Editor’s Note: This post has been updated with new content and links to better serve our readers. 🙂
Original Publication Date: May 15, 2017
If we said to think about the words “Facebook ad strategies” and the word “jungle,” what’s the first thing that comes to mind?
Maybe you imagined your ad sets getting tangled up like wild vines, eating away all your ad budgets and ROI.
This sounds like a bad dream.
A Facebook ad jungle should look more like a paradise island where every day is a new chance to pick the low-hanging fruit and welcome new leads.
One of the key things stopping marketers from reaching this heavenly version of the advertising jungle is missing a rock solid Facebook ad strategy.
Advertising without a plan is like throwing expensive flyers in the wind and hoping someone will catch them. If you prefer a jungle metaphor, it’s like picking raw papayas without knowing there are ripe pineapples waiting behind the next cliff.
If you want to reach your wildest goals, you’ll need a wild plan. Luckily for you, we’ve cherry picked all the best Facebook ad strategies and added them into this very article.
We’ll start with four essential things that you should do before setting up your first Facebook ad. Next, we’ll tap into the fun part and explore new ways of boosting your Facebook campaign results with advanced strategies.
1) Set Up a Conversion Funnel
If you walked up to a stranger on the street and ask them to buy you an ice cream, they’d probably give you a weird look and walk away.
However, if you asked a stranger to tell you the time, most people would do so. If you then talked to the person for an hour and found out that you’ve got plenty of similar interests and have a couple of friends in common, they’d also buy you the ice cream.
Before you run to any wrong conclusions, the moral of this story is not exactly the world’s full of free ice cream.
The moral of the story is that in order to create successful ad campaigns, you need to think of your target audience as groups of people in different conversion stages.
A conversion funnel represents the different relationships you have with your target audience. Some people are ready to buy from you right this moment while others still need proof that your product’s any good.
As Olivia from KlientBoost explained in her stellar article about conversion funnels, a typical funnel has four stages: attract, convert, close, and delight.
There are different Facebook campaign strategies and ad types for each stage of your funnel.
For example, a person who’s downloaded your eBooks and participated in a couple of webinars is a lot more likely to buy your product than someone who sees your ad for the first time.
A well-defined conversion funnel can enhance your campaign management big time:
- You can create several Facebook audiences targeting various stages
- You’ll find it easier to develop offers and campaigns once you’re aware of the funnel stages
- You may develop cross-channel marketing incentives to move people through your conversion funnel
- You’ll be able to set a different set of campaign goals depending on the audience’s relationship with your brand
2) Create Realistic Buyer Personas
Before you start to develop the UVP (Unique Value Proposition) for your Facebook campaigns, you need to know who your ideal customer is.
In terms of Facebook ads, knowing your target audience equals having insight to their pain points, interests, location, and purchase behaviors.
Think of your buyer persona as a story of a real person, not some abstract concept. You’ll need to know that person to their bones to match their expectations and use the right language.
Even more important – you need to understand how your buyer personas identify themselves.
Autopilot, for instance, talks the language of their ideal customer — a SaaS business owner. Their Facebook ad headline says “How To Nail Your SaaS Trial.”
Getting trial users to sign up for a paid subscription is just the problem for which software vendors struggle.
How are you going to know who to target with your Facebook ad campaigns if you haven’t got a clue about your ideal customer?
I promise that the hours you spend on customer development is time well spent. You’ll know whom to target, when to target, and what to offer.
3) Segment Your Audience to Make Relevant Offers
If you’ve followed the first two Facebook advertising tactics in this article, you’ve got a conversion funnel and you know who your target audience is.
Now, it’s time to mix up those two things.
As you place your ideal customers in the Prospects stage of the conversion funnel, you’ve got yourself a warm audience interested in your product.
We’ve seen many brands succeeding with remarketing to different audience segments. And we’re not the only ones:
Aurum Brothers was able to get a 13 times higher ROI on their Facebook ads when retargeting past website visitors. A PR Newswire study found that retargeting is a great tactic for raising brand awareness. It represented the highest lift in trademark search behavior at 1,046%.
Types Of Audience Segments For Facebook Ads
Here are a couple more customer segments we’ve seen work wonders on Facebook and other ad platforms:
Lukewarm leads: These are usually people who have been to your website once, but haven’t engaged with any content or offers.
Past blog readers: People that have come to your blog via search engine results or social media, but have left after reading a couple of articles.
