Tips to create Facebook Ads that Convert for SME owners

Having to run everything on your own is tough. Doesn’t mean that you will not succeed but it is hard. It requires you to sacrifice ample time, effort, energy and in certain cases everything that you have. Human brain is designed to work collaboratively by seeing what others have done. Then we adjust and improve. Feel free to study, adjust and improve as these notes are what I have learnt. I feel best when I can share what I have done.

At every level of subheading, I will put my current experiences with screenshots. I hope this will help SME owners out there like me. This guide is for those who already create their business manager account which is attached to your FB business page.

FB Ads Overview

Here is a screenshot of an actual Facebook ad by Unbounce taken from ads library which can be accessed by anyone. This is called an image ad because there’s just an image. However it would be the exact same if it would be a video ad, because in that case, this would be a video that people can click play on.

From the top to the bottom right here, you can see the name and an icon taken from Unbounce Facebook page. You can see ‘sponsored’ underneath the name and icon which tells you it is an ad.

We have the ad text which refers to the text that we put on top of the actual ad and right below there, you’ll see the headline. You may add a little button right there (Learn More), even on this whole section, both the image, as well as the headline and description. It’s clickable. People can click on it in order to go to your website or landing page.
For further reading you may refer to facebook actual guidelines here.

Let’s have a look at Facebook Ads campaign structure before we go further. If you already have this basic knowledge, you may skip the explanation by clicking on the Table of Content below.

Facebook Campaign Structure

Source: adespresso

You’ll have one campaign that represents a stage in your funnel. At the ad set level, you can have multiple ad sets for one campaign. For the above picture, we’ve got two ad sets and 4 ads. At the campaign level we have three different categories of objectives: awareness, consideration, and conversion.For each campaign, you can only have one objective. 

The reason why there are two ad sets under a campaign is because we want to split the audience between placements, countries, interests, and behaviours.  Ad set level is where we allocate the budget, placement (mobile or desktop) and target audience. Ad level is where we’re selecting the format of the ad either video, carousel, canvas, image or text. 

Ads Copywriting 

Copywriting means the ad text that we write which will influence the target group to convert. For e-commerce or brand type clients, you want to keep the copy to the cold audience as short as possible. In fact, for any type of awareness type of campaigns, shorter copy which highlights the emotional benefits is always going to work best. 

However if you’re doing direct response with coaches and consultants, online courses and professional service, you may want to use a long form of copy. 

To give you my context, on 17 April 2021, I want to have a sample of potential buyers who will buy my product and later join as an agent. Then they will further promote the product that they have bought earlier. So I set a video view campaign under ‘consideration objective’. I set budget allocation to $15 every day for a week with a minimum target of 10,000 viewers who watch at least 50% of the videos. 

From 18 till 24th April, I managed to get 76409 video plays by spending $100, which for me is pretty much satisfying to proceed on second promotion. Meanwhile my initial target was achieved and I even got extra. 

Audience Targeting

How do I select my audience? Many FB ads agency managers split the audience category into three segments;  from cold to warm to hot. 

Cold audience is someone who has never interacted with your brand or your products or your Facebook page. In many cases, they don’t even know who you are. 

Warm audience may be website visitors, those who like your Facebook page, or have engaged with  page posts. They’re warmed up. They know who you are. They’ve engaged with you and they’ve interacted with you. 

Hot customers are those who have visited sales pages and are buying the product or service from you. These are the ones who give you profit so your SME business can operate. 

From these three segments we can further develop custom audiences and lookalike audiences. I will be using my warm audience (those who watch video ad at least 50%) for retargeting. 

Building up ‘cold audience’

‘Cold targeting’  works by going after people that have expressed or engaged with content that is related to what you are targeting. For example, let’s say you mentioned the word ‘Facebook ads’ in a post one time, or you liked a Facebook post that was about Facebook ads, or you shared a post that had something about Facebook ads in it. Well, this would officially group you as someone who was engaged with, or potentially interested in Facebook ads. Now Facebook collects this information in a few different ways, so it collects it through online behaviors. 

