As a professional interested in improving your company’s marketing (as evidenced by the fact that you’re reading the RingCentral blog) your company probably already has a Facebook page, and likely engages in some unpaid promotion on that social media platform. If you’re like most small and mid-sized businesses, however, you aren’t yet using the paid Facebook Ads platform.
The Business Case For Shifting to Paid Facebook Ads:
Up until recently, effective Facebook marketing was largely an unpaid endeavor involving trying to organically attract new ‘likes’ or ‘followers’ to your company’s Facebook page, and then marketing to those individuals you attracted via their Facebook News Stream. The fact that this exposure was essentially free for businesses has meant that over the last few years the percentage of posts in an individual’s News Stream from companies has risen significantly. That has led Facebook to proactively limit, and then further limit unpaid commercial posts in an individual’s daily feed. Thus today, you can continue to publish company updates, coupons, and sales promotions, but if you’re not paying Facebook for exposure, your unpaid Facebook promotion is reaching fewer and fewer people each month.
Thankfully, if you get on board with Facebook Ads now, you’re still ahead of the curve, and there are some amazing ad dollar returns to be had. All that said, as with Google Adwords, you need to carefully and regularly monitor your account to make sure that it’s functioning optimally. To that end, here are five tips for properly configuring and monitoring your Facebook Ads account:
1) Monitor Your Cost Per Conversion. The key metric in any advertising campaign, Facebook or otherwise, is the cost per conversion. That is, how much does it cost you in ad dollars per conversion (e.g. sale, lead, etc.). With Facebook, tracking conversions is as simple as adding a tracking code to your company’s thank you or checkout success page. Once you do that, you’ll begin to see how much you’re spending per conversion and know which campaigns are effective and which are not.
2) Segment Your Advertising Campaigns by Audience. Once you have your conversion tracking functioning, it’s important to set up your campaigns so that you can track effectiveness at a granular level. Facebook Ads can be segmented by different audiences, each of which can be presented with a different advertisement that appeals to that particular audience’s interests. For example, in our company we separately track campaigns by the customer’s industry and country, and show each of those groups a unique ad. Each of these ads is tracked separately and thus provides us with a unique cost per conversion by audience.
That means, for example, we know that our customers out of India cost us on average $15.18 per conversion, whereas our US customers cost us $20.30.
The benefits to segmenting your tracking are obvious, as each audience set has a different value, and thus should use a separate cost per conversion to confirm that the ROI is positive for that specific audience.
3) Use Pixels for ‘Warm’ Visitors Effectively. Some of the highest ROI ads that your company can run are, paradoxically, from customers who have already visited your company’s website. By simply copy and pasting a few lines of code onto your website you can enable Facebook to start adding pixels to the browsers of visitors of your company’s website. Then when that customer goes to Facebook, they will see your company’s Facebook ads in their News Feed. This is effective in part because you know that the customer is already interested in your product (because they’ve previously visited your website), in part because it reinforces your brands relevance to the customer, and finally because it reaches the customer during the short period of time in which they are considering making a purchase.
You’ll want to segment ‘warm’ visitors in your Facebook ads and track them separately from any other campaigns so that you can track the effectiveness of these ads. When setting up ‘warm’ campaigns you’ll want to consider how long after visiting your company’s website a customer would consider making a purchase, and accordingly shorten or lengthen the period of time after the customer originally visited your site that they will continue to see your advertisement in their News Feed. For example, if your business specializes in seasonal products, you wouldn’t want to continue showing ads to warm visitors after that season was over. By contrast, if your business is, for example, a commercial construction builder (which notoriously requires a long sales cycle) you’d want to show ads for perhaps a full 6 months after the customer originally visited your website.
4) Use Targeted Ads by Group Membership. One of the most unique features of Facebook Ads is that you can target your ads to individuals who have ‘liked’ or ‘followed’ another group, that indicates they might be good target customers for your company. For example, our business, Soar Payments, attempts to target the owners of credit repair businesses as potential clients by showing our ad to all members of the national credit repair professionals association. Similarly, a non-profit that focuses on raising money for breast cancer research might consider targeting all ‘followers’ of the Susan G. Komen Foundation.
The key to using Group Membership targeting effectively is to create a separate campaign for each group so that you can track the ROI separately. In our experience, the groups that will perform well (in terms of ROI per conversion) and those that perform poorly are not immediately obvious at the outset. Therefore, testing and monitoring is required.
5) Deploy Lookalike Ads
If you don’t have tens of thousands of ‘warm’ visitors to your website each month to market to via pixels, or if readily identifiable groups that your target customers are members of don’t exist, then you can use Lookalike Campaign ads to expand the reach of your company’s Facebook Ads beyond those individuals who have already ‘liked’ or ‘followed’ your Company.
When creating a Lookalike Campaign, you are asking Facebook to use their processing power and algorithms to identify commonalities and features in an existing successful marketing campaign of your company’s, and look for any other Facebook users that match those Facebook identified characteristics.
Lookalike Ads are typically significantly larger than the underlying group that you asked Facebook to generate the Lookalike group from. Therefore, you need to monitor the cost per conversion in these groups closely, because they’re not guaranteed to be effective at the same level as the smaller group from which they were generated was. And if they’re not as effective, and you’re not monitoring the Lookalike campaign closely, advertising spending can get out of hand quickly and destroy the ROI on your entire paid Facebook Ad marketing efforts.
As the window of opportunity on unpaid Facebook marketing closes, paid Facebook Ad marketing is just coming into its own. Currently, the fact that many small and mid-sized businesses that may be on Google Adwords or other digital marketing platforms aren’t yet using Facebook Ads means that the cost per lead can be significantly cheaper on this platform as compared to more established digital marketing platforms. Despite the opportunity, however, effective Facebook Ads must be closely monitored and maintained in order to ensure that your campaigns deliver a positive ROI.
Originally published Aug 05, 2016, updated Aug 12, 2020