Top 2018 Facebook Ads Predictions from the Experts

Posted by on Dec 13, 2017 in PPC News, Social
Top 2018 Facebook Ads Predictions from the Experts

Can we agree that we’re spending more time on our phones? We can’t get enough of these pocket-sized computers.

The average American spends more than two hours a day on their mobile device, with 50% of their app time in their most-used app, and almost 80% in their top three apps, according to comScore. And of those 140 minutes spent on our phones, 50 minutes are spent across Facebook apps (Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger).

Moving forward, Facebook will play a bigger role in marketer’s mobile strategy. That said, what’s in store for Facebook marketers as we head into 2018?

I predict Facebook marketers will turn to Instagram ads to drive conversions, experiment with Messenger ads to start conversations, and turn to offline conversions to measure business impact.

A Pipeline of Advertisers Headed Straight to Instagram

One reason for Instagram’s rapid adoption among advertisers is the pipeline of 5 million active advertisers on Facebook. As Facebook faces ad load saturation on its main app, marketers have more reasons to experiment with Instagram advertising. Facebook can provide the same targeting capabilities on Instagram, but there’s a growing number of ad types and more available inventory on Instagram for advertisers to drive conversions.

Instagram Ad Types

Driving Conversations With Messenger Ads

Figuring out how to stay in front of audiences is always top-of-mind for marketers. With Facebook pouring more resources into monetizing Messenger, I predict marketers will be enticed with more ad types and variations in 2018. And with a push for more adoption of the Messenger platform, expect that payment processes will get easier and more efficient. To learn more about how to get started check out the Ultimate Guide to Messenger Ads.

Measuring the Impact of Facebook Ads

Marketers are under constant pressure to prove the impact of their ad spend. With offline conversion measurement capabilities on Facebook, marketers can track when transactions occur in physical business locations and other offline channels (CRM) after people see or engage with their Facebook ads.

match transactions to campaigns to determine attribution

This is extremely valuable for marketers looking to justify their budgets. Facebook is uniquely positioned to provide multi-touch attribution so marketers can accurately understand campaign performance and optimize spend. Look for marketers to adopt Facebook’s offline conversions in 2018.

Facebook Ads Predictions from Industry Experts

We asked four Facebook Ads experts their predictions about what’s to come in 2018.

Key Facebook Trends to Watch for in 2018

  1. Facebook’s Diminishing Ad Load
  2. Experimenting with Messenger Ads
  3. Getting Creative with Ad Creative & Ad Types
  4. Be Ready to Test New Features

Susan Wenograd, Partner at Five Mill:

“I think there will be at least two developments related to FB targeting in 2018 and one development around rules and regulations.

Facebook started running out of News Feed space last year. This has caused skyrocketing CPMs, and really fierce competition. This is great for Facebook’s bottom line, but I think they also recognize that evolving is now more important than ever. They cannot just shrug and say, ‘Welp, that’s all we got. Good luck, folks!’ They have to test and iterate on new ways to create inventory, but simultaneously have it be quality inventory that will move the needle so advertisers will spend budget on it.

I believed Watch was their first step towards this when they announced it. Video has all kinds of applications and success for ads on the platform, so it makes sense they’d look to evolve this first. They also have the opportunity to learn from what other video platforms like YouTube do well and don’t do well. Indeed, they have announced testing of pre-roll images recently, so look for future inventory openings to come from things outside the News Feed directly.”

Susan Wenograd Facebook Quote

“I also think the other major targeting thing that will continue to evolve is targeting based on user behavior. This was a huge leap forward for Facebook in the past year, allowing us to target users based on their in-platform activities like their interactions with Events, Videos, and Posts. I believe this will continue to evolve, giving us options for how to create Audiences based off which Posts/Ads they interacted with, and whether their reactions to posts were positive or negative.

The other thing I’m watching is the rise of chatbots. This is a huge deal for Messenger, but will also require some oversight from Facebook to control what that looks like. Spammy messages and annoying marketing techniques will frustrate users, so I think Facebook will need to figure out the rules and guidelines advertisers need to adhere to about what is messaged and how it’s done.”

Akvile DeFazio, President and Facebook Ads Specialist, AKvertise, Inc.:

“In this last year, Facebook continued making a push to get more users and brands on Messenger. As we head into 2018, we will most certainly see the trend forging a deeper path as more people dive in to the app from ads at different stages of the conversion funnel without even having to transfer to a website or wait for customer service responses via preexisting and less instantaneous means.”

Akvile DeFazio Messenger Quote

“From Sephora making beauty service booking quicker than ever, to O’Reilly Auto Parts providing customer service, Domino’s Pizza featuring order placement and tracking, to Pinterest now allowing users to easily search and share pins, it’ll be interesting to see the many creative ways brands will utilize this highly coveted space to get the closest to their audience since email.

As it stands today, it is still an under-utilized space for advertisers, though not for long, as chatbots level up. Messenger is no longer just for communication, it’s also evolving into a medium for conversions.”

Matt Mason, Senior Client Manager, Point It:

“With Facebook’s focus on Messenger and their acquisition of WhatsApp, they will find a way to be able to purchase directly through their messenger platforms. Imagine being able to serve an ad for a product within Messenger, and someone being able to purchase without having to click out of the app.

Facebook makes a big splash with an acquisition of a well-known brand in order to increase their reach but also solve for their dwindling inventory and ad slowdown. As the market becomes more and more oversaturated, they have to be able to meet the demand.”

Matt Mason Facebook Quote

“Facebook begins testing some sort of self-service creative studio to help advertisers with videos + statics. They’ve already announced the Creator App for the creative community. It wouldn’t shock me at all if there was some form of light version for advertisers. It would make sense considering the majority of the advertisers are small businesses without a lot of capital.”

Michelle Morgan, Director of Client Services at Clix Marketing:

“Long story short, Facebook is getting more competitive and that’s going to require advertisers to lessen or move away entirely from their previous strategies on the network. I think Facebook will continue to grow in terms of the number of advertisers over the course of 2018. Given the inherent nature of inventory on Facebook (there are only as many impressions available as people willing to scroll through their feed), that means more advertisers for the same amount of impressions. Economics 101, anyone?

Advertisers will need to be willing to do a few things to stay competitive on the platform.

First, be willing to bid competitively. Up until now, it’s been common to hear of highly successful Facebook campaigns for little ad spend. There might still be opportunities for that, but that time is fading. If you want to see returns from Facebook, you’ll need to get competitive with your bids or let go of the bidding reigns altogether and let Facebook’s algorithm do it for you.”

Michelle Morgan Facebook Quote

“Second, you’ll need to get more creative with how you engage your target audience. Going from zero to 60 and asking for a sale the first time someone visits your site might work during the holiday season, but it’s going to be harder to do during the remainder of the year. Whether it’s creating a new conversion type for a lead generation company, being more appealing with your ad copy doing a better job of not over-saturating your audience, or creating a retargeting funnel, there are many ways to get more creative with your advertising; and 2018 is the year you’ll have to flex those muscles to get the returns you need.

