When I heard that the cost of Facebook Ads had gone up 171% in 2017, I knew that I had to do something to help out my fellow entrepreneurs.
Here’s what’s happening… in a nutshell:
- There’s a war over cold traffic (people who have never seen or heard of your brand). Big brands are spending a lot of money on broad targeting to build their audiences so that they can remarket to those audiences at a lower cost, including using Facebook Ads (more on that later).
- Inexperienced advertisers are improperly targeting Facebook ads and guessing which audiences are most likely to convert (i.e. to get them to purchase their offers). There is a much more effective way of doing this.
- People aren’t using the proper tools and ad objectives to properly optimize their Facebook ads. That leads to ads that are trying to accomplish too many goals at one time. Like, trying to increase their audience (Facebook page likes), getting people to engage, and getting people to purchase all at the same time. WHEW… that’s a lot for one ad to accomplish. This used to be possible (like 5+ years ago), but now the game has changed entirely.
Facebook Organic Reach Just Isn’t What it Used to Be
Remember when all you had to do was get someone to LIKE your page, and then you could fill up their timelines with offers? During that time, Facebook ads were mostly used to get people to like your page so that you could market to them later. People who liked your page could then see your content without you having to advertise to them again later, because they had already given you permission to market to them since they followed your page. But, that created a crappy user experience. Users were hiding page content, and unfollowing pages due to all of the interruptive messaging that they were seeing. Now, organic reach is much harder to achieve and you pretty much have to pay to play. Meaning, in order for people that LIKED your page to see your content, you have to utilize Facebook ads or boost your posts. And, that trend isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. Don’t believe me? Check out this article from Hubspot.
So Now What…
If your target audience is on Facebook, and it was once a profitable channel for your business, don’t give up hope. Instead, adjust your strategy. By adjust, I mean forget everything that you’ve ever learned about how to market on Facebook, and be ready to embrace the platform for what is has become and where it is going next.
- 2% or less of your audience is going to see your posts organically going forward. The key to getting better organic reach is to post less frequently and with quality content. Also, video. Facebook likes video, especially LIVE.
- Facebook is prioritizing personal content that is shared between family and friends. But, if you plan to use your personal account to promote your business, do so with your audience in mind. Share content that isn’t interruptive and, whenever possible, redirect the conversation to a private Facebook group. This way you are curating an audience of people that are interested in your message. The last thing you want is for your friends to passive aggressively hide your posts from their newsfeed; or, “go to Facebook jail” for having your content reported as spam. (Yes, it’s a thing. And haters are gonna hate.)
- Learn how to utilize audiences and engagement that you ARE getting, so that you can remarket to those who are expressing interest. While your organic reach may have taken a hit, Facebook ads’ capabilities are far superior to what they used to be. When done correctly, you can create audiences that are more likely to convert than cold traffic. More often than not cold traffic requires nurturing and multiple touches before they make a purchase. Remember, you’re turning a stranger into a customer, and that customer has a decision process that you need to be cognizant of. With proper targeting and segmenting, if can be easier to win now than ever before.
Don’t Fall For Facebook’s “Easy” Advertising Recommendations
Should you choose to advertise on Facebook as part of your marketing mix, do so strategically. I say this because, on your business Page, there are a number of prompts and calls to action that are strategically placed by Facebook that encourage you to increase your reach by spending a small amount of money. Don’t fall for it. This is nowhere near strategic and it is a waste of money.
Study after study, and test after test, has concluded that using these features increases your CPM (cost per thousand impressions – or views of your ad). The reality is that if you open the hood of Facebook Ads Manager, and use their more advanced advertising features, you’re able to setup ads with more meaningful objectives (such as website clicks, video views, conversions, etc) that you are not able to do otherwise when you boost a Facebook post. At the end of the day, most small businesses are advertising for ROI. If this is your objective, and you are spending money on ads (even if it’s just $10) take the time to use Ad Manager to properly target your audience with the proper objective. You will see your ads get better results with this approach.
|Want to learn how to win with Facebook Ads? We’re hosting an intense, hands-on training to help get business owners up to speed. We’re going to introduce you to the new basics on this platform, so that you understand how it all works. You will be setup for success whether you are actively advertising or not.
