Lead ads are among the newest (and smartest) in social advertising options. Show your company's product/service to your audience within their natural social scrolling, ask them to self-qualify their interest and share their information, all without leaving their feed? Genius.
Twitter has offered lead generation ads long before Facebook got into the game last year, but as social advertising grows, so do the number of platforms offering in-feed forms between businesses and users. While B2C (business to consumer) advertising has been Facebook's bread and butter for many years, the shift towards B2B (business to business) has caught hold and lead ads provide a cost-effective ad form for almost any business objective: offers, quotes, newsletters, event registration. Here's what you need to know to get started with Facebook Lead Ads for B2B.
Step 1: Build a campaign
Facebook lead ads can be created in Facebook Business Manager, Power Editor, or via the API. If you haven't started using Facebook Business Manager for your company's Facebook advertising, I highly recommend you do - it's a clean separate interface that allows you to manage who has access to the pages, accounts, and billing associated with your company's Facebook presence. (See Facebook's How do I sign up for Business Manager? for more help)
Choose "collect leads" as your campaign objective.
Step 2: Create an Ad Set
Targeting is one of the most important aspects of setting up a successful ad campaign. Facebook's still refining the targeting aspect (especially when it comes to the B2B space) and new demographics, interests, and behaviors options are added every month. While B2C companies have the luxury of broad audiences to target, B2B companies want to avoid paying for ad impressions to the unqualified leads.
To ensure you reach the business customers you're seeking, you'll want to utilize these professional filters in Detailed Targeting:
- Job title
- Company size
- Degree level
Creating a custom audience using your existing customer information is also a great option for B2B ad targeting. Similar to many of the Facebook Ad Targeting Methods for eCommerce, B2B advertisers will want to use a mix of targeting options to curate the best lists.
Here are some ideas for B2B Custom Audiences:
- Upload a list of your best contacts into Facebook to create a LookaLike audience - Be sure to layer on other targeting options like B2B industry so this audience is 'similar' but qualified.
- Retarget website visitors - Remarket your product or service to anyone who visited your website. This requires a tracking pixel to be placed on your site and you'll want to upload a current list of customers so you can EXCLUDE them from this remarketing.
- Expand the success of your lead ad with an engagement custom audience - Create a Lookalike audience of people who opened and submitted the lead ad form.
Pro tip: You'll want the total Potential Reach of your ad set to be at least 100,000. Any smaller than that and you run the risk of over-saturating the ad audience, overpaying on repeat impressions, and sending the Facebook algorithm a negative signal.
Have an international audience? Facebook has gone global with an International Lookalike Audiences tool
Budget & Schedule
Reaching your targeted customer, of course, comes with a price. You can set how much you'd be willing to spend per day for these business leads. Start small and experiment with your daily budget. Note that unlike Twitter Lead Ads (which charge you only for actual leads submitted), you'll be charged for every user that sees your ad (CPM) so be sure to factor this into your budget. Luckily, Facebook is aware of this discrepancy and is constantly tweaking the bidding options - they recently added the "Manual" option for bidding 'based on what results are worth to you.' Facebook offers a detailed explanation of when you should use manual bidding and how your bid signals different objectives to them.
In terms of scheduling, if you select "Set a start and end date", be sure to let the ad run for at least 18 days-21 days. This will allow enough time for Facebook's algorithm to analyze the ad set and promote to its fullest potential.
And unless you have a pile of cash you need to burn through quickly, leave the Delivery Type as Standard - Show your ads throughout the day versus Accelerated - Show your ads as quickly as possible.
Pro tip: If your business is not seasonal or impacted by holiday trends (Cyber Monday / Super Bowl Sunday) turn off your ads during extremely heavy advertising holidays, otherwise you'll spend a lot of unnecessary money trying to reach Bob the accountant at the same time some Big Box store wants Bob to sign up for their Cyber Monday deals email.