Lastly, stay on your toes in terms of the Facebook platform itself. Facebook is continually changing its advertising options, as well as its user experience. Keep an eye out for new targeting options, functionality, etc. that could benefit your accounts, and be willing to test new features as they become available. My guess is that early adopters will be the ones to get low-cost, profitable campaign results.”

Summary

Marketing is all about (a) finding your target audience and (b) communicating how your product or service can solve their problem. And Facebook ads are making this easier to accomplish. The question is how are marketers going to react to rising News Feed cost and expanding onto other Facebook properties. And how will Facebook entice marketers to experiment with new networks in a transparent way.

How to Fix a Failing Facebook Campaign

Posted by on Nov 14, 2017 in Social
How to Fix a Failing Facebook Campaign

It’s Monday morning. I just sat down with my favorite cup of coffee and opened up my computer. I’m about to dive into my weekly reports, ready to count the pennies I’ve gained over the past week from my Facebook campaigns. I notice that seemingly overnight, our spend and conversion numbers have dropped off. I panic, but it’s cool because at least it isn’t Friday afternoon at 4:30, am I right? As I dig in, I notice the drops in both metrics are primarily coming from one campaign. Not just any campaign. My most trusted, go-to, evergreen campaign.

Has this happened to you? It’s happened to me several times over the course of this year. I’m convinced that if you do enough Facebook advertising, you’ll run into this exact scenario at some point. It happened to me with one of my larger B2B lead generation clients, and it happened fast.

Listen to the latest PPC Show podcast episode for more details from Matt Mason.

 

 

When High-Performing Campaigns Go Bad

When comparing Year over Year (YoY) quarterly performance, our main conversion goal was down by 78%. Of course, the only upside is that we were only spending 43% of our budget. However, no matter how you look at it, our performance was down, and CPAs were on the rise.

This didn’t make sense. We were doing all the right things. We had a funnel. We were warming up cold audiences with landing pages specific to their interests. We were creating awareness. We were remarketing with offers that our audiences perceived as valuable. At the end of the journey, we were hitting them with content that differentiated us from their competitors and showed the value we offered. Our audiences were segmented.

We got strategic with our targeting and tailored our messaging and content to those segmented audiences. The performance was off the chart the previous year.  Conversions were coming out of our ears.

Then it just stopped.

but why

After banging my head against the wall for days trying to figure out what was going on, I reached out to my Facebook rep. They reminded me of a key characteristic of conversion campaigns: you need consistent, click-based, conversion events. Ideally 50 a week per ad set. I wasn’t getting that anymore, which meant that my campaigns were no longer giving enough data to Facebook’s algorithm. It didn’t have what it needed to predict who would convert, so it pulled back.

But…but…my audience was locked in. I was granular. I knew my audience.

There was just one problem. I wasn’t getting results.

I was at an impasse. Do I continue to dig my heels into this audience that I know converts?  Or do I try something new?  I really didn’t have any choice.  What I was doing wasn’t working.

Facebook touts itself as having the best audience data, and they encourage you to leverage that. But what else does Facebook have? An extremely powerful algorithm that knows who is likely to take the action that you’re looking for. However, in my case, the algorithm had found “all” of the people in my segmented audience that were going to convert.

Campaign Trust Fall with Facebook

I spoke to some friends in the industry. I went through an entire pack of dry erase markers. I looked at the data and where I historically saw the most success. For this specific account, the majority of the conversion actions were coming from our larger lookalike audiences, read: large audience pools. Finally, AdStage’s JD Prater encouraged me to try something new. Again, what’s more important? The audience or the conversion? I know the Audience, but Facebook knows the conversion.

What if we threw the audience out and let Facebook determine who we should target? If you’re like me, the idea of throwing our tried and true strategies for a hail mary probably makes you start to sweat. My mind was screaming what every best practice tells you: Audience. Audience. KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE.

The industry who created the best practices weren’t going to have to deal with my client’s failing performance; I was.  So, I took a leap of faith, because I really had nothing to lose.

My hypothesis was this:

By focusing on creative and messaging that is relevant and highly targeted for the right market and letting Facebook determine who the audience should be, we’d get better performance.

Convincing a client who’s been targeting highly granular audiences to completely blow up their strategy was going to be a tough sell, so I took a different approach.

dr who got to end

I took my tried and true prospecting campaign that had been performing well before but was now experiencing extreme decline, duplicated it, and relaunched it with several 10% Lookalike audiences. This increased number of users in my audience by 10x (a larger pool! Consistent with other high performing campaigns!). I used the same settings and the same copy to isolate which change in the audience was the reason for increased or decreased performance.

When Taking a Leap Pays Off in Performance

In the first month, we drove 111% more conversion actions than we had the month before with the “high performing” audience I had typically used, while CPAs increased 19% month over month. Not bad. Remember, this campaign had dropped off to the point that we were spending around 20% of our allocated budget. Our spend doubled month over month.

Using All the Tools At Your Disposal

The idea is driven by the core belief that when we create our audiences, we’re actually only capturing a fraction of the overall conversions out there. Take a piece of paper and pencil. Draw a big circle. Now draw a couple of small circles inside the larger circle. This is what we’re doing with audiences. There’s still a large portion of the overall circle that is full of people who might not convert.

bullseye-clipart-clipart

Facebook is going to find those people because it pulls from many data points that we don’t have access to as marketers, like who is likely to see an ad and take the desired action. That’s why as you collect consistent conversions in your ad sets, things get more efficient. The algorithm improves over time. Eventually, you’ll hit the end of your audience, and all of the low hanging fruit will have been picked off. Next steps dictate that you need to find those prospects who don’t fit the typical targeting profile.

Go-Forward Plan for Social Strategy

Now the fun part begins. I’ve already proven that by opening up audiences, we can get better results. So just recently, I launched my first ad set with no audiences identified other than age. The initial results are promising. I will admit, CPA is higher by 17%, but the key is that we’re getting consistent leads. This strategy, over time, should prove to be more efficient.

What about you? Have you tried this strategy? What are your thoughts and concerns? Hit me up on Twitter with your feedback!

Instagram Ad Cost for 2017 [Benchmark Report]

Posted by on Nov 7, 2017 in Social
Instagram Ad Cost for 2017 [Benchmark Report]

Instagram Ads have come along way since they first started to test ads in user feeds in late 2013. They now have over five different ad types for advertisers to choose from.

One reason for Instagram’s rapid adoption among advertisers is the pipeline of 6 million active advertisers on Facebook. As Facebook’s News Feed faces maximum ad capacity, they’re pushing marketers to experiment with Instagram Ads since there’s more available inventory. And marketers looking for more audience reach are turning to Instagram as they same targeting capabilities as Facebook.

But a question marketers are quick to ask is, how much do Instagram Ads cost? Well, we have an answer.

Instagram Ad Types

How Much Do Instagram Ads Costs?

In a brand new report from AdStage, we take an in-depth look at the PPC benchmarks and trends that matter to you and your digital advertising strategy. In Q3, we analyzed over 200 million Instagram ad impressions. Based on AdStage data, we found for Instagram ads the average CPM was $13.92, the average CPC was $1.94, and the average CTR was 0.99% in Q3’17.

