Are you turning Facebook Likes into actual dollars in your company account?
Most marketers begin their Facebook advertising strategy with enthusiasm, watching as likes pour in from people active in their target niche, and waiting for the big payoff…
But more often than not, the payoff never comes.
Beyond some new Page Likes and a few extra clicks on the website, the ad campaign seems stalled. People aren’t buying your product. What gives?
In this article, we’re going to dive into what keeps people from flocking to your web page and buying your product or subscribing to your service.
We’re also going to examine successful ad campaign strategies and ask an architect of these campaigns – Dave from Magnificent Marketing – what the secret is.
As you’ll soon find out, the secret is to know your customer, and to position yourself to offer them the right ad at the right time. Facebook has tools that allow you to map your ad campaign to the buyer’s journey. This isn’t as hard as it may seem at first glance – so read on to find out.
Part One: What is the Buyer’s Journey and How Can a Facebook Advertising Strategy Follow it?
Before we go into the actual step-by-step procedure of mapping your ad campaign to the buyer’s journey, we should cover exactly what the buyer’s journey is and why it’s important.
Think about the last thing you bought. Whether it was a soft drink at a convenience store or the home of your dreams, you went through three distinct phases before purchasing that item:
- Awareness. You became aware of a problem. This can be any sort of obstacle preventing you from achieving a sense of perfect contentment. Maybe you were thirsty. Maybe you fought with your landlord for the last time and decided you need your own house.
- Consideration. You took some time to define the problem and looked for ways to solve it. You browsed the freezer section of the convenience store. You contacted a real estate agent and talked to banks about getting home loans.
- Decision. You chose a solution that offered the greatest value towards solving your problem. You slid your favorite lime-flavored soft drink across the counter, or signed off on your home purchase.
As you can see, every purchase a person makes follows these three stages in some way. In many cases, the only part that changes is how deep the consideration stage goes. Your Facebook audience is no different, and if you advertise to them without taking these three stages into consideration, you are almost certainly losing money in the process – even if Facebook is one of the most cost-efficient ad platforms in marketing.
Facebook has a special tool you can use to tell which stage a user is in based on how they’ve interacted with your website. You need to organize your advertising strategies to show people different types of sponsored content to people based on their position along the buyer’s journey.
So What Does This Look Like in Practice?
Actually creating ads that cater to your users in this way is simple. Pay attention to the wording and specific offer that each boosted post advertises. Here are some examples, chosen from a random selection of advertisements addressing a single topic.
All of the following advertisements target Facebook users that like pages related to entrepreneurship and start-up culture. As you’ll see, each one takes a slightly different position on how much it assumes of the user.
This ad is directed towards any Facebook user who likes pages related to entrepreneurship and start-up culture.
Notice that it starts with the words “Did you know that…” and then goes on to offer a statistic that showcases the company’s value.
It makes no assumption on behalf of the user, and offers free access to a general set of resources that should be useful to anyone who is interested in entrepreneurship.
At this stage, Allied for Startups makes a number of assumptions about users who view this ad. The first few words specify that this ad targets data-driven startups and the people who run them.
It then goes on to assign positive value to Polish tech talent, presuming that the user runs a data-driven startup and is looking to hire talent.
This ad’s call-to-action is pretty vague. “Let’s fill Europe with startups” doesn’t really specify what you should do. Register your startup as a Polish company? Hire remote workers from Poland? Move to Poland entirely? You are meant to be sufficiently intrigued by this ad to click on it and find out more.
This ad not only assumes that you’re an entrepreneur, but goes so far as to presume the exact type of business you wish to open, and offers a complete solution that meets your needs precisely. This particular type of entrepreneur is not interested in tech, not interested in hiring, and not interested in forming a network – this advertisement’s target wants to grow and sell food.
The ad has gone so far as to specify that you don’t “need a green thumb” to use their solution, further narrowing down the target audience of the particular post.
Mapping Sponsored Content to Your Sales Funnel
Our partner, Magnificent Marketing, has cracked the code on getting the most out of sponsored content on Facebook. Not only do you need to generate content that speaks to buyers at each of these distinct phases, but you have to make sure that your audience sees that content at the right moment.
