On the surface, advertising on Facebook seems simple. But it’s not. It only works when it’s part of a well-developed marketing strategy that has clearly outlined goals, a well-defined sales funnel, and a deep understanding of customers.

Facebook advertising cannot be explained in its entirety because it’s not static. If you’re reading a step-by-step guide on Facebook Ad tactics that’s a year old, it’s out of date.

If you’ve dabbled in Facebook advertising for your business, chances are you were disappointed. Most novice efforts fail because people don’t understand the scope of the work or know how to scale their campaigns to leverage data.

Facebook ads principle #1

One of the most important principles to understand about Facebook Ads is that your strategy must build around a sales funnel.

A lot of business owners new to Facebook Ads think they can create and deliver ads in a way similar to direct-response mailer or coupon. In fact, many novices design their ads like a coupon, with a limited-time special offer, super sale, or discount code. They’re hoping for one-and-done campaign that directly delivers a transaction.

Any type of ad you put on Facebook is interruptive. It pushes its way into a person’s feed, between pictures of the cousin’s kids, cat memes, and the latest news.

Because of this, your ads have to appear native to the platform, especially during top of funnel engagement. If you’re targeting someone who’s never heard of you before, it’s your responsibility to tap into their interests. You’re on their turf.

First is that the upper part of your funnel will focus on engagement, prospecting, and audience building. Initially, you run campaigns that target engagement, test the effectiveness of your content, and build out trackable audience lists. Your goals early on are awareness and demand generation.

The lower part of your funnel will focus on lead acquisition and transactions. Now you use retargeting and lookalike audiences so your ad sets are highly targeted. You’re using ads and content with a track record of success. You can invest more in these campaigns because your return on ad spend (ROAS) is likely to be much higher.

Facebook ads principle #2: Marketing Through Machine Learning

When you create an ad set, you set demographic targets, such as gender, age, and location. You also signify interests, such as people who like cooking or follow conservative talk show hosts.

Then you set a goal, such as getting a like, watching a video, or clicking through to your website to make a purchase.

During this phase, Facebook is analyzing and determining who is most likely to take the action you’ve set-up in your goal.

Facebook, as we know, has an incredible amount of data on its users. Intimate details about people’s interests, behaviors, and decision-making patterns. The algorithm correlates this data and targets your ads, person by person.

The algorithm optimizes your campaign with speed and accuracy that’s impossible to do manually. It’s terrific technology, but there are several important things to be aware of.

Facebook ads principle #3

This principle really applies to marketing in general, but it’s so vital with Facebook ads it needs to be addressed specifically.

On Facebook, you either really need to know the niche you’re trying to communicate with or you need to be running campaigns with the goal of learning about that niche.

Many advertisers obsess over persuasion and conversions, but on Facebook you also have to focus on affinity and connection. Before you can sell, you have to be social.

On Facebook, you want your ads to be part of the conversation, particularly when targeting engagement goals. But you can only really be part of that conversation if you speak in a social tone.

Facebook ads principle #4: Develop Fresh and Creative Ad Variations

Facebook users put demands on you as an advertiser. They expect ads to be personable and interesting. If they’re product-based, they better be about products the person is in the market for.

Your content must also stay fresh. You can’t just create a few ads sets and run them forever. If you do, you’ll run into the problem of ad fatigue. People will tire of seeing the same content from you and they’ll start skipping it. When that happens, Facebook stops showing it.

The user’s attention is the product on Facebook. They don’t charge people to use the platform, so they charge advertisers to get a piece of that attention.

Facebook wants users to come back to the platform (in fact, they prefer that people rarely leave) which involves a couple of basics.

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