Instagram Ads Key Takeaways

  • The average CPM on Instagram ads increased 72% since Q1’17
  • The average CPC on Instagram ads decreased 35% since Q1’17
  • The average CTR for Instagram ads increased 44% since Q1’17

Instagram’s Supply and Demand

Facebook’s ad impressions are flat while ad spend is moving up. This tells us advertisers are paying more to enter the auction while getting the same number of impressions.

Instagram Supply and Demand 2017

Instagram’s CPC Decrease 35%

Based on our data, we saw CPCs increase by 35% over the first nine months of 2017.

Instagram CPCs in 2017

The biggest correlation in our CPC data was when Instagram announced new objectives for Stories Ads on May 25th.

When first rolling out ads in Instagram Stories, we began by focusing on the Reach objective to help businesses better target and reach the people they wanted to connect with. But over the past three months these capabilities have greatly expanded, giving businesses the ability to purchase ads in Instagram Stories across additional objectives—Video Views, Traffic (formerly known as Website Clicks), Conversions and Mobile App Install. As a result, stories has become a full-funnel solution for a growing spectrum of business objectives.

With the rapid growth in users, advertisers, and the strong adoption of new ad features like Stories ads, Instagram is poised to make a splash in 2018.


The exclusive Q3 2017 PPC Benchmark Report gives unprecedented PPC insights and trends into what’s happening on the major ad platforms. Just click on the button below to access full 78-page report.

CTA - Q3 BENCHMARK REPORT

 

Quick Guide to Facebook Audience Network

Posted by on Oct 3, 2017 in Social
Quick Guide to Facebook Audience Network

Facebook Audience Network (FAN), which reported a $1 billion run rate earlier this year, is a great option for marketers looking to scale their ad campaigns. FAN lets you run ads on third-party websites and apps while taking advantage of all the things that are great about Facebook native in-feed ads: rich targeting data, measurement, and user-friendly interface.

I know you’re probably thinking: my conversions and brand safety would really improve if I could just place more ads alongside third-party content that I can’t control. Well, with a little bit of tinkering in Ads Manager and a trusted list of exclusions, you can increase reach at a lower CPM and perhaps, even drive more down-the-funnel metrics. Read on to learn how to make Facebook Audience Network work for you.

What’s Facebook Audience Network?

Facebook launched its Audience Network back in October 2014. This strategic move allowed Facebook to grow its footprint by boosting the volume of ad spend going to off-Facebook websites and mobile apps. Needless to say, it’s a way for Facebook to address its growing ad load challenges. FAN lets advertisers extend their Facebook campaigns outside of the social network while using the same ad targeting data.

FAN has grown quickly over the past few years. It’s not just websites and apps now; Facebook is aggressively taking aim at the TV advertising market. Facebook video ads are delivered through apps that run via set-top boxes, such as Apple TV and Roku.

Types of Ads in Audience Network

As of October 2017 (and Facebook has been moving especially fast this year), Facebook Audience Network lets advertisers place ads in the following formats:

Rewarded videos currently support Unity and Cocos2DX game engines. Mobile gamers can choose to watch an ad in exchange for in-app rewards such as coins and power-ups.

Facebook’s SDK is now embedded into nearly every app on the planet. The use of header bidding and a solid inventory that includes Instant Articles makes Facebook a major challenger to traditional programmatic inventory sources and direct ad channels.

Why Advertise on Facebook Audience Network?

Facebook inventory is in high demand. Facebook’s CPMs were up 171% in 2017 and showing no sign of a slowdown, especially with the upcoming holiday season. For advertisers looking to scale spend and reach, the Audience Network could be a good option.

A few ways advertisers can take advantage of FAN:

  • Drive e-commerce sales at scale
  • Generate more leads by driving customers to register for something after they click
  • Boost brand awareness
  • Reach new relevant audiences
  • Repeat your message by following users off Facebook and on their favorite websites and apps
  • Target very niche audiences across web, mobile, and connected devices.

How Facebook Audience Network Works

In a nutshell, the Audience Network is Facebook’s version of Google AdSense. Here’s how it works:

  • Publishers with websites or apps can join the Audience Network by submitting their application for review. They agree to allow Facebook to place ads on their websites and apps.
  • Advertisers set up campaigns on Facebook. By default, ad placements with FAN-enabled campaign objectives will run on the Audience Network.
  • Facebook places ads on its partnering websites and apps. Advertisers compete to get their ads on placements by bidding.
  • Facebook makes money on ads and splits it with the publisher of the website or app.

Create Ads for Your Campaign Objectives

If you disable automatic placement, Facebook will recommend using Audience Network for the following campaign objectives:

  • Video views (including reach and frequency buying)
  • Traffic (for website clicks and app engagement)
  • Product catalog sales
  • App installs
  • Conversions

Whether you’re increasing brand awareness measured by views and clicks or driving sales, you need to write Facebook ads for people in the “browse” mode. Like billboard ads, FAN creatives shouldn’t pack too much information. The simpler the message, the more powerful the effect.

Set Up Your First Facebook Audience Campaign for Success

Whenever you create a campaign using the new Ads Manager, Audience Network is selected by default for any of the FAN-enabled ad objectives.

Facebook Marketing Objective

Source: Facebook Blueprint

So, unless you manually opt out of running ads on FAN in Settings, your ad will be running both in native Facebook feed and on the partner network. At the same time, you can’t select Audience Network alone. Ads must run either on Facebook or Instagram to run on FAN.

Facebook audience network selection

It’s possible to drive quality traffic for your direct response campaigns on FAN. Be mindful to review your placement report and not waste your ad budget on fake clicks and hurt brand image in the wrong placements. Facebook Blueprint course recommends leaving the Automatic Placements option selected, but you’ll really be better off by commanding more control. So skip the “recommended” trap and head over to Advanced Settings and Block Lists – these settings are not that “advanced” and will take you like five minutes to set up.

Protect the Brand and Improve Results with Blocklists

To set up a block list for Facebook Audience Network, go to Business Settings in your Facebook Ads Manager and find “Block Lists” under People and Assets. Upload your block lists. Apply your block lists to all or selected ad accounts. When you create a new ad set or ad, you can check if the list has been applied in Advanced Settings =>> Exclude Categories =>> Account Block Lists.

Facebook Block List

At AdStage, we built our FAN blocklist based on Seer Interactive’s blocklist for Google Display Network. You can copy and export in .csv AdStage’s blocklist for Facebook Audience Network by clicking on the link. The volatile political environment has led many programmatic buying platforms to shun many alt-right news websites, and you can certainly add such sources to your FAN blocklist to ensure the best brand representation and safety.

Add Facebook Block List to Ad Set

Note: you can add blocklists to your ad account only if you’ve been added as an advertising Admin on that account (if you have advertiser or analyst permissions, you won’t be able to add a blocklist).

Measuring Success

You can track your campaign success on Audience Network the same way you would do for in-feed ads via Ads Manager Reporting (or your preferred PPC reporting tool).

