Facebook Ads is one of the most lucrative advertising platforms for businesses to scale and a cool skill to be a master at. Easy to learn and understand, budget-friendly ad costs, detailed targetting to customers and specific data for analysis are some of the many reasons that make Facebook Ads the top social media advertising platform.
For anyone starting out to becoming Digital Marketers, especially a Facebook Advertiser, it’s really exciting to get hands-on with the dashboard, create your first campaign, playing around with audience settings, creating that first ad, and finally publishing it to see results coming.
But, amidst this urge of execution in a hurry, most newbie marketers, and even so-called experts skip a very important step before hitting that ‘Create’ button.
Advertising has always been a creative skill. And by creativity, it’s not just about design or the language. A major part of the creative process that goes behind any advertising campaign is the ‘strategy’.
The right strategic mindset is something that will make or break your Facebook Advertising efforts.
Also, there’s a perception that strategy is a one-time activity. Well, it’s not! The strategy is a process.
And in case of Facebook Ads, I’ll share with you the two-pillar strategies that you must follow before and during the time you run Facebook Ads-
a. Mapping the Customer’s Journey
(This is what you do before starting a Facebook Advertising Campaign)
b. Funnel Based Minimal Ad Structure
(This strategic ritual is what you must always follow while you run your Facebook Advertising Campaigns.)
Now that you have gotten introduced to the two main pillars of this article, let’s dive deeper into each of them.
A. Customer Journey Mapping
Before you put in any money in Facebook advertising, you need to make sure what journey the customer will go through in your funnel before achieving the final desirable business goal.
When it comes to a digital sales funnel, the customer journey prominently consists of different web pages, landing pages, sales pages, etc.
Let us consider an e-commerce funnel. Here is a typical journey of a user before they purchase the end product.
(Product Page) ➡ (Cart Page) ➡ (Checkout Page) ➡ (Order Confirmation Page)
The first step towards customer journey mapping in the e-commerce sales funnel is to identify where the problem lies.
Here is an analogy to give you an idea of how to identify the problematic place in your funnel.
Assume 10,000 users visited the product. Out of these, 6000 people added to the cart, 3500 initiated checkout, and only 150 people made a purchase!
As you might have already noticed that the numbers were going great until the checkout page, but a huge dropoff is observed since a very low number of users eventually purchased.
This is where you know that the preceding stage of the funnel is where the problem is, i.e, the checkout page.
Now that you know where the major problem is, it is time to evaluate that page using a process called ‘Heuristic Analysis’ based on the below five psychological parameters-
Check whether there is anything that is causing a sense of fear in the user which is resulting in a lot of users not completing a purchase. Do a group analysis and list down all such possible reasons so that you can eliminate them along with the fear that comes with it.
Here are some possible scenarios that may cause fear in the user on the checkout page:
- No trust badges and payment gateway badges on the checkout page.
- Inconsistent branding leading to a lack of trust before making a payment.
An objection is a sign of unexpected or undesirable user experience. There are times when the user on a page is uncomfortable due to certain information, certain features, etc., that create lots of objections in the user. Here are some examples:
- Too many additional charges inflating the product price.
- Mismatch in expectations from the previous page to the current page in terms of product, pricing, etc.
This is one of the major reasons why users turn off from a page while they are in their customer journey in the sales funnel.
You might have incorporated changes and added features in expectation of better results and a better conversion rate. But little do you anticipate that how those features could actually act like distractions for your users.
You will understand this better by following examples:
- Unnecessary pop-ups that tend to offer discounts, vouchers, and sometimes even ask to signup for a newsletter.
- Top bar notifications that might visually hinder the user’s experience and also the usability on the page
- Live chat notifications are meant to generate leads but are prompting at the wrong time for the user.
These features might be extremely great to employ on your site. But you need to understand when it becomes an asset and when it becomes a distraction that hampers user experience.
Doubts occur when a user tries to set the right expectations. No matter what you sell and how you sell, the users will have a lot of expectations with what they will receive after they make a payment.
To understand this better, here are different doubts that you can clear away in your customer journey and the sales funnel:
- “Will I receive the same product as they show in the adverts and web images?”
- “Will I get an after-sales service once I make a purchase”?
- “Does this shipping time and the shipping charges make sense?”
No matter what, users will have a lot of questions in their customer journey. The purpose of these questions can be to gain more information or clear their doubts.
In order to make these number of questions least as possible, you need to make sure you prepare a detailed questionnaire for each page and make changes to each page that clearly answers all the possible questions.
This can be done by:
- Writing a detailed product description, showing a video that demonstrates product use, etc.
- Leveraging user-generated content by providing a dedicated reviews section.
- Use of live-chat integration only when necessary to answer user’s questions live, etc.
Once you have done a thorough heuristic analysis of your entire funnel, you have properly done the customer journey mapping and have definitely improved your conversion rate and eased the journey of a customer.
Make a habit of doing this exercise every time you design and develop a funnel and before starting to send traffic to it with paid advertising.
B. Funnel Based Minimal Ad Structure.
One of the rooky mistakes that amateurs and even many expert facebook advertisers are seen committing is haphazardly creating and killing ad campaigns without a structured strategy in advertising.
When we say the term ‘funnel’ in Facebook advertising, we must also understand the crux of what it means what it again takes us back to the basics of the customer journey.
