Many companies that try to manage paid social media campaigns on their own do not see a sufficient return on their ad spend (ROAS). If you’re wasting time and money each month on Facebook advertising and not seeing results, there’s a good chance you aren’t setting up your campaigns in a way that takes into consideration where the audience is along the buyer’s journey.
In this post we’ll share an example of an eCommerce furniture store that had been spending over $2,000/mo on their social campaigns and seeing a ROAS of 0. This client specialized in a niche furniture style and had an average order value at the time of around $1,300. For confidentiality we’ll refer to them as Artisan Furniture Co. (Artisan for short).
Below we dig into a number of common tactical mistakes Artisan had made in setting up their campaign, but more importantly, we’ll detail how we used our ‘See, Think, Do’ Facebook ad strategy to significantly improve their ROAS.
The essence of our ‘See, Think, Do’ Facebook ad strategy (based on the digital marketing framework coined by Avinash Kaushik) is to create specific campaigns with different targeting, creative, and calls-to-action setup for each stage of the funnel. When applied, it often looks something like this:
- You begin with an ad for an audience that is high in the funnel, and collect data that allows you to narrow down the audience.
- As you narrow down the audience, you set different campaign objectives and deliver different messages.
- Then, once your audience has been narrowed down to people further down the funnel in the consideration and decision stages, you can present the more assertive conversion-focused ads.
The results we typically see are that these ads are more likely to generate sales because of all the work that’s been done to put them in front of the right people at the right time. The ROAS we’ve been seeing using this framework for paid social ads (as outlined in the article linked to above and below for this article) supports this claim.
Below we’ll begin by covering the tactical mistakes we uncovered during our audit:
- Not transitioning from high-funnel to low-funnel campaign objectives
- Running only 2 ads
- Defining the audience too broadly
- Letting the frequency rate get too high
- Using a default setting of ‘Link Clicks’ for a traffic campaign
- And not setting up URL tags
Then, we’ll share the exact process we followed to increase Artisan’s ROAS from 0 to 29.5 in just 3 months — which means, for every dollar spent on the campaign, they got almost $30 back.
If you want to learn more about how our Facebook ads team can help your furniture or other eCommerce company scale growth, you can reach us here.
The Audit: Reviewing Artisan’s Recent Social Campaigns
When we work with a client, performing an audit of their previous campaigns is a crucial element to inform how we move forward. It’s an opportunity for us to learn about what hasn’t been working, so that we can begin to develop a strategy to effectively revamp and relaunch campaigns that will eventually convert.
What follows is the list of tactical mistakes we found Artisan had been making, along with a brief explanation of each one.
Not Transitioning from High-Funnel to Low-Funnel Campaign Objectives
One out of their two ads used the campaign objective of engagement which shows your ads in the news feed of people who are most likely to like, share, and comment on your post.
While likes and comments can be useful for developing social proof, engagement alone will not typically result in conversions and purchases.
In some cases, engagement can be used in the beginning stages of a broad awareness campaign, but eventually you’ll want to make a shift to the campaign objectives of traffic and conversions that are more likely to get you the results you’re looking for.
Running Only Two Ads
We found that there had been just two ads running for their 3 month campaign, with zero copy and image variations.
The problem with this is that a message that’s going to resonate and compel Facebook users at the top of the funnel, isn’t necessarily going to have the same effect on an audience member further down the funnel, and vice versa.
When developing paid social campaigns, it’s essential to develop a variety of creative ads to show tailored messages to your audience at different parts of the funnel.
Defining the Audience Too Broadly
Upon reviewing the designated audience for their campaigns, we noticed they had lumped together a wide array of interests into a single audience. Interests like “Mother’s Day Gifts and Wishes” were alongside completely unrelated interests like “New Home Sales.”
If you’re beginning with a general prospecting campaign and you want to explore whether or not people with these interests might be interested in your products, the better approach is to split these interests out into separate campaigns with custom audiences, and create different ads for them.
For example, if you were running an ad around Mother’s Day, you would create an ad with copy that specifically talks about “Mother’s Day Sale” or “Give your mom a gift that lasts.”
Letting the Frequency Rate Get Too High
With a frequency rate of 2.5, on average people were seeing their engagement campaign two and a half times. When you’re targeting people this high in the funnel, there are a couple of reasons you are be better off managing your frequency rate so that it’s less than 2.
- In a prospecting campaign, a large portion of the people who see your ads are not going to be interested. When those people see it two or more times, more of them will tend to hide or dislike your ad, which sends negative signals to Facebook that can lead them to penalize you with higher costs.
- By showing your ad to people high in the funnel more than once, you’re missing out on the opportunity to get your ad to reach more individual people who might actually want to see it.
By managing your frequency rate and keeping it less than 2, your prospecting ads will reach more potential customers and be less likely to result in hides and dislikes.