Facebook Placement

Further Resources on Facebook Advertising

  1. 7 Major Updates for Facebook Advertisers
  2. When and How to Use Facebook Sequential Advertising
  3. Quick Guide to Facebook Offline Conversions
  4. Crash Course on Facebook Organic Reports
  5. The Facebook Ad Type with the Best ROI
  6. Facebook Ads Reporting Tool

Have you tried Facebook Audience Network? Any best practices to share? Tell us in comments!

Facebook CPMs Increase 171% In 2017 [New Report]

Posted by on Sep 18, 2017 in PPC News, Social
Facebook CPMs Increase 171% In 2017 [New Report]

Over the last year, we’ve analyzed over 8.8 billion Facebook ad impressions. We found that during the first six months, the average CPM increased from $4.12 to $11.17, and the average CPC increased from $0.42 to $0.99.

Key Takeaways

  • The average CPM on Facebook ads has increased by 171% since January 2017
  • The average CPC on Facebook ads has increased by 136% since January 2017
  • The average CTR for Facebook ads has remained consistent over the last six months

Be sure to view the Q3 Facebook ads report for the latest trends.

Facebook’s Supply and Demand

Facebook’s ad impressions are flat while ad spend is moving up. This tells us advertisers are paying more to enter the auction while getting the same number of impressions.

AdStage Facebook Benchmark Report Spend vs Impressions

Facebook’s CPM Increase 171%

Based on our data, we saw CPMs increase by 171% during the first half of 2017. This shows how competitive the auction is and illustrates why Facebook is having ad load issues.

AdStage Facebook Benchmark Report CPM Increase

Facebook’s CPC Increase 136%

The CPCs of Facebook Ads went from $0.42 to $0.99 during the first six months of 2017. That’s a huge jump, especially when thinking about the role of Facebook in the customer journey.
AdStage Facebook Benchmark Report CPC Increase

Facebook’s CTR Remain Flat

Advertisers are getting consistent CTRs month-over-month, but it’s costing more to get the same result due to higher CPMs and CTRs.

AdStage Facebook Benchmark Report CTR Remains Consistent

Why Are Facebook CPMs Increasing

Our ad spend data includes all ads run on Facebook, Instagram, and Audience Network. There are a number of possible explanations for the increase in CPMs and CPCs.

1) Advertisers Are Flocking to Facebook

Facebook reported a total of five million advertisers as of April 2017. That’s up from four million monthly advertisers in September 2016, and three million in March 2016. Put another way — Facebook gained two million advertisers in one year.

Keep in mind that Facebook’s five million advertisers are only 8% of the 65 million businesses active on the network. Therefore, we don’t foresee a slowdown in advertisers’ growth over the next 12 months.

2) Advertiser’s Facebook Budgets Are Growing

Hanapin Marketing conducted a paid social survey asking marketers where they plan to increase and decrease budgets in 2017. They reported that 73% of marketers are investing the majority of their social spend on Facebook and 71% plan on increasing their Facebook ad spend within the next year.

Hanapin Paid Social Facebook

Our Facebook data confirms that advertisers are indeed increasing their Facebook budgets as overall ad spend more than doubled since January 2017 (122% increase).

AdStage Facebook Benchmark Report Spend

3) Facebook Is Reaching Max Ad Load

Facebook CFO, David Wehner, said on the Q2 2016 earnings call:

“We anticipate ad load on Facebook will continue to grow modestly over the next 12 months and then will be a less significant factor driving revenue growth after mid-2017.”

The company’s Q2 2017 results showed its reaching max ad load with only a 19% paid ad impression growth compared to Q1’17’s 32% and Q4’16’s 49% growth. However, Facebook’s revenue will continue to increase as surging ad prices, user growth, and Instagram are enough to pick up the slack.

4) Facebook’s Ad Load Slowdown Is Real

Facebook’s Q2 2017 paid ad impression growth slowed to 19% compared to Q1’17’s 32% and Q4’16’s 49%.

Eric Jhonsa of The Street reported:

Slower ad supply growth is naturally boosting prices. But given that supply is still growing (albeit at a slower rate), it’s also clear that strong ad ROIs — made possible by Facebook’s powerful and steadily improving targeting abilities — are motivating marketers to pay more for ad impressions and clicks. A growing mix of video ad sales might also be helping, given that video ads tend to carry relatively high prices.”

Takeaways and Insights

Based on the data, here are our main insights and takeaways:

  1. Small and mid-size brands are flocking to advertise on Facebook
  2. As a result, Facebook’s CPMs & CPCs are rising fast
  3. Advertiser aren’t afraid to increase budgets even as the auction gets more expensive

Further Questions

  1. Are results driving the increase in budgets or is it the competitive auction?
  2. How will advertisers react to increased competition and ad prices?
  3. Q4 is historically more expensive on Facebook, will they find more inventory or will CPMs skyrocket?

Our mission at AdStage is to connect paid marketers quickly and easily to the data they need to understand holistic campaign performance and take action at scale. Learn more about our Facebook Ads reporting solution, and get our latest Q3’17 benchmark report!

CTA - Q3 BENCHMARK REPORT

7 Major Updates for Facebook Advertisers

Posted by on Sep 14, 2017 in Advertising, PPC News, Social
7 Major Updates for Facebook Advertisers

What a week in ad tech! While Apple was putting on a show in Cupertino, Facebook quietly revamped its Ads Manager, rolled out several updates for advertisers, and even launched a new video chat app. Here’s a recap of all the major announcements:

1. Power Editor and Ads Manager Are Now One.

Starting this week, advertisers will begin to see an updated Ads Manager interface. Here’s what you need to know about this update.

  • No features lost.
    The updated Ads Manager will look just like its old version, plus all the features from the old Power Editor and Ads Manager.
  • Quick or guided: choose your favorite creation flow.
    Whether you preferred Power Editor’s quick creation or Ads Manager’s guided creation, you’ll be automatically opted in to the same workflow you used previously. You can change it anytime in the top right of the ad creation window.
facebook ads manager updates

The Power Editor Interface.

 

facebook power editor guided creation 2

Guided Creation in the new Facebook Ads Manager. Source: Jon Loomer

  • Automated drafts: review and publish.
    You’ll still have access to the Power Editor’s Automatic drafts feature. However, you will now manually review and publish all the changes that need to go live. Nothing to worry about: if you leave the updated Ads Manager with unreviewed changes, Facebook will show a reminder.
  • All campaign data insights and reporting in a single interface.
    The updated tool will allow advertisers to view and report on campaign data within one interface.

2. Lifestyle Templates to Mirror Print Catalogs

On Monday, Facebook announced a new ad format which allows users to shop directly from the Facebook ad. The new ads carry the look of a modern-day print catalog: not as glossy, but with the added benefit of interactivity, mobile reach, and less consumer friction. The new lifestyle format should appeal to the Pinterest demographics (Williams-Sonoma was among the first brands to test these ads in beta).

Instagram ads

Facebook Lifestyle Templates replicate the print catalog experience for mobile. Source: Facebook

3. Canvas Ad Format on Instagram

On Tuesday, Instagram announced the integration of Instagram Stories with Facebook Canvas. Canvas ads can now run in Instagram Stories.

What does it mean to advertisers?

