Facebook Advertising 2017: Plan of Action For Q4: Is Your Business Ready For the Competition?
Social Media is really the only digital channel that allows brand advertisers to target shoppers at every stage of their buying process. Whether they want to get new customers, or re-engage with past ones – Facebook is the hub.
Facebook Consumer Survey 2017
With that being said, when Q4 hits, there will not be any time to test strategies or theories. Retailers who do not have a clear Facebook Ad Strategy leading into Q4 will not be able to maximize their ROI.
Although some of the biggest shopping days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday are months away, retailers should already be testing and gathering data on their audience and building out creative and concise game plans.
In order to help retailers organize, we’ve created the necessary checklist for Facebook advertisers who want to profit from the channel throughout the holiday shopping season.
But before we immerse ourselves in the process, let’s take a closer look at what we learned from our client data in Q4 last year.
What We Learned From Q4 2016:
- Dynamic Ads had the highest ROAS last year. According to our data, we saw 165% higher ROAS for Dynamic Ads than Conversions/Clicks to Website.
- Right side Ad placementsaw an 81% better ROAS (on average) against all other placements. Audience Network also had strong overall return and low CPCs.
- Apart from Dynamic Product Ads,Carousel ads were the most successful ad creative type and lifestyle images were the most successful creative ad style. Although lifestyle images had better ROAS, style should still be taken on a case by case basis, as imagery differs from one brand to another.
- Driving traffic to category pageshas proved to be the best ROAS and highest AOV for our clients.
Tips For Your Q4 Facebook Advertising Strategy
- Rectify Your Call to Actions (CTAs)
Call to Actions create a sense of urgency and duty in your customers prompting them to buy or at least consider buying your product. In Q4, it’s very vital to pair off your products with the right CTAs in order to drive sales (especially with your existing customers).
Call to Action buttons link to any destination on or off Facebook that align with your business goals. Retailers should include a Call to Action (CTA) within the first 90 characters so as to guide customers to their preferable path (the path they want their customers to take).
For example: “Check out our latest Sale! All items 50% off!”
Page administrators (admins) can also choose from a group of Call to Action buttons, such as Shop Now or Sign Up, to add to the top of their Page.
The seven calls to action available are:
- Book Now
- Contact Us
- Use App
- Play Game
- Shop Now
- Sign Up
- Watch Video
Plan of Action:
- Test various CTAs with your target audience (starting NOW through October)
- Identify 2 to 5 successful CTAs that you will hence forth rotate throughout your Dynamic Ad Campaigns during Q4
- Allocate Budget Properly
Once you’ve established the winning CTAs, focus your time and energy on shifting spend among your ad sets and segments that perform the best from your catalog in terms of conversion.
Testing done prior to execution allows advertisers to focus on the very crucial second stage of their strategy: to move budgets accordingly as opposed to figuring out what CTA to use and wasting valuable advertising money in the critical Q4 period.
Statistics gathered from the performance of Campaign Segments (against the same creative) can help advertisers make informed decisions on where to allocate spend based on the metric they are trying to drive (For example: ROI vs. Traffic vs. CTR).
Plan of Action:
- Start your budget planning early
- As conversion statistics roll in, shift daily budgets to segments that perform better in terms of conversion
- Plan ahead and be prepared for high volume shopping days (Black Friday / Cyber Monday)
You are fundamentally starting off with an even budget across all your ads, and as you begin to see some ads perform better or worse, you will want to shift the budget suitably.
If one of your ads is performing well – you would then proceed to extend the reach of that ad, giving it more money to spend in order to get a better return on your investment. On flip-side, if you see a poor CTR, then you want to draw money away from that ad as it’s not giving you the return you need.
By shifting the budget around, you really give your ads the opportunity to get in front of more people and drive a better conversion rate and hence automatically leading to better ROI.
How To Prepare Your Q4 Facebook Advertising Budget
- Focusing on Your Audience Targeting
An ad is only as effective as the person viewing it perceives it to be. Your copy may be perfect, the imagery portrayed vivid and attention grabbing, you could have the highest bid and an outstanding relevance score. Yet none of that really matters if it’s being read by the wrong audience.
Custom Audiences on Facebook assist in making sure your ads are placed in front of the right people. Whether it’s targeting existing customers or putting together a group of prospective buyers, Custom Audiences on Facebook simplify the process of marketing toward specified groups with scalable ads.
We have seen Amazon jump into Product level display ads carousel extensively in the previous year. Amazon increased the cost per impression for everyone–we can expect more retailers to follow their lead. Which means it is even more important, now more than ever, to be tuned in with your audience.
Plan of Action:
- Start testing audiences (NOW through October) so that you are aware which demographic and interest target(s) work best for you.
- Then, build a Lookalike Audience off email addresses and layer in the best performing interest and demographics.
Lookalike Audiences: This is one of the most interesting options in Custom Audiences on Facebook. This audience type does not entail to Custom Audiences alone, yet they allow advertisers to target consumers who mirror or look similar to former or already existing customers they might have.
An Overview of Custom Audiences on Facebook
How to properly prune and create those Custom Audiences you ask? Well there are two axis’s you should concern yourself with–the frequency and the recency of a preceding purchase.
Recency could vary depending on the product you sell. Firstly you have to create a matrix with people who have never purchased, those have purchased once, and those who have purchased thrice or more, then couple that with the recency of those purchases.
For retailers with longer latency periods, there is power in creating Lookalike Audiences using the information you already have.
Facebooks algorithm is simply amazing. If you insert a sample size, they can use it to search for individuals who look like your VIPs (most frequent/recent buyers). However it is up to you to create campaigns that draw them into that funnel.
