Increasing Facebook ad conversion rates without simply increasing ad spend can be a challenge if you’re not an expert. But there are some tried-and-true tweaks that will get you better results, especially if you invest some energy into testing different versions.
To find out more, I asked 14 entrepreneurs from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) to share their favorite ways to supercharge a Facebook ad campaign. Their best answers are below. The best part? Most of them are very easy fixes and quick to implement.
1. Target followers of similar brands
Narrowing your target audience is always a good idea in terms of getting higher quality social media ad results. On Facebook, you can target followers of specific brands. This is helpful when you are trying to sell to the same customer base as other well-known businesses or if you are trying to target the customer base of other non-competing brands in your market. Using this filter is a simple solution when you do not know other details about your target audience such as age, likes, job titles, etc. To become even more effective, create separate campaigns for each brand that you are targeting the followers of. That way you can create a more personalized and engaging message.
— Andrew Hoeft, Pinpoint Software, Inc.
2. Use your cover photo
You can engage your fans and increase your likes and reach by starting contests related to your cover page — a great example is Dunkin Donuts, which asks fans to send in photos of themselves enjoying Dunkin Donuts and then chooses the fan of the week for their cover. Fans love it, they engage with their brand and it encourages people to check back and share if they won the weekly contest. It’s an ingenious use of free marketing space to engage fans and promote new products at the same time.
3. Choose an eye-catching image
You don’t have to use a shot of your business, product or service. Rather use a (relevant if possible) image that will catch people’s eyes and have them read your ad. As the image itself can’t contain more than 20% words, its main function is to grab attention. If you can do that, half the battle’s already won.
— Nicolas Gremion, Free-eBooks.net
4. Create a custom audience
You can upload a “custom audience,” a CSV file of your customer database or list. When you choose to display ads to a custom audience instead of to the masses, you are targeting people who know you and have already had touch points with your brand. You will likely have a higher conversion rate among those who are on your list but haven’t purchased from you yet. This is a great way to keep the customers you already have. It costs up to seven times as much to get a new customer than to keep a current customer, so why not use your Facebook ad campaigns to keep the customers you have by using the Custom Audience feature?
— Natalie MacNeil, She Takes on the World
5. Use video
Video has one of the highest engagement metrics on Facebook out of all the media options (like photos or text) that you can use for advertising. Rather than a static image or text with a link, consider transitioning some of your advertising creative to video. This is a great way to boost engagement metrics because consumers are likely to spend more time engaging with your brand through video.
6. Add shareable content
Instead of advertising your product or service directly, run ads to promote interactive content that your users would like to share. At our startup, we routinely run quick 30-second branded game contests that offer players discounts and coupons based on their scores. Players can earn scores through game-play and participating in various in-game score boosters (e.g. recommend the game to earn 25,000 bonus points, invite a friend for 50,000 points etc.). We then use Facebook ads and sponsored posts to promote the game. The results are consistent with lower CPA (thanks to the “free” users we would get due to player referrals) and higher CTR. To summarize, the trick is to identify content that your target audience engages with and use paid campaigns to promote it for optimal performance.
Advertise a collaboration piece with others in complimentary industries. If everyone goes in together, it won’t look like one person is trying to advertise anything. Make it feel organic, use quality video rigs and allow each entity to show they are an invaluable part of the project.
8. Retarget web visitors
Using a service like AdRoll, we’re able to build remarketing lists and run ads based on website activity. This is extremely effective from a cost and performance perspective when launching a new product or offering an existing product that is relevant to a particular visitor. For example, an apparel client of ours will launch a new graphic, and use Facebook Remarketing to reach previous web visitors to generate new sales online. We’re able to target or exclude customers who made purchases so that we can offer the appropriate incentive to purchase. Running a Facebook Remarketing campaign is now a step we take with just about every new product launch, as well as every new sale.
9. Test different versions
It’s always important to test several different versions of your ad with different photos, headlines, and text. I always put a small budget aside to figure out which ad is going to perform best and then put the rest of the budget towards that specific ad.
10. Test your images
If you aren’t trying LOTS of images, both vertical and horizontal layouts, you’re going to have a hard time. Get creative with your imagery — it doesn’t have to make perfect sense. Use Flickr or Freeimages.com to find free photos you can use. Download 10, and make 10 ad variations. You’ll be surprised with your results.
— Anthony Saladino, Kitchen Cabinet Kings
11. Hone your target
You really have to target the ad to as specific a group of people as possible for it to be effective. Casting a wide net doesn’t work — at least for us. The more specific we can get with ad content, the more successful our campaigns have been — whether it’s the imagery, the language we use, or the demographic we’re targeting.
— Tolga Tanriseven, GirlsAskGuys
I can’t tell you how many business Facebook pages I’ve come across that are simply promotion after promotion of their business (some done more cleverly than others). You must first relate to your users. Show them that you care are about what they care about. Challenge yourself to do nothing but communicate and relate for 30 days without plugging your businesses even once. It may seem counterproductive, but spend your advertising dollars on these posts that are relationship focused rather than on posts that are sales focused and I guarantee, if you’re genuine, you’ll see much better engagement and feel great about your new relationships as a bonus!
13. Create segments and use multivariate testing to optimize
Facebook’s ad-buying interface is a very powerful tool. It allows for very sophisticated targeting, but more importantly, deep segmentation and experimentation. We suggest utilizing experimental design to create ad experiments that you can optimize in real time. Whether you are varying ad copy, creative images or offers, be sure to test these different variables against multiple pre-defined customer segments. Use different campaigns and ad-sets every time you are testing a variation. Doing so will allow you to isolate the effect of the variable normalized across everything else. That’s why you need to employ this type of experimentation across multiple segments — doing so allows you to identify what’s driving performance across your entire audience as well as what works for subsets.
— Brewster Stanislaw, Inside Social
14. Match the message with the destination
It’s best to create multiple advertising campaigns and landing pages. You need to test the messaging that attracts people’s attention and then converts them on the landing page. Create multiple landing pages with Optimizely, then create multiple ad campaigns on Facebook. Mix and match the ad and landing page variations with the ultimate goal of getting a lower CPA (cost per acquisition). For instance, an ad might get a good click through, but for whatever reason people don’t buy when they get to the other end; that’s not good. Don’t mistake a good CPC for actionable and affordable business results.