Using a Default Setting of Link Clicks for a Traffic Campaign
When you choose a traffic campaign objective, there is a section titled “Delivery Optimization” where you can tell Facebook to either optimize for link clicks or for landing page views.
The default setting has traditionally been link clicks. However, choosing landing page views sends a much stronger signal to Facebook that you want your ad to be shown to somebody who is not just likely to click on your link, but who is likely to click on the ad through to the landing page.
Then you have a qualified session and you will see lower bounce rates, a longer average session duration, and higher page depths.
Not Setting Up URL Tags
Without setting up URL tags, when you go to Google Analytics, everything shows up as referral traffic, and you’re left without knowing whether someone came from the Facebook page where they saw your ad, or from somewhere else.
URL tags help you understand which ads are working and which are not, where you’re getting a return on your purchase, where you need to tweak messaging and targeting, and when you need to stop a campaign all together. By taking the time to set up URL tags properly, you will collect the data that you need to make smart decisions about your campaigns.
The Action: Applying the ‘See, Think, Do’ Facebook Ad Strategy
Prior to working with us, Artisan had spent 74% of their budget on an engagement campaign. This can be useful during general prospecting in the ‘See’ phase, but without narrowing down the audience and delivering new ads in the ‘Think’ and ‘Do’ stages, they weren’t able to get the conversions they were looking for.
Let’s take a look at how we used different campaign objectives and creative ads strategically to execute the three phases of ‘See, Think, Do’.
Changes in the ‘See’ Phase
In this case, we chose to kick off with a reach campaign. The reach campaign helped us to get their brand in front of the eyes of a broader audience of potential customers that were high in the funnel.
In parallel to the reach campaign, we also launched a video view campaign as another element of general prospecting and effort to gain brand recognition with the new audience. This allowed us to build some awareness of Artisan and also begin narrowing down our audience for the ‘Think’ phase of our campaign.
Changes in the ‘Think’ Phase
Whereas before Artisan was running their engagement (‘See’ phase) and traffic (‘Think’ phase) campaigns with essentially the same audience, we were able to use the information we gathered in the ‘See’ phase to update and refine the audience for the ‘Think’ phase. So when we ran our traffic campaign, after the success of the reach and video view campaigns, the leads visiting Artisan’s site were significantly more qualified.
Benefits for the ‘Do’ Phase
By the time we entered the ‘Do’ phase with our conversion campaign, the audience was already familiar with our brand and our products, and they were that much more prepared to take the action our client was looking for: to make purchases of their unique furniture.
This is what the ‘See, Think, Do’ Facebook ad strategy can do when it’s applied in the right way.
So now that you understand the strategy, here are the tactical specifics and steps we took when we executed the campaign.
The Exact Steps We Took to Execute ‘See, Think, Do’
- Redefined the Audience by Splitting Up Interests
We took the interests of the people our client wanted to reach and split them up into groups for general prospecting. This allowed us to begin discovering what the specific interests were of the people who were actually engaging with our ads.
- Developed a Variety of Creative
Using different copy and image variations, we developed tailored ads for the different audience segments we’d chosen, and ran several of them at the same time. This allowed us to test them against each other and see where the results were coming from.
- Set Up Necessary URL Tags
Each step of the way, we created URL tags and input them into the URL parameters of “Tracking” section in the ad settings. This allowed us to always know where clicks and site visits were coming from to determine which ads were working and which ones needed tweaking.
- Selected Top-of-Funnel Campaign Objectives to Start
We started out with a “reach campaign” which tells Facebook to display our ads in front of the people in the target audience we had established. In conjunction, we ran a “video view campaign” (another campaign objective we go to for audiences higher in the funnel), where we were able to drive over 340K 10-second video views with just $859.
- Narrowed Down Target Audience
With the data in hand from our reach and video view campaigns, we built retargeting lists of users who engaged with our ad or watched a certain percentage of the video. Now we had an audience that was a better fit for a “conversion campaign.”
- Set Up and Launched a Traffic Campaign
Next we repeated steps 2 and 3 for our narrowed audience of people further down the funnel, and launched a “traffic campaign” to get them to begin thinking about making a purchase or taking a desired action on our client’s website.
- Set Up and Launched a Conversion Campaign
Lastly, we followed the same process to narrow the audience down even further and delivered a more assertive “conversion campaign” to the people within the audience who we found would be most likely to make a purchase. The results came in at a ROAS of 29.5 after 3 months.
Successful marketing depends on delivering the right messages, to the right people, at the right times. We find that the ‘See, Think, Do’ framework allows you to do just that.
Nurturing interested audience members down the funnel (while not asking for too much from the customer right away) is key. While customers get to know your brand in a way that’s educational and informational, you can identify qualified users along the way — which will ultimately help you to deliver relevant messages to people that want them.
That’s how you’ll increase your ROAS for paid social campaigns.
We hope we’ve provided you with insight that you can use to avoid these mistakes and improve your returns on social ad campaigns, and if you want to learn more about our services you can message us here.