Facebook advertising is all the rage right now for both large and small businesses and rightfully so! As Gary Vaynerchuk so eloquently said, "when you are David and you are playing against Goliath, you have to do David Tactics. And our little slingshot with a rock right now is Facebook ads."
You obviously understand the power of being able to reach 1.9+ billion Facebook users through the paid Facebook ads system. However, the problem I see is all of the fake gurus out there selling "how to advertise on Facebook" courses that are terrible.
This post will cover one approach to running successful Facebook ads. It is definitely not the only way to run successful ads, nor is this a definitive guide.
Additionally, before you start running Facebook ads, you need to get a sales funnel up and running. If you don't have your sales funnel yet, click here for the free DIY sales funnel guide and get your funnel setup!
Introduction to Facebook Advertising
In this post, I will be documenting the processes that I've created and the processes that are still evolving to this day. Having spent over $100,000 in the Facebook ads platform since 2013, I'm not a big fish in this arena. But, I'm also not a noob here and have been very profitable with the advertising investments that I have made on Facebook.
There are so many people trying to sell you courses and systems on how to run Facebook ads, and I feel like there are too many sharks in the water. Just like many of you, I've bought into many Facebook advertising courses. I even know the creators of a few. I have found that most of them are rubbish and that is one of the biggest reasons as to why this guide is being created.
I'm tired of fake gurus selling you overpriced Facebook courses that simply don't deliver. Most of these courses are full of regurgitated opinions, not real-world experience.
This is the only Facebook advertising course I am studying.
With that said, the question remains.
Now that you are aware this is a crash course and not a full-course for you to master Facebook advertising, there is one more thing you should be aware of before we go much further. Facebook is always changing the look and feel of their advertising interface and what you see in the videos below will look entirely different when you log into your own Facebook ad account.
Why is that you ask? Because I simply don't have the time or desire to update each video after every change that occurs. It would be an endless uphill battle! With that said, the core concepts including the main ideas and functionality are still the same. Those aspects haven’t changed. However, you should still be willing to adapt and persevere on your end!
The following are some easy to follow and simply written step-by-step instructions on how to advertise on Facebook.
Start Here - In 24 Minutes You Will Understand Facebook Advertising
To crush your advertising on Facebook you have to know what your primary goals are!
It likely is not what you think, this crash course will get you pointed in the right direction so you can crush it!
Later on, we will optimize your Facebook funnel, if you do not have a funnel yet, here's how to create a custom one for your business.
Funnel ready to get some targeted traffic?!
Let's dial in your Facebook advertising!
How to Advertise On Facebook -3 Crucial Steps
- Facebook Ads & Interruption Marketing
- Your Advertising Goals
- Competition and Niche Research
Facebook Ads & Interruption Marketing
Facebook advertising is a form of interruption advertising; this means that users are browsing their news feed when your ad appears. The end user is looking at pictures, videos, and updates from their friends and family. They are not actively searching for you, your product, or your services.
The best way to learn interruption marketing is from the original direct response copywriters.
Interruption marketing works wonders for some products and services, but not as well for others. For example, if you are a 24/7 emergency plumber in Reno, Nevada, then interruption marketing may not be for you. Your best customers may wake up to a flooded bathroom and they will go to Google to specifically search for a plumber that can help them. They will not go to Facebook and scroll their news feed hoping an ad for a plumber shows up.
Does that make sense?
If you invented a new golf accessory that helps golfers hit the ball straighter and longer, then this is an example in which interruption marketing can work wonders. Golfers are passionate, and because of this, they spend money on their hobby and are easy to target! Opportunity abounds on Facebook!
However, your first goal is to figure out if Facebook is even the best option for you and your business. Just because everyone is touting Facebook as the best deal on the greatest traffic, you may find that it is not the best fit for your business!
The second big idea here are the types of ads you can run on Facebook. They have some advertising options that are terrible investments, and this video covers the three types of Facebook ads and which one you want to focus on.
Your Advertising Goals
Before launching into the Facebook advertising platform or really any other social media marketing strategy; you need to have clear goals. There are many opinions about the 'best' goals, but if you ask ten different advertisers what is best you could get ten different answers.
When you start running campaigns, you will want to test the different campaign types to be sure that they will be the best fit for your particular business. Every niche is different; every product is different. What works for one business may not work and be as successful for another. But Facebook definitely wants to give you the results you desire!
