Facebook continues to hold its position as the topmost platform for social media marketing. Advertising through Facebook means a shot at reaching an audience of three billion. But it also means competing in a very saturated environment where differentiating one’s business depends on how well marketers leverage the numerous tools that Facebook offers.
The ultimate aim of advertising through Facebook or any other social media platform is to drive customers to the business while minimizing costs to gain the most benefit out of every marketing dollar spent. For this purpose, Facebook offers “campaign budget optimization” (CBO) that employs powerful algorithms for allocating budget distribution across a marketer’s ad sets (groups of ads that share settings for how, when and where to run.) It invites advertisers to set budgets for campaigns rather than individual ad sets; then assesses the performance of the ads, and automatically distributes the ad sets in real time to the best performing audience.
This surrenders control (somewhat) of ad set management to Facebook; but in doing so, liberates marketers to focus on the freshness and quality of the ads rather than the analytics of individual ad performance, and corresponding budget decisions. The CBO system tends to suit businesses with a healthy budget for numerous ad sets, since the calculations work most effectively with a large range of data. For marketers that advertise on Facebook through a large volume of ads and budgets, there are a few specific things they can do to get the most out of CBO:
- Categorize audiences by funnels (top middle and bottom) and target campaigns to address each funnel level. Marketing funnels represent different stages of a buyer’s journey: Top of Funnel (TOFU) focused on creating awareness of a product and demonstrating its value to attract leads; Middle of Funnel (MOFU) focused on connecting with audiences already familiar with a company’s brand, gauging buy readiness, and moving prospects toward buying; and Bottom of Funnel (BOFU) focused on audiences that know the brand well, and are established buyers or followers who are most likely to make a purchase in association with an ad.
- Since CBO can be extreme in budget allocations when there is a lack of data, as with new campaigns, establish for each ad set the minimum and maximum budgets allowed. This will help to align advertising goals with the way the campaign will operate.
- Allow for the appropriate amount of time for campaigns/ad sets to run before assessing results. A minimum of 50 conversions (typically at least 4 to 7 days) is recommended for stable delivery, and results vary depending on when advertisements are run.
The steps of setting up a Facebook CBO are relatively simple. Instructions on set up are provided in: https://www.facebook.com/business/help/343242619559352. However, the decisions involved in strategically constructing a CBO may be anything but simple. There are tutorials available online, or a business that is new to using CBO may want to consider hiring a marketing consultant to help with setting up the CBO for success.
In addition to using the CBO function, there are other strategic ways that marketers can leverage the power of Facebook advertising to stay ahead of the curve:
- Don’t just say it – show it! Use video and audio to demonstrate your customers’ positive reactions to your product or service. These are more costly mediums, but well worth the investment for their impact on customer engagement.
- Keep text to a minimum. Use words to peak interest and engage inquiry, but don’t demand the audience spend more than a few seconds reading.
- Aesthetics Count! Use high-resolution/high-quality images and video that will be attractive to most audiences, even if the cost of producing these requires a greater investment. Beauty is always an attention grabber.
- Tell your story; but keep it brief. The first responsibility of an ad is to make a product or service relatable. And how do we do that? By telling its story…what makes it unique and valuable, and how does it affect the lives of those who use it. But keep it to 15 to 20 seconds, and limit each ad to one targeted message.
- Whenever possible, apply an interactive approach. Lead the audience from one step to another and engage its participation in the process of revealing the message.
Staying ahead of the curve takes deliberation and calculated efforts. Facebook offers strong advertising capabilities and tools to help marketers realize their goals, and stay ahead of the competition. At the very least, it offers the CBO system to relieve some of the burden of ad budget allocations from business owners and marketers, allowing them to concentrate on their products and their customers.