5 Things I’ve Learned About Facebook Ads in 2 Weeks

That’s right I’m brand new to Facebook Ads. So why am I trying to act like a Facebook ads expert? Well, I’m not. My goal here is to share four things that I’ve learned that I didn’t come across in other blogs I’ve read or tutorials I’ve watched. Some of these may seem obvious, but I didn’t realize how important these strategies were until I started getting my hands dirty and running Facebook ads myself. I’ll likely continue to post about Facebook ads as I learn more.

1. Double Target

One of the reasons why FB ads are such a powerful tool for startups and small business is because they allow you to reach people who are most likely to be interested in what you have to offer. You can target ads by age, gender, income, purchasing habits, and a whole range of other categories. It’s a good idea to play around with targeting for a while when you’re first starting out. Try and target people as specifically as possible. Let’s say you’re running an ad for a website that sells yoga clothes and gear. You’d want to target people who are interested in yoga right? The problem is that the interest “yoga” is far too broad. Someone may have expressed interest in yoga once, but then never became a real devotee. You want the people who are doing yoga at least once a week who you know will be looking for yoga clothes. Shoot for much more niche segments, such as Yoga Journal, a popular yoga blog. And if you find it’s difficult to find a narrow enough segment, you can always double target. By this, I mean showing your ad only to people who are interested in Yoga Journal, and Lululemon. This way you know you’re getting people who aren’t just casually interested. Instead, they’ve expressed two interests that are related to your brand.

2. Interested in Doesn’t Mean “Liked the Page”

Remember, if Facebook considers someone to be interested in something, it doesn’t necessarily mean they have liked that specific page. For example, I recently ran a Facebook ad for a company that sells Halloween costumes. They were promoting a high-end Wonder Woman costume as a cosplay idea for San Diego comic con. Now I haven’t personally liked the Wonder Woman Facebook page, but I was still seeing the ad. Facebook knows that since I’ve liked pages similar to Wonder Woman, like Marvel, Star Wars, and other geeky pop-culture things, they’re betting that I would be interested in Wonder Woman as well. Facebook will show your ad to people who are most likely to complete your objective (convert, click etc.). I was being shown the ad because I’ve expressed interest in both geeky pop-culture and the business I was advertising for. I’ve liked their Facebook page and been to their website, so Facebook is betting I am likely to convert.

There is a problem with the fact that I was seeing this ad. Facebook charges per impression and I was now skewing the impression numbers, although not very significantly. If you’re working on ads for big clients, dozens or hundreds of people may see the ad simply because they’re an employee at that company. Unfortunately, Facebook doesn’t have a solution to this yet. One workaround for this is to make a Facebook page, add people to that page who you don’t want seeing your ads, and then exclude that page from your target audience.

3. Explore Business Manager and Use Free Tools

When you first log-on to Business Manager you may be directed to use something called “Ads Manager.” Ads Manager is easy to use but there’s one major drawback, you can’t save your work. I was shocked that any program in 2017 doesn’t give you the option to save. Skip Ads Manager and instead go directly to Power Editor. Not only does Power Editor give you the option to save, but you can see helpful data and metrics, like CPC (cost per click), CTR (click through rate), and CPM (cost per 1,000 impressions). Definitely get familiar with every tool Facebook offers, ideally before you even make your first ad. There are some indispensable ones like Audiences where you can build audiences to use for future ads. There’s also Audience Insights which gives you more data on your audiences and allows you to compare them to the whole of Facebook.

Finally, my personal favorite free learning tool is Facebook Blueprint. Facebook offers tons of free online courses to help get you started and learn advertising best practices. Personally, I found these to be more helpful, more valuable, and more structured than just reading blogs from AdEspresso, Social Media Examiner, and others. You can even get Facebook ad certified if you take an exam. So stop reading my blog and go check out Blueprint!

4. No one Converts after Seeing an Ad Once

This one I learned mostly from thinking about my own behavior. When you see an ad in your News Feed from a company you’ve never heard of (i.e. the majority of Facebook ads) how likely are you to click? The answer is close to zero. You might be more likely to click on the ad if it is something you were just thinking about buying but even then you might hesitate.

This is where lead generation comes into play. You need to expose someone to your brand, and then build a relationship before they’re ready to become a customer. Facebook News Feed ads can be a great tool for generating leads. They allow you to expose your brand to a new audience which will help to build your base and drive new page likes. If you’re posting to your Facebook page regularly, these new leads then have a chance to learn more about your brand and engage with your organic content. After building a relationship, and maybe making a few irresistible offers, they’ll be ready to convert.

5. Carousels are Not Worth the Hype

Facebook loves carousels, but do they really make a difference? Sure you’re getting more clicks but that’s only because there are more things on which to click. I like to think of these clicks as low-value clicks. People who are just browsing through your carousel are not converting. So while carousels may be great for showing off a lot of products, it’s better to have one great image that stands out instead of five so-so ones. This is, of course, debatable, but I believe Facebook encourages you to use carousels because they make your ad look more successful than it actually is. It matters more that you’re building a base who will engage with your brand and eventually convert. A few clicks through a carousel don’t add up to the enthusiastic engagement you’re looking for.

I could go on forever about everything I’ve learned so far about Facebook ads so I’ll leave it at that for now. But I’ll likely have more to say about Facebook ads as I learn and experiment.