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Facebook Advertising in 2018

Updated 22 July 2021 (Published 21 February 2018) by Jessica in Digital Marketing

With the recent changes to Facebook's organic reach, now is the time to address Facebook advertising and how you can incorporate it into your digital strategy in 2018.

Facebook Advertising in 2018

Episode 25 

  • Using past organic Facebook posts to spearhead a paid advertising campaign
  • Ensuring that you've set up tracking to understand where your money is going
  • Getting your incentives and messaging just right
  • How to ensure you're targeting the right audience
  • Testing and editing campaigns to improve results
  • How creating content for Instagram advertising campaign is different to Facebook 

Let us know what you think by emailing us: 

Show notes

With Facebook organic traffic decreasing, now is the best time to incorporate Facebook advertising into your strategy.

Using organic posts as a starting point

Organic facebook posts is a great starting point if you’ve currently been using Facebook advertising. Review the content that’s been working really well which will help you begin to understand what content has been working.

Facebook training

If you’ve already had some kind of facebook content plan in place whether it was adhoc and you were just winging it, but now you’re starting to find that you’re not getting much traction, we recommend going through Facebook’s own training because they provide training on how to use their ad platform and they do provide training on how to set up ad campaigns and monitor those campaigns.

Track your campaigns

One of the most important aspects of that is once you have your campaigns set up, you have the tracking in place to be able to understand how your ad campaigns are working for you. Make sure that you have the right Facebook pixels in place so you can track those results. 

People are investing significant amounts of businesses of 3k a week or about 12-15k week in physical newspaper advertising and they’re not having any traction with that medium. The issue is the lack of tracking in in that campaign of tracking phone numbers or ways in which people reach out to you. 

Not having tracking in place means that you're leaving money on the table, when it's an important tool to help you understand how your campaign is performing. 

Testing your campaigns

Once you come up with your hypothesis in what kind of content works best, test it by changing up the target audience profiles and content.  Split testing or A/B testing is a great way to understand what content and campaign works for which audience. 

The D-I-Y risks

If you're the business owner and you're creating and managing the campaigns yourself, it can be difficult to keep momentum, and also take the outside perspective to understand what it is that your target audience actually needs from you and the content that they engage with.

It can also be difficult to keep up to date with the campaigns that you have running, as well as carry on with the day-to-day operations of running the business. We recommend bringing someone in to assist you with your paid campaigns because it means that they will be able to give it the full attention that it deserves, as well as assisting you to spend your money wisely to ensure the best return on your investment. 

Create a Facebook content plan

A Facebook content plan will ensure that you are creating content that actually suits your digital goals and that various content in your plan may help you to achieve this. 

It will also help you understand what kind of campaigns you will be running throughout any given period, which will assist you in running future campaigns as you'll be able to see how that content was received and tweak it depending on your goals and the audience. 

As there are also different channels that you can communicate your message on Facebook, such as Instagram and Facebook Messenger (and let's not forget desktop and mobile experiences), your Facebook content plan should address the types of content that you will be sharing on these platforms, too. 

Facebook Audience Insights is your secret weapon

It's a great tool not only for advertising purposes, to be able to understand your target audience and what they engage with on Facebook, but also for your content and even Instagram content. It can help you paint a better picture of who it is that you're actually trying to connect with, and paying attention to their interests and their key demographics. 


Jess:   Welcome to episode 25-

Josh:   25?

Jess:                      Bam Creative Podcast. The Bam Creative Show.

Josh:                      Wow.

Jess:                      The Bam Creative Circus.

Rich:                      Extravaganza.

Jess:                      The Bam Creative Extravaganza.

Rich:                      It's a full body experience.

Jess:                      It is all the sensories, the eyes .... Actually, only some of the sensories: the eyes, the ears ...

Rich:                      You can touch your phone while you're listening to it.

Jess:                      That's it. That's pretty much it.

Josh:                      True. It is tactile.

Jess:                      Actually, there's only two sensories.

Josh:                      Yeah. Very important.

Jess:                      Yeah, that's it.

Josh:                      Very important.

Rich:                      Anything else?

Josh:                      No.

Jess:                      No, that's it. Just eyes and ...

Josh:                      They've been proactive.

Rich:                      It's heat, this temperature [inaudible 00:00:34]. And there's no recurring revenue ...

                                Anyway, thanks for being patient. I was away in Bali last week, so we had to put the whole show on hold.

