6 Rules For The Elusive Facebook Ad

We don’t want to scare you or anything, but as far as rules go, these aren’t guaranteed. Such is the beast of the Facebook Ad. It is a topic of much discussion and strong opinion, and while we have had our fair share of success with the little digital monsters, we also have seen a campaign totally plummet into the proverbial ground. The social media graveyard that is advertising platforms, Facebook has made a lot of tweaks to their services. From restructuring the upload interface, splicing out campaigns, and targeting – there is never too much knowledge when it comes to advertising on Facebook. Here are our quick and dirty (well, not that kind of dirty) tricks to keep in mind and a couple important tenants that can apply across the board:


·      Know Your Meme: Early on in my social media game, when Facebook first made a strong push to brands on putting money down for sidebar ads, I thought I had the ultimate recipe. And that concoctions’ main ingredient was a straightforward knowledge of Internet humor. There were hits and misses for sure, but the ones that “missed” were because of a simple advertising reality: I wasn’t selling anything – I was making a joke. Take it for what you will, but unless that joke is revolutionary, it’s not going to sell anything in a Facebook Ad. Depending on what you “sell”, the conversion rates might not matter anyway, branding can carry further in the long tail. Regardless, if you’re going for the joke, it had better be funny.

·      Use Your People: One of the best tools that Facebook introduced was the “Power Editor” with the feature to import email addresses or name targets. Basically, you can utilize your email newsletter to do a highly targeted ad to those who already have an interest. I know, a lil creepy, but not the worst thing – especially on the marketing end. You can even export from MailChimp directly. The best is when you can speak to those who, say, didn’t open last month’s newsletter and missed a discount, so you can use it in the copy to really trigger a click-through.

·      Show, Don’t Tell:  Well… you should Tell too but no one likes bad art. Creative is totally important to any advertising campaign – with Facebook, specifically, I was surprised to find that the creative I thought would work, usually didn’t. In fact, in a recent campaign, I was happily shocked to notice that the brand logo was actually more appealing than an action-packed interesting photograph. Goes to show you that simple works. And also goes to show that you should ALWAYS use the six image options Facebook offers you in a single ad.

·      UseYourSpace: This is the worst part of Facebook Ads – word count. Actually, most “marketing gurus” (whatever that means) would probably say it’s a blessing; less is more kinda thing. There is definitely an art to crafting a message down to its’ core, and it becomes a cringe-worthy endeavor when you have the added pressure of a 25 character headline and 90 character text body… that’s including spaces! It took some practice, but my character elimination skills are top-notch. Knowing when a word needs to be sacrificed for the greater good of the message is a vital talent. If you use Twitter then you know what I mean.

 ·      Stay Relevant: Some of the best campaigns I’ve ever managed piggybacked off a very packed editorial calendar. One that had an exciting or relevant event / holiday / ceremony / etc which we could create a compelling concept around. The numbers don’t lie. For example, in the recent excitement of the World Cup, we rocked a pretty great campaign – and then – the U.S. Team lost (weeping silently at those words) and our numbers, along with our chances of winning that beautiful gold trophy, dropped out. Goes to show you that when your audience is genuinely excited, and you tap into it, you’ll always be winner.

·      Try Everything: There is no formula. Certain ads work better than others and it’s based on a litany of variables: time displayed, set budget, placement on page, bidding style, and the mood or filter of your audience. The best part is you can run simultaneous campaigns that are basically identical EXCEPT for each variable that you’re not 100% sure won’t kill your conversions. This process sets you up for victory no matter the outcome, because even if you didn’t make product sales that translate into major $$$, you’ve got killer data in your corner for the next attempt or the evidence to suggest that it’s a loosing game entirely and spend that money elsewhere. Knowledge is power, people.

 

Let me know if you have any tricks of your own or questions about Facebook ads on (duh) our Facebook Page or, if 140 characters is just enough for you, find us on Twitter.

 

Lead Generation + Awkward Phone Calls

A few months ago, I had a call with a prospective client (who shall remain nameless for obvious reasons), and it went something like this:

Me: “So, what do you consider to your biggest business challenges over the course of the next 12 months?”

Prospective Client: “Well, we have really aggressive revenue goals that we need to hit, and we’re falling short. I really think we need to focus more on lead generation – just getting more people to the site.” 

Me: “Okay, that makes sense. Have you spent any cycles really reviewing your conversion funnel and ensuring that it’s efficient? That might be another direction to explore.”

Prospective Client: “We haven’t done so recently, but I’m pretty sure that it’s dialed.”

Me: “Can you define ‘recently’?”

Prospective Client: “Hmmm, maybe the past 16 months? I’m not really sure as our analytics aren’t super accurate.”

Me: [AWKWARD SILENCE]

Prospective Client: “Are you still there?”

Me: “Yes, I’m here.”

Prospective Client: “So, do you think you might be able to help us? And, might you be open to performance-based compensation?”

Me: [MORE AWKWARD SILENCE]

 

We’re not in the business of trash talking. But, I use this example because it’s one of at least a dozen times that I’ve had almost the same conversation over the course of the past six months.

Being a consultant can be extremely challenging sometimes. Sometimes, we’re charged with coming into organizations with the expectation that we can move mountains in a very short amount of time – and, in many, many cases, we’re successful. But, we’re not too proud to admit that sometimes things just don’t work out as planned.

We are frequently contacted by prospective clients wanting some kind of “lead generation” services, with the overarching ideology that if we can increase traffic to a web property 30% that revenue will grow 30%. And, unfortunately, this thinking is plain and simply flawed (sorry). In addition to principles of diminishing returns based on volume, the increasing costs of online media, the challenges of executing an effective content marketing program for lead generation purposes, it almost doesn’t matter how well you fill the top of your funnel if you’re not incredibly efficient at converting top-of-funnel leads into conversions. Period.

Conversion optimization is a challenging and loaded topic. It can mean a plethora of different things, depending on an organization’s business model, revenue goals, marketplace, etc. – but, it’s an area which needs constant focus and attention if an organization is to succeed and grow. These days consumers are inundated with choices and conversions, be them sales or video views or downloads or something repeat traffic, simply don’t happen all by themselves anymore. Leads, or top-of-funnel traffic, really need to be nurtured and cared for like newborns.

If growing revenue is an organization-wide priority — and in 99.99% of cases, it is; never has anyone said “we actually want to decrease revenue this year,” — organization-wide resources need to be devoted to making it happen. Very rarely is the answer simply, “more traffic.” The global marketplace is increasingly more complex, everything from digital word-of-mouth to marketing automation to branding to the user’s on-site experience all have a direct impact to bottom line, and our ability, as consultants, to effectively do our jobs for our clients. And, happy clients = happy consultants. Everyone wins.

So, when asked if we offer “lead generation services,” the answer is almost always no. Instead, we offer top-to-bottom, inside and out “customer acquisition” services, which are focused not only on filling top-of-funnel leads, but ensuring that our clients are as efficient as humanly possible at driving conversion. It’s blood, sweat and tears work that almost always involves deep collaboration with our clients. But with time and testing, we’re almost always effective at getting our clients on the path to where they need to be, and none of that [AWKWARD SILENCE] anymore.