Business Tip: 10 ways to improve targeted Facebook Ads

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According to research compiled by Hubspot, Facebook ad revenue grew from just under $2 billion in 2010 to $12.5 billion, with ads on the popular social platform accounting for “more than 9% of total digital ad spending and 18.4% of global mobile digital advertising.”

Here’s some mistakes to avoid

The platform’s success is due, in large part, to its unparalleled targeting capabilities. Currently, there are no other paid advertising opportunities that allow you to target messages to such specific demographics as 35-year-old women who live in Dallas and like the band Slipknot.

Of course, with great targeting power comes great responsibility. Facebook ads are far from beginner-friendly, and the huge range of ad options make it tough for newbies to get started. To some extent, you just have to dive in and get your feet wet. But as you’re learning what works and what doesn’t, steer clear of these 10 common beginner mistakes.

Mistake #1 - You don’t have any goals

I can’t emphasize this enough: if you want to know whether or not Facebook ads are working for your brand, you have to know what metrics you’re holding them accountable to.

In the case of Facebook ads ROI, you could track a number of different actions:

  • New page “Likes”

  • Post-level engagement

  • Email opt-ins

  • Website click-throughs

  • On-site sales or lead generations

I’m not here to tell you which of these metrics you should be tracking, as your individual business goals must be taken into account. If you’re a new brand, for instance, building brand awareness - measured in number of page followers - may be more important. There’s also the significant challenge of attributing sales to specific traffic sources (like Facebook ads) that means it’s not necessarily a beginner-friendly option.

Mistake #2 - You’re using the wrong ad format

This typically happens for two reasons: either you’re new to Facebook ads and don’t know how to choose the right ad format for your specific campaign, or you’ve had your ads running for a while and haven’t stopped to analyze whether or not you’re still using the right formats.

Facebook rolls out new ad formats all the time, one of its most recent being the Canvas ad type that enables in-page launching of full-screen rich media assets. Study the platform’s ad types carefully, choose the one you think will best suit your audience and goals, and iterate as needed, based on your campaign performance.

Mistake #3 - You only have one ad set

Facebook ads campaigns are based around ad sets - groups of individual ads that include “daily or lifetime budget, schedule, bid type, bid info, and targeting data.” It might seem easiest to keep everything in a single set, but consultant Brian Carter explains why this can become problematic:

“An ad group is where you get to choose your budget, and you can put a ton of ads in each ad group, but Facebook is probably going to give most of the reach in an ad set to just one of your ads. So, you’ve got to “keep them separated”. If you put 20 ads in an ad set, most of them will not be shown to enough people for you to know if they would work or not.”

The bottom line: limit ad sets to no more than five individual ads.

Mistake #4 - Your targeting is too broad

Remember those targeting features I mentioned earlier? Using them appropriately can mean the difference between an ad that hits audience members who are primed to respond positively, and tarnishing your brand image by displaying your messages to Facebook users who don’t care.

In fact, this is one of the places I recommend starting if you’re seeing low engagement with your campaigns. Try adding further targeting criteria one at a time to increase your accuracy.

Mistake #5 - You don’t get to the point

Let’s face it - you aren’t running ads for your health. You’re advertising on Facebook to make a profit, and to do that, you have to be able to capture the (admittedly limited) attention of your audience and persuade them to take an action you’ve specified.

That’s where the call-to-action (CTA) in your ad copy comes into play. Brad Smith, writing for AdEspresso, makes it clear why this is so important:

“Your ad copy is there to sell the click-through, not the product or service. So don’t go on a long winded explanation of features, benefits, outcomes. Instead, (a) grab attention and (b) create enough intrigue so people click through for more. That’s it. Nothing less, and nothing more.”

For best results, Smith recommends ~14 words for your ad post text, and ~18 words for your link description. Basically, keep it simple, and keep it straightforward.

Mistake #6 - You use too much text in your ads

Stop me if this has happened to you before… You have your creative team put together a killer custom image featuring a user testimonial. It looks great, and you queue it into your ads campaign - only to have it rejected by Facebook’s ad text rule.

Though the current iteration of the rule is somewhat ambiguous, the key takeaway is that text-heavy images stand to suffer diminished distribution, compared to those with no or low text. Save time on rejected ads by keeping text to a minimum in the first place.

