Facebook is a powerful marketing tool. When used correctly, it can provide your destination with much-needed exposure and valuable insight into how your target markets behave, what they value and how they make decisions. As with all social platforms, simply posting content and hoping for the best is not a good strategy—especially when Facebook provides you with comprehensive, easy-to-use marketing tools that not only help you reach your intended audience, but give you the data necessary to continually refine your social media marketing strategy.
Since Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement in January 2018 that the social network’s algorithm will prioritize content from friends and family over content from brands, it has become increasingly challenging to ensure your organic content gets in front of the right people at the right time. Cue Facebook Ads.
Facebook advertising can be scaled to your budget and help ensure that the content you’ve worked so hard to create reaches specific, targeted audiences and helps you achieve your conversion goals. As Facebook continues to embrace a “pay to play” model, you will need to include Facebook ad spend in your monthly budget projections, but investing in Facebook Ads is one of the best things you can do to achieve brand awareness with the right audience and on a scale that will make an impact.
Ads can be created in any number of formats, including video, carousel and image-based formats, and they can be targeted to as narrow an audience as your campaign goals require. And, Facebook Ads Manager provides you with the necessary tools to track ad performance so you can accurately gauge what’s working and what isn’t.
Facebook Ads Manager
Ads Manager is the tool you will use to both create campaigns and measure their performance. You can select campaign parameters, upload creative elements, write copy, and preview how your ads will look on different screen sizes. And the reporting tools within Ads Manager can help you spot trends over time, identify areas for improvement and track the metrics that matter most to you. All your reports, pixels and audience preferences are stored in Ads Manager and can be modified at any time according to how your campaigns are performing.
When it comes to knowing what how to measure the success of your campaign, it will depend in part on what type of campaign you choose to run. You can get very granular here, but broadly speaking, there are a handful of metrics you should be tracking to determine campaign effectiveness and maximize the return on your ad spend:
- Conversions: measuring conversions on your Facebook ads can help you better understand the ROI of your campaign. A conversion is defined as a specific action (or set of actions) that your team has identified as relevant to the attainment of your campaign goals. For example: if one of your goals is newsletter sign ups, that’s the conversion you should pay for and track in addition to the number of impressions or clicks your ad generates.
- Click-through rate: this refers to the ratio of people who have seen your Facebook ad compared to how many people have clicked on it. And while it’s important to also understand how people are interacting with the content your Facebook ad sends them to, monitoring your click-through rates will help you improve ad quality and performance, as well as shape your understanding of what motivates your target audience to click on your ad.
- Engagement: while broad in scope, engagement is an important social metric to track. It refers not to click-through rates or conversions, but to how many people are interacting with your ad within the social platform in the form of reactions, shares and comments. You want your ads to create conversation. And from this engagement, you can get a better idea of what motivates your target audience to take desired actions and help you refine your strategy moving forward.
If you’ve been thinking about launching your first Facebook ad campaign or are simply looking for advice on how to improve your current campaign, the following 5 tips from Hootsuite are a great place to begin:
- Experiment with audience targeting: rather than casting a wide net, set narrow targeting parameters and slowly broaden them by adding additional interest categories over the life of the campaign. Doing so will give you a good idea of how expanding your target audience affects ad performance and can provide valuable insight into the varying interests of your target markets.
- Use the Facebook Pixel: this pixel is a small line of code that is placed on your website. It allows you to efficiently track conversions and remarket to people who have visited your site. Even if you’re not quite ready to engage in more advanced Facebook Pixel strategies, installing it at the outset of your campaign will ensure you have tracking and remarketing data available when you’re ready to optimize your Facebook ads.
- Use quality imagery: sure, written content is important. But the visuals you use are what will grab your audience’s attention. Poor-quality imagery or video content is a sure-fire way to discourage engagement. And even if you don’t have the budget for professional photography or videography, your smartphone is equipped with a high-enough quality camera to get you started (shameless plug: check out our tips on developing compelling imagery).
- Test everything: never make assumptions about what works and what doesn’t. Every time you try something new, test it against previous ad performance to ensure that your metrics are continually improving.
- Track and optimize performance: utilize Facebook Ads Manager to regularly monitor campaign performance and reallocate your budget from poorly performing ads to the ones that are taking off. If you’re just starting out, try running several ads with small audiences and budgets to determine what works best.
As with all social media marketing strategies, there is no “one size fits all” solution. The ads you create and the metrics you track all depend on what your DMO is trying to achieve. Broadly speaking, you need to understand your goals and how to realistically achieve them before you can craft a winning social strategy. Want to organize your target audiences and identify what it will take to succeed with each of them? Click here for resources that will help you develop a Marketing Action Plan for your destination.