Facebook is awash with opportunity. Billions of potential customers await, you just have to know how to target them. You need to be unique. You need to plan. Your objective must be clear.
The Facebook Ads Manager space can be daunting at first, but it’s as easy as A, C, C: awareness, consideration, and conversion.
It’s all about the funnel
Facebook collates user interaction data to help figure out who should see your ads, and you can help the algorithm by making sure they’re targeted at those most likely to be receptive. This is best achieved by choosing the right Facebook ad objective for your campaign.
There are several objectives you can choose when advertising on Facebook, which can be confusing, so Facebook has distilled these objectives into three pillars. Choose the category that works best with where people are in your sales and marketing funnel.
At the top of the funnel is Awareness. By selecting the awareness objective, you’re hoping to generate interest in what you have to offer.
Next is Consideration. Consideration as an objective is employed when you want to reach people who already have some interest but want to find out more.
Last is Conversion. The conversion objective is the end goal. At the bottom of your funnel, this is the card you play when you want people to register, purchase, visit your store, or more.
The top of the sales funnel: Awareness
Awareness is the highest level of your sales funnel. Let’s look at your options in this stage.
If you want to get attention for your brand but are not necessarily aiming for people to engage with your content by way of leads or sales, brand awareness is the way to go.
If you want your content to be seen by many people, many times, you’re after reach. Using reach you can target your audience and encourage them to engage by watching a video or clicking through to your website.
You’re looking for reach and frequency – as many people as you can at certain times of the day. This sort of objective is great for big businesses such as movie studios announcing the next summer blockbuster. These are companies who have already established their brand and have sales coming in, so are focused on brand retention and loyalty.
Most advertisers aren’t going to be using awareness as a way to grab sales, not that you can’t use it, but by and large most companies would shift gears to go for the hard sell in the consideration stage. But in the awareness phase, you’re looking for video views and post engagement.
When serving content, your brand story should be the first step. That message is about the company and the product. When trying to tell your story you should use vivid, emotional imagery that gets people on your side. A micro-documentary about how your company started, for example. Origin stories allow you to paint your own picture and tell people what you’re about.
When people are in the awareness phase, they’re not necessarily ready to buy but are looking for inspiration. It’s only in the consideration phase we assume they know what they want, so it’s time to tell them you’ve got it.
The middle of the sales funnel: Consideration
As we continue on to the consideration phase, there are other objectives we can target, from landing page views to targeting people who are click-happy and willing to leave Facebook to read articles and blog posts.
In this phase you can aim for lead generation, which allows people to sign up for content such as newsletters, ebooks, and webinars (and so on) without leaving Facebook. In this setting, people are more likely to sign up for content using their personal details, making it a seamless way for advertisers to make the best use of that personal information and reach out to these potential customers through email or e-marketing.
Elements within consideration include driving traffic, post engagement, and video views. From reading a blog post to listening to a podcast, the consideration objective enables you to drive traffic away from Facebook, should that be your goal. Using data collated from user behaviour, Facebook will find your target audience.
The last form of consideration is Instant Experience Ads (formerly Canvas Ads), which are essentially mini-landing pages within Facebook that drive engagement.
Solve problems in the consideration phase
As you move prospects along your sales funnel, use consideration content to show how you solve their problems.
Creating customer personas and really focusing on their needs will greatly assist here. What are the questions you get asked frequently by customers? What specialist knowledge do you have that they might like to know? What’s relevant to them at different times of the year?
Make a list of topics and use this as content ideas for your Facebook page. It’s important that you only post one topic at a time. Remember your customer is scrolling down their News Feed at speed.
Your post must not only be useful, it must also be obvious what it’s about. Aim to grab their attention in the first five words. Stop them mid-scroll.
The bottom of the sales funnel: Conversion
The final way to target people on Facebook is conversion.
