With 1.7 billion people on Facebook as of November 2015, it’s pretty safe to say that a lot of your target audience, clients and customers are active on the world’s largest social-media platform.
It should also come as no surprise that Facebook’s ads platform is the most advanced and powerful method of paid traffic advertising any of us currently have access to.
That said, Big Blue (the hipsters’ name for Facebook) makes constant changes to its ads platform, causing a lot of would-be advertisers to get frustrated and quit before seeing any real return from their efforts.
No matter how many client campaigns my agency and I run, I see the same few things tripping up advertisers, causing them to throw up their hands and walk away when they’re so close to success.
Here are seven ways you can run back to Facebook, and with a few little tweaks, get your ad campaigns to actually produce results and positive ROI, rather than empty your pockets of money.
1. Get your research in order
Facebook has a slick tool called “audience insights” that can allow you to enter an interest and then gather data and other interests that your target audience might also be interested in.
The first tab in the interface (demographics) will let you look up the gender and age of the interest you’ve entered.
The second tab (page likes), will list other interests that your target audience may be interested in.
It also lists them by relevance and affinity, a measure of how likely someone in one interest group is to like the other interest group.
2. Separate your ad sets
Many folks will take their research from step one, gather their interests and then lump them all into one big list on the Facebook Ads Manager in hopes of reaching a large target audience.
This is a grave mistake that will cost you far more in ad spend. And while you might get results, you’ll have no idea which interest brought the best results.
The solution: Include one interest per ad set so you can look out for the interests that bring the best results at the lowest cost.
3. Make changes slowly
To get the best bang for your advertising buck, you may find it tempting to adjust ad copy, images, targeting and budget early in the game, but it’s actually better to make changes slowly and infrequently, to allow the Facebook algorithm to adjust.
I find that it takes three-to-five days for the original ad set to gain enough reach to get meaningful data that I can analyse. Every time you mess with an ad, it is submitted for review and the process starts all over again.
If you absolutely must try different copy, or want to swap images, create a new ad and run both to see which one gets better results. You might actually be surprised by which ad wins.
4. Watch the data and adjust accordingly
This one is huge! There is so much that can go wrong by ignoring the data that Facebook is providing you.
Yes, it will tell you important information like the age, gender, placement (which device) and country or region that is bringing you the best results, but with a few tweaks to the performance column, you can also see the ad relevance score. This is based on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the least relevant and 10 the most.
The more relevant your ad is, the less you pay – and the more it gets shown and the lower the cost.
You can also see your positive and negative feedback scores. These are a bit of a mystery, but the basic gist is that if you write a great ad and people like it and share it, you’ll get higher positive feedback. If the viewers don’t like your ad and are constantly hiding it so they don’t see it, you’ll get a higher negative feedback score.
Run your ads too long with a high negative feedback score, and you risk getting your Facebook ads account shut down.
5. Always be testing
We run hundreds of ads for various clients, and we’re constantly making tweaks and variations. We’ll test new interests to target, as well as split-test ad images, copy text and calls to action, a button on the ad vs. no button, etc.
It can be very taxing to always be swapping things out and watching the data, but your long-term success with Facebook ads depends on it.
Ads get stale very fast, and their costs start to rise as their effectiveness decreases. We combat this through testing and tracking results.
6. Cull the losers and scale the winners
There will be ads that simply do not produce results. That’s a fact of life when it comes to Facebook ads. The faster you can kill the losing ads and scale the winning ads, the sooner you’ll see long-term results.
Each ad set can be turned around in three to five days, which, in most cases, will allow the ad to show enough data for you to know if it’s going to produce results or not.
But, pause the losing ads rather than deleting them. This will allow you to see the data that didn’t work so you don’t make the mistake of re-running the same losing ad.
7. Hand off the dirty work to someone else
Look, running Facebook ads is not for the faint of heart. No matter how many entrepreneurs I speak to, spending time on Facebook ads is not high on their list of daily tasks they want to invest their time into.
You’ll get further faster by focusing on the growth of your business while someone else looks after all the research, testing and tweaking with Facebook ads.