For me, when I'm spending money on advertising, I want to see a Return On Investment (ROI) fast! This means I have two main goals in mind with my Facebook advertising campaigns:
#1 - Leads
#2 - Customers
In Facebook's advertising system both of these are known as conversions. So, I mainly run conversion focused campaigns to fit my primary advertising goals.
For other businesses that want more leads and more customers, I recommend conversion goals. However, you will also find that there is a clear and powerful argument for engagement as a goal for some businesses as well.
If brand awareness and brand exposure are priorities or if your product has a 'viral marketing' nature, then an engagement based ad campaign can get your ad to go viral a lot faster than a conversion focused ad campaign.
My problem with engagement goals is that it becomes more difficult to calculate your ROI. However, it is not impossible, and we will cover this in-depth later.
One friend of mine has found that engagement wins over conversions for his T-shirt sales. Advertisements for new movies are another example where engagement is the primary goal. They want people to watch the trailer and then like and share the post as they get excited about the movie!
We will talk about how to test which goal is best for your business, later. The general rule of thumb is that Facebook has a campaign type that correlates to your goals. So, establishing your advertising goals now will help you choose the right campaign.
At this point, you are going to need to roll up your sleeves and get to work. Most people either skip the research phase or do a terrible and rushed job with research. It is in the research phase that you will either find gold or go home empty-handed. I like to use a gold panning analogy here.
If you want to set out and find gold, the first thing you want to do is research where others have found gold before and then you will want to look there first. Simple, right? You would also be wise to research a bit about geology and understanding how gold forms, so you are better equipped and can identify the areas on the river that have a higher likelihood of bearing gold.
Researching Your Niche
The first area of research is in your niche and who your best possible customer is. If you already have a product, a business, or are offering a service, then you have probably already chosen your niche.
If you have not chosen your niche, click here and read this post that goes into detail about how to choose the right niche for you. Niche selection is so important because if you get in the wrong niche, it will feel more like WORK and will require a lot more time and attention on your part! On the other hand, If you choose a niche you love and are passionate about, then you will find that it feels more like FUN and you will probably do much better.
I chased money in the wrong niches for years. I thought that following the money was my passion, but it resulted in frustration. I jumped from opportunity to opportunity and never made any progress. It wasn't until I committed to a niche I love that things started to click. I then gained the patience and perseverance that was needed to grow my business.
Creating a Customer Avatar
Once you know your niche, you have to come up with your Customer Avatar. Your customer avatar is a symbol that represents your perfect customer.
For our golf example, your customer avatar may be Charles. He is a 57-year-old executive for a Fortune 5000 company. He earns $130,000 per year and he plays golf at least once per week. The goal is to bring your perfect customer to life, so you have a clear picture of 'who' you are advertising to.
If you would like to view the videos that teach how to do this, you can play them in the playlist below.
If you'd prefer to listen to this content from the video above, play it or download it from the podcast episode below.
Once you know your niche and your customer avatar, it is time to get inside the Facebook ads research tools.
Understanding Facebook Ads Audience Insights Research Tool
The most powerful Facebook advertising research tool is its Audience Insights tool. This video shows you how to find the 'interests' of your customer avatar. You want to create a list of 30 interests that are relevant to your customer avatar. You will then use these when you set up the ad targeting later.
In the above video, I show an 'affinity score' area that is no longer available; an example of how Facebook is always changing things! This video below explains what to do now that the affinity score is gone.
At this point, you should know your niche, have your customer avatar, and have a list of 30 interests you plan to target. With that done, you can then move on to part four of the Facebook advertising process.
How to Advertise on Facebook - Set Up Facebook Ads Manager
Retargeting and Tracking - Installing Your Facebook Pixel
To get the most out of your Facebook advertising efforts, you need to be able to track user behavior on your site. Facebook has a tracking pixel that allows you to make this happen.
A tracking pixel is a small snippet of code that you add to every page on your website. This snippet of code loads on every page view and sends Facebook data about that user session. If the visitor is also a Facebook user, then you are able to show this user-specific ad when they return to Facebook.
If this user clicked through your ad, the tracking pixel lets Facebook know if they became a customer or a lead. The Facebook tracking pixel is not optional. You must have this in place to become successful with Facebook advertising.
Below you will find three videos that go into detail about how to set up the Facebook tracking pixel on your site. This first video is the most recent configuration I'm using for tracking my Facebook ad performance.
The above video shows how to set up the pixel in WordPress with Thrive themes.
The next two videos are still relevant but are not my preferred method toset set up Facebook tracking because they use two pixels.
