What is a sequential advertising video campaign?
Sequential ad campaigns connect with your audience throughout the entire funnel - from awareness, to consideration, to remarketing, and conversion.
They show your targeted audience a group of ads by step, with the goal of giving a consistent narrative to your customers throughout any device they use Facebook on.
Think of it this way – viewers will see your video ads in sequence, as and when they should.
There’s no doubt that everyone loves a good story, and sequential advertising is no different.
Sequential advertising on Facebook has one goal – to keep you invested in a narrative, leading you to the point of purchase.
For this chapter, we’ll be using the example of creating ads for a protein powder company.
If you were running a sequential campaign, the narrative could be answering a commonly held question by the customer such as: ‘How do I build and keep muscle?’
Think about the sequence of answering this question by creating a video for each section of your funnel.
Here’s how you’d do it using the protein shake example:
In the beginning of the funnel, it’s important to command attention.
With the awareness campaign, you can start creating videos explaining why you are making this premium shake, why it’s competitively priced, and why an athlete would want to be interested in this for building muscle.
With the consideration campaign, you can now hone in on the benefits and ingredients of the shake.
A good idea would be to provide social proof with case studies, showing how person built muscle with the product. When people are looking for protein powder, they’ll see your video ad.
Next you need to think about remarketing. This is what makes sequential advertising work.
You retarget people who you know have watched certain videos, or who have visited a landing page that your consideration page pointed to.
In that way, you can cater your message differently.
You can have a set of landing pages for each stage of the journey, and offer a free trial or a free sample for things further down the funnel.
When it comes down to the conversion stage, it’s really important that you have your Facebook pixel in place so you can track your audience.
At each stage of your ad, think about how each ad links to the others.
When your customer goes through the funnel, they need to see and feel like the content they’re getting is relevant to what matters to them.
This means that your narrative has to be perfectly executed. Each ad must provide enough interest to make the viewer want to engage with the next.
How they work
Sequential ads are great because people in your target audience will have the opportunity to see ads in the order you set.
For example, ad 1 will be delivered to them before ad 2 is delivered. Your audience targeting and exclusions will determine which ads someone has already seen and then automatically serve up the next one in the series.
The sequential campaign will then run as a whole. allowing you to capture in-depth analytics for the whole customer journey.
Building warm audiences
Colder audiences match the profile of your ideal customer, except they’re not as familiar with your brand. Therefore it’s important to get awareness and consideration ads in front of this audience that will warm them to your brand. A lookalike audience is a sample of a cold audience. Content that offers advice or assists is useful at this level.
Warm audiences know your brand and are more likely to take the desired action from your ad. Serve this group conversion ads. They are more likely to take an action for your brand. Examples of warms audiences are custom audiences that either visited your website, spent time watching your videos on Facebook, expressed an interest in an event or completed a lead form, etc.
Ultimately you will never know how receptive or warm your audience is to your ad until you test it.
The stages of a sequential campaign
Attention: The ‘hook’ ad. This builds awareness and asks you to take a particular action towards finding out more.
Consideration: The ‘nurture’ ad. Here you are encouraging your customer to go a little deeper, and to read the features and benefits of your product or service.
Conversion: The ‘testimonial’ ad. Here you can use a customer testimonial to validate your claims, and provide support that their investment in your brand is a good decision.
Remarketing: The ‘ask’ ad. This is a direct call to action, perhaps for those who have added a product to your cart. You know they are interested, and so you’re directly ‘asking’ for the purchase.
So, just how effective are sequential ads?
Facebook did some research on sequential ads and found that unsurprisingly, there was an 87% increase in people visiting the landing page if viewers had watched sequenced ads rather than non-sequenced.
Ultimately, sequential ads:
- Extend your campaign. Multi-phase ads over the course of several days give you different ways to tell your story, with each video tailored to different audiences.
- Work across all devices: Your customers will be tracked as they interact with your brand on mobile, desktop or tablet, giving them touch points every time they log on to Facebook.
- Are easily customizable: You can mix up creatives that best suit your goals, and you can control the targeting and sequencing with great precision in Ads Manager.
