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SEO | Apr 19
Masooma Memon on June 30, 2020 (last modified on July 6, 2020) • 29 minute read
Have you been running Facebook ads but aren’t seeing the engagement you hoped to get from them? It’s possible your ads are reaching lots of people, but none of them are engaging with them. What now?
Before you lose hope (and money you spent on advertising), here’s some good news: an average user on Facebook clicks 11 ads in a month – proof that people engage with Facebook ads. The only question now is how do you improve your post engagement from Facebook advertising?
We’ve asked 45+ Facebook ad experts to answer just that for you and packed their insights into this detailed post that’ll cover:
Let’s dig in:
Basically, engagement refers to any action that an audience takes. It could be clicking a link, dropping a comment, viewing an image or video, giving a thumbs-up to a post, and so on.
So, post engagement on Facebook ads involves your audience interacting with your ad by liking, commenting, sharing, or clicking them.
This one’s an important distinction to keep in mind. Where Facebook post reach means how many people see your ad, post engagement is how many reactions you get on your Facebook ads.
Think of it like this: someone viewing things in a store from across the street is different than an interested buyer entering the shop and asking for the price or simply moving things to get a feel of them.
Hence, in terms of Facebook ads, reach is viewing things from afar, but engagement is entering the shop and interacting with the items.
Our latest report suggests 1.1-1.3% is a good Facebook post engagement rate. Over 25% of the people we surveyed think between 0.8 – 1% is also a good engagement rate.
Some have also seen engagement as high as over 1.5% on their posts while others have witnessed a post-engagement lower than 0.5%. Either way, a good target to keep in mind is between 1.1 – 1.3% for post engagement rate.
Our respondents offer several tips ranging from creating ads in multiple ad sets to pairing your ad with a stellar visual.
Read on to find out how these tips can help you improve your post engagement:
1. Start with knowing and understanding your target audience
2. Create ads that are relevant to your audience
3. Make sure your ad meets your audience’s needs
4. Create Facebook ads with multiple ad sets
5. Change your ad’s objective to ‘post engagement’
6. Write engaging ad copy
7. Add a CTA to your copy
8. Pair your post with powerful visuals
9. Engage with the comments on your ads
10. Run test ads
11. Be thoughtful of your ad posting time
12. Think about ad frequency as well
First things first, be clear about who your target audience is. Venkatesh C.R. of Dot Com Infoway opines, “to have a successful Facebook campaign, you don’t require to spend a lot of money. You can do split testing to find the right audience.”
This is what will help you “make each impression count.” How so? Because finding your target audience helps show “your ad to people who are likely to be interested [in it].” And, of course, interested people are more likely to engage with your ad than those who aren’t interested.
Lytho’s Raul Tiru echoes the same sentiment, “we notice that focusing on targeting is the variable that really moves the needle.”
However, knowing your target audience takes work. As Tiru insists, “don’t just focus on whom you include, but also whom you exclude. The better you can reach your target group, and your target group alone, the better the engagement.”
Eric Siemek of Youtech adds to this: “when targeting make sure you are a little broader so you can hit more people and have a large audience to target”
However, if this approach doesn’t yield sweet fruit, you can always do what Tiffany Lewis of More Meaningful Marketing suggests: “get more niche.” Lewis explains, “get more niche if the current approach isn’t working. It’s a target, experiment, and adjust approach.”
Knowing your target audience brings us to another important aspect of increasing post engagement – content relevancy.
See, when you know your target audience, you’re more likely to create ads that resonate with them.
As Bannersnack’s Bernadett Dioszegi puts it: “when it comes to post engagement ads the most important is that your ads should be relevant to your target audience. When people find your ad relevant, they will be more likely to interact with those ads.”
Dioszegi adds to this, “remember that your chances that you are dealing with bored social media scrollers are high, so your ads should be attractive enough to catch their attention.”
So, a key takeaway here is: “make sure that it [your ad] is relevant to your audience and is not just about you or the company,” according to Socially Found’s Rob Sanders.
Sanders goes on to share his experience, “I see so many businesses make the mistake of saying ‘We do this…We do that’ without actually addressing the issue of whether it is a pain point for their target audience and even after that, how does it address it.”
