Facebook ads

Facebook advertising continues to be one of the best marketing channels to drive cost-efficient sales or leads for any business. With over 2.7 billion users across the world, and approximately 1.8 billion people logging in daily, Facebook’s reach is incredible. There are over 44 million users in the UK alone. This means most adults you know are using it, and using it regularly. An estimated 44% of the UK population access Facebook each day.

Every business should consider Facebook to promote their business.  Even with limited budgets, you can make an immediate impact on sales by setting up Facebook ads, or optimising the ads you currently have running.  To find out how Facebook can help take your business to the next level book a Free 1/2hr Facebook Strategy Session with a Facebook expert today.

Here we look at some of the top 10 Facebook ad trends this year.

1) Facebook Video Ads

Facebook Video AdsIn 2016 Mark Zuckerberg predicted that Facebook content would be mostly video by 2021. With a mind-blowing 4 billion views of Facebook videos taking place each day, he was spot on. It is projected that video will account for 82% of internet traffic by 2022.

When Facebook launched, the platform was mainly used for image and text sharing. Facebook users are now expressing a preference for video. Around 500 million people view Facebook videos with 65% of views coming from mobile devices, who are most likely on the go. Surprisingly it is reported 85% of these watch videos with the sound off.

These stats represent a huge opportunity for Facebook video ads. With a large proportion of people watching with the sound off, visuals need to be striking. Furthermore, with many people viewing Facebook on the go, the ads need to grab attention immediately.

Producing videos is now easier than ever. Most of us have video technology on our phones with video-creating apps readily available. It is good to run a combination of ads including video ads, image ads and carousel or slideshow ads. There is the ability to run split-tests within the Experiment section of Facebook ads. This helps pinpoint which ads convert best for your type of business.

2) Emergence of Facebook Groups and Facebook Group Ads

The redesign of Facebook in 2020 was loved by many, but equally not-so-loved by many. The main change was to place greater emphasis on Groups and Events. Facebook identify these as the two biggest reasons people visit their platform every day. They have invested heavily in these areas, introducing an algorithm-based feed in the groups to improve engagement. They also ran a 10-second, $10 million commercial during the Super Bowl to promote Facebook Groups.

There were an estimated 10 million Facebook Groups in 2019, with this figure expected to increase significantly. These are private, interest-driven communities representing a huge opportunity for advertisers to target. Facebook has been testing Facebook Group ads since 2019 so this is definitely one area to keep an eye on this year. Whilst we wait for this, businesses can host a Facebook Group to increase brand awareness and authority.

3) Facebook Stories Ads

Facebook’s News Feed has been synonymous with the platform for well over a decade. Facebook has recently turned its focus on Facebook stories. This popular feature, previously associated with the likes of Snapchat, continues to gain traction with over 500 million people viewing Facebook Stories every day. Stories are short video posts or photos that appear in vertical format for five seconds, or up to 20 seconds for videos. They usually disappear within a day, but offer potential prospects an insight into your business.

4) Facebook Continuing It’s Process of Disabling Ad Accounts

Facebook Account DisabledFacebook will continue its process of closely monitoring advertising on their platform, ensure it delivers excellent customer service. This is good for advertisers in the long run in that it ensure that Facebook users have the trust and confidence with the platform. It’s important as an advertiser that you are well versed with Facebook Policies. Advertiser’s need to be careful with their ad copy and creative, being fully aware of trigger words, no use of body close ups etc that might draw the intention of the Facebook algorithms.

Facebook will instantly disable Ad accounts they suspect are going against their policies. This is unfortunately happening across the Facebook platform, even to advertisers who are advertising within the guidelines. Whilst this can be frustrating, there is the option to ask Facebook to review the suspected infringement. If you are within the guidelines, your account will be back up and running very quickly.  It’s incredibly important you keep abreast of the policies.

