Luke Benfield
7 min read

Social Media Advertising: If it ain’t broke, (don’t fix it) break it

Tips to ensure your paid social marketing efforts are successful and why resting on your laurels isn’t an option.

Anyone who has participated in paid social marketing in the past, whether you’re just dabbling and trying something new or a professional in the area, will know that getting good results isn’t necessarily as easy as you’d first think.

When you start a new campaign, there are many things to think about; from the creative, should I be using video, imagery or both?, to the copy, should I be direct, conversational or informative? and what kind of campaign to run, should I be using web traffic, lead generation or reach campaigns?

Being sure to try a whole host of different options is a must; sometimes these will fail and not generate the results you want or need, but that is all part and parcel of the game. Let me apologise for the upcoming cliché, but it is worth remembering that failing at something is only a failure should you make the same mistakes again. Learning from failure is a success in its own right; you now know what not to do next time.

But what happens when you finally find a formula that works? I guarantee that many of us would sit back, let the campaign run and reap the rewards and benefits of this. And to a degree, rightly so; you’ve found something that is a success and there is nothing better than seeing the results column in ads manager growing and growing in your favour.

However, what if this can still be better? Why wait until that campaign starts to drop off (which it undoubtedly will) to continue to optimise, test and improve these results?

Building lookalike audiences from successful campaigns

You have a lead generation campaign that has started really well and you have an array of lead generation forms being completed on Facebook. I can already hear the salespeople fighting over them in the background. For this campaign, let's pretend we’ve used an interest-based audience to target your chosen demographic.

Why not create a ‘lookalike’ audience off the back of these results? If you’re not sure what a lookalike audience is, this is Meta’s description of one:

“A Lookalike Audience is a way your ads can reach new people who are likely to be interested in your business because they share similar characteristics to your existing customers.”

From the example above, we already know that your lead generation forms are doing just that, generating leads. Using a lookalike audience, we can target people with similar interests and demographics to those people who have done the following:

  • Anyone who opened a form
  • Opened and submitted a form
  • Opened and not submitted a form

Once you’ve selected one of the above options, Meta will then use their technology to create a brand new audience that you can now advertise to. You may need to tweak your ad copy as these new people may not already be aware of your business or product, but this should give you a new avenue to go down.

However, you aren’t just restricted to making lookalike audiences from people who have or haven’t submitted a lead generation form. You can create a lookalike audience using a multitude of different factors. For example, people who have visited any or a specific page of your website (Meta Pixel will need to be installed for this option), people who have watched a video you’ve posted, or even people who currently like or follow your page. And that is exactly what we did…

Using people who already like or follow one of our client's Facebook pages, we created a lookalike audience with the intent of serving them web traffic ads. This presented us with a potential audience of over 300,000 targeted people we might otherwise have missed. Over the course of a month, this new campaign reached a little over 32,000 people and yielded a click-through rate of 10%, at a cost of £0.12p per click.

Creating an audience of engaged users

Over the days, months or even years that you’ve been doing paid social media advertising, or even just a bit of post boosting, you more than likely have had a good number of people engage in what you have posted into the social world.

Creating an audience of these engaged users and serving them with your ads is another way you can try and improve your conversion rates. These users are not only already aware of your business or product, but they have signalled some sort of intent by interacting with a previous post or advert that you have created. 

Another benefit of serving ads to customers who have previously engaged with your content is that your customer loyalty can improve. Creating specific ads, which are more inclusive, can create a community feel amongst your followers as you are giving them a more personalised experience, rather than just generically advertising to them.

Making the most of dynamic creative and trying variations

A very useful way to test multiple aspects of your social advertising campaign is to use Meta’s ‘Dynamic creative’ option. This will allow you to use a number of different creative assets, both images and videos, within the same ad as well as multiple variations of copy and call-to-action buttons. 

Having up to 10 different media pieces on each ad, you can test different creative styles against each other. For example, you could choose to have 8 different images or graphics and 2 video variations to see which performs the best. You can also choose up to 5 different ad copy variations, descriptions and call-to-action buttons.

Once the campaign is underway, you can then use the ‘Breakdown’ tool within the Facebook ads manager to see which of the different variants are performing the best. Once you have a good idea of the ones that are and, arguably more importantly, aren’t, you can remove any of the ones that are underperforming and add in new variations to continuously test. Alternatively, you can simply take out the variants that aren’t working and leave the more successful ones in, meaning your budget will now be attributed to the more successful variants rather than the ones not performing well.

In the world of paid social marketing, it is important to remember to continue to test and optimise campaigns to achieve success. Even if you find a formula that works, it is important not to rest on your laurels as you could potentially generate even better results. By creating lookalike audiences, building an audience of engaged users and capitalising on dynamic ads, you can push your social campaigns to the next level. Remember that not every test you do will result in success, however, taking the learnings from these failed efforts and continuing to test is highly likely to generate positive results in the long run. Therefore, it is important to remember, if it ain’t broke, break it… even if it is just a little bit!


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