Photo by Monika Kozub on Unsplash
It takes time to plan and run effective Facebook campaigns, and too many businesses expect instant results.
I wish I could wave a magic wand for overnight success, but it just doesn’t work that way.
When you’re planning a new launch, event or sale, you shouldn’t be relying on Ads as a quick fix to boost sales at the last minute.
If you use Facebook or Instagram Ads as part of an integrated strategy from the outset, your campaign will have more chance of success.
I’ve outlined my 6 steps for running effective Facebook campaigns below, but first – have you got everything set up?
Have you installed the Facebook Pixel on your website? Are you tracking Facebook events?
Not set up yet? Read this first: Getting started with Facebook Ads
My recipe for success: effective Facebook campaigns in 6 steps
As a Facebook and Instagram advertising expert, I work with brands in the home, interior and lifestyle sectors to run national campaigns. I trained with one of the UK’s leading Facebook Ads strategists, and I helped one client generate £1.2million in sales from a £650 Ad spend.
This is my bread and butter. I know what it takes to run effective Facebook campaigns, and I want you to understand that it is totally within your reach.
1. Research your target market
The more data you can gather in advance of your campaign the better.
We’re looking for more than a basic set of demographics here. Things like gender, age and location matter, but you’ll also need answers to questions like:
- Where does your audience get their news?
- Where do they spend their time online?
- How and where do they shop?
- How do they get to work?
- Where do they work?
- What are they interested in?
- What do they do in their spare time?
- What problems do they have?
- What are they working on or towards?
- What are their goals?
- Who or what inspires them?
- What do they want their homes and lives to look like?
- What do their homes and lives look like now?
That might sound like overkill, but it’s this level of detail that gives you the edge.
Social advertising is cost-effective and easily scaled because it enables brands to focus in on a specific audience.
You’re not restricted to an audience that has been pre-built by someone else.
You’re not limited to the region your local newspaper covers or the readership an industry magazine has. Instead, you get to put Ads in front of the specific people who are most likely to buy from you.
Do your research first.
Who are the people who are most likely to buy from you?
2. Understand where your product/service sits in the market
There can be a lot of competition on social media, so it’s important to understand where you fit in.
Who are you competing against?
How do you compare in terms of price and value?
Are your competitors running campaigns?
Who are they targeting and how are they communicating?
You don’t need to fixate on your competitors, but you do need to know the bigger picture.
Learn to see things from your target customers’ point of view.
What are they seeing? What are they looking for? What do they value?
3. Test your audience
We’ve talked about how great Facebook Advertising is for targeting. It’s more cost-effective than traditional advertising because it enables you to narrow in on a specific audience.
But it takes time to get there. Especially if this is your first time.
Facebook feeds back campaign data almost instantly. Of course, we don’t want to jump in that quickly. There are over 1.5 billion daily active users on Facebook, and over 500 million on Instagram. It’ll take the algorithms time to find the people you’re targeting – results won’t happen overnight.
And to be honest, you wouldn’t want them too.
One of the often-underlooked values of Facebook Advertising is that it gives you a huge opportunity to learn about your audience.
Here’s an example:
Let’s say we split your audience up into 10 segments. We’ve followed step one, above, and used our research and judgement to identify 10 types/groups of potential client.
Next, we’d test your Ads with each group to help us identify the best strategies.
Which of our segments is responding well? What actions are they taking? When are they responding?
This is a huge opportunity for us to gather valuable data about your audience. There are so many opportunities to reach people, but you won’t know which is best until you test.
If you can start testing your audience at least 8 weeks (but preferably 12) ahead of a big campaign, you’ll have a better chance of success.
4. Test your creatives
Just like tastes differ over films, music and books, the same Ads won’t work with every audience.
Headlines, images, layout, calls-to-action, colours… it all matters, and the smallest of tweaks can make a difference.
Beyond that, you could test:
- Single images vs. single videos
- Single videos vs. single videos
- Carousel videos vs. single videos
- Ads with different call-to-actions (i.e. Shop the Sale vs. Visit the Store)
The options go on and on, so it’s important you’ve got a theory in mind for what might work.
If you know your target audience and understand the market, you should have a good idea of how to narrow down your creative options.
And don’t forget to call on the data you already have.
What works well for you organically, when you’re not paying to promote content?
Which of your photos are most popular, and why? Which posts get the most engagement, and why?
5. Analyse and refine
This is where effective Facebook campaigns come to life. After all that testing and gathering of data, you now get to form a strategy.
How that strategy looks will depend entirely on the insights gained from researching and testing.
That’s all the stuff we covered in steps 1 – 4.
With enough data from a range of tests, a clever strategist will pull together a plan to ramp up returns.
To put it simply, that means getting rid of what’s not working and doing more of what is.
With all the intelligence you’ve gathered, you’ve got the opportunity to build highly-targeted campaigns that are cost-effective. More on that below.
6. Optimise for cost efficiency
When we talk about analysing and refining the performance of your Ads, we’re not just talking about results going up.
A refined strategy will also help you bring costs down.
But remember, this doesn’t happen quickly.
You’ve probably seen Ads (ironically) promising overnight success or 6-figure returns with Facebook Advertising. Those things do happen, but they’re rare. You can’t rely on them.
And, despite what some low-rate agencies might have you believe, you’ve got to invest if you want to see significant returns.
You can keep risk low in the first instance by testing small. Once you know what’s working, it can pay to up your investment and test on a bigger scale.
Facebook Advertising space is sold at auction. The more competition there is around an advertising opportunity, the higher the price.
As you gather more data about the way your audience is responding, you’ll find it easier to spot less competitive options that still deliver impressive results.