How to Build Better Facebook Ads
At The 2017 NAMM Show, Ryan Sargent, social media manager for Make Music, paired with top retailer Myrna Sislen of Middle C Music to reveal how to optimize Facebook ads. Sislen provided a case study for audience members—she’d committed to spending $160 and worked with Sargent to launch her store’s first Facebook ad. Sislen’s disclaimer: She has employees who know and enjoy technology, and she advised retailers to work with people who are comfortable with Facebook and social media.
Here are highlights from the session. (Watch the video to view the full presentation.)
Why Advertise on Facebook?
Here are just a few reasons Sargent recommended advertising on Facebook:
• It helps reach customers where they are.
• Nearly 1.8 billion people actively use Facebook every month.
• 66 percent of those users are active on mobile devices. “If your ad doesn’t look good on a phone, don’t pay for it,” Sargent said.
• Facebook needs you to help generate revenue.
He added: “Use the Power Editor to build your Facebook ads. It may be tricky at first, but it’s going to help you with optimization tricks.”
3 Steps to Building a Facebook Ad
1. Set a goal or objective.
2. Create an ad set.
3. Build the ad creative.
Sargent stated that he spends almost all of his time in the ad sets portion of this process, which includes choosing an audience.
Choosing a Facebook Audience
• This gives you estimated reach and shows where you’re sending your ad. Sargent shared that he shoots for somewhere around 100,000, so it’s a big enough audience to not hit one person over and over again but small enough that his budget can make a dent. Sargent found that this is a good starting spot. You’ll need to run more than one ad to find the sweet spot for your business.
• Summarizes your choices.
Audience Targeting Options on Facebook
• Custom audiences let you upload email lists. (If you’re running a sale, this can be a powerful way to drive customers to your door).
• Locations can be defined to a 10-mile radius (centered on a city) and lets you target people living in, traveling to or who have checked in at the location.
• Age, Gender and Languages are self-explanatory.
• Detailed targeting can be where you really make money, according to Sargent. “This is the most important dialogue box in the entire Facebook ads process,” he said. Facebook offers thousands of potential options to choose from, such as demographics, interests, jobs, behaviors and schools.
• You can include certain parameters and, more importantly, exclude specific people who aren’t perfect but might match other parameters. (Note: Watch the video for more details about this and an example of Sargent’s process.)
• The audience selection portion of the ad set level is the page that matters. Sislen remarked that she spent a tremendous amount of time on this one. “We fashioned it for our area and demographic to make sure it would hit the most people who really mattered,” Sislen said.
Facebook also lets you choose placements. Remember, Facebook wants your money. As Sargent mentioned, don’t put ads on Instagram (owned by Facebook) unless you intend to. Facebook wants a landscape image. Uncheck the box for Instagram before you build your Facebook ad.
A/B Testing on Facebook
A/B Testing is running two similar ads next to each other to see which one is more effective.
• Facebook handles A/B testing completely and automatically. It will proportion your budget as it looks at the performance of each ad, so if ad A is doing better, Facebook will take away money from ad B. It’s a very effective technique for optimizing your ad. Remember to change only one element of the ad between versions—either the image or the copy—since the other elements serve as the control for the test.
• Facebook A/B tests automatically, but you have to build two ads. In the Power Editor, save your first ad as a draft, then access the ad set and choose “Create Ad” again. Publish both ads and Facebook will A/B test for you.
Accessing Facebook Ads Analytics
Choose a single campaign from the Power Editor main screen. This lets you determine which ad is more expensive to run. All of these stats can be customized to best analyze your ads.
Middle C Music Facebook Ad Case Study
Sislen showed a slide of her Facebook ad promoting Small Business Saturday, which included a discount on select guitars and a gig bag and free lesson. The ad ran the week leading up to the event.
• The image featured a person who looked happy, surrounded by guitars and other items in store. The ad had bright colors. “You get a better response with something that creates a visceral response,” Sislen said.
• Sargent said he believes the image did most of the work. It was effective and helped keep costs down. Sislen insisted that fellow retailers choose a strong image, be authentic and take their own photos.
• They recommended aiming in the .35 to .45 per-click ad cost.
• They chose a clicks-to-website campaign because it demonstrated an intent to buy.
• Sislen said she was happy with the results. She doubled her business compared to 2015’s Small Business Saturday. A total 8,882 people viewed the ad. Facebook effectively drove people to Middle C Music’s website (291 visitors). The ad that stressed “community” rather than the “sale” in the copy had the best response. (Only the copy was changed, not the image). The Celebrate Small Business Saturday ad was more effective, as many people came in and said they saw the ad, according to Sislen.