Do Facebook Ads Work? Here’s a Simple 7-Step Check List for Getting Better Results
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Have you wondered, “Are Facebook Ads right for my business?”
Before advertising on any channel, it’s always smart to pause and consider the audience your business serves and whether or not they’re actually engaged in that channel.
Secondly, when you add in the ever increasing competition and rising cost of inventory on the Facebook Ads platform, it’s a question worth pondering more now than ever.
In fact, in 2017 alone, the number of Facebook business pages reached 30 million. In terms of advertising, Facebook accounted for over 9% of total digital advertising spend and 18.4% of global mobile spend.
Lots of folks have put their digital advertising eggs in the Facebook basket.
However, as you know, competition isn’t a bad thing. It can also show proof of concept.
In other words, businesses worldwide are dedicating paid media spend to Facebook for a reason…because it’s working for them.
But, will it work for you? Only one way to know for sure.
Will Facebook Ads Work For Your Business?
Pondering and pontificating all day will get you nowhere fast.
The only path to steady business growth is through an agile process of testing ideas that align with your growth objectives.
In the time it takes to do audience research, calculate projections, meet with your direct reports, and pitch the idea to the rest of the team, you could have executed a simple test and let the data show you the true potential.
The way to knowing is through action.
With that, we’ve developed a simple six step system to testing whether or not Facebook Ads really do have the potential to impact your business. Here they are:
- Choose a Growth Objective
- Choose a Customer Persona
- Define Testing Parameters
- Choose an Existing Offer or Asset
- Create Your Facebook Ad
- Place Your Facebook Ad
- End Test and Analyze Results
Step 1: Choose a Growth Objective
Before you test, you’ve got to know what you’re solving for. Since we’re testing to see if Facebook has the potential to grow your business, we should consider a top level metric that aligns with your growth objectives.
Personally, I like to use the Pirate Metrics Framework and choose one from the top 1-3 levers for growth.
When choosing this metric, be sure to consider your current assets, resources, and capacity, then choose the metric you know you can execute against immediately.
Ultimately, the goal here is data, however speed of implementation is crucial to the testing cycle in generalAction builds momentum (more on this later).
Step 2: Choose a Customer Persona
If you don’t have your customer personas defined, don’t worry…we’re going to keep this very high level.
Close your eyes for a moment and picture your very best customer. This is the person that is perfectly suited for your product or service.
If you’re a business owner, you may already know who this person is. If you’ve been working in the industry awhile, your gut feel will be good enough for this test.
Now, jot down the following demographic information. You’ll need it later as you’re setting up your ad set targeting:
- Job Title/Industry (if applicable)
Have no clue who your best customer is? No worries…there are usually plenty of internal resources with more than enough information to get you started. Simply choose a channel below and investigate:
- Customer support
- Appointment setting team
- Sales team
Quick Tip: If you have a sales or customer service team, start there.
Personally, my favorite technique is to skim the business reviews or testimonials and choose one that clearly defines a moment of transformation.
Why? That is where the me too connections are, because chances are, if one person experienced it, someone else has too.
Have customer persona sheets already developed? Great! Simply break them out and choose one to target.
Now, let’s define some testing parameters.
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Step 3: Define The Testing Parameters
Here’s where we define what we’re testing for (Facebook Ads potential), success metrics and a timeline for execution.
While this might seem obvious to you, taking a moment to pause, reflect, and record this information will give you some boundaries to work with and keep you from bloating this into something bigger than it needs to be.
To define testing parameters, record the following:
- Testing budget
- Test start date
- Test stopping point
- How you’ll define success
Again, nothing fancy here. We’re just aligning expectations and setting boundaries. With those recorded, it’s time to go find a lead magnet.
Step 4. Choose an Existing Asset or Offer
Step right up! Pick an offer, any offer…
…so long as it is already created or easily replicated and it aligns with your objective.
Thinking about how you can use what you already have will save you time navigating new development of assets and allow you to deploy your test more quickly.
Here are some simple examples of each growth objective mapped against offer types and their corresponding KPIs.
|Growth Lever||Offer Type||Metric|
|Awareness||Video or Blog Article||% Engaged, Brand Recall|
|Acquisition||Report, Guide, Coupon||Conversion %, CPL|
|Activation||Tripwire, Discount||Conversion %, CPA, ROI|
If you find you’ve got nothing, the next best step would be to huddle up with the team and agree on a minimum viable offer you can reasonably deliver.
Then, create a Facebook Lead Ad to test if users are willing to submit an email in exchange for the offer.
Step 5: Create Your Facebook Ad
There are no spending hours writing copy and designing creative here. We’re shooting for quick and dirty Facebook image ad. Here’s what you’ll need:
- URL of the offer or content
- Image – 1280 x 620
When writing copy, start with a problem/solution or a pain/benefit hook. You can iterate and test hooks all you want later, for now, let’s keep it simple.
Here are a couple mad libs style fill in the blanks:
Ever wish __________________ ?
Tired of _____________________ ?
Are you struggling to _______________?
Choose one, fill in the blank with the pain/problem someone experiences before your product/service and the solution/benefit/transformation they experience after.
Question: Do you have a Facebook ad account? If not, pause here to create one. You can use this handy guide by Adespresso.
Step 6: Place Your Facebook Ad
With an offer, copy, creative in hand, and you’re ad account created, you’re now ready to deploy the ad and go live with the test!
Facebook provides two options for creating ads:
- Ads Manager
- Power Editor
For now, let’s stick with Ads Manager. Basically, there are 3 overarching steps:
- Create Your Campaign
- Create Your Adsets
- Create Your Ads
Campaign is where you define the objective you want to achieve with the ad. Facebook uses that information in its algorithm to find people who are most likely to take actions similar to the objective you choose.
Ad Set is where you choose audience characteristics like age, gender, and interests. You’ll also set your daily budget as well as set any start/stop times for the ad.
Ad level is where you actually input the offer link, copy, and creative for the ad.
Facebook actually has a nice step-by-step guide for setting up an ad in Ads Manager right here. Click to open that link in a new browser and follow along.
Step 7: End Test and Analyze Results
Fast forward to end of test parameters, now it’s time to pause and do some analysis.
First, review your objective and the parameters set for test success.
Remember, with this initial test, you’re looking for clues. That is, evidence that Facebook Ads have the potential to work for your business.
In the event of a “failed” test, you don’t want to falsely conclude that Facebook Ads won’t work or you may risk prematurely cutting things short.
For example, if your objective was to generate leads:
- Did you get Leads?
- How many?
- What did you spend?
- What was your cost-per lead (CPL)?
- Is the CPL within a profitable range?
If you’re test fell short of the main objective, is there reason to believe another iteration may yield better results?
For example, if the conversion rate on your offer was low, check the click-through rate (CTR) on the ad.
Good CTR with a low conversion rate is typically an indication of a misalignment between the ad and the landing page.
In other words, folks were interested in your offer and clicked, but felt some incongruence between what they perceived and what they received.
This is great news! Winning the click is half the battle in digital advertising.
So, in this scenario, rather than view this as a failed test, you’d simply create another iteration of the landing page and test again.
Will Facebook ads work for growing your business? In our experience, the answer entirely depends on the audience you’re attempting to reach and the messaging you deploy to connect with them.
One thing is for sure though, the only way to know is to test it.
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