The Purpose of Your Ad
Facebook Ads are a powerful way to generate targeted traffic towards a URL of your choosing. Facebook ads are considered, by many, to be the ultimate form of Facebook marketing. In this post we’ll review the four elements of your Facebook Ads and how to create effective ads.
Before you create an ad, take some time to plan out the purpose of your ad. Generally speaking your goal should be built around the idea of providing value to your audience – this can be in the form of free content, or it can be a direct ad for a product or service.
Whatever your goal is, you need to have a clear idea of your offer: who it’s for, the types of problems that it solves, what you expect to get in return, and how you can best draw your audience to it.
Elements of Your Facebook Ads
Regardless of the type of Facebook Ads you create, there are four elements that you need to focus on:
- Your Headline
- Your Image or Video
- The Ad’s Text Content
- The Call to Action
Your headline should do two things:
- It should qualify your leads
- It should inspire them to act
A good, easy way that I’ve found to do this is to ask a question, and offer a solution. A dentist, for example, may use a picture of a person with a beautiful smile, with the headline “Have you been ignoring your oral health? Sign up for a FREE consultation!”. Not only does this identify a problematic behavior, but it offers a chance at a solution, for free.
Your Image or Video
Your ads should include an image or video – a visual element that captures your audience’s attention. It needs to be something bold especially if you’re advertising in the user’s news stream.
You need to make sure that your ad stands out against all the other content.. Your image or video should be able to immediately capture people’s attention. However, it does not necessarily need to be directly related to your offering, as long as you capture people’s attention, and get them to stop for a second.
The Ad Content
There are a few different ways you can format your content. You can do short and sweet – highlighting only one or two primary benefits of your offering – or you can go long. Generally I recommend going short and sweet, but there are times when something requires a more detailed explanation.
Longer form content can also be effective when you have an extremely well-defined and narrow niche. If you’re able to reach people on a very specific issue, then you can use the ad to “discuss”, empathize, or educate them. Those people will appreciate the time and attention you’ve put into connecting with them.
Like so many things, you ultimately have to decide how your content is going to look based on your market and who your customers are.
The Call to Action
Your Call to Action is the little button on the bottom-right side of your ad. Usually it will say something like “Sign Up”, “Learn More”, “Schedule Now”, etc. The exact verbiage of your Call to Action will be determined by the type of ad that you create and what you’re offering. Otherwise, you’ll use this opportunity to – in one or two words – invite the audience to move to the next step in your funnel.
Types of Facebook Ads Campaigns
Although there are several types of Facebook Ad campaigns, in this section we’re going to focus on two: traffic generation and lead generation.
The reason I’ve chosen these two is because, after boosting a post, traffic generation can be done with less experience, while lead generation is a tactic to use once you have several Facebook Ad campaigns under your belt. So they are two options at opposite ends of the difficulty spectrum.
Traffic Generation Campaigns
Paid traffic campaigns are ads wherein you promote your website. These ads don’t use posts from your page, but instead rely on the four-part ad format I discussed previously.
There are two types of audiences that you can target with your ad, and for different reasons:
- Highly targeted ads
- General ads
Highly Targeted Ads
To create an effective Highly Targeted traffic campaign it’s important that you have a mature page with several engaged fans. Once you have that, you can set up a “look-alike” audience based on insight data gathered from your most engaged fans.
With a highly targeted ad, your focus is to reach out to a well defined group of people and induce them to engage with you on some level. When you create these types of ads, you should directly address specific issues that you know this audience is dealing with. Avoid ambiguity.
Untargeted ads have their place as well. Whereas the point of a highly targeted ad is to reach a pool of people whom you have a reasonable expectation that they will be interested in your offering, a general ad is focused on expanding your audience’s demographics beyond what you already know works.
The idea, in a nutshell, is to find customers you haven’t already thought of. Being created for a wider audience, General Ads should address problems that “most” of your audience is experiencing. You’ll never be able to effectively target 100% of your audience, but if you get too specific with a General Ad, you will disqualify people who might actually benefit from your product or service.
A good example might be a business selling peanut butter. A highly targeted ad, might stress that the peanut butter is organic, non-GMO, and has no added sugar. A general ad might instead focus on the peanut butter’s great taste and health benefits over rival brands.