New Facebook accounts will require a ‘warming’ process before they can upgrade to a Business Manager account and run ads through the Ad Centre. This is something experienced advertisers will be well aware of and can work with clients or businesses to achieve a smooth launch process.

5) Facebook vs Apple

Apple vs Facebook‘Privacy’ is one of the biggest challenges in the digital marketing landscape over the next year. Society is questioning whether they want the likes of Facebook or Google to track their activity. The big one for Facebook is the latest Apple iOS14 software update.

Apple has introduced a prompt asking Apple iOS users if they want to allow tracking for applications such as Facebook. If users choose to opt-out, advertisers will be unable to track events and conversions of those users. Almost half of Facebook users access the app on an Apple iOS device. This will impact the effectiveness of ads to some degree, however all advertisers are in the same boat.

Facebook has introduced a dedicated Resource Centre within Ads Manager to help advertisers navigate through the changes. As a Facebook Partner, we have access to Facebook experts who have helped guide us through some of the changes. They advise us a considerable amount is being done behind the scenes to negate the impact. They will be developing the Conversion API feature to replicate the Facebook Pixel in many ways. Other immediate changes you need to make to your Ad Account include to mitigate the impact of upcoming changes include:

  • Verifying your website’s domain within Facebook;
  • Setting up conversion API tracking to pull data directly from your server into Ads Manager;
  • Configuring eight conversion events to track;
  • Updating the attribution window based on the new reduced attribution settings;
  • Update to Facebook’s SDK (if using business apps);

Facebook advertisers need to keep abreast of changes and use the tools available to them, including creative ways to launch certain ads for specific audiences. It is important to closely monitor existing campaigns during Q1-Q2 2021 as Apple roll this out. Even, pausing campaigns and duplicating them may help reconfigure against the new Facebook settings.

6) Facebook Shops

Facebook ShopWith the Apple vs Facebook saga having a potential impact on Facebook’s huge advertising revenue, Facebook is putting more focus on Facebook Shops. Any business that sells products online can create a shop on Facebook and Instagram. Mark Zuckerberg has recently revealed there are now over a million shops on Facebook with 250 million people interacting with them on a regular basis.

These numbers are impressive bearing in mind Facebook Shops only launched less than a year ago. Whether Facebook Shops ends up being a game-changer remains to be seen. Facebook will be keen for users to do all of their shopping without ever leaving Facebook. This will result in more touch points within Facebook and increased advertising opportunities.

7) Customer Personas and Detailed Targeting

Customer PersonaWhilst this is not a new trend per se, it’s one area of Facebook that sets it apart from other marketing platforms. Facebook have an insane amount of information they use to target customers. Despite the current Apple vs Facebook saga resulting in Apple prompting customers to sign in to tracking, Facebook still have huge amounts of data on us. You only need to watch the film, ‘The Social Network’, to appreciate this.

There are essentially three types of audiences you can create on Facebook.

  • Custom Audiences: There are users who interact with your website, app or content you have created or your Facebook page.
  • Lookalike Audiences: Facebook use their algorithms to build a ‘lookalike’ audience who have similar attributes to people in the custom audiences you create.
  • Core Audiences: This is where Facebook comes into their own. These audiences are excellent for reaching potential customers who don’t know you exist. Whilst these are classed as a ‘cold’ audience, there is the opportunity to create hyper-targeted consumer personas or avatars, with a high propensity to like your business.

It’s important to undertake extensive research prior to building these audiences. This will include working closely with businesses and clients to understand their consumer’s needs and wants, plus matching these to their product or service. Social voice, industry and competitor research is vital too. It’s not just about identify who the potential customer is, it’s about taking to an extra dimension and getting inside that customer’s head to identify what hobbies they might like, what publications they may read etc.

We’d always recommend using a combination of these audiences targeting both warm and cold prospects.

