It’s amazing how many people give up on Facebook ads because of sucky first-round results and an unwillingness to test.
In fact, every advertiser I’ve spoken to has admitted to turning off at least one campaign because it didn’t work immediately (myself included). But it’s no surprise really.
Because when money is involved — we all get squirrely and tend to second-guess our work. And given that most people’s ad results are initially disappointing, it’s no wonder there are so many cases of Facebook ad “failures”.
But of course, it’s the unwillingness to test that leads to ultimate failure. Not the ad itself.
It’s not failure; it’s testing
The biggest challenge with Facebook ads is not creating a perfectly positioned and well-crafted offer — it’s accepting that you're paying to learn.
A difficult mindset shift to make (especially because money is involved).
But it is only through testing and optimization that you’ll be able to secure ANY kind of return on your investment. So adopting an experimental mindset is pivotal to your success.
When you’re brand new at advertising, you should look at your first few hundred dollars as a street MBA — the fastest and cheapest school of hard knocks ad direct-marketing education you can get. It’s not theory; it’s live marketing combat. Only after you've acquired some experience should you expect to be profitable. — Perry Marshall
That's why, when your first round of results come in, you have to remind yourself that it’s not a failure, it’s testing. And that getting it wrong (so that you can eventually get it right) is just part of the process.
Start simple or risk overwhelm
The key to getting started with ad-optimization is limiting yourself to testing one (significant) element at a time.
Starting with one thing will simplify your testing strategy and help you avoid overwhelming yourself (a paralyzing side-effect of testing too many things at once).
For your first experiment you want to focus on a primary element of your ad:
- your targeting
- your image
- your copy, or
- your lead magnet.
And then create a split test to see which version your audience responds to more. From there, you can continue testing each element to determine your most effective approach.
Once you get the hang of optimization, you’ll feel more confident having multiple tests running at once and be able to flesh out your testing strategy. And when you reach this stage, you can consider a tool like AdEspresso — to automate, organize and simplify the process.
But for now, since you're just getting started, it's imperative that you keep your optimization strategy simple and allow yourself a budget to test.
Establish how much you are willing to invest
To avoid overspending (and dampen the discomfort of testing with your money) — set yourself a spending limit.
An allocated budget will make it easier to push forward (and keep testing) if your initial results are discouraging.
It must be a figure that you can afford (and are willing) to lose. But in reality, it's an investment in a valuable learning process.
You can get started with as little as $100 for your first ad test. This will get you enough data to test your market and see if your offer works with your target audience. But be warned — you will not be able to leverage the full power of paid advertising with a measly $100.
To get the most of your ads, you need the financial runway to test, tweak and optimize your campaign so that it will deliver excellent results, every time you turn it on.
And to do that — I suggest having a budget of at least $1,000. This will allow you to maximize your results and double down on the offer (and the positioning) that works best for your business.
Remember, the beauty of paid ads is that you can stop anytime. If something isn’t working (or your financial position changes), you can hit pause on your campaign and turn it back on when you’re ready to try again.
Examining Your Results: Here’s what to measure first
Once your Facebook ad starts producing results — you have to analyze your data before you can begin your first test.
But what metric should you focus on first?
The key metric we want to focus on is your click-through rate or CTR.
You want to make sure your ad is producing at least a 1% click-through rate. That means of every 100 people who see your ad, at least one clicks the specific ad.
Below are the results from a recent test I ran.
You can see the CTR was 2.37%. An excellent indication that it’s a market worth pursuing.
And with some further tweaking and testing (using the CTR as my key metric), I’ll be able to generate more traffic — from the same amount of impressions — at a lower cost per click.
Which is surprisingly simple to do…
Focus on these four elements to optimize your offer
By making a few small, strategic changes to your ad — you can dramatically increase your CTR; significantly improving the quality of your traffic and driving down your cost per click all in one hit.
Here are four things you can test to boost your ad performance.
1. Test your targeting
It’s much easier to achieve high engagement with a small, defined audience than with a large, broad audience.
If you’re struggling to achieve a CTR of 1% or higher, consider breaking your large audience down into several smaller “micro-audiences”.
Segmenting by age, sex and location are simple and very effective for doing this.
Here are a few questions to consider about your targeting…
- Are you reaching the right people? Do they care about your offer?
- How big is your audience size? Is it specific enough?
- Can you use demographics to narrow your audience size?
