Case Study: Using Facebook Ads to Blow Up Your Webinar

For many businesses, Facebook Ads has become a very competitive landscape in 2019. 

As more advertisers jump on board, costs continue to rise with less and less inventory being available.

As a result, a lot of people are saying that Facebook Ads just aren’t worth it anymore. It’s too hard to get good results. 

…and that’s when I smile.

While it is true that Facebook is more competitive than ever before, you can still achieve phenomenal results.

You see, most people struggle with Facebook Ads because they go in with this idea that if you start running campaigns, the money will start falling from the sky.

But because of the fact that Facebook is more competitive, you have to be more strategic.

It’s not the wild west anymore, you have to have a plan that will not only help you connect with your audience, but stand out in the newsfeed as well.

That’s why I want to share this case study with you, because as of the writing of this post (February 2019), there are still ways to stand out in a sea of copycat advertisers and generate very affordable leads. 

You’re about to see how I did this for one of my clients.

This client is a husband and wife team of career coaches and they were looking to generate as many leads as possible for their webinar.

This was a very basic funnel where you drive traffic to an opt-in page where they register for a webinar…then deliver a ton of free value on the webinar and afterward nurture the leads with emails.

From a Facebook Ads standpoint, the goal was to generate at least 200 leads at a cost of less than $10/lead. We ended up hitting a grand slam.

Here’s how we did it…

Step 1: Target Audience Research

So the first step to running Facebook Ads is determining who you’re going to show your ads to. The big mistake people make here is that they just go straight into ads manager with a vague idea of who they want to target and just start typing in semi-random terms. But considering Facebook has about 400,000 data points per profile, going in with a spray-and-pray approach won’t get you very far.

I like to take a more methodical, research-based approach. And while this does take a long time (anywhere from 6-8 hours), the time investment can pay off handsomely in the end. The last thing you want to do is to donate your hard-earned money to Facebook…they have plenty 🙂 .

When I start out with audience research, I have a blank Google Sheet and the Google home search page open. While knowing the basic demographics of your customer avatar is nice, you want to go much deeper than that for Facebook Ads.

I find much more success when I target important, underlying interests that the target audience has. In other words, what books do they read, what websites do they visit, where do they shop, what experts do they follow, etc. For this client, their target audience is people over 40 who are either unemployed or looking for a career change. Below is a small sample of the spreadsheet I put together.

You’ll notice that some of the cells are highlighted, and that’s just a note to me indicating that it’s not an available targeting option. But don’t delete these! Just because it’s not a targeting option today does not mean it won’t be one in the future.

So once I have my initial list of potential targeting options, I then like to jump into Audience Insights (within Ads Manager) and start inserting these interests to see what else comes up. Within Audience Insights I specifically like to look at the page likes. Here is an example of what it looks like when I put in “Indeed.com” as an interest. This gives me shopping and lifestyle interests I never would have thought of previously for this audience.

For everything that I did not find in my original research, I add it to my Google Sheet.

It’s not until the very end that I jump into the detailed targeting suggestions within Ads Manager. I start by building the ad set and the target audience I’ve already chosen. Then I click on the “Suggestions” button to see if there’s anything else I’ve missed.

Several of these targeting options did not appear when I was within Audience Insights, so just as before I add these on to the Google Sheet.

Once all the targeting research is complete, I start building the Ad Sets. I like to group similar interests together. For example, for this client, I put all resume and cover letter interests into one Ad Set and all job sites (CareerBuilder, Indeed.com, etc.) into another.

And with that the research process is complete! You probably noticed how different this is from how most people view their audiences. Most people keep it at high-level demographics (e.g. female executives between 35-50). By going deeper, however, you get to understand your audience at a much more holistic level. This makes it easier to write messaging that resonates with your customer avatar.

Yes, it’s time-consuming, but this step alone will help separate you from all other advertisers.

