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The ultimate guide to Facebook advertising

May 26, 2020

In B2B marketing, a lot of marketers will look to LinkedIn for advertising over Facebook. But are you missing out on a key, cheaper channel?

If you can get Facebook advertising right in B2B, it can represent a powerful channel for your lead generation and often at a far lower cost than LinkedIn. So we asked an expert how they get success from Facebook.

Andrew Haines is a highly-experienced marketing consultant. His consultancy business, Mission Three60, supports its clients by developing and implementing detailed marketing strategies.

One of Andrew’s many specialities is PPC, in particular Facebook advertising. We spoke to Andrew and asked him for his advice on turning Facebook ads into a lucrative B2B lead generation channel.

Read on for Andrew’s PPC insights!

10 tips for improving your Facebook ads

1 - Know your audience

“The number one thing you need to work out before you start creating your Facebook ads is: who is your audience? Who are you advertising to?”

“On Facebook, audience profiling can be very granular. You’re given a lot of options. If your targeting is too broad, you’ll fall into the trap of getting a lot of clicks, but a low conversion rate.”

“The best place to start is with custom or look-a-like audiences of current customers or website visitors. This will allow Facebook to go after those people who have similar profiles to your current audience base.”

“Outside of that it really depends on who you’re looking to target, as you can build audiences on any interest groups, such as:

  • Specific companies - you can use company names to target people at those companies.
  • Household income (applicable in the US only).
  • Business-specific newspapers and journals such as Financial Times, Business Insider and Harvard Business Review.
  • Also you can target behaviours such as Small Business Owners.

“The possibilities are endless, so do your research! Identify your ideal customers on Facebook and then create ads tailored to them. Luckily, Facebook collects a wealth of data on its users - age, location, education, interests etc. Use this to your advantage!”

“One very important thing is to ensure you’re not targeting people who are already your customers. All that leads to is wasted budget!”

2 - Know your objectives

“Before you start advertising, it’s absolutely crucial to know your objectives. You need an end goal to work towards. Ask yourself what success looks like for every Facebook ad campaign you run.”

“Think carefully about what you want to achieve with Facebook advertising. Is it to gain new customers or boost your brand awareness? Define your B2B marketing KPIs before running an ad campaign.”

3 - Manage your budget

“Always take the time to work out the budget for your Facebook ad campaign. A good tactic is to link the budget to your objectives. For example, you can ask yourself: how many B2B leads am I expecting this campaign to bring in, and what will that cost?”

“In general, I’ve found that a good Facebook ad campaign takes about 3 months to become profitable. In the first month, you can expect to spend more and incur slightly higher cost per lead. The second month is all about optimisation and refinement. By the third month, you should have a fully bedded-in and profitable ad campaign.”

4 - Manage your tracking

“Your tracking must be set up before you start advertising. If someone visits your website from a Facebook ad, then you need to be able to track this and start building your remarketing pools.”

“There are many reasons to have good tracking in place. One of the most useful is that it gives you a clear picture of who is engaging with your ads, website content and most importantly return on investment.”

“Your tracking will tell you which audiences you’re reaching, which audiences you’re missing out on and which audiences are driving sales. You can then use those insights to refresh your ads, remarket to those missing audiences and reallocate budget to those campaigns that are generating sales.”

5 - Segment your audiences

“Best practice for Facebook advertising is to segment your audiences based on the B2B marketing funnel. If you’re not sure what this looks like, then you can segment into 3 sections: top, middle and bottom.”

“Different types of ads work best at different points in the funnel. At the top of the funnel, you want to promote your business through content marketing and social channels.”

“At this stage, you want to attract your audience and track them as they move down the funnel. White papers, eBooks and any other content that’s valuable enough for people to part with their data to gain access to is the perfect place to start. ”

“In the middle of the funnel, you want to broaden the scope of your ads and talk to your identified audience about why they should choose your business. These should include trust signals such as case studies and your key USPs.”