Within conversion there are three options: general conversion, where customers are encouraged to complete online forms or register for a free trial, cart purchases (as used by many e-commerce brands), and finally, offline conversion, where big companies with bricks-and-mortar stores drive customers to their products away from the Facebook space. In offline conversion, Facebook will use GPS location data to confirm a user has been into the store and has seen your ad at the same time.
So those are your three objectives: awareness, consideration, and conversion. But can you use all three at once?
When using Ads Manager you’re locked into one specific objective per campaign. You can still have a full creative campaign that will incorporate all three stages of the funnel process, but based on Facebook hierarchy you can’t use all of them in one go. You’d have one ad solely targeting awareness, one ad solely targeting consideration, and one campaign dedicated to conversion.
From Facebook pixels to fully qualified and engaged audiences through creative, this is where you use all the elements to create full-funnel marketing, to make sure the person you’re reaching has already seen your awareness and consideration ads, making them ready for conversion.
This enables you to say ‘we can pay more for this ad, because they’re already been through each part of the funnel, therefore the chances of conversion will be higher’. That’s not to say you can’t run conversion ads targeted at people who have never seen your brand before – you absolutely can – but a funnel can build traction and increase the odds of conversion.
Finding new customers with an awareness campaign
If you’re trying to attract new customers on Facebook, the best way to approach it is through impactful video storytelling. New customers need to be aware of your brand, your mission, and why you do what you do. You have up to 10 seconds to grab their attention.
This is the best time to work out what your mission statement is so potential customers can find a connection. Who are you trying to help? Why did you create this company? What problem are you trying to solve? Once you can communicate this to others, they’ll self-identify through your creative and you’ll not only be able to reach potential customers who resonate with your product, you’ll also sift out those who don’t.
By employing the right techniques you can not only target people who have seen your video, but also people who have watched your video to a specific viewing point, the point at which you would declare them a qualified user. If you want, you can even just target those people who watched your video up until the halfway point.
Building a relationship with a consideration campaign
You’ve run an awareness campaign and people are starting to know who you are. Now you want people to dig deeper. It’s time for consideration.
Consideration is the stage many companies skip, to the detriment of their campaign. For someone to invest in your brand, they’ll usually want to know more about you and your product, more than they’ll get from just one ad. To be a real player in your space, you need to be a trusted expert.
Consideration takes strategy and a lot of creative content. This is a space where you can play and get creative. Educate and engage with customers using blog articles, infographics, newsletters, webinars, and videos. Show them your product fits into their lifestyle. Create content that reflects your company mission, resonates with your customers, and inspires and empowers them to reach their goals. Become a trusted source of knowledge so when the time comes to choose your product over another, the credibility you’ve built will deliver results.
Making sales with a conversion campaign
The pointy end of the funnel is conversion. The aim now is to take those people who have come down the funnel and get them to make the purchase you already know they’ve been thinking about.
As an aside, now is a great time to A/B test your calls to action and your offers. People will be ready to buy, so you’ll get more concrete results: if they don’t buy, you know your ads aren’t working.
At this point, you’re pushing the sale. You’re asking them to sign up or buy now. This is where the messaging gets more direct. It’s time to deliver that knockout punch. There are different methods you can employ: offering discounts or using social proof as an edge over your competitors (such as introducing them to influencers who give their approval of your brand).
Sometimes you might not have either testimonials or the option to provide a discount, or perhaps you don’t want to lessen the perceived value of your product by offering it cheaply. This is where you can push people to purchase with creative ads. Show features, case studies, and benefits people may not have seen before, demonstrate the product and show how it works live on Facebook. Whatever competitive edge you have, perhaps now is the time to show the strengths of your product over the weakness of a competitor. Does your product save people time? Is it cheaper? How will it change their life? Show them.
Experiment: Comparing objectives
To illustrate the importance of choosing the right objective, we ran a simple experiment.
We took the same video creative and served it to the same audience in three different campaigns. We used a different objective for each campaign: video views, traffic, and leads.
We assumed we’d get vastly different results for each objective. And we did. Here’s what we found.
