Are website forms dying? Are chatbots a better experience? Should you still be gating your premium content?
On today’s Ground Table episode, we discuss and debate the current state of website conversions.
Ground Up Podcast | Feb 21
Dann Albright on October 11, 2018 • 13 minute read
Campaign costs. Conversion costs. Acquisition costs. It all starts with a click.
Ad clicks can either drive costs up or down depending on the level of targeting sophistication, the ad creative, and engagement with the ad itself.
This is neither good or bad. It just…is. (Okay yes, in many environments, particularly that of news websites, the clicks-over-everything ideology creates a bad user experience.)
The bottom line is, clicks are a signal. And marketers, particularly those focused on paid advertising, live by those signals in order to inform their strategy and deliver increased results at a lower cost.
So, it’s no wonder why marketers and advertisers obsess over Facebook click-through-rates (CTR).
How do I improve it?
What’s a good Facebook CTR?
In our latest report, we talked with dozens of marketers and agency professionals to answer both of those questions.
Let’s start with the latter.
As expected, the results vary. And while a large majority of respondents report a Facebook CTR between 2-5%, responses likely fluctuate depending on the type of advertisement and the area of the funnel targeted. (Bottom of funnel advertisements are likely to deliver lower CTRs but a better overall return on ad spend.)
Still, almost 15% of respondents report a CTR of over 10%.
So, how? What works? What’s “good”?
We asked a bunch of advertisers to find out. Here’s what we learned.
Editor’s note: Want to quickly measure overall ad performance as well as the performance of individual campaigns? Grab this free Facebook Ads dashboard and track the performance of multiple campaigns in one place.
“It’s always a combination of strong targeting, good ad copy, and a powerful visual that will lead to an increased clickthrough rate,” says David Pagotto, founder of SIXGUN. “However, the biggest lever you have available is the targeting options.”
If you’ve read marketers’ responses to our questions on improving Facebook CPC, you won’t be surprised that ad targeting is a top priority for increasing CTRs.
“When your paid media strategist narrows your targeting, you’re speaking to a smaller customer base and you now have specificity and empathy on your side,” says Evolve Digital Labs’ copywriter, Ian Revling. “Any time your creative becomes more specific to an audience, they’re more likely to click your ad, engage with comments, share with friends and family, or click through to a conversion.”
Adds Revling, “we’d suggest targeting segmented age groups for higher CTR. So, for a face cream ad, target women aged 34 to 40, instead of all women on Facebook.”
Of course, you won’t always know exactly who to target. You’ll need to do some experimentation, says Jackie Kossoff, freelance marketer and designer.
“I recently worked on a campaign solely intended to test audiences,” said Kossoff. “By doing some extra research on what interests my client’s target audience had that were not accounted for, I was able to double—and in one case, quadruple—the clickthrough rate from week one to week two.”
“One of the most overlooked strategies when it comes to PPC in social media is marketing to a niche,” said Nate Masterson, CEO at Maple Holistics. “This means more than just marketing to the people who have an interest that approach your niche. Instead, target your marketing to specific types of customers.”
Not having a grasp of exactly who you’re marketing to will lower your Facebook ad CTR.
“If the audience is too broad, then the message is typically pretty generic in [an] effort to accommodate the whole bunch and, at that point, it’s watered down and unlikely to have strong appeal,” says Amy Bishop, owner of Cultivative Marketing.
One approach is to change how you think about your Facebook ads, says Darrell Evans, co-founder of Yokel Local.
“I think of every ad leading to a click or conversion attempt just as I would an email sequence. If we have properly built awareness, then moved our prospect to engagement, then high clickthrough rates on Facebook ads should result.”
“We work with some of our B2B clients to re-engage past users or customers who are 15x more likely to engage than those not yet familiar with your brand and ideas,” says Hire Learning co-founder Chris Richardson. “They may have fallen off the map, but they ‘start’ the process farther down the sales funnel.”
“So the best way to improve your conversions overall is by staying top-of-mind even after someone visits your site,” says Bogdan Zlatkov, content marketing manager at RollWorks. “According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau, 91% of marketers who have used retargeting have found it to perform equally or better than search, email, or other display ads. When Oracle Dyn used retargeting ads they got a 4x return on investment and a 28% increase in marketing qualified leads.”
“One effective way to improve the clickthrough rate on your Facebook ads is to incorporate more engaging visuals such as videos, GIFs, or infographics,” says Jackie Tihanyi, digital marketing specialist at Fisher Unitech. “People are used to seeing the same static images when scrolling through Facebook, so spicing up the newsfeed with some dynamic content increases the probability of a click.”
But don’t forget about text, either.
“Typically, CTR and CPC go hand in hand,” says Brian Davidson, cofounder at Matchnode. “The higher the CTR, the higher the relevancy score, the lower the CPC and hopefully the lower the CAC. The same tactics I employ to lower CPC apply here. Another piece that is often overlooked in creative is the importance of bright text that still complies with the 20% rule. It’s also important to remember that this applies to video content as well.”
Video works, too.
“The key to a successful ad campaign on Facebook is to make sure your content stands out,” says Keri Lindenmuth, marketing manager at KDG. “This is why videos and images work so well. Users are attracted to strong visuals, especially when they involve other people.”
By adding a compelling video and headline, Jumpstart Go head of marketing and sales Rene Cabrera increased his CTR by 10%.
