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Over 2 million advertisers have used the Facebook ad platform in the last two years. And according to WordStream, average cost-per-click (CPC) has reached $1.72.
Not too long ago, advertising on Facebook cost pennies. But as with most digital marketing channels, competition is driving up costs. This means it’s becoming harder than ever to acquire users profitably on the social media giant’s ad platform.
So what can you do? You can give up, or you can stay ahead of the curve. I’ve spent $11.5 million on Facebook/Instagram ads over the last 5+ years.
I’ll tell you the five ways to succeed in 2020.
Table of Contents
1. Refine your audience
Good paid social advertisers know that there is nothing more important than your audience selection when it comes to Facebook and Instagram advertising. You can have beautiful ads, catchy copy and great landing pages, but this fact remains: 18 year olds will not buy your software products and women will not buy men’s clothes!
Your audience targeting is essential.
I believe the three most important data cuts for your audience are age, gender and device type. Of course, based on what you’re selling, this may vary. But time and time again, I’ve found the biggest variance in performance is in these three categories.
So even if you don’t start by targeting or excluding any of these audiences, make sure to check in periodically to understand whether or not performance differences emerge. If they do, you’ll want to refine your targeting to make the most of your campaigns.
To do this, use the columns feature in the ads editor. Here, you’re able to customize your data columns and look at different segments.
Since CPCs are getting higher and the ad auctions more competitive, it’s important to continue doing this, so as to optimize performance and capture some arbitrage in your ad performance.
2. Make sure your landing pages rock!
We live in a visual world. All the big advertisers on Facebook and Instagram have teams of designers to make pixel-perfect ads and landing pages. In order to compete, you’ll need to keep up. Quite simply, some landing page experiences just won’t cut it anymore.
Enter: landing page software.
A customer clicks your ad because they expect your product or service to solve their problem. If your landing page is uncluttered, professional and “feel right,” they may stick around long enough to buy. But often, your homepage or product pages aren’t optimized for conversion. Frequently, homepages are more informational and contain few of the necessary elements that drive action in direct response advertising — like for Facebook and Google Ads.
Tools like GetResponse, Unbounce and Leadpages are making it possible for average Joe’s to make professional looking pages that drive actions like email capture or button clicks. Again, in order to compete with the big budget advertisers, it’s essential that your landing pages are clean, well-designed and drive action.
The good news: it doesn’t take a lot of design work to make landing page software work. GetResponse and most other credible landing page solutions have out-of-the-box templates that you can customize to your brand. These are tried and true pages that are guaranteed to help you compete on Facebook’s ad platform.
3. Get lookalike audiences right
In most cases, lookalike audiences perform best on Facebook and Instagram.
Quite simply: Mark Zuckerberg and friends know a ton about us. So generally, the Facebook algorithm is best at picking audiences. In my experience, using 1% lookalike audiences is the best way to guarantee that your Facebook ads are targeting the right people.
But Facebook has recently added another valuable tool. Now you can build lookalike audiences that include data about customer lifetime value, so as to optimize for the best users.
Said another way, you probably have some customers who have spent $50 with you. You probably have others that have spent $500 with you. Facebook’s algorithm should be optimizing to find users that “look alike” the $500 customers, rather than the $50 customers.
So the next time you’re uploading a Custom Audience to create lookalikes, use the customer LTV file upload instead.
To do this, navigate to your Audiences dashboard and click Create Audience. From the drop-down menu, select Custom Audience, and then choose Customer File.
Next, select the bottom option to include your LTV.
Your LTV should be a number that represents how much money each customer in your file has netted your business. This way, Facebook has a way of understanding which of your customers is most valuable.
Voila, the Facebook algorithm will now “find” the most profitable users for your product.
4. Get retargeting campaigns right with testimonials
Remarketing campaigns (also called “retargeting”) are incredibly effective on Facebook and Instagram. Most advertisers find them to be the strongest performers in terms of cost-per-action. Retargeting ads are ad units that run to people who have previously come in contact with your brand.
Generally, there are two types of retargeting ads:
- You can retarget users who hit your website or checkout page via the Facebook pixel.
- You can retarget users who have previously seen or engaged with your ads.
In either case, you’re engaging with a “warm” audience who has already seen or interacted with your brand at least once before.
So it makes sense that your ad creative might not be the same as it would be for an audience that has never heard about you or your brand, right?
Using Facebook’s Ad Library — which allows you to effectively stalk the ads of competitors, or anyone else advertising on Facebook — it’s clear that one ad unit stands out: testimonials.
In a non-scientific survey of about 50 consumer brands, ~90% of them are using testimonial ads. Why? Because social proof works, particularly for users who already know and understand your company but just need to be pushed over the edge. Customer testimonials are historically, one of the best forms of social proof.
Use a tool like Boast.io to collect video and written testimonials from your customers. If you need to incentivize them to give you a testimonial, do so! $20 Amazon gift cards are usually an easy way to incentivize.
5. Try lead ads
Lead ads are sometimes overlooked. Whereas most Facebook ads run with the goal of getting a user to a landing page, lead ads are a unit that drives users to a lead form that is native in the Facebook platform.
How do lead ads work?
When the user clicks the ad, a form opens up. The prospect enters his or her information in the form. You can keep the fields to just email address and name or you can add more fields to qualify your leads further. After you collect the lead, you can send it to your CRM or your email marketing software of choice.
The user never has to leave the Facebook platform, which is the beauty of a lead ad.
In general, lead ads have a 20% higher conversion rate than traditional ads. Of course, the quality of those leads tends to be a bit lower. But particularly for businesses with high ticket sales and a relatively long sales cycle, lead ads can be an incredible way to widen your funnel. Quite simply, once you have a user’s email address, you can nurture them via email, sales calls, or any other way you can think of.
It’s particularly interesting to look at lead ads if you’re selling consulting services, real estate, SaaS products or other high ticket items on Facebook. I’m not saying it’ll definitely work better than standard paid social ad units. But it’s definitely worth a try in some cases!
Staying ahead of digital marketing trends is one thing that separates great marketers from mediocre ones. Of course, to stay on top, you need to be current — always reading blogs, watching videos and practicing/testing strategies.
This list of tactics will help you make the most of your budget in 2020 and beyond. Comment below with any questions or tips!