Video views got us watchers
In theory, the video views objective should be the most cost-effective way to get maximum reach and impressions.
We found this to be true. Our campaign with video views as the objective won on reach, impressions, CPM (cost per thousand impressions), 3-second views, average watch time, video watches at 50%, and video watches at 100%.
The three most telling variables are reach, CPM, and video watches at 100%. In combination, these tell us whether our video went out to more people, whether it was relatively cheap, and whether our video was watched.
Reach for the video view objective was 71,824. Traffic scored 44,638 views. And leads scored 23,382 views.
CPM for the video view objective was the cheapest at $7.29. The leads objective cost significantly more at $30 per 1,000 impressions, while the traffic objective cost $8.70 per 1,000 impressions.
Regarding the number of people that watched our video to completion, a whopping 84,092 did so when we used the video views objective. A mere 2,605 did so for the traffic objective. Likewise, only 4,621 did so for the leads objective.
Video views won big for getting our video seen.
Traffic got us clickers
We use the traffic objective for consideration campaigns in the middle of our funnel. In theory, this objective should get us the most clicks at the cheapest cost.
We found this to be true.
Traffic got us the most clicks: 1,516 versus a mere 626 for video views and 572 for leads.
It also got us the cheapest clicks. Traffic cost $0.57 per click versus $1.38 for video views and $1.52 for leads.
Traffic won for getting people to click through to our content.
Leads got us conversions
Leads is the objective we choose when we want to make sales or sign people up to a list. We expect it to get us the most leads, at the cheapest price.
We found this to be true.
The leads objective delivered 220 new leads. Whereas traffic brought in only 12, and video views caught only 5.
Likewise, the cost per lead was far lower. The leads objective cost us $3.96 per lead. Traffic cost $72.18. And video views was the most expensive at $173.58 per lead.
What this means
This experiment illustrates how choosing the right objective matters.
Dependent on our objective, Facebook efficiently found users who were most likely to watch a video, click on a link, or become an actual lead. All this from the same audience.
When you’re creating campaigns, stop and consider what you want to achieve. And then set your objective accordingly. A misaligned objective can never deliver the results you seek.
For more on this experiment (and recommendations for your business), head on over to our full-length write-up.
Turning customers into advocates (below the funnel)
Beyond the funnel, there’s a reverse funnel after the funnel. Make sense? It starts with customer loyalty and repeat purchases.
Let’s say you make protein shakes. You know your average tub holds 30 scoops and, working on the idea that there’s roughly 30 days in a month, you can figure out at what point your customer will want to replenish their stocks. Maybe they’re shopping around for a better price or a different feature? Perhaps there’s an expiration date? This is when it matters how well you know your customers, so you know when it’ll be best to remind them you’re there, ready to sell.
You’ll need to test this continually to find the sweet spot. Try to recreate instances where people who loved product A also loved product B, but more than that, use the opportunity to try to work out why those customers saw a link between products A and B in the first place.
For e-commerce, tactics such as emailing newsletters are great. If you’re running a remarketing campaign on people who have purchased before, you’ll need to figure out the best time to retarget them as consumers. If you don’t know what that time is, trial different ads until you find what works.
In the case of software as a service (SAAS) it’s more complicated and dependent on the amount of data you’re tracking. Analyse your platform or service and look for flags that represent an opportunity for interaction – maybe after a month people tend to turn off, or maybe there’s a point where people struggle with your software – and run a customer loyalty campaign or try and resolve the issue. Engage with your users.
Data is your friend when you’re trying to increase retention and create advocacy. Depending on the business you run, tools such as your Facebook pixel will help track all interactions with your site and help you figure out when’s the best time to follow up.
Brand advocates are golden. A step beyond customer loyalty, these are people who love your product and are willing to share their love with friends and family. Can you target the people who love you the most? Use your data to track down your most frequent users and reach out to them. See if they’d like to collaborate. Yes, they may cease to be a customer, but if they’re willing to reach out to their community on your behalf and help find other high-value people, you may just grow a bit faster.