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
Custom Content Via E-commerce Heralds The Future Of Marketing
Informative, catchy content is key to ecommerce engagement. It is an affordable marketing strategy with high impact on ROI.
Content does not demand huge resources; a blog can be launched fairly quickly. However, consumer attention spans are pulled in many directions, so they demand the best on offer.
With two hours per day spent by the average person on social media, it makes sense to harness the potential of these platforms for product inspiration and building hype and desirability of your brand. Studies have shown that most consumers value posts written by other consumers above scripted advertising. Advertising does still have a role to play, but the approach needs to be fresh in enhancing customer experiences alongside customers’ peer reviews to build relationships.
Millennials are so aware of an oversaturated market place that they are difficult to sell to. Images and messages are easily crafted and edited into being what they are not.
Likewise, influencer support can be faked or bought. Supposed sponsorship can be off-putting when relied on in excess to lend gravitas to a post. While influencer endorsement is rife, it must be approached with discernment. Fake engagements are equally rife. From buying followers to staging fake boosting of your friends’ posts, fraud is everywhere, but ultimately cannot sustain.
What does sustain is authenticity, and this is what Millennials are searching for. Brands are wise to allow consumers inside the real stories that make their brand what it is.
Consumers value brands that stand for more. Ethics, social welfare, and edu-commerce. Content that encourages development, both personal and communal is a draw card. Enlightening consumers as to how to get the most out of your products means you are concerned about maximizing value. In the age of ecommerce, transparency and authenticity, brands need to be clear on their vision and mission. In this way, a brand can consistently stay true to its values, and build relationships and trust with the consumer. Next level transparency means revealing all aspects of what makes your product what it is; taking pride in manufacturing, reviews, and individual relevance.
Shopping via the ecommerce is undeniably where it’s at for a myriad of reasons. Ease of price and product comparison, convenience, Generation X time constraints and techno affinity are all factors. Consumers now expect a slick, omnichannel shopping facility that meets their unique lifestyles and personal needs. A majority of customers value customer experience over price when choosing a brand. With sound content enhancing ecommerce engagement, the future of marketing has great potential.
Staying Relevant In The Facebook Age Of Meaningful Social Interactions
With Facebook announcing that it is pushing brand and publisher content out of news feeds, how can businesses, especially small and medium enterprises in South Africa, remain relevant?
It was deemed a “rude awakening” early in January 2018 when Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, announced that the social networking platform had changed its algorithm, basically meaning it had changed what users see on their news feeds.
This follows a pretty harsh year for Facebook, where it was criticised for not having the right countermeasure to stop the spread of fake news and propaganda. So now its set of rules has changed; bumping up users’ friends and family members’ status updates and photos, and underplaying public news articles and content published by brands.
But where does that leave the small or medium businesses reliant on communicating their brand messages through Facebook? How do they now reach Facebook users (estimated to be approximately two billion)?
There is still a way
“’Meaningful interaction’ is not something new to Zuckerberg’s focus on how brands engage with their Facebook audience,” explains Jodene Shaer, international business owner and head strategist of social media engagement specialist, Chat Factory.
“There is a place for paid media, but if a brand is trying to be seen organically, then it must feel like it is part of the flowing content people want to see from friends and family. It is pushing for the reason that Facebook was created in the first place – to be social.”
Truly embracing the power of live videos and video content on Facebook – and then creating reasons for the public to engage with those posts – is an excellent move for any business that is budget conscious, Shaer adds.
“The ranking for visibility of organic content is highest when live. Live videos are absolutely the route to go, as followers receive a notification that you are live and there is greater chance of visibility. A big advantage is that you can save that content to the page and it becomes shareable, and can be uploaded to YouTube, where there is still a strong call for business content.
“And it doesn’t have to be high budget either, but it must be authentic, informative, engaging and encouraging. Of all things, ensure that all comments are responded to and shares and reviews are acknowledged.”
Looking beyond Facebook
Shaer believes that smaller local businesses can make their ad rands stretch further on Facebook by moving onto Ads Manager, instead of simply using the Boost button. “The reach is different, so invest in watching some YouTube videos as tutorials,” she recommends. “Boost to unique target audiences and turn the boosting into a science, by watching your reach. Set up smaller boosts and spread your spend across a few posts instead of one big boost. Track your stats and see which audiences work best.”