Engaged blog readers: People that keep returning to your blog for more insight — they’re more likely to make a purchase in the future or share your content on Facebook.
Landing page visitors: Prospects that have landed on specific landing pages, meaning they’re interested in particular products or features.
Shopping cart abandoners: People who almost bought from you, but need to be nudged to complete their purchase.
Repeat customers: Fans that keep coming back for more — they’re your potential brand advocates. According to a study by Nielsen, people are four times more likely to buy an item when referred by a friend.
The common thread between all these audiences is that they represent your buyer personas in different conversion stages. And as you’ve realized by now, every stage of the funnel demands a different advertising approach and targeted offers — and Facebook can assist with targeting people at those stages.
In contrast, this ad by MailChimp seems to be targeting people more familiar with their email marketing platform.
Fashion retailer bonprix was able to reach a 4.3% increase in incremental sales by using a mix of Facebook targeting tools and testing different ad types.
Once you get a better understanding of your customer segments, you’ll be able to create increasingly relevant offers and ad campaigns that address a specific need or solve a common problem.
4) Install the Conversion Tracking Pixel
For many advertisers, conversion tracking is the boring cousin of shiny ad designs and flashy headlines.
But in case you haven’t noticed, we’re living in the 21st century, and being a nerd is pretty damn cool.
Crunching numbers and tracking the right conversions will ensure that your Facebook campaign is on the right course.
And did I mention all the Facebook Custom Audiences you can create after you’ve installed the Facebook Pixel on your website?
Here’s how you can set up the basic Facebook Pixel code:
- Go to the Pixels page in Facebook Ads Manager
- Click on “Actions”
- Click on “View Code”
Every Facebook ad account gets a single Pixel code (that’s all you need).
Copy the code and paste the Pixel code between the <head> tags on each web page or in your website template to install it on your entire website. You can also use Google Tag Manager to place the Pixel.
If you want to track specific conversions such as purchases or lead conversions, you’ll need to add specific conversion tracking code.
You can track nine different custom events with Facebook Pixel:
For an in-depth guide on installing Facebook Pixel to your website, look here: Facebook’s Pixel implementation guidelines.
After you’ve set up the Facebook Pixel, you can use it to track your ad campaigns’ results and create new Custom Audiences for retargeting ads.
If you thought “Yeah, yeah… I’ll install the Pixel later,” think again and do it right away. You’ll thank yourself (and us) later.
5) Facebook Ads + AdWords – A Match Made in Heaven
Now that you’ve set a strong foundation to your Facebook strategy, let’s see how you can start bringing in the results.
The good thing about digital marketing is that you don’t have to choose a single channel, make large bets on it, and then sit back and pray to get good results.
It’s the opposite — with digital marketing channels, you can combine multiple campaigns and lead sources to support each other throughout your conversion funnel.
Here’s one of the tactics we like to use in KlientBoost: First, we use Facebook ads to create brand awareness and see who’s interested in our client’s product/offer.
Next, we use this website remarketing audience to create RLSA (Remarketing List Search Ads) in AdWords.
You can set up the AdWords campaigns so that when a past website visitor searches for one of your keywords, you’ll place a higher bid to appear higher on their search results page.
And to take this Facebook and AdWords strategy to an even more advanced level, here’s another trick: RLSA competitor bidding also allows you to bid more aggressively for your competitors’ keyword searches. You can snatch potential customers right from under your competition’s nose!
6) Combine Facebook Ads with Content Marketing
Most companies create Facebook ads with the goal of turning warm leads into paying customers. Sadly, they’re also targeting cold leads with those same ads, drastically reducing the campaign’s ROI.
Often, the reason marketers target cold leads with straightforward sales offers is that they simply don’t have enough warm leads to target. There’s a huge unfilled gap between the cold leads and warm leads.
If you’re having a similar problem, listen up: You can turn cold leads into warm leads by using a combination of content marketing and Facebook ads.
Instead of jumping in with a salesy offer right away, start slowly and share valuable content with your Facebook target audiences.
For example, Moz plays the long game and publishes 10x content about the latest SEO tactics. Slowly but surely, cold leads start to perceive them as a leading expert in the field of SEO, turning new leads into customers.
Later, after a person has read a couple of your blog articles or downloaded a free eBook, you can move then forward in the funnel, and target them with more sales-oriented Facebook ads.