Mistake #7 - Your images aren’t optimized for Facebook

Many newbie marketers struggle with setting up their ad campaigns, simply because inputting the incorrect-sized image can cause your ad to display strangely. And since unoptimized images can sink your engagement rates, stick to the list of ideal image sizes provided by Facebook.

Mistake #8 - Your images aren’t eye-catching

At the same time, consider not just the size of your image, but its ability to attract eyeballs. I’m guessing you’ve seen ads that feature distorted images or images that are intentionally unrelated to the product being advertised.

Advertisers do that because they know eye-catching graphics get clicks. And while you don’t need to be manipulative, you should follow best practices to capture attention. Wishpond’s blog, for instance, recommends running ads featuring reds, oranges and greens to naturally contrast with Facebook’s white and blue color scheme.

Mistake #9 - You aren’t testing your ads

I say this about every aspect of marketing, but it’s doubly true for any strategy that puts your money on the line: test, test and test again.

Test the images you use in your ads, your specific CTAs, your headline copy, your targeting approaches and even your landing pages. Simply put, there should never be a time when you’re running a Facebook ads campaign without an active test.

Mistake #10 - You’re saturating your audience

Finally, although you’re undoubtedly excited to get started with Facebook ads, remember that it’s possible to saturate your audience with too many messages.

Users browse Facebook as a social experience; for relaxation. They aren’t there to see ads, and if they start to see yours too many times, they’ll start tuning you out (or worse, start thinking negatively about your brand).

It’s tough to determine when and if you’re hitting that saturation threshold, but one warning sign is diminishing engagement that doesn’t change when you narrow down your targeting criteria. If you suspect saturation, pause your campaigns for a bit and come back only when you have something truly valuable to offer your audience.


Business Tip: 7 Ways to Boost Social Media ENGAGEMENT


Develop a multichannel social media strategy that clearly articulates your brand voice, uses a mix of paid and organic means, and brings delight to followers.

Despite recent criticism among business and political commentators, social media networks remain some of the most important and unifying internet platforms. More than 2.5 billion people use social media networks, and that number is expected to grow in the coming years.

Marketers must rely on more than just hashtags and emojis to make the most of channels like Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat. The world’s most successful social media marketers rely on a variety of sophisticated strategies designed to articulate a particular worldview that boosts brand awareness, drives new business and delights followers.

Let’s look at seven creative ways in which you can dramatically improve your social media performance by following the strategies used by elite social media marketers.

1. Develop a multichannel approach.

Just a few years ago, Twitter was the go-to platform for social media marketers. After that, Facebook assumed the mantle as the best social network for marketers. Today, it seems that most marketers prefer Instagram to reach users.

In the future, there is no telling which social media network will be the darling of social media marketers. Marketers should recognize that it is dangerous to focus only on one social network. Instead, marketers should develop an understanding of the target audience. Many people use a variety of networks for different purposes.

Similarly, social media marketers must take a multichannel approach in reaching prospects and customers. Ensure that each platform is used in unique ways to encourage users to follow your brand across services.

Related: Mark Zuckerberg Doesn't Seem Very Sorry or Very Forgiven

2. Invest in influencer marketing.

According to one recent study, roughly 95 percent of marketers who invest in influencer marketing believe it is effective. Some of the world’s leading brands, including Nike, KitchenAid and Rolex, rely on influencer marketing to reach social media users.

Increasingly, internet users have become wary of traditional advertisements. So much so that users have developed “ad blindness,” in which they simply ignore display ads placed prominently on social networks.

To combat this, some brands rely on sponsored content created by social media influencers to build connections with target audiences.

3. Engage commenters as quickly as possible.

Most social media platforms rely on algorithms to determine what content is displayed prominently and what content is buried. Facebook and Instagram use “engagement” as a primary factor in determining what content should or should not be displayed.

One major form of engagement is comments. Posts that receive more comments are often displayed more prominently within social media feeds and within discovery pages like Instagram’s Explore page.

To encourage members of your target audience to engage with your content in meaningful ways, have a social media monitor who is ready to react to user comments at a moment’s notice. The faster you react to the comments, the more likely it is that other users will engage with your content as well. If you are able to comment in a way that feels on-brand and unique, you may even be able to improve brand sentiment in your target audience.