So, how do you dig out what your bothers your audience? While knowing your audience gives you part of the answer, customer research helps further refine your understanding.
Sanders shares, “customer research is crucial when delivering your message and if you’re not hitting the mark, you’re going to get crickets.”
This is another important way to increase your Facebook ads engagement. Knowing your target audience and customer research are two ways that can help you understand exactly what will appeal to your audience.
SEO Atlantic’s Mihaita Vulpe adds to this: “studying the information Facebook Page Insights provides can definitely create a connection between you and your fans.”
You can also dig into your Facebook history to learn more of what your audience finds relevant.
Rosalina Felipe of Portent advises, “look into your posts history on Facebook and find common themes that received higher engagements. Facebook posts are primarily about what your audience wants to see.”
This way you can “focus on posts that your audience finds most relevant.”
You can also run ads based on trending content. This one’s a hat tip to Jack Choros of IronMonk Solutions: “find content that is going viral in your niche and reuse that to build post engagement. It’s a surefire method. Use BuzzSumo or Reddit to find trending content.”
Here’s another useful way to increase Facebook ads engagement that a handful of our ad experts applaud. It helps you “get more social proof and engagement” in Major Impact Media’s Brice Gump’s words.
People tend to engage with content that already has a lot of engagement and social proof. In fact, Peter Thaleikis of Bring Your Own Ideas Ltd. notes, “social proof can drive engagement up significantly over the magic 1% mark.”
Plus, it delivers another benefit as well: “with more engagement attributed across one collective post, it can not only help build social proof but also improve your ad rating in Facebook’s auction process,” as Lachlan Kirkwood of ClickThrough explains.
One good way to do this is by following Gump’s practice: “the best thing you can do to aggregate all of your social engagement onto one ad is create your ad in one ad set, launch it, and then use the same Post ID in every other ad set in your campaign by selecting ‘Use Existing Post’ at the ad level.”
“This will consolidate all of the post engagements, meaning each ad will share the same likes, comments, and shares,” according to Kirkwood.
The thing is: “when you are launching new ads in the ad manager, each new ad set will create unique post IDs and URLs for each ad if you leave the ad setting to ‘Create New Ad’. That’s not what you want.”
So, you need to choose ‘Use Existing Post’ instead of ‘Create New Ad.’
Put simply, you’re going to be “duplicating the original ad campaign, reducing the budget and changing the campaign goal to ‘Engagements’” as Ariel Farzan puts it.
By doing so, “you can get one ad running to dozens of different audiences with massive amounts of social proof and engagement” as Gump elaborates. Epic Marketing’s Jacob Cullum does the same.
Cullum shares, “this way, the likes, comments, and shares will all add up on the same ad post instead of dividing them among each individual instance of the ad you are running.”
Put another way, “this is a great way to ensure that engagements will always appear on your original ad campaign regardless of how well your original ad campaign is doing since Post Engagements are so much easier to get when that is the campaign goal. Since you are duplicating the campaigns, you still have your original campaign goal,” as Farzan highlights.
Alternatively, you can “run an ad optimized for engagement in cheaper countries to get some social proof and initial engagement” like Mor Mester from Automizy does. Mester explains further, “after that, I expand the geographical targeting to the other, more expensive target countries.”
This way “there’s already lots of engagement before expending the geo-targeting [and] people will interact with the post more because there’s some social proof already and that makes for a lower cost per engagement as well.”
Editor’s note: Keep an eye on the engagement on your ads with this free Facebook ads engagement dashboard. It shows you all the important metrics including comments, video views, shares as well as clicks all on one screen.
While you’re at it, make sure you also change your ad objective.
TJ Kelly from RaySecur, Inc points out this important action step: “remember that Facebook Ad ‘objectives’ will show your ad to users who are most likely to achieve your objective.”
This means that “if your ad is set for ‘video views,’ Facebook will show it to heavy video consumers. Therefore, setting your ad objective [to] ‘post engagement’ means Facebook will show your ad to users who frequently like/share/comment on posts.”