Josh:                      Psh, Rich.

Jess:                      I didn't actually tell anyone that, so thanks for blowing that.

Josh:                      Yeah.

Jess:                      It was fun.

Josh:                      Anyway, surprise.

Jess:                      Spoiler alert. Rich was in Bali.

Rich:                      I'm back now.

Jess:                      Is that a spoiler alert? Anyway, today we're talking about ...

Rich:                      Stuff.

Jess:                      Thanks for coming.

                                Facebook advertising. I don't know what you guys are thinking, but it's going out like this.

                                We are talking about Facebook advertising for 2018.

Josh:                      Okay.

Jess:                      Because in the last episode, we talked a lot about what we've done organically with Facebook as a kind of case study. We like to experiment on ourselves 'cause that's the best way to do it. Because if we make a mistake, it doesn't matter. Just going to answer to ourselves, which is actually the most hardest thing in life. But, anyway, we were like, well ....

Josh:                      So once we go through those 5 stages of grief....

Jess:                      And the two sentences-

Rich:                      Worked out, we can't hire someone to replace us. We just ...

Jess:                      We got over it.

Rich:                      Yeah, lowered our standards.

Jess:                      Lowered the concrete barrier, as Josh likes to say.

Josh:                      Yes, I do like to say that.

Jess:                      Now is the time to actually address Facebook advertising, because of the fact that it seems like there's news stories coming out every single day. People are freaking out, and I might be dragged about this, I'm not sure. But the fact that organic Facebook reach is declining across the board, which I'm kind of happy about in the sense that ... Look, I'm probably a bit of an evil genius, but I'm waiting to see the kind of brilliance that's going to come out of this. Like, how are people going work to get attention on Facebook? And that's why I thought, well, today it would be good to talk about Facebook advertising. Because it's also something that we do.

                                And that was a terrible plug.

Josh:                      But it was really good. I felt like 'cause ... [crosstalk 00:02:23]

Jess:                      It was very natural.

Rich:                      It took 25 episodes for us to get to the point.

Josh:                      It was like a fine wine, that just, like, kind of drifted, and ... what is that? What are you holding right now?

Jess:                      The wine glass.

Rich:                      It's cognac. It's-

Josh:                      Oh, it's a cognac.

Jess:                      It's a wine glass. I'm airing it. I'm airing it right now.

Josh:                      Just making sure that wasn't in reference to the cushion you're sitting on right now.

Jess:                      So I want to get on ... I want to get on now ...

Rich:                      That's an in-joke you might be hearing about.

Jess:                      No, it's not. Just turn off ... oh, my gosh. So, look, in the last few episodes, we've talked a lot about the fact that organic Facebook posts is a really good starting point, and this is really for someone who's done the organic Facebook for a while and is starting to notice the fact that their organic traffic is declining and maybe other things are being affected, like maybe their sales, maybe their website traffic. And so, my biggest tip is always to just kind of review the content that's been working really well, and actually use that as your starting point to get into Facebook advertising. But then that kind of opens up ... would you say, plethora? Look at me with the words.

Josh:                      Yeah.

Jess:                      Of the endless questions of the target audience and the A/B testing, and then how much budget, and schedule, and lookalike audiences, and it can go on forever. So, how about we start off with, like, biggest tips for Facebook advertising in 2018. I mean, I think I've just said everything, so thanks for coming. But let's start with you, Josh. What is your biggest maybe advice for someone whose organic reach has declined and doing advertising is probably going to be their best bet as to get the attention back. What would you recommend?

Josh:                      So I guess if you've already had some kind of Facebook content plan in place, whether is ad hoc, you were just purely winging it. You know, you're doing it on the side while running the business, and now you're starting to find that you're not getting as much traction, then I'd suggest going through Facebook's own training because they provide training on how to use their ad platform. They provide you some guidance in terms of how to sell the ad campaigns, how to monitor those campaigns. But I think one of the most important aspects of that, as well, is once you've set that up, is making sure you got the tracking in place. So, we always talk about the importance of making sure you've got Facebook pixels in place, so you can track those results. And then, really, once you come up with your hypothesis of what content works best, like you said, and you're testing that content, magnifying the reach of it by it doing a pre/post engagement campaign or a lead campaign or a messaging campaign. Then that can serve as your base line, and then you can improve from there, but most of the time ...

