Wondering how creators succeed with video on Facebook Watch? Curious how it compares to other social media video?
In this article, you’ll discover how to use Facebook ads with email marketing to improve your conversions.
Why Your Business Needs Both Facebook Ads and Email Marketing
For as long as I can remember, marketers have hailed email marketing as the best strategy in terms of ROI and difficulty. Done correctly, email marketing drives a constant stream of traffic to your content. It also lets you connect with your audience on a more personal level, maintain brand awareness, and schedule your marketing messages for more ideal times.
A recent survey by Ascend2, however, reveals that email marketing has been overtaken by four things: SEO, marketing technology, content marketing, and social media marketing. To most people, these findings would end the “email marketing versus social media marketing” debate once and for all. Smarter marketers, however, would take the comparative success of both tactics as a signal to look for ways to combine them.
Let’s look at the facts. The success of an email marketing campaign is tied to the number of leads who are subscribed to your list. To generate leads, the typical approach is to drive traffic to a landing page, which is something social media platforms excel at.
Other than social ads that let you take advantage of a network’s massive and diverse user base, social media websites serve as reliable content distribution channels for your lead generation landing pages. In return, you can leverage a growing email list to boost your social media followers. You simply need email templates with links directing subscribers to your social accounts—that is, of course, if they don’t already follow you.
So how do you design a campaign that seamlessly fuses these two components? Start with a solid Facebook ad campaign that promotes your landing page to as many people as possible.
#1: Set Up Facebook Ads to Drive Traffic to Your Landing Page
Effectively advertising on Facebook requires you to learn several audience-targeting options, different ad formats, and advertising practices that will maximize your results. The setup process is easier and more streamlined than ever, thanks to Facebook’s pre-configured options.
To get started, head to your Facebook page and click the Promote button below the navigation tabs.
To create a Facebook ad campaign that sends traffic to your lead generation pages, scroll down the list of goals and choose Get More Website Visitors.
In the Promote Your Website window, specify the URL of the page you’re promoting. Note that you can see a preview of your ad on the right for multiple placements.
You can also change the format of your Facebook ad if you want. In most cases, a single image ad should do the job of promoting a landing page. But if you have the right visual assets, you can opt for the video, carousel, or slideshow ad format.
The other elements you can modify are your ad’s headline, copy, call to action (CTA), and target audience. Here are some tips for crafting these ad elements.
The role of your headline, along with the featured image in your Facebook ads, is to capture the attention of your target audience while giving them an idea of what your business can do for them. You can accomplish both goals by emphasizing your audience’s pain points, mentioning actual numbers, and instilling a sense of urgency. Facebook ad headlines have a 25-character limit, so choose your words wisely.
Once you have your audience’s attention, the ad copy should fill in the details they need to know before they can take the next step. Some of the ground rules are to make sure the text matches what you show on the image and focus on a clear, concise value proposition.
To boost the impact of the copy in your Facebook ads, adopt the preferred communication style and language of your target audience. For the most part, a friendly, conversational tone is helpful in getting your brand’s message across to Facebook users.
The CTA gives the audience one last push into clicking. Facebook has simplified this process by providing pre-defined CTAs for all campaign types. Sign Up and Learn More are two of the CTAs that work well for lead generation.
After you finalize the look of your Facebook ad, the next step is to define your target audience. As an ad platform, the targeting options on Facebook are impressive. In addition to creating target audience profiles based on user demographics and interests, you can also set up a lookalike audience based on data gathered from the Facebook pixel, your page followers, or your app users.
Alternatively, you can build a custom audience to use information from additional data sources, like a linked Instagram account, a specific Facebook event, and offline event sets.
Pay attention to the audience you create for your Facebook ads. The rest of the steps in this article (from building landing pages to creating nurturing experiences) should be tailored to their preferences and goals.
The last thing you need to configure before you launch your Facebook ad is your budget. Check out this article to learn the ins and outs of efficient Facebook ad budgeting, such as specifying target revenue and creating custom conversion paths.
#2: Design a Landing Page to Convert Leads From Your Facebook Ads Into Subscribers
Creating Facebook ads that can turn the heads of potential subscribers is only a part of the equation. You also need to design landing pages that compel your audience to take action.
Naturally, a well-funded business with an in-house web development team should have no trouble with this step. If you’re a startup, solopreneur, or freelancer, on the other hand, you might want to use a dedicated landing page builder like Instapage, which eliminates the need for an experienced web designer to create professional-looking landing pages.
Instapage kickstarts the design process with ready-to-use landing page templates. The tool offers a 14-day free trial and paid plans start at $99/month (when billed annually). To quickly find a template that matches your goal, select the Lead Generation checkbox on the template selection page.
Although the lead generation templates vary slightly in terms of design, they all feature the same on-page elements necessary for conversions. Apart from the prominent headline and short value proposition, they also prioritize the visibility of the essential form fields and CTA.
To explore more of Instapage’s features, go with the Blank Page template.
After you give your landing page a name and go through a short tutorial, you’ll see the main Instapage editor. Here, you can start piecing together your landing page. On the main toolbar, click the elements you want to include, which range from CTA buttons to form fields.
Because most landing page builders are capable of producing similar results, there’s no need to be picky. What’s important is that you follow design principles that provide your audience with a frictionless experience and encourage them to follow through with a conversion.
Feature Visual Content
Although the web design industry has been trending toward minimalism in recent years, businesses never truly omit the use of a featured visual asset in landing pages. Visual content is simply much more effective than text in capturing the audience’s interest, be it an explainer video, a background image, an infographic, or a product photo.
Remember, the visual content itself doesn’t always have to stand out. As long as it draws attention to the other conversion elements on your landing page, it should work.
A distraction on a landing page can be anything that breaks the engagement or diverts the audience’s focus away from the conversion path.
Excessive page elements such as sidebar ads, animations, large menus, and pop-ups are only a few examples of distractions you should eliminate. Also avoid unnecessary steps in your design such as entering an address or answering a survey so you end up with a hassle-free conversion process. Here’s an example of a landing page stripped of all distractions that can ruin the user experience:
Present a Solid Value Proposition
Upon arriving at your landing page, most (if not all) users have one question: what’s in it for me? Your job is to provide them with a clear, solid answer as fast as possible. That’s why your main headline should highlight a user-oriented value proposition that’s centered on your target audience’s needs.
Here are a handful of tips that will help you write headlines that convert:
- Use negative superlatives. Negative superlatives, like “worst,” “never,” or “lowest” can significantly increase click-throughs in headlines.
- Cite real numbers. One way to pique your target audience’s interest is to mention exact numbers to back up your claims. For instance, rather than say “tips to generate traffic,” try expanding it to “tips to generate over 10,000 visitors in a month.”
- Use top phrases. A 2017 survey conducted by BuzzSumo revealed that headlines that contain certain phrases like “will make you,” “this is why,” and “are freaking out” garner significantly more engagement on Facebook.
Design for Mobile Users
Don’t forget that you’re designing landing pages for users who click your Facebook ads. According to Statista, 75% of Facebook users access the platform on mobile devices, so it’s vital to optimize your landing pages for mobile displays.
The good news is that most landing page builders, website platforms, and content management systems support responsive design out of the box. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t put any effort into mobile optimization. A great place to start is the Google Mobile-Friendly Test. Just enter the URL of your landing page, wait for the evaluation to complete, and look for optimization suggestions.
