Facebook ads are really a case of “you get what you pay for” with one kicker; you can do a lot to optimize what you pay for. There’s no reason any business shouldn’t be spending at least a little bit of money on the platform, because it’s so cheap and easy to use.
The problems come when businesses don’t know how to optimize their ads, don’t try, and end up throwing away hundreds of dollars a week on ads that just don’t work. This is where the negative reviews and anti-Facebook advice comes from. If you know how to use the platform, you can make your ads incredibly effective and keep your costs down at the same time.
There is a good argument to be made that you should spend a minimum of one dollar every day – a total of $365 per year – on Facebook ads. Moz, in fact, has made that argument. I’ll go ahead and summarize it here before we continue.
So, here’s the thing. That Moz-argued $1 a day? That’s a great minimum. For small businesses, companies with follower counts in the hundreds or low thousands, it’s probably quite enough. If you only have 500 followers, reaching 4,000 in a day is a great boost. If you have 10,000, it’s still a great boost. When you’re up to 50,000 or 100,000 followers, or even a million, you’re reaching a point where a mere dollar won’t do you any more. Even running an ad to reach the people who follow you isn’t going to work. You just won’t reach enough of them.
So, how much should you spend on Facebook ads?
There’s just one problem; there’s no right answer. You need to know a lot about your own business, and a lot about what you’re trying to do with your ads, to determine how much money you need to use in order to be effective. If you have 1,000 followers and you want to reach all of them with a promoted post, it won’t cost you much. If you have 100,000 followers and you want all of them to click through to a website, it will cost quite a bit more.
What do you need to know?
Whenever you’re considering a change to your signup process, ask yourself two questions.
If the answer to either one is yes, the change is potentially valuable to make. Make it, split test the results, and see where you stand. That’s the process; now what are the changes you might make?
Your CTA is the button users have to click in order to proceed with the signup. There’s a lot that can be said about optimizing it, ranging from changing the positioning, the color, the size and the language, but it all boils down to making it more obvious and more attractive. For further reading, look up anything involving CTA optimization. For now, some guidelines:
The rest of the CTA’s success comes from the landing page, if you’re using a specific landing page rather than a generic form on every page.
How many fields does the user need to fill out when they sign up? The more you require, the harder it is to make a user want to sign up. In fact, it’s a great idea to cut it down to one on the first click. Rather than front-loading everything, consider two-phase registrations.
A two-phase, or two-click registration is a registration where the first thing you’re asked to do is simple; add an email address to a form and click submit. This is just the first step, and it acts as a trap for users. They think all they need to do is add their email, and they’re done. When they click submit, a longer form appears, asking for additional information. It might be username and password, it might be zip code and age, it might be anything else you need.
At this point, the user is trapped. They figure you already have their email address, they might as well finish the signup, right? Or they figure that they’re already partly done, they don’t want to waste that effort, so they’ll finish. The trap sprung, they slip down the funnel and into the conversion.
But test it out first. Some of the best, most compelling signup pages are incredibly basic. Look at Groupon’s homepage, or Dropbox’s, or Pinterest’s, or Instagram’s. They’re all very simple pages with little more than a basic illustration of what the business involves, and a simple registration form.
Before you go cutting out pages of information and code, however, test the change. Create an alternate homepage and split-test it with a set of identical ads. Send a few hundred people each way and see which ends with more registrations. You might find that minimalism doesn’t appeal to your users, or you might find it triples your conversion rate; you have to test to be sure.
Content is free on the web, and your blog should be free. The meat and bones of your site, however, should be gated behind a registration. If you’re running a real estate search engine, hide the results behind the wall. If you’re running a coupon code site, hide the coupons under a login. Make it valuable to register, even if registration is free.
Conversely, if you don’t have such a service to gate, offer something of value to your users when they sign up. The most obvious version of this is offering an ebook to users who sign up for your mailing list. They register because they want what you have to say. You benefit because the ebook gives you more publicity and you build your mailing list. It’s win/win.
You can use hidden forms that auto-fill with additional information when a user submits. This can only be public information, of course, sign as IP address, device and browser. This allows you to capture a bit more information about your users without them being forced to input it, and it’s perfectly acceptable to use.
This one doesn’t really qualify as an on-site approach, but you can run ads through Facebook specifically with the conversion objective. Put a bit of tracking code on your signup confirmation page and run an ad that encourages users to sign up. Dump them on a high pressure landing page and wait for them to slip down the funnel.
Many sites today are using Facebook as an alternative registration. This is incredibly convenient, because automatic Facebook verification eliminates the need of email confirmation links. It also allows you to harvest data from Facebook, ranging from name and email to interests. Plus, the user just has to click a couple of buttons, with no form filling at all.mber of fans you have following your page. Growth from a higher position is typically easier. On the other hand, you also need to know the quality of your existing audience. If you have 100,000 followers, but 90,000 of them are clickfarm bots, you might as well only have 10,000 followers. Heck, you might have less, just because it’s harder to reach those 10,000.
All of that said, you still want some basic numbers. Bear in mind that any numbers I give you are going to be variable according to all of the factors above. The more you try to do, the less you have to start, and the less time you want to do it in, the more expensive it will be to do. That said, here are some baseline numbers you can compare to your expectations, goals and budgets.
It’s up to you to tally up your resources, analyze your starting position, establish your goals and timeframe, and calculate your costs from there. It’s also up to you to optimize your ads to minimize those costs.
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