer campaign with more experimental ads may have drawn in conversions, but the rate would be so low as to make it not worth it.
The takeaway is obvious; market to the people who are already interested in your product. They’re the people far more likely to convert. Users that don’t follow your profile are more likely to ignore your ad or, if they click it, back away without converting.
Be careful about overly saturating your fans with advertising, however. Fans are sensitive creatures; they react poorly to an environment made toxic with promotion. They are a safe investment for a small level of marketing, but you can drive them away if you make them feel like you’re using them for profits above all else.
6. Retarget users visiting your site.
Facebook ad retargeting is a simple concept. Track the users who visit your site and target them with ads for your products. If they visited your site in the first place, chances are they’re interested in your content and products. If they didn’t convert immediately, they may still rethink that choice and convert at a later date. The problem with that intention is that, often times, they will forget or get distracted and never convert. Your retargeting allows you to bring them back and give them another chance to convert.
Take the previous two steps in consideration. Your fans are a captive audience easily targeted in moderation. You want to avoid people who are unrelated to your page or your group. That leaves a significant part of your ad campaign with no target. Retargeting your visitors is the perfect solution.
With retargeting making up most of your ad campaign, you’ll want to take the time to test different ad sizes, positions and content. All of the typical strategies and analysis comes into play here.
- Try out different ads to find a few that work.
- Target different segments of your audience with different ads.
- Optimize your landing pages for the audience you expect to visit them.
Rather than push for conversions directly, convince your retargeted users of a smaller investment; joining your Facebook fan group. This makes them part of that first group with the high ROI, your fans.
When you focus on the right people, your ROI will go through the roof. Facebook ads have the benefit of a low expense, so long as they are used properly. It would be easy to dump money into blind advertising, which is exactly what you need to avoid.
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