  • The ability to capture Instagram’s younger demographics with full-screen experience on mobile
  • New features allow uploading organic stories as ads in Ads Manager
  • Broader reach: you can now run the same Canvas ads across Facebook, Instagram, and Audience Network.
Instagram Ads

With 250m DAU, Instagram Stories are catnip to advertisers. Source: Instagram

4. New Rules for Branded Content and Instant Articles

On Wednesday, Facebook introduced monetization eligibility standards. Which means Facebook will now be more selective and cautious about Branded Content and Instant Articles. The new guidelines will control who is eligible to earn money on Facebook and what kind of content can be monetized. Starting today, the update will apply to videos and will extend to Instant Articles over time.

5. Third-Party Verification for Facebook Ads

You knew this was coming. Brand safety and ad fraud are major issues for advertisers. How do you make sure ads don’t show up next to questionable content? And who is clicking, a bot or a human? Facebook has been under scrutiny this year: first, fake news, and then inflated ad reach numbers.

To help assuage growing concerns, Facebook partnered with the Media Rating Council, the U.S.-based non-profit industry organization that reviews and accredits audience measurement services. Over the next 18 months, the MRC will work with Facebook in three key areas:

  • First-party served ad impression reporting
  • Third-party viewability partner integrations
  • Facebook’s new two-second video buying option.

To ensure advertisers have better control over brand safety, Facebook will work closely with third parties, such as DoubleVerify and Integral Ad Science.

As Facebook is looking to make more ad money on its original content, these changes will be critical to rebuilding the network’s trust with advertisers.

6. Get Ready for Instant Videos

Facebook is testing a new feature called Facebook Instant Videos. Facebook Instant Videos download and cache Facebook videos to a user’s phone while they’re on WiFi so that they can watch them later on the go without spending their cellular data.

Instant Videos could be a game-changer for advertisers in the developing countries with a slow mobile Internet connection. For places where mobile data is pricey, and the network is weak, the new feature can level the playing field — at the very least when it comes to ads. For example, the average download speed on cellular in Afghanistan is 2.2 Mbps, compared to 4.4 Mbps in South Korea.

7. No More Instant Articles in Messenger

While it’s clear from some of the earlier updates that Facebook will continue to focus on Instant Articles (and videos), this ad format will no longer be available on Messenger —  for now. The truth is, as of now, Instant Articles are still not as publisher-friendly as Facebook wants them to be. Publishers report traffic issues; according to TechCrunch, advertisers have also complained about attribution: you can’t easily add UTM parameters to the end of Instant Article URLs. Facebook is collaborating with publishers to give them more control over their content, so maybe we’ll see a comeback.

… and a Bonfire

To top this week’s updates, Facebook also launched a new video chat app called Bonfire. The app mimics all the features of Houseparty, a social network popular among teens. Facebook’s copycat strategy is strong and already caused Snap’s earnings to plunge in the first quarter. Which app is next?

Tune in to hear the experts’ commentary on AdStage’s PPC Podcast this Friday.

Sign up and join our email list.

 

 

Facebook Ad Fatigue: How to Keep Your Ads Fresh

Posted by on Aug 30, 2017 in Automation, Social
Facebook Ad Fatigue: How to Keep Your Ads Fresh

It takes a lot of testing to uncover one really good Facebook ad. Once marketers find it, they scale it, investing more money in just the top-performing ad. Facebook ad fatigue happens when an audience gets served the same ad over-and-over, causing them to ignore it and may even hide it from their feeds. This turns off audiences, hurts ad performance, and increases CPCs.

To solve this problem, you have one solution: rotate in fresh ads. By rotating your ads, you get the best ROI and decrease the chances of triggering banner blindness on your audience. In this article, we’ll show you why Facebook wants you to rotate your ads, how to do it, and five examples to inspire you.

Why Facebook Ad Fatigue Matters

People get bombarded with ads. In the U.S. alone, the average person is exposed to 4,000 to 10,000 each day. The high volume of advertising has triggered a psychological effect known as “Banner blindness.” As the name suggests, people have become blind to the advertisement banners they see in the streets, newspapers, and other media. It’s not that consumers hate ads, >they simply ignore them.

According to a 2013 study by Infolinks, 86% of consumers suffer from banner blindness. Another study from the Nielsen group found people almost never look at anything that resembles an advertisement, whether or not it’s actually an ad.

To prevent banner blindness, the Nielsen group recommends making your ads look like a native part of the site. That means you should make your ads look less like an ad and more like a message from a friend. Ironic, but effective.

Banner blindness has become our defense mechanism against information overload. While banner blindness describes users’ tendency to ignore an ad because they have grown used to it, ad fatigue refers to the decline in click-through rate and conversion after banners have been left to run for a certain amount of time. In other words, ad fatigue is a symptom; banner blindness is the cause of the problem.

In Facebook, you can measure ad fatigue with the frequency metric. The more you show your ads to an audience, the higher the frequency. When Facebook shows your ads to your target audience too many times (which means your frequency increases), your click-through rate drops and your cost per click increases.

The good news is, you can fight ad fatigue by automatically rotating in fresh ads.

How to Automatically Rotate Your Facebook Ads

As the name suggests, to rotate ads, you define a piece of your ad, which could include your creative, targeting, or bid, and replace with another piece. For example, you could rotate a headline that says “See Why +10,000 Customers Love Us” with another one that says, “Get A Free Trial of X Today.”

Facebook rotates your ads automatically. Once you create a series of ads within an ad group, Facebook makes them compete against each other for delivery. Facebook displays all the ads in your ad set until they find one that works best. When that happens (usually within the first 1,000 impressions), they will show the projected winning ad more often than the others.

There’s no right or wrong time to start rotating your ads. At the least, try to have two or three ads in the same ad group, in which case Facebook will automatically rotate your ads. Once you hit a winner and start to see a decrease in conversion and an increase in cost-per-click, create a new ad group with the same targeting as the winning one, and add more variations to the winning ad to keep your ad fresh.

With Facebook automatic rotation, you can’t choose which variation to show your audience. That can be frustrating. With the help of AdStage’s Facebook Ad Rotation and Flighting automation, you can display the variation you want in any given time frame. You can rotate one successful ad during the weekends, or you can test different ad variations every week, as well as many other combinations you prefer.

If you are having a hard time finding inspiration to rotate your ads, here’s five examples to get you started.

5 Ways to Rotate Your Facebook Ads Creatives

1) Use Power Words

how to rotate ads - example

After decades of testing sales-proof copy, copywriters have found that certain words evoke more emotional responses in the target audience. These are the so-called power words.  Adding power words in your copy increases chances of a positive outcome for your ads.

“Free,” “now,” “sensational,” and “instantly” are popular power words to use in ad copy. For more examples, check out this list of 189 power words.

Action Step:

  • Take a look at the list mentioned above. Select 5-10 words and use them in your ads.

2) Show a Giveaway

People love getting things for free. That’s the power of giveaways. Neil Patel gives away his framework for teaching marketing to convince people to sign up for his webinars.

neil patel

He could reverse his ad and focus on the giveaway in the copy or the description, and add the webinar in the title. He could also mention either the webinar or the giveaway in the image of the ad.

