Editor’s Note: This post has been updated with fresh content and links to better serve readers like you. 😉
Original Publication Date: January 19, 2018
It may seem daunting, but sustained Facebook PPC success is well within reach – for anyone.
If you do it right, that is.
As the undisputed leader in social networking, Facebook is always striving to keep its edge. The platform changes regularly, offering marketers ways to interact and engage with its 2.3 billion users more effectively.
Thus, the strategies and tactics marketers need to succeed in Facebook PPC are constantly changing too. And to keep up with new Facebook advertising trends, we’re always looking for the best pathways to engage with our audiences.
To help with that, we’ll look at some of the best new strategies and perennial favorites we’ve used here at KlientBoost.
Four Advanced Strategies to Boost PPC Results
Facebook has always been a great way for brands to create awareness and interest in products.
These four strategies not only continue that level of interaction, but also look at ways to move people down the purchase funnel. (Or the consumer decision journey, whichever term strikes your fancy.)
1) Use Video to Tell—and Sell—Your Story
Video is an incredibly powerful format on Facebook. It’s also a very different animal on Facebook than it is on other channels.
Understanding how to effectively use video ads on Facebook will make or break your campaign.
Here are some basics to put in place right away:
- Don’t use the traditional 30-second TV spot as a model. Video content should be specifically created for Facebook, and better yet, a specific audience segment on Facebook.
- Think about how to use video to engage the user. Keep them scrolling, get them commenting, and of course, compel them to click through to your site.
- Be aware of Facebook’s unique video challenges. Digiday reports that 85% of Facebook videos are played while muted. (I mean, who doesn’t watch Facebook videos on the sly at work or in a boring presentation?) Your video should capture attention in the first five seconds and make sense when played without sound.
It is possible to create an engaging and effective four-second video. Want proof? Check out this quick video for The Cerchio sneaker from Italian shoe startup, M.Gemi:
A four-second ad for this sneaker got 17,000 views. Not bad. It’s fun, eye-catching, and doesn’t need a bit of copy to sell you on the product.
Not only did this ad get over 17,000 views after running for one week, but the product sold out in record time and had an 1,000-person waiting list for months on end. Of course, not all that success can be credited to the ad. The brand has a pretty robust marketing campaign running on all fronts. M.Gemi’s strategic use of video ads, however, clearly made a difference.
Introducing Facebook Watch
Speaking of video, Facebook Watch, the streaming platform for watching shows on Facebook, rolled out in August 2017. Watch is loosely comparable to YouTube, and offers brands, TV studios, influencers, and publishers the ability to create and stream shows, generating revenue through ad sales.
With mid-roll ads already included in Watch shows during the commercial break, there are many opportunities to maximize promo space in a popular Facebook Watch show.
Mark Sytsma, associate director of paid social at Huge, told Ad Age that “pre-roll or mid-roll in Watch guarantees eyeballs against our clients’ content” in comparison to the inconsistent exposure of News Feed ads. “The ability to purchase a known or guaranteed amount of inventory has always been a gap when buying on Facebook,” Sytsma said, stressing that pre-roll ads “would fill that hole.”
AR Studio & New Camera Effects
Another exciting update is Facebook’s recent decision to open up AR Studio to the general public (it was previously restricted to select high rollers). Its “world effects” provide augmented reality features in videos recorded through Facebook.
Similar to Snapchat, the new camera effects and AR Studio features enable brands and users to create augmented reality experiences — like custom face filters that fans can use when watching a favorite TV show.
With effects like unicorns and balloon words now built into Facebook Camera and Messenger, this appears to be just the beginning for what Facebook has in store for AR video in the near future. Could you imagine AR Facebook video ads? Oh wait, have I gone too far?
2) Up Your Mobile Game
Mobile accounts for the majority of traffic on Facebook. And Facebook’s consumption of video on mobile has gained a lot of traction in the past four years, increasing by nearly 15% since 2012.
Because the mobile experience is so different than desktop, Facebook has created multiple ad formats that go far beyond the basic newsfeed ad.
Think of these ads as “targeted storefronts” where your content becomes your store. The formats are very flexible: Advertisers can use multiple images or videos, and even text, links, and landing pages.
Our top four mobile ad categories for Facebook include:
#1: Collection Ads
Collection Ads enhance the mobile ad experience. They enable user interaction with multiple products in a brand’s collection.
People who tap on your ad from their phones, for example, can access a catalog of up to 50 products directly in Facebook. When they tap on a particular product, they’re taken directly to the brand website to close the deal.
