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6 Perfectly Preventable Ways Facebook Ads Tend To Go Wrong

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6 Perfectly Preventable Ways Facebook Ads Tend To Go Wrong

Recent data shows that Facebook attracted 2.93 billion active monthly users. in Q1 2022, making it the social media platform used most around the world.

However, even though Facebook is the most popular social media platform, it doesn’t mean your ads will reach millions of people.

Nor should that be your goal, since that would expand past your budget and you’d end up targeting audiences who wouldn’t resonate with your brand.

How can you carve out an influential audience and customer base on Facebook?

Let’s take a look at some common mistakes that hurt ROI and how to avoid them, as well as some Facebook ad campaign strategy tips.

1. Deciding Facebook Is Not Suited To My Company

Some companies may choose to write off Facebook altogether since they may think it might not be best for their brand and complicated to incorporate or manage. But this would be a mistake.

Another reason brands may disregard Facebook Ads is because they believe it’s too expensive, but with a realistic budget and smart strategy, that’s far from the truth.

If your brand is considering Facebook ads, then it’s valuable to start by breaking down what your budget for Facebook Ads would be, including taking time to understand the different campaign potentials.

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There are three crucial aspects of a Facebook campaign to consider when planning, such as the daily budget option, lifetime budget, and overall campaign budget optimization.

As we stated earlier, companies may think that Facebook ads aren’t for them because they might not be compatible with company branding for both B2B and B2C companies.

But both company types are sure to reach their target audience if they take the time to cultivate a strategy and get a bit creative.

For B2B brands, companies may believe their ads won’t attract professionals because the ad would appear on social media.

If this is a concern, then you might want to try lookalike audiences which are audiences that may be interested in your brand outside of the initial target audience.

A lookalike audience has the potential to broaden the scope of your audience and reach more businesses or individuals you didn’t initially consider.

This is a strategy to extend your reach through Facebook algorithms which have the ability to monitor multiple touchpoints as people and companies interact with Facebook.

The Facebook Lookalike Audience is the main feature that can help you connect with more people with similar qualities as your intended target audience.

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This capability looks at what pages people like and interact with as well as their interests.

You can get more engagement with your content by adjusting it to answer questions they may have to engage with the audience on a topic, then creating additional supporting content to generate more engagement and traffic.

Then, based on this engagement, you can create a lookalike audience on social media.

For B2C companies that think they are more traditional or have non-digital products, it’s still a great way to build an audience and engage with individuals who may want to purchase your product.

It also builds brand authority to have a presence they recognize when searching for your product on social media.

You can create excitement, trust, and general interest that can turn into leads and long-term customers.

Whether you want sales or traffic, Facebook ads can be an effective tool, and Facebook makes the process more accessible through its algorithms and simple ad platform.

Now, let’s dive into strategy and objectives a bit more.

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2. Having The Wrong Campaign Objective

The beginning of every strategy is setting your objective, and then you can decide the milestones and resources required to achieve it.

Facebook divides these objectives into three categories: awareness, consideration, and conversions.

If your goal is brand awareness, then you want to get people interested in your product or service through your ads and get them excited about your brand.

What makes your brand unique? What problem or problems does it solve? How can you best reach people, so they connect your product or service to your brand each time they see it?

Consideration is where you want to entice people to learn more about your brand and seek more information.

Get them intrigued to visit your website to learn more and potentially generate leads. Get people to like, comment, or message your brand to learn more.

Conversion, of course, is getting more sales. That strong and creative copy that prompts your call to action so they make a purchase.

Your objectives can change over time, but it’s crucial to select one objective for each campaign to evaluate its effectiveness since each strategy will have different goals and milestones.

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Within the three groups, there are thirteen campaign objectives:

  1. Store Traffic
  2. Reach
  3. Brand Awareness
  4. Traffic
  5. Engagement
  6. Lead Generation
  7. Video Views
  8. Messenger
  9. Catalog Sales
  10. Conversions
  11. Event Response
  12. Page Likes
  13. App Installation

It’ll be essential to evaluate and consider each one to make sure you’re making the most out of your Facebook ad strategy.

It can seem overwhelming, so testing a few different ones may be the correct route for your brand.

After some practice, you’ll be able to see which ones are giving you the results you’re looking for, especially if you test multiple objectives over time.

Another vital component of setting a brand’s objectives is aligning the company’s objectives with its needs.

Correctly completing this aspect can help you optimize your budget, efforts for bidding options, and ad unit options.

Now we talked about milestones, and unfortunately, some companies wrongly measure their success simply through page likes or only consider a high click-through rate, but there’s more to it than that.

There are numerous platforms to analyze the analytics, which will get into a bit later.

3. Narrowing Down Into Too Wide (Or Too Specific) Targeted Audiences

Defining your target audience is key.