Before any user makes a purchase in your sales funnel, there are two types of journeys that they go through:
- Physical Customer Journey: This is the one we have discussed in the former part of this article that consists of different pages, media, etc.
- Psychological Customer Journey: This is a holistic way to look at a user’s interaction journey with your brand before they become your paying customers.
Of course, you can always do direct-sales advertising, but that’s not an ideal approach. In order to gain a customer with a higher lifetime value, you need to make the user acquainted with your brand with different psychological touchpoints.
Hence, in order to put this into action while running Facebook Advertising, you have to create campaigns according to your overall sales funnel and not run random campaigns hoping for quick but short term results.
Keep your campaigns minimum but strictly adhering to the principle where you distinguish your campaigns based on what kind of psychological touchpoint the user will interact with.
Here are the major three campaign recommendations that you should structure while running Facebook Ads:
1. TOF (Top of the Funnel) Campaign:
If you try and visualize a real funnel, you know how the top part of it looks like. It is the broadest in scale and the same is the context used in marketing and advertising terms.
The goal of TOF campaigns is to reach and acquire as many prospects to get them into your funnel and increase the affinity with your brand.
The goal of these campaigns is not necessarily to sell your product but introduce to them your brand, your product, and basically anything that makes the prospect aware of you.
Here are some technical recommendations while running TOF campaigns in Facebook Ads-
- Set up campaigns with objectives such as Traffic, Video Views, and in some cases such as e-commerce, you can go for Conversion campaigns too.
- Preferably make use of videos as creatives coupled with other media alternatives. The reason you must use videos is to get an additional data metric of ‘views’ into your pixel, which you can later use to effectively retarget in MOF campaigns.
- Once you have an ample amount of traffic, pixel data, and customer data in the backend, consider creating Lookalike Audiences, which are similar to cold audiences but more likely to become your customers.
- The aim here is to create awareness, introduce your product and brand, and begin the user’s relationship with you. So make sure your advertising message is well crafted and communicated keeping that into consideration.
2. MOF (Middle of the Funnel) Campaign:
Now that a lot of users have seen and interacted with your Facebook and Instagram advertisements with multiple touchpoints and various forms of engagement, your pixel has collected relevant data for you to re-appear in front of the users that haven’t taken the desired action you want.
This will include all the users who have interacted with your Facebook and Instagram ads in some way or the other but still haven’t purchased yet. Below are all the technical recommendations while setting up your MOF campaigns in Facebook Ads:
- Unlike TOF campaigns where you use interests and demographics to target users, you have to create ‘Custom Audiences’ in the MOF campaign which are based on the different actions users have taken on our ads.
- Here are different custom audiences you must definitely make use of while running MOF retargeting ads-
- All website visitors who did not purchase in the last 30, 60, and 90 days
- All users who viewed your TOF video up to 50%, 75%, 95%, 100%, and a minimum of 3 seconds.
- All users who visited your Facebook page or interacted with any post/ad on Facebook in the last 30, 60, and 90 days.
- All users who visited your Instagram page or interacted with any post/ad on Instagram in the last 30, 60, and 90 days.
- In the context of e-commerce, a great way to create a custom audience is of all the users who visited your website, viewed the product page, added to cart, initiated checkout but have not purchased. You can segment these as individual audiences and craft your advertising message accordingly.
- Craft your marketing message keeping into consideration what previous interaction you are retargeting the user from. For example, if you are retargeting people who reached the cart page but have not purchased yet, your ad must remind them that they are missing out on their cart and motivate them to complete the transaction.
- In MOF campaigns, you can offer certain incentives such as discount coupon codes, offers, show past customer testimonials to win user trust, etc. These tactics fuel the motivation of a user to re-visit you and become your paying customer.
3. BOF (Bottom of the Funnel) Campaign:
BOF is where you do the job of nurturing your already acquired and converted customers. There are different ways you can identify your customers; either with the help of an email list of all the orders placed in your backend and the pixel data that tracks all the Purchase events at a particular time period.
At this stage of the funnel, you can also nurture your customers using email marketing. But when it comes to Facebook Ads, you can do the same by retargeting your customers with other objectives.
Here are some technical recommendations while running BOF campaigns:
- In order to show ads to your existing customers, create custom audiences using a standard pixel event called ‘Purchase’ in the last 30, 60, or 90 days.
- Another way to create a custom audience is to upload an email list of all your previous customers and find them on Facebook to target with additional adverts.
- This stage of the funnel can be used to run campaigns for various reasons like-
- Collect feedback from your customers to learn about their experience doing business with you
- Offering them special occasional discount offers such as during festivals, in order to gain their loyalty towards your brand and improve the customer’s lifetime value
- Showcasing more products and offers from your brand that they might be interested in
- Getting them to signup for your newsletter so that you can nurture them over email and thus saving your future marketing costs and at the same time increasing the customer’s lifetime value.
I hope this brief article was helpful to you in some way or the other. I’m pretty sure your approach towards running Facebook and Instagram ads has been modified.
My goal was to deliver clarity on how to do customer journey mapping and keeping your ads structure minimal yet more effective to drive better results from your advertising efforts. I hope that my goal has been successfully achieved in this article.
Thank you for reading till the end.
Sarang Bhirad is a Civil Engineering graduate turned self-taught Digital Marketer. Specializing in Social Media Marketing, Sales Funnels, and Performance Marketing, he’s now helping E-commerce brands and E-learning coaches scale their online revenue with effective growth strategies.