Paid social campaigns can be a tough sell. Depending on a client’s business size, experience, and budget, it might be hard to justify ad spending in addition to the fees for ad management and any other services your agency may be providing.
With that said, it’s common digital marketing knowledge that personalization and audience segmentation are key to driving meaningful results. Organic social is limited by the fact you can’t control who sees what. You’re tossing messages out to followers, hoping that:
- A client’s follower base aligns with their ideal customer base
- Your posts are surfaced in front of those most likely to take action
Knowing how to make money with Facebook Ads is a valuable skill. You can far exceed the return on investment (ROI) of organic social alone when campaigns are carried out correctly.
The key word here: correctly.
To help you understand how to run Facebook Ads for clients, we turned to social media advertising pros for their top best practices.
Here’s what they had to say about their paid ads best practices:
Table of Contents
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Question your paid social default settings
No matter which social media platform you turn to for advertising, you’re likely to notice a number of default settings. Platforms make their money off advertising, so obviously they want to make it as easy as possible for businesses to set up campaigns and spend money.
Consider boosted posts on Facebook.
Andrew Chwalik is a managing partner of digital positioning agency Twillful and he sees companies regularly make use of the feature — often to their detriment.
“One common mistake we see is companies boosting their posts on Facebook. Don’t EVER do that unless you do it through Facebook Business Manager. Boosting a post through your Facebook Page by clicking on that little “boost” button may get you a little more reach on that post but it’s not targeted to your specific audience. That is why you need to boost a post through the Facebook ad platform, so you’re able to define the audience and reach the people you want to see your post.”
Even through Facebook Business Manager, you’ll encounter defaults around bidding. This is positioned as a way to help you control costs but can actually end up costing you in ROI.
Working as a digital marketing specialist for Flyparks, Alice Bedward knows this all too well.
“A common mistake that people make when setting up paid social campaigns on Facebook or Instagram is setting the value of the bid cap too low. When this occurs, the ads won’t create enough impressions and are unlikely to convert. It might seem like a gamble to increase or remove the bid cap, as your spending will accelerate and eat into your daily or lifetime budget, but it will produce better results. Keep your bid cap low, in conjunction with a low overall campaign budget, and it’s likely that you won’t see much traction at all.”
Lastly, it’s important to challenge the automatic ad placements. This is especially true for those who aren’t customizing creative visuals to appear anywhere else (e.g., Stories or Facebook Instant Articles) outside of the feed.
Sean Carroll, a PPC and paid media consultant for Vixen Digital, explains:
“When setting up your paid social campaigns, make sure you’re considering the placement where your ad will be shown. Do not just design one image ad and let the platform decide where to run it. On Facebook, for example, this leads to cases where you get landscape format ad creatives running on Facebook or Instagram stories placements. It looks poor, off-brand and your ad performance will suffer. Instead, if you are planning on running your ad on something like a Stories placement, make sure you design your ad to suit this format and continue to take this approach with all of your future ads.”
Take time to learn about and customize audiences
When working with clients, it’s important to communicate and set expectations. This is why you build out 30-60-90 day plans for new social media contracts.
Developing a successful organic social media strategy is all about time. You have to be realistic about your campaigns and its goals.
As Aiden Angeli of Ripe Marketing acknowledges, paid social is no different.
“There is a learning period for any new campaign. If you get conversions the first 60 days, consider it a bonus. If you expect conversions during this time, you set yourself up for disappointment and create unnecessary stress. This is a time period where you are learning about your audience, split testing ideas, and tweaking successful actions. Conversions are great but do not beat yourself up if you don’t get the results you want. Once things are running smoothly, things will start to snowball.”
Additionally, there’s value in telling clients their budget should be used for more than just conversions. This, in addition to knowing your audience, is how to scale Facebook ads over time.
Kelly Sturtevant, a social media strategist for Blue Page Social echoes this idea — championing the importance of knowing who to target with various objectives.
“Businesses need to understand that there is a larger portion of your ad budget that is designed for brand awareness and recognition. These ads may not generate a trackable ROI but they must not be discouraged from running. Building up an audience first is a critical part of the retargeting process and having a steady stream of cold traffic entering your funnel is needed.
Another thing business owners struggle with is understanding who exactly their target audience is. Many times owners say they will sell to anyone who wants to buy, but that does you no good when it comes to selecting your targeting options in your ads. Getting specific about your audience, their likes, dislikes, who they follow online, what they watch on tv, etc, will enable you to craft your ads to the right people and lower your ad spend in the process.”