There is very little benefit to showing a decision advertisement to a customer who has never heard of your brand before, and who has no particular reason to trust you above any other name in your industry.
This means that you have to develop content in tiers.
Think of your sponsored content as being mapped to a reverse pyramid:
You should plan on generating less content for each step moving down the pyramid. Using a 10-to-1 ratio as you move from Awareness to Consideration and again as you move from Consideration to Decision is a good rule of thumb. This compensates for the number of readers who aren’t in your target audience – people who won’t end up buying your product no matter how much you advertise to them.
Part Two: How to Map Ad Content to Each Customer Individually
Now that we’ve covered the strategy for addressing your customers en masse, we need to find out how you can map this content to the buyer’s journey of each individual. For this, we got in touch with Dave from Magnificent Marketing and asked him how he does it.
Q: Hi Dave, so what’s the secret to sponsored content on Facebook?
Dave: Well, as you know, getting sponsored posts to the right people at the right time is the most valuable part of any content distribution strategy. If you’ve categorized sponsored posts as awareness, consideration, and decision posts, you’re halfway there.
The tricky part is that Facebook doesn’t tell you whether any individual user has visited your page before, or whether they’ve liked or commented on your posts. You have only a few general behaviors to choose from – like people who have bought an online product in the last week, for example.
You don’t have access to user interaction data on an individual level on Facebook, but you can implement user interaction tracking on your website using Facebook Pixel, and then use that data for sponsored content.
Q: What’s Facebook Pixel?
Dave: Facebook Pixel is a snippet of code that you place on your website. This code tracks user interaction from Facebook ads, which lets you collect data and target specific visitor categories with sponsored content once your users are back on Facebook. It’s the key to successful Facebook content distribution.
Here’s an example: I’m running a B2B business and I have dozens of Awareness ads targeting people in my industry out there on Facebook. These ads point to blog posts covering general topics that are useful and interesting to people who may eventually become my customers. Every time a user clicks on one of those ads, Facebook Pixel tracks that interaction.
After an individual user reaches a threshold of, say, five Awareness posts. They’ll start to see Consideration content in their feed. This content is a bit more direct. It could be product comparisons, coupons, case studies, testimonials, you name it.
After this particular user reads five of those posts, they’ll start seeing Decision content on their Facebook News Feed. This is when we go with the direct call-to-action, offer free samples, or provide consultations.
By the time a user starts seeing Decision posts in their feed, they already know what you’re all about, and they are legitimately, genuinely interested in the value you offer.
Q: That’s amazing! How do you categorize this content on your website?
Dave: The key to making this strategy work is tagging every one of your website’s pages as either being an Awareness, Consideration, or Decision page. A blog post on a broad subject related to your industry would definitely be Awareness, whereas a specific product page with a great, big Buy Now button would be a Decision page.
By tagging all of your website’s pages in this way, you can connect them to sponsored posts that target visitor categories tracked by Facebook Pixel. This lets you do really granular things like show people sponsored content related to items they’ve abandoned in their shopping cart. You can also let Facebook advertise to people with similar interests to your most dedicated visitors – those who fall in the Decision category.
Q: So, not only do your Facebook ads map the buyer’s journey, but your website does too?
Dave: Exactly. The buyer’s journey continues whether your customer is on Facebook or on your website. Facebook Pixel is the tool you need to create sponsored content that speaks to individuals based on how they’ve interacted with your website.
Now, every industry operates a little differently when it comes to the thresholds between Awareness and Consideration, or Consideration and Decision. If I’m marketing for a heavy equipment company that sells products worth tens of thousands of dollars, I’m not going to jump the gun and go straight to the Decision category after someone reads a couple blog posts – I’ll have to wait and really draw them in over dozens of articles so that they know everything about my company and products before I make the final pitch.
If I’m selling inexpensive retail consumer goods, on the other hand, it wouldn’t make sense to wait that long. You might want to get to the Decision category as fast as possible, it all depends.
Q: Does this strategy apply with any other social network?