But not everyone recommends video.
“Surprisingly, we’ve seen still images have better click-through-rate than videos for Facebook Ad campaigns,” says Jeneeit Jeyakanthan, CEO of Vilampara Media.
Jeyakanthan does note, however, that videos are better for brand-building and engagement.
It’s no surprise that your ad copy makes a difference in CTR. We heard a variety of advice on how to improve your ad copy:
Add personal attributes to ads (John Morgan, senior paid manager at The Penny Hoarder—his current campaign that uses the headline “If you live in Pennsylvania…” is getting a CTR of 13.7%!)
“From our experience, the number one factor in improving your Facebook CTR & CAC is through effective titles, said Angelo Frisina, founder of Sunlight Media. “Having a correctly optimized ad title can increase your CTR by over 50%. There is an amazing WordPress plugin called YoRocket.”
“When it comes to improving CTR on Facebook Ads, I like to encourage engagement in the ad copy,” says Mike Schiemer of Bootstrapped Business. “Ask a question and be sure to follow up quickly and professionally on your responses. The higher engagement rates with the ads, along with your replies, will enhance the legitimacy of the ad. You’ll get more shares and link clicks overall.”
“Answer a user’s initial question in your ad but guide them to click to your landing page. Optimize your landing page so that when a user lands, it’s easy for them to find what they’re looking for,” says Rachel Bills, paid search team lead at Intuitive Digital.
“The most effective way to increase CTR on Facebook Ads is to increase and display social proof on your ads,” says Blake Aylott of RideYellow. “This can be done in a variety of ways, but the two that work for us are…”
“One of our favorite tactics for improving CTR is purposefully building up engagement on new ads,” says Kalina Fridrich, performance analyst at Social Fulcrum. “For example, a new ad with a winning image/video and copy from testing usually only has few comments/likes/shares to start. This usually means CTRs are rarely above 0.5% for new Facebook ads.”
“To help boost CTRs, we build social proof by accumulating post engagement. To do this, we use Page Post IDs to link the same ad across various ad sets, to ensure the post engagement is cumulative. We also show new ads with low engagement to audiences of the most loyal customers (high LTV, long relationship with the brand) to collect positive comments from current customers.”
Fridrich continues: “We’ve seen the same ads with 0.5% CTR jump to 0.7%-1% CTR as a result of a rigorous collection of post engagement. We believe ad engagement provides social proof and builds virality.”
Everything comes down to marketing psychology, says James Robinson, executive creative director at Iconic Genius.
“It all starts with the first sentence. It must speak directly to a pain or desire of your customer. For example; Do you feel pain in your lower back? If the person says yes, then they will keep reading because it applies to them (it’s like you are speaking directly to them).”
“Next, you want to offer a solution to their problem. And then highlight the benefits of how the solution to this problem will improve their life. You want to paint the picture in their mind with words (walk without pain, enjoy playing with the kids again, get back to gym).”
“Of course you need to have a stellar offer (that is if you want a better CTR). In most cases prospects do not see the value in clicking a link… And nowadays with all of the traffic online and the safety issues, you must have a head-turning, eye-popping offer!”
Robinson also strongly recommends using custom audiences and retargeting:
“Because these people aren’t cold traffic! The main cause of high CTR is trying to sell too soon! Your ad comes off as spam, which makes the platform work harder… And in turn, you spend more money on leads.”
Marketers love testing. Especially when there are all sorts of things to test.
“When I say A/B testing, I mean you need to test everything in your ad: copy, targeting, objective, ad types, etc.,” said Growth Hackers co-founder Jonathan Aufray. “In fact, I recommend to do even more than A/B testing, I’d call it A/B/C testing or A to Z testing.”
Aufray adds, “what I recommend is to create at least 2 identical Facebook ads where you just test one thing at a time (For instance, the copy). Then, once you found the right copy, you create several ads with that copy where you test different target. Once you found the right target, you can test the ad format and so on.”
R.J. Weiss, founder of The Ways to Wealth, gives similar advice. “For my ads, I rotate weekly through testing audience, image, headline, and text. Then, repeat. The goal each week is to test at least 4 new ads in each campaign I have running. Often it can be weeks or months until I’m able to improve upon a control. But once I do, the reward means a higher CTR and lower CPC.”
Web Geeks digital marketing specialist Shane Carter emphasizes the importance of specifically testing creative. “Try split-testing ads with different images and text combinations to see which resonate the best with your audience and entice more people to click through to your content.”
When you’re testing, you should also be talking to your customers, says Bruno Ferrão, CTO and CMO at My Personal Stylist.
“Make it personal. Get to know every aspect of the problem that you are willing to solve for them.”
“Selecting the right audience aligned with the creative is the most effective way to improve the clickthrough rates of your campaigns on Facebook,” says Affy Santi, marketing coordinator at SL Development. “For example, one of our clients is a brand that sells retro stereos. They have created a brand heavily influenced by hip-hop music culture and a fun lifestyle that interacts with music influencers. From there they have targeted an audience that fits into that following.”
Adds Santi, “we target that following using creative and ad copy that engages that audience. This includes lifestyle & influencer images, and fun upbeat ad text.”
Stephen Browne, PPC specialist at Pixus, shares his advice on three elements to keep in mind:
How do you increase the CTR of your Facebook ads? Or is that not a metric you’re concerned with? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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