10 things to do BEFORE running Facebook ads
Updated: May 6
The pandemic has changed how we shop for products & services. People are shopping online more than ever and Facebook Ads are a great tool for businesses that want to attract more customers. With its robust targeting and vast network of 2.80 billion users, many businesses have used Facebook ads to successfully grow their brands online. Many businesses have also wasted their marketing budgets on Facebook by not setting themselves up for success on the network.
Before you run Facebook ads for your business, make sure you do these 10 things first so that you get the best return-on-marketing buck possible. BONUS Tip: Facebook can be a beast to learn and there is very little support on the network for advertisers. If you don't want to hire a digital marketing consultant or agency, I strongly recommend taking the Facebook Blueprint course to learn the basics before you get started.
Since this is quite a detailed topic, I'll be doing separate posts on each area in the coming weeks. Subscribe to my email list if you want to get the details straight to your inbox.
1) Review Facebook's Ad Policies
I really shouldn't have to say this, but time again I see people posting online about how they've been banned from their Facebook Ads account. Most if not all of the time, they're getting back for not following Facebook's Advertising Policies. If you're planning to run Facebook ads, familiarize yourself when the policies in advance so you know the kinds of activities that will get your account banned, because once you've been banned, there's no coming back from that. Top things to watch out for in your ads: profanity, using fear to sell your products, get rich quick schemes are a few ways to get banned.
2) Set up Business Manager & Facebook Ad Manager
There are a lot of businesses out there that don't know the difference between "boosting" a post on Facebook and using Facebook's Business Suite. While you can boost a post, there are much more robust targeting, placements, and insights available through Facebook's Ad Manager.
3) Install Google Analytics
If you don't already have Google Analytics set up on your website you're going to want to do this before you run any ads whatsoever. Having Google Analytics set up will give you in-depth detail on how your website is performing and how your digital marketing strategies are working (or not working) for you. While you will get data from Facebook Ads Manager, Google Analytics gives you so much more data like how long people are staying on your website, the number of pages they visit, and what actions they are taking before they leave.
4) Set up Facebook Pixel
Before you run any ads you'll need to install the Facebook API pixel. The Facebook pixel is a piece of code that you will place on your website. It collects valuable data that helps track conversions from Facebook ads, optimize ads, build targeted audiences for future ads and remarket to those website visitors that have already taken some kind of action on your website. If you're not comfortable with doing this yourself, you can get a digital marketing consultant (like me), or a web developer to set this up for you.
5) Set SMART Objectives
Before you spend any advertising dollars on Facebook, be 100% clear about what you are trying to do with this ad campaign by using a SMART objective.
Specific - outline exactly what you want to achieve with this campaign. For example, I would like to sell more units of my product.
Measurable - what is the metric you are defining success by? Are you hoping to sell 500 units, get 1000 new website visitors, get 75 downloads?
Achievable - sure it would be great to reach for the stars, but make sure your goal is something that you can accomplish through your ad strategy.
Relevant - how will these ads help improve your business? Make sure your tactics align with your overall goal.
Time-oriented - what is the time frame that you want to achieve your goals by? Is it a 3-week campaign? Is it within a certain promotional period?
There are different Facebook campaigns for different business objectives, so you want to be sure you are 100% clear on what you are trying to achieve, so Facebook will serve the ads to people who are most likely to take that action. For example, a conversion objective will help you attract people that are likely to take action on your website and an awareness objective will get the highest number of ad impressions overall. Selecting the right Facebook ad objective for your business goal is super important so choose wisely.
6) Define Your Ideal Audience
While you may think that everyone could benefit from your product, it's best if you can come up with an ideal customer or persona that would be most likely to purchase from you. Not only will it help you to develop ad creative that is more likely to resonate with potential customers, but it will also help Facebook to show your ads to the people most likely to buy your product. Consider defining demographics, psychographics, attitudes, interests, behaviours, seasons, or other factors that might make someone an ideal customer.
7) Compelling Creative
Humans are emotional creatures and it has been documented time and again that emotions sell over facts. Before running an ad, consider how you will connect to your ideal customer in a meaningful way. Research what makes them tick, and use that insight to create compelling ads and images that will stop them from scrolling and want to learn more.
8) Optimized Landing Page
You might have the best ads ever, but if your website sucks nobody is going to buy your product. Make sure your website is designed for mobile browsing. Ensure your website loads lightning fast. Create a beautiful hero image and one sentence as to why someone should buy your product. Use a similar look and feel on your website that appeared in your ads for consistency. Make sure the "Buy Now" button stands out, and ensure your checkout process is easy for customers to follow. Also, ensure you include testimonials from your past customers as social proof.
9) Clear Call to Action
Text is extremely limited in social media ads, so don't forget to tell people what you want them to do after they click on your ad. Do you want them to buy your product? Do you want them to download your e-book? Do you want them to take advantage of an offer or special promotion? If so, be clear about what you want people to do.
10) Strategy for Optimizing
I hate to break it to you, but Facebook ads are not set and forget. Someone will need to be going into the account regularly to check in on how the ads are doing and make adjustments to make the ads more effective. These tasks include running A/B tests with different creative variations, pausing low-performing ads, testing new audiences, and launching lookalike or retargeting strategies. All of this takes time and resources, so decide before running ads if you have the capacity to take this on yourself, or if you might need the help of a digital marketing consultant or agency partner.
In short, Facebook Ads are not for the faint of heart. With some upfront planning, they can be a great asset in your digital marketing toolbox.