A/B Test Your Landing Pages
Even with an experienced team by your side, it’s virtually impossible to get a landing page right the first time. If you use the proven landing page tactics above, there will still be some trial and error involved in determining the best design and structure for your website.
An A/B or split testing tool can significantly reduce the time it takes to gather sufficient data regarding your landing page’s performance. It works by letting you test two or more variations of your landing page simultaneously.
Landing page builders like Instapage have an A/B testing tool built in, but you can also use external platforms like the free Google Optimize tool to test two or more versions of a web page.
#3: Design the Perfect Lead Nurturing Campaign
You now have all of the pieces in place to start generating quality leads. Your social ads are hard at work bringing in traffic, and your landing pages should help convert these visitors into subscribers.
But you’re not done just yet. You still have more to do to truly win the trust of your new leads and eventually convert them into paying customers.
Create a Welcome Email
First, make sure they’re fully aware of what they signed up for.
In lead nurturing, creating a welcome email is perhaps the easiest step. If you use an email marketing tool like Mailchimp, you have the tools you need to build and schedule a welcome email.
A welcome email not only lets you show your appreciation for new subscribers but also set their expectations and make them more receptive to your future emails. It may seem counterproductive, but include an unsubscribe link in your welcome email. It will help you filter out unqualified leads early so you can accurately measure the growth of your email list as far as high-quality leads go.
Track Where People Are in the Sales Funnel
One of the most common mistakes businesses make with email marketing is treating all of their subscribers the same way. In a sales funnel, there are different stages of familiarity that dictate how users respond to certain emails:
- Awareness: The awareness stage is where people are just discovering your brand. These are the leads who need a welcome email with links to useful resources to get them started, including blog posts, case studies, and other types of educational content.
- Consideration: Leads in the consideration stage of a conversion funnel aren’t necessarily ready to make a purchase yet. They still need more validation from product reviews, tutorials, free trials, and other product-centered content before they’ll have enough confidence to take the next step.
- Purchase and repurchase: In email marketing, you can segment all existing customers into one list regardless of whether it’s their first purchase. At this point, your objective is to build brand loyalty with cross-selling emails, review requests, and special event offers.
Email subscribers you’ve acquired from social ads are probably in the awareness or consideration stage of the sales funnel. To segment them accordingly, email marketing platforms like Mailchimp and Drip let you automatically sort your leads based on activities such as page visits, purchases, or signups from specific sources.
Get Inspiration From Others
Just like landing pages, you must constantly test and improve emails to reap their full benefits.
Modern email marketing platforms have built-in analytics tools that help you with this goal. If you want a head start, take a peek at the email campaigns of the top brands in your niche.
Really Good Emails is a straightforward free tool that lets you do this. All you need to do is enter a keyword that describes the kind of email you want to create and wait for suggestions to come in.
If you prefer something more comprehensive, WhoSendsWhat might be the tool for you. It lets you bookmark emails for future reference, sort email samples by industry, and start your search with specific domains.
It also provides a more diverse selection of emails, including those that clearly didn’t use a design-oriented template.
That’s it—real examples of lead nurturing emails you can borrow inspiration from. Pay close attention to how they present the key takeaways of their email, the focus of their headlines, and the overall tone of their content.
The steps above for designing successful email campaigns that complement your social ads look easy on the surface, and they are with the right tools. But only you can uncover the pivotal steps to success for your own brand.
Optimizing landing pages and developing email content are processes that don’t have a one-size-fits-all solution. You need to take the knowledge above, do your own experiments, and formulate a recipe that can accomplish your unique goals.
What do you think? Can you think of any steps to add that affect the outcome of a successful email marketing campaign? What strategies and tools do you use in your Facebook ads and email marketing campaigns? Feel free to voice your thoughts in the comments below!
More articles about Facebook ads:
To explore how to bots can drive organic traffic to your website, I interview Natasha Takahashi.
More About This Show
The Social Media Marketing podcast is designed to help busy marketers, business owners, and creators discover what works with social media marketing.
In this episode, I interview Natasha Takahashi, a chatbot expert and founder of the School of Bots, a community for marketers seeking to master bots. She also hosts the There’s a Bot For That live show, and she has a range of courses including Chatbot Agency Accelerator.
Natasha explains how to integrate chatbots into your social media and email marketing.
You’ll also discover tips for growing your bot subscriber list and engaging with subscribers effectively.
Share your feedback, read the show notes, and get the links mentioned in this episode below.
Here are some of the things you’ll discover in this show:
Messenger Bots That Drive Website Traffic
In 2016, after working as a marketer for tech startups and with a few clients of her own, Natasha was planning to launch a social media marketing agency with her co-founder, Kyle Willis. To stay on top of everything happening in social media marketing, she watched F8 (Facebook’s developer conference) remotely, where they announced Facebook Messenger bots.
At the conference, Facebook showed enterprise examples, but right away, Natasha wanted to start testing whether Messenger bots would be effective for her clients, which were small- and mid-sized businesses. She thought if she could learn to market with bots really well, she might be able to make her new agency stand out.
After about 4 or 5 months, Natasha’s bot marketing was going well for her clients. As is common with bot marketing, her clients had high open and click rates. They also had good conversion and retention rates. Since getting started with bots 2 years ago, Natasha and her agency have built about 100 bots.
Today, in addition to her chatbot agency, Natasha and Kyle run School of Bots, which launched in January 2018. They created it as a resource for chatbot marketing and strategy, with free articles, videos, and interviews with thought leaders. Their goal is to provide up-to-date content in a niche that changes quickly.
At the same time, Natasha and Kyle launched the Chatbot Agency Accelerator, which teaches people how to build their chatbot agencies and add chatbots to their offerings. Although they didn’t push this program, it’s taken off. They’ve grown the community, and Natasha has been doing a lot of speaking engagements.
Listen to the show to hear Natasha share what some of her hopes were as she became an entrepreneur.
Why Use Messenger Bots?
Natasha thinks right now is the perfect time to build a bot for your company or clients because, with all of the buzz about bots, people know about them but may not fully understand them.
Although WhatsApp surpassed Messenger in terms of number of users, Natasha still recommends focusing on Messenger because its users still send more messages per month than WhatsApp users do. Also, Facebook Messenger works with chatbot platforms like ManyChat and Chatfuel, which are designed for non-coders and make it easy to create a chatbot and get results.
Messenger chatbots are also a great way to drive traffic to your website now that the Facebook algorithm no longer prioritizes social posting. With a chatbot, no algorithm is controlling what people see; you can control the conversation between your page and the user. Thus, driving traffic with a chatbot is much easier than it is with a regular post to your Facebook page or even an email.
Listen to the show to hear my thoughts about chatbots versus email.
How to Grow Your Bot List
Natasha shares ways to grow your bot subscriber list via your website and social media. On your website pages, you can add personalized slide-ins and chat icons. A slide-in is like a pop-up window that says something like, “Would you like to receive a message the next time we share a blog post? If so, opt in on Messenger.”
The chat icons look similar to a live chat icon that says, “How can I help you today?” With chat icons, you can have a conversation on your site via your Messenger bot. The person never has to leave your website to interact with your bot, and the chat tool looks very similar to the live chat features that people are used to.
