SMX Seattle

9 Ways to Improve Your Facebook & Instagram Advertising from SMX Seattle

I am always a tad dubious when it comes to conferences and whether you learn anything, but wow, I learnt so much from SMX Seattle and couldn’t wait to action learnings on my clients (Jaye will be thankful we spent her profits on something worthwhile)!

It was also great hearing I am doing things right! There’s so much I learnt but I’m going to focus mainly on Facebook & Instagram advertising which was a hot topic. Here are some key takeaways on what we’re doing which were highlighted at SMX Seattle:

Instagram Stories – the uglier the better!

Instagram specific advert stories which are fairly new to Instagram are seeing some great results! I’ve been trialling some ‘instagram polls’ with some clients and the engagement is great.

However, those brand guidelines go out of the window a little bit (sorry brand guardians). I mean that talking dog gif with sunglasses… yeah people love it! What I am trying to say is make your advert look organic and not too pristine, customers want something real and the less ‘stocky’ image, the better. Get on instagram story adverts like it was yesterday!

Attribution – oh gawd!

As marketers, it’s our biggest challenge, especially when Facebook likes to count everything under the sun! Yes social advertisers, you know what I’m talking about! However, there was talk of a tool (I was gloating at this point because I already use it). It’s called Facebook attribution and it brings in all your data sources, you can select different attribution models and time frames, it’s SUPER COOL! Get it set up asap as it takes a while for the data to come in! You don’t need to be using Facebook ads to use it either.

If you’re looking at Facebook and other marketing channels separately, then stop. They work together! What if someone clicked a Facebook advert, did not convert and then clicked a Google remarketing ad, what worked? The Facebook ad or the Google Ad? THEY BOTH DID! Everything is connected and you need to be looking at customer journeys in detail to understand the path to purchase. Companies that look at marketing channels separately will lose.

Let Facebook learn guys!

Have you turned off your Facebook campaign after a week because it wasn’t converting? Well that was a bit silly, don’t do that! Facebook is a machine and like any machine learning, it takes time to learn. Every time you change something in a campaign, you’re giving Facebook a signal that it’s working or isn’t working.

Secondly think about how long it takes your customer to purchase something, do you book a holiday straight away? No, most of the time you don’t, so don’t switch it off so quickly and this leads on to my next point:

Why are you even focusing on conversions bro?

We don’t know exactly how the Facebook algorithms work but if you select conversions as your objective, we think Facebook will show your ads to the people that tend to convert off Facebook rather than your ideal person. A conversion objective is the most expensive objective you can choose on Facebook.

A lot of companies make a mistake by choosing conversions as their objectives for all campaigns and I’ll explain why this isn’t the best strategy.

Let’s say I am a package holiday provider. I have my remarketing audiences set up in Facebook and I have also created some new audiences to target. These new audiences I want to target don’t know who I am yet, they don’t care about by brand yet, they are in the top of the sales funnel so they’re really unlikely to convert straight away. Therefore, why would I choose the ‘conversion’, most expensive objective to target them?

For these new audiences, choose a cheaper objective such as brand awareness or reach. Make them aware of your brand first (a much cheaper targeting option) before trying to get them to convert straight away. If they convert in this campaign it’s a bonus, if they don’t convert straight away but are interested, they will go into Facebook remarketing anyway. Facebook remarketing is where you should use the ‘conversion objective’ as they are at the bottom of the sales funnel and more likely to convert – so it’s worth the higher bidding.

By separating your top and lower sales funnel out into different campaigns and adjusting your objectives you should be able to bring your CPA’s down. Now obviously every industry and campaigns are different and will require different strategies but really think about what your objectives are before pressing that publish button.

Sucks to be you, UK!

GDPR came up a lot in Seattle, they’re loving programmatic advertising over there and their different segmenting options within it (I got showed a demo of one, and wow, it was terrifying who they could target)! They were seeing some great results from the detailed targeting.

Unfortunately (or not) we can’t be as targeted because of GDPR. However, California already have the CCPA so I don’t think it’s long before the rest of America joins in and goes down the GDPR route.

Creativity is king

Agencies or in-house depts with a great creative department will be the winners. There is so much noise out there that you need to stand out. I have also found putting the keywords from my landing page in the ad works really well – test this out. Put effort into your creatives, test, test, test and make them a priority, not an afterthought.

Facebook used to be ‘easy’

Remember when Facebook ads came out, wasn’t it awesome! The results we got were amazing, it was new and shiny and we could really stand out! However, now that huge numbers of companies use Facebook Ads, a lot of the agencies in America have found that their lookalike audiences are no longer working and are having to pick 2-3% matches, at the moment, I am finding my 1% still work great. Is the US getting to saturation point and are we going to find ourselves there too? Time will tell.

Facebook want people to stay on the platform, therefore if your advert isn’t great, it’s going to prioritise another advert, probably one of your competitors. The hay days are over and it’s time to be creative.

Let the machine do it for you

Facebook is investing heavily into its ad platform, take advantage of their new features, dynamic creatives are working really well. Let it do the learning for you so you can focus on strategy.

Your competitors are not your competitors

You think you know all your competitors? No, I don’t think you do. Facebook ads can be really great for startups, they can target the biggies but the biggies can’t target the little ones!

What you also have to remember is that consumers compare you not only against your own industry but against others. If I have a seamless transaction with a retail client, I expect the same seamless experience with a travel client despite the fact they are in a different industry. However, UX is a whole other story for another time!

That’s it from me!