The second is event tracking whereas above we use the custom conversions to track the events. The below videos show how toset set up the Facebook tracking pixels on Clickfunnels, also. If you are on Clickfunnels and want to know where to put the code, the bottom videos show you how.
This video explains more about what the pixel is and where to get it.
After you have your pixel from the video above, the next video below will show you how to put the pixel on your site.
Even if you are in the research phase right now and are not planning on running Facebook ads for a while, I still recommend you get your pixel installed as soon as possible. The data that your Facebook tracking pixel accumulates can be used for months in the future, so it is best to get this in place immediately.
Setting Up Facebook Audiences
Facebook gives you many options when it comes to creating and targeting audiences. From your website visitors to your email subscribers and from people who engage with your fan page posts to people who like your competitors, you will also find that you can even create audiences that look like your best customers.
Having this ability to create, include, and exclude audiences is part of what makes Facebook ads work so well. The first place to focus is on creating custom audiences based on your email list and customer list.
This video shows you how:
If you don't have a customer list or email list, that is ok; you will build one and can follow these steps when you have 1000 leads or customers.If you do have these lists, get them set up now so you can exclude your current customers and leads from your ads.
You don't want to pay to display ads to your customers when they have already purchased, right? Of course not. So, you can exclude this audience from your ad set when you create it later!
Creating Lookalike Audiences
After you have uploaded your customer and leads list to create a custom audience, the next step is to create lookalike audiences for each. This video shows you how to create these lookalike audiences.
Lookalike audiences allow you to leverage the data Facebook has on every user to your advantage. When you setup a lookalike audience, Facebook will go and find the most similar Facebook users for you.
For example, if you have a list of 1000 customers who bought your golf accessory in the USA, then Facebook can create a new audience of 2 million active users who are most like your current customers. Targeting these look-alike audiences on Facebook is a great way to find new customers!
Creating Retargeting Audiences
Finally, you can create retargeting audiences on Facebook for visitors on your website. This can be as simple as creating an audience for every visitor to your website. Or, you can get more complex and target visitors who reach certain pages but don't reach other pages on your site.
This video explains how to create these kinds of audiences based on your tracking pixel data.
Keep in mind that this is not a complete list of every type of audience you can create; there are many more options.
These are just some of the most common ones to help you understand the immense power of the Facebook advertising system, fast!
Creating an Engagement Audience
One custom audience I have not made a video of yet but am using more now is an engagement audience. I have created a custom audience of people who have engaged with my posts on my fan page, and then I exclude this audience from my ad. I exclude them so that users who comment or like on my ad, don't keep seeing that ad!
I'll put a video up about this custom audience type when I have time to create and publish it.
Choosing Your Facebook Campaign Type
The campaign type you choose for your ad should match the goal you established in part 2 of this guide. If your main goal is conversions, whether it be leads or customers, then you should choose a conversion based goal.
If your goal is to get a higher click-through rate and get users to read a press release or other piece of content, then you should use a traffic campaign. If you want to help a video go viral, then use an engagement based campaign.
Here is a video where I cover the options in greater detail for you:
If you'd prefer to listen to this content from the video above, play it or download it from the podcast episode below.
For me, as of this writing, I'm only running conversion based campaigns. I usually focus the conversion goal on leads, and I do this through the custom conversion’s functionality. However, there is some controversy in this area.
Some teachers are saying you need to start with engagements and move to conversions. The theory behind this is you need to season the pixel or mature the pixel first. Then, you run a conversion campaign. This is not true.
When you create a new ad campaign, Facebook's machine learning system resets. All the data you generate in an engagement campaign is lost when you set up your new campaign and ad set. Now, to go beyond me simply telling you how it is, I want to link you to a resource where the engineers who created this system can better explain it:
Watch that video and at around 20 minutes in, they get deep into what I'm explaining here. About 25 minutes in, Facebook's engineer states past data doesn't influence future results.
I recommend you watch that full video because it has great information in it and it debunks the theory that some of the 'fake gurus' are spreading. It also proves that running an engagement campaign will not help your future campaigns.
If you want Facebook's machine learning to optimize your ad campaigns for you, then you need to run a conversion based campaign from the start; even if you have zero pixel or conversion data.
Setting Up Your First Campaign
This video shows you exactly how to set up a campaign in Facebook's Ad's Manager.
Now, Facebook's most recent ad manager as of this writing, looks exactly like the video above.
But Facebook will surely change the look again in the future...
How will you handle that? Well... Check out this video to help you understand how to deal ads manager ALWAYS changing!