                                One of the things I have had happen recently is people are investing significant amounts ... Rich and I have an example of businesses investing more than ... would you say it's like 3000 a week? So you're looking at ... what's that, about ... I just had to do my math, wasn't very fast ... 12 to 15k a week, in physical newspaper advertising. And them not having any traction with that medium, not having any tracking in place, as well. So not even tracking phone numbers or unique website addresses or having a direct response message. Sometimes it might be some direct response messaging, but not to the degree that we would recommend.

                                And then, suddenly, I guess, assuming that they can go from having never managed a direct response ad campaign through another medium to then completely managing in a new medium that they themselves may not be very active on, to begin with. So, it's one where you have to approach it carefully. I think if you're going to go about it the right way, then it will be a matter of you crawling, like starting a small campaign. Setting really clear budgets in place, understanding what you have to have in place to control the campaign. And then if you want to, you scale it up.

                                But where we come into play is where somebody has had these lofty ideas to do it themselves because they may have gone to market and they've looked at pricing, et cetera. And they've thought, "Oh, actually, instead of paying this amount here, I'm just going to save all that money, and then I want to spend it on ... I'm going to spend time myself, so I'll save the amount of money I would have spent, and I'll just used my weekends or my nights, which so I don't need to sleep or anything like that." And what always happens is they never do it.

                                And it makes sense because a lot of the people that we deal with, they're in the business of running their business. You know, marketing their ... for a select few, there's an exception, but marketing their business is not their primary drive. And it's not something they're passionate about.

                                And it's also not something that they can dedicate as much attention to, which is really important when, if you're setting a daily budget or a lifetime budget and you mess it up by one zero, then you could easily spend 150,000 on a credit card. If you've got, if you don't control your budget, instead of 15,000. So, it's really important that those correct measures are in place, but, yeah, that's where it can be valuable to have an agency also come in, help you with the messaging, set up the campaign like we would do, and then, if over time, you should choose to get somebody else on board, then that's fine.

                                I'd almost never recommend that somebody take something back, as a director, because I've yet to meet the number of people required to really have me justifying call. Makes sense, you as a director, yet we'll wean it off and we'll let you manage the campaign. It should be fine. It needs to be somebody that can dedicate themselves to monitoring Facebook as an ad platform, Instagram in terms of their ad, how you set up ads with them. Just all that stuff you can't afford to rest on your laurels and just say, "Ahh, you're cool. I'll just set it there, and I'll kind of log in and try stuff." Because that's how you end up not having any success and then you end up going back to people and saying, "Well, no, I tried Facebook and it didn't work." When, in reality, it was just you didn't work it the way it should be worked.

Jess:                      Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Rich:                      Yeah, I'd like to just chip in and expand upon that because you said, basically, the things that I think about are most important. There is no one-size-fits-all campaign that will achieve all your different digital goals. So it's very important, I guess, to have what you've mentioned before is sort of a Facebook plan or strategy where you break things down into what you do actually want to achieve. And it might be website traffic, but there might more to it. There might be engagement. It might also be number of likes to your Facebook page. Whatever it is. And break them all down into their discrete categories, and then you mentioned A/B testing. It's critically important to make sure that you're always making the right decisions to [inaudible 00:09:20] down further.

                                But also very important to make sure that the messaging is on point for the placement of the ad, as well. You mentioned Instagram. Even though it's within the Facebook ad set-up, completely different. Messaging required to look natural. Same with the Messenger app. You got to really do your research to make sure that what you're saying is going to be engaging to the people when they actually see your ad.

                                And if you need to set up different campaigns and monitor them all independently of each other to make sure that you can make improvements as you go.

Jess:                      Mm-hmm (affirmative). I have like 10 million thoughts, so it's just so much, you guys. I guess, going back to what you were saying in terms of the marketing, sorry, the business owner and trying to do it themselves. My experience has always been that the business owner doesn't lack ... while they might have an understanding of who actually buys their products, or services, they don't really know the other interests of these people and they kind of like ... You know, their home life. And they want to kind of think that they know what their audience wants. But it's never actually the case. And I've kind of, I mean, not just with Facebook advertising, but even with just like creating websites and creating content on websites. It's like, "You must have all of our products up here at the very top, and we've got to have a slider image, 'cause I've got to consume all that contents right away."