As we all know, there’re Facebook pixels all across the web and with the new metadata that it has on that pixel, it will be able to send a lot more information back into Facebook in terms of what people are doing, what they’re searching for, what they’re interested in.

It’s also looking at your own Facebook behavior. So what you’re engaging with your newsfeed, what you’re interacting with and conversations through Facebook messenger are being recorded. However with the latest IOS 14 updates, there will be a difference in terms of these Facebook tracking data as Apple changes its privacy policy. 

What’s good about building ‘cold audience’, Facebook allows us to do 3 levels of narrowing your audience. After you decide on demographics, you may choose the interests that are related to your ad promotion. Facebook will compress and define the audience based on what we want. 

Facebook has provided Audience Insight which you can view and select all the demographic,behaviour and interest which should have at least 50 000 audience size to show up in the list. However starting from July 1, 2021, it will change into Facebook Business Suite Insights. Do not worry, I will share a tool that will help you to manage this change below under the next topic. 

For example, because my business right now is related to essential oil products, I chose those users, who Facebook AI thinks have interest in essential oil who prefer using organic products and who are having small children in the family. This will narrow down the sample of the audience provided by Facebook that I believe will be attracted to my ad promotion rather than going general. The example below is using the narrow down steps that I had mentioned just now.

Above ad can also help you discover targeted interests by your competitors especially the ads  that have many comment, share and likes. However, while writing this article I couldn’t help to notice many advertisers rather to go general. Maybe this is related to their product or they want to reach as many people as they could. Here is the example:

Almost every time there are ads on my newsfeed, I will click on ‘Why I am seeing this ad’ and I find at least 3 out of 10 ads are not utilizing the audience defining step. Instead they used very general interest to capture a large audience which I believe is a huge waste of money. Maybe this is one of their testing strategies.I do agree that in order to discover the best cold audience group, multiple testing cannot be avoided. 

Discovering Hidden Interest

Sometimes, looking for interests that are suitable for our ad promotion seems very difficult. I always ponder if there is such a way that I can use instead of spending a valuable ad budget to test on different interest targets. I do not want to go into multiple testing and spend thousands of dollars but couldn’t find audience groups that convert.. 

Being the one who does almost all the work inside my SME company, I really prefer tools that can automate and optimize my Facebook Ads. Facebook Business Manager is also in constant changes as they receive feedback and want to upgrade their platform since FB and Instagram are under one company. 

At the moment, I recommend using Connect Audience. It makes it easy to discover the hidden and similar interests. By putting the keywords, Connect Audience will then recommend similar interests and from there you can choose those interests to be listed in your layering.

As I had mentioned earlier, when choosing for the audiences that may have interest in essential oil, Connect Audience recommend to me other related audiences that may have interest in essential oil with few clicks. They suggested 36 interest groups that I can consider to be put in my ‘cold targeting list’. Easy right?

Custom audience (Retargeting)

Retargeting people that engage with our ads, our posts, or even our videos comes after you have done the ad for the targeted cold audience. This is where they become your warm audiences. We are going to retarget them so they can convert to become our customers.

If you are doing a video ad like me and the video is a very short video, such as 10 seconds you’ll want to retarget to someone who has watched at least 25 to 50%. However, if it’s a longer video, you’d probably want to retarget to someone who has watched over 10 seconds. 

Since I used video ads for my cold audience, I will retarget those who at least watched 50% of the videos. My second ad is giving a free pdf that specially talks about the health and emotional benefits of essential oil.   I will update this article in two weeks time.

Taking Action Is Power

All the things I have shared are based on what I have learnt since last lock-down due to COVID-19. The urge to create a new source of income is very real. However learning is not enough, I need to take action and going through my learning curve. 

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