Beyond the buy
So often we focus our attention and ad spend on getting new people to buy that we completely neglect our most important asset: existing customers. The easiest people to sell to are those who have already bought. They know your brand and (hopefully) already love your product.
Another way to target existing customers is to show them products they may like due to their purchase. For instance, if someone purchases your purple shoes, show an ad promoting the matching purple bag. If they buy face cream, let them know you have the same fragrance available in hand cream.
This works best with an offer like: ‘add to your order now and we’ll ship it free’.
Using video to create a qualified audience
You don’t need a PhD in brand appreciation to be a qualified audience member, you just need to be brand aware. And how aware should a potential customer be? Well, that’s up to you.
You can create qualified audiences through videos on Facebook. This relates to building an engaged audience. You have to think about the bigger picture, the full funnel. When you’re creating your mission statement video or inspirational video for the awareness element of your campaign, you have to think about the content that will follow.
You can create a qualified audience by running 10-second videos and optimizing toward video views, then allowing the audience you’ve created to be an audience that can be reused.
One mistake people tend to make is to cast their net too wide. If your selected audience group is too open it won’t be effective. Say you want to target social media managers or people who want to start an online business, you can’t just target 18 to 45-year-olds interested in business in the US.
You want to ask yourself the question: ‘who am I talking to and what sort of journey do I want to bring them on?’ When creating awareness videos, you want to ensure your underlying message not only highlights your mission, but also interacts with your conversion campaign and objective. If your video talks about making the world a healthier place, make sure your product is one that makes the world healthier.
At each step, your objective should echo and reinforce your previous messages. Getting a sense of déjà vu? If this feels familiar it’s because these are the universal principles of Facebook marketing.
The paradox of reducing conversion costs
The way to reduce the cost of conversion is counter-intuitive.
Because we’re using a conversion funnel, at the top of the funnel we use Facebook to optimize the maximum numbers of views per video. We then use this engaged audience to achieve more efficient conversion further down the funnel, thus driving down the overall cost.
It’s like this: you’re watching TV and a meerkat appears. Later that day, you’re searching online for cheap car insurance and see the same meerkat next to some other brand. You’re more likely to click on the meerkat’s brand you just saw on TV. The engagement on your posts sends positive signals to the Facebook algorithm, which can boost your reach, increase the size of your warm audience, and ultimately lower your advertising costs.
As always, you should be testing your objectives to see what’s working and what’s not. Compare two campaigns and you can ensure the videos you’re running on the awareness side are helping the conversion.
Run one campaign that has an awareness objective and is optimized for video views. Let’s say this activity results in a ton of video views, from which you can create an audience of people who have seen 50% or more of your video. What you’ve achieved is the creation of an engaged audience you can target ads to, an audience of only people who have seen your videos.
You can also layer in other interests. For example, you could target anyone interested in social media, in the marketing field, or who is a business page admin. You could target people interested in baseball or football, or those with upcoming birthdays so you know they’re in the market for a gift. Now we’re getting quite niche.
You can use the same target for both, then on one campaign you can layer in a custom audience that includes anyone who has engaged with over 50% of your video. Now you have two audiences who are interested in the same things, the only difference is that only one audience has been exposed to an ad you’ve run before.
What we tend to see is that people who’ve been exposed to your video will already have an idea of your brand, will better trust your brand, and will usually convert at a better rate.
Capitalizing on missed opportunities with remarketing
Video retargeting on Facebook is a great way for businesses to reconnect with potential customers who are already familiar with their brand. As a medium, video is especially well-suited to retargeting because people who are already familiar with you are more likely to watch your video.
This is a second-chance saloon, an opportunity to re-establish a connection with a visitor that might have waned.
Full-funnel video marketing is a way to combine two of the most effective ways to use video marketing, by raising brand awareness and retargeting. A full-funnel marketing approach begins at the top of the funnel by casting a wide net to capture as many leads as possible and then circling round to catch people at the bottom.