According to an article on Facebook blog promotions on Content Marketing Institute, here’s the best publishing plan for promoting blog content on Facebook:
- Share your post on Facebook
- Ask your team members to like and share the post but don’t overdo it unless you want to get penalized by Facebook
- Boost your Facebook post to reach a wider audience
Tip: You can use a single Facebook page post across multiple ad campaigns, so that all the social proof (likes and shares) will show under a single ad.
Get additional content marketing tips from this article on paid content promotion.
7) Use Facebook Mobile Ads + Instagram Ads
With mobile making up 84% of Facebook advertising revenue, that’s the place to be. If you add to this equation Facebook’s Audience Network, you can reach an even larger audience.
Before you create a mobile Facebook ad, consider your ad goals – can they best be achieved on mobile or desktop?
Moreover, think about your landing page – is it mobile-optimized? Don’t make the Facebook ad mistake of driving mobile traffic to a web page that’s hard to read unless the person’s using a large screen.
We’ve seen mobile Facebook ads deliver great results across different industries, from consumer products to B2B — it’s up to you to test whether it works for your brand.
Here’s an example by Udemy — they’re using both Facebook’s mobile newsfeed ads…
… and Instagram ads to get people to sign up for courses.
When setting up a Facebook ad campaign that’s targeting both desktop and mobile newsfeeds, consider creating slightly different ads for either placement.
Desktop newsfeed ads benefit from a longer link descriptions with their headline being the most eye-capturing part of the ad. Mobile ads, on the contrary, display the headline with a smaller font, making the main ad text arguably the most important part of your ad copy.
8) Run a Free Giveaway Campaign
If you want people to act upon your Facebook ads, you’ve got to offer them something of high value.
Facebook giveaways and contests can be highly engaging and sometimes even fun.
For example, SurveyMonkey’s offering a chance to win cool prizes in exchange of participating in surveys.
Del Mar Fans & Lighting’s Facebook giveaway requires entrants to cast a vote on their preferred lighting product. Once they vote, they enter the competition (and become a lead).
Your Facebook contests do not necessarily have to be focused on sales. Instead, look for long-term benefits such as increased brand awareness and new leads to enter in your conversion funnel.
Tip: When targeting a large cold Facebook audience, select the Reach campaign objective, so that Facebook will deliver your ads to the maximum number of people.
9) Build New Marketing Lists with Lead Ads
Lead ads make life super easy. When a lead ad appears on your newsfeed, you can fill in your contact information without ever leaving Facebook.
This removes the possible friction points between your prospect and the conversion, making it easier for them to exchange their email address for an eBook or another type of Facebook ad offer.
Here’s a Facebook ad strategy to test out with lead ads:
First, create a Facebook Custom Audience of the past 30 days blog readers and website visitors that haven’t converted on any offer yet. Then, set up a lead ads campaign to collect their emails and move them into your marketing funnel.
That’s exactly what AdEspresso did with their eBook campaign on Facebook. Here’s what their ad looked like:
Their results? The average cost for a prospect’s email address was around $2.
AdEspresso also ran an experiment to see if Facebook lead ads or regular ads with a landing page worked best. They concluded that:
“When re-targeting website visitors, Lead Ads are more likely to win on mobile, while Landing Pages are more likely to win on Desktop.”
The better your content offer, the more downloads people make, resulting in a large number of new leads.
10) Set Up Multi-Product Ads for E-Commerce
Facebook multi-product ads allow you to showcase multiple products in a single ad.
That’s beneficial for several reasons:
- Multi-Product Ads give your customers more options to choose from.
- You can showcase multiple products for the cost of promoting a single ad.
- You can show multiple benefits of a single product.
Adobe’s case study involving several advertisers showed that using multi-product ads can bring:
- Significant improvements in CTR, with an increase between 50%-300%.
- Reductions in the CPC, with costs decreasing by as much as 35% as a result of higher click engagement.
- Cost per acquisition improved by more than 250% in some cases.
But that’s just scratching the surface of the carousel-type Facebook ads. This ad type can also be used by B2B and SaaS companies or subscription services.
11) Take the Carousel Ads Out for a Test Drive
A report by Kinetic Social revealed that carousel ads are 10 times better at getting people to click through Facebook ads compared to static sponsored posts on Facebook.
The best carousel ads tell a consistent story throughout the slides (you can use up to 10 slides, by the way).
