First introduced 121 years ago by E. St. Elmo Lewis, the original marketing funnel shapes everything we do as marketers. It provides an outline to the customer journey, helping to organise and focus marketing efforts. Without this guide to help streamline a business’ marketing campaigns millions of pounds would be wasted every year. It goes without saying, but understanding the funnel itself, where your customers are in the journey and how to progress them from one stage to another is essential knowledge for modern marketers. Facebook advertising has redefined this funnel, creating its own much more concise version that needs just as much deliberation as Lewis’ model. Facebook has provided a suite of tools that can be leveraged at specific sections of the funnel for maximum results. In this blog, we’re going to discuss effective ways to tap into each part of the funnel. First things first, if you haven’t set up your Facebook pixel, we advise doing this to perfect your targeting at each stage of the funnel.
The awareness stage is something as simple as when a potential customer will begin researching a product or service and encounter your business online. They may have browsed your website or maybe even viewed your Facebook or Instagram profile, but ultimately never took any significant action. Creating further awareness is the first step in not only building a strong brand but will eventually drive sales from these potential customers.
Capturing the attention of those in the awareness stage is so important as you want to keep them engaged and taking as much action as possible. As soon as a potential customer enters this first level of the marketing funnel you should have ads primed and ready to be served to them through a custom audience. You could go as broad as targeting any website visitor but why not experiment with some exclusions too. Use another custom audience to make sure purchasers and those who have taken more credible actions on your website don’t receive the same ads.
When it comes to the campaign objective there are three recommended options here:
- Brand Awareness
- Video Views
In a nutshell, each of these individual objectives has a similar goal – for ads to be seen by the most amount of people and to create a high level of ad recall. The brand awareness and video views objectives combine user behaviour and ad recall surveys to provide an estimated ad recall lift, which is essentially the number of people who remember your ad when asked after two days. When it comes to ad creative our recommendation is always to stick with video. With 100 million hours of video being watched on Facebook daily and video content receive 48% more views this should be a no-brainer.
How can you use video to introduce your business to potential customers? Using a person of interest briefly talking about your brand can often be a good route to explore, as it is likely to pique the interest of fans they may have or simply create a link between that individual and your business. This could be your CEO, founder or maybe even a celebrity or influencer. Perhaps you can show your product in use via a brief demonstration and provide the benefits of your product. Aim to keep videos short and sweet, retargeting those who stuck around to watch all or most of your video.
After developing their awareness of your brand those interested will enter the next stage of the funnel, consideration. At this point in the funnel, it is common for users to take further action on your website which you can then in turn use to target them by creating custom pixel events. You can run campaigns encouraging users to download your mobile app, complete a lead form or direct them to a specific landing page. All these different avenues not only further the buyer’s journey but also opens them up to other marketing channels too! Users who have reached the consideration stage are also better for creating lookalike audiences out of too, eventually increasing the total number of Facebook users you can target in the long run. It is important at this stage to nurture these now prospective customers and edge them closer and closer to making a purchase.
Aside from campaigns geared towards app installs, Messenger ads and Lead Form ads are the ideal objective type for engaging these potential customers. Both campaign types set out to get more information from these potential buyers so that this can then be leveraged to your advantage. Getting information from someone online can be a difficult task, so think about ways it could benefit them also. For example, can you offer something in return for completing a lead form? Maybe a unique, introductory discount code for their first purchase; a product sample; a white paper on something they may have interest in; to be entered in a prize draw.
The key is ensuring the call-to-action is strong and any benefits or rewards are highlighted in the headline. “Sign up to our newsletter and get 10% off your first order” or “Coming soon… Sign up and be the first to know!” would be examples of a Facebook ad encouraging clear action from users. It may also be an idea to use dynamic ad creative for lead generation ads, with the highest performing combination being the one that is served most. This is a very simple but effective exercise and all it needs is more than one image or video, ad copy, headline and CTA.
