Study Your Industry and Come up with a Standard
In my post Facebook Marketing in 5 Easy Steps, I stated that you should “watch your competitors, but don’t copy them”. Then in my post Facebook Page: Designing and Marketing I encouraged you to study your competition and learn from them. In this section, I’m going to elaborate on that idea even further, and give you two strategies of how to “watch your competitors” effectively, and what to do with the information you gain.
Strategy #1: Become a Fan
This strategy is pretty straightforward and it’s fairly passive. That is, your competitors’ ads will come to you, but it can be limited by how many competitors you choose to engage with.
With your personal account, look up your competitors and like their page. Before long you will start seeing ads – not just for your competitors whose pages you’ve liked – but also for related business.
Strategy #2: Use Facebook Ad Library
This strategy is more active – you have to go to the Facebook Ad Library and actively search out your competitors. However, it gives you access to many more ads than becoming a fan does.
The Facebook Ad Library is an often under-utilized tool for searching out and studying ads. It allows you to see all the ads that are currently being run via Facebook marketing. You can search by Advertiser Name, so you can check in on your competition and see all of the ads that they’re running at that time.
Using Your Competitors’ Facebook Marketing Ads
Regardless of the method you use to scope out and examine your competitor’s ads, your next step is to reverse engineer them to find a standard model. What I mean by finding a “standard model” is that as you go through their ads, you will begin to see commonalities in the pictures, headlines, ad copy, and calls to action that they use. You may also find that they boost a lot of their posts.
Picking out these commonalities will help you understand the strategies that are being used most in your industry. You can audit those commonalities and put together a standard model that you can then implement for yourself.
The Importance of Experimentation in Facebook Marketing
It’s very likely that you’ll find ads that are completely different from the standard model – they will look new or innovative or are otherwise outside the scope of 90% of the ads you see. Do not incorporate these into your standard model. They represent experiments performed by your competitors, and there’s a high chance that they’re not converting well.
That being said, experimentation is important in all forms of marketing. It allows you to find opportunities that may otherwise stay hidden, and gives you the opportunity to detect new trends at an extremely early stage.
In your own ad campaigns, you need to incorporate some experimentation. I always recommend starting with an 80/20 split. 80% of your ads should follow the safe standard model, and 20% should be experimental. Over time you’ll change that as necessary. If you find yourself losing too much money on experimental ads, then change the split to 90/10. If you find yourself making money on the experimental ads, then change the split to 70/30, and so on, making constant adjustments according to your budget and goals.
Create and Test Your Own Standard Model Ads
Once you’ve determined the hallmarks of your standard model, it’s time to do some testing. Create an ad campaign with several versions of the standard model ads and use a low budget (such as the “10 ads for 7 days for $70” strategy discussed in this post). Doing this will help you further narrow-down the best ad type for your industry.
Creating Variation in Your Ads
The changes you make when creating the different versions of the standard model ad should be planned out and done consciously. In your first campaign with 10 ads, each ad should only be minimally different than the others – not 10 completely different ads. You can change the headline, but keep the picture, ad copy, and call to action the same, for example. Or just change the picture, and leave the rest of it the same.
By using minute differences and tracking the results, you can get a better idea of which exact changes make the difference. For example, if you get a 10% higher click through rate when your button says “Buy Now” as opposed to “Learn More” then you’ve learned that your audience prefers a more direct call to action.
You can use that information to further refine your ads. In this way, you should always be testing. Your audience’s trends, perceptions, and sentiments will change constantly, and only by continually testing what works in your ads, can you have a reasonable expectation of keeping up.
Facebook Marketing with Facebook Live
The last tip I’m going to share in this section is to use Facebook Live. The Live feature is a powerful Facebook marketing tool. It is, first and foremost, a relationship management tool. Using Facebook Live allows you to connect with and respond to your audience in real time. The end goal of any Facebook Live interaction is to establish or grow your relationship with your audience.
That being said, there are other uses you can make of Facebook Live that compliment that end goal. For example, you can use Facebook Live to:
- Announce an upcoming event
- Introduce a new product, feature, or service
- Hold a live Q&A session
- Interview an influencer or collaborator
- Share an exclusive tip or how-to
Whatever your pretense is for going live, remember that your end goal is to engage meaningfully, and build relationships with your audience.