Step 3: Create an Ad
Now to the "fun" part. Similar to link-click or impression-based objective ads, there are several options for ad formats:
While I'd recommend the Single Image ad for most B2B audiences, you can, of course, get quite creative with slideshows and videos explaining your service or offer.
There's something to be said for an ad image that can stop a user from scrolling right past.
Don't have your own creative department to whip up eye-catching graphics? Facebook has partnered with Shutterstock to provide a library of high-resolution stock images for free.
Pro tip: While Facebook got "rid" of the 20% Ad Image Text Overlay Rule, there still exists a complex nuance of image text counting against you in the eyes of the algorithm. Be aware that even text on a computer screen in the background of a stock photo has the potential to thwart your ad.
You'll need to be clear about what you're offering and why you're asking for the user to submit (and trust) their information with you. This is your chance to shine as a B2B offer and explain the fit between you and the customer. Customer testimonials, explanation of benefits, and timing incentives are good ideas to try. Just make sure they fit within the lead ad specifications.
Copyhackers has a great Beginner's Guide to Writing Facebook Ads that features tips on how to be concise, catchy, and conversion-worthy with your ad copy.
Here are the items you'll want to include in your Lead Form:
- Context card (see image)
- This is an optional extra "landing page" for your form
- Use paragraph or bulleted text to further explain your offer and what a user can expect after they hit 'submit'
- Add a custom call-to-action
- Pro tip: if you're promoting a newsletter signup, include a note here that it's easy to unsubscribe from any time.
- Information would you like to ask for (contact info, demographic info, work information) in addition to the default Email and Full name
- Custom questions (optional - see below)
- Website link where users will be redirected after they submit form
From car make and model, to which software version are you using, to how many employees do you have, custom questions are a great option when looking to "qualify" those leads.
You can insert up to three custom questions, but keep in mind that the more fields and questions you add, the more pages get added to the form, thus further distancing the user from the 'submit.'
As is the case throughout marketing, more clicks for user = less chance of conversion.
Step 4: Download leads
So you've created your ads and launched your ad set. As the leads
trickle pour in, you have several options for obtaining the submitted leads: You can directly down the leads from your Facebook Page (under Publishing Tools), automatically integrate the lead acquisitions into your CRM system, or use the marketing API.
No matter how you access the lead information, you'll want to follow up with a confirmation email (of the newsletter subscription, free trial, coupon offer, etc.) in a timely manner. Remember your customer just willingly gave you their business contact information, their engagement and motivation is high. Your promise to deliver should be fulfilled quickly.
Step 5: Learn and Repeat
Because of the elusive Facebook algorithm, lead ads need to be watched, experimented with, and updated consistently to optimize performance. To do this wisely, you'll need to spend some time in the Ads Manager reporting interface. The reports certainly contain a plethora of information - what's most important to you will depend on your audience, budget, and timing.
Aside from the obvious - Results, Cost, Impressions, and Clicks - here are a few interesting metrics to focus in on no matter your parameters:
- Frequency - The average number of times a user saw your ad. If you start seeing numbers higher than 2.0, it means the reach of your ad is starting to run its course and you'll want to expand your targeting.
- Relevance Score - Your relevance score tells you how well you ads are resonating with your chosen target audience. On the back-end, the relevance score tells Facebook's ad algorithm which ads to give priority to. After all, they want to "serve the user" above all. So in general, the higher the relevance, the better the ads will perform. Pro tip: Facebook will subsidize any ad with a relevance score of 7 or higher. However, most B2B companies will only achieve a relevance score of up to 4. Unfortunately, B2C is still king.
- Feedback - Positive feedback means you received ad impressions with likes, clicks. Negative feedback means people choose to 'hide this ad' or 'this ad isn't relevant to me' when they saw your ad. Ideally you want high positive feedback and low negative feedback. Once again this affects relevance/delivery via Facebook's display algorithm.
Facebook Lead Ads are a great option for B2B advertisers but they do take some time, effort, and budget to see effective ROI.
Do you have a Facebook Lead Ad success story?