This way you can get more engagement on your ad. After all, “You don’t just want your ads to be seen by the most, you want people to engage with your ads whether it’s by clicking the link, watching the video, liking or commenting your content” as Jonathan Aufray from Digital Growth Hackers puts it.
Therefore, by changing your ad objective you can, “encourage early interaction/engagement on your ads to build social proof. Later, you can clone the ad—and keep the reactions/comments with it—and show the ad to a different audience, with that social proof included,” as Kelly elaborates.
Your ad copy also plays a crucial role in driving engagement to your post. So, what are some characteristics of an engaging ad copy?
Your copy needs to be:
Aufray suggests, “to make sure your engagement is high, make your copy compelling.” To this end: “tell a story to hook your audience,” Aufray adds. Our brains love stories, so your audience is likely to respond to an ad that tells a story than otherwise.
Online Team Building’s Jeremy Cross votes for writing personable copy. Cross explains, “many Facebook advertisers make the mistake of trying to sell too much in their ads. For example, focusing on your features or ‘painting the dream’ for potential buyers. Instead, try writing copy that connects with people on an individual level.”
Cross also shares an example copy: “for inspiration, check out Reddit ads which tend to use words like ‘I’ and ‘TIL’ that people are used to seeing from individuals.”
Your copy needs to make people stop and think. Siemek recommends: “your caption should be a question so people can have more of a reason to interact with your post and comment, like, or share.”
Duckpin’s Andrew Clark is of the same view. Clark shares, “address your end-users’ needs/wants via thought-provoking questions or prompts.”
Jordania Nelson of Divining Point explains: “increasing engagements can be as simple as optimizing the language used in your copy by speaking directly to your target audience.”
Nelson adds an example to share this, “Which statement do you resonate more with: ‘People feel better after experiencing our A+ service,’ or ‘You will feel better after experiencing our A+ service.’”
It’s certainly the latter. So here’s a good suggestion to bear in mind as you put pen to paper: “replace nouns such as ‘people’ or ‘users’ to ‘you.’ This way, your audience can visualize themselves using your service or purchasing your product, rather than someone else.”
The benefit, you ask? This is a “surefire way to provide consumers a connection to your brand through feelings of inclusiveness,” as Nelson explains.
Another good way to talk directly to your audience is by addressing them directly. Schutt Media’s Andrew Schutt proposes: “always call out your audience in the first sentence of a post engagement ad!”
Let’s say you’ve an audience of “Real Estate Agents. If you say ‘hey real estate agents!’ in the first line of your ad, they’ll be more likely to read your ad and engage with it.”
Doing so also means that “non-real estate agents will skip it over. This helps the Facebook algorithm serve your ad to more real estate agents since they’re the ones who are engaging with your ad. It’s a win-win!”
Aufray notes, “a lot of marketers produce a 1-sentence copy with their ads. This is not enough.” But the question is why? For one, telling stories to make your copy compelling takes longer than a sentence or two.
Secondly, your “audience needs to click on the ad copy to see more of what you are writing” as Sanders notes. You can also prompt your audience to click by “add[ing] multiple images so that they have to click on it to see them all.”
The idea is to “increase engagement” as “the user needs to engage to see more but it tells Facebook that this is an interesting post and will more likely show it to more people, thus increasing your reach.”
Clark suggests: “include some emojis in your ad copy to draw people’s eyes to it.”
Peter Thaleikis of Bring Your Own Ideas Ltd. also vouches for emojis in your copy: “having engaging ad copy with a few emojis helps a lot.” The goal here is to “give people a reason to stop scrolling and engage” as Clark explains.
You can also stir a bit of controversy with your copy as James Pollard from The Advisor Coach opines, “my most effective tip for ensuring a high engagement on Facebook’s ad platform is slightly devious… it’s to include a typo somewhere in your headline or first few lines of your body copy.”
Pollard observes: “people LOVE to point out grammar errors and typos. It makes them feel important. However, the only thing Facebook sees is that people are engaging with your ad and they push the ad in front of more people for a lower cost.”
Your copy also needs a call to action (CTA), which encourages people to take action. Lauren Turner from Online Optimism opines adding a CTA is “one of the easiest and most effective ways to get post engagement”
Turner elaborates, “when you include a relevant question or a prompt to tag Facebook friends in the comments, you are giving your audience a chance to use their voice.”