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Even though you picked your objective, you still need to specify your audience, and it can be a bit tricky to make sure it’s not too large or too small.

You want to make sure your content targets audiences interested in your ad, and one of the best ways to do this is to create a customer profile of someone you would like to attract to your brand. This profile should be all-encompassing.

While it’s good to start with age, gender, income, marital status, and education level, you want to go further into what their hobbies, values, and interests are as well.

To really connect with people, you’ll have to consider more detailed factors to create your content for your ads.

Even though you establish a customer profile, you don’t want to go too narrow and target solely based on an office type, job title, or daily budget.

On the other hand, if you go too broad, you can target people who wouldn’t be interested in your brand and spend more money retargeting.

To solve this conundrum, here are some tips for the best way to build your audience for Facebook ads.

Let’s talk about content.

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Focus on the different order for each ad, and try to tell a story through each iteration.

How will the customer journey evolve for each ad you present? And what is your intention for each ad along the way?

Then, once you’ve selected your audience and started your campaign, you can use the audience insights to better target people and redefine your reach. And, you want to observe how the audience is interacting with your page and content.

Additionally, you can layer different audience components such as their interests to reach more audiences in each ad.

It’s important to keep in mind some changes Meta is making to Facebook Ad Targeting for 2022.

These changes revolve around how brands connect with audiences based on health causes, sexual orientation, religious practices and groups, and political beliefs.

People were concerned with data privacy, especially when it comes to ad targeting, and Meta has made changes to resolve this issue.

However, Meta may also make further changes down the line, so it’s essential to keep these shifts on your radar.

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4. Using The Wrong Ad Type

There are numerous ad types you can use on Facebook. These include pictures, infographics, videos, carousels which are multiple images or a video, and product displays such as a collection.

Once you figure out your objective, audience, and the way in which you would like your customer journey to unfold, it’ll be easier to select the ad type that will work best for your campaign.

Then, over time as you measure and track engagement for different pieces of content, you’ll be able to see which types resonate best with your audience.

Make sure to check the requirements for each format type since there are different view options based on a mobile device, computer, and small pop-up ads.

Also, it’s important to consider how your audience will view your content on each device to make sure it’s effective.

Myth: Assuming You Need To Have A Big Budget For Image/Video

You can create impactful, high-quality ads with simple tools such as Canva, which has preset templates where you can add your brand color and logo, and photos to your ads.

These types of platforms simplify ad creation and are generally cost-effective.

Additionally, you can use the carousel format to give your audience multiple stock photo images to browse through or create a compelling video.

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5. Not Measuring Conversions

If you’re not monitoring your campaign or end up abandoning the ad, it’ll be hard to measure its true return on investment to better inform future campaigns.

It’s the only way to really see if your ads are working or find ways to pivot and re-strategize. Don’t let an initial campaign discourage you.

One effective tool to monitor analytics is to use Google Analytics to track various aspects such as consumer location, content, conversions, mobile engagement, and more.

You can check out the guide to Google Analytics here for a step-by-step tutorial.

Facebook will also give you insightful analytics to see the engagement you’re receiving for each ad and how it performs compared to others throughout the weeks.

Additionally, through Facebook Business Suite, you can manage campaigns in one location for both your Facebook and Instagram posts, as well as customize or adjust your campaign.

Check out some additional simple tips for driving more conversions once you have set your benchmark, such as remarketing engagement and other capabilities and experimenting by reviewing your data and retargeting ads.

So, maybe you’ve tried some tactics, and your Facebook Ads aren’t converting. Here are some reasons why your ads may not be converting and some tips to improve.

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One reason is that your brand might not have enough audience data yet.

If this is your first campaign or you’re a newer brand, you might need to gather more analytics and comprehensive audience data to target your ads better.

You can accomplish this through Google Analytics, Microsoft Ads PPC, Facebook analytics, surveys, and questionnaires.

You may also need to take another look at your targeting parameters.

As stated earlier, going too wide or too narrow can diminish the effectiveness of your campaign.

You can improve this by redefining the three boundaries: demographics, psychographics, and behaviors.

Additionally, if customers aren’t buying your product or service, it can be impactful to focus on Facebook lead ads.

6. Not A/B Testing

When creating a Facebook ad campaign, it’s crucial not to assume you know what will automatically appeal to your intended audience.

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Try completing some A/B Testing, and you might be surprised.

For example, you can make minor changes such as switching the call to action, messaging, or image selection to see which best engages with your audience.

Make sure to use the Facebook Ad Library for comparisons with other brands as well as to see trends and longevity.

Look at competitors’ ads to see what’s working for them within their ad messaging or format to connect with your similar audience.

Timing is also key to ensuring you’re reaching your audience at the right time.

Keep in mind the upcoming holidays that you might want to incorporate into your campaign.

