Validating your Idea using Facebook Ads

(Photo Credit)

In continuation of our previous article on validating your offer with advertising, we approach the validation process using advertisements in three phases, as follows:

This article represents the second half of Part 11 in our real-time experiment, Testing the Muse in Practice. This post specifically focuses on Phase 2 of our above framework – confirming broad interest in your idea or product by setting up an advertising campaign using Facebook Ads.

At this point, we’ve already developed our ads, as described in a post on how I write compelling online ads. We’ve also already executed a campaign (using these ads) in Google Adwords, as described in our last post on validating your offer with advertising using Google AdWords. In that post, we also outlined how to identify your top performing ads – the ones that received the most attention, and drew the largest amount of visitors to your test site.

The following provides details of what to do with those top performing ads and a step-by-step of how I approach advertising using Facebook Ads:

 

Confirming Market Interest using Facebook Ads

Utilizing your top performing 2-5 ads identified during your ad campaign in Google AdWords, it’s now time to test them once again. This time, we’re using a completely different advertising network – one where it’s even easier to (i) use images, and (ii) target your audience’s specific demographics and interests, providing an additional layer of valuable feedback on your muse testing.

Again, this post can’t serve as a fulsome tutorial on Facebook Ads – although I do have one in the works. In the meantime, you could certainly benefit from learning more by checking out:

  • Facebook for Business (free) – pretty much everything you need to know, essentially Facebook’s own Ads tutorial.
  • FB Uncovered (paid) – everything you need to know, but never knew to ask. This is actually a very thorough training course for creating simple, profitable Facebook Ad campaigns for generating customers and subscribers, regardless of the size of your budget.

To streamline this section, I’m going to assume you’re one of the 1.2 billion(!) people on Facebook, in which case, you have ready access to advertising on their network – just go to Facebook for Business to get started. Easy peasy.

Recall that we set a total Testing the Muse budget of $200-$300. If we’ve already spent the better part of $200 on Google AdWords, that leaves a remaining $100 to round out the week of testing.

We’ve already done the bulk of the testing, whereas Facebook is primarily the final stage of confirming our understanding of market demand, using a much more scoped network. Therefore I limit my campaign to run 2-4 additional days, with a maximum expenditure of $30-$50 per day.

The goal would still be to solicit clicks from at least 100 people. So you need to balance Facebook’s estimated CPC (shown by them as “Avg. cost/click”) with your timeline and budget. If it works out to an average $1 cost/click, and you’re running your campaign for 3-days at $35 per day, that should do the trick.

Like AdWords, Facebook Ads are likely to get more and more competitive, resulting in higher and higher costs to marketers. AdWords use to be pocket change per click, now it’s rarely less than a dollar, and often much more per click. At the moment, Facebook Ads is still relatively young, and therefore seems more “affordable” on a per click basis. As with AdWords, that’ll likely that will change with time.

So, what do we do with our top performing ads from AdWords?

I pretty much just drop each one directly into Facebook Ads. The parameters are not exactly the same as in AdWords, e.g. with respect to the maximum number of characters per ad, but there is very little tweaking that should need to be done. Remember, these ads are already proven; try to keep their exact wording and calls to action as much as possible.

An added bonus here is that you get to include images with your ad. There is a whole “science” behind what creates the most clickable ad images in Facebook, etc. – and you can certainly go deeper if you intend on using this method regularly by going through the FB Uncovered training modules.

For our purposes, I simply stick with using my top ads with each of the most potent images I’ve used on the website. For example, for This Car or That Car, I used the app icon and a situational image created in PlaceIt (showing someone at a car lot using the app) – see below:

placeit

Have I mentioned lately how much PlaceIt rocks? I have the image of my [currently non-existent] app, being used on a mobile device, of someone shopping for cars at a dealership. That’s frickin’ cool – it’s like having access to an alternate universe!

For this example, I actually have two images from my website that I believe are attractive and represent the app well. So I take each of the text ads and pair it with both photos – that way, for each ad, there are two versions – one with each of the images.

By mixing and matching the ads with each image, those 5 ads become 10 ads. The purpose is not to pad the number of ads you have circulating, it’s actually to measure which ad text and image combination is the most effective. Just as we don’t know which ad will resonate with your audience, we also don’t know which image is most effective. This strategy helps eliminate the guess-work.

 

The Facebook Ad-vantage – Defining your Reach

One of the biggest assets Facebook Ads has over most companies is its vast collection of user data. On a daily basis, millions of people willingly submit everything to Facebook, from demographic data (age, gender, geography, etc.) to socio-economic data (family, household, education, employment, etc.) to qualitative information (how they’re feeling today, what they’re watching, where they’re traveling, what they “Like”, etc.).

Because of all of this extremely personalized [and valuable] information, Facebook Ads is able to set itself apart from Google AdWords in its ability to cater marketing to very targeted audiences. Depending on the variables you include, you can either increase or decrease your “reach” (Facebook’s term to refer to the number of users who could potentially see your ad).

In the case of our example, I still kept the geography to the U.S. and Canada, English as a primary language, etc. But I was also able to define gender (I kept both male and female), as well as age range (16-85; any younger and they wouldn’t be legally allowed to drive, any older and it’s unlikely they’d able to drive). Then you can begin to define their interests, such as only people who “Like” used cars or used car related services (e.g. they are have joined a group or page related to “used cars”).

By the time I had narrowed my target audience on Facebook, my ads had a potential “reach” of 29,100. If you’ve narrowed your target to the point where your reach is only a few hundred people, you might want to broaden your scope. The idea is to still get a good cross-section of potential people seeing and responding to your ad, while also stacking the odds in your favor that they may be interested in your product offering.

I envision this process as a filter – taking your grand idea, running it through a large filter to see what resonates with the larger population, and then filtering those results through your potential target market to see if it really sticks.

Another take-away from all this testing is that, once complete, you now have a handful of battle-tested advertisements and images that are proven to work.

It doesn’t mean you would stop trying to improve your messaging, but know that you can use these combinations again and again, or repurpose them on your website, on social media, or in other promotional materials. It’s far superior than paying a marketing consultant to help you with your brand; you paid actual money to test it live on the marketplace.

That’s extremely valuable data.

Between the Phase 1 (Google AdWords) and Phase 2 (Facebook Ads) results, you should now have a pretty good picture of the potential popularity of your idea.

Hopefully the results of your muse testing warrant moving forward with your project. That will be the task in one of our upcoming posts, to analyze the results of our advertising campaigns and determine how, or IF, this project should move forward to development.

 

Key Resources Mentioned:

Best Always,

Jonah

If you’ve made it all the way to the end – congrats! Here’s your Bonus Offer:

 

For a limited time only, my friend Jeff Goins – prolific blogger & published author – is giving away a FREE ebook on how to build your audience entitled Every Writer Needs a Tribe – get it here: https://fz238.isrefer.com/go/ebook/a590

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