Take the work of one social media manager at Wendy's, for example. Her work earned national media attention as a result of witty and on-brand retorts that confronted internet trolls.

Related: Wendy's Amazing Social Media Team Shares The Secrets to its Success

4. Amplify reach through look-alike audiences.

Great social media marketing doesn’t just rely on organic content to increase reach. It should also include some paid elements to amplify reach, especially once you’ve established a clear strategy.

Look-alike audiences rely on the algorithms developed by social networks to help you connect with users who are similar to your ideal customer profile. Simply upload a list of email addresses associated with your best customers to a platform like Facebook, and Facebook will identify other users with a similar demographic and psychographic makeup.

Then you can run ads to drive viewers to your website or business page. In time, this strategy will help you to quickly grow a healthier social media following.

5. Measure strategy success through on-platform and on-site measurement.

Analytics are the best way to understand if your social strategy is working. Of course, it is best to measure on-platform metrics like follower growth, engagement and distribution. But it is also worth measuring on-site performance.

For example, are you able to drive users who engage with your brand on social networks to your website? If so, how do those website visitors behave? Do they immediately leave the page (bounce), or do they explore content thoroughly?

Depending on what you find using a tool like Google Analytics, you’ll know if your existing strategy will lead to meaningful business outcomes.

6. Create a clear and unique brand identity.

Social networks are crowded places in which users are constantly reevaluating what they do and do not want within their social media feeds. Because of this, it’s vital that your organization develops a clear and compelling brand identity. Otherwise, your social media presence will simply be some derivation of another brand.

Develop a strategy that articulates a clear and unique brand identity in novel ways using a mix of multimedia content to tell a cohesive story.

7. Find creative ways to delight people.

The average person shares a positive customer service experience with 9 other people. Finding creative ways to delight social media users is a great way to build an organic following through amplification and word of mouth.

Develop an editorial calendar and be sure to include delightful moments that make followers feel good about themselves and about your organization. The most obvious opportunity to do this is during major world events and holidays, but simply developing a fun midweek video that is entertaining and on-brand can be a great way to bring joy to social media users in an unexpected way.

The social media landscape is constantly changing, and the marketing tactics are changing as well. However, while tactics will change, the strategies outlined in this article will remain the same.

Develop a multichannel social media strategy that clearly articulates your brand voice, uses a mix of paid and organic means, and brings delight to followers. In time, you develop a meaningful social media following capable of driving big business to your organization.


Business Tip: Is Digital Marketing Important?

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In simplistic terms, digital marketing is the promotion of products or brands via one or more forms of electronic media. Digital marketing differs from traditional marketing in that it involves the use of channels and methods that enable an organization to analyze marketing campaigns and understand what is working and what isn’t – typically in real time.

Digital marketers monitor things like what is being viewed, how often and for how long, sales conversions, what content works and doesn’t work, etc. While the Internet is, perhaps, the channel most closely associated with digital marketing, others include wireless text messaging, mobile instant messaging, mobile apps, podcasts, electronic billboards, digital television and radio channels, etc.

Why Digital Marketing Is Important

Digital media is so pervasive that consumers have access to information any time and any place they want it. Gone are the days when the messages people got about your products or services came from you and consisted of only what you wanted them to know. Digital media is an ever-growing source of entertainment, news, shopping and social interaction, and consumers are now exposed not just to what your company says about your brand, but what the media, friends, relatives, peers, etc., are saying as well. And they are more likely to believe them than you. People want brands they can trust, companies that know them, communications that are personalized and relevant, and offers tailored to their needs and preferences.

Manage Customer Relationships Across All Channels

Digital marketing and its associated channels are important – but not to the exclusion of all else. It’s not enough to just know your customers; you must know them better than anybody else so you can communicate with them where, when and how they are most receptive to your message. To do that, you need a consolidated view of customer preferences and expectations across all channels – Web, social media, mobile, direct mail, point of sale, etc. Marketers can use this information to create and anticipate consistent, coordinated customer experiences that will move customers along in the buying cycle. The deeper your insight into customer behavior and preferences, the more likely you are to engage them in lucrative interactions.