These features let you capture people who visit your site before you begin driving them there. You can add slide-ins and chat icons on your home page and every blog article page. This tactic is similar to the one used to capture emails with a lead magnet. You can even combine email and bot subscription requests, and test delivering the second part of a lead magnet or a discount code via bot.
To add slide-ins and chat icons to your website, you use a bot-building platform like ManyChat. The process is fairly easy. Facebook Messenger gives you a little checkbox you add to your website. Then, when people are on your website, they simply need to select the checkbox to be added to your Messenger list. If you’re combining email capture and bot subscriptions, you can add the box to a form.
For your bot-building platform to connect your website and Messenger bot, your website needs to be set up with the platform that you’re using. To illustrate, after you set up ManyChat on your site, it allows any checkbox from its platform (and that you add to your site) to connect a user to your bot. However, if you use a form created via your email provider, the process is a bit more complicated.
Natasha also notes that Messenger bots require a two-step opt-in. After a user opts in via the checkbox on your site, the user still needs to respond to the bot in Messenger in order to be subscribed to it. Messenger bots work this way so that advertisers can’t blast people’s inboxes.
For the second step of the opt-in, the best approach is to ask users what communications they want to see from you. Bots make it easy to segment your audience in deep detail, and you can start doing that right away. Natasha creates a subscription dashboard that asks if users want to be notified about blog articles, sales, or interviews. People can subscribe only to what interests them.
In addition to slide-ins and chat icons, your website can also include special links that direct people to your chatbot. You can also add these links to your emails and social media profiles on Instagram, YouTube, Medium, and so on. These links direct people to your bot. Because the link tracks where people came from, your bot can send a specific message based on that.
To visualize this, in your Instagram bio, you can add a link to your chatbot. When someone clicks it, they go to Messenger and your bot can say, “Hey there, welcome from Instagram! Thanks for following us. Do you want to get notified when we share a new post?” or whatever offer you’re running at the time. That’s typically how it would work.
In email, Natasha recommends split testing links to your website versus your bot or offer two options in the actual email. Your email might say, “If you want to read our latest blog article, click this link to go to Messenger or click this link to go to our website.” In this way, you can slowly onboard your audience to your bot. With email campaigns, people can get confused so it’s important to move slowly.
Listen to the show to hear my thoughts about the different email providers businesses use.
How to Drive Bot Subscribers to Your Website
After people subscribe to your bot, sending them to your website for a specific reason is important. Natasha emphasizes that you can’t simply ask subscribers to check out your website; you need to give them a reason to do so.
If your site has several articles or videos about a specific topic, your bot can mention the series on the topic and lead people through each article or video. After a user says they’re interested in the series, the bot can say, “Here’s the first one. Click here to see it or listen to it.” The link would send them to your site.
Between each article or video, you can implement a delay in the conversation and engage with people about your content. The delay can be a full day, an hour, 30 minutes, or however much time you want to give them before the bot says, “Hey, what do you think about it?” After you engage with a user about the content, add another delay before you share the next piece in the series.
You can also automate bot notifications about new articles on your website. The easiest way to implement this automation is with RSS feeds. (Both Chatfuel and ManyChat can work with RSS feeds.) Alternately, you can use Zapier or Integromat to set up a trigger when new content appears on your site. Then you can use that trigger to send Messenger broadcasts.
I ask how Integromat is different from Zapier. Natasha says the two services are functionally similar, but Integromat works with hundreds of apps. Most of the time, as long as you’re using a big provider, it works with the app you want to integrate with your bot.
Natasha also mentions a few other ways to drive traffic to your website. On Facebook itself, you can drive traffic with Facebook ads or an organic Facebook post. Simply connect the bot to your post so when people comment, your bot will send them a message. Or if you include chatbot links in email campaigns, you can customize the link so it’s specific to a lead magnet or new blog article.
Listen to the show to hear Natasha discuss repurposing a blog article into chatbot content.
Bot Campaign Example
To show how a bot campaign that drives traffic can work, Natasha shares an example of a recent product launch campaign that generated $48,000 with no paid traffic. The campaign combined three assets in order to grow each one: an email list (Natasha uses ActiveCampaign), the School of Bots Facebook group, and the School of Bots chatbot.
Right before the product launch, Natasha and her team ran a free 5-day boot camp that showed people how to set up agencies systematically. More than 600 people registered, and although that isn’t a huge list, everyone was incredibly engaged.
Instead of using a typical website form or an ad for registration, School of Bots sent people to the Messenger bot. The process started with the message, “Hey, welcome to the boot camp!” Then the bot checked whether it had the user’s email address and then asked users to either confirm or provide their email address.
This ability to check for an email illustrates one of the beauties of bots. Because the bot can check everything that you’re talking to the user about, you can avoid repeating yourself or talking about things that are irrelevant.
Next, the bot offered a $97 bot template for free to anyone who referred friends to the boot camp. This tactic allowed School of Bots to get lots of organic traffic to its Facebook group and email list. People invited 5-10 friends, even though School of Bots asked them to invite only one.
The invitation process also worked via the bot. The bot asked users if they wanted to invite a friend. They could respond Yes or No. If they clicked Yes, the user received instructions to comment on a post in the Facebook group that told people about the boot camp and how to register. In the comment, the user had to tag the friend who was invited to the group and add the hashtag #template.
With this invitation system, the expectation was that the friend would also go through the bot, and School of Bots could capture the friend’s email as well. Also, because you currently can’t automate a process like this with a bot, someone from the School of Bots team had to manually check who should receive the free template. However, you can deliver a freebie automatically with a page post.
About 60%-70% of the boot camp registrants participated in the referral incentive. This figure illustrates another important aspect of bots. Because bot conversations are intimate, people need the option to say No. For instance, if you’re collecting an email or offering an incentive, it needs to be okay that someone doesn’t want to provide an email or participate in the incentive.
The School of Bots boot camp was 5 days of Facebook Live videos plus a daily workbook. After the boot camp, School of Bots launched the Chatbot Agency Accelerator, which was its first official product launch. The program had been in beta and for sale, but School of Bots hadn’t pushed it until the launch.
About half of the sales happened in the first 48 hours, and the rest toward the end of the launch, which lasted 14 days. Natasha credits the chatbot funnel for bringing in a lot of the leads. The Facebook group added about 1,500 new members, and School of Bots added about 900 new email subscribers.
Although the campaign wasn’t huge, it generated $48,000 because people were so engaged. The conversion rates and engagement rates were much higher than they would be for a big list. This campaign illustrates the power of intimacy and how much that increases engagement. Moreover, engaging with people over a period of time, like the 5-day boot camp, helped the product launch.
Listen to the show to hear Natasha share examples of her bot messages.
Dos and Don’ts for Promoting Your Content
Natasha shares how to handle everything from timing messages for users in different time zones to Messenger’s rules for selling to how to prepare for the future of bots.
Bot Etiquette: When you’re messaging someone, they usually receive a notification on their phone. Most of the time, you want to be careful about the time of day people receive that notification. If you have users across many time zones, pay attention to the platform you’re using. Certain platforms allow you to send messages at certain times or accommodate different time zones.
Natasha says an exception is if your message is time-sensitive. If you’re closing your cart or doing a live interview at a certain time, don’t worry about time zone. In the end, people have opted into your messages, and they know some messages might be inconvenient for them.
