Facebook and Instagram have been a part of successful marketing strategies for several years now — and that’s not going to change any time soon.
In the last year, spending on Facebook ads has increased by 40 percent, while Instagram ad spend has risen by a whopping 177 percent.
Those numbers are worth paying attention to, because if the competition is still flocking to these well-known platforms, it means that a lot of customers are paying attention to these ads.
Facebook and Instagram ad spending can generate a big return on investment for e-commerce brands, especially with the targeting options made available through these platforms. Here’s how you can improve targeting to succeed with your next campaign:
Get Personal With Things
Knowing your audience is key to successful branding on any platform. Facebook and Instagram are no different, and should serve as an extension of your current branding efforts.
The better you know your audience, the easier it will be to create high-quality content that appeals to their wants and interests. You can’t just say that you want to target “males between age 25 and 45.” You need to more narrowly define who your target audience is so you can understand what makes them tick.
Facebook and Instagram’s targeting options showcase just how important this is.
You don’t just have the option of targeting your ads by age or gender. You can dive deeper based on app usage, page engagement, other interests and hobbies or even the type of device they use.
Such insights should ultimately define everything that goes into your Facebook and Instagram ads. It will influence the type of images you choose, the tone of your text content and even hashtag curation as you strive to create compelling ads.
Find a Twin or ‘Lookalike,’ If You Will
Understanding who your primary target audience should be is one thing. But expanding your reach on social media can sometimes seem easier said than done.
One especially effective Facebook and Instagram targeting tactic is the use of lookalike audiences. Lookalike audiences essentially allow you to use your brand’s existing followers to automatically generate a new target audience for your campaign.
Plus, it saves you the effort of digging through this targeting minutiae on your own.
Lookalike audiences primarily use demographic information, shared interests and online behaviors to create a new target group that is similar to your current followers. Because of their shared interests and attributes, they are more likely to be interested in your product or service when exposed to your ad.
Remarket Your Way to Easier, More Reliable Sales
Remarketing is another effective targeting option for Facebook and Instagram ads. Facebook actually allows you to embed a “pixel” on your website that tracks the actions visitors take when they visit your site.
Using the information gathered from the pixel, you can then create custom audiences on Facebook and Instagram to target users who have visited your site. Further customization allows you to retarget users who have already made a purchase, or even to recapture visitors who abandoned their digital shopping cart.
Remember, the likelihood of someone buying your product or service the first time they come in contact with your brand is extremely rare. On average, most businesses require about seven “contacts” with a potential customer before a sale is made.
By putting your ads in front of people who have already visited your site, you greatly increase the likelihood of generating sales or at least moving potential leads farther along their buyer’s journey.
Social media marketers like to talk about “organic growth” — increases in their number of followers that come as a result of normal posts, rather than paid ads. Consistently creating engaging content is one of the best ways to build your following on Facebook and Instagram so you can eventually make a sale.
However, this idea of “great content” can be equally successful when applied to a paid ad. Just because you’re paying for the placement of the post, doesn’t mean it has to look like an advertisement.
Make some of your ads look like natural, organic content. This doesn’t mean you should stop creating promotional posts, but content that appears organic (even when it is part of a paid ad campaign) generally gets more likes and other forms of engagement than sponsored content.
Experiment With Different Formats
Successful Facebook and Instagram ad campaigns don’t merely rely on standard photo ads. Instead, they use a diverse mix of content to capture the attention of their target audience in new and interesting ways.
On Instagram, one of the most popular alternative ad methods involves working with influencers to create sponsored posts. We often think of people like the Kardashians as Instagram influencers, but in reality, even someone with 10,000 followers can provide a valuable influencer partnership for your niche.
For best results, you’ll want to find an influencer who has a similar following to your target audience, who posts regularly and receives a high level of engagement.
Check to make sure they actually work with brands to create sponsored posts. Look at their prior content (both sponsored and non-sponsored) to determine if they are a good fit for reaching your target audience.
You can also experiment through your own channels with carousel and video ads.
Carousel ads allow you to display multiple images in a single ad. Users can swipe through to view each image. Such ads are especially effective when displaying a new e-commerce product line-up, and have been found to be up to 10 times as effective as a standard Facebook ad.
Video ads have also proven to be a popular choice for more effective targeting on Facebook and Instagram — over half of all internet traffic is spent watching online videos. Instagram allows video ads of up to 60 seconds in length, giving you plenty of space to tell a story or share a behind-the-scenes look at your brand.
What works for one brand on Instagram or Facebook won’t necessarily be the be-all end-all for successfully targeting your social media ads. To achieve lasting results, you need to stay true to your brand persona and create content that will appeal to your target audience.
However, by following these guidelines for social media targeting, you’ll be able to achieve your desired outcomes — whether you’re an electrical contractor or a clothing designer. When quality, relevant content is paired with proper targeting, you’ll be well on your way to increasing conversions and sales.