Choosing Your Facebook Advertising Method

by Monica Lay

posted on 06-27-2016

Not sure where to begin with Facebook® advertising? A critical part of the digital marketing mix, brands with optimal ad strategies reap the benefits by having their messages seen by people who meet specific targeting criteria. However, with newsfeed ads, boosted posts, and more, implementing an effective advertising strategy can be daunting. Success depends, in large part, on choosing the right objectives and ad types that can be optimized toward conversion goals. How do you pick a Facebook advertising method that delivers? Here are some quick tips to help make sense of advertising on Facebook for fail-proof social-media marketing.

Align Goals With the Right Objective
Before creating an ad on Facebook, you’ll need to choose a specific “advertising objective.” Currently, there are 13 objectives to choose from, each designed to serve a different purpose. Think about what you want people to do when they see your ads. Are you looking to raise awareness for your brand, or do you want to drive more direct actions like website clicks or video views? Objectives are specific, and Facebook optimizes your ad according to the objective you choose. Be clear about what it is you’re looking to achieve and pick the right Facebook objective for the best results — whether it’s post engagement, website clicks, lead generation, video views, or any other objective!

Boosted Posts Are Optimized Toward Engagement
After picking an advertising objective, you still need to select a specific ad type. Boosted posts are one of the most popular ad strategies offered by Facebook — often, social-media managers think they are also a smart way to improve organic reach. After all, boosting a well-performing post means more eyes on your content, which should equal more clicks to your website and more conversions, right? Not necessarily. Boosted posts are optimized toward engagement (likes, shares, and comments) but not designed to promote actions such as filling out a form or downloading an e-book. If you want to drive specific actions, pick Facebook ad types that aim toward conversion goals.

A recent test, conducted by Adobe and Thermo Fisher Scientific, compared a few different ad types — a newsfeed ad versus a boosted post and a newsfeed ad versus a carousel ad — to see which type achieved better results for reach and engagement. For each test, simple ads were created using the same image, copy, targeted audience, and spend. Each ad ran for a seven-day period.

In the first test, the newsfeed ad had 101 percent more reach than the boosted post. The results were similar for impressions, with nearly 200 percent more on the newsfeed ad than the boosted post. On the other hand, since the boosted post is optimized for engagement, it’s safe to assume that it performed better than a newsfeed ad for likes, shares, and comments — and it did. The boosted post delivered 80 percent more engagements than the newsfeed ad. Bottom line? Make sure your objective is aligned with the ad strategy you choose. If increasing reach is your advertising objective, boosted posts may not be the best strategy.

Choose Ad Types That Optimize Toward Conversion Goals
In the test, the primary objective of the newsfeed ad was to drive traffic to the website, and a secondary objective was to fill out a form and make a purchase. With 3,000 percent higher website clicks than the boosted post, the newsfeed ad delivered. What’s more, once users arrived at the site, the ad accumulated 604 percent more page views and 100 percent more forms filled out over the boosted post.

When the carousel ad was tested against the boosted post, the results were similar. The carousel ad reached 81 percent more users than the boosted post, with 31 percent higher impressions. Unsurprisingly, the boosted post delivered 69 percent more engagements than the carousel ad. However, in this comparison test, the carousel ad achieved an incredible 1,400 percent increase for website clicks over the boosted post. For conversion goals (filling out a form, downloading, etc.), the results were 500 percent higher when the carousel ad ran. The takeaway? If you’re advertising on Facebook to drive specific results — whether capturing leads or making sales — choose the right objective from the beginning and then choose ad types that can be optimized toward conversion goals.

In Summary
There’s no magic bullet with Facebook advertising — the ads that drive results are always the best. However, if you define your business goals from the beginning, and choose objectives and ad types that align, it’s much easier to optimize toward specific conversion goals. With robust audience targeting and enhanced testing capabilities, Facebook is a powerful advertising platform and a smart way to secure a better return on your advertising investment.

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Topics: Advertising, Social