— March 26, 2019
Facebook ads are tricky little beasts.
You can’t treat them like direct response ads on Google. Your audience will scroll right on past those product-focused messages if they’re not in the mood to buy.
People don’t go to Facebook to make decisions. They often go to Facebook to avoid making decisions.
But a paid Facebook strategy is really important for an e-commerce brand.
Get them right, and Facebook ads become a high-performance driver of qualified traffic to your website. Get them wrong, and you’ll waste valuable marketing dollars.
So what makes a Facebook ad irresistible to click?
We wanted to know, too!
So, we analyzed every Facebook ad we managed in 2018.
That’s 5,000 ad sets. Each with 5 to 25 ad variations.
(You can get the full report here.)
After digging through tens of thousands of data points, we found loads of insights about what makes Facebook ads traffic and lead magnets.
For this article, we’ll reveal five insights to help you get more traffic and leads from your Facebook ads right now.
1. On Facebook, content trumps product ads.
Product ads are great—when they reach people who are ready to buy right now. Unfortunately, the majority of your potential customers aren’t in the shopping mindset when they’re on Facebook…especially when it comes to a new brand they’ve never heard of.
When we manage Facebook ads for our customers, they always feature helpful content instead of directly selling a product. (We’re all about that content marketing!)
We learned that those Matcha-managed ads featuring entertaining and educational content yielded a 2x click-through rate (CTR) compared to the average Facebook ad.
Why? Because people have different intent on Facebook than on Google. They’re discovering and engaging instead of searching and evaluating.
And they’re having conversations.
By serving targeted ads with helpful content, you’re adding to the conversation your audience is already having instead of disturbing it with a product ad for a company they’re not familiar with.
This makes it an ideal strategy for meeting new potential customers at the top of the funnel.
Once a customer has identified your brand as an active participant in their conversation, they’ll become more receptive to your product message. You’ll then have a better chance of engaging them with product-focused direct response ads.
2. Creating the best ads takes a lot of testing (but it’s worth it!)
We took a look at our 20 best-performing ads in terms of both CTR and cost-per-click (CPC).
Those ads were absolute monsters! They outperformed our average ad in both categories by 5x. And remember, our average was already twice as effective as the typical Facebook ad.
That’s a lot more clicks at a much lower price.
It’s obviously worth the effort to repeat the success of those top ads. But how?
The short answer is: testing.
Each of these top performing Facebook ads was tested for headlines, ad copy, images, and, when possible, multiple pieces of content.
(By the way, we actually hosted a whole webinar on improving Facebook ads. You can watch it on demand now.)
Fueling those tests with multiple pieces of content isn’t easy for a small brand with limited resources.
Licensed content is the solution here. It’s much less expensive and time intensive to publish. And we found it performs as well as custom articles with readers.
The end result of this testing is a significant increase in traffic with a much lower cost to acquire it.
3. Put promotion dollars behind your most engaging content.
Distributing the wrong content in a Facebook ad means lost ad dollars.
Short of seeing into the future, how can you know which content is likely to be traffic magnet?
We found a strong correlation between an article’s engagement rate and the likelihood it will generate affordable traffic from Facebook.
Engagement rate is a content metric that tells you how many people stayed on an article for at least 15 seconds after clicking to it.It’s a great way to know if your content met the expectations a reader had when they clicked the link.
And it turns out, it’s also a good predictor of which content will generate a high CTR in Facebook ads.
When we looked at the 20 ads with the highest CTR on Facebook, we found that their engagement rate was 5.4% higher than our content average.
5.4% may not sound like a lot, but in the world of engagement rates, a 5.4% bump is pretty huge.
The takeaway: If you see an article is getting a high engagement rate on your website, use it in your next Facebook ad.
4. There’s a reason why the listicle just won’t die.
Here’s another neat little fact about those top 20 ads by CTR and CPC. They were mostly listicles.
You know listicles—those sometimes maligned numbered list posts (like this post, for example).
Why are they so darned good at getting traffic from Facebook?
Because they promise an easy, scannable article that doesn’t feel like work. No one wants to work when they’re on Facebook.
But publisher beware. Make sure your content delivers on what the headline promises. Otherwise, your audience will mentally tag future posts as clickbait.
5. For Facebook engagement, stay local. For traffic and leads, go national.
Your content will do many jobs throughout the sales funnel. Choosing the best content for each job will help you make the most of every ad dollar.
For instance, when you’re looking to generate some organic brand awareness, post content about ultra-local experiences. We found that people are more likely to like, comment, and share these types of articles.
Even e-commerce shops without a brick-and-mortar location can take advantage of this. Consider publishing and promoting content that caters to the locations where you have the largest customer base (or, alternately, an untapped market). For example, a brand that sells children’s clothes could publish ‘5 Kid-Friendly Weekend Activities in [Insert City Here]’ to attract potential customers in that area.
For sheer traffic, though, nothing performed better than those big national (or international) round-ups.
Articles like ‘The 10 Best Hikes in the U.S.’ have extremely high CTRs. Their superpower is driving efficient traffic. For example, ads featuring the article ‘5 Underrated European Cities to Visit this Year’ had an average CTR of 13%!
Want to know everything we learned about improving content and Facebook ad performance?
Download the complete 2019 Content Marketing Benchmark Report right here.
Feature image provided by Kate Trysh
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