Action Step:

  • Think about what things you could give away for free to your audience. You can repurpose content and package it as a bonus or resource, and give it away in your ad as an extra.

3) Make an Irresistible Offer

how to rotate ads example

Sumo, the email list building, analytics, and social media tool, offers a 40% discount in their accounts with an annual subscription. The ad retargets users who have already tested Sumo and may need some extra convincing.

how to rotate ads -- example

Agoda, a Singapore-based hotel booking website, offers discounts and makes it easy to pick a hotel room right from your Facebook feed with the carousel ad.

4) Make It Exclusive

Scarcity is one of the most powerful economic drivers: what’s scarce is valuable.

how to rotate ads -- example

Foundr promoted their Foundr Club 2.0 by highlighting its exclusivity in their ad copy: “private membership for entrepreneurs.” They also use emojis to draw attention to the ad.

Action Step:

  • Make one of your offers scarce. You can show it for a limited period of time, for a specific number of people, or both.

5) Play with the Length

how to rotate ads -- example

Your ads have just a few seconds to catch the audience’s attention. Better Help’s ad keeps the message simple and highlights just the core value proposition: getting therapist help.

how to rotate ads -- example

In the second example, MentorBox promotes a video of the founders. The ad copy is longer than usual and includes all the details of their offering — a subscription box for business-related books.

Action Steps:

  • Play with your ad’s length. If you promote short ads, make them longer, and vice versa.
  • Think on the user’s stage of the buyer’s journey. If your customers are in the beginning, they may need more explanation to your ad’s message. If they are closer to the purchase, they may want to use a shorter message focused on the offer itself.

Conclusion

Facebook ad fatigue is a common and important factor to consider when running a Facebook ads campaign. Even though Facebook automatically rotates your ads to increase their relevance, you want to constantly experiment with your ads to find the best performing combination.

Throughout this article, you have seen five ways you can rotate your ads. To get you started, pick a couple and test them in your ads today.

Flighting Feature: Sequence Ads Together to Tell Your Brand Story

How to Build a Cross-Network Advertising Strategy

Posted by on Aug 24, 2017 in Advertising, Social
How to Build a Cross-Network Advertising Strategy

Lead generation campaigns often require multiple touch points before a prospect converts or becomes qualified for sales outreach. Extending your ad’s message across multiple networks is a great tactic to expand your reach, increase conversions, and accelerate sales cycles. However, building a comprehensive cross-network advertising strategy from scratch can seem daunting.

Let’s examine six key elements that can help simplify the process.

1. Define Your Objectives

Before your mind starts wandering towards budget allocation, targeting, and ad choices; start with the foundation – your objectives.

What’s your definition of a lead?

It seems like a no-brainer question, but you might be surprised by the variation of answers from key stakeholders. Sit everyone down and create a universally understood definition.

A request for a demo might hold different weight than a whitepaper download, for example.

What’s the absolute maximum you’re willing to pay for a lead?

Consider the following metrics to help define the highest Cost Per Lead (CPL) threshold management is willing to pay:

  • Total lifetime value of a customer
  • Average closing percentage of qualified leads from sales
  • Historic landing page conversion rates

How long will the ad campaigns run?

Define the advertising flight. Will it be a short initiative or an evergreen campaign? Knowing how long your campaigns will be active can determine your aggressiveness in optimization techniques.

2. Understand Your Target Audience

In short, do the upfront research. Really understand who your target user is, where they frequent, and what their pain points are.

B2B

  • What are their firmographics? Title, industry, company size, and skillsets.
  • Are they a decision maker or an influencer?
  • How long is their average purchase cycle?
  • What organizational pain points do they current have? Are they actively searching for, or aware of, your product or service?
  • Are they within the geography you service?

B2C

  • What are their core demographics? Age, sex and ethnicity.
  • What are their psychographics? Personality, interests and lifestyle.
  • What buyer type do they fall under? Are they an impulsive or carefully researched buyer?
  • Are they within the geography you service?

3. Allocate Your Budget

The mark of a great PPC advertiser is someone who looks to test everything and quickly iterate on the findings. In the case of testing all the ad networks during initial launch, it can actually hurt your results. Spreading your budgets too thin can lead to high cost per leads, and a lack of consistent data to optimize against.

Pro Tips for Allocating PPC Budgets

  • Start with 2-3 key networks. Then, invest a percentage of the returns from these campaigns into new network exploration.
  • Include the networks with the highest likelihood to convert.
    • Choose the networks with the highest intent to purchase.
  • Think about which platforms reach your target audience most effectively.
    • Consider overall reach.
  • Create aggressive budgets and optimization calendars for short promotions.
    • Total campaign budgets settings work well here.
  • Run smooth, evenly distributed budgets for evergreen campaigns.
    • Daily budgets help keep an even pacing.
    • Analyze direct versus assist channels.
    • Some networks drive last click attribution, leading from direct ad click, to new lead.
    • Other networks may not drive new leads with every click, but they can lift overall conversions through assists.
    • Learn more about setting your campaign budgets here.Think about the campaign flight length.

4. Have a Consistent Message

Your target customer no longer visits just one network on one device. It’s common for prospects to hop between networks and devices throughout their day. Having a consistent brand or offering message can lead to increased awareness and likelihood to convert.

 

Consistent Messaging Across Network

Tips for Selecting a Cross-Network Message:

  • Ensure the message is aligned with your core objectives.
  • Mention your promotion, sales, or new content in ad copy across all media.
    • Route ads to a common landing page so you can understand which networks are yielding the best returns.
  • Map out the buyer’s journey.
    • Search can be direct, to-the-point sales messaging. It’s geared to drive leads at the bottom of the funnel to convert.
    • Social requires a softer touch and is a great medium for drip lead nurturing through differing ad messaging at different stages of the buying journey.

5. Leverage Network Strengths

Each network offers a unique set of offerings and configurations. Be sure to take advantage of network specific settings.

Google AdWords & Bing Ads

Facebook Ads

LinkedIn Ads

Twitter Ads

    • Twitter cards (e.g., Website Cards)
    • Promoted accounts
    • Promoted trends
    • Custom audiences
    • Keyword targeting
    • Retargeting
    • Rich media (e.g., video or photo sponsored tweets)

6. Track Your Results

Finally, ensure that each network’s conversion tracking is provisioned and placed correctly. Add custom URL tracking strings to each of your ads to track performance through web analytics.

For help on setting up proper conversion tracking for your campaigns, you can reference our post, “Tracking Conversions With Google Analytics.”

Sessions Analytics in Google Analytics

Be sure to have some sort of PPC reporting software in place as well. They can house your all your PPC campaign data allowing for campaign monitoring, quick reports, and budget pacing. This will save you countless hours previously spent pulling and prepping data in Excel tables.

Wrap Up

Follow these tips when creating a cross-network advertising strategy to ensure the best return on ad spend from your campaigns. Examine performance as a collective whole. Then dissect it by network, campaign, and ad level. Optimize towards conversions (leads), conversion rate, and cost-per-conversion (cost per lead), leaving no stone unturned.