Keep in mind that you carousel ad’s first image can make or break your campaign — it needs to be so good people can’t ignore it.
If you’re in software business or sell a product that has several steps to setup, you can also use the carousel ads to walk your target audience through the process of using your product.
For example, a subscription service could have a Facebook ad explaining the entire subscription funnel, from the initial signup to the joy of opening a delivered subscription box.
12) Conquer the News Feed With Video Ads
If images can speak a thousand words, what does it say about videos?
There’s a significant amount of evidence that including videos in your Facebook advertising strategy leads to wildly improved results.
A report by Kinetic Social showed that video ads have the lowest eCPC compared to other ad types, with an average eCPC of $0.18.
According to Adobe, shoppers that watch videos are 1.81 times more likely to purchase than non-video viewers. That would equal an almost 85% increase in your advertising ROI.
Goes without saying that the videos you use should be of high quality and relevant to your target audience.
We’ve seen a lot of Facebook video posts succeed and a lot go south. Mainly, it’s the quality and relevance that decide whether a video will become popular or not.
For example, this video by Adidas has accumulated over 10k likes:
If you’ve got a cool product that you’d like to show in action, video ads are a good way to do that as well.
- Got a subscription service? – Cool, create a video of someone unwrapping the box to show the excitement of receiving your product.
- Selling SaaS? – Try creating a brief video that shows what your product looks like.
- Offering consultations? – Create a short Facebook video ad to invite people participate in your upcoming webinar.
13) Ramp Up Your Remarketing Strategies
Once you’ve managed to get people to visit your website and spend some time on specific landing pages, it would be a waste to let them go and not send them an invitation to return.
If you’re not using Facebook Custom Audiences yet, now’s a good time to start.
I recommend that you start by retargeting your landing page visitors. Here’s why:
- Landing page visitors are familiar with your brand
- They’re interested in a particular product or use case
- You can create landing page-specific offers relevant to a small audience
For example, if someone visited our conversion rate optimization-related landing page, we could set up a Facebook remarketing campaign to turn them from a lead to a client.
According to eMarketer, nearly three out of five U.S. online buyers say they notice ads for products they’ve previously looked up on other sites.
If you’d be able to make 60% of past website visitors return to your website and 25% of them would sign up for an offer, you’d be swimming in success.
The rule of segmenting your Facebook audiences into granular groups also applies to remarketing campaigns. Go as specific as you can and make landing page-specific offers.
Also, include an easy-to-see benefit and be clear about the next step you’d like a user to take, for instance, by using the “Sign Up” or “Download” call-to-action button in your ad.
14) Set Up Dynamic Facebook Ads
Dynamic product ads are one of the highest ROI strategies e-commerce sites can use.
Dynamic Ads are your chance to bring back hesitant customers by showing them highly tailored ads based on their activity on your site.
By combining the multi-product ads with Facebook Custom Audiences, you can produce a carousel of different items a person browsed on your website — dynamic product ads.
For example, if a person looked at red dresses and accessories on Amazon, they could be retargeted with a dynamic product ad showing the exact products.
E-commerce company Nomorerack used this Facebook ad strategy and saw its CTRs increase as much as 42% and its CPA decrease more than 40%.
To set up multi-product Facebook ads, upload your product catalogue to Facebook Business Manager.
If you intend to show dynamic ads to people who visited your website or mobile app, you’ll need to implement the Facebook Pixel on your website and/or the Facebook SDK in your mobile app. You’ll find the full guidelines here.
15) Run a Profitable Upsell Campaign
According to research by Adobe, in the U.S., 41% of overall revenue comes from repeat customers.
The average revenue per visit for repeat purchasers in the U.S. is 497% higher compared to regular shoppers.
A single look at this data hints that upsell campaigns are a potential goldmine.
So, when was the last time you ran an upsell campaign?
As you’re not in school anymore, it’s ok to leave your homework undone. However, there’s a huge untapped potential in targeting remarketing campaigns on your existing customers.
One upsell strategy is targeting people based on their recent purchases and offering related items.
For example, when someone orders business cards from MOO, they could follow up with an offer on their notebooks as well.
Another upsell strategy can be used to revive past customer relationships and get the attention of people who bought your product several months ago.
In this case, a discount offer could be a great selling point — if the person liked your product, they might be interested in getting another with a nice bargain.
