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“Facebook Ads don’t work”.
“Complete waste of money and time”
“I don’t even know if the ad worked or not”
These are real responses when I asked the beautiful ladies in my audience if they’d tried Facebook Ads.
At this point, I definitely realised that there are a lot of people out there in the online world who don’t have the right information. This is mind boggling to me as there is so much training on Facebook Ads, but it seems the absolute basic foundations are getting missed. Or everyone is just skipping to the fun stuff of pushing publish or the big blue boost button…because it’s, well, more fun.
I’ve been working in online marketing and generating traffic for websites since 2014 (both free and paid traffic). And one thing I know for sure is that Facebook Ads can really accelerate the growth of an online business, but only with the right foundations and a solid strategy.
So in this blog post, I’m going to work through the foundations you need to even have a chance of Facebook Ads working. Yep I said it – if you don’t have these things in place, it’s highly likely you won’t see any success from Facebook Ads.
And you’ll be one of those online entrepreneurs muttering about how Facebook stole your money.
Do you want that? No…I didn’t think so.
I have to assume that you’ve heard about the Facebook pixel. It’s a little piece of code that you place on your website that then collects data on all of your website visitors. The type of data it collects is what pages on the site the person visits, if that person fills in any forms and becomes a lead, and if a purchase is made (to name a few).
This is all data that is super valuable to you as a business owner.
Because it’s the thing that enables you to use all the amazing targeting features that Facebook has on offer. This will make more sense once you get into the custom audiences and strategy below.
There’s a common misconception that you set up the pixel and you’re done. But the power of the pixel only happens IF you are also taking the data it’s collecting about website visitors and grouping those into audiences. You have to set up these audiences manually. So it’s an extra step after the pixel is up and running correctly.
What is a custom audience on Facebook?
Audiences are basically groups of people who take a certain action. You put all the people who take a certain action into one audience. For example, you can set up an audience that will group everyone who visits your website in the past 7 days into one audience. If you’ve created this audience in your Audience Manager area, these people who are visiting your site will be in that audience for 7 days after their visit. It’s dynamic which means they update themselves, so on day 8, they’re not in the audience anymore. Epic!
The power that this gives you as a Facebook advertiser is unreal. It allows you to do retargeting, which can you learn all about over here.
Also note that this is all anonymous. You don’t know who these people are. You don’t see a list of names, you just see how big your audience is.
The cool thing is that you can also create custom audiences that aren’t from your website, therefore the data doesn’t come from your pixel.
Some cool audiences you can create without the pixel are:
And then to add another layer, you can then create lookalike audiences (often referred to as LAL’s) from that base audience. This means that Facebook goes and finds people who are similar to the ones you have in your audience.
Can you start to see why these audiences are so useful for Facebook Ads to be successful?
This kind of granular audience building is what separates Facebook Ads from Google Ads in my opinion. You just don’t have that kind of targeting over on Google Ads.
While it’d be great to be able to just bang up an ad when we’ve got something to sell, this isn’t quite how Facebook Ads work.
In fact, this is a huge reason why you may have been unsuccessful with Facebook Ads in the past.
It’s like the good old dating analogy. You don’t go on a first date and ask for marriage. It takes time to woo the person you’re dating.
And using Facebook Ads is no different (or any online marketing for that matter).
So you need a strategy. And this is where the power of the audiences you've created really come out to play.
A strategy that uses a Facebook Ads funnel is all about moving people from knowing nothing about you, to being aware of who you are, building trust over time, into purchasers and then raving fans.
Because of the granular way you can build audiences in the Facebook Ads Manager, this is within anyone’s reach to put into practice.
For example, you would have a top of funnel ad that targeted a cold audience. This could be an interest or demographic audience (or a combination of the two). Content wise, it’s best if this is something like a blog post that people will click on, or some engaging content that people are likely to actively engage with.
Yep, you guessed it. The interaction that people have with this ad will then place them into one of your audiences.
You can have another ad that contains some kind of content that is going to help them with that.
And then finally, the people that interact with that ad get placed into another audience which are your HOT people. These people are aware of you, they trust you and they are your most likely source for new customers. So when you target the people in this audience, which is retargeting, you get to sell.
That is a Facebook Ads funnel in a nutshell. It’s time well spent crafting out your strategy before launching any campaign. So before you start working on the creative or ad copy, or go anywhere near the Ads Manager.
When I get a new coaching client, I love to ask them what their perception is of their Facebook Ads to date. This gives me so much information on their level of competence and understanding. I will ask ‘show me how you gauge if the ads are working for you?”
The answer is quite often that they are “really good. I’m getting lots of link clicks” or whatever the default metric is for the objective they chose.
But when we dig into their data, they are often spending lots of money and not making any in return.
Here’s the thing…
If you're just tracking the stats that Facebook put in front of you by default, it’s likely you don’t know if they are giving you the results you actually should be getting from any marketing activity when you’re investing your cash into it.
So take a step back for a second.
If you’re trying to grow your email list, the thing you are most interested in leads (or registrations). So while link clicks can be a good indicator of ad performance for an individual ad, it doesn’t give you any information on the end result.
So instead, you need to set up a report in Facebook that shows you exactly how many leads you are getting, and how much each one costs to acquire.
Likewise, if you’re most interested in sales, then you need to have your reports set up to tell you those most important numbers. You should be able to log into Facebook Ads Manager and see at a glance things like:
Setting up these custom reports is easy – it just takes a few minutes once you know how, and you’ll thank yourself for that effort as soon as you’ve got a campaign underway.
So there you have it. The foundations of successful Facebook Ads. It's vital that you spend some time getting these right before you pop out an ad and expect some big wins!
I really encourage you to spend some time making sure your pixel is working correctly (hint: the one in your ad account is the same one that's on your site AND you only have one pixel on your website 😉 ). Set up your audiences for success, and write down the strategy you're going to take so that you can move people from awareness to conversion instead of expecting them to buy from a stranger.
And finally, make sure you're measuring the right data from the start and you'll be well on the way to becoming a Facebook Ads ninja in no time.
If you’d like my full rundown on how to set up a killer Facebook Ads campaign, check out the Facebook Ads checklist so you stay on the right path!