If you'd prefer to listen to this content from the video above, then you can play it or download it from the podcast episode below.
Facebook will definitely be changing the look more in the future!
Setting up Your Facebook Ad Set: Targeting & Budget
The ad set level in Facebook is like the engine room on a cruise ship; this is the area that powers your entire Facebook advertising campaign. When working in the ad set and after you publish your ad and it is live, you do not want to change the ad set in any way.
Any changes to the ad set will cause the ad set and all ads under it to re-enter the Facebook auction. This means two things. First, you will reset all the machine learning, losing all conversion optimization. Second, your ad set will be re-evaluated against other advertisers targeting this audience, and this means you can get a much higher cost per click, per display, and cost per conversion.
So, consider this your warning. Don't 'fiddle' with your ad set once you launch your campaign!
Ok, let's get into the fun stuff!
Remember your list of 30 interests you researched earlier? This is where those interests go, and there are two schools of thought about how to set this up.
Option #1 is to put all 30 in one ad set and let Facebook's machine learning choose the best prospects for you. I am not a fan of this method because it gives 100% of control to Facebook.
The other option is to split up the interests to put one interest per ad set... This is my preferred way to run campaigns.
This video shows the specifics on 'how to' execute this strategy.
If you'd prefer to listen to this content from the video above, play it or download it from the podcast episode below.
To execute this strategy, you set up one ad set and ad, then duplicate the ad sets. You split test the interests against each other at the ad set level.
This video shows how to do this.
I have tested both options and have found both to be successful. If you have the time to split out each interest and a desire to know which interests perform better, then option #2 is for you. However, if you want to get your ads up and running fast and don't have much time, then option #1 is for you.
The Facebook course I study and follow recommends that every interest gets an ad set.
Now, there is an advanced targeting technique that can help some businesses when more than one interest is required.
You are able to use an 'and' identifier that will create an audience based on the overlap of 2 or more interests. For example, if you were selling a high-end shaving cream, then you may want to target people who like 'Dollar Shave Club' and 'Axe Body Spray. 'This tool allows you to only display your ads to people who like both.
The advanced targeting tool is not for everyone, but I have three great examples in that above video that should help you understand whether or not this tool can help your business.
Your Advertisement - Facebook Advertising Tips for Success!
The copy on your advertisement may be the most important component of a successful Facebook campaign. The targeting, or 'who' you show your ad to competes for that "most important" spot. Honestly, you must have both components dialed in the right to have a successful ad campaign.
The right advertisement won't work on the wrong audience. For example, if your golf accessory ad shows only to people who like tennis and not golf, then it will most likely flop. On the other hand, if you get the targeting right but have a terrible ad that does not compel your target audience to take action, then you will again experience a flop.
You also must be sure your ads are within Facebook's advertising policies; this is not optional. If you create ads for prohibited topics or you are using prohibited language in your advertising campaign, then your account can get shut down without warning.
Always take the time to read Facebook's advertising policies. You can find these policies by clicking here: https://www.facebook.com/policies/ads/
Here are 3 super important Facebook advertising tips. Your relevance score is determined by how you come alongside the Facebook experience for its users.
A great relevance score will give you the lowest cost per click and make your ads be shown to the best most relevant people in your targeting. This is determined by Facebook's algorithm. Here are the 3-things you must know about the algorithm to help your ads.
Creating Compelling Facebook Ads
Teaching you the "ins and outs" of copy-writing is beyond the scope of this post. But I do have a few tools and references to help you learn to write compelling ads that work on Facebook, fast!
First, let's study the ads that have worked wonders for some of the world's marketing greats.
The biggest thing to notice here is how common it is to have long text above the image. This helps with your relevance score which is Facebook's rating of how 'good' your ad is. It also helps get users excited about your offer before they leave Facebook.
You may be thinking, "but Miles, my niche is different than what you showed."Very true. I get it. My business is different too. Here is a video that covers how to spy on your competitors' advertisements to find even more ads to model.
Facebook updated this and makes it easier to spy on your competitors now without and tools other than Facebook. Here's another way to spy on competitors ads.
At this point, you are ready to set up your Facebook ads. Now, inside Facebook's ads manager, the ad creation process is step 3. Step 1 is the campaign and step 2 is the ad set level, which we covered. This video below walks you through all three steps to create a campaign, ad set, and ad.
If you already followed along in the above videos and have a campaign and ad set running, then you can jump to 13 minutes in, and you will go straight to where the ad creation takes place.