More often than not, people will use static images for remarketing ads where they showcase a product that has been recently looked at or perhaps a specific feature of a piece of software someone is thinking about buying. Many people revert to static images when they’re remarketing because many dynamic options are delivered through HTML 5 or through product lists that use photos instead of videos.
However, if you’ve honed your funnel and are precise in the types of videos and consideration objectives people are viewing before they hit your remarketing or conversion ad, you’re already in a position to cater to them without having to use dynamic creative.
When you’re using a SaaS platform or an e-commerce platform, however, you want to showcase a great experience and you can’t do that as effectively with static images. This is where video gives you an advantage that photos can’t.
Video allows you to show what it’s like to use the product in the wild, which is a powerful engagement technique. This brings your product or service to life and allows it to be more than just a page-filler.
Using remarketing as a funnel
Remarketing is a second chance: it allows you to target those who have been to your website and Facebook page.
When you’re retargeting someone you can create different segments of conversion to give a more personalized experience – whether they’ve been to your page before or have read certain articles. This is your chance to educate them about your brand based on your existing relationship.
When you’re targeting people who came close before, you can show them an example of someone who has been in their position but converted. Someone who has made the leap, used the product, and is willing to share their experience. In this scenario, your potential customer is more likely to convert.
You have the ability to create a different and targeted message. Remarketing has always been great for performance because it allows for personalization you don’t see at other phases of the cycle.
Your Facebook pixel is a key part of this process. You can remarket to those who have engaged with video on an organic post, sure, but everything else requires the magic of a pixel.
Remarketing with your pixel and Instant Experiences
Remember Canvas Ads? Facebook renamed Canvas Ads as Instant Experience ads and gave them pixel capabilities so full-screen mobile ads can now be used in retargeting campaigns. A powerful tool housed within Facebook and optimized for mobile devices, Instant Experience ads offer an immersive, full-screen mobile experience for a business to bring its products to life in a visually compelling way.
Instant Experience ads are automatically attached to your pixel and allow advertisers to embed third-party tools to track campaign performance and compare against other campaigns using their choice of analytic tools.
The instant form template enables engagement with the ad so people can submit their contact information in addition to the existing templates, including Instant Storefront, Instant Lookbook, Instant Customer Acquisition, and Instant Storytelling.
With a recent upgrade to its Instant Storefront template, the collection ad format makes it possible for advertisers to organize products into collections or groupings that can be personalized under headings such as Suggested for You or Most Viewed. You can also upload a video and the template will automatically personalize the ads with products from the advertiser’s catalog.
By having a video at the top of your header you’re creating what essentially acts like a storefront inside Facebook. People can shop without leaving the site. That means you’ll want to tell a story. While a great image can be a great hook, if a picture tells a thousand words, what does a great video do? Increases your performance, that’s what.
You don’t see this with organic posts, so they’re quite eye-catching and have a great impact. When someone is ready to buy, they’re going to see this ad and convert because everything’s there in front of them.
If you’re a service you can send them straight to signup and remove one layer of friction that most people have in their conversion process. Everything within those frames is hosted within Facebook, which can even eliminate the need for a site outside Facebook.
If you want to take it a step further, you can really start having fun with the Instant Experience ads and create a choose-your-own-adventure campaign. These ads allow the user to choose between different cars in a carousel, which then links to another ad that dives into what they chose, allowing flexibility, play, and some advanced storytelling.
It all depends on your resources. You might be able to DIY, or you could use a full studio team. The sky’s the limit.
Know your objective. Before you market, decide what you want to achieve. If you don’t have a goal, you’re wasting money.
Work with the funnel. Build your video campaigns with either the full funnel or parts of it. Don’t underestimate its value.
Don’t stop at the sale. Activate your customers as advocates and retain buyers with after-funnel campaigns.
Convert missed opportunities. Use personalized remarketing campaigns to convert those who know your brand but didn’t make the purchase first time round.