When to use sequential advertising
You can use sequencing when:
- You want to reach a broader audience with several different ads that tell a story
- You have a significant amount to spend on a full-funnel campaign
- You want to try different ways of engaging your audience
Next, we’ll dive into how to create audiences for each sequence.
How to create audiences and implement exclusions
Before you start creating your audiences, remember that sequential advertising is for a full-funnel campaign.
If you start your sequential ads, you need to ensure that you have enough money to last throughout the length of the campaign.
For example, if you only have $100 a day to spend, you’d have to split out that budget into awareness, consideration, and remarketing (conversion).
Spending this much money wouldn’t fully fuel your funnel and you’ll have to make sacrifices where you may not want to. Ideally, aim to start running your campaigns with at least $500 a day.
But if you only have a small amount to play with, you can still make it work. Just focus on just one objective.
Creating your audience
Let’s go back to our protein powder company example.
Say you have a protein shake company with five different products, for five different audiences. Some of your products are at the lower end, and some are at the higher end, say $100.
Let’s say you want to target a higher-value product set. You’d create a lookalike audience set with all those customers that have already bought the higher-value product.
A lookalike audience is where you create an audience set that is similar to a current set of your best existing customers.
Ideally, it’s best to create a lookalike based on lifetime value, so you know you’re matching your ad with only the most engaged fans of your brand.
If you don’t have your customer list set up on Facebook, there’s a different option. You can also target by interests for awareness ads.
Using our example, you’d target all the people that are interested in athletics, and then you can layer in behavior. So for example, people who have purchased online within the last 30 days.
You can even try and determine household budgets and spend. Facebook’s data is not always completely accurate, but it will give you a good indication.
So what we’ve just created is an audience of users who have viewed your awareness ads. You want to make sure they’re not seeing the same video twice.
If you create a lookalike audience, Facebook will take between 1-24 hours to set up the audience, and once it’s complete, you can start marketing to that audience. When you make an ‘interest target’ audience, you’ll be good to go straight away.
Essentially, your awareness campaign will either leverage interest targeting or lookalike targeting.
Your consideration and conversion campaigns would then be targeting the ‘engaged custom audiences’ that are created from your initial ‘video views’ campaign.
Your targets for this audience would be:
- Users who have already seen the “awareness” video.
- The same interest targets as the “awareness” campaign to target the same audience, but different cohorts.
In this way, you’re able to control the sequence in which users see your ads, allowing them to flow smoothly down your marketing funnel.
Mixing your targeting between both your awareness and consideration campaigns is a good approach.
By sharing the audience across both types of campaign, you’re still trying to target people who have never heard of your brand.
However, audience cohorts are different and you don’t need to worry about overlap between awareness and consideration.
This approach has a second pay-off. It allows you to see how effective your sequential campaign is compared to a conversion campaign served to a cold audience.
When you are creating audiences and choosing what to exclude from your sequential marketing campaign, it’s important to be very specific.
One of the main issues that advertisers run into is that they don’t properly create exclusions, which can cause problems, because if you don’t include your exclusions, your messaging won’t be highly targeted.
For a lot of advertisers when they are running demand generation or awareness campaigns, they will exclude a lot of their current customers.
The reason they do this is because they don’t want their current engaged audience to see a video that should be just an introduction to people that haven’t heard of them.
The most important part of creating an audience is that you include an exclusion to all of your current customers, and also to those who have added to the cart on your site, signed up for a free trial – anything to show they have shown interest in your product or service.
You want to exclude these customers from your awareness and consideration campaigns because these campaigns are really for new customers who you’re educating about your brand. For targeting current customers, it’s better to be running loyalty or retention campaigns.
All of the people you have excluded should now go into different remarketing campaigns based on their place in your buying funnel.
For example, users who have signed up for a free-trial or are using the ‘free version’ of a product may get marketed to purchase a subscription. For e-commerce products, you can use remarketing for repeat purchases, or users who have added an item to their cart but haven’t purchased.
