In January 2018, Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook was changing the algorithm for displaying posts. The platform would start to put a higher priority on more personal posts from family and friends, above content from businesses and brands. This change is said to be based on user feedback; but while users may rejoice over seeing more personal posts from close friends and family, many businesses have found themselves asking how they can adjust Facebook marketing efforts to reach users.
After all, Facebook is a crucial piece to the online marketing puzzle. Marketers and small-to-medium business owners consistently rank Facebook as the most impactful social media platform for marketing; over 8 times more than any other platform. Two billion users are registered on Facebook, and many of these visitors come back to Facebook several times a day. Your customers spend so much time on Facebook, providing a huge opportunity to create a relationship with users. When you create Facebook content that encourages engagement and is considered valuable to the user experience, you can expand your reach and “beat” the algorithm at its own game.
But even with the new algorithms, businesses don’t have to worry about Facebook marketing. Facebook ads are not going to be directly affected by the recent algorithm change. Businesses can still place a variety of ads online to reach specific users based on demographics, online behavior, and previous engagement with the brand. Using this information isn’t just important for reaching a relevant audience; you can create a better and more natural experience for the user as they move through the sales funnel and transition from a stranger to an active and loyal supporter of your business.
Why It’s Important to Target Facebook Ads Based on the Sales Funnel
The sales funnel allows businesses to see where a customer is in terms of readiness to purchase. Customers at the top of the sales funnel may be engaging with your social media profiles, but are not moving further to express interest in purchasing. Bombarding these customers with exclusive offers or deals will be a waste of your time; an urgent call-to-action is wasted on someone who isn’t interested in making the purchase in the first place. On the flip side, customers at the bottom of the funnel have already been converted. They’ve put in the work to engage with your business and buy your products – ad campaigns that softly introduce your business are unnecessary.
Personalized content requires collecting data on where customers are along the sales funnel. Has this customer taken action to engage with your business by providing their email address? Or have they simply read your website’s blog posts? Structure ads that speak directly to how far these customers have moved along the sales funnel, and where they are ready to move next.
Notice that while Facebook marketing can still use the sales funnel as a guide, this process is separate than that of Google Adwords. Google users often skip many steps of the sales funnel by searching for keywords that relate directly to your business or solutions. The transition through the sales funnel on Facebook should be delivered in a more smooth and personalized manner.
Let’s dive deeper into what type of advertisements and content can help to transition Facebook users through the sales funnel.
Top of the Funnel
Introduce Yourself With Engaging Content to Gauge Interest
At this stage of the funnel, customers may not know the name of your business. Offering anything, even a free consultation or piece of content, could be a waste of time, or seen as too aggressive by users. Instead, use these ads to offer assistance or answers to questions. Your customers have problems and questions that you can fix with your products. Offer these solutions in the early stages to add value and peak the user’s interest.
Top of the funnel ads allow you to collect feedback on who is responding to your ads. Stay open to different demographics in your target audience and don’t close out any groups yet based on assumptions. Facebook has over 2 billion users, and its reporting features can help show you who is clicking on your ads and engaging with your content.
What Facebook Ads to Use in the Top of the Funnel: Image and video ads allow you to draw in users and entice them to engage by clicking on your website. Images account for between 75%-90% of Facebook ad effectivity, and video ads are one of the top Facebook marketing trends in 2018. Use visual content to introduce your brand and ask users about problems that your business could possibly solve. Don’t forget to encourage engagement; Ads that do so see a higher click-through rate (CTR.)
One example of post engagement ads are website click ads. Website click ads have been gaining popularity throughout the Asia Pacific regions, increasing CTR by over 1%. These ads are also useful for bringing users back to your website after a first introduction.
Middle of the Funnel
Collect Demographic Information and Offer Value That Moves Users Down the Sales Funnel
Once you’ve introduced your brand to customers, optimize your content and target the demographics that are willing to move down the sales funnel. Focus on demographics that have responded and engaged with your ads. If, for example, one gender or age group is outperforming another, focus your budget on that demographic. Individuals in the other groups can be revisited later through other forms of remarketing efforts.
Users know about your business, but what can you offer them to express value in your product? Solutions. During this stage of the funnel, you can connect the solutions your customers are looking for with the services and products that your business can offer. Prepare content that you can share in order to build a stronger relationship and trust with users. Content can often be used as an incentive to gather more data and generate leads, moving Facebook users further down the sales funnel.
Content is king. Learn more about using content as part of your overall marketing strategy here.
What Facebook Ads to Use In the Middle of the Funnel: Lead generation ads give middle of the funnel users to take action and become a lead. Users who have taken smaller actions (clicked on your website, followed your page, etc.) are more likely to take a larger action (downloading an eBook, sharing their contact information.) Facebook structures lead generation ads with images, videos, or carousels placed above a lead form where users can enter desired information.
Bottom of the Funnel
Close the Sale With Exclusive Offers and CTAs
So you’ve got a list of leads. You’re almost at the finish line! Refocus your efforts once again to speak exclusively to leads. At this crucial step before making a purchase, your ads have to create a sense of urgency. Why should these leads buy now? What will it take to move the lead away from their Facebook page to make a purchase?
This is a great time to offer even more value to your product. Build on top of what the customer has already accepted or taken. Users who download a free eBook or take advantage of a smaller offer are more likely to take advantage of other exclusive offers. Offers, including discounts or other incentives, also help to build trust with your business. These offers can be exclusive to Facebook fans or email subscribers, strengthening the relationship with gratitude for the user’s engagement with your business.
What Facebook Ads to Use In the Bottom of the Funnel: Facebook offer ads can create a sense of urgency or increase the value of a purchase. An offer can also be advertised on Facebook through videos, images, or carousels.
Facebook dynamic ads are also appropriate at this stage of the sales funnel. Many bottom of the funnel users have already browsed through your website or looked at specific products, but just need an extra incentive to buy. Dynamic ads allow you to advertise products that customers have already viewed online. The ad may come with an exclusive offer, or simply remind the customer of the product. This type of remarketing effort increases the likelihood that the customer will go to your website and make the purchase.
Bonus Tip: Don’t Forget Remarketing.
The top of the sales funnel is huge; not every customer continues down the Facebook marketing path to becoming an active supporter of your business. Remarketing efforts on Facebook allow you to recapture the attention of Facebook users and website visitors who have slipped through the cracks, and bring them back down the sales funnel.
Say a Facebook user found your website through an online search or blog post. They were on the site long enough for you to collect cookies and data, but you were not able to engage the user further. You don’t have their email or a purchase, but you do have their information. Don’t give up hope on this user yet.
Creating a remarketing campaign gives you a second chance. Say this user hops off of your website, but a few days later sees an ad from your business while they are browsing through Facebook. When they see this ad, they are more likely to head back to your website or social media pages to continue engaging with your business or shopping.
Create an Effective Facebook Marketing Strategy with Digital Squad
Digital Squad is a top SEO and digital marketing agency. Our experts can work with your business to create engaging Facebook marketing campaigns that reach the right customers as they get to know your business. Facebook marketing provides a great opportunity to reach a larger audience on social media; take advantage of this with a team that knows how to target your customers at every stage of the sales funnel.
Megan Okonsky is a copywriter and content marketing specialist with Digital Squad. She is originally from Philadelphia but has landed in Melbourne after traveling for eight months in Southeast Asia and New Zealand. She also teaches vinyasa yoga online.