Setting up an effective Facebook Ads campaign takes a lot of work. Sure, Facebook has done its best to make things as simple and straightforward as possible, but the fact of the matter is, if you want to succeed at any sort of online advertising, you need to be prepared to put a lot of time, thought and effort into your campaigns.
Facebook Ads won’t turn a poorly designed campaign into a winner, so it pays to take your time in advance and figure out your strategy before you even open Ads Manager. Otherwise, you’ll just end up wasting money on impressions and clicks that you don’t really want.
To help you out, let’s go over 7 tips that you can use to plan out your next Facebook Ads campaign. These tips will help you figure out exactly what you need to do in the campaign creation process, helping you get your campaign up faster and get the results you actually want from your ad budget.
1. Identify Your Audience
Before creating any marketing campaign, the first question every marketer should ask themselves is, “Who is my target audience?” Even if you’ve been marketing to your audience for years, if you don’t take the time to step back and remind yourself of who you’re marketing to, your campaign won’t be as effective as it could be.
When it comes to Facebook advertising, there are actually two answers to this question. The first is the broad, theoretical answer of who your target market is. The second is a specific answer about how you target that market on Facebook.
For example, let’s say that I’ve created a casino-style app. People pay to get points that they can then gamble in-game in the hopes of earning more points. As long as you have points, you can keep playing.
Broadly speaking, my target market might be middle-aged men and women who live in the midwest and on the east coast. They have a stable income, regularly use their smartphone and like risk games. Maybe they visit Vegas once a year and a closer casino every month or two.
Obviously, there’s probably more to my target audience than this, but since this isn’t an article about creating buyer personas, we’ll leave it at that. The point is, I understand who the target audience for my app is and what motivates them. That knowledge will help me to create the type of campaign that will get my audience to buy.
And, it also helps me figure out how to target them on Facebook. Since my target audience has a strong interest in casino-type games, that might be a good place to start. Facebook’s interests targeting has a nice section for games—including casino games.
In addition to targeting people with an interest in casino games, I might also narrow things down to better fit my audience by specifying a smaller age range and targeting the midwest and east coast.
Obviously, this is a pretty basic example, but it goes to show how simply thinking about who your target audience is and the sort of campaign you’ll be running can significantly improve your Facebook targeting. Targeting the right people is half the battle on Facebook Ads, so it pays to start by thinking about who your target audience is first.
2. Pick an Objective
Another key part of creating an effective ad campaign on Facebook is understanding what your objective is. As with your audience, choosing the right objective is important both in broad terms and in technical terms.
Broadly speaking, if you don’t know what your objective is, it’s very hard to measure the success or failure of your campaign. If what you really need is sales, but all you’re focused on is driving clicks, you might get results that look good on paper…and bankrupt your business.
From a technical perspective, it’s important to pick a campaign objective that aligns with your actual goals.
Now, depending on your campaign strategy, your Facebook Ads objective might not always be the same as your overall objective. For example, your overall goal might be to drive profitable sales, but you might find that the most profitable way to get those sales is to start by using the traffic campaign objective on Facebook.
Or, you might have multiple campaigns with multiple objectives that all work together to form a marketing funnel. The possibilities are endless, which is why it is so important to know exactly what your overall objectives are and how each campaign fits into the bigger picture.
3. Figure Out Your Selling Point
Ultimately, regardless of what your specific goals are, every advertising campaign should have the same final goal: getting people to do something that benefits your business.
But, to do that, you have to speak to people in terms that matter to them. In other words, you have to understand your selling point—the thing that motivates people to act.
For example, what’s the selling point for the product below? Easy cleaning without scary chemicals.
As you think through your campaign strategy, however, keep in mind that what motivates your customers to act might not always be what you think motivates them to act. Remember, your customer is not you, so they may be motivated by different things than you.
So, before you get too far into your advertising strategy, talk to a few of your customers, make sure you understand what really motivates them, and how to use that in your advertising.