“The bottom of the funnel is the place for a more attractive deal. Things like a 10% off discount, a freebie or a 14-day free trial are perfect here. If you don’t have any of those, a demo or a free consultation will do.”

“You can also have a separate segment for existing customers. You can use Facebook ads to promote cross-sell or up-sell opportunities to them.”

“Use your tracking to push your content to the different segments, e.g.: pushing bottom-of-funnel ads to a mid-funnel audience. One thing to note is that your tracking must be mutually exclusive - you want a unique audience in each segment.”

We asked Dean Seddon, CEO at Maverrik, for his top LinkedIn advertising tips. Click the image below for more PPC insights!

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6 - Get creative

“My advice is to be creative and disruptive with your Facebook ads. Some studies have shown that you’ve got 6 seconds to grab people’s attention and get your message across. If it takes any more time than that, then people will simply scroll on by and your ad will be lost.”

“Remember that Facebook isn’t specifically a business social network. If you’re targeting a B2B audience, then it’s unlikely they’ll be in a ‘business mindset’ when they’re browsing Facebook.”

“So you have to create ads that are eye-catching and instantly grab people’s attention. I’ve found that carousel ads can work well if you’ve got multiple products to promote, or a product with several different features. You can have all the products or features in a sequence on the carousel, and then have a CTA at the end.”

7 - Time it right

“There’s always been a lot of discussion about the best times to run a Facebook ad. For B2B, the best days are usually Monday-Friday.”

“However, ever since lockdown was imposed, I’ve noticed people’s behaviours are changing on Facebook. It’s not surprising, since more people are now working from home. My advice is to constantly test and track your ads. Alter them based on your audience’s behaviour and whether they’re working from home or not.”

8 - Try A/B testing

“A/B testing is very important when advertising on Facebook. It’s how you work out which ads perform best. My process is to have 2 ads running simultaneously, aimed at the same audience. The three metrics I focus on are conversion rate, cost per lead and cost per sale.”

“I run the test for 2 weeks minimum. I’ll drop whichever ad fails the test - and carry on running the winner!”

9 - Set up your attributions

“A lot of people miss this, but attribution is an absolutely key part of Facebook advertising. Don’t look at your campaigns in isolation - make sure you’ve got access to Google Analytics and that your UTM parameters are incorporated.”

“When you have all this set up, you can see the impact that your Facebook ads are having on your website and organic traffic. There are many great tools on Google Analytics that PPC marketers often overlook, such as first and last click interactions. Always study the data and make data driven marketing decisions based on that.”

10 - Track your metrics

“The most important metric you should monitor is spend! It can run away very quickly on Facebook advertising.”

“Beyond that, the metrics you track will depend on your KPIs. If increasing brand awareness is your goal, then you should be looking at the clicks your ads are getting, or whether you are seeing an increase in direct or brand traffic.”

“What I like to do is have metrics in place for each stage of the funnel. So, at the top of the funnel, I’ll track impressions to clicks. At mid-funnel, I’ll track the click to lead rate. Finally, at the bottom of the funnel, I’ll look at the lead to sale rate.”

“How often should you track your metrics? Daily, is my answer! Check them every day. See what’s converting and what isn’t. Daily metric tracking means that you can make quick adjustments to your Facebook ads and, hopefully, improve their performance!”

Andrew’s key takeaway

“My number one tip for Facebook advertising is to have your objectives in place before you start. Also, make sure your tracking is set up correctly. If those 2 elements aren’t there, then you can quickly waste budget!”

Cognism’s guide to demand generation

Thanks to Andrew for taking the time to share his PPC knowledge with us! If you would like to talk to Andrew and see how Mission Three60 can help your marketing team flourish, do click here!

Here at Cognism, we have some insights of our own to share. We've published a marketing playbook - Demand Generation: How to create demand that drives growth.

It contains world-class advice on how to...

  • Use growth hacking techniques to scale your business.
  • Attract customers and close deals with content marketing.
  • Track the B2B marketing metrics that matter.

Intrigued? Simply click the image below to get your copy!

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