Starting a Facebook advertising campaign without any kind of strategy or planning, dooms it to fail before it has even begun.
Wondering how you can avoid these mistakes and build a winning Facebook Ads strategy? Read on for my six steps to constructing this from the ground up.
1. Start With the Numbers
'How much should I be spending'? Is usually the first question I (and probably every Facebook advertiser) hear from potential clients.
And I always think we're kind of the wrong people to ask, because the more you can give us to spend, the better chance we have of quickly finding winning ads and getting results.
It's a bit like asking one of your kids if they want one or two bars of chocolate; they'll always go for the higher number...
- AOV - Average Order Value
- LTV - Lifetime Value (also CLV/CLTV - Customer Lifetime Value)
- CPA - Cost Per Acquisition (or CPP - Cost Per Purchase/CPL - Cost per Lead if that is your goal)
- COGS - Cost of Goods Sold
AOV is crucial for understanding how much you can spend to advertise. You wouldn't spend $40 to get one customer for your personalized mobile phone covers if your AOV is only $35, would you?
And equally, if your AOV is $35 then you wouldn't spend $25 to acquire a customer if your COGS was $30, leaving you with a measly $5 profit after all that effort?*
*There is an exception here which brings me nicely onto LTV. If you have a handle on your LTV, this instantly gives you a huge amount more scope with your ads.
Take this classic example of a gym.
And unless your gym is terrible, that person should stay anywhere between 6-8 months on average.
That makes your LTV more like $180-240.
Now, if you knew every member of your gym was worth $200, wouldn't you be prepared to spend a bit more than $15 to acquire them?
It's similar in retail. If customers only buy from you once and you never see them again, fine. But if they come back again and again, you need to factor that in. For businesses like dentists, chiropractors, etc., the LTV is huge because once you have a customer, they should be one almost for life.
2. Who Are Your Ads For?
Someone else is far more important.
Before you carry on planning YOUR strategy, you need to consider who all of this is designed for.
Yep, your customers.
This impacts numerous aspects of your ad strategy.
- Are your customers male or female?
- Where do they live/where do you ship to?
- What age group are they in?
- What other interests do they have?
Based on the questions you've asked above and the customer persona you've built, what kind of images/videos will appeal most to this audience? Come up with a few different versions of each and test them to see which resonates best with your potential customers, and always go by the data.
I'm regularly disappointed when a client sends me what I think is an awesome video that I'm sure will knock it out of the park, I roll it out live... and it gets outperformed by something I threw together mainly just to test against it.
Why should they stop scrolling and care about your ad?
Don't fall into the trap of only talking about yourself and your business or going into a load of features without the benefits to the customer.
Your offers should be designed in the same way, consider what will really appeal to them and get them to tap that CTA button on your ad. Is a 10% off sale likely to do that for a cold audience?
And remember, you aren't even necessarily selling your product or service in your ad. You have to sell the click first and get the customer interested enough to do that, then your landing page is where the real selling of your product begins.
3. Zero in on Your Starting Goal
You are very unlikely to see fantastic returns straight away, so you need to forget that Ferrari, private yacht and Caribbean villa you plan on buying for a while.
Start off with the mindset that you are buying and investing in data with your ad budget and be prepared to lose some money at first in order to achieve this.
Ultimately, if you know your numbers from Step One and your ads are profitable within a few weeks, that's a start. You have to walk before you can run.
Your price point and AOV go some way to determining your goal. If you have a higher-priced product that needs some explanation first, then you will need to educate and warm your audience up first with videos before retargeting them with more direct response ads.
Screaming at your audience with 'Come and grab these $750 headphones today!' before they even know who you are or why they are so expensive will not turn out well.
Check out this Bang & Olufsen ad, which directs people to send a message for more info rather than make a direct purchase:
You may even need to drive visitors to a landing page to capture their email address first and then utilize email marketing or even a phone call alongside Facebook ads to nurture them towards a purchase (for example like a client of mine who offers coaching courses and programmes that go from $100 all the way up to $15,000).
This brings me onto...
4. What Does Your Marketing Funnel Look Like?
And also which metrics are important to you as you test and measure your ads at each stage.
PRO TIP: start by retargeting your hot/bottom of funnel audiences, don't rush to cold traffic like 90% of advertisers do! Getting solid retargeting in place means you are set for gold once you get the cold right. It also grabs you some easy purchases that should help your ROI even in the initial testing phases.
Talking of objectives...
5. No Seasoning Required
Cute metaphors but with zero basis in practice with Facebook Ads in 2019, and beware anyone promoting these concepts as some kind of secret sauce to great results.
There is some merit to feeding an account and individual campaigns and adsets data; but the pixel is merely a piece of code that collects user data from your site and sends it back to your account for storage.
Any learning and optimization all takes place at adset level and above.
So... don't start by running traffic. You want conversions, right? So bid for your true objective.
Remember, you ideally want an event that you can achieve 50+ conversions in a week with. You can achieve moderate success at lower levels than this, but in order to scale and find any kind of consistency, you need to be prepared to invest quickly when you find winning adsets to feed them as many conversions as you can.
6. Be Flexible and Test Everything
Always be testing new ads and always have backup adsets drafted up and ready to go if things go sideways.
And don't get too attached to certain ads or campaigns. As I mentioned earlier, always go on the data, and if something that was doing brilliantly for months drops off for a week or more with no sign of recovery, it's time to wave it goodbye.
I’m not gonna lie though, I’ve shed a few tears over great campaigns that burnt out, and I had to watch sail off into the sunset. But nothing lives forever, does it?
- Know your key business metrics and what you need to look for from your Facebook Ads
- Put your customers first!
- Focus on what your realistic goals need to be (not necessarily what you want them to be straight away)
- Build a funnel
- You are a Facebook advertiser, not a chef, so forget any talk of ‘seasoning’
- Prepare for the worst and ABT - Always Be Testing
In that period he has worked for a range of clients from local businesses to health and beauty chains and e-commerce stores, online coaches, nationwide fitness franchises, events companies, sports teams and more across the UK, US, and Europe with budgets ranging from a few hundred pounds to £150k+ per month. In addition to working on several household name accounts, Gil also consults for advertising agencies all over the world.
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