August 30, 2018

Do Facebook ads work?

I’m asked fairly regularly about Facebook ads. Do they work?

My smart-ass answer is that like Google, Facebook ads ‘work’ 100% of the time. Facebook will always deliver your ad in accordance with its quality, relevance and settings. That’s really what you’re paying them to do.

But I’ve come to realise the water is muddier than this…

When someone responds to your Facebook ad you have approximately two minutes to pour cement around the relationship. You HAVE to get them to engage with you in some way. It could be that they respond to an email, or click a link in a text message.

Otherwise they generally don’t stay subscribed, because they were never very invested to begin with. At least, that’s been my direct experience.

The other issue I have with Facebook ads is twofold:

1. I don’t like spending large amounts of time on Facebook. It’s a cesspit of distraction.

2. I hate most of the ads in my news feed.

Seriously, the ads that appear make me see red. The ads I get are generally some random guy or gal I’ve never heard of, posing in some hired studio, telling me how they ‘made it’. And that in exchange for my email address, they’ll reveal the seven simple steps to escape my miserable life.

Honestly, I get red mist and start throwing chairs around if I see more than three of these ads in short succession.

It feels like the early days of AdWords, before Google cleaned up the ads. Facebook has sort-of followed suit by introducing relevance score, but I don’t personally see an increase in relevance in my ads.

So what are the rest of us to do? What if you have an offer that isn’t seven magical steps to immediate financial freedom?

(As an aside: after writing that last sentence my email builder is now flashing an orange message saying “this email has content that looks like spam.” Haha. You bet it does!)

I suspect actually that Facebook for regular advertisers is best employed as a warm medium, not a cold one. It’s a way to build relationships with people who are loosely in your world, but perhaps not subscribed to your stuff. My most successful Facebook ads recently have mostly been to warm audiences: either people who like my page or are in a remarketing audience.

A related question one of my Story Selling Insider subscribers asked last week was: does direct marketing copy work in Facebook ads? Should you follow the tested direct mail format of headline; hook; problem; agitate; solution; guarantee?

The short answer: only to a warm audience of people who already know you. Otherwise your ads HAVE to engage as the starting point.

We’ve been talking more about these issues in this month’s edition of Story Selling Insider, both in the print newsletter and the webinar bonus (recording is in the member’s area).

Rob Drummond

Rob Drummond runs the Maze Marketing Podcast and Maze Mastery. Rob specialises in content production, ad creation, storytelling and CRM systems. He has two published books, Magnetic Expertise and Simple Story Selling, affordable on Amazon.