#2: Carousel Ads
Carousel Ads aren’t just for desktop. These ad units let you string together multiple visuals that rotate automatically, giving brands a more interactive and flexible format to attract and engage customers.
This example from The Kooples clothing brand shows how it looks from a desktop view:
#3: Canvas Ads
Canvas Ads are specifically designed for mobile. These ads really do act as a canvas, turning your video into a full-screen, interactive experience. You can even use collections of visuals from other mobile newsfeed ads you’ve run (like Carousel ads) to create a more impactful experience for users.
Best of all, Facebook has now added Canvas ads to Instagram stories. Now brands can hit two platforms at once with this powerful full-screen ad format.
#4: Stories Ads
According to Buffer, businesses are reporting lower costs and higher conversion rates with ads on Facebook and Instagram Stories than in the standard news feeds.
If you aren’t familiar with Stories, they are short videos or images that appear in a separate feed and disappear after 24 hours if you don’t save them. If you experiment with these ad placements, it’s important to adapt your creative elements to fit the Stories’ specifications.
There are many more mobile options. Browse Facebook’s business center to see more examples in action.
3) Retarget Users Who Have Already Engaged
Facebook allows you to retarget people who have visited your site but did not take an action.
These are your hand raisers. They’ve shown interest and are further down the purchase path than your colder prospects.
You can use more direct, sales-focused language in retargeting ads; make sure to A/B test your copy to see what performs best.
Retargeting can be more expensive and take up to 3-4 weeks to start seeing results. However, it can be one of the more powerful tools in digital advertising. Learn more from our handy guide here.
4) Mega-Merger: Facebook Ads & Google Ads
You’ve already created awareness and interest via your Facebook PPC campaign. Now, to move your customers down the funnel after your campaign has ended, add a Google Ads component to retarget your prospects.
It works the funnel from top to bottom.
Adding Google Ads will capture users in the consideration/evaluation/purchase stages, as people tend to search for something when they want to learn more about or buy an item.
Use keywords and ad copy that mirror the products or offers in your Facebook campaign, and make sure to monitor it closely for ROI.
Don’t Sleep On Tried-and-True Techniques
Even with fancy new formats and splashy videos, achieving Facebook PPC success still rests on some pretty basic digital advertising rules:
1) A/B Test As Much As Humanly Possible
You have a wide range of variables available to adjust within the Facebook advertising platform. Audience segmentation, ad placements, ad types, and devices are just a few options. And that doesn’t even factor in your unique components like imagery and copy.
Facebook A/B testing is one of the best ways to see which variables are important on the path to achieving your goals quickly and efficiently.
Facebook has a built-in A/B test option (they call it “split testing”) that makes getting started fast and painless.
Split testing on Facebook allows you to create and test the performance of different versions of an ad or ad set. Facebook runs both ad versions to your specified target audience and delivers the data you need to determine the variations with optimal performance.
This feature requires you to choose a single variable—image, copy, placement, etc.—to test. Once you choose the A/B test option, Facebook automatically fills your ad with the exact same info. (except for the variable you’re testing).
Test as much as you can. We recommend at least testing the ad set with the highest budget and a sizable audience. That way you can build an understanding of what works and apply those learnings to improve your PPC performance.
A/B testing is an art, and it can easily be overdone—or done ineffectively. Check out our exhaustive guide on Facebook split testing for all our best tips and tricks.
2) Find New Customers with Lookalike Audiences
All of the above ideas are better when you use them in conjunction with Facebook’s Lookalike Audience feature. Yes, it still holds the golden key to growth: finding prospects who are most like your current customers. This feature continues to help drive Facebook PPC success for marketers who know how to use it.
If you haven’t used this feature before, it’s easy. Start by uploading your emails to create a custom audience (see our full breakdown of custom audiences for more insights). Facebook will then allow you to create a lookalike list based on the characteristics they find between your list and their users.
There are two ways to supercharge this feature:
- Use only your best customer list when creating the custom audience. This way, you’ll identify new customers based on a list that has already proven itself.
- Keep the percentage match low when you’re setting how closely you want Facebook to match your email list. We recommend keeping it below 10% to start. (Even lower is better, if possible.)
3) Increase Engagement: Target by Interest
Facebook has very deep and powerful abilities to segment users based on user demographics, interests, and behaviors. That’s because every page like, follow, comment, and share is recorded for every user (or those users that haven’t adjusted privacy settings).
Obviously, age, gender, and geography are easy decisions when setting your target audience. Facebook’s secret sauce, though, is interest targeting. You can match user interests with your product benefits and capabilities.
