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Race to Success with Facebook Ads

Back in September, during the 2018 F1 Singapore Grand Prix, I got to thinking about how sports make for a great analogy for brands considering their Facebook ad strategies.

In many competitive sports, every millisecond counts, and the preparation and strategic planning to ensure every part of the race is executed to perfection are crucial. With that in mind, I wanted to offer my take on how this can be applied to strategies that brands can take when rolling out the most effective Facebook ad campaigns.

How would you rate your ‘race day’ strategies with your Facebook Ads?

One of the biggest mistakes most advertisers make is they jump straight into trying to set the fastest lap times though they haven’t completed pre-race checks or set up anything to record their lap times (i.e. Facebook pixel tracking). Without the right data, how are you going to fine-tune your car, improve your racing lines and determine your fuel strategy to set faster times?

Your fuel is your ad creative, not your money. Your money gets you onto the track and your targeting ensures you’re on the right track with the right audience, but it’s your creative that determines whether you’re going to go anywhere fast.

Facebook makes it too easy to enter the race, but competing is much harder than people realize. Like an open track day where anyone who pays the entry fee can line up to race, so many inexperienced people casually turn up to the race track in their beaten-up cars, while their competitors are all decked out in their F1 supercars.

They are all trying to compete in front of the same audiences, but these hopeful amateurs assume it’s as easy as just putting their foot down, and then get confused when they aren’t posting the fastest times.

Your website is your race car, and regardless of who’s behind the wheel, a 10-year-old car racing against an F1 supercar is no competition at all. Maybe your website looks the part, but what’s really ‘under the hood’?

If your pages take too long to load, your visitors are getting lost in the navigation and you’re not converting well or yielding a high average order value, then it might look like you’re sitting in an F1 car, but there’s still a rusty old engine under the hood.

Your fuel is your ad creative, not your money. Your money gets you onto the track and your targeting ensures you’re on the right track with the right audience, but it’s your creative that determines whether you’re going to go anywhere fast. If you’re not refreshing your ad creative on a regular basis, you’re going to be running on fumes in no time at all, grounding everything to a halt. The quality of your creative is the difference between filling up the tank with 91 unleaded or a full tank of rocket fuel!

Understanding environmental conditions is crucial to gaining the traction you need. When the weather takes an unexpected turn and it starts pouring down, the team will want to change from their dry weather slick tires to their wet tires.

It’s a little scary how many business owners, consultants, and even agencies don’t understand how to read the conditions. In this case, that could be anything from understanding what point in the customer journey their audience segments are currently in, or it could be as simple as correctly reading the data from their campaigns so they can make the right decisions.

Case in point, how many ads do you see from your favorite brands after you’ve already made a purchase? For example, my accounting software has been retargeting me since I signed up for the most expensive package in January this year, and there’s literally nothing else I can upgrade to or purchase. It’s just wasteful spending.

Making it to the finish line

Once your car is fine-tuned, your fuel strategies are in place and you’ve read the conditions correctly, it’s up to your driver to get you across the finish line. Your marketing team is your driver. You can line everything up perfectly but if your driver isn’t up to the task, you’re either not going to make it to the finish line to get that win, or you’ll eventually get there after a costly season, perhaps too costly to continue on for another.

On the flip side, you could have the Lewis Hamilton of marketers sitting behind the wheel, but if that wheel is attached to Grandma’s used car with a near-empty tank of gas, the wrong tires, and an inexperienced pit crew, you can already guess how that season is going to go.

We’re coming up on the biggest race of the season, Black Friday and holiday sales, so are you ready for your next big race?

As featured in Branding In Asia

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