“One way that South African SMEs could also make use of InstaStories, as these are gaining organic reach. They could also look at varying hashtags, but using a few to reach a very specific audience.
Related: Marketing Tips For Start-ups
“We’ve seen the opening up of the use of LinkedIn and had people return to using the power of Twitter, so it’s worth investigating how to maximise other platforms while trying to keep your budget low.
“None of this should put a small business off, but should create exciting and challenging opportunities to shift how social media is used and explore the outcomes of each post, to truly develop a social media presence,” she adds.
Shaer will be one of an entire panel of dynamic, expert presenters speaking at the upcoming Madex 2018 show, the ultimate marketing, advertising, design, social media and all that good stuff expo.
How To Market Your Hotel
An integrated digital marketing strategy that provides multiple channels to communicate on will help you to reach more potential customers.
It’s imperative these days to enable customers and guests to interact directly with your brand in real time – and your ROI will reflect this success. To achieve this, your marketing team should utilise a number of different channels in order to achieve an integrated digital marketing strategy.
Why? When potential customers are only able to use one means of communication or booking platform, such as a hotel’s website or blog, Facebook, Twitter or a third-party booking site, their frustration could cause you to lose their business.
Your digital strategy
By engaging in an integrated digital marketing strategy and addressing multiple channels with a clear, consistent message, you are bound to reach the maximum number of potential customers. Through the creation of a larger online presence, your engagement reach will be far higher, solidifying your company’s brand in the best possible manner.
Your first step in achieving an integrated campaign is to determine your target market. The second step according to Robert Nienaber, managing director of Suiteres, is to “create a message – tell a story about your product or service and what makes it unique.
For instance, the history of your establishment’s location, the nature/wildlife, your amazing food or historical rooms or perhaps the owner’s unique story. Tailor that story for your target market to captivate them – they will buy into your brand as a result.” Be sure to keep your message consistent across all mediums, be it written, photographic or video.
According to Ivo Kittel, head of Development & Design at Suiteres, different channels can be described as such: ‘These consist of website and online booking systems, third-party channels – such as online travel agents or your global distributions systems – and social media platforms that support the aforementioned and drive traffic to them.
‘Print media, events and other offline techniques can also assist by driving clients to visit your website or to engage with you on social media. All these channels should be strategically linked for best effect.’
An unusual hero in the travel market? Smart phones and tablets, on-the-go devices that allow users to review and recommend hotels on social media profiles, as well as third-party sites. Together with the integrated digital marketing strategy, this increases potential customers’ connections to hotels, airlines, car hire companies or event organisers.
What’s more, a key driver in drawing in new customers and causing previous ones to return, is the offer of regular perks, benefits, freebies and discounts via a newsletter.
Bear in mind though, that there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. Each company will have differing concerns and requirements, and these are what you should use to build an effective marketing campaign. The following should be noted:
- Effective communication between marketing team members is essential. There needs to be collaboration across the multiple channels you’re utilising. In doing so, your overall offering will be streamlined and have maximum effect.
- Choose your key channels, those that will receive the most attention and marketing spend. These need to be the channels that garner the most hits or collect the most bookings – also known as ‘converting’.
- Determine your target market and get as much information as you can on them, over time. For instance, which platform do they opt for first? Do specials lead them to make a booking, and if so, what are they? This and any other informative data assists you in your decisions and allows you to use your marketing funds in the best manner possible.
According to Vanessa Rogers, head of Communications at Suiteres, ‘The above-mentioned strategy should ideally be supported by a skilfully crafted PR campaign – one designed to complement and support your marketing message.’
Taking this into account, you should consider having relevant articles published on third-party websites and print media or arrange for a client to be interviewed on radio or a streaming site. These forms of PR are more cost-effective then an advertising campaign.
The details matter
Importantly, customers need to know they can contact you quickly and easily, whether they are making a booking or requesting additional information. One thing you can be certain of: if a customer is unable to communicate efficiently with you, they are very likely to book elsewhere.
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