The above ad by Teabox illustrates that upselling as a Facebook ad strategy works nicely for B2C products. If you’re a B2B business, you may find more success with referrals and email marketing. In fact, 84% of B2B decision makers start the buying process with a referral.
16) Nurture Leads with Relevant Content
All the above-mentioned Facebook ad strategies focused mainly on one thing – turning cold and warm leads into customers.
Often, marketers give up after a second or third attempt at converting a prospect into a paying client. What they don’t realize is that there are many small factors that might have contributed to the decision not to make a purchase or signup at the moment.
However, maybe in six months’ time, your lead is ready to give your product a try. That’s why it would make sense to keep nurturing your leads even if you fail to convert them right away.
One way of doing this is running a lead nurturing content marketing campaign every few months.
You could even create multiple highly targeted articles or guides around specific landing page topics to make sure your campaign is relevant to various lead segments. Infusionsoft’s Facebook ad is clearly targeting a customer segment of real estate companies.
Another option is to celebrate the important milestones with your customers, fans, and leads like Pipedrive did.
When setting up remarketing and lead nurturing campaigns, use Facebook Custom Audiences to reach people in your email lists, past website visitors, and many other lead segments.
17) Keep Your Current Customers Happy
There’s a number of reasons to keep your customers happy and content:
- Great customer experience differentiates you from the competition.
- Referrals and word-of-mouth are powerful marketing channels.
- It’s a leading indicator of consumer re-purchase intentions.
- There’s always room for an upsell.
- It’s cheaper to keep your current customers than acquire new ones.
When you’re developing your Facebook ad strategy, think about what the most helpful and valuable thing to give your customers would be.
This could be a guide, a premium discount offer, a new product to beta-test, or a customer survey with a nice thank-you prize.
A simple survey could notify your customers that their opinion matters to you while also giving you insight into potential problem areas.
For example, Stack Overflow’s made it a habit to conduct annual surveys about the state of the developer industry.
There are many ways to reach your customers on Facebook. You can create Custom Audiences of past converters and purchasers or use your email lists to set up a Facebook target audience.
18) Find New Prospects with Lookalike Audiences
Usually, companies start Facebook advertising by targeting their campaigns on a large cold audience.
Mostly, this is a loss for everyone. The people on Facebook see lots of irrelevant ads, and the brands lose their advertising budgets to a negative campaign ROI.
Luckily, you can avoid going down that path.
Instead, you can target Facebook Lookalike Audiences that also consist of cold leads. Those leads’ profile will be very similar to your current customers, making them more likely to be interested in your offers.
The best Lookalike Audience strategy on Facebook is targeting people who resemble past converters and customers.
Here’s how it works:
- Create a Facebook Custom Audience of past converters.
- Set up a Lookalike Audience based on the Custom Audience you just created.
19) Use the Mille Feuille Targeting Method
If you’ve never tried the Mille Feuille, well, that’s a mistake.
However, the reason I’m talking about a dessert with a fancy name isn’t due to its heavenly taste. It’s because, in English, Mille Feuille means “a thousand layers.”
When applied to Facebook ads, the Mille Feuille method means layering your audience targeting, so that you’ll reach the core audience group most interested in your offer.
Applying The Mille Feuille Method
Let’s say you want to target your blog readers, but only the ones who’d be interested in your latest article about the best coffee shops in Costa Mesa, California. You’d also like to exclude the people who read a similar post a couple of weeks ago.
To do that, you need to follow several steps:
- Create a Custom Audience of blog readers.
- Exclude the people who read your past article.
- Create a Saved Audience that includes the Custom Audience of your blog readers.
- Narrow down the Saved Audience by targeting only the people living near Costa Mesa, California.
- Add a layer of interests around coffee to be even more specific.
You can apply the Mille Feuille targeting strategy to reach granular target audiences with highly relevant offers. That’s especially important when working with limited budgets.
YOUR Best Advertising Strategies Will Be Revealed Over Time
Best practices are only best practices. There’s no guarantee they’re going to work just as well for everyone.
Before you make a high bet and start an expensive Facebook ad campaign, test your hypotheses on a smaller scale. Run a few experiments and A/B tests first.
Moreover, use the Facebook ad strategies presented in this article as a guideline to developing your own tactics. One of the keys to Facebook ad success and reaching your wildest goals is coming up with new creative ideas before anyone else.