- Have you taken advantage of the audience inclusion and exclusion options?
- How can you define your audience more by their interests?
2. Test your image
If your ad is being ignored, it could be because your image isn’t captivating
A great image can double, triple or 10x your click-through rate, so it’s essential that you test a variety of different options to find a top performer.
Try to make your initial split tests big and bold. You'll get a better idea of what works and what doesn't when you’re testing something more significant than a simple change in font.
Here are a few questions to consider about your image…
- Does it evoke any kind of emotion or feeling about the problem you solve?
- Does it resonate with your audience? Why or why not?
- Does it stand out from the rest of the news feed? Is it colorful, eye-catching?
- What are some high-impact variables you can change and test? (eg. color, text, image subject)
3. Test your ad text and headline
You already know that the most effective ads speak directly to their target audience.
So you must use your customer's language when crafting your copy (which is remarkably easy to do when you’re thinking of one specific person).
If your ad isn't getting any clicks, your words might be falling flat — so consider a few of these questions to improve your approach…
- Is your copy reflective of your ideal client? Why or why not?
- Is your lead magnet headline benefit driven?
- Are you using any qualitative data to convey your message?
- Is your USP or value proposition being highlighted? Is it clear what it is?
- Are your customer's pain points central to your messaging?
4. Test your lead magnet
If your target audience isn’t responding to your ad (even after you test your image, your copy, and your targeting)— it could be that what you’re offering isn’t something they want.
Or, it could be that…
- You’ve botched the packaging of your offer
- Your positioning is off and not attracting who you want
- Your headline isn’t as irresistible as you thought
To get to the bottom of why your lead magnet isn’t performing, ask yourself:
- Is it something your target market finds valuable? Why or why not?
- Does it solve a problem they have? What is that problem?
- Are you offering a simple enough solution? Or does it feel “too hard”?
- Does it provide a guaranteed result for your audience? How long does it take to see this result?
At this point — I would also suggest asking ten people in your target market whether they would “opt-in” to receive your lead magnet. This kind of direct feedback can be invaluable for redefining the positioning and packaging of your offer (or scrapping it completely).
(In the first post of this series, we talked about how to craft an irresistible lead magnet for a specific audience — you can revisit that post here)
Don’t forget this critical next step
Testing the ad itself is a great way to drive down your cost per click and boost your click-through rate.
But it’s important to remember that your ad is only one part of your funnel.
There are four other parts of your lead generation system:
- your lead form
- your Thank You page
- your delivery email, and
- your follow-up and conversion campaign
And they all contribute to how well you convert your new leads into clients.
Once you’ve tested your ad to increase your CTR (past 1%), you should take a look at the rest of your sales funnel. And focus on improving your client conversion rate and streamlining your process.
- Are subscribers opening the email you send when you deliver their lead magnet?
- Are you following up with a qualifying question or more helpful content? Are you using an autoresponder for this?
- Do your new subscribers enter into an automated sales campaign? At what point do you send them your sales pitch?
- How will you keep your audience engaged and entertained? Do you have an ongoing email strategy?
- Have you automated the repetitive steps in your funnel? Can you use a tool to do something you’re currently doing?
Use your data and your deep knowledge of your audience to help improve each step of your system. So that every time you turn on your Facebook ad — you’re guaranteed to score a new client.
Cracking the optimization code is the key to Facebook ads
Success with advertising requires an experimental mindset and a flexible approach.
If your ad doesn’t produce the results you want; you can’t look at it as a failure, you have to think of it as an experiment that didn’t work. And be willing to test and try again to create a better outcome.
Over time, through the process of testing and eliminating poor-performing ads, you’ll create a campaign that allows you to generate fast results, more leads and more sales at a lower average cost.
Unfortunately, this critical optimization stage is one that many new advertisers avoid. And as a result — their campaigns fail.
But yours doesn't have to…
You can avoid wasting your time and money with Facebook ads by:
- Adopting an experimental mindset
- Setting yourself a realistic budget
- Focusing on boosting your click-through rate first
- Testing one single (and significant) element at a time
And if you schedule a time each week to create some simple split tests (instead of giving up and thinking your ad has failed), you can begin to boost your results.
P.S. To save yourself time and keep your Facebook ad project on track — download this free four-week guide + checklist: How to Create Your First Facebook Ad from Scratch (no email required)
P.P.S. Check out the previous lessons in this series below.
Previous lessons in this series: