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!

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!

7 Simple Steps to Boost PPC Results with A/B Testing

Posted by on Sep 27, 2017 in Advertising
7 Simple Steps to Boost PPC Results with A/B Testing

Every successful PPC campaign starts by finding the right combination of targeting, bidding, and creative copy. As soon as you find success with your campaigns, you’ll want to start optimizing them to increase results. One way to increase performance is to run A/B tests to find what works, and then scale it.

In this article, we’ll break down the process for running run A/B tests in your PPC campaigns.

1. Define the Success Metric

The first step is to define the metric that will determine the success of your tests. This success metric will help you develop your test hypothesis and separate the winning variation from the losing one.

Here’re the metrics you can use to measure the results of your PPC A/B tests:

  • CTR (Click-through-rate)
  • CPC (Cost-per-click)
  • Cost per Conversion
  • Conversion rate
  • CPA (Cost-per-action)
  • ROAS (Return on ad spend)

Which metric should you choose? It depends on what you are trying to find from your tests. There’s no right or wrong metric; rather, there are the right metrics for the goal.

For example, if you want to see what specific attributes make people click on your ads, then CTR is the best metric. If one of your experimental ads gets a higher CTR than the control, you know the attribute you are testing is driving the increase, assuming everything else is the same.

Action step:

  • Write down your test goal.
  • Pick a metric that is closest to that goal.

2. Define Your Hypothesis

Behind every successful A/B test, there’s a clear hypothesis. The more clear the hypothesis, the better the outcome of your test. In the simplest terms, a hypothesis is a prediction of your test. In a hypothesis, you define what you will test, what the possible outcome is, and why you think so.

Chris Goward, CEO and Founder of conversion optimization agency WiderFunnel, puts it this way: “A hypothesis is simply a question you can ask of your target audience or test sample.” Creating a test hypothesis is easy. In his book You Should Test That, Chris provides a simple structure to create one:

Changing [the thing you want to change] into [what you would change it into] will lift the conversion rate for [your conversion goal].

While you can test many variables in a website, ad networks offer few options. This simplifies the testing process. To create a hypothesis, pick one ad variable, then define what specific thing you will test in it and what result you expect. The variables you can test in your PPC campaigns are the following:

  • Headline
  • Copy
  • Ad description (in Facebook and LinkedIn)
  • Image (in Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter)
  • Sitelinks (in Google Adwords)
  • URL
  • Call-to-action

If you were to create a hypothesis for a PPC A/B test, it could look like this:

Changing the headline to feature our latest discounts will lift the CTR by 10%.

Although you can test just a few variables, you can create an unlimited number of hypotheses for each. For example, within just the headline, you can test adding discounts or social proof, mention the number years in business, among other things. You can get as creative as you want with your hypothesis.

Action steps:

  • Define a testing variable for each ad network you are going to run a test on.
  • Develop a hypothesis around the selected variable using the structure shown above.

3. Come Up with Test Ideas

Once you have defined your hypothesis, come up with as many test ideas as possible. Don’t worry if you come up with more than you can test because you won’t be using all of them. In the next step, you will see how to prioritize them.

For example, if you were to run a test on Facebook to see what kind of headline works best, you could test:

  • The unique selling proposition (USP)
  • The special deals or offers you have
  • The most popular products you sell
  • Key copy points and messaging
  • A customer testimonial
  • A specific result of a customer

To drive the point further, Melissa Mackey, featured in our recent article on the future of PPC automation, wrote a great piece about testing ad content.

Action step:

  • Take 15-20 minutes and brainstorm as many ideas as possible. Think about what things you could test for each hypothesis.

4. Prioritize the Test Ideas

Whenever you test your PPC campaigns, you will be effectively splitting your traffic and conversions in half. To make the most out of your budget, you must prioritize your test ideas, leaving only the ones that will have the highest likelihood of improving your campaign’s performance.

There are many frameworks you can use to prioritize your ideas. My favorite one is the ICE Score, invented by Sean Ellis, the founder of GrowthHackers. The ICE Score is made up of three attributes:

  • Impact: What will the impact be if this works?
  • Confidence: How confident am I that this will work?
  • Ease: What is the ease of implementation?

With this framework, you make a list of all the testing ideas (something you have done in the step before), and then for each one you define a numerical score from 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest) associated with each ICE attribute. Then, you would sum the three attributes and get a number for each test idea. Finally, you would compare the final number of every idea with each other, and the one that had the highest number would be the first one you would use in your test.

For example, if one of your ideas was to add the Scarcity principle to your LinkedIn ads’ headline, you could say the impact expected is 4, the confidence is 3, and the ease is 4. This would give the idea an ICE score of 11. If this was the idea with the highest number, you would test this idea first.

Action steps:

  • Using the ICE method, give all your test ideas from the previous step a numerical number for each of the three attributes.
  • Organize all the test ideas by the highest ICE score, and test the ones with the highest score first.

5. Define the Sample Size for each Metric

Before you start running your test, you must know what’s your sample size for each metric. You want to define the minimum amount of traffic (or conversions) any ad group should receive. After the ad group receives the set amount of traffic, you’d stop the test and analyze the results (which you will see how to do in step #7).

The amount of traffic you should set depends on your current numbers. For example, if you currently have an ad group that receives 500 visitors a day, you’d like to take 5 to 10 times that amount as a sample size. You want your ad groups to have enough traffic so that a single visitor doesn’t affect the overall results.

Also, you must make sure each ad group receives the amount of pre-set traffic (or conversions) before analyzing the results. If you defined a sample size of 500 conversions for each ad group, and one of them received 600 and the other one received 450, you need to wait until the latter reaches 500 to stop the test altogether.

Action step:

  • Define the minimum sample size for your metrics. You can use one of the countless sample size calculator tools on the web. Based on personal experience, I’d recommend you to use this one.

6. Run the Test

With your ideas and sample sizes in order, you need to start running the first tests. Don’t stop them as soon as you see a result or even if you hit your sample sizes. Wait for at least a week before you pause them. Many times, people behave differently depending on the day of the week. That’s why you should wait for at least a week.

After each ad group reaches the sample size, you can pause each test. This, however, doesn’t mean the testing is over. You must take the results of your tests and see if they are statistically significant. Choose a threshold that you feel most comfortable with (95% or 99% are the most common), and run them with an a/b testing growth tool, such as the one linked here from Kissmetrics. Take a look at the following example:

ppc a/b testing best practices

The first variation got 300 fewer visitors and 30 fewer conversions than the second one. Statistically speaking, however, the former beats the latter. Take notice of the fact the confidence level in this test is 97%. If my confidence level was higher – say, 99% – then I’d need to keep testing until I get statistically significant results. Only after every variation of your tests reaches statistical significance, you can compare the results. If they don’t reach significance, keep testing.

Action steps:

  • Based on your hypothesis developed before, start running the tests. Stop only after all your ad groups have reached minimum sample size.
  • Analyze the statistical confidence. If your results haven’t reached it, keep going until they do.

7. Analyze the Results

By now, you have taken the results of your tests and compare them with each other. If everything is OK, you will have a winner. But before you call it a day, you need to do a final thing. Take the numbers of your metrics previous to the tests and use them as benchmarks. Compare them with your current metrics and see how they compare with each other.

Also, take into consideration the timeframe of the test’s results. If you ran a test for 2 weeks trying to reduce your CPA, you must compare the result of that test with the performance of the CPA for the previous 2 weeks previous to the test.

Action step:

  • Compare your test’s results with your previous performance. If the new results are better than the previous ones, the test was successful. Otherwise, you’ll have to restart the process.

Conclusion

Any PPC specialist with some experience and skills can create a successful campaign. What’s hard is to replicate it in each one you run. Today, you’ve seen the specific steps you need to take to get you started with A/B testing for your PPC campaigns. Running them will help you discover the specific things your audience likes and you will know how to scale them down the road.

Helpful Resources

  1. Facebook Ad Fatigue Best Practices — get ideas for your next test.
  2. Quick Guide to Writing Successful ETAs — learn the basics of writing ad copy that converts.
  3. 2017 Demand Gen Benchmarks — compare your ad performance with industry leaders.
  4. 2017 Facebook Ads Benchmarks — check out the average Facebook CTRs and how much your PPC peers are paying per click.

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 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

How to Use Facebook to Create Powerful Customer Personas

Posted by on Jul 31, 2017 in Social
How to Use Facebook to Create Powerful Customer Personas

As an advertiser, the more you know about your customer personas, the better the content you can create. Rich customer data also helps determine how to distribute this content effectively, which leads to more successful marketing campaigns.