8) Removal and Addition of Core Audiences

Customer GroupsAn ongoing priority for Facebook is to stay one step ahead of regulatory action by reducing ‘at risk’ targeting options. The social-media giant continues to review its targeting options, removing any that are discriminatory, duplicates, or those that are rarely used.

We expect more targeting options to be removed this year but it’s not a cause for concern. Facebook has a plethora of targeting options to reach virtually every type of audience and customer persona that exists. It’s a case of knowing how to Facebook Insights and being aware of how to build, overlay and narrow down audiences to pinpoint who you need to target.

Facebook has five core audiences available to advertisers. This allows advertisers to build a specific customer avatar or customer persona to target.

Location – This allows you to target by country, city, town or even a village.

Interests – This is an incredibly powerful option to target interests or hobbies are associated with your target customer.

Behaviour – Gives you the ability to target based on consumer behaviour and shopping trends. You can for example add ‘Engaged Shoppers’ to an audience, to increase the likelihood of your audience to shop online.

Demographics – Targeting based on gender, age, education, job title etc

Connections – This allows you to exclude or target people who are connected with your Facebook page or event.

Advertisers can be smart by identifying the niche interests, other advertisers don’t see. This can be achieved by fully understanding and researching the customer needs

9) Artificial Intelligence, Automation and Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality

Facebook has invested heavily in improving advertising performance on the platform using artificial intelligence (AI). Some tools are still a work in progress but they can definitely help improve your Return on Investment (ROI) if used correctly. We also expect the effectiveness of these tools to continually increase as Facebook’s algorithms. and learning becomes more complex over time. A more advanced Facebook Ads feature is the ability to produce augmented reality camera effects into a Facebook Ad. This allows people to interact with products on the mobile Facebook News Feed.

Here are some of the automation tools we recommend that are currently available to advertisers.

Campaign Budget Optimisation (CBO) – The budget is set at the campaign level, rather than by ad set. Facebook will use that along with your bid strategy, or ROAS (highest return on ad spend) to maximise the spend.

Automatic Placements – Facebook will choose where your ad will be best placed to optimise costs. They will run your ads on a combination of Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and Audience Network.

Dynamic Formats and Ad Creative – This machine-learning option delivers a different version of the ad when using Dynamic Ads. Facebook will deliver a different variant based on which ad types the user is most likely to respond to. Facebook claim this increases an average of 34% increase in incremental ROAS compared to carousel-only ad

Multiple Text Optimisation – This is being rolled out in stages this year. It allows advertisers to add up to five different options for the headline, primary text and the description of each ad. Facebook’s AI will show a variety of these combinations based on what the user is most likely to respond to.

10) 20% Text Image Rule Removed for Facebook Ads

Facebook Text RuleAlthough this was introduced in September 2020, it’s still a significant change for 2021 to help improve ad performance and click through. Prior to the change, advertisers could only use text to cover no more than 20% of their ad images. Advertisers were forced to use a Facebook tool to analyse the image. Any Ad image with more than 20% of text was instantly disapproved by Facebook.

If you want people to interact with your ad, you have to get them to notice it. As we scroll through our Facebook feeds we’re inundated with images and messages. Naturally, it’s the pictures containing bright, colourful imagery that stands out. The new rule allows advertisers to use directional text within the image to grab users attention with stand out call-to-actions. These include compelling messages such as “limited-time offer” or “free”.

If you would like to take your business to the next level and are interesting in Facebook Advertising, take the next step today. We are experienced Digital Marketers and have extensive experience working with clients across all aspects of marketing include SEO, PPC, Affiliate Marketing and Web Design.

We are Facebook Partners and have worked with a number of clients across different industries, managing their Facebook Advertising. We have a proven track record of setting up new Facebook accounts and helping grow start-up businesses with over 1,000 leads a week. Equally, we have been working with other long-term clients, helping take their Facebook business to the next level.

Take the next step today. Contact us to book a free no-obligation 1/2hr Facebook Strategy Session so we can learn about your business and talk you through how we can help you grow.