Dave: So far, Facebook is the one that offers the greatest power and flexibility when it comes to this advertising strategy. It’s also by far the cheapest, and that’s a huge advantage.
However, you can use this Facebook strategy in tandem with other social networks. Just as the buyer’s journey continues whether your customer is on Facebook or on your website, it also continues when customers are on platforms like Twitter or LinkedIn.
In fact, you can use this strategy to engage Awareness and maybe even Consideration on Facebook before switching to a more expensive platform like LinkedIn for the final pitch. For B2B companies, the boost of confidence LinkedIn inspires could help you close a deal, but the platform is far too expensive to spend advertising dollars on Awareness content.
Q: This is some very useful information. Thanks for your time, Dave!
Dave: My pleasure.
How to Use Facebook Pixel
At this point, it should be clear that Pixel is the secret key to the kingdom of successful content distribution on Facebook. However, getting started with Pixel can be a challenge if you’re not familiar with code.
Follow these steps to create, install, and use Pixel. This will be enough to get the most important conversion tracking metrics running so that you can see immediate benefits when creating and posting sponsored content.
1. Create Your Site’s Pixel
Open up your Facebook Ads Manager menu and click on Pixels. Click on it and you’ll see a pop-up like this one:
Click on Create a Pixel to get started.
2. Name Your Pixel
The first thing you’ll need to do is name your website’s Pixel. Importantly, Facebook assigns one pixel to each ad account, so you’ll want to name it after your business, not a specific campaign or a group of websites. If you want to connect Pixel to multiple websites, you’ll need to set up multiple Facebook Pages and Ad accounts – that’s just how it works.
3. Add the Code to Your Website
This is where it pays to be comfortable working with code. Facebook will ask you whether you want to install your code using a sales platform that offers Facebook integration (Shopify, for example) or to copy and paste the code directly into each of your website’s pages.
In order to achieve the strategy Dave outlines above, you’ll want to copy and paste the code on each page of your website. This isn’t that difficult, but if you’re totally unwilling to work with code, your website developer or administrator should be able to handle it for you without trouble.
For obvious reasons, we’ve edited out the code on this specific pixel – each code is unique and you will want to make sure yours only goes on your website. Copy the code and paste it anywhere between the <head> tag and the </head> tag on each page.
This isn’t the only code you need to place on your webpages. You will also need to copy a specific event code for each page. Facebook offers three options, and we generally agree with the Recommended one, but this page in the Facebook Help Center may help you decide best for yourself.
You will have to modify the Pixel parameters to fit your website’s specific type of content. Once you have done that, you can track specific actions by users. In the example above, the Search event tracks and optimizes searches for “leather sandals”. You can modify this term for any product or category you choose.
Just below the Search event, you have the View Content event, which triggers whenever a user views content on your page. This is the one that you need to embed in your pages.
Now all you need to do is paste the appropriate event code on the pages you wish to track. Since our primary goal is determining when users open tagged pages, you can post the View Content event code below the </head> tag on any of those pages. When prompted, choose Track Event on Page Load.
4. Ensure Pixel is Installed Correctly
If you followed all of the above steps, Facebook Pixel should immediately begin capturing user data from Facebook users who visit your website by clicking on ads. However, you will need to test this to be sure. Fortunately, this is easily achieved on Google Chrome.
First, download the Facebook Pixel Helper Chrome extension. Install the extension and visit one of the pages you installed Facebook Pixel on. The extension should find the Pixel code and trigger a popup that tells you how many Pixels are on the page. It will also tell you if the code is working correctly and offer help if it finds an error.
If you see a message like the one above, then you are in good shape as far as Facebook Pixel goes. The only thing that’s left is to create content that speaks to buyer personas and begin sponsoring content that attracts leads and gets your website seen.
Part Three: Make the Most of Your Sponsored Content Using Buyer Personas
Now that we have a tried-and-true strategy for generating audience interest in a brand and a vehicle for converting that interest into sales, it is time to address the last piece of the Facebook advertising strategy puzzle: content.
What are you going to say to your potential customers and leads? What subjects are appropriate for Awareness, Consideration and Decision blog posts? Who will read them? Who will write them?
