Whether you’re on your Facebook Newsfeed, a Group page, an Instant Article, an In-Stream Video, Messenger App, Instagram, and beyond, you see them everywhere. Facebook ads. Some are annoying. Some you don’t even realize are an ad until you’ve already watched a video, browsed the company’s website, and signed up for a newsletter.
If you’re a startup and you’re strapped for cash, you’re probably dreaming of the latter scenario while expecting the former. How are you going to be able to produce quality ad content on mere pennies? Well, here’s the secret, and it’s not Hollywood-quality cameras. You have to clearly define the most important digital marketing goal you have right now, then figure out which type of Facebook ad campaign best translates to that goal.
Figuring this stuff out isn’t easy, though. So we’re offering a multi-part tutorial on getting your company started with Facebook marketing. For Part I, we’ll cover boosted posts vs. ad campaigns and the functionality of each ad campaign objective.
Format: Skip the boosted posts and head straight into ad campaigns.
While you’re maintaining your company’s FB wall, it may be tempting to hit that Boost Post button–after all, it’s right there at the bottom of every one of your posts. You won’t even have to leave your FB page, and the targeting options are much more simplified than Ads Manager. But engagement is the rub here.
You’re not very likely to get that substantial of a reach just by boosting. Just ask Facebook. Even if you use the more complex demographic targeting options like purchase habits and general online behavior (which is also available in FB ads), in the end, you’re paying money to get more eyes on a single post, rather than a well-planned ad campaign with a specific objective.
You should, however, already be keeping a well-defined organic posting schedule. And if a particular post happens to get an exponentially bigger response than usual, then boosting it is certainly something to consider. But always circle back around to (1) your monthly ad budget and (2) your current ad campaign objective. A viral post could go a long way in the branding department–but how many of those viewing this post are likely to become investors or clients anytime in the near future?
Objective: Single out your highest marketing priority and slowly build out from there.
Chances are you’ve only got enough money for a very tight, very focused ad spend. This is where FB ads trump Google Adwords in that the very medium of FB and its extended network allow you to customize a variety of approaches, resulting in less throwaway clicks. In a perfect world, you’d be running at least one of each of the 10 main campaign objectives at the same time. But the startup world is hardly perfect, so here’s a quick rundown of each campaign objective’s functionality:
- Brand Awareness – If you’re strapped for cash, this probably isn’t for you. The idea behind this campaign is NOT engagement, but rather planting your name and logo in front of as many people as possible, as frequently as possible. This is the 21st-century way Kleenex becomes a generic trademark.
- Reach – Here’s where it’s “OK” to be a little vague with your campaign objective. Let’s say you’ve got a specific enough target audience where many of them are likely to make multiple conversions: sign up for a newsletter, fill out a lead form, watch a video, etc. Rather than risk losing high-value engagement by further narrowing your campaign objective, roll the dice and hope you’re right about those multiple conversions.
- Traffic – This objective is similar to Reach, yet less definitive. You know you need more people on your website, but you’re not sure about how likely any of them are to convert. You should use this strategy if your website is still very young—as long as you have analytics in place, you’ll be able to gather some great metrics about the good, the bad, and the ugly concerning your marketing efforts.
- App Installs – Whether your app is your product, or a complement to your product/service, this objective is all about driving more people to download. Here’s also where video ads are crucial in relaying a lot of info in a little time (more on that later), so much so that your landing page is almost a formality. If you’re doing things right, people that click your ad are already ready to download.
- Engagement – Imagine a boosted post on steroids. This is very Facebook page-centric, so if you’re a type of company that needs a huge social media following, it’s definitely a strategy to consider, as the results can be exponential. There are three subtypes of engagement:
- Page Likes – The most simplistic of the subtypes, this will get more people to like your page, which in turn throws your future organic posts in their newsfeeds, not to mention their initial Page Like showing up on friends newsfeeds.
- Post Engagement – We’ve come back to the idea of a viral post. Maybe you’ve already got a lot of organic reaction to it, or maybe it’s a huge announcement you’re making. Regardless, this objective has much more chance of concentric engagement than Page Likes, because if Joe Smith’s friends see that he liked a cool video or photo, they’re more likely to pay attention than if it were just a Page Like.
- Event Responses – This is the most dialed-in, metric-oriented of the engagement subtypes. Let’s say that, for a particular event, you want to reach as many people as possible outside of your Page Likes list. You’ll know how many people have viewed the ad, as well as how many people said Yes, No, or Maybe Attending.
- Video Views – Here’s a more specific version of Post Engagement. You’re not necessarily driving anyone to click your ad to land somewhere outside of Facebook—you just want as many eyes as possible on this video. FB will put it in front of the people within your target demographics that are most likely to engage with videos.
- Lead Generation – With this objective, Facebook puts a lead form right inside your ad. You can customize what fields appear on the form (name, email, phone number, etc.) and Facebook will auto-populate a lot of this info according to the ad viewer’s profile. It’s a quick and dirty way to get leads—it’s efficacy depends on your ad content. *One caveat*—you’re going to need a third-party tool that integrates your FB leads into your email marketing software, because people expect to get an email almost instantaneously after they sign up.
- Conversions – Now we can really begin talking ROI. Whatever your conversion is (form submissions, signups, purchases, etc.) for this particular ad campaign, there’s no more concrete metric. But be sure to have your base pixel and event codes installed, because, in order for this to work, FB will already have to have been tracking the number of conversions per week on your website by all URL traffic in order to properly calibrate your campaign. FB requires a minimum of 15-25 conversions per week prior to starting this campaign, but you should ideally have more like 100 per week. If you’ve got the minimum, try it out. Even if few conversions result, you’ll be able to take what you learn and optimize your website for future campaigns.
- Product Catalog Sales – If you have an ecommerce store, this is a great way to put a product feed in front of potential customers. But first you’ll have to integrate your store with FB.
- Store Visits – If foot traffic is high-priority for your business, here’s how you push ads to people within a close radius to your brick and mortar. Imagine Joe Smith is out running errands, and when he’s FB cruising in a checkout line, he sees an advertisement for your business, which is only a few blocks away. In order to run this campaign, however, you’ll have to add your shop location(s) to your Business Manager account.
Stay tuned for Part II, where we’ll cover the different types of ad formats and which formats pair best with which campaign objective.