Then, to test one ad against another to see which performs better, you want to split test.
This video shows you how to setup a split test at the ad level.
Note: if you are running the $5 ad set method from above with dozens of ad sets, then you should wait to run split tests at the ad level until you have found which ad sets and interests convert!
Key Performance Indicators
Once you launch your ads, you need to understand how to analyze the results of the ad. For example, how do you know if an ad set is performing well or not? How do you know when to turn off an ad set or when to scale an ad set? How do you know what your break-even point is on your ads, or when you reach profitability?
These are the most important questions and the answer lies in knowing your numbers. These numbers are your Key Performance Indicators or 'KPIs. 'Now, the math you need to figure out your KPIs is incredibly simple; I'm talking 2nd-grade math, here!
This video explains the two numbers you must know and watch, every day.
This video below goes deeper into how to calculate these numbers from within your funnel.
One important concept is that your ad performance is only the front of your funnel. You should have a funnel that has back-end offerings, too.
These back-end offers are not calculated in the ROI of your ad spend, and this means they are pure profit for you. You will want to calculate this value also, which is the lifetime value of your customer.
How to Scale Your Facebook Advertising Campaign
At this phase, you are running ads on Facebook and you are profitable, or you have been able to break-even. Your KPIs show which ad sets are driving new customers and are generating profit. You now want to scale these campaigns to spend more and bring more customers.
The challenge is that Facebook can give you different results when you increase your budget too fast. There are two main methods for scaling your ads. These methods include duplicating out your ad sets or increasing your budget.
This video covers both approaches and gives you the parameters for how to execute each.
Slow and consistent increases in budgets in the 10% per day range has worked well for me. If you are running $5 ad sets, you can increase by $5 per day to scale. Continue to watch your KPIs close and scale back any increases that push you outside of your KPIs.
For most businesses, running retargeting ads on Facebook is the best way to get a fast boost in the number of leads and customers from the least amount of ad spend; this is the 'low hanging fruit' of Facebook advertising, for sure.
This video shows you exactly how to run retargeting ads on Facebook.
A final note: only make one change to your budget on each ad set per day. If you make several changes in one day, you can over-optimize your ad set and cause your KPIs to go out of whack. Additionally, habituate the time of day you will check your ads and make any changes to your budget, and then show up every day at that time and make any necessary changes. You should then stay out of the ad’s manager until the next day.
It is so addictive to keep hitting refresh on your ads manager to check the results, but this is not productive. You need to allow Facebook's machine learning time to find the right target audience for your ads!
Testing is How You Don't Become a Facebook Money Donor
I have covered split testing in several areas already, but testing deserves its own section. First of all, you should always be testing at least one item in your ad campaign and one item on your funnel. For example, you may be testing different interests at the ad set level in Facebook.
In this situation, you may also want to be testing the headline on your landing page, too. Optimizing your funnel for conversions is an important step towards success and one that was not covered here. With that said, you want to limit your testing to only one item at a time on Facebook and on your funnel; this is so you have only one variable in each system allowing you to see what changes create results.
For testing, you can also test different traffic types against each other.
For example, when I run Facebook PPC ads to my website traffic that comes from Google, I get leads for 40% cheaper.
I uncovered this through testing.
If you are having trouble generating leads or acquiring customers within KPIs, then you should test a two-step ad campaign.
Finally, you may like a few baseline numbers to shoot for, so you can tell what requires more optimization. Your ads should be receiving at least a 3% click-through rate and should have a relevance score of at least 7. If you aren't hitting those numbers, your ad copy needs work!
If your landing page is an opt-in page, you should be experiencing at least a 25% conversion rate. If you aren't converting 1 in 4 visitors to a lead, then your landing page needs work. Your sales page should be converting at least 2% of visitors into customers, and if you aren't hitting that number, you then need to fix your sales copy or video sales letter.
The goal in testing is to identify the 'leakage' in your funnel and campaign and then run tests to fix that issue. After doing so, you can then move on to the next most problematic area you can find and do the same.This is how you continue to optimize your website, your funnel, and your ads to generate better ROI over time for your business.
Bonus Content - Your Facebook Ads Funnel!
If you loved the content and want more from me about Facebook advertising, then here is a presentation I gave at a conference about how to fast track your success with Facebook Pay Per Click marketing.
Facebook advertising has changed my business for the better and I hope that this post helps you. The goal was to give you a comprehensive resource for free that can get you going in the right direction with your Facebook ads.
If you have any questions for me, feel free to leave me a comment below.