Social media marketing can be an unforgiving beast. The landscape changes in an instant, and generally without warning. Best practice today won’t necessarily be best practice tomorrow. So when the playing field is in such a constant state of flux, how do you get ahead?
In search of answers, we sat down with Dane Yardy, Group Manager of Performance at Bench, a leading integrated performance marketing platform used globally by top brands and agencies, based in North Sydney.
So what tips can Yardy and others offer up to those who are trying to develop their Facebook ad credentials?
Let’s dive in.
First Things First
Before setting up a campaign, you need to identify the objective. Whether that’s engagement, email conversions or purchases – you must understand what’s the goal. There’s no point in steering the campaign ship if you don’t know your destination.
Fortunately, Ads Manager and Power Editor both make this simple by prompting you to select an objective from a range of preset options under the headings of Awareness, Consideration and Conversion.
Yardy goes further. “You need to start with the end in mind because you will be presented with so many ad options and formats that, unless you have a clear idea of the end goal, you’ll lose before you even begin.
“At Bench, we take this one step further and evaluate not just the campaign goals, but the client’s overall business strategy and objectives too. This helps to closely correlate the results achieved during the Facebook campaign with the longer-term goal of the brand.”
To provide further clarity, Yardy offers a solid example: “For a new product launch for instance, if the business objective is to grow awareness then the campaign objective will be to achieve a certain number of completed video views.”
Common Facebook Ad Mistakes
A lot can go wrong with Facebook Ads campaigns. Companies as big as GM have made mistakes that have cost them upwards of $10 million.
These issues stem from a lack of understanding about Facebook’s strengths, which suit some industries far better than others.
Yardy, on the other hand, believes that the number one mistake is “not keeping your campaign goal in mind. Being unable to see the conversion goal forest for the ad format trees is a sure-fire way to get lost in the advertising woods and waste your budget.”
He believes you also need to think like a scientist regarding of business ‘first principles’. Considering what client need you are addressing, and how your ads support your customers through their buyer journeys goes a long way.
“An important derivative of this is ensuring that your ad copy supports your messaging objectives and that these, in turn, support your high-level business goals.
A common marketing best practice is to start with customer personas, where marketers define the traits and behaviours of their target audience. This tactic ensures every potential customer is getting a message crafted specifically for them. Yardy is an advocate to such practice:
“Marketers tend to make the mistake of targeting their ad copy and call to action (CTA) to their generic target market, rather than individual audience personas. Be specific and create more refined personas, then talk to those audiences’ needs. Your CTA is also a critical piece of the copy puzzle that can make or break a campaign.”
The Mysterious World of Facebook Ad ROI
Conversion attribution is rarely as straightforward as advertisers make it be. People don’t click an ad, navigate to a product page and make a purchase. Human behaviour is a lot messier than that.
Cross-device attribution is just one (painful) example. If you start browsing a product on your phone, but then complete the purchase on your desktop computer, then you are a marketer’s worst nightmare.
So with the link between a Facebook ad campaign and a customer purchase often so murky, what does ROI even mean in the world of Facebook marketing?
It’s a question that many advertisers find difficult to answer, despite the likes of Sprout Social offering up comprehensive guides that tell you how to define and measure exactly that.
“The ultimate ROI is when a customer takes action, which can be a purchase or any other conversion metric that adds real value to a business,” instructs Yardy.
“The action can be non-monetary, but it needs to have a dollar figure attached to it anyway. For instance, a completed video view may not lead to a direct sale, but you may have worked out that over the course of your customer’s journey it is worth x number of dollars.
“The Bench platform allows us to track the different metrics related to a Facebook campaign and measure these against a client’s stated business objectives. On our platform, it is referred to as ‘goal achievement’ and we use it as the primary measure of campaign success.”
Getting the Best Possible ROI from Your Campaign
“What gets measured, gets managed” proposed Peter Drucker decades ago. He was absolutely right. Unless you have the proper tools set up, you won’t be able to understand if your campaign is a product of the desired results.
For his part, Yardy focusses on improving ROI by improving conversions. “At Bench we are proponents of a pixel-based conversion approach. This ties in with our focus on achieving business goals and always viewing a customer action as the intended outcome.
“Correct attribution is an important part of a performance marketing campaign, and having a Facebook pixel on your website ensures that ROI can be accurately calculated. This also leads to more accurate reporting and decision making.
Making decisions in retrospective is important, but it’s not the only thing that matters. Yardy is a big proponent of real-time optimization:
“But it’s not just about getting retrospective reporting right. Having a pixel in place means that you can track and optimise campaigns in real-time. This allows you to make decisions on the fly about the best way to allocate your spend, and lowers your cost-per-acquisition over time.”
The Ultimate Tip
Yardy offers up a very practical tip for those running their campaigns manually.
“Basically, never bid using a rounded dollar figure. I.e. don’t make a bid for $5, as hundreds of thousands of other marketers will be doing the same. Instead, make a bid using a random number such as $5.05 or 5.14. This will give your bidding strategy a real edge and is an easy hack you can implement immediately.
“Facebook is a great marketing platform that can help you achieve results but, as I mentioned at the start, establishing your business objectives is the starting point. Taking a scientific ‘first principles’ approach will ensure that you don’t veer off course.”