Funnel mapping is also great to see where your audience is going when they go to your call to action.

When you look at the ad journey from the customer’s perspective, you can pinpoint areas for improvement.

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Conclusion

When brands take the time to strategize and consider their objective, needs, audience, content type, and ad journey, Facebook ads become a more manageable option.

They are a cost-effective way to engage and grow a brand’s audience and have the potential for a great return on investment.

When you’re just getting into social media marketing, learning from your mistakes is an excellent opportunity for growth. It offers the chance to pinpoint areas for improvement.

Then you can course-correct to better connect with and expand your audience and customer base.

Facebook ads can become an influential tool in a brand’s market strategy.

More Resources:


Featured Image: Kaspars Grinvalds/Shutterstock

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How We Used a Video Course to Promote Ahrefs (And Got 500K+ Views)

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How We Used a Video Course to Promote Ahrefs (And Got 500K+ Views)

Creating and selling educational courses can be a lucrative business. But if you already have a product to sell, you can actually use courses as a marketing tool.

Back in 2017, about two years after joining Ahrefs, I decided to create a course on content marketing.

I had a very clear understanding of how an educational course would help me promote Ahrefs.

  • People like courses – Folks like Brian Dean and Glen Allsopp were selling theirs for $500 to $2,000 a pop (and rather successfully). So a free course of comparable quality was sure to get attention.
  • Courses allow for a deeper connection – You would basically be spending a few hours one on one with your students. And if you managed to win their trust, you’d get an opportunity to promote your product to them.

That was my raw thought process going into this venture.

And I absolutely didn’t expect that the lifespan of my course would be as interesting and nuanced as it turned out to be.

The lessons of my course have generated over 500K+ in total views, brought in mid-five-figures in revenue (without even trying), and turned out to be a very helpful resource for our various marketing purposes.

So here goes the story of my “Blogging for Business” course.

1. The creation

I won’t give you any tips on how to create a successful course (well, maybe just one). There are plenty of resources (courses?) on that topic already.

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All I want to say is that my own experience was quite grueling.

The 10 lessons of my course span some 40K words. I have never attempted the feat of writing a book, but I imagine creating such a lengthy course is as close as it gets.

Scripts of the course in Google Docs.

I spent a tremendous amount of time polishing each lesson. The course was going to be free, so it was critical that my content was riveting. If not, people would just bounce from it.

Paid courses are quite different in that sense. You pay money to watch them. So even if the content is boring at times, you’ll persevere anyway to ensure a return on your investment.

When I showed the draft version of the course to my friend, Ali Mese, he gave me a simple yet invaluable tip: “Break your lessons into smaller ones. Make each just three to four minutes long.”

How did I not think of this myself? 

Short, “snackable” lessons provide a better sense of completion and progress. You’re also more likely to finish a short lesson without getting distracted by something. 

I’m pretty sure that it is because of this simple tip that my course landed this Netflix comparison (i.e., best compliment ever):

2. The strategy

With the prices of similar courses ranging from $500 to $2,000, it was really tempting to make some profit with ours.

I think we had around 15,000 paying customers at Ahrefs at that time (and many more on the free plan). So if just 1% of them bought that course for $1K, that would be an easy $150K to pocket. And then we could keep upselling it to our future customers.

Alternatively, we thought about giving access to the course to our paying customers only. 

This might have boosted our sales, since the course was a cool addition to the Ahrefs subscription. 

And it could also improve user retention. The course was a great training resource for new employees, which our customers would lose access to if they canceled their Ahrefs subscription.

And yet, releasing it for free as a lead acquisition and lead nurturing play seemed to make a lot more sense than the other two options. So we stuck to that.

3. The waitlist

Teasing something to people before you let them get it seems like one of the fundamental rules of marketing.

  • Apple announces new products way before they’re available in stores. 
  • Movie studios publish trailers of upcoming movies months (sometimes years) before they hit the theaters. 
  • When you have a surprise for your significant other (or your kids), you can’t help but give them some hints before the reveal.

There’s something about “the wait” and the anticipation that we humans just love to experience.

So while I was toiling away and putting lessons of my course together, we launched a landing page to announce it and collect people’s emails.

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The landing page of the course.

In case someone hesitated to leave their email, we had two cool bonuses to nudge them:

  1. Access to the private Slack community
  2. Free two-week trial of Ahrefs

The latter appealed to freebie lovers so much that it soon “leaked” to Reddit and BlackHatWorld. In hindsight, this leak was actually a nice (unplanned) promo for the course.

4. The promotion

I don’t remember our exact promotion strategy. But I’m pretty sure it went something like this:

I also added a little “sharing loop” to the welcome email. I asked people to tell their friends about the course, justifying it with the fact that taking the course with others was more fun than doing it alone.

Welcome email with a "sharing loop."

