Updated 12 April 21
Facebook ads are normally one of the first marketing channels startups want to test out. It definitely makes sense seeing as the social media network boasts the largest amount of users, with its 2.8 billion members. Over 1.8 billion of whom use the app daily. So the likelihood of your target market using it is high. However, a lot of startups still get Facebook ads wrong.
In this blog, I am going to talk through some best practices and things to note when running your first Facebook ad campaign.
Creative is king 👑
The ad creative is what grabs your attention and halts your finger while swiping and scrolling through the News Feed. So, it is vital that your ad leads with a strong creative and it isn’t left as some afterthought.
Research carried out by Nielson and others suggest that the creative accounts for up to 50% of the success of the ad. While most startups spend the least amount of time on it whilst creating their ad campaign.
To reach people on Facebook means being able to communicate visually, and to do so quickly. According to Facebook, people spend, on average, 1.7 seconds with a piece of content on mobile and 2.5 seconds on desktop.
Facebook favours visual content over written content because time has proven that visuals are what users want to see. Plus, visuals are more easily remembered and they’re far more likely to be shared. Make sure to have a variety of ad creatives within your campaign, test out a mixture of static images & videos. As for every 10 ads you test, expect one high-performance star and 9 duds.
Optimise and polish the star, and ditch the duds.
To make things even easier you can check out all your competitor’s ads on Facebook Ads Library. So its worth having a look and seeing the ads that your industry disruptors and leaders are testing in your region.
Once you have started designing your ad creative, make sure that your images or videos are formatted to the correct size and aspect ratios. Incorrectly formatted creatives can end up being distorted or grainy. You can learn the best practices for image ads over on Facebook’s resource centre.
Not every startup has the funds for a professional photographer or graphic designer. But there are great affordable options out there, my favourite high-quality royalty-free image sites are Pexels and Unsplash. If you need to personalise them, add your logo or some text then you can use a simple graphic design tool like Canva, which has a free plan!
Correctly Target 🎯
While ad creative is important, it is only one element contributing to the success of your Facebook campaign. Targeting the right people with the right message is also the key to a successful ad campaign.
It is easy to be overwhelmed with the targeting options within Facebooks ads manager as a startup wanting to run your first campaign. Before jumping into the many targeting options, it is key that you first have a clear idea of who your target audience is for your business. When you are ready and you have started to create your campaign, the first thing Facebook will ask you to do is select the basic demographics of your target market, location, age, and gender.
After this, you can then move on to the more advanced targeting options. Don’t be afraid to test out multiple audience variations for a single campaign. Try and aim for a sweet spot with your audiences, you want an audience that isn’t too broad but still with enough volume where your campaign will have an effective reach.
If you are ever stuck on targetting or need an idea of what is possible, Facebook offers great free courses on how best to use their targeting options. There are also lots of case studies and resources online too.
Write for your Audience 👥
After you have used Facebook targeting to narrow your audience, only then should you write your copy and be sure to tailor it to that audience. As a startup founder, when it comes to writing your ad copy, it’s easy to fall into the trap of writing it like you’re on stage at a business conference. But if you want your ad to be the most effective, you need to write as though you’re writing to one specific person.
This is the person whose attention you want to grab and you are looking to persuade. Think of it as if you are in a face to face conversation with them. Facebook has a great targeting feature, so make sure you don’t treat your ad like a billboard. Write different ads for different people if you are testing different audiences, don’t just use one blanket ad text for everyone.
Talk about the benefits your product or service will bring to the customer, what’s in it for them? Yes, it’s important to explain the features - but how it is going to improve something in their life is what really matters and will motivate them to purchase. Remember to consider that people who view your ad on Facebook aren’t necessarily in the mood to purchase, they haven’t opened the app to buy something.
Call them to action 👋
So, you have shown what your startup has to offer and the benefits of your product or service, now encourage your customers to take an action! Visit your website, fill out a form, sign up for your emails, start a free trial, buy your product etc. You should use persuasive and instructional language to give them that last little nudge to take a specific action. On a Facebook ad, this is done with the CTA button you choose, but you can also support this by writing your call to action in the headline or the last sentence of your description.
Set clear campaign goals 🥅
Make sure to set realistic goals for your campaign and ensure that you have a budget big enough to meet them. Facebook has a bunch of campaign objectives you can select, so be sure to select the one that actually provides value for your startup. For example, if your startup goal is to increase purchases, the cost per click is great to see when driving traffic to your website. But ultimately, if none of those visitors are actually buying your product once there, it is not a good metric to judge the campaign success on.
Track and analyse your results 📈
You are not going to crack the magic code with your first Facebook ad campaign as a startup. That is why it is important to track your results so that you can keep a log of what works and what doesn’t. That way you can improve your ads over time and it allows you to set an initial benchmark. The other side of this is making sure you have the necessary systems in place to track the campaign correctly, whether it be using Google Analytics or setting up Facebook Pixel, this is worth taking time to set up correctly before running your ad campaign.
Although you can implement best practises with your Facebook campaigns it will still involve a lot of trial and error as a new business with a lesser-known brand. This is why it is vital to keep a log of what you have tried and tested, so you can avoid the same mistakes, repeat successes and ultimately get more bang for your buck!