So, you could be calling people to share your post, tag a friend, view a video or so on. Whatever your CTA is, you need to ensure it is “slammed in the first three seconds of the ad along with the Brand name ” as Delta Growth’s David Dsouza shares.
Dsouza further suggests, “your aim is to drive action using Facebook advertising, the action could result in a like, comment, share, or a visit to the landing page (if present).”
Here are some creative ways to include a CTA:
MARION Integrated Marketing’s Tony Mastri opines, “adding some sort of call to action in the ad image is a great way to improve post engagement.” It’s a great tip that “generally works because users will notice your image before vetting any of the details in the ad description. Because they’re being nudged to taking action from the very start, this format seems to improve engagement over ad images without CTAs.”
However, Mastri warns: “you still have to adhere to the 20% rule with this text, but if you can get creative enough to pull off the additional CTA text, it will pay dividends.”
You can also pop in a question for a CTA. Maia Wells of ClearPivot goes on to elaborate this: “Try asking a question your buyer personas actually want to answer.”
Brandon Amoroso of electrIQ marketing also adds to this: “the question can be fun and light-hearted but still attention-grabbing, but still related to your service.”
Here’s are some ways you can ask questions according to Wells:
People will engage if they care about what you’re asking.”
Krissy Selda of FitRated / VerticalScope Inc. suggests, “having a CTA in your text such as ‘tag a friend’ is an easy way to increase comments and shares.” And, since tagging a friend doesn’t take much effort, people often follow through this CTA.
Studies suggest that powerful visuals can encourage people to take action. No wonder, we order more food when we see appetizing images in ads. That’s not it though. Visuals make information easy to understand as well.
Most importantly, they make people pause to see what you’ve to say. MAXBURST’s Andrew Ruditser observes, “it is common nowadays for users to scroll right past posts that require a lot of reading, as they don’t have the patience or time to want to get interested. However, adding more visuals to your posts will make it more eye-catching to the user.”
Rameez Ghayas Usmani of PureVPN also notes, “the human processes visuals 60,000 times faster than text, it is far simple for people to remember visual information than the same information in a written form.” This is why adding interactive visuals to your post is “one of the most effective and useful tips to improve user engagement on your Facebook Ads”
Besides, “if people like your video, they will be more inclined to share it with their friends, which helps get that video in front of new people,” as Dioszegi puts it.
Usmani recommends you: “use interactive visuals in the form of videos, GIFs, and Infographics in your Facebook ads.” You can also pick from: “the popular choice of memes, gifs, videos, etc. that are grabbing users’ attention all over social platforms, including Facebook,” Ruditser adds.
Let’s break down the types of visuals you can pair with your Facebook ads:
Infographics are the fourth most widely used visual among content marketers. It makes sense considering how infographics make information easy to consume.
Usmani explains, “highly attractive and compelling infographics sustain the attention of your readers and help them get engaged with your ads even longer ultimately resulting in a high post engagement rate of your advertisement.
Such visuals are guaranteed to stop your audience in their tracks. Selda insists, “to ensure high post engagement on Facebook ads, you should use interesting images that tell a story. This will make your audience more likely to share your post.”
It’s also helpful to use images that your audience can relate to. Irma Stefanova of Independent Fashion Bloggers says, “emphasizing the meaning of the picture you are using for a Facebook ad, as well as the feeling it engenders, is one of the best tips for high engagement on Facebook.”
As a general rule “the audience you are targeting should be ‘grabbed’ by the photo, or maybe recognize itself in the post.” In fact, “people shouldn’t need to read the description in order to understand what the ad is for.”
Put simply, “you have to put all of your creativity and ideas into a clear and understandable picture.”
Videos are all the rage lately. In fact, with 54% of consumers say they want to see more of video content from businesses they support.
No wonder Tommia Hayes from Community Health Charities suggests: “posts that include native videos, overall, have the highest engagement across the platform.”
Melanie Musson of BroadFormInsurance.org points out, “your audience engages when they play the video, they stop and watch the video, and they’re more likely to like or share.”