When you do manage time zone, Facebook collects that attribute for you. In your chatbot platform, you can see the time zone people selected in their Facebook settings and program your bot to send a message (such as a note about a new blog post) at a specific time, such as 9:00 AM for the user’s time zone. With the tagging available in bots, you can send only the articles users want to see.
Because messaging platforms are an intimate channel where people talk to their friends, family, and colleagues, any business on the platform needs to be wary of crossing boundaries or coming across as too aggressive. Messenger is the first of these platforms to use bots, but soon this point will also be relevant to other platforms like WhatsApp, Line, and Telegram.
Just as Natasha mentioned in her earlier example, a key way to respect people’s boundaries is to always give bot users a way to say No. Also, even if people don’t want to share an email address, you still need to give the user content and an option to talk with you.
Messenger Rules for Selling: When you’re selling with Messenger, you need to follow its rules. If you don’t, you risk being removed from the platform. Be sure to research the terms and policies, and what types of messages you can send to people and when, so your bot continues to be in good standing with Messenger.
To illustrate, if someone hasn’t interacted with your bot for 24 hours, you can send them only one message that’s promotional or drives people to a sale. You want to choose how you use that message carefully. After you use it, you can no longer send people notifications about a cart closing or a discount code, because that content qualifies as a promotional.
However, this restriction applies only to promotional messages. Sharing educational content, such as a new blog post, doesn’t necessarily violate the rules. In the end, the restrictions on promotional content help keep the platform valuable to marketers.
Messenger Bots Versus Email: If you use Messenger bots in the right way, have great conversations with people, and follow the rules, the bot can have better ROI than email. That’s because a bot allows you to have a small but highly engaged list, which leads to a high conversion rate. Engagement matters much more than list size.
Because Messenger isn’t saturated with marketing messages right now, people see your messages there more than they see your emails. However, Natasha recommends marketers continue to grow their email list. Instead of leaving email in favor of Messenger, you can add Messenger to your opt-in forms. Then you still have a way to connect with people who don’t use Messenger regularly.
Your email list is also important because you own it, whereas you don’t own Messenger.
Multiple Uses of Bots: A common misconception is that you can use a bot for only one thing (like answering frequently asked questions) and need another bot to do anything else. However, bots are dynamic tools, and you can do almost anything you’d like with one bot.
Tagging is part of what makes bots so flexible. If you create your bot so people can subscribe only to the content topics that interest them, the bot tags their preferences, and you can use those interests for a big campaign or use case down the road. The tags allow you to differentiate between what you send one group versus another, and bots make organizing and editing tags fairly easy.
Future of Bots: ManyChat is just starting to expand to WhatsApp and a couple of other platforms. Right now, it’s hard to say how bot-building platforms will work with those platforms.
Although it would be amazing if ManyChat added discoverability across platforms like Messenger and WhatsApp, the platforms might want to stay separate. Today, you can combine resources within Facebook by downloading your Messenger bot subscriber list, entering the emails and custom audience information you have into Ads Manager, and running ads only to your list.
Looking ahead, Natasha is curious to see whether WhatsApp will add similar functionality. For instance, if you’re using a platform like ManyChat, maybe you’ll be able to download your Messenger list and then capture those same people on WhatsApp. Also, when you think about Facebook’s whole family of apps, Instagram will likely have its own messaging capability.
Because Messenger is just the start of bots, Natasha recommends creating a bot even if you don’t know what you want to do with it. You’ll learn how messaging and marketing come together. Then, as this area of marketing grows to other platforms, you’ll be ahead of the curve. You’ll already understand how to communicate with people on those platforms.
Listen to the show to hear my thoughts about growing Social Media Examiner’s email list versus a bot list.
Discovery of the Week
NotaBene is a cool note-taking app that makes it easy to gather and share ideas.
NotaBene stands out from other note-taking apps for several reasons. First, you can set up contacts for people to whom you frequently send notes on the fly. For example, you might add team members as contacts. Also, you can share voice notes, photos, screenshots, and text with any contact seamlessly. You don’t need to open another app. It’s a one-stop shop for taking and sharing notes.
NotaBene is simple and easy to use. It has a microphone button for taking voice notes. After you use it to record a voice note, you can send that voice note to a contact via their email. The contact receives your voice memo as a WAV file and a transcription of your message so they can listen to or read your notes. You can bundle photos and screenshots into the same note, too.
NotaBene is also great for sending notes to yourself, especially if you use a system like Trello or Evernote that gives you an email address. After you set up that email address in NotaBene, you can tell it to send a note to your Evernote or Trello board.
Listen to the show to learn more and let us know how NotaBene works for you.
Key takeaways from this article:
What do you think? What are your thoughts on driving website traffic with bots? Please share your comments below.
In this article, you’ll discover seven ways to quickly and significantly lift your Facebook ads relevance score.
What Is the Facebook Ads Relevance Score?
Facebook’s relevance score is a rating on a scale of 1-10 that demonstrates how well your Facebook ad is being received by your target audience. Once an ad has received 500 impressions, Facebook will generate a relevance score for it, with 10 being the highest.
Your ad’s relevance score is a significant predictor of Facebook advertising success. Ads with low relevance scores (4 or less) rarely generate great results, at least not for very long.
Ads with high relevance scores (8+), on the other hand, often deliver fantastic CPA (cost per action).
The two ads below have high relevance scores of 9. The cost per purchase for these ads is significantly lower than the three ads above, which had much lower relevance scores.
Why the Facebook Ads Relevance Score Matters
Facebook grades ads with their relevance score system to provide advertisers with useful feedback, and more importantly, to ensure their platform isn’t cluttered with annoying advertising.
Ads with low relevance scores are punished with higher costs, and ads with high relevance scores are rewarded with lower costs. The difference in cost between low and high relevance score ads can be significant, which encourages advertisers to stop running ads with low relevance scores. The more attention you pay to the relevance score of your ads, the more likely your campaigns will succeed.
What Influences the Facebook Ads Relevance Score?
Several factors are used to determine an ad’s relevance score including ad engagement and social proof. The most important factor, though, is positive and negative feedback from your target audience.
Positive feedback is a catchall term that describes people taking your desired action. For example, if your Facebook campaign is designed to generate link clicks, then a link click is your desired action. In this case, more link clicks would equal more positive feedback and therefore increase your relevance score.
Negative feedback refers to ads being hidden or flagged by your target audience. Some of this is inevitable, because most people don’t want to be advertised to. Hiding ads on Facebook is the equivalent of fast-forwarding through TV commercials.
But if your ad is relevant to your target market and displays something your audience is interested in, more people will take your desired action (positive feedback) and fewer people will hide or flag your ads (negative feedback). This in turn will increase your relevance score and decrease the cost of your Facebook ads.
Now that you understand what Facebook’s relevance score is and what affects it, let’s look at some techniques to improve it.
#1: Shorten Retargeting Windows
Retargeting website visitors on Facebook can be incredibly effective. The highest ROAS (return on ad spend) numbers I see consistently come from retargeting website visitors.
Facebook will let you target people who have visited your website within the last 180 days, and that’s the retargeting window most advertisers use. However, if you’re consistently retargeting your website visitors, 6 months is an awfully long time to see the same ad from the same company. Ad fatigue can easily set in and negatively impact your relevance score.
