Facebook

Sales: Freelance vs Staffer

How stressed out do you think Mark Zuckerberg and the team at Facebook are these days? The government is cracking the whip but luckily for us, the marketing machine that is Facebook and Instagram continues to function (mostly).

Ahead of the holiday season, Facebook is testing out two new shopping ad options, both of which are aimed at streamlining the path to purchase, and keeping users in-app, as opposed to filtering them off to other websites. Yep, they're hogging ALL the traffic!

Let's Start with Facebook

The Social Network is testing out a new, Dynamic ad option which would enable users to order an advertised item direct from the News Feed ad itself.

Facebook's Dynamic Ads are designed to "automatically show the right products to people who have expressed interest on your website, in your app or elsewhere on the Internet" by utilizing your uploaded product catalogue and taking cues from user behaviour.

article1.png

As you can see in the above example, with this new type of Dynamic Ad, users would be shown relevant products, but then also have the added option of making a purchase, via the 'Checkout on Facebook' option.

In order to do this, users do need to have a payment option attached to their Facebook account, which, given Facebook's more recent privacy issues, may not be an ideal option for some. But then again, convenience tends to outweigh privacy in most respects—if there's a way in which users can buy relevant items quickly, which is obviously boosted by the matching of Dynamic Ads, then it could be a winner.

When you've reviewed your information, you can tap on the 'Place Order' button, and you'll get a confirmation note sent to you via Facebook.

I'd say this is the most significant update to Facebook's ads platform in quite some time.

Instagram Wants Your Traffic Too!

Instagram has been slowly rolling out its Shopping Tags to more businesses, but thus far, they have only been available within organic posts. Selected businesses will now also be able to amplify their on-platform shopping prompts, via Facebook Ads Manager, while Instagram has also noted that it's looking to add paid promotion options to its 'Checkout on Instagram' shopping posts in the near future. 

The expanded options would keep users on Instagram, while also facilitating quick purchases via targeted ads - a win-win for both Facebook and the relative brands.

article2.png

Instagram is shaping up as a key platform of focus for shoppers - according to Facebook, 80% of Instagram users follow businesses, and over 130 million people tap to reveal tags on shopping posts every month.

There's clear interest in Facebook's on-platform purchasing options, and the capacity to reach users where they're active, and capitalize on that active shopping intent, will be of significant interest to many brands.

Conclusion

Of course, all of this times out with testing and expansion for the lucrative Christmas season. Oh, Christmas ... it's coming. I, for one, as a marketer welcome this change. At Sync we have a pretty strict rule to keep people on the platform they want to exist on. So, keeping people on Facebook, while still turning ROI is optimal.

Need help with Facebook, Instagram, or any social media? Let's talk!

Facebook Ads - The Right Way

Facebook Ads

We all have a love/hate relationship with Facebook's advertising platform. As it evolves, from a business standpoint the platform seems to get more convoluted. From a user standpoint, it seems to be more intrusive. What is a marketer to do when the number one ads platform online has lost its way?

Play smarter.

Just because Facebook offers up a new way to advertise doesn't mean you should take them up on it. I'm sure you've seen those video ads that interrupt the user experience. After convenience, the top reason people don't watch TV is related to intrusive commercials. Why Facebook ever thought it would be a good idea to give that same dated experience on a 21st-century platform is beyond me (money isn't everything) so why "do it" just because Facebook "offers it"?

Then you have their suggestions as to how an ad should be run. Who do you think those suggestions benefit? Time-and-time-again we have tried Facebook's ad suggestions against basic common sense in the interest of the business we represent only to find basic common sense winning. Of course, that's because we have an intimate understanding of the platform.

So, with that in mind, here are some tips to get your Facebook Ads on track straight from our cobweb minds and even the desks of Facebook.

1. Choose an objective that drives business value

Facebook offers a wide range of advertising objectives which can help brands reach their business goals. We no longer live in a world where Facebook ads success is only achieved by running 'Page Likes', 'Website Clicks', or 'Engagement' campaigns - in addition to these, Facebook now offers advertising objectives which include 'Awareness', 'Consideration', and 'Conversions'.

These categories each offer different ad units which are geared towards achieving specialized results.

Awareness

Objectives which generate interest in your product or service.

Brand Awareness - Reach people more likely to recall your ads and increase awareness for your brand

Reach - Show your ad to the maximum number of people in your audience.

Consideration

Objectives that get people to start thinking about your business, and look for more information about it.

Traffic - Increase the number of visits to your website

Engagement - Get more people to see and engage with your post or Page

App Installs - Send people to an app store where they can download your app

Video Views - Promote videos that show behind-the-scenes footage, product launches or customer stories to raise awareness about your brand

Lead Generation - Collect lead information, such as email addresses, from people interested in your business

Messages - Get more people to have conversations with your business to generate leads, drive transactions, answer questions or offer support.

Conversion

Objectives which encourage people interested in your business to purchase or use your product or service.

Conversions - Get more people to use your website, Facebook app, or mobile app. To track and measure conversions, use the Facebook pixel or app events

Catalog Sales - Show products from your catalog based on your target audience

Store Traffic - Promote multiple business locations to people who are nearby.

Don’t be overwhelmed. Yes, there are a lot of options, but choosing the right objective which is aligned to your broader strategy, and drives true value for your business, will make all the difference.

2. Using Placement Optimization

We often get asked which Facebook ad placements are the best. To clarify, a Facebook ad placement is anywhere that an ad is eligible to be served—this includes in the Facebook News Feed, Instagram feed, Stories, Audience Network, and even in Messenger.

