3 things you must know about Facebook ads in 2015

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Oddly, while I hear people complaining about Facebook ads becoming more confusing, more expensive, and more difficult to achieve clear business results, exactly the opposite is now true.

The peddlers of social media advice would have you believe this farce. And it was the same poppycock they fed you when they sold you SEO services, which has now become content marketing or whatever is the flavor of the day. Like Nancy Reagan advised, “Just Say No!”

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The unscrupulous chiropractor (not all chiropractors, mind you) wants you to keep coming back each week for an adjustment. The shaman has a vested interest in keeping you confused, while Facebook has a clear economic interest in seeing your business succeed. Then you’ll put more coins into their advertising machine. So Facebook is taking this back.

Facebook wants to drive undeniable, direct business results for you without the interference of 3rd parties. That’s not to say you can’t hire folks to help you with content strategy, building landing pages, tweaking your website, or setting up stuff not directly core to Facebook marketing.

In the last 20 years I’ve done marketing, I know revealing this infuriates the consultants and vendors that profit off the confusion. But don’t fret. They will move on to hawk the next shiny object.

This means you need to have only a few key ingredients in place. Then Facebook will handle the rest. You’ll no longer need an external party to make your ads, touch your bidding, organize your campaign structure, or any sort of meddling. I once heard that the factory of the future will have a man and a dog.  The dog is there to make sure that the man doesn’t touch the machinery.  And the man is there to feed the dog.

So here are the three things you need and why:

Goals

No, really. Measurable business goals. I’d choose one for each stage of the 3 part funnel: audience, engagement, and conversion. If you don’t know what reaching or engaging audiences are worth (perhaps your email program is in disrepair), then just allocate 25 percent to each of these buckets, so you can have 50 percent be on the conversion bucket.

The cool thing about Facebook is that they put up a guide to the 9 types of business goals you can choose from, complete with creative specs and how to create the ads.

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Just go here and you’re on your way. Yet there are so many consultants still shilling their guide to Facebook’s ads. Whose guide will you trust– the free one made by Facebook directly or the out-of-date one you buy from a consultant who hasn’t even met with Facebook before?

The cool thing about choosing a business goal, if I may geek out for a minute, is that oCPM (optimized CPM bidding) takes care of the targeting and bidding for you. For the last 7 years, we’ve made our bread-and-butter from mastering Facebook’s wide array of targeting capabilities. And now I’m telling you that Facebook’s automatically targeting and bidding now beats us most of the time, even on our campaigns that spend millions per month.

I was one of the most vociferous detractors of boosting posts until Facebook improved their automatic targeting to the point where I had to shut up. Their system learns over time to get better and better at identifying who your next customer is. They have more data than you and they’re smarter than you.

When you have the conversion pixels in place and know what a sale or lead is worth to you, all the heavy lifting and on-going optimization is on them, not you.

Whoops to the consultants who like to charge on-going monthly management fees. They can sort of make a claim that there is “maintenance” to be done on PPC campaigns, but if they’re honest, they’ll admit that it’s minimal. In fact, the time to prepare the status report and meet with you is more than the time they spend adjust the campaign just before they need to meet with you.

Content

This is where Facebook can’t help you. It the WHY of your existence, what gets you up in the morning, the thing you do that causes your best customers to rave about you.