You can achieve better results from shorter retargeting windows. I prefer to use 30-day or even 14-day retargeting windows if a website generates a lot of traffic. To create a 30-day website custom audience to retarget, head to the Audiences dashboard within Ads Manager.
Then click Create Audience and select Custom Audience from the drop-down menu.
In the Create a Custom Audience window, select Website Traffic.
The image below shows the default settings for a new website custom audience. Because you want to target all website visitors in the past 30 days, simply give this audience a name and click Create Audience. After 30 minutes or so, this audience should be populated and ready for you to retarget.
#2: Target Cold Audiences With Lower-Cost, Top-of-Funnel Offers
As mentioned above, you need people to take your desired action to receive positive feedback and achieve a high relevance score. So if you directly advertise a $5,000 product to cold audiences, very few people will click on your ad and make that purchase. That means low positive feedback and a low relevance score.
It’s much better to advertise lower-value offers, lead magnets, or content to cold audiences. That way the barrier to entry for your prospects is much lower and more people will take your desired action.
#3: Promote Video via Page Posts
Video ads are more time-consuming and costly to create than image, carousel, or slideshow ads. And because of that, a lot of Facebook advertisers don’t use them. But the vast majority of the time, video ads are significantly more effective. In fact, videos are much more popular than any other post format on Facebook.
When it comes to video ads, quality is very important. Your videos don’t need to be shot in a studio, but the lighting and audio quality must be decent. If you have the budget, consider hiring a professional.
To get better results, it’s helpful to make your ads look more like regular Facebook posts. With this technique, you’re not trying to trick anyone; your target audience will still see the little “sponsored” tag by your ad. However, when implemented correctly, you should avoid getting your prospects’ guard up and high levels of negative feedback.
This tactic is particularly relevant for video ads. When you create a video ad, you’re able to add a headline and a call-to-action button, but both of those features very clearly mark your ad as an ad. You’ll often see better results when you omit them.
To do this, it’s best to publish your video to your Facebook page and then use that post to create an ad, instead of creating a video ad within Ads Manager.
Navigate to your ad within Ads Manager, highlight it, and click on Edit. Then click Use Existing Post instead of Create Ad.
Now select the post you want to use as your ad. Click the down arrow and choose your post from the drop-down menu of your Facebook page posts. Your ad is now good to go.
#4: Target a Broader Audience
One of the most attractive features of Facebook advertising is the specificity with which you can target people. Unfortunately, a lot of Facebook advertisers go overboard narrowing their target audience, and that can adversely affect their ad performance and lower their relevance score.
Targeting larger audiences on Facebook is becoming increasingly important as the ad platform becomes more sophisticated. When you first launch an ad, Facebook will start the learning phase. During the learning phase, Facebook will try to work out which users within your target audience are most likely to take your desired action. If you use a larger target audience, Facebook has more scope to find high-converting segments within it.
So if you find that your relevance scores are low and you’re targeting a relatively small audience, try increasing the size of your audience first. I’m now very reluctant to target a cold audience of fewer than 100,000, and prefer to target cold audiences that include 250,000 people or more. Of course, this isn’t always possible, particularly with local businesses.
#5: Use Multiple Ad Variations
Facebook ad frequency refers to the average number of times someone within your target audience has seen your ad. Once frequency climbs too high, your target audience will become bored with your ads and your relevance score will start to drop off as negative feedback increases.
What constitutes “too high” depends primarily on what type of audience you’re targeting. Warm audiences will tolerate much higher frequency numbers than cold audiences.
When targeting cold audiences, I tend to see a dropoff in relevance score when frequency reaches 2.0-2.5. At that point, it’s best to target a new group of people or make significant adjustments to your ads.
A great way to combat this is to run a number of different ads to the same target audience at once. Varying the ad creative helps keep things fresh and prevent ad fatigue. This is particularly important when you’re targeting relatively small audiences.
The Facebook ad campaign below is retargeting people who have visited a specific webpage. The total audience size is roughly 3,000 people, so having many ads running simultaneously prevents the frequency of any one ad from climbing too quickly and impacting the relevance score.
#6: Qualify New Campaigns With Social Proof From a Warm Audience
A warm audience consists of people who are already aware of your business. This includes website visitors, email subscribers, Facebook page likes, video viewers, and a number of other options.
Because these people have interacted with you previously, they’ll almost certainly respond better to your ads than cold audiences. They’re also far more likely to leave positive comments, and like and share your ads. Lots of social proof on an ad helps convince people to take your desired action. This makes sense because social proof acts as an online endorsement.
For these reasons, it can be beneficial to promote your ads to your warm audiences before promoting them to cold audiences. Targeting Facebook page likes is an effective way to quickly and inexpensively build social proof.
To target a warm audience of your followers, navigate to the ad set level of your Facebook campaign and scroll down to the Connections section within Audiences.
Click Add a Connection Type and select People Who Like Your Page from the drop-down menu.
I recommend that you spend around $5 promoting this ad to your Facebook page likes to quickly acquire a lot of social proof. Once you’ve done so, your ad will perform better when it’s promoted to cold audiences, which will increase your relevance score.
#7: Limit Ad Image Text
Facebook doesn’t want advertisers to use ad images that contain more than 20% text. Most of the time, they’ll allow you to do so, but they’ll limit your reach.
If your ad image contains too much text, you’ll see this warning message above your ad.
Limited reach will obviously reduce the amount of positive feedback your ad receives, which will lower your ad’s relevance score. To ensure this issue doesn’t affect your ads, it’s best to steer clear of ad images with more than 20% text.
The Facebook ads relevance score is a key indicator of ad success. Adjusting your Facebook ad campaigns to achieve high relevance scores of 8 or more can make a significant difference in your results.
What do you think? What’s your experience with Facebook’s ad relevance score? Have you implemented any of these techniques to boost your relevance score? What tips can you offer? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
More articles about Facebook ads:
To explore how to build a loyal and engaged community inside of Facebook groups, I interview Dana Malstaff.
More About This Show
The Social Media Marketing podcast is designed to help busy marketers, business owners, and creators discover what works with social media marketing.
In this episode, I interview Dana Malstaff. She’s the author of Boss Mom and host of the Boss Mom podcast. Her membership site is called Boss Mom Vault, and she’s built a thriving community in a Facebook group.
Dana explains how to lay the groundwork for a new group and attract members.
You’ll also learn how to foster group culture and engagement.
Share your feedback, read the show notes, and get the links mentioned in this episode below.
Here are some of the things you’ll discover in this show:
Facebook Group Engagement
On New Year’s Eve, Dana rang in 2013 celebrating her last day at her full-time job. She started the new year as an entrepreneur and an expecting first-time mom. Although she was scared and had no idea how to do either, she wanted to be amazing at both. At the time, she felt isolated, living in Columbus, Ohio, surrounded by people who had full-time jobs and no kids.
After Dana’s son was born, he went to daycare while she worked, and she felt a massive amount of guilt working at home and sending her baby to school, even though that’s what she wanted to do. At one point, while she was working on her laptop in a café, the sight of a mom, daughter, and grandma made her cry.