What’s more, “Facebook’s algorithm favors posts that include videos – organic or paid,” as Hayes recognizes. Hence, “when you have the opportunity to promote videos during your campaigns, incorporate this tactic to help improve post engagement.”
So, what makes a good video for your Facebook ad? Bernadett Dioszegi of Bannersnack shares the details:
You can also try your hand at creating Facebook carousel ads. Jitesh Keswani of e-Intelligence finds it to be “the most effective strategy that gave us good results.”
To quickly recap: “Facebook carousel posts or ads [are] a creative way of adding multiple images in a smaller space.”
Keswani adds further: “other than images, you can also add headlines, descriptions, or URLs. This allows advertisers to show more information at the same cost.”
This is great for when you “want to showcase more content of your products or brand that you want prospects to scroll through” helping “improve consumer engagement on your Facebook posts.”
A few more notes that our respondents shared regarding using visuals in your ads include:
In all cases, it’s best to “test a range of creatives with each audience to see which one performs best. Use past engagement data to guide your content creation moving forward,” Daniella Pozzolungo from PupDigital shares.
Remember: “in an age of trying to make everything perfect, strive to be authentic, and embrace your quirks,” as Andrew Clark insists.
While creating multiple ad sets is a way to consolidate all past comments on your ads, you really need to get started with engaging with fresh comments too. In fact, as TJ Kelly puts it: “live in the comments!”
This means “anytime someone comments or shares your material, you need to respond. Acknowledge and thank them for weighing in, and ask them a follow-up question to encourage yet another response.”
Alejandro Rioja of Authority Daily has found success with the same tactic. Rioja shares, “while there are a lot of ways for improving post engagement on a Facebook ad, but the one that has worked for me is engaging with my audience instantly.”
The idea here is to, “establish a relationship with your customers by replying to all comments – this will not only make your existing clients more loyal but will also be a source of social proof for those who are considering your offer,” as NapoleonCat’s Kasia Majewska outlines.
Portent’s Rosalina Felipe also thinks, “the more engaged your company is with their audience, the more likely your audience will engage with your content.”
Plus, here’s the interesting bit: ads with long comment threads get greater reach.
Ampmycontent’s Daniel Daines-Hutt observes, “you’ll often see threads like this that get a lot of engagement and interaction from new fans and true fans. And it’s all boosting the ad engagement and deliverability!”
Here’s how you need to manage the comments:
The golden rule is to “respond to every comment,” according to Siemek. Even if they’re negative. Daines-Hutt shares “sometimes people will leave comments that are not accurate” as well.
So how do you deal with them? Majewska has the answer for you, “if a negative comment appears, try to provide thoughtful and helpful answers. If the issue is more complicated, acknowledge them publicly and move the further conversation into a private space – for example, email or private message.”
You can also “block and delete comments” if you encounter “an outright troll” as Daines-Hutt does. In fact, he thinks “This should also help FB understand that maybe its targeting is a little off.”
The plan is to engage with your audience. Daines-Hutt elaborates: “by interacting and engaging with them [your audience], and creating a dialogue, you can help get them on board. This also helps other people who are reading the ad comments to come across.”
This also means that you continue engaging with someone when they get back to your comment. In fact, Amoroso advocates, “once someone replies make sure to give their comment a like and continue the conversation with them.”
Besides being thoughtful in your responses, you can also write fun responses. This is something tiny campfire’s Michael Alexis does: “about once per month I see an ad with a tonne of comments on it. These ads tend to fall into two categories: either they are a provocative or controversial product or messaging, or the ad sponsors write fun and clever replies back to everyone that comments. My recommendation would be to go with the latter.”
So, here’s the action plan: “when someone comments, write something fun in reply so that they know you care and are reading, and then other people that see the ad will be interested in reading it too.”
It’s best you get back to comments quickly. Rioja adds to this: “reply to comments as soon as you can and keep your audience engaged. This way all their queries will be answered, they will be more interested in your product/service and will end up purchasing it.
This strategy has been effective for almost all of my ad campaigns as I try to keep my responses quick, short, and to the point.”
However, increasing your response time doesn’t mean you give rushed responses. That can backfire real quick.