Choose audience interests when you’re setting up ad sets. Click ‘Audience’ and this tool will pop up:
You can do a couple of things here:
- Browse the preset categories on Facebook
- Enter specific competitors, Facebook groups, or pages
- Type in your own specific keywords that represent your audiences’ lifestyle or behaviors
For example, let’s say we’re a small west coast outdoor apparel company with a product line aimed at runners.
We could get super granular and target those who are interested in “trail running” with an ad that showcases waterproof, lightweight items perfect for the rigors of the northwest terrain.
The pop-up here tells us that in our selected geos (California, Washington, and Oregon), 7.2 million users are interested in trail running. That’s a great place to start.
Beware of Offensive Targeting
One thing to bear in mind: Facebook has gotten stricter on ad targeting following controversy over some advertisers’ use of off-color terms during targeting. According to MarketingLand, Facebook has implemented “more manual review of new ad targeting options to help prevent offensive terms from appearing.”
This increased manual review likely won’t affect you, unless your targeting strategy “directly attacks people based on their race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, sex, gender or gender identity, or disabilities or diseases.” (We hope it doesn’t.)
4) Fine-Tune Your Creative Strategy
Micro-targeting audiences with customized copy, imagery, and landing pages is a very powerful way to build relationships. Those relationships can be nurtured into better engagement, deeper loyalty, and increased conversions.
Elements of your creative strategy to focus on include:
- Along with audience segmentation, image selection is key to seeing a good return on your ad.
- If you have a designer on staff who can create static or animated images, you’re ahead of the game. Their eye for brand and visual communications are invaluable.
- Don’t be shy about spending money on good photography. You can use stock photos, but do so judiciously. Stock photos can feel forced—and fall short on fostering a connection with audiences.
- Remember, Facebook dislikes images with a lot of text. If more than 20% of your image area is text, your ad may not run. For a time-saver, upload and test your images in Facebook’s text overlay tool.
- Ad copy should quickly tell your audience what your offer is about. (Don’t write a book.) Stick to one or two quick, fun lines that invite comments or give readers a reason to be interested in your offer.
- A strong call to action is a must. If people pause to look at your ad, make it clear what action you want them to take, like “Click here” or “Download our eBook” or “Sign up now.” For example, this Allure video ad perfectly guides users to “click to see”. It couldn’t get any simpler:
- Marrying ad messaging with landing page copy is still a leading conversion tactic for Facebook PPC success.
- If people click through an ad and land on a page with relevant messaging, they’re more likely to convert.
- For example, if I wanted to offer 10% off to users interested in trail running, I would want that offer to pop in my ad copy and appear in a prominent place on my landing page.
Two More Techniques to Kick Up Facebook PPC Success
Before you go, these techniques can help boost your PPC performance even further.
1. Make A Date with Facebook Insights
You’ll find a bunch of different insights in Ad Manager. For some of our clients, we’ve used them to identify new geographic locations (when we’ve done broad-based campaigns, like “all U.S.”) and to find particular demographics that responded well to our ads.
Don’t miss our tell-all guide on Facebook audience insights.
2. The New Frontier: Facebook Messenger & Bots
Facebook Messenger presents a brand new frontier for brands to engage with customers who are further down the funnel. While it’s more of a customer service play, businesses like Uber, 1-800 Flowers, and others have found that orders and new customers are coming through this channel.
Right now, there are over 18,000 bots where brands serve customers through Facebook chat. Facebook has allowed some forms of promotions in the bots so far — and it’s a safe bet that as more and more consumers adopt Messenger, PPC promotions there will grow.
Pinterest has even decided to get in on the action, launching a new bot and messenger extension that integrates with Facebook Messenger.
Within Messenger, users can seamlessly link to pins from Pinterest, with recipients receiving more in-depth information for any pin they access from the chat — showing suggestions that mimic the same Pinterest experience that users know and love.
This increased integration between Pinterest and Facebook will potentially offer a more holistic view into marketing and social campaigns that’s likely to benefit marketers in the long run.
Mastering Facebook Paid Advertising
The challenge — and advantage — of Facebook Ad Manager is that it’s ever evolving.
Sometimes it may feel hard to keep up, but the PPC game requires constant play. You can’t sit idly by and expect to win.
By testing ads and trying out new features to see what resonates, you’ll be well on your way to Facebook PPC success.
What Facebook ad features have you found most effective? We’d love to hear about your experiences or any successful (or not successful) campaigns you’ve run.