How to Run Successful Ads on Facebook & Instagram
Do you ever see successful ads from companies on Facebook or Instagram and wonder how you can replicate that same success?
Advertising on Facebook and Instagram is extremely effective for many brands—but it’s not as straightforward as just throwing up an ad and then having sales start rolling in. There are a lot of components to a successful ad campaign.
The first thing to know is that Facebook and Instagram ads are both managed through the Facebook Ads Manager, which is found inside the Business Manager. I can’t tell you how many business owners I speak with who think they’re running ads through the Business Manager, but they’re really just doing it through their business’s page. Why Facebook has made this so complicated, I’ll never know (other than that they probably got into a programming mess), but it’s something every business owner needs to investigate and learn about because it’s not intuitive.
As for Instagram, Facebook owns it so the ads are also managed through the same location. It’s possible to just boost posts through the mobile platform, but that has very limited and basic options so I don’t advise it. Boosting from your mobile device is fine for just a regular post that you want more people to see, but it’s not a strategy for actually selling more products. Instead, run a fully sophisticated and robust campaign through the Facebook Ads Manager.
The same thing is true for Facebook. While it might be useful to occasionally boost a post with the “boost now” option, this is not a strategy for real advertising. Both the targeting and the reach are limited. For powerful advertising, you need to use the Facebook Ads Manager.
Step 1 – Install the Facebook Pixel
Before running any ads, set up the Facebook pixel on your website. This will allow you to track the people who visit your website, who are driven there by ads or through organic traffic. With the pixel and using retargeting ads, you’ll be able to retarget those people who have visited your website. This is a key way to take your potential buyers from initial curiosity through to sales conversion.
Remember, people rarely buy something the instant they see it online. Impulse buying may happen with inexpensive purchases at the checkout counter of a retail store, but it seldom happens with online advertising!
People need a chance to hear about your product and then gradually develop a spark of interest which has the potential to turn into a real desire to buy. That’s why retargeting ads are a must. Every time someone sees one of your ads, that ad will reinforce their interest and warm them up to buy.
Step 2 – Ad Creation
Create your Ad Sequence
Creating one ad is a good start. Creating multiple ads for the various stages of the user experience takes things to the next level.
People need a chance to get to know and trust your brand before they feel ready to pull the trigger on a purchase. The most successful campaigns use retargeting ads to take potential customers through all the stages of the buying process; it’s a multi-step development with a lot of psychology to it. Once you’ve figured out how to take the customer through that user experience, you’ll really start making money.
Ad 1 – Initial “Elevator Pitch”
What is the product or service? Create high-level interest with your introductory ad.
Ad 2+ – Reinforcement Ads
Your initial ad should be followed up with a variety of reinforcement ads, each of which shows your value proposition in a new light. Show the benefits and value of the product or service in a variety of diverse and interesting ways. You might have anywhere from two to two dozen reinforcement ads. Two or three reinforcement ads, for a sequence of about 4 ads in total is a good place to start.
You then need to do A/B testing for each of the ads.
- Ad 1 – A/B (and possibly C/D)
- Ad 2 – A/B
- Ad 3 – A/B
- Ad 4 – A/B
For every ad message and stage, it’s a good idea to test different ad creatives and variations on the language to see what resonates most with your potential buyers. Which ads get the most clicks and engagement? The more you test and track, the more you’ll be able to hone in on the most popular and effective advertising.
Note: You might also have other specific ads for things like cart abandonment to try to get people to go back and complete their purchase. With the Facebook pixel, specific targeting can be set up through Custom Conversions for the various phases of your shopping cart. Contact us if you’d like help setting this up!
Step 3 – Create Landing Pages
There are a lot of reasons why your ads should never point to your home page. Your home page gives an overview and introduction to your business to someone who has come to your website through Google or has looked up your specific URL. That’s fine under those circumstances. But when someone sees your ad, they need to immediately be taken to a page that speaks specifically to the ad they just saw and provides more details about the initial interest point.
Your landing page might include the same ad creative that the person just clicked on, or a similar variation to it. You might include extra photography or a video on the ad’s landing page. The page should elaborate on the point that your ad introduced and provide helpful information with a single call-to-action. A good landing page is succinct, attractive, and makes a potential buyer want to click.
It’s a good idea to test your landing pages the same way that you’ve tested your ad creatives, with A/B (or even C/D) testing. What landing pages get the most responses? The more testing you do, the better your sales funnel will become!
Which landing page gets the best conversions?
Your landing page might take someone directly to a “buy now” page, or it might take them to a page where they can learn more about the product or service. Setting up unique link tracking on your call-to-actions can help you track the success of each landing page. We like Rebrandly, but there are several services that offer link tracking. It’s an invaluable tool for testing and perfecting advertising and landing pages.
Step 4 – Targeted Audiences
Something many people don’t think about is the way they use target audiences. You may have a good idea about your target audience, but have you considered segmenting that audience into micro-groups? Here’s a high-level example:
If you run 1920s immersive experiences, you might have a hunch that your target audience is in their 30s & 40s, likes jazz, fashion, cocktails, and often has an interest in things like swing dancing, comic con, and science fiction and fantasy novels. That’s a good start, but it’s still pretty broad.
The easiest way to segment that original targeted group is to start with gender. The ad creative that you show to women might be quite different than the one you show to men, and that could help you get better results. For example, the ad creative for women might emphasize fashion more, while the one for men might reinforce cocktails. Or your messaging for 30-year-olds might differ from that of the 40-year-olds since they have different reference points. By segmenting those groups and sending them different ads that go to different landing pages, you can be more specific with the kind of content you share and elicit better conversion rates.
Here’s another example:
I recently had a company contact me that creates shoe lifter inserts to make you look taller. These particular inserts were compatible with running shoes. When I looked at their website, it looked like their target audience was men. It was dark black and grey and had a very masculine feeling. I assumed the product was for men who want to look taller. However, they make inserts for women too! I never would have guessed that this would be a good product for women who want the lift that high heels give to their legs and tush. While the entire website had some branding challenges, this easily could have been solved with landing pages.
To sell to women, I recommended creating a video specifically showing young women using the inserts. Those videos could then be sent specifically to women and drive to landing pages specifically for women, enabling the company to make sales to women.
Step 5 – Staying In Touch With Warm Leads
The more reinforcement ads that you create over time, the more ways you’ll have to reinforce your brand with potential customers who have shown interest in what you have to offer. You have the opportunity to approach your sale from a variety of angles over extended periods of time, keeping your interested leads warm and reminding them of your presence for when they’re ready to buy.
Bringing It Home
Running a successful ad campaign on Facebook or Instagram doesn’t happen overnight. There’s a lot of strategy and work involved to take your customers from that initial spark of interest, through to brand building, establishing trust, and finally, into transaction conversion.
If you need help strategizing and implementing a successful campaign, we can help! We project manage your Facebook advertising campaign from start to finish. Our services include marketing for business, personal brands, perpetual, ongoing, or seasonal campaigns, business or product launches, and more.
Contact us today for a free consultation. We’d love to chat about your business and see if we’d be a good fit to help you achieve your marketing goals.
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