- Implement A/B & Split Testing Strategies
Facebook does a splendid job of providing retailers a way to build from top-of-funnel to bottom-of-funnel with their various objectives (if used correctly). This will also enable you to learn a great deal about your target audience along with what type of messaging resonates best with them.
For example: Lifetime Value Customers (LTV) might respond well to a carousel ad, but your new customers might convert better by means of Dynamic Ads or Video link ads.
Plan of Action:
- Now you should start with simple A or B testing to improve your ROI
A/B testing your Facebook ads can radically affect your ad performance. And having it over and done with before the Holidays means you will definitely skip out on the headache of guessing whether something’s wrong with your ad copy or your audience when ads fail around the middle of December.
- You should also implement Split Testing for additional insights
Similar to A/B testing, Facebook Split Testing provides advertisers present on the platform, the option of implementing different versions of their ads in order to see what works best and how to optimize campaigns for better results moving forward.
The Ultimate Guide to Facebook Split Testing
Facebook Split Testing has immense potential and cane prove to be an extremely useful tool for advertisers. While it’s similar to A/B testing, the value that Split Testing entails and offers should definitely not be overlooked.
If you wanted to have anything tested previously, you would’ve had to either create different ad sets that had the same audience in it, or create entirely separate ads; and there was no way of being certain of any overlaps that may have existed.
Now, thankfully, instead of having to experiment with multiple groups against various different sets of creative, or something along those lines, you are literally splitting an audience in half! The users in your groups are completely different people and there is no chance of overlap whatsoever. It is a true A/B test.
- Maximize CRM Audiences in order to Attract Repeat Buyers
The customer is already a retailer’s most valuable asset in play. This is due to the fact that these buyers/customers have bought from the retailer before, so the retailer likely has their shipping and credit card information stored, which means a repeated purchase is far more likely as a probable outcome.
Advertisers should lean heavily on their CRM list, and build that up whilst leading into Q4. These customers have figuratively raised their hands and shown interest in your brand, so if you have promotions going on, you’ll have a better chance of reengage with them.
Plan of Action:
- You should use special deals and promotions so as to turn repeat buyers into VIP buyers. It does not however work in favor of each and every type of vertical–but for giftable products, it is most definitely extremely valuable.
- You also have to target cart abandoners with ads. Shoppers are constantly facing distractions while shopping online, and it’s easy to abandon the cart, especially on a mobile checkout. Cart abandoners are going to be low-hanging fruit, so make sure to take advantage of those opportunities.
- Geo-targeting & Device Segmentation
Utilizing Geo-targeting, coupled with device segmentation & Dynamic Ads gives retailers the facility needed to target potential & past customers.
For example: a user that views a product on the website can now be retargeted with that specific product when that person is within proximity of the physical store.
Plan of Action:
- You have to use Local business promotions to find new customers by showing ads to groups of people who are near your business’s neighborhood.
- And remember to create a promotion from your Facebook Page via the Promote button on the left side of your Page. Set a budget, choose a photo and create an engaging message for the people in your area.
- Offer Discounts & Promotions:
Promotions have more often than not, performed significantly better than full price messages throughout 2016. On an average scale, ads featuring a promotion on Facebook saw an 87% higher ROAS, 51% increase in CTR, and 31% decrease in CPC.
Typically, site wide promotions have performed well, as they do not confine or coax the customers into purchasing only a specific item type. This makes targeting easier, as consumers may not necessarily be in the market for specific items.
Plan of Action:
- Take a look at people who are already on your loyalty program–your VIP buyers–and through the given data provide offers and discounts
If you are already sending most of your deals via the use of E-mail, remember that Social Media and E-mail are often referred to as cousins, if not brother and sister. E-mail is grand if you can reach the customers inbox, but you are definitely at a high risk of getting into the spam box instead. A high percentage of emails get ignored or filtered out. Social Media however, allows you to get in front of consumers who already have some extent of loyalty for your brand.
- Lead With Your Best Creative
On an average (according to our client data), Facebook CPCs increased by 78%, in 2016. Surprisingly enough, CPMs did not increase as had been expected, rather there was an influx of ads and promotions leading to the more expensive CPCs.
So what can advertisers do in order to reduce CPCs in 2017?
According to our experts, one of the most crucial aspects would be to make your ads stand out and implement your best creative, promos and text overlays. Put immense though when it comes to what is going to make your ad stand out among your competitors.
Plan of Action:
- You have to analyze and hence utilize what has worked well for you in the past and repurpose (images, copy, and product types) against new audiences.
- Leveraging Your Mobile Traffic
Previous Holiday season, Facebook saw mobile conversions growing from 45% to 53% of total online conversions. This had continued starting from the 2015 Holiday till the 2016 Holiday.
Due to the undeniable fact that the majority of the traffic on Facebook comes through mobile, retailers have to carefully consider and analyze mobile buying behaviors in relation to Facebook, and focus more towards attribution.
Most of the existing ad traffic for Facebook starts on mobile, but many conversions tend to end via another source elsewhere. It is very vital to know where Facebook mobile resides within your customer’s journey.
Although Mobile drives the lowest CPCs, it does not necessarily drive the highest ROI (at least not yet).
Regardless of this, mobile is still a highly exceptional method to getting surplus amounts of traffic/eyeballs on your site and be able to reengage those people through desktop ads.
Plan of Action:
- You have to make sure your website is optimized for mobile traffic and conversions.
- And also be sure to break out your ad set placements in order to optimize and direct your spend towards mobile.
- Lastly make sure that your creative and copy is optimized for mobile viewing (i.e. shortened copy, readable overlays, shortened headlines).