Make sure you’re tracking and testing
“Make sure you have the proper tracking mechanisms set up on your website and in Google Analytics. Paid campaigns are only useful if they provide very granular data with a low margin of error. You want to know exactly how many users visited your site from the campaign, and what percentage of those users converted (or took other desired actions).”
The Facebook pixel should be installed on your website to capture information on visitor traffic and their actions. Make sure you revisit ads often to review their performance. Additionally, set yourself up for better success by creating multiple variations of ad sets and creative.
Manny Hernandez of Wealth Growth Wisdom explains saying:
“You can carry out a split-testing experiment by creating small variations of a single ad. Each variation is the same as the original ad, except for one aspect that has been changed. You then measure how this singular change impacts the performance of the ad and decide if you have a winner on your hands or not.”
The more data you gather in testing, the better informed you’ll be regarding how to optimize ads around specific goals. If you only optimize based on assumptions, the ROI will suffer.
As a paid social media strategist for Stryde, Anthony Christie knows this first-hand.
“One big mistake I see often is Facebook traffic campaigns that are optimized for Link Clicks. I can’t blame anybody for setting them up that way, it sounds like exactly what you would want to do. Ads optimized for Link Clicks are very good at getting people to click the link, but not very good at getting people to stick around for the website to load. Optimize your Traffic campaigns for Landing Page Views and the number of people dropping off between link click and site load will go down.”
Bring motion to your ads with video
Don’t rely on static photos and graphics alone. Bringing motion to your paid social ad strategy with video is a great way to catch audience attention.
Stryde’s Anthony Christie goes on to explain the importance of motion.
“I can’t stress enough how important it is to use video — anything with motion to capture attention in your paid social ad campaigns. These days, I don’t think even the Mona Lisa would stop as many people scrolling through their feeds as a simple video made on a cell phone would. Plus, you can retarget people who have seen your video ads making them an even more effective choice for ad creative.”
This retargeting element is key — and for social media consultant Austin Iuliano, using video to convey value add is a strategy favorite.
“One of my favorite strategies to use is called the value add strategy. In this, you create a video advertisement that only adds value — no sales or CTA. You run that to your target demographic for video views. From there you retarget anyone who has watched 50% or more and send them a new video ad that is also a value add. You do that again and again until you ask them for a sale.
What happens is your organic search goes way up, and your conversion cost drops as you turn cold traffic into raving fans.”
Beyond eye-catching, video is a great way to build social proof across your paid campaigns. Building ad engagement can serve as a stepping stone for driving other ad objectives (e.g., link clicks and conversions).
Odeh Ahwal of EcomDimes expands on this idea of social proof using video creative.
“Before starting your conversion campaign with a brand new image or video, run a video view campaign for your video to gain some traction, likes, shares, and views, and then re-use the same video asset in your other ad.
This is called social proof, because people are more likely to engage, trust, and interact with a post that already has a bunch of likes and shares. It gives them a sign that it’s already trusted and desirable for others.”
Complete the experience with a quality landing page
There’s no arguing the impact of positive customer experience. 71% of consumers who’ve had a great experience with a brand on social media are likely to recommend it to their own networks.
When you launch an ad campaign, you don’t just create the ads displayed on social. You create the gateway to an experience.
Ensure both the ad and where it points to are relevant to the audience you’re targeting. The expectations should align from click-through to destination. This destination, as Nikola Baldikov of Brosix advocates for, should more often than not be a landing page.
“A very common mistake is sending people to your home page instead of a landing page. Landing pages are usually very clear and are made hard for a person to lose their ‘path’, compared to a homepage where a visitor can find literally ‘everything’ and can easily forget how and why they have landed there.
Usually, a landing page begins with straightforward copy on why you’re offering your product or service. After that, you need to include signals of the different well-known companies/celebrities that use the product/service. Then, continue with a more detailed explanation of how your company’s product/service would help the visitor. Finish with a call-to-action button.”
Final Thoughts: How to Run Facebook Ads for Clients (According to the Experts)
Figuring out how to run Facebook Ads for clients — or ads on any social platform — doesn’t mean reinventing the wheel. Research, test, and adopt strategies that work best for you and the businesses you serve.
In no time, you’ll understand how to make money with Facebook Ads and take your social media agency to the next level.