4. Think in Terms of Funnels
We already alluded to this a bit, but it’s critical to remember that not everyone is ready to buy or do whatever you’re trying to get them to do right now. It takes most people a while to warm up to your business.
For that reason, the best Facebook Ads campaigns aren’t just straight up pleas for people to “Buy Now” or something similar. They are part of an overall marketing funnel that builds brand awareness and gets people excited about what you have to offer.
To do this, you need to create ad campaigns that address different needs at different stages in your funnel. For example, you might use an engaging video ad to market to a cold audience, then retarget people who visit your website with additional content or offers.
Of course, this sort of multi-layered strategy means that you’ll need a variety of campaigns with different objectives and creative, but in the long run, a funnel-based approach to Facebook Ads usually delivers the best return-on-investment.
5. Select the Right Bid Strategy
Since much of Facebook bidding is automated, many marketers take their bidding strategy for granted and just go with the default option. However, depending on your overall strategy, this can often be the wrong choice.
For example, depending on how your funnel is set up, you may only be willing to pay a certain amount for a video view or link click. If that’s the case, you may want to try setting cost caps or bid caps to help keep things affordable.
The key here is to understand your overall objectives, how each campaign fits into your strategy and how to balance results and profitability. Bid too much and you can end up spending all of your budget on the wrong stage of your funnel. Bid too little, and you won’t get the results you need.
We don’t have time to cover all of the different Facebook bidding strategies and how to use them, but to learn more about your options, you may want to check out this article.
6. Optimize for Mobile
Most people check out Facebook on their smartphone, so it’s important to keep that in mind while thinking through your Facebook Ads strategy. No matter how good your ads look on your laptop, if they don’t work on mobile, they probably won’t drive the results you need.
For example, on mobile, only the first three lines of your ad copy will actually show up. So, you either have to write less than three lines of copy or make sure that you say the important stuff first. Here’s a great example of how to do that:
Print a million different things? I’m not quite sure what that means, but it sure sounds interesting.
In addition to getting your ad copy right, you need to pay attention to your images, too. The image ratio for Facebook Ads on mobile has changed from 2:3 to 4:5, so if your images aren’t designed to work in that aspect ratio, you could end up with awkward cropping…and awkward ads.
Finally, as part of your overall strategy, you may want to consider trying mobile-first ad formats like Instant Experiences or Story Ads. If you’re running an ecommerce business, you may want to look into Collection Ads, which tend to have great conversion rates for retailers.
The most important thing, though? Make sure you’re creating ads that meet your mobile users’ expectations and needs. Preview your ads on mobile, make sure they’re compelling (and user-friendly) and that your campaign is a good fit for a mobile device. If not, change something or adjust your targeting to make sure you’re only targeting desktop users.
7. Test, Test, Test, Test, TEST!
What’s the biggest secret to successful Facebook Advertising? Strategic thinking. What’s the second biggest secret to successful Facebook Advertising? Testing.
No matter how good your strategy is, you can’t always predict exactly how your customers will respond. As a result, the only way to truly optimize your Facebook Ads strategy is to test everything: objectives, images, ad copy, bids, delivery, funnel strategy…everything!
The good news is, testing is so important that Facebook has made it very easy to test a variety of aspects of your campaigns. All you have to do is come up with a variety of hypotheses and creative and Facebook will do the heavy lifting for you. Once you have your results, you can find which approach(es) work best and apply what you learn to the rest of your Facebook strategy.
Putting together an effective Facebook Ads campaign takes a lot of time, work and forethought. Your campaigns are only as good as the strategy behind them.
However, by using the 7 strategies we’ve discussed in this article, you should have good sense for what needs to go into your Facebook Ads strategy. There’s a lot more to Facebook Ads than meets the eye, but at this point, you should have a good sense for where you’re at…and what you still need to figure out. Best of luck!