                                But where that applies to is, say, in like with the Facebook Carousel ad. You know, it's kind of like, "Let's just smash all these sales things without offering any real value." And that's also something that we've talked about a lot in terms of creating content for Facebook. Creating content and value, it's almost as if the ads also have to have ... I mean, not almost ... As if they do have to have some kind of value. If they don't, then it just very clearly looks as though a sales ad. Which works every now and then, but not really. Yeah?

Rich:                      Yeah, no, you're right. It's not ... We really want social media is geared towards ... And I think it's probably more common these days to, for people to promote their business as something that you like, right? And then the ... Once you've liked the business, then you're at their mercy. You'll see less of their organic content. They will have to boost, but they should still be offering value when you, like, post anything. Like it's not a game you can fake. You really do find out what your target audience is interested in. And actually make it worth their while to keep on being reminded of your business.

Jess:                      And I really love playing with Facebook Audience Insights. I don't just use it for Facebook advertising. I also use it for Instagram advertising. I just use it for even sometimes when I'm creating websites 'cause it just has a particular data that, say, you can Google Analytics doesn't really have. And that's not to say, you know, as I'm using it, I'm completely aware that it's for Facebook, but the fact is that so many people use Facebook. They access it multiple times a day. Even if the algorithm has changed, I don't think it's made a particular dent on the way people are interacting with the platform. I think there's still ... they might not even notice that the posts have gone from their feeds, or whatever it is.

                                And so, playing with and creating that kind of audience profile is really important that's kind of I assume where A/B testing comes in and creating a lookalike audiences, as well. Which is like, I mean ... going back to talking about getting that organic content and seeing how that works, and using that as a basis for, "Okay, let's see who that actually connected with and then can we maybe tweak the audience and the content a little bit to apply it, but to that audience, as well, and see what kind of engagement we're getting from that." So, I like to play around with that.

Rich:                      Yeah, the other one that I probably add is a tip, as well, for Facebook advertising. Because now with organic not being so great, and the importance of being passed back to how much content is shared by users on Facebook to really get a brand's messaging out there. It's going to be really important to start considering, or to continue considering, using Facebook applications. So, the opportunity for anyone who uses an open graph integrated Facebook app is that you can be able to get access to a lot of the demographic information, as well as some of the psychographic ones. So, as far as their interests, marital status, and education status ... which is great.

                                But the other opportunity for you there is just to be able to spread awareness about the, whatever the business is doing in terms of activity. So it could be a contest. It could be participation in submitting something or entering a sweepstakes. Right now, there's ... and this will work really great ... So, this is a hot tip for anyone in the Australian market, which is about 45% of our listeners. So, one of the other big opportunities there is looking at apps that have a gaming component to them. So, anything to do with, say, I guess, "Wheel of Fortune" is one of them. So, back in the day, you could be able to do that, but there's an app that I've been looking at, as well, where you can allow participants to spin the wheel. So we all know that Facebook ... There are a number of Facebook games that are available that allow people to have their gambling buttons pressed, but from this perspective, you can spin the wheel and be able to get a range of incentives as part of the process of you giving the app permission to record your details, your name, your email, et cetera.

                                So, whether those incentives are ... if we're talking retail, it could be a free piece of clothing, like 50% off something. It might be maybe a trolley kind of event where you go through the entire store and you fill up the trolley. You fill up the basket with stuff, but doing that is a really great way of engaging with users. And so, if you've got ... and it goes ... So, that's again going back to the message. Like, how incredibly irresistible is that message initially? Because then all of your Facebook advertising should magnify that. Don't ever think that Facebook advertising is going to fix, like, pardon my French, you know, a shit product. Or a shit offering.

                                Like, at the end of the day, if you don't have a great message, then your advertising has to work so much harder versus if ... like, we've got home ... like, what are some of the key messages that we have from [Andovers 00:15:50]? NWA?

Josh:                      Yeah.

Jess:                      In terms of ...

Rich:                      We'd have a 30k gifts-

Josh:                      Yeah. I think, the first time buyers.

Jess:                      Yeah.

Josh:                      The bundles, that kind of stuff?

Jess:                      It's always a promotion, like maybe air con or flooring bundles, or something like that, yeah.

Rich:                      Yeah, there was one for, and I forget the name of the ... I think it was the Better Building Society over in W ... in over east? And so for them, they would provide home loans to individuals that were normally going through the banks, and they were concerned about getting random pricing, et cetera. So, what happened is instead of them giving the one percent kickback over a period of time, they just changed everything on the head and said, "Get your home loan through us, and you get a free holiday." And so for them, they worked it out that everyone that came through signed up for the home loan. They got, I think it was a $5 or $6000 holiday.

