Are your Facebook ads not working for you? Wondering how to make changes that deliver better results?
To explore what to do when your Facebook ads fail, I interview Tara Zirker on the Social Media Marketing Podcast.
Tara is a Facebook ads expert and founder of the Successful Ads Club, a membership site designed to help marketers improve their Facebook and Instagram ads results.
Tara explains technical and creative Facebook ad mistakes and shares which metrics help reveal the root cause of poor performance. You’ll learn how to make changes to your ads and landing pages and discover new strategies that will improve Facebook ad campaign performance.
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Something that can lead to an appearance of failed Facebook ads is unrealistic expectations. Realistic expectations rely on understanding the standards and benchmarks for your particular industry, niche, and funnel type.
Outside of unrealistic expectations, there are many reasons Facebook ads actually fail. They can be broken into two main buckets: Technical mistakes and creative mistakes.
Technical mistakes include things such as faulty installation of the Facebook pixel, poor ad campaign structure, and incorrect budgeting. Creative mistakes most often involve messaging elements such as copy, headlines, visuals, and landing pages.
To overcome creative mistakes, you need to reveal whether the problem exists in the angle of your ads, your landing page, or both, and then test and optimize your messaging elements to get you to a minimum viable ad that you can scale.
How to Test and Improve Facebook Ads Messaging Elements
To find out if you’re making creative mistakes with your Facebook ads, look at your CTR (Link Click-Through Rate), not CTR (All). CTR (All) indicates all of the clicks viewers performed, whether those clicks were on the ad itself, on the More button, or simply on your name to visit your Facebook page. CTR (Link Click-Through Rate), on the other hand, tells you specifically how many people clicked from your ad to your landing page.
The benchmark for a healthy CTR (Link Click-Through Rate) is 1% to 2%—meaning if 1,000 people see your ad, 10-20 of them click through to your landing page. If your metric is under 1%, either the messaging or the audience targeting is off. Typically, the issue is with the messaging.
To change the angle on your ads, you’re going to test the copy, imagery, and headlines in that order, one variable at a time.
Tara has spent tens of millions of dollars on Facebook and Instagram ads and says she’s found through testing that copy length makes the biggest difference in ad performance. The optimal length will vary for everyone—some brands do really well with super-long copy and some do really well with one-sentence–type ads. To find out what works for you, test three lengths of copy:
- Short copy: A couple of sentences
- Medium copy: A couple of short paragraphs
- Long copy: This will be as long as it takes to tell the story, whether that’s 1,000 words, 2,000 words, or three short paragraphs.
Run all three copy length variations against the same imagery. If you’re a small business, you’ll run the ads for 2-3 days at $20-$40 per day until you have a minimum reach of 1,000 or at least seven conversions. If you’re a larger business, you spend more time and money testing, maybe running ads for 5-7 days at $100 to $200 per day.
When you’ve determined which copy length gives you the best CTR (Link Click-Through Rate), you can switch over to testing imagery.
You should test three to five images at a minimum and Tara often tests upward of 10 visuals. The mix includes static images with and without text overlays (both illustrations and photos), videos, and GIFs.
Again, you’ll run every visual/image with your winning copy to find which combination gives you the best CTR (Link Click-Through Rate), then you can move on to testing headlines.
While there are exceptions, Tara has found that super-creative headlines don’t work very well and she feels the more direct the headline, the better. Headlines as simple as Download Now, Sign Up, or Check Us Out, often work very well. Ideally, you should test three to five headlines.
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Run every headline with your winning copy and visual to find which combination gives you the best CTR (Link Click-Through Rate).
How to Test and Improve Facebook Ads Landing Page Elements
To discern whether you’re making mistakes with your landing page, you want to look at your conversion rate.
If your landing page is capturing emails for a training, download, freebie, or checklist, your conversion rate should be 30%-40%. If you’re booking consultations, your conversion rate should be 5%-15%, based on your industry. The average benchmark conversion rate for an eCommerce landing page is 5%—again, this rate will vary based on the price of your product. If your conversions are below these benchmarks, a simple headline tweak can improve your conversion rate.
To illustrate, Tara shares an example from her own business. She’s had success with a landing page headline that read, “How to Run Ads That Actually Work.” After looking through some survey data, she noted that many people used the word “headache” when describing their frustrations with Facebook ads. “Facebook ads are such a headache” or “I wish I could avoid the headache of Facebook.”
She changed the headline to read, “How to Run Effective Ads Without the Headache” and saw even more success. The lesson here is to bring the language people are actually using into your messaging.
You’ll also want to test your pricing strategy. If your landing page has a discount incentive, try switching from 20% off to $20 or vice versa. Tara recently read about an outdoor company that did a split test in which half of their email list received a 15% off coupon and half received a $50 off coupon. While the amount of the discount was identical, the $50 off coupon generated 170% more revenue than the 15% off coupon.
Mike recommends Google Optimize to run split tests on a sales or landing page and says he’s also used the heat maps in Hotjar to track how deeply people scroll a page, and whether certain paragraphs cause people to abandon the page.
Using Facebook Dynamic Creative to Optimize Facebook Ad Performance
After you’ve tested all of your messaging and landing page elements, you can improve ad performance further by using Facebook Dynamic Creative—a feature you turn on at the ad set level of your Facebook campaign.
Using the feature, you can add up to 10 visuals, five variations of copy, five headlines, and so on, and Facebook automatically matches the variations together until it finds the right mix for your audience. Additionally, at the ad level, you can click a button that will match the creative to each person’s tastes and history.
For example, if someone historically clicks more on ads with videos than with static images, Facebook will deliver a version of the ad that features a video. Someone who clicks mostly on ads with collages will be served a version with a collage.
Tara has spent $60,000 split testing dynamic creative ads over several months and she’s found success with this recipe:
- Five static images, three videos, and two GIFs (the top visuals from your testing)
- Two copy variations (the top two from your testing)
- Two headline variations (the top two from your testing)
- Two call-to-action button variations that make sense for your offer
While it can take a bit more time for dynamic creative ads to gain traction, they can outperform other types of ads. That said, if you don’t have a lot of budget, you’ll want to be careful with this ad type. Tara typically starts seeing results after spending about $120 and says that she’s getting impressive results after spending $300-$500.
Key Takeaways From This Episode:
- Learn more about Tara and her work on SuccessfulAdsClub.
- Connect with Tara on Instagram at @TaraZirker.
- Explore Facebook Dynamic Creative.
- Learn about Google Optimize and Hotjar.
- Get your ticket for the Social Media Marketing Workshops at marketingworkshops.live.
- Watch exclusive content and original videos from Social Media Examiner on YouTube.
- Tune into the weekly Social Media Marketing Talk Show. Watch live on Fridays at 12 PM Pacific on YouTube. Listen to the replay on Apple Podcasts or Google Podcasts.
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What do you think? What are your thoughts on these strategies to improve Facebook campaign performance? Please share your comments below.