What Are You Offering?
Regardless of how you target your traffic campaign ads, you also need to give your audience a compelling reason to visit your site – engaging content, free digital products, a coupon, or a generous discount on a high-value physical product, etc.
The type of offer you present will be based, somewhat, on how you target. If you have a highly targeted ad, you can craft an offer that is specific to that unique niche. However, a general ad should be paired with an offer that has a broader appeal.
Lead Generation Campaigns
Lead generation Facebook Ads campaigns are all about getting the contact information (i.e. the email address) for a very targeted audience. This usually means motivating your audience to sign up for a mailing list, or exchanging their email address for a free digital product or coupon. Lead generation campaigns can be extremely effective, however they require much more work to pull off than other campaign types.
They require that your targeting is extremely accurate and that you already have quite a bit of Facebook Ad experience under your belt. If you execute a lead generation campaign sloppily, it can cost quite a bit of money.
One thing you can do to increase your odds of running a successful lead generation campaign, is to ensure that it’s been optimized for conversion.
Optimizing Your Campaign
There are a few different elements of your lead generation campaign that can be modified and optimized to ensure that it is converting at the highest rate possible. These elements include:
- Your free offer
- Your ad copy
- The sign-up form
Optimizing Your Free Offer
There are several types of free offers you can present to your audience. You can give away a booklet, ebook, report, white paper, template, graphics, software or an app, and several other things. Whatever your free offer is, it ought to effectively induce your target audience to sign up for your mailing list.
However, determining the type of content that will most effectively do that is not easy. You can’t assume that just because you think your content is the best thing since sliced bread, that your audience will agree with you.
It’s best to test your offer. Switch up from one type of content to another until you achieve a high sign-up rate. You can do this fairly easily by running different ads that contain different types of offers.
Optimizing Your Ad Copy
Another element of your campaign that you should optimize is your ad copy. As I explained in the Elements of Your Facebook Ad section, there are a few ways to craft your ad copy. You can go short-form or long-form depending on your goals.
The important thing with your copy is to demonstrate that you understand your audience’s problem, and that you just so happen to have ‘the perfect’ solution.
Optimizing Your Sign-Up Form
Another one of the elements of your lead generation campaign is the sign up form that will display when your audience clicks the “Learn More” or “Sign Up” button. The copy on that form should be modified to ensure that it converts as well as possible.
As you optimize these various campaign elements, be quick to learn and adapt. Find a combination that provides a high conversion rate. Then optimize that combination and scale it up.
How to Get Started with Facebook Ads
In the next section I’ll walk you through how to actually create a Facebook Ad, but before we do that, we’ll cover some important concepts to consider as you plan your ad campaign.
Start Small with Facebook Ads
It’s unavoidable that your first several Facebook Ad campaigns will fail to some extent. To mitigate this loss, you should run several small tests. This enables you to fail quickly and early, and it reduces the cost of the lesson that each failure will teach you.
Part of being successful with Facebook Ads is being willing to run campaign after campaign until you are able to connect the dots, and come up with something that is extremely effective. Unfortunately, the exact formula will vary based on your industry, customers, and brand – and that the formula changes constantly as society evolves.
The good news is that online venues, like Facebook, allow you to rapidly experiment and find that “sweet spot” faster and cheaper than ever before. Failing with a $10 Facebook ad beats failing with a $1000 billboard ad any day.
Keep Your Facebook Ads Budget Small
Part of starting small is keeping your budget small, and I mean small. Start with a dollar-a-day campaign and run it for a week. Better yet, run several dollar-a-day campaigns. You can run a comparative campaign with 10 unique ads over a week for only $70.
You then compare the outcomes, see what worked and what didn’t work and why. Tweak your strategy and do it all over again. As you do this, patterns will emerge over time, and you’ll begin to recognize what works best for your market.
Focus on What Works
When those patterns do emerge, focus on what makes those ads winners, and replicate it. Don’t waste time trying to coax success out of a doomed campaign. Let them die, and focus on the winners. As you do this, you scale up: can begin increasing your ad spend which will, in turn, improve your results further.