To create successful ads, it requires a fair bit of planning and strategy before you even open a web browser to launch your ads – whether you’re launching one ad, or several.

Just like when you’re baking a cake and you need to ensure you have all the ingredients before you start, it makes sense to plan your Facebook ads before getting started, whether you’re launching your ads yourself, or you’re working with an ads specialist like myself.

Here’s what I think about before every campaign…

Objective

What is the one thing you want people to do when they see your ad? Humans aren’t great at doing more than one thing at once, so you want to isolate how you want people to respond to just one thing: whether it’s making a comment, click to your site, or watching a video.

If you are asking people to watch a video and click and link and make a comment, they are more likely to check out than engage (which is how I feel when buying laundry detergent – there are too many options!). So every ad should have just one purpose. If you have a campaign that has multiple objectives, then run separate ads for each purpose and walk customers down a sales funnel.

The other benefit of knowing your objective from the outset is that Facebook can optimise your ad for your objective: if you want traffic, it’ll serve your ad to people within your target audience who are more likely to click. If you want comments, it’ll serve your ad to people within your target group more likely to comment.

Knowing your objective means you can get the little robots over at Facebook Ads HQ to do the hard work for you.

Question to answer: what is the one action you want people to do when they see your ad?

Audience

Audience is one of the trickiest things to master with online advertising: are you serving your ad to people who want or need your product?

We often think about audience merely as demographics like consider country or location, age or gender. But nailing your objective requires us to think a little bit harder about our audience, too: are you trying to get new audiences to find out about your business, or re-engage your existing audience?

If you’re looking at new audiences, you might want to consider their interests and behaviours – perhaps they like yoga or if they are likely to spend money online? Or, if you’ve got an existing audience list, you could map a ‘lookalike’ audience to find new audiences.

If you’re looking at talking to your existing customers, you might want to retarget to your existing audiences such as your mailing list or website visitors by using the Facebook Pixel.

While it can be useful to start broad with your targeting, consider your objective and ensure you’re targeting the people to do the thing you want.

And again, if you’re targeting new audiences and current customers, you might want seperate ads, because both sets of customers have different needs.

Questions to answer:

  • Are you targeting people who already know your business (warm leads) or people hearing about your business for the first time (cold leads)?
  • What resources do you have to help refine your audience: do you have an existing mailing list, customer phone numbers, Facebook Pixel to track visitors or Page Fans?
  • What demographics buy your product? Consider age, gender, location?
  • Does your audience have special interests or behaviours which might be useful to target by? (For example, are they likely to shop online? Or people who love sport? Or dogs?)

Creative

When we think of Facebook ads, one of the first things we think about is the copy and images. However, your ad objective and ad audience can really change how your copy is designed.

For example, if you’re trying to sell something, including a clear call-to-action like ‘click here to buy’ can make all the difference. And if you’ve got a specific audience in mind, perhaps the image could reflect them, so they can put themselves in the shoes of the person in the ad.

Doing a business model canvas or lean startup canvas can also be really useful to help understand both the barriers your customer faces to buy your product and the drivers that motivate them.

If you know your customers are worried about set-up time of your software, alleviate their fears by addressing it in your ad copy (“it only takes 5 minutes to start”). If you know they are motivated by hitting specific targets, use that to motivate them (“Increase your conversion rates!”). Or, use your copy to build trust if you’re a new product, like using testimonials.

Some additional tips around copy and creative:

  • For copy, remember that for most ads on Facebook, you’ve got a status update, a link headline, a link description and a Call To Action button – all of which need copy.
  • You might even have some copy on the image (but aiming for less than 20% text on the image as per Facebook’s rules). Consider how all of these items work together, and be mindful of the character count where your copy will be cut off.
  • It’s always helpful to A/B test ads – so coming up with alternative versions of your ads can be useful to see which one is most engaging.
  • Use Facebook’s Creative Hub tool to mock up ads to share with colleagues.
  • Get some inspiration for copy for your industry from Ad Espresso’s guide here.

Questions to answer:

  • Does your ad copy reflect the main objective that you want people to do?
  • Does your ad image meet Facebook’s guidelines in terms of less than 20% text?

Budgeting

What’s your budget for the campaign? Some of us have a specific marketing budget so we know how much we’re spending, while other businesses have a specific goal in terms of conversions. Work out how much money you will commit to this ad, or how much you should commit to reach your goals.

If you’re not sure what your results might look like, check out my infographic looking at potential ad results for different spend.

Questions to answer:

  • How much are you spending on your ads?
  • Are you running a test period – and if so, what are your success indicators?

Dates and Times

How long are you running your ad for? If you ad run is too short, you might not be giving Facebook enough time to optimize your ads and reduce the cost. If you’re serious about Facebook working hard for you, let your ad run for at least two weeks.

Don’t forget that as you learn more about your audience, you might find there are certain days or times they are more likely to be online, or more likely to engage with your ads.

Using a ‘lifetime spend’ option means you can select the times of day your ads go out. It’s better to do this after you’ve run a few ad sets to optimise your campaigns, but if you know your audience is only engaging on a certain day or time,  consider running your ads just when they are online.

Questions to answer:

  • What is the start and end dates of your campaign?

Success Metrics

Before you start, its useful to have a clear idea of success: what is the most important metric you want to focus on? This means that when you, or your ads specialist, are optimizing your ads, they know how to make the changes to focus on your needs.

For example: Is it more important to get traffic irrespective of cost, or more important to increase the reach for the lowest cost? Having a clear objective means it’s much easier optimize your ads so if an ad set is performing well but at a high cost, you know whether to increase or decrease spend.

Do you have a target in terms of traffic? Or sales? Or clicks? Or keeping within budget? Think about the results you want (or check out my calculator to help project what’s a realistic number for your targets).

Question to answer:

  • Do you have a traffic/sales/result target number?

Recap

It’s a lot to think about isn’t it?!  But these are the questions that need to be locked down before getting started running Facebook ads.

If you’re working with a Facebook ads specialist, they will help guide you through these questions before kicking off a campaign to help you get the results you need.

LAUNCHING FACEBOOK ADS CAMPAIGN CHECKLIST:

  • Do you know the age, gender, location of your audience?
  • Are you targeting your existing customers, or a new audience?
  • What assets do you have already? A Facebook page, an Instagram account, website with a Facebook Pixel, a mailing list?
  • What is your budget for these ads?
  • What is the start and end dates of the campaign?
  • What is the result you want from running this one ad? (i.e. people clicking a link, brand awareness, video views?)
  • Do you have a specific number you need to hit (i.e. x sales, y traffic, z RSVPs?)?

Thinking about these questions before getting started will mean you’re set up for a much more effective ad campaign.

Looking at running ads in 2018?

Rachel is an experienced Facebook Advertiser, keeping abreast of the ever-changing world of Facebook advertising. She looks for ways to set up clients to succeed in the long term to reach their business goals. Find out more about Rachel’s Facebook ads offering or get in touch today to see how Rachel can help you.


About Rachel Beaney

Rachel Beaney is an Australian freelance social media specialist with over a decade in digital media. She’s worked with global names like Microsoft, Samsung, News Corp and General Assembly, in addition to not-for-profits and government bodies. She loves helping clients solve their business needs with creative and data-driven solutions. Get in touch today to jump on a free consultation call to find out how Rachel can help you.



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