The Four Things I’ve Learned Working In Facebook Advertising for the Past Year and a Half
I’ve been in digital marketing and advertising for quite some time, 12 years to be exact, about the amount of time that a “commercial” Facebook as we know it has been around.
I’ve always been intrigued by the potential of advertising on Facebook but until about a year and a half ago, I had no idea what it entailed. That’s when I found Custom Social.
I was researching the Facebook advertising platform for my athletic apparel brand called Traü and a mutual friend introduced me to Rolan Reichel, the CEO of Custom Social. Rolan and I chatted for a bit, and I was really taken by him personally AND how Custom Social was approaching Facebook, addressing a gap that I saw in the general approach, which was audience optimization.
After three more months of trial and error and Facebook agency investigation, I not only decided to jump in with Custom Social as a client, I jumped in full force as Employee #1. And after a year and a half of working with dozens of clients and working on 100s of Facebook ad campaigns, here are the top four things I can unequivocally say are true of Facebook advertising:
#1 It takes time.
Over the past 18 months, I’ve been on discovery calls with a number of companies who lead with this question: “Hey, we have a two-week promotion coming up that we want to promote on ‘Social’, can we get good traction in that time?”
The simple answer is “No”.
Or I get this question: “How long is this going to take?” And the simple, honest answer to that is 6-8 months.
If you don’t have that amount of time to dedicate to your paid social advertising efforts, then don’t waste your time. There are numerous reasons for this (which I will detail in a future article) but unless you have 6-8 months, then don’t consider Facebook and Instagram a viable advertising channel.
#2 It takes a steady budget over time.
Of course this is intimately related to #1 but unless you have a.) at least $100 per day for the first 1-2 months and b.) about $300 per day from month 3 on, then again, don’t jump in.
There are many ways to optimize your spend, and Custom Social optizes much more effectively, but you HAVE TO dedicate daily, steady budgets to your campaigns throughout your funnels or you will fall flat on your face. Again, there are numerous reasons for this (and that again will be the topic of another article) but after 18 months of working intimately in the social media space, trust me when I say that you have to have at least $3,000 - $5,000 per month to begin to succeed.
NOTE: You can spend less per day, but your timeline then increases. If you cut these budgets in half, plan to extend your timelines by 100%.
#3 You have to have the right product for social.
Google is an Active Intent environment, as most of us know. People go to Google to actively search for something they’re interested in finding and both search and advertising results come back related to that search. Google has the user at the place of Active Intent. Many products do well in this environment but more time-driven products that are not necessarily visual like health care or trash removal do extremely well in this environment.
Social media and Facebook/instagram is a Passive Intent environment. That means that your users are passively looking through streams and screens of visuals in an ongoing, passive fashion. Think about social media and passive intent like window shopping...what kind of products draw window shoppers into stores. These products come across very well visually and appeal to the “window shopper” mentality. Your potential customers can stroll by your window and check you out, and if they like what they see, they’ll come on in. Why do you think shopping districts group bunches of related stores together? Because they know that if you’re interested in Ralph Lauren, you’re probably interested in Abercrombie & Fitch too.
Social media platforms know a user’s interests and can serve up content related to that user’s interests. Content that can be passively consumed by a user but is also related to their interests - things like apparel, makeup, cosmetics, athletic equipment and tech gadgets.
Your product MUST be visually appealing and “browseable”, is it??
#4 Your content matters...and your audience matters more.
Plan to have a content strategy. Develop the pillars of your content strategy. Continually put out content along the lines of those content pillars. Your content and your creative are of crucial importance.
AND audience and content go head in hand. So you HAVE TO make sure your content is getting in front of the right users. You can have the best beef jerky ads on the market, but if you’re showing them to vegans, you’re wasting your money!