Step 2: Audience Building

There’s a saying in marketing that goes “the longer the runway, the bigger the launch.”

That’s exactly what we did with this client. A full 2 months prior to promoting the webinar, we started running engagement and audience building ads.

This was really important with this client because they weren’t terribly active on Facebook beforehand. This is to the detriment of your conversion campaigns because Facebook actively penalizes accounts that aren’t active on the platform.

So with this client, we ran video engagement ads plus Facebook Lives for the sole purpose of building value, branding, and goodwill with their target audience.

Step 3: Sales Ad Creative & Copy

The single most important part of your Facebook campaign…is your ad.

Most people think it’s the switches and levers you pull inside of Ads Manager. But here’s the honest truth: no one sees what your settings are on the back end.  The only thing your customer sees is your ad. That’s it.

So if you’re not putting full effort into your ad creative and copy, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Period.

Here is the ad we used for this client:

Desktop newsfeed ad creative and copy:

I’m sure the first thing that jumps out at you is the length of the copy. This is counter-intuitive to what you typically hear for direct-response marketers, “Keep it short and sweet” or “People are too distracted to read a lot of text.”

The aforementioned tactics for a shorter copy may help you obtain a high volume of clicks and conversions, but you’ll likely get a high amount of unqualified clicks and unqualified conversions. By giving the user little information on the ad, you’re missing the opportunity to convince them of your expertise and your offer.

With long copy you qualify clicks up front, that way there’s a higher probability that they’ll take action on what you want them to do next (in the case, register for a webinar).

This also works with the Facebook algorithm because as you start receiving more qualified conversions, the algorithm will go out and find similarly qualified people. You have to remember that the Facebook algorithm does what you tell it to do…and if you’re telling it to get you unqualified conversions then that’s exactly what you’re going to get.

If you think this is a bunch of bologna, just keep reading until we get to the campaign stats 🙂 .

A quick tip when it comes to long copy though: make sure it’s skimmable. Even though there are almost 800 words in this ad, there are no big paragraphs. People get intimidated by giant chunks of text. So break up your text and use plenty of bullet points.

Step 4: Launch Campaign

Reach: 33,581

Frequency: 1.11

Unique Link Clicks: 878

Unique CTR: 2.31%

Total Cost: $833.75

Leads: 330

Cost Per Lead: $2.52

Ad Relevancy Score: 8-9 (depending on ad set)

Targeting:

  • Custom Audience: Video Views
  • Lookalike Audience: Website Traffic, Email Traffic, Video Views, Webinar Registrants
  • Interests Audience: Resume/Cover Letters
  • Interests Audience: Employment websites or Unemployment agencies

 

As stated previously, we used a very standard webinar campaign: Facebook ad to a webinar registration page. Below is a look at the landing page we used. Just like the ad, this wasn’t a “minimalistic” style opt-in page, we gave page visitors plenty of information to ensure they had all the necessary information to qualify themselves: 

Notice that much of the same copy that is in the ad, is also on the landing page. That is 100% intentional. This is a concept known as “ad scent” where the style and messaging of your ad matches the style and messaging of your landing page. The benefit of doing this is that it ensures the page visitor that he/she is in the right place.

Many advertisers are afraid to do this because they’re worried it’s going to come off as repetitive or redundant. But being repetitive is actually a good thing because it helps drive home the message you’re communicating.

The goal should be to provide as seamless of an experience as possible for your target audience. If you keep throwing new information at them, they’re simply going to get confused and eventually lose interest.

Step 5: Results Breakdown

So you already saw some of the initial key performance indicators, but those don’t mean much without any proper context. Let’s break it down…

Note: We ran two separate campaigns for two separate dates. For purposes of simplicity, I am only highlighting one of the campaigns.

The first metric I want to bring to your attention is the Unique CTR. This is a measurement of the number of unique individuals that saw your Facebook ad divided by the number of unique individuals who clicked on your link. Facebook actually measures all sorts of clicks, but this click specifically refers to the link(s) that lead to the landing page.

