Properly Utilizing Facebook Ads
Incorporating Facebook & Instagram ads is a great way to effectively market to prospects in your area, when done properly. I put an emphasis on “when done properly”, because Facebook & Instagram are continually evolving and something changes in their platform almost every week. It is a full-time job to keep up with all of these changes and to understand how the changes affect you.
Unfortunately, the majority of club owners and GM’s continue to underutilize the power of Facebook and Instagram ads. There are typically two recurring reasons for this:
- The owner or GM doesn’t have the time to properly keep up with everything. They get preoccupied with running everything else within the business and marketing and social falls by the wayside. They will occasionally remember it, do a quick promoted post on a whim, have no real strategy in mind, and then wonder why the results were not as great as they expected.
- They assign this task to someone internally. This is usually someone in their 20’s who was initially hired for sales and NOT social media, but now they want to try and get more value out of that employee and save some money. The thinking is that because that person is young and spends a lot of time posting on their personal social media pages, they must know the ins and outs of B2C marketing and how to effectively utilize ads. The reality is that these are two completely different skill sets and going this route almost always leads to clubs underutilizing the power of social media ads.
As mentioned, social is a constantly changing landscape, and there are a lot of different options out there for ads. Here is a brief synopsis of the types of ads that can be used, how to use targeting with your ads, the most effective devices and platforms, cost, image/video tips, and the analytics behind them.
Types of Ads
Whether one is seeking to raise their brand awareness, drive likes to their club’s page, collect people’s information, drive people to a website, and/or have people engage on a post, there is an ad to meet one’s needs. Fortunately, when setting up ads, Facebook makes it really clear in helping one choose an objective.
- ·Brand awareness and page likes are self explanatory, as the ad is helping one do just that.
- Engagement ads are great to use if one wants to boost a post or event that has already been created on one’s Facebook page.
- If one wants to drive people to their website to obtain information about their club, a Website Clicks Ad would be used. This allows for a URL to be embedded in the ad so when someone clicks on the ad, it takes them to the URL that was set up. A lot of time, this ad is used to drive people to a landing page, online signup page, or to obtain a guest pass on a club’s website. This is the only ad that Facebook uses to promote on the audience network (refer to device/platforms paragraph).
- Lead Form Ads allow potential clients to see a form that is already filled with info they have shared with Facebook, like their name, number, or email. This is a great ad to use to painlessly capture lead information and follow up with them. We recommend integrating this with a tool that automatically emails you when someone fills a form out (vs the normal way of manually having to go into Facebook and pull/fetch data).
All of these ads (besides page likes and event responses) can be shown on Facebook and Instagram which allows for people to see ads multiple times.
Facebook remains the most-used social media site and just hit the 2 BILLION user mark. Sixty-four percent of Americans twelve and up are daily active users. Targeting is not too complex on a high level, but there are a ton of selects that can be incorporated to deliver extremely relevant ads.
When selecting an audience to target, it is important to not get too broad or specific. Facebook has a ton of filters, but the best place to start is age and radius. After that, there are so many other factors to choose from, such as: household income, interests, gender, net worth, etc. The amount of data Facebook has on all of us is honestly scary. One could literally create a Bridal Bootcamp ad and only show it to females who are engaged around their club.
It is good to use these filters to increase targeting, and it is also important not to tighten them too much. Otherwise, you will target yourself right out of an audience. Balance comes from starting with a few filters, analyzing your ads performance, and then making adjustments.
Over ninety percent of Facebook users in the US are now using it via mobile. For this reason, it is smart to go where the eyes are and selecting mobile as the device. We usually see better stats on doing only mobile and excluding impressions on other devices, but suggest you experiment and analyze that on your own.
Depending on the type of ad one chooses, there are different platforms that one’s ad can be delivered to. For example, if one chooses to create a Lead Form Ad, this can be shown on people’s Facebook feeds and Instagram feed. If one decides to use a Website Clicks Ad, this can be shown on people’s Facebook feeds and instant articles, Instagram feed and stories, and on the Audience Network.
The audience network is one of the best platforms because it allows one to show their ads off Facebook via apps in three creative formats – banner, interstitial, and native. For example, if a viewer is in the Uber app, he might see a banner ad across the bottom with an ad, or, if a viewer is in the Shazam app, he might see a native ad shaped like a square to fit the look and feel of that app.
Facebook and Instagram marketing is still cost effective and there is an ad to meet anyone’s budget. For most clubs, $250-$500 per month on ads is a good spot to start. It is important to note that while there is still good value in properly structured Facebook and Instagram ads, the value is decreasing month-by-month. We have been doing Facebook ads for our clients for over six years and have seen the cost rise dramatically in that period. It is a marketplace, so the more businesses there are competing for ad space, the more each impression/click/conversion will cost.
We believe that as the television industry continues to get disrupted by Netflix, Hulu, etc. and people cut the cable, there is going to be a massive shift in marketing budgets from television to social. Even those that still have cable don’t watch commercials anymore – they either fast forward through them using DVR, or play around on their smart phones if watching TV live.
The massive influx of marketing dollars that are about to shift from TV to social, combined with the increasing number of small businesses utilizing Facebook ads, makes it very apparent that the cost of social ads will dramatically rise (and the value decline) as time progresses. We believe there is still a window of 18-36 months where great value can be found, before the cost gets too high to see great ROI.
Images/Videos are responsible for seventy-five to ninety percent of an ad’s performance on Facebook. With that being said, the image one uses is crucial to the success of the ad. One cannot have more than twenty percent text on your images. Facebook does not want people’s newsfeeds to be filled with text-heavy images screaming for attention. Fortunately, Facebook has a text overlay tool that will test the image and will let one know if the text overlay is okay to run. Also, since so many Facebook users watch video without the sound on, captioned video ads can increase video view time by an average of twelve percent, so make sure your video can be viewed without sound and still make an impact.
Analytics are crucial to have at your fingertips in order to monitor what is working and what isn’t. Fortunately, Facebook’s analytics offer a ton of insight – in fact this can be overwhelming to many who do not know the important ones to focus on, or benchmarks for them.
It is extremely beneficial that ads can be updated on the fly at anytime. For example, if one sees that females are responding better to a particular ad, the targeting can be adjusted to target females only. It is imperative to look at the analytics and make the necessary adjustments to achieve the best results. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as “set it and forget it” when it comes to effective social media advertising.
A diversified marketing mix is always your best bet and we never recommend putting all of your eggs into one basket. Facebook and Instagram ads should be in that mix and present a ton of opportunity for your business when properly designed, targeted, executed, and analyzed. However, there are a lot of complexities within this continuously moving landscape. It is important not to take a passive approach on this part of your marketing strategy, or to allow someone who only knows the basics be in charge. Doing so will undoubtedly leave you with lackluster results.
There are already over three million companies that regularly use Facebook to market their business. As this number continues to grow, and massive amounts of marketing budgets shift from television to social, the cost of Facebook and Instagram ads will continue to rise dramatically. Therefore, to avoid missing out on the peak value of social media, it is important to evaluate and properly align your social strategy as soon as possible.