How to Use Social Media Ads for Lead Generation

Posted by on Aug 7, 2017 in Social
How to Use Social Media Ads for Lead Generation

Social media is a must for brand awareness and audience engagement, but how about lead gen? With 13% higher lead conversion rate compared to other channels, social media can be a powerful growth tactic for any B2B marketer. In fact, 66% of marketers who spend as little as six hours per week on social media say that they see some kind of lead generation benefit.

Yet 49% of B2B marketers find social media to be the most difficult marketing activity to implement. So, let’s break it down and make it simple. Read on to learn how you can get started using social media for lead generation.

How Social Media and Lead Generation Work Together

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of using social media for lead generation, we need to be clear on how the former can impact the latter.

Focus on the why before the how.

Social media is about having a conversation with your audience. This audience needs to be interested enough in your brand to follow the company on Facebook, Twitter, or Linkedin. Lead generation, on the other hand, is a process in which an individual goes from being unaware of a problem or solution to being interested in exploring your solution. In other words, you attract visitors and convert them into leads. So, how do you make these two seemingly different goals work?

If you want to use social media to acquire leads, you can’t just start pumping your latest eBook to your audience. But if you invest the time to build an engaged audience, you can then convert them into leads and use ads (especially now that Facebook and Instagram have decreased their organic reach) to reach new audiences. Let’s dive into what you need to know about each social ad network.

How to Decide Which Social Ad Network to Use

To promote lead generation content through paid social media, you can use Facebook ads, Twitter ads, LinkedIn ads, or even Instagram ads. The challenge is to figure out which one is right for your business.

Your personas and their attributes is a good place to start. If you have already developed at least a couple of customer personas for your company, you can see where their attributes fit within different social networks.

Let’s take a quick look at the different demographics of Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn:

facebook ads demographics

Source: Pew Research Center

As you can see, most Internet users are on Facebook. The social network has more women than men, and also more younger people (although Facebook is more popular among older users). When it comes to education, income, and location, Facebook has equal representation.

What’s interesting for B2B marketers is that 73% of Facebook users say they use it for professional purposes.

Here’s what the audience looks like on Instagram:

instagram ads demographics

Source: Pew Research Center

Even though Instagram has fewer users than Facebook, people of all gender, age, education, and income are still equally represented. The only large difference is in location: Instagram has more urban settlers than rural and suburban ones.

Finally, let’s repeat this analysis with LinkedIn:

linkedin ads demographic

Source: Pew Research Center

As you can see, LinkedIn has a much different set of demographics than Facebook and Instagram. To begin, there are more men than women on LinkedIn. Most users are college-educated, have much higher income, and live in urban and suburban areas.

With all this information, you should start looking at your personas and see where they are more likely to be.

The largest social networks have attracted a wide variety of users with a diverse set of demographics, so you may want to try different sites at the same time. That being said, start where your core audience usually resides. For example, if you focus on B2B lead generation for enterprise IT CxOs, you may want to start with LinkedIn. If you’re selling B2C products to younger users, Facebook and Instagram may be a better investment.

Whatever the case, start with who your target audience is and where you can find them. In other words, your audience’s demographic determines the social network they use. Now that you have a clearer idea where to start, I’d like to show you how you can use Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn for lead generation.

Facebook Lead Ads

84% of marketers choose to use Facebook ads to drive traffic and acquire leads. On Facebook, you can select different goals for your campaigns, which makes it a popular choice among marketers. The lead generation goal works just like any other goal on Facebook: you can use targeted, lookalike, and custom audiences. But only with this goal you can promote a gated offer which your audience can get by providing their contact information without leaving Facebook.

This is how it works:

  1. A user sees an offer they like (typically, an ebook or a white paper)
  2. The user clicks the ads’ call-to-action
  3. The user verifies their information which Facebook has pre-filled for them (instead of redirecting them to a landing page)
  4. The user confirms their pre-filled information, receive the content, and become a lead

Unlike the classic traffic-to-landing lead generation model, which creates leaks in visitor-to-lead conversion, Facebook’s offering removes the friction and lowers your customer acquisition cost. Plus, it makes for a much better user experience.

The reduction in friction in the visitor-to-lead conversion process means your users are two clicks away from becoming a prospect. But remember, you must make this process seamless and ask only for the most information you need for lead nurturing.

Creating lead generation ads is easy (just check out this video from Facebook). You first choose the ad creative, then set your targeting and bidding options, and finally, customize your form fields.

Land Rover, for example, used lead gen form ads to get potential customers to request a car quote. As you can imagine, Land Rover sells expensive products which can only be purchased after a long sales process, which starts with a car quote.

Land Rover tried Facebook’s lead generation goal to create a seamless experience across devices. Lead gen forms made it easy for people on mobile to request a car quote and learn more about Land Rover.

Kim Kyaw, Land Rover’s Digital Marketing and Social Media manager, said that in early A/B testing, Facebook’s native lead ads outperformed link ads driving to the website in total leads and conversion rate. This Facebook campaign also achieved a 4x reduction in cost per lead compared to previous social lead generation tactics.

instagram ads lead gen

Instagram Lead Ads

Instagram’s ads are becoming a staple among online advertisers. Last year alone, eMarketer found 48.8% of brands were on Instagram and estimated that they would increase their participation in the social network by 70.7%.

Brands’ photos on Instagram generate 58 times higher engagement per follower than Facebook posts and 120 times higher engagement rates than tweets,  according to Marketing Week.

What’s more, a study done by Shopify found Instagram posts achieve 1.08% conversion rate. Facebook owns Instagram, so you can use similar lead ads on both platforms. The only difference is Instagram reduces the pre-filing options for advertisers to just email, full name, phone number, and gender. Collecting any further information would mean the user would have to type it in.

Since it takes a user 40% longer to fill out a form on a mobile device than on a desktop, you should only look to get additional information if it is a high priority for your initial sales efforts.

Maserati, the famous Italian luxury car manufacturer, used Instagram’s lead ads to promote their latest car, the Levante. The results were nothing but spectacular. Maserati generated 21k leads, 127 of which ended up purchasing a car. Even at a mere 0.47% conversion rate, if you consider the car costs close to $75k, Maserati made $9.5 million in revenue, just from their Instagram’s lead ads.

instagram ads for lead generation

LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms

62% of B2B marketers say they have found LinkedIn to be the most effective social media platform for their businesses. This is especially true with lead generation, where 65% of B2B companies have found success.

Linkedin offers many advertising options for companies: sponsored content, sponsored InMail, text ads, dynamics ads, and more.

Sponsored content, one of the most commonly used ad types, works just like the name suggests: a company promotes a piece of content and acquires more traffic and leads by increasing the content’s reach.

For lead generation, LinkedIn has a very useful feature: Lead Gen Forms. Here’s a short video on how it works:

 

LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms allow potential customers to share their  information by pre-populating contact forms from their LinkedIn’s profile, exactly same way as with Facebook and Instagram.

The key difference is that LinkedIn can pre-populate information related to the professional life of the users, which includes their job title, company name, seniority,  and education details like degree, school, and field of study. This gives a much richer set of data from each lead. But don’t overdo it: LinkedIn recommends sticking to three or four key fields to maximize conversion.