                                Now, what was smart about them is that they looked at their numbers, and so they just went through a wholesaler for their travel agency, and they were able to pay 2000 on that. Provided, so they actually say that, but the perceived value, and the messaging and all the marketing was always like, "Get a holiday. Get a holiday. Get a holiday." And they were definitely not one of the cheapest in terms of interest rates, but because the holiday took everyone off the prize, kind of like ... I think it's John Dwyer over [inaudible 00:17:06] who always talks about how the half a mil concept is set up so that you're buying it just for the toy-

Josh:                      Free toy.

Rich:                      Yeah, that's all like, "Keep the kid satiated. Sure, they'll get some food, but ultimately, just shut them up." And so that's, I think, is a really ... is the even bigger listen for anyone who's looking to do this. Come up with a way of engaging people uniquely. Come up with an incentive that is just going to be so irresistible that when you do your Facebook advertising, it will just magnify it.

Jess:                      Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Josh:                      Yeah.

Jess:                      Yeah. Going back to what ... That's awesome.

Rich:                      Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Josh:                      Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jess:                      Going back to what you were saying in terms of the different platforms to advertise. So ... and you were talking about Instagram, as well, so that's a really interesting thing for me, because the fact that I think there might be a bit of a shift to advertise on Instagram, I'm sorry, Facebook. So, it's almost as if, like, Instagram's going to be a pretty, I think it's going to be a pretty tool moving forward in terms of actually advertising on Instagram, as well.

                                And so, yeah, one thing about that is that because ... and we've talked about it, I think it was one episode 5, we talked about Instagram marketing tips. But, because it is an entirely different platform, you do have to create that content that's specifically for Instagram. So you can't just create a campaign on Facey and then click that little box that says, "Yeah," and chuck it in Instagram. And then of course, there's also Instagram Stories which you can now advertise on, as well. It's like creating content specifically for Instagram Stories. And, yeah. But I just want to mention that because I've seen a lot of ads on Instagram that are very clearly ... I can clearly see they've been created in Facebook because I've seen the ads on Facebook, as well. Then I'm like, "Okay." It's almost as if you're leaving money on the table. I think kind of leaving, yeah, that opportunity to actually create something specifically for Insta.

                                And on top of that, then there's a totally different, or maybe even the same kind of target audience on Instagram as well. So it's, again, still using Facebook Audience Insights to kind of get a better understanding of your audience on Instagram is actually quite helpful, too. But, yeah, I just wanted to note that 'cause I've sort of been noticing a lot more of ... and it might because the algorithm changes on Instagram that we've talked about, too, but I've noticed a lot more advertising and I've noticed a lot more people ...

Rich:                      Yeah, so-

Jess:                      On Facey and Insta.

Rich:                      Facebook has always been keen to limit the reach of any ads that have lots of text on the images, that sort of thing. And I think we know a good looking native Instagram ad doesn't have any text on it. That sort of thing. So, I wouldn't be surprised if, with the way machine learning is going, you just stop seeing ads that look out of place. Like, it might just happen that way, so people probably should start doing it right now, rather than holding on-

Jess:                      Just starting listening to us and just do it.

Rich:                      Yeah.

Jess:                      Immediately.

Rich:                      Yeah. Fix your ads, people.

Jess:                      What are you doing? Yeah.

Josh:                      That's a good tip.

Rich:                      Yeah.

Jess:                      Yeah.

Josh:                      Just get in the water. The sooner you make mistakes, the sooner you'll either work out that you need to either engage with an agency, maybe like ourselves or another one. But hopefully, a lot of the tips we've given already will help you to know whether that agency is going to be able to support you down that process or not. So yeah.

Rich:                      Okay, that's good.

Jess:                      Yeah.

Rich:                      Good work.

Jess:                      Thanks so much for coming today, guys. I've really appreciate ... this was great. Yeah, if you've got any questions about Facebook advertising, you can email us, which is podcast at bam dot com dot au. Or you can call me, or fax Josh.

Josh:                      Um.

Jess:                      Or tweet Rich.

Josh:                      Tweet at Rich.

Jess:                      Mm-hmm (affirmative). Or you can just tweet us at bamcreative. Thanks so much for listening. Bye.

Rich:                      See ya.

Josh:                      See ya.