This is where many Facebook marketers and B2B retailers make a big mistake – they start with the product first. This might seem like a reasonable thing to do, but sales-oriented content will always lose out to customer-oriented content.
The buyer is your best starting point for Facebook marketing. Forget about your product and your company for a moment and imagine who the buyer is.
How Well Do You Know Your Customer?
Developing buyer personas lets you really get to know your customers. As Hubspot defines the term, buyer personas are “semi-fictional representations of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.”
In practice, this just means that instead of broadly targeting a demographic, like “women between the ages of 25 and 40 who speak multiple languages”, you are narrowly targeting a specific type of person. For instance, if a travel agent were constructing a buyer persona that fits this demographic, it might look something like this:
“Elizabeth Nguyen is a 31-year old Los Angeles native who works as a Risk Analyst for an insurance broker. Although she was born and raised in California, Vietnamese is her first language. This is the language her entire family speaks with the exception of her American-born father, who is not Vietnamese. She also speaks French with limited proficiency thanks to her grandmother, who lived in French Indochina.
She holds a Bachelor of Science in International Business from UCLA, makes $80,000 per year, and briefly advised the local Asian American Business Association before quitting due to stress and differences of opinion with leadership. She is a practicing Catholic who dreams of someday visiting the Papal Palace in Avignon with her family, but can’t afford to take time off and bring her entire family along.”
It’s easy to see that as a marketer, creating this persona gives you a huge advantage when developing a Facebook advertising strategy. Using this as an example buyer persona, you can generate content that speaks to this individual and many thousands of people like her – you can connect with her based on her job, the languages she speaks, her family history, her religion, or even her frustration with a particular non-profit business association.
You can go even further with buyer personas, such as identifying how they prefer to consume content and what social network platforms they’re most active on. Read our guide on target personas for an in-depth look at this powerful tool.
Most importantly, a good buyer persona identifies the following critical points:
- Goals. What does your ideal consumer really want?
- Motivations. What motivates your customer to act? What do they care about?
- Obstacles. What gets in your customers’ way when it comes to achieving their goals?
- Demographics. What is your ideal customer’s place in society? To what groups does this individual belong?
- Behaviors. How does your customer act? How does your customer treat other people or organizations?
The amount of data this exercise gives you is of incredible importance when developing a content distribution strategy for Facebook. Recall that while your Awareness content is suitably broad to meet any number of potential customer demographics, your Decision content has to be laser-focused on the specific person it addresses.
The better you know that person, the more information you have to draw from. Facebook ad targeting lets you target people using a dizzying array of interests, behaviors, and demographics.
If you are not sure where to start when crafting your buyer personas, Facebook Insights is one of the most useful tools available. It gives you broad demographic information about people who like your Page, which will give you the underlying data you need to create a story. You may also choose a specific real-world customer that you know personally, and start with that individual.
Create a Content Strategy that Speaks to Buyer Personas
With one or more buyer personas in place, you can now begin generating content that speaks to those individuals’ needs. You have the data you need, a proven method for getting the right information in front of the right people, and a highly developed Facebook advertising strategy for converting leads into sales.
Now the only thing left is the content. Recall that each level of the sales funnel should have around ten times the volume of the level above it. This means that for every Decision page you promote, you may have 10 Consideration pages and 100 Awareness pages – that’s a lot of content!
Fortunately, you can double up your pages and tags between ads. Try changing up your ad copy and use that information to find out what works best. Just make sure you don’t accidentally show users sponsored content they’ve already clicked on before – that’s wasteful advertising.
Making the most of Facebook means dedicating resources to the consistent creation of high quality content that speaks to your buyer personas. Only the most valuable information and the most poignant advice will cut through News Feed clutter. Don’t forget that when it comes to Facebook, you’re directly competing with cat pictures and that’s never an easy task.
Don’t have the time to plan and write your own content? If you want to get the Facebook advertising strategy ball rolling fast, speak with an Express Writers content strategist and let us know you’re looking to map your Facebook ads to the buyer’s journey – we’ll take care of you from there!