When it comes to Messenger ads, the focus of the ad itself should be on asking a general question that entices the audience to hit the “send message” button so they can seek the answer from you. Think about what FAQs you could turn into a Facebook ad. The beauty of Messenger ads is that you can combine a chatbot with the ad so that once a message is sent not only will the bot do the legwork, but that user will be included in your Messenger list. Once a user has initiated a conversation with a bot the earnest is on you to keep them interested! Create a fun but informative chat sequence to keep them talking and providing you with information which can, in turn, be used to help their buying decision, think of keywords that customer searches on your online store and work those into your bot sequence.
The benefit of this is if a user consistently interacts with your Messenger bot then they are in a prime position to receive promotional messaging from your business, pushing them further through the marketing funnel. Keeping people engaged with your bot is essential, as after 48 hours you must pay to broadcast to any user who hasn’t engaged with your chatbot! Gathering information from your customer in unique and interactive ways through lead generation and Messenger ads is a great way to not only build a connection with your customer but encourage them to take further action down the line. This, in the long run, benefits your overall marketing efforts on Facebook as the quality of custom audiences will increase.
Finally, we come to the moment we’ve all been waiting for when the prospective buyer is that one step closer to becoming a first-time customer! Using Facebook advertising to create a strategic conversion campaign allows the audience to make the long-awaited purchase you have spent so much time nurturing. Campaigns with the conversion objective give your business a detailed insight into the purchasing process.
A great way for users to simultaneously learn more about your brand or product and become a customer is the use of Collection ads. Collection ads are horizontal ads that once interacted with open to become a full-screen experience, with the main ad content at the very top and your product feed displayed underneath. These kinds of ads are perfect for not only for encouraging sales but also telling a strong brand story. Collection ads are a powerful tool as they serve as a digital product look book or storefront, making your brand and your product the focus of their attention.
As usual, our advice here is to use a compelling on-brand video as the main content. You can go two routes with this, you could either use a video that shows technical aspects of the product or a lifestyle video that shows the product in use. Designed with mobile in mind, these immersive ads stimulate customer intent with a mixture of aesthetically pleasing content and information. How can you use Collection ads to close the sale at the final stage of the marketing funnel?
When it comes to retargeting customers who maybe didn’t buy, choosing Catalogue Sales as your campaign objective utilises your product feed to re-engage customers who did not purchase. Our favourite ad format for driving conversions with your product catalogue is Dynamic Product Ads (DPAs). DPAs are perfect for retargeting customers who are at the final stage of the funnel and may have added to cart but didn’t buy. The DPA will show them the products they had previously viewed on your website in a bid to finally make them convert. Combine this with some winning copy and you’re bound to see the sales roll in!
Think of a ‘tipping point’ for these customers to make that purchase. You may offer free shipping or maybe in some cases a points-based system for customers to generate points and eventually redeem for a voucher. Often a customer will view your website on their mobile during the day but may not eventually convert until the evening on a desktop, for example, a DPA will bring you to the forefront of their memory and win that potentially lost sale.
In cases where you have a physical location, Facebook even has a campaign optimised for Store Traffic! This campaign objective allows you to target people in the locale close to your store, restaurant or dealership and help them to find or contact the closest brick and mortar store to them. Using the Store Traffic objective can help serve as part of a wider marketing plan and is better suited to businesses that require a physical customer, such as supermarkets or cafes. Perhaps if you’re a fashion brand hosting a sample sale and want customers to come to your store and try on clothes this campaign objective may also be of use to you. Thanks to the carousel ad format you can get the best of both worlds, having a series of cards promoting products and finish with a card displaying your physical location. This would potentially enable you to generate online sales in parallel with store visits, how cool is that?
With all these different campaign objectives and ad formats, there’s bound to be a way you can use these various tactics to your advantage and take potential customers on a journey through your marketing funnel. Hopefully, you will now feel inspired to make the most out of the Facebook advertising tools at your disposal. Which of these are you most excited to try? Let us know in the comments below!