Or if you have a product that is a repeat purchase, like whey protein, you’d know the product would be consumed by the customer in 30 days. This way you can serve them the ad in exactly the time frame they need, giving them a message to repurchase.
So that’s how you should ideally split out your audiences and make sure your messaging isn’t overlapping.
Next, we’ll go through creating a sequential campaign step by step.
Which video content to use
When it comes to creating a sequential marketing campaign, you want to use video content that corresponds neatly to the specific parts of your funnel, like we explored in chapter five.
First, focus on the ‘why’ of your advertising for the attention part of your funnel.
You really want to communicate with your video why you are different, and what sets you apart from your competitors. It’s about educating them about your brand.
This could be a short 15-second introduction to why you exist, with striking visuals and a prominent company logo, so your viewers remember your name.
For running your consideration campaigns, you can be a bit more hard hitting with your videos. You can showcase more facts and figures - you’re building evidence leading them to purchase.
Listicles work well for consideration ads. ‘Using our previous example, a ‘Top 5 reasons why whey protein builds strength’ would be perfect for that audience.
With a video ad of that nature, you can send them to further reading on your blog, and the blog would hold similar messaging to the video.
Video is a great way to quickly communicate expectations, and then drive them to one of your pages so they can explore in more detail.
Your CTA here should be subtle, but take them further down the funnel - so ‘read more’ or ‘click to learn more’ could work.
For your conversion campaigns, a type of video content to use would be a case study or a story - this allows you to ‘close the deal’.
To use our example, a video that showcases an athlete’s experience with your product, and how it helps them build fitness or recover faster would be suitable here.
With conversion campaigns, there should be a strong call to action to purchase. Your CTA should be at the end - words such as ‘Shop now’, ‘Buy now’ or ‘Sign up here for a free trial’ work well.
Using hidden ads vs boosted organic posts
With sequential marketing campaigns, you’re building a specific message with a particular audiences who have engaged with your post.
Users can see what types of ads you’re running and your most popular ads. As we discussed in chapter five, remember that the hidden ones aren’t as hidden as they used to be.
You can see recent ads from a publisher by clicking ‘Info and ads’ on a particular Facebook page.
You can check out your competitors ads, but sadly, you can’t see the details of how the particular campaign performed.
So what are the differences between hidden and organic, and when should you use them?
Hidden posts are targeted to specific audiences, usually ones that are likely to convert or fit in your target market.
90% of the time you’ll use hidden posts in sequential advertising, as these are only going to be displayed to a certain customer.
Most of the time, these people are not customers already, so these campaigns are more focused towards building engaged audiences that will eventually purchase your product.
Organic posts are targeted at all of your audiences; the same message goes out to everyone on your feed.
With organic posts, the content should be more general than advertising messaging.
Sure, your users who have engaged with your organic video posts are most likely fans of yours, but they may or may not be a customer. One thing they have done is show some brand interest – they’ve followed your page and engaged with a good amount of your content.
There are only a few instances where you may use organic posts as part of your sequential campaign, if the messaging falls in line with some of your sequential advertising.
For instance, if your business is in a very niche market, and you only have one core audience that you speak to. Then organic posts may be suitable for your video creative.
Examples of this would be would be campaigns focused on retention, product launches/features, or fan engagement (like a contest promotion or voting participation). However, the user has to expect this in their feed and it shouldn’t feel too jarring alongside other content.
If your hidden and organic posts have the same goal, then you can remarket to them to drive conversions.
Spend like you mean it. Full-funnel campaigns deliver the best ROI. But you’ll need a minimum of $500 a day to get started.
Build the right audience. Create lookalike audiences based your best (lifetime value) customers. Exclude those that already know your brand.
Solve a problem. Before you start, figure out who your customer is and what their unique problem is. Build your campaigns around solving this problem.
Awareness videos. Tell the story of your brand and how it’s different. Explain your ‘why’. Put your brand at the beginning.
Consideration videos. Tease your relevant content and explain the ‘what’ of your product. Get into the facts. Close with ‘learn more’.
Conversion videos. Close the deal with a case study or a testimonial. Use social proof to lower resistance. End with ‘shop now’.