When Dana told her husband that she wanted to move back to San Diego, California, where her parents still live, he said, “I’ll quit my job tomorrow, and we’ll sell the house.” Two months later, when her son was five months old, Dana was living in San Diego, surrounded by people who had kids and businesses. Being among people who were doing something similar to her was empowering.
At Hal Elrod’s Best Year Ever Blueprint, Dana met some people who started a mastermind group, and one of them was Azul Terronez, who helped Dana write her book, Boss Mom. The book talks about how she stopped feeling guilty about creating things while raising a child. As the book succeeded, Dana wove the Boss Mom idea into her whole brand.
As part of that effort, Dana created the Boss Mom Facebook group, but Boss Mom is something much bigger than a Facebook group. Dana envisioned it as a movement with a culture.
In the Facebook group, Dana guides the Boss Mom culture and creates a foundation for what people expect from it, a process similar to building culture at a company. This summer, Dana launched Boss Mom meetups, so the community has an online and offline presence.
When you think about your topic as a movement with a culture, you treat it differently than many people treat their Facebook groups. With this approach, Dana’s Facebook group has grown to 33,000 members, most of whom discovered the group organically through Facebook recommendations or referrals from friends. The group adds an average of 120 members weekly.
Dana’s group isn’t only large and growing; it also has high engagement. Each month, on average, about 70% of her group members are active participants. The group has 85,000 to 89,000 interactions and about 5,000 posts each month.
Listen to the show to hear Dana and me discuss possible reasons why she found more entrepreneurs in San Diego than Columbus.
How to Build a Facebook Group
When Dana started her Facebook group, she made a common mistake: posting in the group and telling people they should hang out with her. For a while, she was the only one posting, which is a sad and depressing experience for most group owners. She hoped other people would comment and thought engaging everyone was her job alone. Otherwise, she thought no one would engage.
However, the group took a turn when Dana stopped trying to manage the group and be the host. She needed to recognize that people would naturally engage on their own.
To create a community and a culture that will grow and thrive, Dana says you need to manage from the bottom up. Instead of making rules, you set a tone and let other people find their roles. People naturally become motivators, leaders, administrators, project managers, informants, and so on. When you allow people that space, they can help you accomplish your goals for the Facebook group.
Rather than creating all the posts yourself, consider creating a challenge or call for people to post themselves. Dana might post, “Hey everybody, it’s hard to be moms and entrepreneurs. Write your own post about this struggle or post an article on this topic.” As members begin to post, the Facebook algorithm starts to think your group is interesting. Then your group can gain momentum naturally.
After your group has some members, you can also ask what types of posts they like or want to see. Dana recommends involving members in this way early on. You can ask members for their suggestions on making the group better. For example, if you write prompts every week, ask the group what kind of prompts they want to see or what would best motivate them.
To get those members, Dana built her group by spreading the word elsewhere online. In fact, she spent more time promoting her group in other spaces than she did inside the group. She sought out interviews on podcasts, created guest posts, collaborated with other group owners to offer free training, and started The Boss Mom Podcast. These activities were all opportunities to promote her group.
When Dana talked about her group, she focused on what she cared about and how she wanted to support people in her group. She chose that focus because she believes selling a movement is easier than selling a service or product. Similarly, she didn’t create a group about how to do something. Instead, she created a group around how she feels the world should be.
For Boss Mom, her movement manifesto centers around the feelings she had when she was new to parenthood and entrepreneurship. She’s the mom who doesn’t want to be judged for working at home while her kids go to school. She wants to be able to not shower for the day and know this doesn’t diminish her intelligence.
To promote this manifesto, Dana created phrases that other women found exciting and prompted them to hang out with women who also feel this way. To help set the tone, she also promised to fiercely protect everyone in her group. She believes this promise is important when you’re building any kind of community.
When you protect the community instead of focusing on numbers, you’ll have to remove members, but your numbers will still grow. In Dana’s group, her promise means that if someone attacks another member, they get kicked out of the group; people are kicked out of the group if they judge people for the way they potty train, the way they run their business, etc.
Listen to the show to hear Dana discuss how growing a community by protecting it is similar to providing value to potential customers.
Establishing Culture and Guidelines for Facebook Groups
To lay the groundwork for the group culture you want to foster, begin by thinking about why you want people to come to your group. People might come for tips, information about events or locations, support, or space to commiserate and complain together. In Dana’s group, people come for ideas and a sounding board, and to brainstorm together in a safe space.
When you know why people will want to come to your group, you’ll know how to set the tone. In Dana’s group, people know it’s a positive place where members support each other, the content is about 80% business and 20% parenting, and you’re encouraged to ask questions. The group can help you feel confident instead of guilty.
To determine why people will come to your group, look at your target audience. People don’t spend enough time on this point because they assume they know their audience. However, if you don’t map out the drivers for your group, you won’t know how to stand behind your community and beliefs when someone breaks the rules of engagement, and the community can fall apart quickly.
You can communicate the group culture and guidelines in several ways. The group description, which appears on the sidebar, is visible to anyone. Also, at the top of the group timeline, Dana pins a welcome video in which she tells members what to expect in the group and how to engage, including what they can and can’t post.
When people ask to join the group, Dana uses two of the three onboarding questions to communicate the tone. One question notes the group is a positive space where members don’t feel judged, but support each other in making business and parenting decisions. Potential members acknowledge that they agree to follow the rules and breaking them can result in being kicked out.
The second question asks whether potential members agree to post promotional content only in a promo thread and not to go live in the group. The third question asks whether potential members want free resources, and if so, to share their email address. About 50% of the people who ask to join provide their email address.
Dana finds that the questions and the welcome video she asks new members to watch (which is also a pinned announcement) help reduce the number of people who break the rules.
Because Dana’s group is large, she has someone on her team help manage the community instead of group members who are leaders and ambassadors. This team member accepts requests to join, removes people from the group who haven’t followed the rules, and flags questionable posts. She also pulls new members’ emails into a spreadsheet that can be imported into Ontraport.
When communicating the group’s culture and rules, Dana emphasizes what members can do as much as what they can’t. For example, members who share an email address receive a welcome email. It explains why the recipient received the email, shares what group members can expect, asks how they want to engage with Boss Mom, and offers an option to download free resources.
Dana’s welcome video also helps new members understand how to engage in the group. She explains how they can get to know everybody and mentions the stores of other members. To encourage lurkers to engage, she explains why they’ll get more value from the group by posting and participating, and challenges them to post something within the first week.
The video is also a way for Dana to share her personality and let people get to know her. She shares a little bit about herself and how she engages with the group. Every 6-9 months, she updates the video because her life is different. She wants to share who she is now and how she’s constantly changing. Also, she’s more concerned about the video being authentic than perfect.
Listen to the show to learn why Dana uses email instead of group membership questions to learn more about group members.
Facebook Group Engagement Techniques
Dana’s introduction video outlines several ways members can engage because their engagement helps the group and helps members overcome their reservations. Because members join the group to find help with their business, Dana connects her suggested engagement tactics with that goal. New members also watch what other members do to learn how to engage and what’s allowed.
Decision-Making Help: Dana loves for members to ask the group for help in making decisions. Asking questions is a good step no matter what you’re trying to do, and everyone in sales and marketing leads with questions.
In Dana’s group, she encourages members to ask one burning question they have in their business or mom life. From a business perspective, asking members to help you make decisions about what you’re creating or doing can generate buzz for whatever you want people to know about you.
