Five vital checks to make before you open Facebook Ads Manager… and why no, it’s not just about budget, copy and an image
So, you want to advertise on Facebook? Create your image, write the copy, add an audience and some budget and you’re good to go right? Sounds simple enough doesn’t it?
Well, no. It’s not as simple as that. The success of Facebook Ads can depend on many moving parts. It’s important to spend time getting all the groundwork in place before you even hit ‘Create’ in Ads Manager. So, what are the key considerations you need to make to get your business ‘ad ready’? Let’s take a look.
1. Tech check
Assessing your tech set-up is probably one of the most important elements of running Facebook Ads.
Firstly, the Facebook pixel. What does it do? This small piece of code – which you can find in your Ads Manager – is copied into the backend of your website (ask your web developer to do this, it’s not a big job, but does involve coding – not everyone’s zone of genius!).
It then sits and gathers data on who is visiting your site (if they have consented to tracking since the iOS14 update) – what pages they are visiting and how long they are staying. If you’re running lead generation or are an e-commerce site, then you’ll also want to install the Events pixel. This way you can track visitors who are a ‘lead’ or who have ‘added to cart’ or made a ‘purchase’.
You can then use this data to target (and retarget) those interested parties with relevant ads, as well as build ‘lookalike’ audiences, thus extending a brand’s reach into a new pool of potential customers.
iOS14 – it pays to be prepared
The Facebook pixel is browser-based, however, and since the release of Apple’s iOS14 (giving users the chance to ‘opt out’ of tracking and subsequently leading to a loss of tracking data), Facebook also recommends installing the Conversion API (which is server-based). In addition, you also need to verify your domain within Ads Manager and choose your events (Advanced Event Management – AEM) for optimisation. Sound confusing? Admittedly it’s not easy to get your head around it, but it really is worth getting this groundwork sorted ahead of running ads.
2. Organic social
When was the last time you updated your brand’s Facebook page? Are you posting lots of ‘salesy’ posts or are you consistently posting engaging, relevant content for your audience?
Yep – the Facebook bots look at the bigger picture when it comes to running ads. They look to see that a business is using its organic page in the ‘right’ way. If your page is neglected, your ads are likely to cost more. If you’re not posting interesting, engaging content (ie. not doing what the algorithm wants us to do), your ads are likely to cost more. You get the picture.
3. Website speed
Why is this important? Well, in the majority of cases, any ad you run is going to link to your website. So, when someone clicks on your ad, and your website starts to load, it needs to load within 3-5 seconds otherwise your interested party is likely to lose interest!
Yes, attention spans are short these days. We just don’t wait for slow websites. We click away, which ultimately means lost business.
Running a website speed check is part of the onboarding process I use with new clients. I use GTmetrix.com for this. Not only does it give you your site’s load speed, it also gives you suggestions as to where you can improve the load time.
If your website is in dire need of a complete overhaul, consider using a landing page instead until your website is updated. But note, load speed needs to be good on a landing page too.
4. Mobile optimisation
Did you know that 94% of Facebook Ad revenue is from mobile? (Ref: Sprout Social, Q3, 2019)
If your site isn’t optimised for mobile, this is another factor that might lose you clients. Is it time for a website revamp? Important to look at this BEFORE running Facebook Ads – you’ll be wasting your ads budget otherwise.
Also, think about any pop-ups you may have on the pages your ads point to. On a desktop, they may look fine, but what do they look like when accessed via a mobile? Does the pop-up cover the whole screen? Consider removing it if so.
It costs you nothing to run your business’s organic Facebook page. So running ads shouldn’t cost much either, right?
Well, no. Your Facebook business page is basically rent free – you ‘pay’ for that rent through the content that you post and the communities that you build ie working WITH the algorithm.
You need to allocate a cost to Facebook Ads. In the same way as you allocate a budget to other marketing activities, such as Google Ads, for example, or print advertising. Facebook Ads need budget.
How much do you need? This will depend on your type of business and what your objective for ads is.
For example, you won’t get much traction on ticket sales for a large festival event on the back of a few days of £10 ads. You need to be realistic.
Every brand is different
When I work with clients, I firstly carry out an audit of their ad account, to see what results they have achieved on what budget, and how much profit that has brought into the business. Every brand will be different. Results can vary at different times of the week (weekday versus weekend), they can also be seasonal and affected by the level of competition in the marketplace.
As a starting guide – and very much depending on your objective and intended outcome – I recommend no less than £10/day – so roughly £300/month. This will give you enough of a fighting chance in the auction process to test one audience (adset) at a time (ie. an audience of your website visitors or maybe a new, cold interest-based audience) and then assess the results. The bigger the budget, the more audiences you can test and the quicker you will build data.
If you plan to ‘dip in’ and ‘dip out’ of Facebook ads (a week here, a week there), then be prepared for inconsistent results and poor performance going forward.
I ask clients to commit to working with me for a minimum of three months at the start. This doesn’t mean that your sales will sky-rocket but this does allow us the recommended time period needed to test different audiences and obtain solid data to build on for future campaigns.
To sum up:
- Facebook Ads are not a silver bullet for your business. They take time, investment and strategy.
- Even if you do have all your ducks in a row (by following the steps above), audience, copy and creative still play a big part.
- It’s important to think of running ads as a continual testing process – and you’re in it for the long run. What works one month, may not work the next.
- How can you get the best value for money from your ads? Work with, or learn from, a Facebook Ads strategist who can run the account for you, or train you. It’ll save you money in the long run.