By Erin Wiggers
From the Winter 2017 Journal of the Colorado Dental Association
Keeping up with best practices on Facebook is getting harder. The more sophisticated the platform gets, the steeper the learning curve for advertising effectively. But one thing remains the same: Using Facebook advertising to reach your patients and potential new patients is a great way to find success in business and grow your practice. Here are some simple do’s and don’ts that can accelerate your Facebook advertising.
DO keep it short and sweet
More isn’t always better. According to a recent survey of more than 30,000 Facebook ads, researchers found the average headline contained only five words. The sub-headline tended to average 14 words. You have a limited amount of time to engage your audience, so make sure your ad copy is simple, eye-catching and easy to read and understand.
DO use a clear, descriptive CTA
Your call to action (CTA) is perhaps the most important piece of copy for your ad because it tells the user exactly what you want them to do and what they’ll receive in exchange, whether it’s some benefit, discount or content piece. The purpose of this bit of copy is to tempt the user with an offer and set clear expectations for that offer. The more descriptive the CTA the better.
DO tap into cognitive biases
The human brain has evolved with a multitude of nonconscious quirks you can use to increase ad effectiveness. For example, psychological researchers have found the following words tend to garner the most attention naturally: you, free, because, instantly and new. You can also provide nonconscious motivation by emphasizing things like social proof or the scarcity of your offer, which both can get users to take action without realizing why they felt compelled to.
DON’T write too much or ask too much
Cognitive load is a neuroscience term that describes the amount of thinking a person does for a given task. Essentially, it is a measure of how much someone would have to think about something before understanding and acting on it. The smaller the load you present to your users, the more frequently people will engage with your ad.
DO pay close attention to your images
Images are by far the most important part of your ad. Visual content is treated more favorably in the Facebook algorithm, a secret system that enables Facebook to tailor content on the platform to reach the users who would be most interested in that content, and more likely to be shared and remembered.
DO tap into cognitive biases
One of the most powerful images you can use in your ads is that of a human face. When we see faces, we tend to focus our attention on that face. If that face is looking in a particular direction, we tend to naturally focus on whatever they are looking at. Use this information to your advantage when planning out your images. Color choice also is important; it has the ability to enhance recall by 82%, with red being the most attention-grabbing.
DON’T make the image too busy
Busy images require a significantly higher cognitive load than simple ones. As previously mentioned, reducing cognitive load tends to increase conversions, so make sure the images you are using are eye-catching and easy to read.
DO know your customer and make it relevant
As with all business endeavors, it’s important to align your messaging with your target audience and provide them with some value. Are you looking to reach patients who are parents? Target your audience with images of children or families, for example, and ad copy that will evoke emotion with moms and dads who see your ad. Really consider whom you are hoping to reach, find out what makes that demographic tick and incorporate it into your ads so they feel a connection.
DON’T link to a website or Facebook page
Nearly two-thirds of Facebook ads surveyed linked to a specific landing page, as opposed to a general website or Facebook page. Your ad should be very specific about what you’re offering and how to get it, so don’t make it hard for people to find the right path to conversion. If your goal is to get more patients in your area to know about the services your dental practice offers, make it easy for users by sending them to a landing page that features those services. Don’t send them to your home page and make them navigate your site to find what they are looking for.
DO always be testing
You should be using the continuous process of optimization in your advertising practices. The most successful companies tend to have up to hundreds of ads running at a time, allowing them to see exactly which bits of ad copy and images are resonating with their customers. For a smaller dental practice, hundreds of ads might not be possible, but it’s easy to create a few test campaigns with varying ad copy and images and boosting the ads that are getting the most engagement or clicks.
DON’T assume anything – segment and learn
Segmentation is one of the most powerful tools marketers have for learning about not only their customers but also their user experience across demographics, traffic sources, browsers and more. Never assume you know what’s working and for whom. The data is there, so use it.
DO use Power Editor
Facebook provides a powerful tool for creating and maintaining precise control of your ads. Use it to your advantage. For more on how to do this, check out Facebook’s Power Editor Support.
DO tag with UTMs
UTMs or Urchin Traffic Monitor parameters are special codes appended to a user’s URL that allow marketers to track their audiences. These tags attribute key information about the visitor’s traffic source, medium and even the campaign or specific ad that was clicked. These insights allow marketers to be much more effective in their outreach efforts.
DO use custom audiences
In business, it’s much easier to sell to existing customers than it is to procure new ones. If you already have a list of email leads, you can upload that data to Facebook to create custom audiences. Once this is complete, you can then create lookalike audiences based on your customers to reach even more people with your ads.
DON’T try to guess – CPM
CPM represents the cost per 1,000 impressions for an ad. This is an aspect of your campaign that can be set manually, but that is not recommended due to the varying nature of the parameter. Instead, use Facebook’s Optimized CPM to dynamically update your campaign and show your ad to those most likely to convert.
About the Author: Erin Wiggers is the conversion rate optimization specialist at Clicks and Clients. For advice on your digital marketing strategy, contact Melissa Sheehan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 720-485-6731.