Just when you think you’ve learned everything you need to know about advertising on Facebook, it all changes again. In this post, I’ll cover some of the new changes to Facebook advertising, so you can go forth knowing you’re making the right choices for your business.
So, you read a handful of articles and watched some videos about advertising on Facebook. You know you should have a good image, not use too much text, and that running a contest is a smart way to get page likes. But now you’re trying to figure out if you should use “boosted posts” or “ads”, and trying to figure out how changes like “overly promotional posts” will impact your business.
It’s easy to want to just give up on Facebook at this point. If it’s hard enough to learn in the first place, and they’re always changing the rules on you, why bother? You have a business to run.
Here’s why: A study by G/O Digital found that 60% of consumers visit your Facebook page before visiting or contacting your business, 80% are more likely to purchase from you if your Facebook page represents an authentic and credible business, and 62% say Facebook is the most important social media network for researching small businesses. How often do you look at the Facebook page of a business in your town to check its hours or see what’s new?
Tip 1: Understand Overly-Promotional Posts
As of 2017, Facebook is punishing those of us who make overly-promotional posts. The definition of “overly-promotional” might surprise you, especially if you:
- Run contests in your Facebook posts where entries are “likes” or “shares”
- Ask people to purchase on your website through Posts
- Advertise sales and promotions through Posts
- Link to your website in your Posts
Facebook isn’t doing this because they hate businesses. In a survey, Facebook users indicated that they’d like to see less promotional content in their news feed, so Facebook is making it happen. If you make overly-promotional posts, you’ll find that your future posts reach fewer and fewer of your followers. Which isn’t a good thing when Facebook posts already only reach 1-2% of your followers on average. As you make more overly-promotional posts, your reach percentage will fall until you’re effectively just shouting into the void.
How can you handle this? First, restrict advertising sales or promotions to paid Facebook advertising. Second, if you want to link to a specific website, do so in the first comment beneath the post instead of in the post itself. And lastly, post useful content. Share tips for using your product, customer stories, and valuable information for people who might buy your services.
Tip 2: No More Boosting Posts
Boosting your posts is so easy. You can do it with just a click of a button. But it’s a terrible way to spend your ad revenue.
Let’s say you Boost a post offering a free consultation for your landscaping business when people sign up for your mailing list, but only a handful of people bite despite tons of people seeing your post. Here’s what’s happening:
- With a Boosted Post’s limited run, you’re not reaching people at the right time
- You’re not reaching a specific audience who’s likely to sign up
- People are unlikely to sign up for newsletters or make purchases from boosted posts
If you just wanted to get more eyes on your content, you achieved that goal. But even that can be done more effectively with a Facebook ad, instead of a Boosted Post.
While Facebook ads take a few minutes to create, you have many more tools at your disposal. You can target a more specific audience, like homeowners within 25 miles of you who look like other people who have liked your page. You can also gear your ad towards your specific goal, whether its newsletter sign ups, new members, or product sales. And your ad will appear in user’s News Feeds, the Facebook sidebar, on Instagram, and more, instead of just the News Feed with a Boosted Post.
Tip 3: Focus Your Audience
When you create a Facebook ad, you can get very specific with the people you target. In addition to reaching people according to their Facebook likes and interests, Facebook purchases demographic data about its users, from their parental status to their education level. It feels creepy as a user, but if you can forget that for a moment (hard, I know!), you’ll see how useful it is for your business.
For your ads, you can target users based on:
- Whether they’ve engaged with your Page in the past
- How much they look like other people who like your Page
You’ll want to strike a balance between a large enough audience to accomplish your goal and a specific enough audience to increase your reach. For example, new parents are a huge target for advertisers, so if you only restrict your ad to reaching all new parents, you’ll have stiff competition from huge brands, and your ad will be less effective.
Tip 4: Images are Important, but Video is Victorious
The tried-and-true advice for effective advertising on social media is to always include a great image. And it makes sense – after all, posts with photos get 39% more interaction than those that don’t. But things have shifted a bit – if you really want to reach your audience, images aren’t as effective as they used to be. On average, posts with photos reach 3.7% of your followers. Posts with video perform 2.4x better.
And here’s the amazing thing: the videos don’t have to be commercial-quality. You can shoot a video of your products in action or yourself saying hello on your smartphone and still see the benefits. All that matters is that your video be authentic and engaging.
Two important tips:
- Keep your video short. Definitely under a minute, and 15-30 seconds for maximum impact and advertising on Instagram.
- When sharing a video in a Post, upload your video directly to Facebook, instead of linking from Vimeo or YouTube. Posts with outbound links have decreased reach.
Tip 5: Track Conversions
Across the web, Facebook Ads are the best return on your investment when you want users to click the ads and purchase something. But if they’re purchasing through your website, it will be difficult to track how effective your Facebook Ad was mixed in with your usual traffic and other marketing.
Fortunately, Facebook provides a small bit of code, called a Facebook Pixel, that you can copy and paste into your website to track the effectiveness of your ad. The code looks like total gobbledegook, but don’t be intimidated. There’s a generic “base code” that you’ll copy and paste into your website’s header so Facebook can track activity on your site (in WordPress, the Insert Headers and Footers plugin can help you get this code in the right place). Then there are specific “event codes” that can track whether people fill out a form, make a purchase, look at your content, and other specific behaviors. These can be trickier to implement, so talk to your developer for help if you’re feeling lost.
Once you have the Facebook Pixel set up on your business website, not only can you track the effectiveness of your ads, but you can create audiences in the Facebook Ad Manager based on your website visitors.
Are you still boosting posts? Or have you had huge success with a Facebook ad? Share your tips in the comments!