Since LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms don’t require any typing at all from users, it makes it easy for them to add their information on mobile. LinkedIn Lead Gen forms are only available on mobile Sponsored Content campaigns.

According to LinkedIn, 90% of the 50 businesses in the pilot project exceeded their cost-per-lead goals. This is the case of Integrated Research, a software provider of IT infrastructure, which saw a 200% increase in their conversion rate while seeing a 44% reduction in lead cost acquisition.

Conclusion

Once you see how lead generation and social media work together, you can acquire leads using social media ads.

Start with the audience, then choose your social network. Facebook, Instagram, and Linkedin all have features you can use for lead generation. So, get started, and let us know which one you think best fits your target audience. What are your next steps to start generating leads for your business?

 

AdStage CTA Report

LinkedIn Text Ads: 5 Brands to Copy to Boost Performance

Posted by on Aug 2, 2017 in Advertising, Social
LinkedIn Text Ads: 5 Brands to Copy to Boost Performance

As LinkedIn has grown to over half a billion users, so too has its ad platform’s capability to slice and dice audiences based on troves of self-reported user data. With plenty of targeting options to choose from, you can get your message in front of decision makers and C-level execs when  they catch up on news, connect, and network.

But an ad done wrong can actually reduce the sales of a product. (Or so says Ogilvy, the father of modern advertising.) How do you write a compelling LinkedIn ad?

At AdStage we’ve plowed through tons of ads on the platform and analyzed several examples of different LinkedIn ad types to inspire your creative process.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the basics of writing effective B2B LinkedIn text ads. Read on to learn how to write a LinkedIn ad headline, increase form field conversion rate, and choose images to support your ad on the landing page.

5 LinkedIn Ad Types: From Text Ads to Programmatic Display

linkedin campaign manager

You can buy Sponsored Content, Text Ads, and InMail ads through LinkedIn’s self-service platform and programmatically purchase LinkedIn Display through your preferred ad partner. For Dynamic Ads, you’ll need to go through a LinkedIn sales rep.

It bears saying from the outset that a strong organic presence – a company page – is a must for any brand. But to scale your customer acquisition, you must invest in paid ads. On LinkedIn, you can serve up paid ads in the following five formats:

  • Text ads
  • Sponsored Content
  • LinkedIn InMail
  • LinkedIn Dynamic Ads
  • Programmatic Display

Some ad types work better than others depending on your marketing budget and goals. Below, we’ll look at several text ads served by B2B companies in July 2017.

Match Landing Pages to Ads and Reduce Form Fill Friction

The beauty of text ads is that they are super easy to create and work for budgets of all sizes. Text ads appear in the right rail of LinkedIn pages or at the top, as seen in the example below:

linkedin text ads content strategy 2017

Let’s zoom in on this one. As I click on the ad, I’m redirected to a URL with custom campaign variables, featuring content gated by a contact form.

linkedin text ads landing page scribble

linkedin text ads content strategy

Scribble’s ad is well-targeted and features relevant keywords in the headline, as well as an actionable CTA. Unfortunately, the text ad is missing the company’s name, and its content is poorly-timed.

What’s good about this ad? Obviously, the job title targeting is on point: a guide on content marketing strategy optimization is a logical offering for a content marketing manager. Scribble Live is not hard-selling me software, but offering a free pdf download instead. And the call-to-action is clear — the ad ends with a straightforward “Get the Guide.”

What’s missing? For starters, this text ad doesn’t mention the company’s name in the headline — a missed opportunity for raising brand awareness among those who don’t click but count as “impressions.” And for those who do click, the brand could have provided better, smoother user experience through frictionless form capture.

Too bad I have to manually enter my name, company’s name and email — Scribble could have easily pre-filled the form with data from my LinkedIn profile through LinkedIn AutoFill Plugin Generator. But plugging in the company’s name and streamlining form capture is only part of the equation. I’m here for the content, but Scribble’s timing seems a bit off. Content strategy for 2017? We’re more than halfway through the year; that ship has sailed.

After I leave Scribble’s website and re-load my LinkedIn page, another version of the same ad pops up — this time, with a marketers’ favorite odd-numbered-list headline. The cool thing about text ads is that you can very quickly come up with a multitude of options for testing, a big positive for copywriters on lean marketing teams.

linkedin text ads content strategy

Here’s another B2B ad example, courtesy of Cloud Coach:

Cloud Coach linkedin text ad

A click on the ad brings us to the registration page on Eventbrite.

linkedin text ads landing page for events

linkedin text ads salesforce

Cloud Couch uses smart geo-targeting to promote an event offline and times it well to create urgency while allowing at least week for planning. Unfortunately, the image on the landing page doesn’t entice me to register.

What’s good here? This ad is an excellent example of relevant geo-targeting. LinkedIn uses a mix of user-provided data and IP information, a compelling offering if you’re promoting offline events. The ad is also timely; served a week ahead of the promoted event, it creates a sense of urgency while allowing some time for planning. I also like the no-nonsense approach to copy: it has the When, the Where, and the Why.

What’s missing? The landing page creatives clearly fell flat. Cloud Coach advertises a seminar, an event to network and learn about custom applications of the Salesforce platform. Yet the image doesn’t feature people I want to meet or the experts who’ll speak at the training. Even a company’s logo and screenshots of the software tool itself would have been more helpful. Instead, I see a picture of a saving glass jar half-full of quarters. Unless a glass jar full of “Profit,” as the ad suggests, is exactly what a company is selling, it’s better to play it straight — at least on the landing page.

Mind The Where, What, and Why-Should-I-Care

With LinkedIn text ads, a short line of text is all you’ve got, so it’s critical to use the limited number of characters (25 for a headline and 75 for description, including spaces) wisely. Leverage this space to showcase a benefit, announce a product update, promote a discount on a service, recognize your customers’ problems and offer a solution, or quote a happy client.

As a target buyer, I should be able to quickly figure out the value proposition. As Steve Krug put it, “don’t make me think.” For example, both LinkedIn text ads below promote events. Which one does it with more clarity?

linkedin text ads

linkedin text ads aws webianr

Both ads promote an event, but the first one is confusing and doesn’t tell me the “where, what, and why-should-I-care” part of the piece. AWS, on the other hand, uses relevant keywords, mentions all the cross-promo partners’ names, and tells the full story in one line.

Putting It All Together

LinkedIn text ads allow marketers to quickly test multiple variations and reach highly-targeted audiences at a reasonable cost. How do you maximize the impact of the few characters you have?

  • Play it straight and speak the language of your buyer. Use relevant keywords your target audience can relate to (e.g., job title, skill, software tools they use)
  • Offer value, don’t hard-sell
  • Time content well — this is especially important for events and seasonal content promotions
  • Optimize your conversion page to reduce friction through LinkedIn AutoFill
  • Test multiple variations of headline and image
  • Go for clarity over cleverness to minimize irrelevant clicks

Do you have any tips for writing great LinkedIn text ads? Tell me in comments.

 

The Complete Guide to LinkedIn Ads that Convert ebook download via blog.adstage.io