But gathering this customer insight can be expensive and time-consuming. You have to run extensive surveys, conduct one-on-one interviews, and collect regular feedback. In an ideal world, you would have the resources to do all of the above. But in reality, you often have to charge in blind, armed with just your intuition and fragmented conversations with clients.

Fortunately, there is a little-known solution called Facebook Audience Insights. Apart from helping you run better Facebook ad campaigns, Audience Insights is also a fantastic tool to gather customer insight. By combining raw intuition with Facebook’s hard numbers, you can create detailed customer personas.

The result? Content that your target customers love. Plus, higher conversion rates. Read on to learn how to use Facebook to develop your customer personas today.

What is a Customer Persona?

A customer persona is a biographical sketch of a single representative customer, or your “ideal customer.” While this persona has some hard demographic data (age, location, gender, etc.), it is mostly a subjective summary of the customer’s likes, dislikes, problems, and desired solutions.

Here’s a sample customer persona from HubSpot:

hubspot marketing mary

There is no limit to how many customer personas you can have. A large business like Amazon might have hundreds, even thousands of customer personas, while a bootstrapped SaaS product might just need a couple.

Customer Personas Use Cases

Well-defined customer personas can guide your content efforts from planning to distribution:

  • What kind of problems to address in your content
  • How to write, style, and present your content
  • Where to distribute your content for maximum impact
  • How to prioritize content creation

Suppose, you have two target personas:

customer personas

Persona A represents a key decision maker, someone in an executive-level position. To target this persona through content, you can use their preferred format, style, and media:

  • Create shorter content that’s easier to consume
  • Distribute mostly through popular enterprise blogs and LinkedIn
  • Emphasize high-level wins
  • Use a writing style that’s aligned with the demographics.

Persona B, on the other hand, represents an entry-level employee. They don’t make critical decisions yet, but can tell decision makers about your product.

To attract this persona, you can adjust your content accordingly:

  • Create more in-depth or beginner-level content
  • Distribute via Facebook, Twitter, and other popular mainstream blogs
  • Use a more casual writing style aligned with the demographics.

As you can see, a content marketer would likely create two very different content marketing campaigns for these personas. Detailed customer personas will make content creation easier and help you attract targeted traffic.

So, how do you create customer personas? This is where Facebook Audience Insights helps.

How to Create Customer Personas with Facebook Audience Insights

Facebook Audience Insights offers a fast and free alternative to extensive surveys and expensive focus groups.

Let’s look at how you can use this nifty tool to create customer personas.

Start by Researching a Competitor

The first step is to find and research a popular competitor. This will give you the initial data you need to zoom in further on individual personas. Ideally, this competitor should be popular, yet niche. If you’re selling software, don’t research Adobe; your data will be too broad. Instead, look up 37Signals or FogCreek.

Go to Audience Insights and plug this competitor into the “Interests.” In this example, I used Copyblogger to research content marketing customer personas.

copyblogger custom audience research

You can already see that this first step already yields some interesting insights: most of Copyblogger’s audience are older than 25 and, for the most part, women.

Find High-Affinity Related Pages

Once you have your seed data, you need to find related pages that have a high affinity with your existing audience. To do this, go to “Page Likes” and sort the pages by affinity. Make a list of at least five or six pages.

facebook page likes

Research All Related Pages for Demographic Data

Next, add all the pages you found above to your list of interests. This will help you expand the audience and gather demographic data. For best results, keep your total audience size under 50k monthly active people. For smaller niches, I stick to 10k people and under. For example, adding “Duct Tape Marketing,” “Derek Halpern,” and “Jeff Bullas” to the interests list shows me this:

facebook audience interests

While this won’t give you specific customer personas, it will help paint a general picture of your target audience.

In the above case, it’s clear that most of my target audience is in the 25-54 age group. A look at “Lifestyle” shows that a lot of these are also “Top Professionals.”

facebook audience lifestyle

The Education and Job Title section shows that my selected audience are mostly college-educated and work in media, management, or sales roles.

facebook audience education and job title

Based on this, I gather a few things:

  • My target customers are mostly professionals working in media, management, and sales
  • Most of them are at least in their late twenties and went to college

Once you dive further, you can start creating your customer personas.

