“97% of social advertisers chose [Facebook] as their most used and most useful social media platform.”
Undoubtedly, Facebook is a powerful tool for digital marketers. Despite data points that may suggest the platform is oversaturated with competition, there is plenty of opportunity for brands of varying industries and sizes to tap into the world of paid Facebook advertising. The key, however, is to learn which tactics will move the needle and lead to success.
After all, there is ample opportunity for social media campaigns to drive quantitative results. According to the aforementioned Sprout Social study, social networks are the biggest source of inspiration for consumer purchases with 37% of consumers finding purchase inspiration through the channel. Whether customers are early in their buying journey or actively considering a purchase or action, don’t discount the myriad of ways that paid social can influence real results.
One company who has found success in this area is Readers.com, the leading online retailer of over-the-counter reading glasses. After prioritizing paid Facebook campaigns and implementing an iterative testing process, the brand has been able to drive significant revenue growth and attract an influx of new customers.
This guide is intended to lean on the successes of Readers.com and other learnings to assist brands in deploying Facebook campaigns that will convert into tangible business value.
Continuously Deploy A/B Testing
One of the biggest mistakes a social marketer can make when dealing with paid Facebook campaigns is to assume they have it locked down because of previous success on the platform. The paid social landscape is constantly changing, due to frequent changes in platform features, policies, competition, and consumer habits. The laws of entropy are at play, so it’s critical to regularly deploy new campaign ideas and test a variety of alternatives ideas, too. As marketers, we must constantly question our assumptions and seek the highest impact changes to maximize results. Careful not to over-index on creative testing along though; while fun, we’ve found targeting and offer variations are often higher points of leverage. A beautifully designed ad and copy that is poorly targeted will far on deaf ears and limit potential learnings.
One great example comes from Bing, whose revenue per search has increased 10 percent to 25 percent each year due to A/B testing, a study from Harvard Business Review found. The amount of success that can come from something as simple as testing is too astonishing to not take advantage of. Simply put, high velocity testing translates to a quicker learning cycle and faster time to ROI.
Furthermore, as previously mentioned, testing isn’t just about finding new ideas that work. It’s also about the ever-evolving landscape. Customer’s needs will change, new people will fall into the target demographic, Facebook will implement new changes that could potentially have a major impact.
And at times, it could have surprising results. It may even challenge a marketer’s assumptions on a particular topic.
In the case of Readers.com, whose branding and imagery largely relied on light-colored backgrounds, it was shocking when Facebook A/B testing revealed customers were more attracted and thus engaging far more with a photo whose background was extremely dark. Though initially assumed to be a coincidence, continued testing found that consumers were much more attracted to this imagery. Ultimately, this led the brand to introduce similar visuals in future campaigns and other channels, which have continued to perform quite well.
Cultivate Personalized, Omnichannel Relationships With Consumers
The key to paid Facebook advertising success isn’t just spend and ROAS; it’s forming direct one-on-one relationships with potential and existing customers. It’s critical advertisers invest in these personalized relationships to drive long-term loyalty. Not only will these advertisers reap the benefits of better CPAs, but they will likely be rewarded with a long-tail halo effect benefiting the brand through word of mouth and referral activity.
Which leads to an important point: nothing in the marketing world exists in a silo. Customers don’t view the world through the marketer’s lens of ‘channels’. Facebook campaigns are no exception. Brand and performance marketing teams should work in lockstep to create a cohesive and personalized brand experience across all platforms. Those who understand this will find greater success in their efforts.
Moreover, there are many ways for marketers to intertwine personalization into their efforts. For instance, dynamic ads are a fantastic strategy to employ, as it allows brands to create a baseline template that then pulls from existing product catalogs. This makes personalization infinitely simpler as teams won’t have to create dozens of individual ads. Leverage the power and beauty of Facebook’s machine learning algorithm to work smarter not harder. Additionally, it ensures ads will better align with the individual’s interests or needs, as Facebook will be able to dynamically feature products or services that users have explicitly and implicitly expressed interest in.
Implement Performance-Oriented Video
Once upon a time, digital ads were all about static images. However, like most online things, the way we consume ads has drastically altered in recent years, especially on Facebook. According to Hootsuite, spend on social video advertising leapt 130 percent from 2016 to 2017. That number only continues to increase. No longer are consumers interested in the static newsfeed-based ads that once dominated the platform, begging the question: are marketing teams ready to employ engaging and performative creative into their ads?
While these ads may require additional effort, they produce great results. Not only do they provide consumers with a more bountiful experience, but they also give advertisers the flexibility to create truly unique ads. Fortunately, there are copious options to choose from. Not only are dynamic product feed video ads a great example of performance-oriented video, as previously mentioned, but short-form video, animated GIFs, stories formats, and carousel ads are all excellent options to consider as well. Consumers respond well to these personalized and engaging ads, which ultimately serves as a powerful propeller.
Are your Marketing team members or 3rd party partners well-calibrated to consistently execute video? Effective video solutions don’t have to entail large production budgets; we’ve found equal success in certain instances testing DIY guerilla-style video creatives. Unsure where to start? The folks at Metric Digital have compiled a great resource called The Ad Creative Bank comprised of best-in-class paid social ads for inspiration. Regardless of the video approach taken, solving for these dynamic formats is a must for winning in paid social at scale.
Ensure Ample Resources For Social Media Teams
Facebook campaigns are a beast, no doubt. That’s why it’s so important that brands adequately prepare their teams and provide them with the necessary resources to achieve success. On the contrary, teams who are burdened with resource constraints may find they’re losing campaign momentum, which could prevent them from reaching critical goals that would have otherwise been achieved.
Engagement is one consequence that teams aren’t as often prepared for. Considering the massive impact Facebook’s Ad Relevance Measures have on performance, it’s very important that teams are prepared to respond to customer feedback in a timely manner, which may mean operating at odd hours or working with customer service teams to alleviate issues. These resources should always operate as a two-way dialogue that serves both as social proof and positive momentum. Additionally, carefully consider what impact scaling paid social may have on your headcount needs and budget accordingly.
Another resource to be considered is a clean infrastructure for data and tracking. Unfortunately, if not implemented properly, reporting may be wildly inaccurate, as incorrect or noisy data will cloud or mislead results. Therefore, it’s important to work with your team to ensure a scalable and trustworthy attribution methodology is established. Furthermore, teams should ensure accurate tags and setup so that new ideas can be tested and scaled. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to succeed by launching campaigns blind and not frontloading the necessary resources. Error on the side of caution and track any and all interactions that may be loosely relevant to your business. Collecting more data than is necessary is forgivable, but too often teams realize they forgot to track a critical interaction point or KPIs and left wishing they could turn back the hands of time to record this data.
Team structure is another key aspect to paid social campaigns. If choosing to enlist the help of an external agency, brands should carefully consider their options. Long gone is the era of working with a handful of agencies who have their hands in many different channels. Instead, brands should identify the areas where they could use the most help and enlist a third-party vendor who is the leader in their specific niche. By investing in agencies who are experts in their specific domain can be a huge differentiator.
While Facebook was once a fun space for college students to connect, it is now the leading source of revenue, customer acquisition, and brand awareness for countless companies. By continually deploying A/B testing, cultivating personalized relationships with customers across a variety of channels, implementing performance-oriented video, and ensuring teams are set up for success, brands will find Facebook is an impactful marketing tool.