There’s so much controversy over Facebook ads. Depending on who you ask, Facebook ads are either a goldmine for your business or a total waste of money. If you’re on the fence about whether or not you should consider investing in Facebook ads, let me put your fears to rest.
Facebook ads work.
For those that are familiar with my background, before I started Social Circle, I spent several years running Facebook ads for Fortune 100 clients like Disney, H&M, Converse, and Heineken. I was fortunate enough to learn Facebook ads from the ground up, as the platform was evolving, and more importantly with other people’s money.
Today, as an entrepreneur and business owner, Facebook ads are a huge component of my digital marketing strategy. I’ve used Facebook ads to drive quality traffic to my blog and grow my website.
Okay… so by now, you’re probably thinking “if Facebook ads work so well, why have I heard so many horror stories about them?”. Excellent question – and to answer that let’s revisit my previous statement.
Facebook ads work when you have a solid marketing strategy in place.
When my clients tell me that they are looking to run Facebook ads, I go through the process below with them prior to allowing them to spend money on Facebook ads. Here are 7 things you need to do before you consider dropping moolah on Facebook ads:
Rule #1: Define Your Objective
Before you spend money on Facebook ads, it’s important to have a well thought out objective. Are you looking to increase brand awareness? Are you trying to grow leads or email subscribers? Are you looking to get traffic to your website or more download of your free ebook?
By having a clear objective, you’ll be able to choose the right format for your ad and determine how you will measure the ads success before spending a penny.
Rule #2: Test organically
Before you spend money on Facebook ads, it’s incredibly important that you test your messaging organically. You can test your ad by posting a non-paid version of it inorganically in your feed or in a Facebook group. If the post doesn’t perform well organically, there’s a good chance it still won’t perform well with dollars behind it. It’s important to spend time tweaking and optimizing your post copy and caption before you spend money on Facebook ads.
Rule #3: Install the Facebook pixel
Every business with a website should be taking advantage of the Facebook pixel. Even if you have no intention of spending money on Facebook anytime soon, I highly recommend you install the pixel. The Facebook pixel is a piece of code that you place on the back end of your website that enables you to track, optimize, and build audiences for your Facebook advertising campaigns. With the Pixel installed appropriately on your website, you will be able to track the people who are visiting all or some of your webpages.
Implementing the Facebook pixel on your website allows you to track the people who are visiting your website. The Facebook pixel retains data for up to six months, so installing the pixel in advance will benefit when or if you decide to run Facebook ads. You can leverage this data, by placing those people into a Facebook audience that you can confidently serve ads to since they have already expressed interest in your product or service.
Additionally, the Facebook pixel allows you to measure conversions across devices, optimize ad delivery to people more like to purchase your product/service and create lookalike audiences based on your website visitors. All of these data points, provide richer information about your customers and target audience, giving you the capability to get very specific about your targeting and avoid costly ad mistakes.
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Rule #4: Review Facebook’s Ad Policies
Unlike organic posts on Facebook and Instagram, Facebook has very specific ad policies. Before creating an ad, it’s important to review Facebook ads policies to ensure your ad is in line with their guidelines and best practices. If your ads violate any of Facebook’s advertising platforms, you will not be able to run them on the platform.
One of the most common mistakes advertisers make on Facebook is having too much text in their post image. This is a surprisingly common reason for Facebook ads to be rejected or have their reach limited. In fact, Facebook used to just have a cut-and-dry rule that if your ad image had over 20% of it covered in text, it would be denied. Now, they will just scale back the reach of your ad based on how much of your image is covered in text. As a best practice, I would still recommend staying below this 20% threshold rule in order to prevent your ad from having limited reach.
Rule #5: Calculate Your Anticipated ROI
Before you spend money on Facebook ads, it’s important to understand what a successful ad actually looks like. You’ll want to spend some time calculating the anticipated ROI of your Facebook ad in order to understand which key performance indicators (KPIs) will determine the success of your advertising campaign.
For example, if I’m running a Facebook ad promoting my free Instagram Hashtag guide in order to get more email subscribers, I need to understand how much a new email subscriber is worth to my business. So if I spend $500 on Facebook ads and obtain 300 new email subscribers at a CPA of $1.67 however every new subscriber is worth $14.97, then my campaign ROI would be $3,997 (300 new subscribers at $14.97 per subscriber = $4,491 revenue – $500 investment).
So in other words, as long as I receive subscriber for less than $14.97 my Facebook campaign will have a positive ROI. It’s also important to understand what the average time to revenue is for your subscribers. For example, many of my email subscribers will end up purchasing from me after being on my list for 2-3 months. This means that I would not see the $3,997 in revenue until a couple of months down the road.
Rule #6: Consider other advertising platforms
While Facebook ads are a powerful marketing tool, when used correctly it may not be the best fit for want you’re looking to achieve. For example, if you’re a local fitness studio looking to gain new member, Google Adwords may be a better solution as it will allow you to target people in your area that may be searching for cycling studios. On the other hand, if you’re a fitness coach that offers an online accountability program, Facebook is likely a better fit for what you’re looking to accomplish.
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Rule #7: Optimize Your Website
One of the biggest mistakes I see newbie entrepreneurs make on Facebook is that they jump in the paid Facebook ads pool entirely too early. This is usually a result of sharing content organically but being disappointed that the content isn’t being seen by enough people or getting the right amount of engagement. Additionally, Facebook often tempts people by making Facebook ads look easy by encouraging entrepreneurs to simply “boost their post”. While boosting a post, may improve your posts reach and visibility – it often does very little to improve engagement and most importantly garner conversions.
Facebook ads are ultimately an amplification tool and before you amplify your message you need to make sure you have the right messaging in place. Spending a ton of money on Facebook ads won’t be lucrative if you’re sending your traffic to a website that’s difficult to navigate or isn’t optimized for conversions. Take the time to truly identify your niche, understand your target market, and develop a website that converts. Once you’ve nailed each of these pieces, you’ll be well on your way to developing Facebook ads that generate more leads and sales!