Julian Solonoski
By Julian Solonoski | SEM | October 20, 2017

Understanding the Facebook Funnel

Many companies, looking to expand their digital marketing efforts, are turning to Facebook as it continues to convincingly assert its place as a major online advertising platform. And for good reason: B2C and B2B companies reap generous rewards from advertising on Facebook. Some advertisers don’t see value in Facebook because it does not drive “conventional” direct sales, but that’s missing the point: the value in Facebook comes from what it can deliver to the top of your funnel. Your choices of targeting options on Facebook are vast, and thankfully, their specificity is useful for identifying key user groups, but you have to make sure your funnel steps match your needs and your particular audience. Below I present the foundation to a successful Facebook marketing strategy, and show you how to create a Facebook funnel, starting from the top!

A Tale of Two Strategies 

Two different platforms require two different strategies. Users on AdWords are searching for the products or services offered when typing their keywords into Google. They are either in the research or buying phase. This means they are much more likely to take action on your website that you deem valuable (such as a phone call or purchase) than users on Facebook. Users on Facebook on the other hand are on Facebook to chat with their friends or post funny pictures of their animals, not to be sold to. Higher funnel digital marketing strategies work well on Facebook for this reason. Giving an interested user more information about your product or service is the main goal of a higher funnel strategy.

Facebook Best Practices 

Before we jump deep into the Facebook funnel, I’ve outlined some general Facebook advertising knowledge and best practices. Facebook traffic is 80% mobile so make sure you are targeting users on mobile devices and make sure that your using a mobile first advertising strategy. The main component here is to make sure your website is mobile friendly. Desktop traffic may be profitable but it is often more expensive than mobile traffic because it generates less than mobile.

Turning off the audience network is another best practice. The Facebook audience network functions similarly to Googles search partner network. It is famous for cheap clicks and low-quality traffic. The majority of Facebook audience network traffic comes from mis-clicks on in app ads on mobile games. This means the user mistakenly clicks on your ad and immediately leaves your site. In turn costing you money for a wasted click. The audience network usually makes your metrics like click through rate and cost per click look great look great. However, it is not until you dig into the data and see it is a huge waste of money. Turn off the Facebook audience network and save your money.

Creating a Facebook Funnel

Video ads on Facebook are an excellent way of delivering a high number of impressions, and thus are typically used for branding and awareness. Since they are generally targeting a broader audience, the views are relatively cheap. Over 85% of Facebook videos are watched without sound. The last thing you want to do is have your ad be ineffective because it was watched with no sound. This issue can be addressed by making sure each video ad has subtitles. That way, users can understand your message without having to turn on their sound. The idea is to create the path of least resistance for your potential customer. By using subtitles, you’ve successfully solved the problem for users who are feeling just lazy enough to watch your video with no sound, rather than skipping over an advertisement they’re having trouble understanding through visuals alone.

Another big hurdle for advertisers is the fact that Facebook users only watch a video ad for an average of 3 seconds. Ads that present the necessary information first and fast are among the most successful video ads. How can you take advantage of this? Make sure your company logo is the first thing in the video, followed by a concise statement on how your product or service will benefit the customer and the problem that it solves. Videos following that format are much more likely to catch a user’s attention and raise the average watch duration.

Once you have your targeting, creative and message dialed in you can set the video ads live as the first part of your Facebook marketing strategy. At this stage, you are most likely going after a targeting but still relatively broad audience. Use the data you get from your video campaign to create a second stage in your Facebook funnel. Narrowing your top funnel audience down and refining them into another audience is the goal.

Funnel Stage 1: Awareness

Here is an example of how the Facebook video ad campaign data would be used to create additional audiences. For a 30 second ad, everyone who watched at least half of the ad gets put into one audience group. Users who did not watch at least half of the video or skipped it entirely are discarded at this stage. Always test and evaluate your creative and audiences to find the highest performing.

A new audience requires a new strategy. Create an ad based on the audience that watched half of your video. The ad should showcase more information and prompt them to visit the site. The goal here is to take a group of interested users and give them more information about why they need your product or service. Educate them and their trust will build in you. Users feel more comfortable when you are open and provide them with information. If someone in this audience group engages favorably with this second ad they can graduate into the next step in the funnel.

Funnel Stage 2: Lead Generation

Now that the user is familiar with your product or service and trusts you, it is time to bring them even deeper into the Facebook funnel. The objective behind this next step is to provide value to the user in exchange for something of theirs. This is the time to offer users the chance to download an eBook or a whitepaper in exchange for their contact information.

Asking for too much information too soon is a great way to have someone not give you any information at all. Keep your forms short and sweet. The longer the forms, the less information you will get. At this point in the funnel a name, email and phone number are usually enough.

An interested user has now signed up. The best way to use this information would be to set up another audience a bit further down the Facebook funnel. For example, now that you have their email, you can incorporate them into your email marketing campaign. You could also have your sales department follow up and begin to nurture them. Each of these groups now has the real potential to turn into a customer.

Funnel Stage 3: Sell, Sell, Sell

Depending on your strategy, the next audience filtered from the eBook/Whitepaper stage can be shown another set of text- and image-based ads. As we near the bottom of the funnel, these ads can be tailored with a more aggressive call-to-action. These users have already demonstrated interest and thus will be less likely to reject an offer for a free demo or consultation than those who have never heard of your product or service before. For most companies focused on lead generation, this is the most valuable audience because they have the highest chance of converting into real customers. Facebook has a plethora of targeting options and one of the most useful allows you to leverage your existing fans.

Facebook allows you to advertise to existing fans of your company Facebook page and to their friends too. This powerful targeting method is great for increasing existing business and finding new customers as well. Giving existing customers an incentive such as a 25% off coupon or free shipping on their next order is a great way to increase their customer lifetime value. Targeting friends of existing fans and customers will very likely yield a profitable ROI.

Social proofing also works exceptionally well when seeking new customers. You are more likely to earn a sale from someone whose friend is a customer. If their friends are customers, and vouch for your specific company, you are more likely to get their business than a company who is not vetted with their friends.

Funnel Stage 4: Remarketing

Remarketing has been a key focal point throughout this entire blog post. Narrowing down, refining and remarketing to an audience along the way. The best part? If you have an existing audience, you don’t have to start from the top.  As mentioned above with the fans and friends of fans targeting options. Another strategy is to use the Facebook Pixel and remarket to users on Facebook if they have already visited your site. You can break out your Facebook funnel into a few separate audiences based on the previous visitors to your site. This is especially helpful for eCommerce companies.

If you have a list of users who clicked on your site and browsed but did not add anything to their shopping cart, you can prompt them to come back with a discount on their first order. For users who abandoned their shopping cart, a gentle reminder or a free shipping code may be in order. The idea is to entice the user to come back and complete a purchase.

How full is your Facebook Funnel?

A Facebook funnel takes time to build and patience to perfect; as is the case with most things, results can’t be seen overnight. You must implement your process strategically, tailoring it to your company’s needs, but the general roadmap is clear. Start by creating video ads targeted at a large audience. Filter that audience and remarket to interested users with additional content or information. After that, focus on obtaining the prospect’s information in exchange for something of value. From there, you can begin the selling process by enticing them with more aggressive offers. Don’t forget to advertise to existing customers and their friends, both on and off Facebook.

Once you’re up and running, make sure to keep an eye on your analytics, and don’t hesitate to set up a free consultation if you still have questions about optimizing your spend on Facebook’s ever-evolving advertising platform.

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In the time it takes to read this sentence, you could be on your way to a well-oiled demand generation machine. Ready for your blueprint?

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