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How We Beat Facebook Advertising Benchmarks

Advertising on Facebook can be an intimidating prospect. The medium evolves at a rapid pace; its features move around and change, and campaigns often require a bit of TLC to maintain engagement.

That being said, Facebook advertising can also be incredibly rewarding. We’ve found it to be a medium that facilitates honest, meaningful engagement. Simply put, Facebook advertising is worthwhile.

If you’re interested in directing your marketing efforts toward Facebook advertising, be encouraged: with the right tactics, you can achieve great success. To help you do that, we’ve put together a few of the things that our most successful campaigns have had in common. Here are the four methods we use to beat Facebook advertising benchmarks.

1) Use the custom audience as an advertising tool and as a research tool

If you or your client has a sizable list of customers, subscribers, or clients, this can be an invaluable tool to incorporate on Facebook. You can upload your email/phone number list to create a “custom audience” and advertise to them specifically. If you upload 100,000 emails, it may only result in an audience of 50,000-75,000. Facebook is matching these emails or numbers to users on Facebook. It won’t give you the names of these people, but it will let you advertise to them (which is still very powerful).

Facebook also lets you use their tools to analyze audiences that are larger than 1,000 people. You won’t get personally identifiable information on these potential customers like names or addresses, but you will be able to see information like age group breakdowns, what percentage of your audience is female or male, and interests and info like products likes, TV show interests, and much more. You can use this information to write better ad content and craft more relevant posts on your company timeline.

2) The power of the “lookalike audience”

Another great tool that Facebook offers is the ability to generate a “lookalike” of the people most similar to your valuable customers. You won’t get personally identifiable information on these potential customers, but Facebook advertising can reach the people with characteristics most like your existing customers. And if you write your ads correctly, those people are the most likely to click your ad.

Keep in mind that this tool’s effectiveness is predicated on the viability of your original list; if your starting list irrelevant, you won’t have much success creating an audience based upon the same characteristics. If you approach this tool with good data in hand, though, creating a “lookalike audience” is an incredibly powerful way to get high levels of engagement.

3) The power of the Facebook fan base

Some of the most successful brands out there engage their audience in meaningful ways on Facebook. They may post coupon codes, have contests or live events, or even just post information that customers or clients would find helpful. While it is tempting to post a lot, it’s worthwhile to really think about what you are going to say before hitting that blue “post” button. Is it useful? Does it represent your brand in a professional way? Does it respect the time of your fan base?

For example, if you are a physical therapist, you may want to think twice about sharing an image of an inspirational quote next to a picture of one of the yellow minions from the animated movie “Despicable Me.” It might be funny to you, but chances are that your audience won’t find it particularly relevant, and they might be less likely to pay attention to your messages in the future.

On the other hand, if your hypothetical physical therapy practice posted an article on “The top 10 tips for eliminating back, neck, and wrist pain while working at a computer desk”—even if the article was written by a different organization—people would likely find it valuable and more respectful of their Facebook timeline. They would not be embarrassed if someone saw it over their shoulder as they were browsing, and they would be more likely to engage—whether in the form of a comment with their own tips, advice to other commenters, or by sharing your post.

Speaking of this fan base, consider this: if you build a large enough following on your Facebook page, you can advertise to the fans of your page. Why do this?

Well, since Facebook redesigned how often your normal posts reach your fans, only a fraction of your normal fan base will actually see your posts. You can reach them with promoted posts or ads in the timeline of your fans.

4) The power of the Facebook… pixel?

The “Facebook pixel” is a deceptively simple name for a powerful feature. In the ad manager of Facebook, you can generate a snippet of code to be installed on your site that tracks information about Facebook users who have visited your site.

Using this pixel, you can start to build another custom audience of the people who have visited specific pages, domains, subdomains, or even custom conversions on your site. When enough traffic has been built up and that audience gets large enough, you can advertise to them.

Want to advertise to people who have visited the shopping cart page on your e-commerce store? It’s possible. Want to send a targeted ad to people who have visited a specific product or service on your site in the past week? That’s possible, too!

5) Don’t be afraid to exclude!

One of the most useful tactics in Facebook targeting is exclusions. Don’t worry about the negative connotations associated with “exclusion”; using this technique is actually a really, really good thing. Ideally, a company will have fans, large customer lists to create custom and lookalike audiences, and audiences based on the Facebook pixel tracking on their website.

But there is a lot of overlap between those audiences! Chances are many of your fans are already in your customer lists. Perhaps someone from your customer “lookalike” list has visited your website recently.

Don’t waste money by running ads to the same person in multiple audiences. If you want to advertise to your 30,000 fans and one of your lookalike audiences with a size of 200,000, but you have only one offer or ad to show, start by making an ad set that’s aimed at your fans. Then create a second ad set with a second budget aimed at your lookalike audience, and exclude your fans. You may find that your lookalike audience drops from a potential target of 200,000 down to 187,000, but that is a good thing! You won’t run the same ad under two different budgets at the people that fall into both of your audiences.

The same goes for pixel tracking. If your goal is to get people to register on your site, make sure to create a custom audience based on pixel tracking data. Create a custom audience of people who are converting.

Exclude the people who are registering from ALL of your ad sets to minimize advertising to people who don’t need to see the ad anymore.

An Important Thing to Keep in Mind

We’ve touched upon this briefly, but it’s important to remember that successful Facebook advertising is almost always predicated upon beginning with a highly relevant list. The better the original list of emails and phone numbers, the more likely the campaign is to be successful.

Have any questions about how to beat Facebook advertising benchmarks when social media marketing to seniors? We’d love to hear from you!

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