Drill Down by Age and Education Level

Your next step is to drill down further and create specific customer personas from the general data you gathered above.

Here’s how:

  • Divide audience into distinct age groups
  • Segment this audience further based on their education.

In the above example, the age and gender data shows that most of my audience falls into three age groups:

facebook age gender

I focus on age since it usually correlates with career advancement (older people tend to be in positions of higher authority). In most cases, the above three age groups would form three separate customer personas. Research each of these age groups separately.

For example, focusing only on 25-34-year olds shows me that 54% of this audience is female.

facebook audience personas

To get an even better picture of your audience, drill down based on education level. For example, looking only at college-educated 25-34-year-olds, you can see that an overwhelming majority is in management or media roles:

facebook audience job title

Look at each segment’s page likes to find:

  • Where this audience hangs out
  • Where to distribute content (including guest post spots)
  • Identify influencers
  • Narrow down on niche interests (social media marketing -> Facebook marketing)
  • Tools and products they use and like

For example, here are the page likes for college-educated 25-34-year-olds:

audience influencers and guest posts

In contrast, 25-34-year-olds with a graduate degree are equally represented in management, sales, and media roles. They also tend to be female. Based on this data, you might have two customer personas:

  1. Persona A: 25-34-year-old male with an undergraduate degree working in a managerial position in marketing. Hangs out on social media and career-focused websites.
  2. Persona B: 25-34-year-old female with a graduate degree working in a sales or media position. Follows SaaS businesses in the MarTech space, reads established marketing and business bloggers.

Do this for all the different age groups until you have a handful of customer personas.

Test Your Customer Personas

To test your hypotheses and create more accurate personas, follow this three-step process:

  • Create a custom audience based on a single customer persona
  • Create a blog post that would appeal to this customer persona
  • Promote the blog post via Facebook ads and measure results

If there is an alignment between your content and customer personas, you should see a healthy engagement rate. If not, try narrowing or expanding your target audience.

See this guide if you want a primer on running Facebook ad campaigns.

Create Your Final Persona

Once you have all this data, it’s time to create your final customer personas.

Here’s how:

  • Give each customer persona a name and age (“Tony Stark, 42”)
  • Add a picture representing the persona. Use stock images or find something on MorgueFile.
  • Give the persona a fictional position (“CEO at Stark Industries”).
  • Summarize each data point in a single sentence.

You can use PowerPoint or the MakeMyPersona tool from HubSpot.

Conclusion

Facebook Audience Insights can be used for a lot more than running Facebook ads. The insight you gather from it can also help you create customer personas for your content marketing campaigns. By researching your closest competitors’ audience, you can learn about their demographics, their favorite products, what industries they work in, and what influencers they follow.

It’s not more accurate than running an expensive customer survey campaign, but it’s a lot better than going in blind. Plus, it will neither cost you money or take up too much of your time.

CTA - Q3 BENCHMARK REPORT

Quick Guide to Facebook Lookalike Audiences for Multiple Countries

Posted by on Jun 15, 2017 in Advertising, Social
Quick Guide to Facebook Lookalike Audiences for Multiple Countries

Facebook recently released an update to its Lookalike Audiences that makes them even more powerful and easier to use for advertisers who wish to reach a global audience. If you’re not already familiar with Lookalike Audiences, it’s a Facebook targeting option that shows ads to people who are similar to those already connected to the brand.

Using a Custom Audience list of customers, marketers can select Lookalike Audiences, which will show ads to people who “look like” their existing customer base. This is generally used as an audience expansion technique to reach more potential customers.

In the past, Lookalike Audiences had to be executed for one country at a time. For example, let’s say you wanted to target an English language ad to United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia, the audiences would have be created separately and combined in the targeting.

It was fairly messy with so many audiences and obviously took a lot longer to create and manage. Many times, advertisers would limit the number of countries they wanted to target with Lookalike Audiences to avoid the chaos.

New Countries and Regions for Lookalike Audiences

With their latest update, Facebook has released Lookalike Audiences for multiple countries. If you’d like to select countries from corresponding continents, Facebook lets you expand countries from Africa, Asia, Caribbean, Central America, Europe, North America, Oceania, and South America.

