Facebook is constantly developing new features and products to enhance their overall capabilities. At Optimal, we work to stay abreast of these latest changes and keep our clients informed. Recently, we have recognized a rising demand from small businesses wishing to advertise on social networks to acquire new fans and catch the attention of prospective customers. We’ve put together a list of five best practices to help you better manage your Facebook ad campaigns.
1. Make Your Page Post Ads as Compelling as Possible
Page Post Ads can be seen on users’ newsfeeds (on both on desktop and mobile devices). This means advertisers can now target one of the most engaging placements on Facebook and achieve a high click-through rate. Because many eyeballs will see the ads given their prime location, crafting a compelling post is vital. This means the image and the copy you use must trigger strong emotions. Start by asking yourself, “Is there something unique that our company provides that people truly love?”
An example is the following page post by Zankou Chicken, a Mediterranean restaurant chain in Southern California. In addition to their great food, Zankou is famous for their unique, delicious garlic spread, which is a product I have not seen elsewhere. Although they are not a national chain, Zankou engaged fans who have tried the garlic sauce (a truly unique product fans love), resulting in ‘likes’ and ‘comments’ at rates far higher than other larger QSR brands.
Within the first two hours of this post, 1.15% of Zankou’s fans ‘liked’ the post, and .61% shared their love for the product on their own Facebook pages. As a point of comparison, some of McDonald’s best-performing recent posts only achieved 0.1% of likes from fans. Of course this is not entirely a fair comparison given the size of McDonald’s fan base, but it shows just how powerful connecting with customers on something they care about is.
Other suggestions are to incorporate key pillars of influence into your message that can endear yourself to consumers. For example, the notion of reciprocity might be particularly effective during the holiday season. Providing free samples or sharing coupons and offers will potentially help increase a post’s effectiveness.
2. Test Different Ad Placements, and Measure Your ROI
Facebook ads can be seen on the right rail, newsfeed, mobile, search results, photo pages, application install pages, and profile pages. If you have some flexibility in your budget, we recommend that you try testing several of these placements to see what works best with your audience. We recommend placing ads in the news feed, especially on mobile, where we’ve seen tremendous improvements in click-through rates. As Facebook states, newsfeed on mobile is “the most engaging placement on customers’ most personal device.” Also note that each placement type adds value in its own way – for example, right rail is commonly used for volume purposes, newsfeed for click-through efficiency, and mobile for cost-per-fan efficiency.
And as with other forms of digital advertising and communication, we recommend taking a step back and understanding what your goals are. The metrics you achieve should align with your goals. For example, are you seeking to grow awareness of your brand by attaining fans and generating conversations about your brand? Or do you wish to drive engagement that leads towards sales?
3. Research who your competitors are, who they are reaching, and how
In today’s world, your competition is no longer just the neighbors starting their business in the garage next door. In the digital age, your competition exists everywhere.As you develop your Facebook fan base and communications strategy, ask yourself, “Do I know who my competitors are, what they are doing, and who they are reaching?”
An easy way to check this is to view your competitor’s “like” data. To do so, visit your competitor’s Facebook page and click on the “Like” box next to the “About” section. There you can find your competitor’s most popular age group. How is their demographic different than yours? Are there any spikes in “new likes?” These spikes are good indicators that your competitor is running paid media advertising. (Here’s a thorough review of how to research your competitor with the “Likes” tab.)
4. Set Up Your Campaign to Reach a Large Enough Audience Size
Are you planning to launch ads targeting females 55 and up living in Lost Springs, WY, who are interested in #surfing? As you can guess, this audience size will be too small, and your ads will not have any impressions or impact.
A rule of thumb is to aim for an audience size of 500,000 or more. Facebook’s delivery algorithm has been known to respond differently based on the audience size for a given segment – you’re much more likely to get delivery on your ads if you broaden the targeting. An additional benefit of achieving delivery is that you will attain learnings more quickly and improve your future ads.
5. Set the Bids at a Point Where Your Messages Will Run
When you first launch your ads, we recommend that you set your bids toward the higher end of Facebook’s suggested bid range. Bidding higher will give your newly created ads a better chance of being delivered, allowing your ad to accumulate campaign history. Bids can be easily adjusted at any time and will only have a near-term impact on delivery vs. a long-term impact on the ad’s history. Once you have a few days of data, you can begin optimizing for cost efficiency or other metrics related to your campaign’s objectives.
Every point described should be taken into account when setting up your next campaign – it’s important to not skimp focus on one or more of these points. These five best practices should help a small business get started in testing out Facebook as an exciting and new channel to acquire fans and potential customers. Good luck and happy holidays!