Facebook advertising is an amazing way to drive sales and leads for your business. This isn’t news to anyone. We’re all well aware of it by now.
In fact, these days it’s hard to find a business that hasn’t dabbled in the art of Facebook advertising at least once or twice and, for most brands it’s a key part of their digital marketing strategy.
The thing is, Facebook advertising – as great as it is, can be very tricky to master. This is mostly due to the fact that the platform is ever changing. New features and techniques are popping up on a daily basis and even though I’m a Facebook aficionado, I find it difficult to keep up with all the constant updates.
So what’s new for Facebook advertising in 2017? A lot. In fact, this year could be Facebook’s most exciting one yet as the sharp rise in video, immersive content (VR and AR) and AI are set to accelerate at an unprecedented pace over the next 12 months.
So to help you navigate the waves for yourself as a blogger or a business person, or for your clients as digital freelancer, here are my top tips for Facebook Advertising in 2017.
1. The big pixel
This first point is just a bit of housekeeping tbh. Longtime Facebook advertisers will know that there have historically been two pixels; the conversion tracking pixel for tracking (youguessedit) conversions and the custom audience pixel for (youguessedit) creating custom audiences.
If you are advertising on Facebook, it is absolutely imperative to have these pixels installed on your site to properly measure their performance and ensure that you’re getting the best ROI – but that’s a story for another day.
The real news is that on February 15th 2017, Facebook is getting rid of these pixels. If you have either or both of these installed on your site, you’ll need to pay attention to this bit. Instead of having two pixels, Facebook is creating one ‘holy grail’ pixel that has the benefits of both. So if you’re currently using the old ones, you need to update asap.
2. Video killed the static ad star
No one needs to be told that video is going to be big. If you have a Facebook account, you will easily have noticed how they’re dominating our newsfeeds. In fact, it’s estimated that, globally, traffic from online videos will constitute over 80% of all consumer internet traffic by 2020 (Cisco) and Facebook specifically reports that there has been a 50% growth in video views in the past year.
If you haven’t already, you should start experimenting with video within your Facebook ads. Not only do videos organically get more engagement, but Facebook is currently investing heavily in video which means it’s more likely to be promoted.
If you’re going to trial video advertising, it’s important to think about your brand and your objective. If you’re selling a beautiful product, then invest in professional production. If you’re a local business, trying to appeal to local consumers, then a simple iphone video or a Facebook live session may help you establish authenticity. No matter what, though, to stand out from the crowd you need good story telling at the heart of your content.
And, if you’re one of the many brands that have experiment or even had success with Facebook ads, you may want to keep your eyes peeled for the latest update – mid roll video ads. In January 2017, there were a lot of news stories and articles published about these kinds of ads, where videos are disrupted at least 20 seconds in to show ads.
Although mid-roll video ads seem risky on the surface (they could be annoying, there may be transparency issues etc), Facebook did see success when it was initially tested in August 2016.
3. Story time
As I just mentioned, storytelling is the most important thing for Facebook advertisers to do. If you don’t have exceptional content, it does not matter how much you spend on it because it’s not organically engaging enough to push people towards the desired action.
Having a great story is the best way to get noticed and Facebook’s many features facilitate and encourage good storytelling. This is especially true of their Canvas ads; media rich, full screen ads that only appear to Facebook mobile app users.
It allows advertisers to instantly show content to their audience, in the way that Instant Articles do. Instead of the ad content linking to an external landing page, loaded in an in-app web browser window, the ads are published in the app with the endpoint preloaded so they appear instantaneously.
In addition to added speed for users, these ads give brands the chance to be extremely creative, as you can easily merge video, images and animation to create something incredible.
They can also be interactive and for that reason, are extremely effective. These ads can be 70 seconds long and 53% of users that click on a Canvas ad stick around to view at least half of it. The average Canvas ad view time is an exceptional 31 seconds.
4. Get on the ‘gram
I’ll be honest, when I’m doing Facebook advertising, I tend to ignore Instagram and mostly remove any placement on this platform. To be honest, I tried it when it first came out and didn’t get the best results. But for 2017, I’m going to give Instagram advertising a real go – and you should do, particularly with Instagram Stories.
Facebook recently announced the opportunities for advertisers to pay to promote content on Instagram Stories, which is huge news because people love Instagram Stories. On January 11th, Instagram announced that the Stories feature is now used 150 million people every day, representing 50-million-user increase in just three months.
Yes, it sounds like a familiar format because Snapchat did it first. If you’re a Snapchat user, you will no doubt have seen those disruptive ads that started appearing in between Snapchat videos from June 2016.
It’s something that has worked very well for brands on Snapchat, as they’re more intimate and have the sound automatically on.
It’s therefore very likely to see similar, if not better results on Instagram Stories, as advertisers will have the added benefit of the easy setup, management and measurement on Facebook’s Advertising platforms. They will also have much better targeting options to boost click through rates and conversions.
5. Dynamic ads
For me, this is the most exciting one. Potentially a gamechanger.
At the start of 2017, Facebook announced a very interesting update to its dynamic advertising. Now, Facebook advertisers can reach users who have browsed multiple websites or engaged with content on Facebook looking for a similar product.
This could have huge benefits for smaller e-commerce brands in particularly competitive industries. For example, if you sell blue teapots, you can advertise to users who have viewed blue teapots on other websites. It’s going to be particularly advantageous as a remarketing techniques.
Dynamic ads were first launched a few years ago, when you could show other a variety of products to users based on their previous behaviour on your website. With this new update, you can reach visitors on your COMPETITORS’ websites.
Like i said, this represents an exciting opportunity for advertisers in competitive sectors where price is the deciding factor upon purchase. Offering discount codes and vouchers may help you to significantly increase conversions and customers.
6. Do it now
And finally, my last tip for Facebook advertising in 2017 is to do it now. Go set up your Facebook ad account now if you haven’t already and if you’re an existing advertiser then login now and get experimenting with every new feature you can find.
Currently, there are only around 3 million advertisers on Facebook, which represents just 1.7% of its overall user base. But this number is growing. Rapidly. Which means the cost of advertising on the platform is only going to get more and more expensive.
And furthermore, if you don’t start now, you’re going to get left behind. Online advertising and marketing changes dramatically by the second and to succeed, you need to stay ahead of the trends and updates.
Now isn’t the time to start Facebook advertising. The time was like 3 years ago. So if you haven’t already, get on it now.
And if you need some help with Facebook advertising, you can always hire me. I offer training, strategy and management for individuals and organisations. Find out more here.