40 million small businesses are on Facebook, but only 2 million of them are using Facebook’s built-in advertising.
If you’re a social media marketer with experience in Facebook for Business, you’ve probably enjoyed the rich spoils of this relatively unexplored territory. Clickthrough rates are high, cost-per-conversion is outperforming paid search advertising (in places, several times over), and Facebook’s familiar aesthetic allows for compelling ad copy and images to act in concert.
The thing is, consumers want to interact with brands on Facebook, and Facebook gives brands the tools to meet consumers on the platform that matters most. You’ve got space for the compelling images and videos that users love to see. You’ve got a generous amount of screen real estate in places of social importance, including the News Feed, Right Column, and third-party apps. You’ve got built-in tools for social interaction (likes, comments, and shares) that can inherently make your advertising more inviting. It’s cheaper—and often, more effective—to advertise on Facebook than in other mediums.
If it sounds like we’re excited about the current state of Facebook advertising, you’ve got the right of it. It’s a crucial component of our social media marketing strategy and, alongside community management, organic campaigns, and content marketing, is a huge part of what helps our clients, from small, local businesses to national entities, earn business through social media.
But between all the options and optimizations available, there are just as many ways for a business to fall short in its Facebook marketing as there are leads to be generated. That’s why we were glad to see the number of small business owners in attendance at last week’s Boost Your Business event held by Facebook at Minneapolis’ Aria venue. Clearly, the word about Facebook marketing is spreading, and Boost Your Business was a great chance for newcomers to get acquainted and veteran practitioners to share knowledge.
But perhaps the best knowledge of the day came from Facebook’s small business team, who were eager to share more detailed knowledge about making Facebook advertising truly sing. Here are five best insider tips for boosting your business we heard from Facebook employees throughout the day:
1. Define Your Conversion Value
When setting up a campaign with the objective “Website Conversions,” you can override Facebook’s automatic bidding and manually set the amount a conversion is worth to you. The default option allows Facebook to get as many website conversions as it can at the lowest price, but we were specifically recommended by a Facebook insider to go with the second option—setting your own conversion value.
The reason? Facebook’s best guess as to your conversion value typically means less aggressive bidding. For maximum conversions, try raising your target bid per conversion to as much as you’re comfortable with, like at or slightly below typical paid search bids. Facebook will still try to bid below this value when possible, but you’re giving it the leeway to earn extra conversions in more competitive audience segments. Of course, split-testing ads with automatic and manual bidding for a few weeks is always recommended.
2. Tell a Story With Carousel
Carousel-type ads are extremely popular in the retail space, and for good reason. These ad types align multiple images and links in a single ad, with users given the ability to swipe between them. Sellers like Amazon, Newegg, and more can feature multiple products and links in just a single ad buy, and by working through programs like Facebook Exchange, they can maximize the relevance of these displays through remarketing.
Rather than featuring multiple products or services, why not use Carousel to tell a story? It’s a non-obvious use of the format, but it’s an easy way to add short-form authenticity and narrative intrigue to your ads. Try using photographs of your business or workflow to tell a story about how much you care, or trace the construction of your product to demonstrate its best qualities, like being locally sourced or responsibly made.
3. Set a Lifetime Budget, Not a Daily Budget
Facebook defaults to asking you for a daily spending limit, and this is a familiar technique from other advertising forms. But a member of the Facebook Small Business team tells us that a Lifetime Budget is the better option.
For one, it streamlines planning. In the ad creation phase, you can input different lifetime budget amounts, as well as start and end dates, to get a picture of how Estimated Daily Reach changes in relation to spend.
But more importantly, from a strategic perspective, it gives Facebook the freedom to chase results. If your daily spending limit has already been reached, Facebook might not be able to leverage a sudden influx of your relevant users or a temporary change in the bidding landscape until the next day. By then, it’s too late.
4. Use Conversion Pixels for Better Measurement
Facebook is pretty good about giving you relevant metrics when it comes to measuring the performance of your campaigns. But 60 percent of social marketers report that measuring ROI is their biggest challenge, followed closely by the difficulty of connecting social activities to business outcomes.
In truth, there are lots of ways to do this. You can use tracking URLs to track conversions in Google Analytics, use the start of a social program as a marker against web traffic and revenue, or calculate the monetary value of your social media gains compared to traditional media.
Another way is with Facebook’s conversion pixels. These small bits of code can be placed anywhere on your website that’s tied to a conversion or desired action (a post-purchase “Thank You” page, for example, or a newsletter sign-up). When that piece of code fires, Facebook is alerted and sees if that web visitor is also a Facebook user. If that person has seen your ad or clicked your ad, the conversion is attributed.
Better yet, your ad campaigns can sort the conversions you’ve earned by device, location, and demographic. It’s a powerful way to not only measure your campaign performance, but to build a persona of your online consumers. Speaking of which…
5. Use Conversion Pixels for Better Targeting
Facebook’s Custom Audiences are a boon for marketers. From a variety of sources, including a list of emails or the fans of your Page, you can build a Lookalike audience of the closest matches among all Facebook users. The result, whether you allow the top 10% of matches or only the top 1%, is an extremely relevant audience that closely mimics your existing fans and consumers.
You can also create a Lookalike audience from existing conversion pixels, which means you can send ads directly to the top 1% matches of existing or recent customers. By using different conversion pixels for different products or services, you can drill down even further and optimize your ads for a specific conversion. Send different messages to folks interested in one product over another; it’s easy with pixels.
Heck, you can even use pixels for remarketing. Do you have pages that represent different levels of the sales funnel, or key landing pages recently launched for a broader marketing campaign? Put a distinct conversion pixel anywhere of importance on your website, build a Custom Audience of those visitors on Facebook, and target messaging directly to their stopping point.
Give Your Business a Boost
Facebook advertising is on a stratospheric growth curve for the months and years to come, especially in mobile, which makes today a great time to join the platform or refine your existing techniques. Take these insider tips—straight from Facebook employees—to heart as you get started with Facebook advertising or revisit your existing strategy.