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9 Ways To Improve Your Facebook Adverts

Paid Search | 11th Dec 2013

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Video Transcript

It’s a myth that Facebook advertising is easy. Often people will say that it’s far easier to do than Google AdWords and that essentially all you need to do is upload an image and some text and just leave it, and you’re done. That’s strictly not true. Facebook advertising has many nuances of its own that can be tweaked to get far better performance.

So in this video, I’m going to look at nine ways you can improve your Facebook ads based on what we do on the Koozai account and for clients of ours.

So first of all I think it’s really important that the wall that you are directing people to has a lot of good content on it. Let’s assume that you’re using Facebook adverts to drive more likes to your Facebook wall and to build your community on there. If that community sucks and has no content, or hasn’t been updated for ages, or just doesn’t look like a good community already, then no new people are going to like it and get into it.

We’ve tried accounts where they’ve had no followers at the start and then bid on adverts to get the initial likes on that campaign, and it is so much harder than getting likes when there’s already a substantial amount in place. So try and get as many people in your organisation to like the page first as you can, friends, family, anyone that can just give it a nice initial boost. Then advertise to build that up and keep putting good stuff on there, because if people are going to like your page, they’ve got to land on it first and decide that they like it. It doesn’t matter how good the advert is; the page has got to be interesting as well.

The same is true if you’re doing an advert that directs people to a landing page on your website. That landing page has got to be exceptional as well. The best advert in the world will not convince people to convert if the page they land on is poor.

Sponsored stories are one type of advert that I find works really well. You actually add these by creating a normal advert and then choosing that you want sponsored stories, so run an advert that you’ve chosen to do anyway and an extra sponsored stories one. It’s a little bit weird, because if you choose you want sponsored stories on four different adverts, you’ll then have four different sponsored stories, so you can end up pausing some of them.

But effectively what this does is it tells people when their friends have liked your page or interacted with that page. This is really good in our case, because if there’s people in a community who are friends with each other, then it’s very likely that they’ll see that their friends like Product X and that they should like it as well. Or if it’s a well-known product that has a wide reach, like Coca-Cola, then everybody’s heard of that, and it’s very likely that some of their friends would have liked the page, therefore they might want to like it as well.

So sponsored stories are great for products that have a wide scale reach or tightly knit communities who all get on with each other.

‘Optimise for likes’ is an option you can choose when you create a new advertising campaign. Annoyingly, if you edit an existing campaign now, you can’t then choose to optimise it for likes, so you have to duplicate that campaign and pick that setting. What this does is it means that Facebook will try and present your advert to the types of people who have liked it in the past and who it predicts will like it in the future.

Every time I’ve tested optimising for likes, it’s generated an increase in likes on the page that we’re targeting. Even if I change no other factors, just ticking that does work really well. Unlike AdWords, where I’ve ticked some things before, like ‘optimise for conversions’, and it’s had no effect or a negative effect, ‘optimise for likes’ works exceptionally well for Facebook, and I recommend ticking it.

The other thing ‘optimise for likes’ lets you do is show your adverts in the news feed. So typically your adverts would appear on the right-hand side of Facebook, and they’re about that size [makes small shape], whereas if you optimise for the news feed, your adverts are about that size [makes larger shape]. They’re like two to three times the size they would be over here, and obviously people have advert blindness to this area, whereas actually appearing in people’s news feeds means you get far more visibility.

The same with sponsored stories. They also appear in the news feed. But this actually allows you to present the specific advert copy and image that you want. The only downside is that your image that before was a nice square shape will now become a rectangle and will be cropped at the top and the bottom. But you can edit how that image will look appearing in news feeds. You can also run adverts on both the news feed and the right-hand side without having to create multiple adverts.

So I’d always test that to see if that helps. Personally, all the times I’ve tried it, it has helped generate a greater number of likes.

Test adverts with faces. This is one of the first pieces of advice I’ve ever got. My Facebook advert rep told it to me. One of my friends told it to me who used Facebook advertising. As someone who’s tested it a fair amount, I can say that it is very, very true that adverts with faces do generate a higher click-through rate than those without.

Pretty much the only thing that will generate a higher click-through rate is when you use memes or things that are in the public domain. But obviously there’s copyright issues there that can cause problems, so we try and stay away from using copyrighted images or memes and things like that, because it’s never a totally safe practice and there are risks to it. Whereas faces, that could be your employees’ faces, your customers, people who’ve given you testimonials. If a celebrity has endorsed your brand, obviously if you’ve got permission to use those kind of things. Products by your brand work really well if it’s an iconic product, as well. Or if you’ve used your product in a different kind of setting, like Oreo do with custom images of Oreos in fun settings — they use them on social media all the time — that would work really well as an advert as well.

Change the adverts frequently. We found that after one to two months, people tend to get bored of adverts, especially if you’re targeting a narrow pool of people. Even your best performing advert will start to decline in performance after a few months. That’s certainly my experience. If you’re targeting a really wide area of people, so they won’t have seen it multiple times, then perhaps you can run it for longer. But in our case, we tend to run adverts on a smaller pool, and they will get overexposed to those adverts rather quickly, in which case changing them can have a really positive effect.

It doesn’t necessarily matter what you change them to sometimes. I’ve found just changing them in any way can have an improvement, which is really weird. You’d think your best performing advert will always be good for you. Like in AdWords, that would definitely be the case; your best performing adverts will continue to work well over time. But it’s just not true with Facebook. People just get bored with seeing the same images and text combos. So be sure to change them as regularly as you can.

You should also use targeting to get what you want. That’s one of the great advantages of Facebook, is that you can target precise interests, job titles, and categories of people. With B2B campaigns, we tend to find it’s better to target people with specific workplaces or job titles, and with B2C campaigns, we find it’s better to target precise interests that the person would like, that would mean they would be a type of person who’d buy your product, whereas B2B is more professional, and that’s why job titles and workplaces can be essential.

But every campaign is different, so you should definitely test both of them. The only thing to bear in mind is that the pool of people that you target has got to be big enough that they don’t get overexposed to your advert. So like I said a moment ago, if the pool is too small, they will get overexposed to the adverts. Even if the pool is kind of medium-sized, you still have to change them regularly.

Another disadvantage, if the pool is too small, is that you won’t actually spend your budget. You’ll just find that you show the ad to those people relatively quickly, you show it to them again, and then there’s nothing more you can really do with that. We try to target just a few specific workplaces that we wanted to work with, and the pool was just so small, it was just completely pointless. So try not to get too generic with it. Especially if you’re targeting workplaces, you have to target them that have a lot of employees. Otherwise the advert is just not even going to run, and it’s actually pointless.

The last thing to do is to exclude existing likes. So once somebody has liked your page, make it so that they are excluded from the adverts in the future. Personally, that seems to work good for us because we don’t like paying for people who’ve already liked the page, and that’s the primary goal. Obviously, if your goal is to get people seeing your brand over and over, then you might not want to do that. But specifically, if you’re trying to reduce spend and increase the effectiveness of your account, then that’s a simple win to do, is just to turn that feature on.

So I hope those nine tips have helped you improve the performance of your Facebook advertising. For more information on what we do, visit Koozai.com or any of the social profiles that follow. Thank you.

About the author

Mike Essex

Mike Essex specialises in digital marketing and everything search. A recent project of Mike’s was featured on BBC News, Radio 5Live and the Times here in the UK, whilst also featuring on USA Today and ABC News in the US. He will be writing throughout the month about digital marketing and much more...

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