Are Facebook Ads Right for Your Startup?
If you spend just five minutes a day on Facebook, you’ve probably seen an entire spectrum of advertisers ranging from a new mobile app to the latest gadget that you “absolutely must have.” While the the cost of Facebook clicks has gone up in the last few years, there’s still plenty of opportunities left for startups and other advertisers working on a smaller budget. And when the alternative is advertising on Google or Bing, Facebook ads can start to seem like a safe haven.
What Targeting Opportunities exist on FB?
Facebook offers three main options for targeting your ads: Custom Audiences, Lookalike Audiences, and creating an audience based on Demographics, Interests, and Behaviors.
You can target people in many ways, but you also have to decide what you want them to do once they see your ads. Do you want them to buy from you? Do you want them to sign up for a newsletter? Maybe you just want them to like your Brand’s Facebook page or interact with the ad itself.
Regardless of what your goal is, you have to be aware of how far the visitor needs to go when targeting them. Every business and offer is different, so they are no rules about how targeted you need to be. Testing ads will tell you if you are overly targeted (conversion, little volume) or not targeted enough (engagement, but no conversions).
Is Facebook Right for You?
With so many options to target customers, I prefer to simplify the process and think of Facebook Advertising as either targeting past visitors and customers OR targeting new visitors and customers.
When going after people who have either purchased from you or visited your website in the past (or used your app, or were in a database), you would setup a Facebook Retargeting campaign using Custom Audiences.
When attempting to target a new visitor, you would create a new target audience, or by using a Lookalike Audience.
Retargeting can be an opportunity for businesses more often because it’s predicated on people who have already taken an interest in your brand or business or page. One could argue that there is no better person to advertise to than someone who is already familiar with what you do. However, Retargeting takes on a very systematic nature; whichever people you pixel and ad to your Retargeting list, you can expect the get a similar result, especially as it pertains to level of interest.
I use the “garbage in, garbage out” expression to describe what happens if you Retarget people who came to your site but had very little interest in buying to begin with. On the contrary, if they came and almost purchased, or maybe even did some price comparison, then you could do very well getting them back to complete the sale..
Generally speaking, if you already have some traffic coming to your site where people do convert at a reasonable rate (and if you are not an “impulse product” or emergency service or any kind), then you stand to have good or great results from properly managed Retargeting campaigns.
New Audience Targeting has more contrast in the amount of success it generates for businesses and brands. One of the unique benefits of Facebook advertising is that it doesn’t require anyone to “search for you.” In other words, you could have a product that no one has ever heard of and potentially be successful on Facebook. The challenge is that you have to be able to target them.
There are several ways to target new visitors on Facebook. If you are aiming to just create more “awareness” about your brand or business, you might rely on demographics and geographical targeting. If you need to have people sign up or buy something, and if your target audience is more specific than what can be filtered out using the demographic or geographic settings, then you’ll need to define some Interests or Behaviors in your targeting settings.
The trick to Interest targeting is all about finding the common denominators between your customer and what information Facebook might have on your potential customer. Aside from creating ads and content, this is one of the most time intensive steps because the answers don’t always reveal themselves easily. Even if you do find a few conversions out of one target, you might find that you deplete the people fairly quickly requiring you to move on to another.
General Philosophy on Targeting
The better you get at targeting the right people, the easier it is to acquire new likes, visits, conversions, etc. There are no hard and fast rules, but you can use these scales to think about the tradeoffs of targeting audiences differently.
Very specific, narrow focus VS. Very general, wide focus – This will ultimately tell you how much volume you can get out of an audience. If you aren’t getting your desired volume out of a focused audience, try expanding a bit and see how that affects your results. If you are getting lots of engagement but little conversions, I would aim to be more focused.
Strong Intent Calls-to-Action VS. Light Intent Calls-To-Action – When we talk about the level of intent for a call-to-action, we’re referring to how much the targeted person has to do to complete the conversion. For example, signing up for an e-mail list would require stronger intent than simply liking a page (which would require “light” intent). You will need to adjust your audience in accordance with your required intent. If you just need likes or views, you can target a more general audience. But if you’re looking to attract paying customers, you’ll need to target people with strong enough intent to go through your sales funnel.
As you can see there are a series of tradeoffs you’ll make with Facebook ads when it comes to targeting your people.
So What’s the Verdict?
Before making any final decisions about Facebook being right or wrong for you, create a Facebook Ads account (if you don’t have one already) and play around with some of the targeting options. Look for targeting options that you feel fit your customers, and maybe try a few test campaigns to dip your toes in the water. You’ll be amazed at how many targeting options there are.
At the end of the day, you’ll have to test it before you can rule it out. And if the New Audience Targeting isn’t a fit, there’s always ReTargeting!
Peter Dulay is the CEO of Conversion Giant, a top-tier digital marketing agency in Los Angeles. Peter has built him team of digital marketing experts, consultants, and managers for the growth of eCommerce and lead gen advertisers.