Interested? Visit here for more for info: http://bit.ly/2fBzCye
Be Strategic if You Want to Win at Facebook Ads
Between inexperienced marketers targeting the wrong audiences, and large companies wanting to be seen as much as possible, there’s just not enough eyeballs to go around. The big companies are buying up all of the advertising inventory, putting small businesses at a huge disadvantage. The disparity will continue to increase so long as small business owners, CMOs, and marketing teams are unaware of the evolution of technology and marketing hacks that even the playing field, which is why we created The Entrepreneurial Marketing Academy.
Whether you decide to advertise or not, it’s just simply not enough to just post content on Facebook. If you want ROI from your efforts, here’s what we recommend instead:
- Curate your target audience by utilizing Facebook groups. The limitations are much less, as far as reach goes, and you can bring people together that share a common goal or interest. This way, your content is not only seen but isn’t interruptive. There are some pros and cons to marketing via Facebook groups. For instance, you are not able to get the insights that you would by marketing via your Facebook page; however, this is a viable option for people who do not intend to advertise and want their communities to see their content organically.
- Keep using your Facebook Page. While it may be tempting to do all of your marketing on your personal page, we recommend that you continue to utilize your business page. From there you can share posts to your personal page to give it more exposure and extend the reach of your content.
- Track the behavior of your audience. Facebook knows a lot about the people who follow you. The only way to tap into these insights is to utilize the Facebook tracking pixel and strategically build custom audiences based on users’ behaviors. Should you choose to advertise in the future, the cost per acquisition will be much less with your audiences versus cold traffic. You’ll also have conversion history that you can utilize which will allow Facebook to help you find more people that are likely to convert based on what they know about your existing customers. (It’s not as complicated as it seems. Join us for our hands-on training to learn more about how to implement and leverage this game changing set of tools.)
- Use Instagram. Facebook gathers data on users from there too, and you’d be surprised at how effective it can be as far as reaching your target audience. As of right now, it is much easier to grow your audience organically AND target people that have similar interests on Instagram without having to advertise than it is on Facebook.
- Provide more value than you do promote yourself. I’ve said this before, but I’m going to say it again. Use the 80/20 rule as an effective ratio for creating quality, helpful content, and promoting your offers or yourself. This is not only true for Facebook, but for most other channels as well. (Not so much Instagram… lol) 🙄
- Make sure that you are crystal clear on how you intend to convert strangers into customers. Having an understanding of the buyer’s journey is the first step in this process. Once you have a better understanding of WHO you are targeting (demographics/psychographics), WHAT they want (product/services mix), and HOW you can help them better than anyone else (positioning/value proposition), you can move people through the process easier and convert them faster. Here’s a simple model to help illustrate how this works:
- Keep in mind that it can often take 7 or more touches to convert a customer for a number of reasons. Facebook should be a part of your marketing mix and not the ONLY resource that you use. How else can you move your prospects through the process in order to get them to become your customer? Email? Google Ads? SMS/Text Messaging?
Getting people to opt-in to a really great offer is one way to bring people into your marketing ecosystem and nurture them through the process with additional content and communication methods.
- Measure everything, and adjust. Facebook, and technology in general, changes at the speed of light which can impact your results. The most important piece of this is that you don’t want to set it and forget it, when it comes to advertising or marketing. What worked today, may not work tomorrow and the only way to mitigate that is to pay attention.
- Understand where you are leading people. For example, are your landing pages optimized for mobile? If not, do not target people on mobile with your advertising since their user experience may impede their ability to convert which would be a waste of money.
We hope that this guide was helpful! Leave us a comment if you feel like we left anything out! Feel free to share your expertise. Or, if you have questions, that’s fine too.