No wonder Majewska suggests you need to “take your time to moderate the comments on your ads. If a conversation gets out of your hand, the ad may actually do more harm than good. On the other hand, if you manage comments carefully, then the ad may perform even better than expected.”
Put simply, “make sure both your existing customers and potential clients are heard.”
Ad testing is another useful way to understand exactly what in your ad your audience engages with. Chances are what works for someone might not work for you. The reason? Different industries.
Pixus’s Stephen Reilly elaborates on this: “what works in one industry may not work in another so there isn’t really a best practice guide other than try them all until you learn how your audience best engages with the assets and copy your brand presents.”
No wonder, Daines-Hutt prefers ad testing as it “helps to find the version that works best – as I want to appeal to more people who are JUST LIKE my audience.”
Daines-Hutt continues, “once I find a winner, I’ll usually run an engagement campaign to the same ad id, targeting fans and friends of fans with similar interests. This way I can get good engagement on the ad, from the right audience.”
Next, Daines-Hutt shares, “so once I’ve built up some interaction with fans, I’ll start running the ad to the actual target audience. (Maybe a lookalike etc.) The beauty of this is that it already has good engagement, with comments that align with your advert.”
Daniel Ashton of Standard Restaurant Supply discloses their process too: “When running ads on Facebook we always run several variations of ad copy and different images. After a week or so we are able to look at the engagement and we optimize our final ad based on which combinations prove to be the most effective.”
Reilly, however, warns: “don’t spam the system but do keep trying new variations.” You could test different combinations like:
The rule of thumb is to “post during times when your audience is most active. This will also make sure that your audience will see your post, which will increase your engagement,” as Felipe explains.
But Smallpdf’s Hung Nguyen points out an important detail: “don’t post when most of your users are online—post when the most engaged users are online.” So, how do you find out when your most engaged audience members are online?
Generally, you should be “posting either in the late afternoon/evening or on the weekends” as Tom Massey from Snowy Pines White Labs suggests these as the ideal posting times when “your customers are most active on Facebook.”
However, optimal posting times can vary from industry to industry. So, you can try any of Nguyen’s three helpful tips to find out when your audience is the most engaged:
Alternatively, you can “monitor the periods when you do obtain the highest engagement and schedule your posts accordingly,” as Alistair Dodds of Ever Increasing Circles does.
Generally, you need to be mindful of “quality over quantity” as Natalie Adams from Pure Visibility revises.
More specifically, you need to keep in mind that “if your ad gets displayed much time, your audience will feel annoyed, and that can cause ad fatigue” as Venkatesh C.R. points out. So, “you will need to think of creative ways to avoid that from happening.”
On the flip side, “if you keep the frequency too low, it will not provide you with the required exposure. Also, when your ad stops doing well, it makes sense not to keep using it.”
Ultimately, you’ll need to figure out the best frequency for your Facebook ads. Again, testing can help you with this.
Facebook Ad Post engagement metric is already available for you to start tracking in Databox.
Perhaps the most popular way to track Post Engagement is with a Line Graph, where you can quickly see on which days the engagement went up or down. This allows you to dig deeper into why certain spikes or dips happen and allows you to double down on the campaigns that are working best to drive engagement.
You can even select different Date Ranges for a more detailed overview.
We recommend that you track your Post Engagement in combination with other important metrics, such as Impressions, Link Clicks, Amount Spent, etc., so that you have a holistic view of how your campaign is performing. For example, perhaps Post Engagement is low because overall impressions are down. This might lead you to make some changes to your ad targeting or bid strategy in order to drive more impressions to your ad.
Because all of that data is correlated, it will help you plan your further steps and get a better understanding of your audience’s behavior and needs.
If you have any questions or need help getting set up, you can visit our Knowledge Base, reach out via Chat or send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know which Facebook Ads metrics you’re looking to track we’ll help you get started.
For current Databox users, log in to your Databox account to start creating your content strategy reports for Facebook Ads.
New to Databox? Start by creating your free account. From there, you’ll be able to connect your data, not only from Facebook Ads but also from other platforms. Then you can add the metrics to your metrics screen, create data boards, automate your reporting, collaborate with your teammates, and much more.
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