According to Facebook, the best way to run campaigns is to activate all placements. This enables the Facebook Ad platform to optimize against which placements are achieving your desired objective at the most cost-effective rate. While we mostly agree, we don't recommend turning on Instagram placement. Instead, promote natively on Instagram. The boost feature is currently the best type of ad on Instagram because it also helps bolster your followers.

Facebook calls this 'Placement Optimization'. The logic here is that the more placements you use, the more data the Facebook Ad platform has to learn from. The more it can learn, the better your campaigns can perform.

But even though this is one of Facebook’s own recommended best practices for Facebook Ads, it is important to consider where you, as the advertiser, want your ads to be shown.

For example, ad placements on Audience Network won’t generate engagements. If you care about that metric, you might want to omit Audience Network from your efforts. We recommend going to market utilizing Placement Optimization and nurturing what performs the best.

3. Embrace Campaign Budget Optimization

Facebook's Campaign Budget Optimization process is a way of optimizing how a campaign uses budget across ad sets.

Typically, an advertiser would set budgets at the ad set level, however with Campaign Budget Optimization, Facebook will continuously and automatically find the best opportunities to achieve your designated objective across your ad sets, and prioritize budget to the ad sets that are performing best. This gives you less control as an advertiser but gives the system more control to use your budget efficiently.

The one thing to be cautious of here is that if there are campaigns that you need to get a certain level of attention, you will not want to use Campaign Budget Optimization. You'll want to set the budget at the ad set level to ensure visibility. Otherwise, this is one of those automation tools you can use with confidence.

4. Use mobile-first creative

It's no secret that social media has rapidly become a predominantly mobile-first experience. Keep this in mind when it comes to creating your Facebook ad campaigns.

You'll want to ensure that your ad creative is attractive, engaging and looks great on the small screen. Consider bright visuals for banners, and be sure that your video ads are under 60 seconds.

Focusing on mobile first creative will enable you to activate more users into your marketing funnels, at a more cost-effective rate. Make sure your ads look awesome on mobile.

5. Understand the value of broad vs specific targeting

In conversations with our partners at Facebook, this best practice surprised me personally.

In the past, the goal of Facebook ad targeting was to be as specific as possible. However, due to increased competition and the evolution of the Facebook Ad platform, being super specific in targeting can sometimes lead to more costly results.

When you go with super-specific targeting, you're telling the system that you want to serve ads to a certain amount of people no matter what. The Facebook ad system then goes after those people, and you, as the advertiser, are battling budgets for a presumably small amount of people who are also being targeted by other advertisers.

This can drive costs up, and Facebook doesn’t have much to learn from. When you go a little broader with your targeting, however, Facebook has more touch points to learn from, and will automatically optimize to serve your ad to the people in your target audience who are most likely to take your desired objective action.

While doing this, the system also looks for the best use of budget in an attempt to drive more results for lower cost. We recommend testing this for yourself - specific targeting always seems great, but consider going a little broader when trying to stretch your budget.

Conclusion

Some times Facebook is helpful and their automation can give you the insights you need to realize success. But, don't rely on Facebook's direction solely. Think about your business and what you want to achieve. Set it and forget it doesn't work.

I hope this has helped you in your pursuit of Facebook Ads supremacy. If you need help with your ads or any digital marketing, let’s talk.

Social Media Prediction: Less is More in 2019

How many brands do you follow on social media? Of those, how many do you actively check out on a regular basis? My guess is less than 10%. Sure, with Christmas just around the corner there is a small chance that number is bumped up a bit but ultimately 10% is a pretty average number. Marketers that I speak to on a regular basis are confused by this. Why would someone follow a brand only to end up ignoring it afterwards?

Burnout

I believe this is due to a burnout online. There's just too much information flying at anyone on any network to keep up. So, if a restaurant is advertising constantly why would anyone follow them religiously. Simply pumping out ads is not a way to endure yourself to the mass public. So what is a brand to do?

Don't Forget the Reasons People Buy Your Products

Will Smith's character in Collateral Beauty summed up advertising elegantly:

In advertising we are supposed to illuminate how a product or service will improve a person's life. That's the end game. So, our most commonly represented industries are restaurants, real estate, and amusement parks. What can we illuminate?

Restaurants: In general, restaurants unite people through food that they cannot typically make at home. They provide a social space to celebrate on occasion or life in general. Restaurants make people feel a sense of happiness through a full stomach, satisfying tastes, and being treated like they are important.

Real Estate: Again, in general, a real estate agent doesn't sell homes. They sell the future, a place to sleep, raise a family, and a reliable place to escape the pressures of the outside world. When someone buys from a real estate agent they are also buying a sense of accomplishment and belonging.

Amusement Parks: At their core, amusement parks are a place to get away from bills, personal issues, and other topics that dominate our daily lives. You're selling a mini-vacation from life; excitement, community, and adventure. In essence, generally speaking, amusement parks are selling a feeling of glee.

The Crux of This Post

So, what's the point of all this? Well, ask yourself before you put anything out on social media, are you illuminating your purpose in this world? If not, maybe you don't want to push publish on that random post you're putting out there.

Less is going to be more in 2019, so you're going to want to get more creative with your posts and never stop asking yourself that all important question. All you're good for in the eyes of the people is value; how do you bring value, and how do they get it? The second you can't provide value you're lost to them ... likely, forever.