Say you’re writing a book. You might post three cover images and ask members to vote on the one they like best. Similarly, members can post about choosing a podcast cover image. Or if you’re making an opt-in resource, you might ask what to make, what to name it, or what your theme should be. Someone working on their brand might ask which logo members like best.
When you post these questions, the group rules prohibit including links to your book, podcast, or another item. However, from a business standpoint, you’re still creating those 7-10 touchpoints that allow other members to see what you’re doing and become familiar with you. Also, people love to engage with these questions. Everyone has an opinion.
Dana promoted the first Boss Mom retreat by asking a question about renting furniture in both her own group and other groups. She had pictures of different styles (such as 1920s, modern, and classic furniture) and asked which style people liked best. Hundreds of people responded, and she sold lots of tickets this way without ever linking to the retreat.
In addition to the engagement and visibility, the feedback you get from this tactic is also helpful. It’s a way to do informal market research. You might ask “Who here has dogs? When it comes to dogs, what’s the biggest challenge you have, A, B, or C?” When you provide options people can choose from, they can easily say, “Oh, I like A.”
Celebrating: Celebration posts are a fun way to acknowledge milestones or accomplishments. In Dana’s group, a member might post, “I finally potty trained my son. Post your favorite GIF of the moment your kid was potty trained.” Posting GIFs is fun, and people will spend more time than they should searching for the perfect GIF. Similarly, members might ask for birthday cake ideas.
If you’re the group host, you can celebrate reaching a certain number of members, like every 100 people. When Dana’s group hit 1,000 members, she produced a special dance video, and today, Dana hosts a live dance party whenever the group grows by 5,000 people. (Because Dana’s group grows so fast, she needed to increase the interval from every 100 members.)
These milestone celebrations generate lots of engagement. When the group is about to hit a milestone, she asks what songs members want her to play, and then members vote on the song they’ll dance to. The celebration itself is a great way to get people super-pumped about what you’re doing.
I ask how often Dana recommends doing celebration posts. Dana says if you have a group of positive, action-hungry people, you could celebrate all the time. During the first year of Dana’s group, she featured a Boss Mom of the Week to celebrate somebody. For each Boss Mom, she asked them questions, wrote a post about them, and celebrated them in the Facebook group.
However, you don’t want to do a celebration every day because the tactic can lose its usefulness and impact. The size and activity of your group can help you gauge how frequently to celebrate. Because Dana’s group is large and has hundreds of posts per day, posts can get lost in a short period of time. So her group can celebrate every week without overdoing it.
Movement Principles: When your group is built around a movement, you can use that to ask questions about your principles or things the group cares about. For this tactic to work, make sure your group has a clear understanding of the culture. Without rules in place, be wary of this tactic. For instance, the Boss Mom group doesn’t allow political or religious posts because they can be controversial.
For Dana, Boss Moms can talk about business and parenting. People who want to discuss other topics can find other groups for that. In fact, she’s done posts where people can share their groups, whether they’re political, religious, or focused on topics like pet ownership or pregnancy. This thread gives people an outlet. Also, her clarity about what’s allowed helps keep people happy.
In a post about movement principles, Dana might say, “I have this really strong belief that I am a woman and a mom and an entrepreneur. I should be able to wear a collared shirt on top with yoga pants and a pair of heels, so I can be all three at once. Who is with me? Will you post a picture of what you’re wearing today?”
With these posts, Dana wants to voice what other people are thinking but might not say. The idea is to give other members permission to share what they’re thinking, what they believe, and what they care about within the mom and entrepreneur space. Then the group can band together and help that person feel not so alone.
Dana’s second book, Confessions of a Boss Mom, shares stories of women in all different situations. Like her movement posts in the Facebook group, her goal is to show that whatever you’re going through, you’re not the only one in the universe going through it. These statements help group members feel connected and loyal to the group, and want to share the group with others.
Reinvigorate Posts: This tactic is about how you respond to people who engage with your posts in a Facebook group. Instead of liking and commenting on people’s responses all at once, Dana recommends going slow and easy. Like one post, let it sit for a while, like another, and let it sit for a while. Every time you engage, the post pops back up to the top of the group and new people see it.
With this approach, you can keep one post alive for a week or more. After the post has been at the top for long enough, it starts trending and gains momentum organically so that even more people see it. The more people who comment on the post, the more the Facebook algorithm shows the post in people’s news feeds.
Also, if you make a post in a Facebook group and no one comments on it, try editing the post. Tweaking the post can help make it successful. After you edit the post, you can ask a friend to comment on it so that more people see it. Sometimes, Dana edits a post two or three times before people start to engage. Don’t let your post die without a little bit of effort.
Priming Posts: These posts teach the Facebook algorithm that your posts are interesting. Whether you’re posting to a group or a page, in the 6 weeks before you launch something, you want to prime the algorithm by asking questions that have nothing to do with your launch, but which people feel compelled to answer.
For this tactic, you can try celebration posts or just little things people want to talk about. You might say, “I was in the supermarket and the person in front of me whipped out 40 coupons. Everybody post a GIF for how you would feel if that was happening to you right now. Here is mine.”
You don’t want to waste that priming of the algorithm on important blog posts that will encourage people to buy your stuff or opt into your offer. When you do that, nobody sees the important blog post or opts in.
To prime the algorithm successfully, start 6 weeks before you want to post the important item and post at least once a week. In other words, make six posts about whether people like cats or dogs, where your audience can’t help but comment and engage. Then when you post about your opt-in, program, or sale, Facebook thinks you’re popular and shows your post to more people organically.
Listen to the show to hear how a conversation about choosing carpet became the most engaging video in the first season of The Journey.
Discovery of the Week
SparkScore is an online tool for analyzing your Twitter engagement.
This tool, developed by Rand Fishkin of Moz, looks at followers, retweets, likes, and lists to measure your Twitter influence. A social media manager can check this report on the same day every week to get a snapshot of Twitter engagement and see whether it’s up or down.
Unlike tools such as Klout, SparkScore aims to be transparent about how it analyzes your Twitter account and offers reports on the metrics it examines. To use SparkScore, you have to connect it to your Twitter account. You can check up to 25 accounts per day.
SparkScore is free to use and you access it via the web.
Listen to the show to learn more and let us know how SparkScore works for you.
Key takeaways from this episode:
What do you think? What are your thoughts on Facebook group engagement? Please share your comments below.
Facebook Reach is one of the metrics you hear about a lot when it comes to Facebook reporting. When we report on Facebook Reach, there are two main classifications to remember – Facebook Page Reach and Facebook Post Reach.
Facebook Page Reach tends to be the least troublesome of the two, so let’s start here first.
Properly understanding reach tends to be a source of confusion for many marketers, particularly when it comes to reporting on Organic Facebook Reach. I often see it arise in conversations with other members of the Power Hitters Club who are working on performance reports.
Jon has written about this metric in the past, particularly after Facebook made changes to the way reach is defined.
A general disclaimer: For organic Facebook Page Reach, I do not recommend over-emphasizing this metric. It can be a vanity metric that is not connected to actual results.
However, you may have a reason for more holistic performance reporting, such as when you have a particularly high performing advertised post or campaign, and you wish to include organic results in broader performance analysis.