Lookalike Audiences Select Countries via blog.adstage.io

Alternatively, if you’re looking to target specific regions, you can skip country targeting and target an entire region from the following list: Free trade areas, App store regions, Emerging markets, or Euro area.

Lookalike Audiences for Multiple Regions

Free trade areas groups countries are classified into the following:

  • European Economic Area (EEA)
  • North American Free Trade Agreement
  • ASEAN Free Trade Area
  • Mercosur
  • Gulf Cooperation Council
  • Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation
  • Commonwealth of Independent States Free Trade Area

By hovering your mouse over any of the groups you can see which countries are within them.

Lookalike Audiences Regions via blog.adstage.io

App store regions may be useful for brands that wish to promote an app. The options include Lookalike Audiences from iTunes App Store Countries, Android Paid Store Countries, or Android Free Store Countries.

Emerging markets could be a good source for cheaper clicks, but keep in mind that this audience may not always have the funds or internet connectivity to be reliable customers.

Targeting the Euro area, which includes anyone who uses the Euro as their primary currency, could be useful for businesses that wish to reach the entire European Union.

For Performance Advertisers: Create a Custom Audience

With the addition of multiple countries for Lookalike Audiences, Facebook no longer requires a minimum number of people from a source country to create a Lookalike Audience. This update means you could use a seed list audience that is completely from the United States to create a Lookalike Audience in Germany, Spain, Australia, or Japan.

This may be useful for top of the funnel or brand awareness campaigns, to expose more people to your brand, but may not result in immediate conversions. For this reason, we recommend promoting an educational blog post or video that will drive more engagements, rather than conversions.

If you’re a performance advertiser looking for conversions, we don’t recommend using Lookalike Audiences as your primary targeting option, but rather, you can build a Custom Audience with people who’ve previously engaged with your website or video, and run a retargeting campaign that promotes opt-ins or products.

Creating Your Custom Audience with Robust Data Matching

In the past, Facebook only allowed you to create a Custom Audience from an email or phone number. However, now you can add a number of fields that will help you be more precise with your Custom Audience targeting and match rate with Lookalike Audiences. For performance advertisers and specifically B2B advertisers, the match rates could be higher as some consumers use their personal email address with their Facebook account rather than their business email address, which is the one you likely have on file.

To upload a data file for your Custom Audience, include as many fields as possible in your csv or txt file.

Field

Column Header

Examples

Email

email

  • username@hotmail.co.uk
  • your.name@gmail.com
  • myname@yahoo.com

Phone Number

phone

  • 1-234-567-8910
  • 12345678910
  • +44 844 412 4653

First Name

fn

  • John
  • F.
  • Émilie

Last Name

ln

  • Smith
  • Sorensen
  • Jacobs-Anderson

City

ct

  • Paris
  • London
  • New York

State/Province

st

  • AZ
  • California
  • Normandy

Country

country

  • FR
  • US
  • GB

Date of Birth

dob

  • MM-DD-YYYY
  • MM/DD/YYYY
  • MMDDYYYY
  • DD-MM-YYYY
  • DD/MM/YYYY
  • DDMMYYYY
  • YYYY-MM-DD
  • YYYY/MM/DD
  • YYYYMMDD
  • MM-DD-YY
  • MM/DD/YY
  • MMDDYY
  • DD-MM-YY
  • DD/MM/YY
  • DDMMYY
  • YY-MM-DD
  • YY/MM/DD

Year of Birth

doby

  • 1986

Age

age

  • 65
  • 42
  • 21

Zip/Postal Code

zip

  • W11 2BQ
  • 94104-1207
  • 94104

Gender

gen

  • M
  • F

Mobile Advertiser ID

madid

  • AECE52E7-03EE-455A-B3C4-E57283966239
  • BEBE52E7-03EE-455A-B3C4-E57283966239

Facebook App User ID

uid

  • 1234567890
  • 1443637309

For more details on preparing your data file for the best match rate on Custom Audiences, visit Facebook’s documentation here. Some of our clients have seen as much as a 60% increase in their match rates for their Custom Audiences.

With match rates like that and the new international expansion targeting for Lookalike Audiences, go ham on releasing campaigns with better targeted, and more scalable Lookalike Audiences for any region you wish to expand into.

What do you think of the new Lookalike Audiences? Any results you’re seeing as part of this release? Share them with us in the comments section below!