I have no idea how effective that “growth hack” was, but there was no reason not to encourage sharing.

In total, we managed to get some 16,000 people on our waitlist by the day of the course launch.

5. The launch

On a set date, the following email went out to our waitlist:

Course launch email.

Did you notice the “note” saying that the videos were only available for free for 30 days? We did that to nudge people to watch them as soon as possible and not save them to the “Watch later” folder.

In retrospect, I wish we had used this angle from the very beginning: “FREE for 30 days. Then $799.”

This would’ve killed two birds with one stone: 

  1. Added an urgency to complete the course as soon as possible
  2. Made the course more desirable by assigning a specific (and rather high) monetary value to it

(If only we could be as smart about predicting the future as we are about reflecting on the past.) 

Once it was live, the course started to promote itself. I was seeing many super flattering tweets:

We then took the most prominent of those tweets and featured them on the course landing page for some social proof. (They’re still there, by the way.)

6. The paywall

Once the 30 days of free access ran out, we added a $799 paywall. And it didn’t take long for the first sale to arrive:

This early luck didn’t push us to focus on selling this course, though. We didn’t invest any effort into promoting it. It was just sitting passively in our Academy with a $799 price tag, and that was it.

And yet, despite the lack of promotion, that course was generating 8-10 sales every month—which were mostly coming from word of mouth.

A comment in TrafficThinkTank.
Eric Siu giving a shout-out about my course in TTT Slack.

Thanks to its hefty price, my course soon appeared on some popular websites with pirated courses. And we were actually glad that it did. Because that meant more people would learn about our content and product.

Then some people who were “late to the party” started asking me if I was ever going to reopen the course for free again. This actually seemed like a perfectly reasonable strategy at the time:

7. The giveaways

That $799 price tag also turned my free course into a pretty useful marketing tool. It was a perfect gift for all sorts of giveaways on Twitter, on podcasts, during live talks, and so on.

Giving away the course during a live talk.
Me giving away the course during a live talk.

And whenever we partnered with someone, they were super happy to get a few licenses of the course, which they could give out to their audience.

8. The relaunch

Despite my original plan to update and relaunch this course once a year, I got buried under other work and didn’t manage to find time for it.

And then the pandemic hit. 

That’s when we noticed a cool trend. Many companies were providing free access to their premium educational materials. This was done to support the “stay at home” narrative and help people learn new skills.

I think it was SQ who suggested that we should jump on that train with my “Blogging for Business” course. And so we did:

We couldn’t have hoped for a better timing for that relaunch. The buzz was absolutely insane. The announcement tweet alone has generated a staggering 278K+ impressions (not without some paid boosts, of course).

The statistics of the course announcement tweet.

We also went ahead and reposted that course on ProductHunt once again (because why not?).

All in all, that relaunch turned out to be even more successful than the original launch itself. 

In the course of their lifespan on Wistia, the 40 video lessons of my course generated a total of 372K plays.

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Play count from Wistia.

And this isn’t even the end of it.

9. The launch on YouTube

Because the course was now free, it no longer made sense to host it at Wistia. So we uploaded all lessons to YouTube and made them public.

To date, the 41 videos of my course have generated about 187K views on YouTube.

"Blogging for Business" course playlist.

It’s fair to mention that we had around 200,000 subscribers on our channel at the time of publishing my course there. A brand-new channel with no existing subscribers will likely generate fewer views.

10. The relaunch on YouTube [coming soon]

Here’s an interesting observation that both Sam and I made at around the same time. 

Many people were publishing their courses on YouTube as a single video spanning a few hours rather than cutting them into individual lessons like we did. And those long videos were generating millions of views!

Like these two, ranking at the top for “learn Python course,” which have 33M and 27M views, respectively:

"Learn python course" search on YouTube.

So we decided to run a test with Sam’s “SEO for Beginners” course. It was originally published on YouTube as 14 standalone video lessons and generated a total of 140K views.

Well, the “single video” version of that same course has blown it out of the water with over 1M views as of today.

I’m sure you can already tell where I’m going with this.

We’re soon going to republish my “Blogging for Business” course on YouTube as a single video. And hopefully, it will perform just as well.

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The end

So that’s the story of my “Blogging for Business” course. From the very beginning, it was planned as a promotional tool for Ahrefs. And judging by its performance, I guess it fulfilled its purpose rather successfully.

A screenshot of a Slack message.

Don’t get me wrong, though. 

The fact that my course was conceived as a promotional tool doesn’t mean that I didn’t pour my heart and soul into it. It was a perfectly genuine and honest attempt to create a super useful educational resource for content marketing newbies.

And I’m still hoping to work on the 2.0 version of it someday. In the past four years, I have accrued quite a bit more content marketing knowledge that I’m keen to share with everyone. So follow me on Twitter, and stay tuned.



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