The Facebook Ads platform launched in late 2007 and has seen a meteoric rise becoming one of the largest and most popular advertising channels on the internet. The popularity of ad network has more to do with the targeting options than the number of users. Facebook allows advertisers the option to pin point an audience according to many variables including location. These targeting options make the platform an excellent traffic source for lead generation.
Below are some of the basics of the Facebook Ad platform.
Facebook Ads Primer
To get started, let’s take a look at what a typical Facebook ad looks like to users. As you can see in the image on the right, Facebook is employing an ad style that uses both text and image elements. These ad units are displayed throughout the users browsing experience on the site.
These ads are displayed to users based on information in their profile. Age, sex, education level, relationship status, employer, groups, friends, interests and just about any other data point associated to an account are used to offer up relevant ad units. This targeting increases user interest and interaction.
Creating a Facebook Ad
To create a Facebook ad simply navigate to Facebook.com/ads and click the “Create an Ad” button. Below we will cover each portion of creating an ad with screenshots and comments for each field.
Destination – Facbook lets you send users to a website, a Facebook page or a Facebook app. If you have a page or app promoting your website you should test and compare the effectiveness of each destination option.
Title & Body – Use these fields to peak the users attention and/or support the image used. Your best bet is to mix it up and employ classic direct response marketing copy techniques.
Image – The image is as important if not more important that the title and body copy. Good Facebook campaigns typically test tens to hundreds of different images to find the winning combinations.
Estimated Reach – The right side of the targeting section contains an estimated reach box. This box will update the potential audience size of your campaign on the fly as targeting elements are added and/or adjusted.
Location – This is what makes is all possible for SMBs. You can (and should) laser target your audience down to the Zip code.
Demographics – Facebook has super advanced age tracking so you can get to the granular level of targeting people by their exact age in years. Targeting sex is also super important and should not be overlooked. Break down campaigns by both age and sex.
Interests – This is where Facebook gets separation from other display networks. While advertisers don’t have the intent of a search network, we do know what our audience likes and what they are into. Advertisers can opt out of broad category interests , but it is best to type them in directly for the best targeting results. You can type in virtually anything. Facebook will offer suggestions along the way. Spend some time here.
Connections on Facebook – This features lets you target people who are connected to other people, a page, an event or an app. This is another great targeting featured that can allow you to scale a campaign once you have everything dialed in on a smaller audience.
Advanced Demographics – This section is a boon for dating sites and the like. However, info regarding relationship status, languages and interests can be useful for almost any campaign.
Education and Work – This powerful option lets you narrow down you audience by education level and workplace. We’ve found the workplace options to be very attractive for insurance campaigns.
Campaigns, Pricing and Scheduling
Campaign & Budget – Here you will need to name you campaign. If you’re doing this right you will have a lot of campaigns so try to set up a descriptive naming system. This will help you recognize the purpose of each campaign without having to make additional clicks. Budget is HUGE! Make sure you don’t set a budget more than you’re willing to spend.
Schedule – This is one area where Facebook is lacking. While you can schedule the length of a campaign, Facebook does not allow for intraday scheduling or day parting. It has been rumored that this would be coming out for a few years now. It will be a welcome addition when it does. For now you can try and turn your account on and off throughout the day or use 3rd party tools to accomplish this.
Pricing – Facebook offers per click (CPC) and impression (CPM) based bidding models. In the end, Facebook will display ads that make them the most money. With the pay per impression model the company makes money regardless of user interaction so it’s on you as the advertiser to make sure you have an effective ad. With pay per click the advertiser only pays when a user clicks so you need a high click through rate to ensure your CPC ad beats the house CPM rate (around $0.25 as this is written). We recommend starting with small campaigns on a CPC basis and tweak/test until you reach a good click through rate. After establishing an above average click through rate with the CPC model try the best performing ads with CPM.
Tips for Facebook Ads
- Segment your ads into tightly targeted groups using the various location, demographic and interest options.
- Create ads specifically for the people in each group.
Example – incorporate a picture of a dog to pet enthusiasts who have a dog.
- Create as many ads as possible for each group. Keep the best ones in the rotation.
- Rotate as many high CTR ads as possible mixing up images and ad copy. Unlike Search platforms where the user only sees an ad upon completing a search, display ads show throughout the user browsing experience. Showing the same ad creates ad fatigue and eventually lowers the effectiveness of the ad – lower CTR. Keeping a rotation of ad variations will help to avoid ad fatigue.
- Test as many different images as possible and don’t be afraid to test just about everything. Try anything slightly relevant that might peak the target users interest including making changes to the same image. The more images you test the best (think hundreds). Images of people (smiling) typically get a positive response. Don’t forget, sex sells!
- Use age old direct response copy techniques and include “power” words in your headlines.
- Use your testimonials as ads.
- Make your ad copy interesting with offers, facts, questions and figures.
- Make sure your landing pages match the interests of the user the ad is targeting. In other words, create multiple landing pages. This is especially true if you are making offers specifically to people interested in a certain hobby or fan page.
- Add a Facebook like button to your landing page.
- Split test your landing pages and the elements on them.
- Analyze reports to see what is working and when. Make changes accordingly.
- Turn your ads on and off during the day according to when users respond – dayparting. This can be done manually or with 3rd party tools.
- Test CPC (Cost Per Click) and CPM (Cost Per 1000 Impressions) bidding. We’ve found it best to start with CPC to establish a per click price and click through rate. If the CPC campaign goes well run a small testing using the CPM option. A successful CPM campaign will almost always be cheaper than CPC.
- You can often get plenty of exposure bidding well below the recommended bid range. To ensure you get exposure immediately bid just above the minimum recommended bid and make adjustments based on performance.
- Set a budget you are comfortable with. This is especially important for CPM bidding.
- Ads sent to a Facebook page will typically be cheaper than traffic sent to an external website. Create a Facebook fan page and test the effectiveness against sending traffic to your website. If you create a fan page be sure to set it up to maximize conversion and likes.
- If you are using a Facebook fan page be sure to test Sponsored Stories ads and Events to stay in front of fans.
I hope this helps you establish a new channel for diversifying your insurance marketing and lead generation efforts. If you’d like to get more in depth with using the Facebook Ads platform I highly recommend Perry Marshall’s Ultimate Guide to Facebook Advertising. As always if you have any questions please let us know in the comments section.