What’s typically considered to be a “very good” Unique CTR is 1%. As you can see, we were able to more than double that benchmark in most instances.

Next, let’s take a look at CTR (All). This is a measurement of all the people who saw your Facebook ad divided by the number of people who performed a click. In this case, this can be any kind of click (link click, click to Facebook Business Page, Like Click, Share Click etc). A typical CTR (All) for a high performing ad is around 3%. We were able to outperform that benchmark by 2-3x, depending on the ad set.

The benefit of looking at CTR (All) is that it gives you an idea of how much your ad is resonating with your target audience. In other words (using the actual results), for every 100 people that would see the ad, about 7-8 of them would either click the link, click the like button or click the share button…that’s a very high level of engagement.

Lastly, let’s take a look at cost per lead (everyone’s favorite metric). We were able to generate webinar registrations for an average of $2.52. For this client’s niche, the typical cost per lead that other advertisers achieve (as of February 2019) is anywhere between $5-$8.

Many long-time Facebook advertisers haven’t seen these types of costs per lead for webinars since 2015/2016.

And yet we were able to beat the benchmark by more than half. That’s because the campaigns we set up is designed to work with the algorithm, not against it.

Now that we’ve broken down the CTR Link and CTR (All), we can manually calculate an important metric that Facebook does not provide: the click ratio. Your clock ratio is the ratio between CTR (All) and CTR Link. If we take the top-performing ad set (CTR Link = 2.58% and CTR ALL = 8.77%), the click ratio is roughly 3:1.

This means that most people are clicking once to read/watch the ad, once to like/share, and then once to click the link. That is a very high level of engagement with an ad, which is why we were able to achieve relevancy scores between 8 and 9…even though we were running this to cold traffic.

Step 6: How To Use These Strategies For Your Online Business

Even if you aren’t currently running webinars for your business, I’m confident the principles that I laid out here can work with just about any funnel.

Whether you’re running a lead magnet funnel, quiz funnel, video funnel or even straight to a purchase offer. The fundamentals and principles remain the same, so by applying them, you can find success for your own business.

Here’s how you can apply these strategies in your business:

    • Be active on your Facebook Business Page: Believe it or not, Facebook tracks the overall “health” of an account. And if they see you’re only running ads then you will experience higher costs for your campaigns. So prior to launching your lead generation campaign, post some videos, do some Facebook Lives or even just run some basic engagement campaigns. It may feel like you’re doing work for nothing, but it pays off handsomely once you start running your ads.
    • Do lots of upfront research: Most advertisers hate doing research, but most advertisers also don’t find any kind of success with their Facebook Ads. The difference between a successful campaign and an unsuccessful one can often boil down to how well you know your customer avatar. You can have the greatest, most sophisticated funnel ever built. But if your targeting and (more importantly) messaging are off, then the elaborateness of your funnel will go to waste.
    • Don’t shy away from long copy: The traditional concept of direct response marketing works against the algorithm. Cheap clicks and cheap conversions will get you low-quality leads. And when you ask the algorithm to get you low-quality leads, it will do exactly that. But if you tell it to get you qualified clicks and qualified conversions, then it will do exactly that as well. The easiest way of qualifying an individual is to give them as much information up front. 
    • Test image ads vs. Video ads: This isn’t something I touched upon earlier, but for this campaign, we did test image ads against the video ad. In this case, the video ad won easily, but that doesn’t mean the same will be true for your business! Never assume that one thing will or will not work. Always be testing to find the best recipe for you.

 

Summary (Plus, What You Should Do Next…)

Learning what has worked for others is just the first step.

But if you really want to maximize your potential online, you need to have a very clear strategy in place…

That’s why I put together this fun and interactive quiz. It takes less than 90 seconds to complete, and afterward, you’ll get a very clear idea of how strong your online marketing strategy is.

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