How to Get Facebook Page Reach Data
The simplest way to access page-level Facebook metrics is to click the Insights tab at the top of your page. Note: if your page is in Business Manager, you’ll need to log into Business Manager first to view this option.
After you click the Insights tab, you can click Reach on the far left. At the top right, you can adjust the date range. As you’ll no doubt notice, this is very high-level information. The options on the top right of the chart can split the data into Organic or Paid.
If you are a bit more daring with your data and want freedom to manipulate it more (don’t be afraid to jump in!), you can export Page Level insights info directly from the page.
You can export by clicking the Insights tab, then clicking “Export Data” from the top right.
You’ll see options to export Page Level data from this dashboard by clicking the Page data option. You can adjust the time range, and specify the data to be exported.
Facebook offers several options here to change the layout of the data you export. I normally like to download all the data in bulk, instead of running into a situation where I wished I had captured something and have to re-export.
If you want to make a change to your selection, you can do so from here. You can also save a favorite layout so that you don’t have to rebuild it in the future.
Once you have selected the data points you need, click Export, and it should generate a .xls file for downloading.
If you’ve left All Page Data in the export, the first thing you’ll notice is just how much information is captured. There are many tabs offering deeper, fragmented detail. For now, we’ll just focus on the Reach Metrics.
Getting Facebook Page Reach Information out of Page-Level Data
At the time of this writing, on the main tab, you should see the following columns related to Reach: Daily Total Reach, Weekly Total Reach, 28 Days Total Reach.
These are also broken out into Organic and Paid for each time range, as well as something Facebook refers to as “Viral Reach” – which essentially means that a Facebook user saw the post along with some form of social context. That is, they saw the post along with a message saying their friend has interacted with it.
A helpful tip in case you get confused: There is a definition under the header of every column of the export to tell you what it means.
Now comes the fun part!!! (Also where most people tend to make a few mistakes.)
The golden rule on this: you cannot add together lines to get a total number of reach. Said another way – you cannot simply add together reach numbers, line by line, for a total.
This is because each data row is a measure of unique people for that date, and you may have people reached on multiple days who could be counted twice if you simply sum the rows.
For example – let’s say you wanted to know the total number of people who were reached by your page from July 1 – July 5. It seems logical that you could simply add together the numbers from the rows associated with those days. However, Reach is a measure of Unique Users, which is a very important distinction. When you add these numbers together, they are not de-duplicated… so your sum would be incorrect.
We can illustrate this with a hypothetical example…
Let’s say we had the following results, for three different days in July:
- 100 People on July 1
- 200 People on July 2
- 100 People on July 3
If you simply added these together, you would assume you have reached a total of 400 FB users over these three days. However, you (almost) always will have some level of user overlap of reach from day to day. Therefore simply adding these numbers together will give you an inaccurate count.
It’s important to note that de-duplicating is primarily an issue with metrics associated with unique people (such as reach, Daily Page Engaged Users, or any “user” metrics). If you are reporting on a metric that is not unique per user – such as Impressions – you can add across rows without any of these issues associated with duplications in your data.
De-Duplicating Facebook Page Reach Results
While page-level reach reporting is somewhat limited based on how we can de-duplicate user-specific data, there are some ways that Facebook’s system does this for you automatically. An example is the inclusion of the Weekly and 28 Day numbers.
Based on the way these numbers are presented, they should be providing rolling counts of select metrics against the time frame indicated. What this means: for a Weekly Total Reach count, the number indicates the user reach Facebook estimates for your page on a weekly basis, for the dates associated with that specific row.
If you’re more on the nerdy side (or just curious!), you can do your own de-duplication exercise by adding the daily data for a 7-day period and comparing that with the Weekly data reported for the same date.
This will give you an idea of just how badly you can overestimate results if you were to simply add the raw numbers together. This also provides a better understanding of the number of people who heard from your page more than once in a specific period.
Here’s an example with some sample data from a page to illustrate. We’ll walk through the numbers to make sure this is clear.
*In this example, the Page-Level export includes columns H and J. I’ve added I and K as calculated columns.
If we use the weekly reported numbers from June 30th as our specific example, we would have simply added the rolling day count from the 7-days prior period had we been doing this manually. This would give us 4,274 total people reached (15 people on June 24th + 24 people on June 25th… etc). However, Facebook reports that the total Weekly Unique Reach was 3660 people. That’s a difference of 614 people.
What does this tell us? For the 7 day period, we had 614 people who were reached at least two times over the period.
While some bit of caution is advised for taking these numbers too deeply to heart (due to the fact that the reach metric is estimated and therefore sampled), this is one method that allows you to get a general idea of your overlap.
Reporting on Impressions
Given the challenges of correctly assessing and interpreting sampled data and manual de-deduplication, it can be easier to stick with the simpler, non-unique metrics such as Impressions.
We can validate that Impressions can be added together with no issues. We can do this by using a similar approach as the above Facebook Reach de-dupe method. This can be seen using this sample page data below:
*In this example, the Page-Level export includes columns W and AA. I’ve added Z and AB as calculated columns.
The 28-day metric can use a similar approach.
Reporting on Frequency
You can also combine these data points of Reach and Impressions to get a general idea of Daily, Weekly, and Monthly frequency levels. However, remember that frequency is an average of all impressions. Some people might be reached many times per person, and some are only reached once. You can use this method to report the overall average.
Here’s an example of the method in practice. Remember: Impressions divided by Reach equals Frequency.
*Estimated Daily Frequency and Estimated Weekly Frequency are columns that I’ve added to the spreadsheet. The Page-Level export included Daily and Weekly Reach and Impressions numbers.
Bonus (nerdy) tip: If you want to get an idea of the frequency distribution (how many people were reached one time, vs. two times, vs. three times, etc) for the Daily, Weekly, or 28 day metrics, you can find those in the additional tabs along the bottom of the page level export. You should find that the cumulative averages of these distributions are equal to the estimated method we used above.
It will look something like this:
These numbers are telling you the overall frequency distribution that your page delivered on a specific date. On June 3, this page reached 109 people 1 time, 13 people 2 times, 2 people 3 times, etc.
How many times your page content reaches a similar audience can be a good thing to monitor. I normally recommend paying closer attention to frequency at the ad-level (or post-level), instead of page-level.
Bigger problems can arise here when high frequency occurs and users tire of a single ad. By running many different ads (or posts) for a single page, higher levels of frequency may not be as problematic.
If it seems these frequency numbers are higher than you’d like, you could consider doing different targeting (primarily using your paid activity) to evaluate different target audiences for your content. Another option is lowering your budgets for particular ads that have higher frequency.
People often ask about the ideal frequency to mitigate these issues, and there is no simple answer to this. Facebook has published an interesting framework on thinking about frequency, which may be useful for considering your own results.
What Does this All Mean?
- Reporting on your Facebook Page Reach has some challenges. We should fully understand what’s behind the numbers before simply adding a bunch of rows together in a spreadsheet.
- Impressions are a safe metric you can add together with reckless abandon (mostly).
- You can estimate Average Page Frequency. You can also investigate details on frequency distribution in Page-Level exported data.
I’ll write more in the future on Facebook Reach Post-Level reporting, which carries its own strengths and weaknesses.
Do you use Page Reporting? Do you have any particular challenges with comparing performance data from Paid Ads vs your Organic results?
Let me know in the comments below!
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