Facebook Lead Ads: How To Use Them & Why Part 1

Could your business use a steady source of affordable leads? Obviously the answer is most likely yes, that’s what we’re all trying to get. You may have been trying to optimize your ads (targeting, copy, settings, etc) or your landing page from a CRO perspective, but is there anything else you can do?

Doing what you can to further improve your ad strategy and your landing pages is absolutely something you should do, it’s going to be seriously important to your continued success - BUT testing this process against Lead Ads and evaluating the optimal journey to give leads you capture from FB Lead Ads can be just as useful. We’re going to talk about both of these, but will start today with just testing Lead Ads against your website-driving ads.

When you’re running Facebook ads (or other channels, but let’s focus on FB) you’ll have a roughly 1% - 2% click-through rate, then about the same lead conversion rate on your website. Let’s say you spent $1,000 and generated 100,000 impressions which would translate into 1,000 clicks (1%) and then roughly 10 conversions (1%). That lead cost may work for your business, but what if we could run a test to eliminate one of those steps? If you are tracking your cost per lead through your website it should be a simple process to run this test.

Create your Facebook Lead Ads campaign and split your ad budget between Lead Ads and website driving ads, paying close attention to the cost per conversion for each source during the testing period. This by itself is an interesting test, but taking it one step further we can evaluate the quality of the new source (lead ads) and call this an effective cost-per-lead. Generally I expect Lead Ads driven leads to be lower in quality because the threshold for action, the disruption to someone’s routine is less (they don’t have to leave FB) so these will often be higher funnel leads. If you’re properly measuring the conversion rate from lead to sale focus on the cost per sale from FB Lead Ads leads vs website leads. This is how you close the loop and understand the value of Lead Ads, from here we can take a look at improving the Lead Ads journey and understanding what part Lead Ads should play in your client acquisition.

Facebook Advertising & Cannabis

I've had the really great opportunity to help a business owner who isn't a manufacturer, but is involved in the cannabis industry and the limitations on advertising are a PAIN. Here's what we've done to make it work and generate leads for ~$1 each.

1. The Website is a big issue

Do you have pictures of cannabis on your site, or even just say cannabis/weed/marijuana/pot? Sorry, probably can't run ads. Obviously you don't want to completely overhaul your website to be able to run a few Facebook ads, this is why we used Leadpages for landing page creation. We basically created our lead gen and product signup funnel within Leadpages to create a Facebook-friendly website.

2. Be sneaky with ad text

You just can't talk about what you actually want to talk about, but keywords like "medicinal", "green", "budding", "flower-power", etc. can be used. Word of caution, if you use terms like "legalization" you may be flagged for running political ads and will have to go through THAT process, or remove that term.

3. Images

Ok, surprisingly you can be a little straightforward with ad images. You can use leafs, but not buds, just don't make it super obvious what the leaves are!

4. Write Lots of Versions, Be Prepared For Disapprovals

Every time you write an ad write SEVERAL versions of it, and try different ad images - you need to put your hands out like feeling for an invisible wall. Oh, and be prepared when you walk into it. It can feel like you've really upset and/or wronged Facebook when they disapprove your ads, but just edit them! Dumb down the language, get sneakier, change the image - you'll find the ad that gets approved AND gets results.

How To Write A Great AdWords Ad

Review Competitor Ads

Let's say you're looking to launch and advertise a new platform for Fantasy Football - take a look at what other sites are saying in their ads. The top 2 positions are making it very clear that they're free to use, but Fleaflicker does something very well.


Their use of ad extensions is one thing to note right away, the ad extensions EVERYONE should use are callouts, sitelinks, and structured snippets - and they hit all 3, conveying so much information quickly. Competing against NFL.com, CBS, ESPN, Yahoo, etc. it's important for them to let searchers know right away what they offer, and overcome any objections immediately. Importing your league from another platform is a big one - review your business and have a deep understanding of any objections you may have to overcome to get the searcher to click on your ad. Beyond objections, what other UVPs (unique value propositions) should you convey? My favorite that Fleaflicker mentions is that you can conduct multi-team trades, that's pretty cool!

Write Ads From Different Brand Positions

You've seen what your competition is saying, thought about objections and UVPs, but how do you actually get started writing ads without it feeling thrown together? Let's identify at least 2 brand positions, for example - your fantasy football site could use the following positions

  1. Best Expert Advice (Our fantasy website includes access to experts who provide the best rankings and news updates in the industry)
  2. Best Mobile App (How often do you even use a computer? Join the fantasy football site with the best mobile experience)

Within these brand positions, write 2 versions of ads with only one variation between them (start by testing the headline - then test ad text, display URL, etc) and you've got yourself 4 good ads that can help you identify the best brand position to build additional marketing around. Using the results of your advertising testing is essential to improving your marketing in other areas! Test using this position on landing pages, in emails, etc.

Using CTAs In PPC Ads

That feels like too many acronyms, but calls-to-action are the next big thing we need to wrap our heads around. This section is pretty simple, look at all three ads above and you'll notice that each uses a CTA to tell the searcher what the next thing they should do is, to capture attention. 

Fleaflicker & Dataforce use "Play", Fantrax uses "Join". Same thing though. Presumably each of these companies likely tested play vs join vs still other CTAs, you should absolutely test CTAs within your ad copy and find the best one to increase CTR and conversions.  Now that you've gotten here...

  1. Reviewing the competition
  2. Identifying Objections & UVPs
  3. Testing Brand Positions & Ad Copy
  4. Adding/Testing CTAs

You are ready to write great ads, get after it!

Dynamic UTM Tags For Facebook Ads

Did you know that Facebook ads can by tagged dynamically? It's not something I'd paid much attention to, but it's blown my freaking mind. Instead of developing your own manual tags and assigning things like source, medium, campaign, content, etc you could be bringing in even more awesome information you didn't know could be pulled into Google Analytics.

If you follow Facebook's recommendations on the best practices for campaign setup 

  • Combine placements together (Facebook wants you to use them all)
  • Build your ads from existing posts instead of making a new ad every time 
    • Every time you make an ad, it makes an ad post, if you use that ad post as an ad by copying the Post ID and choosing to "Use an Existing Post" when you make a new ad it will combine your ad stats across all ad sets where the ad is in use, this means that ad with a million shares will actually show that it has a million shares, instead of what you're doing now...which actually means you've got 15 different ads if you created the ad and duplicated it for your 15 different ad sets

When doing these things we run into a few issues, we lose the ability to tag the ads differently, all our ads will be tagged the same if we just do the typical utm tagging process - so you won't know if a click from Instagram or Facebook drove those sales. However, this is where dynamic tagging comes in. 

Your tags will look like this 


Go here for Facebook's guide on the subject with a list of all taggable dimensions, the most interesting one to me is placement. Now, placement isn't a usable secondary dimension in Google Analytics, so you won't be able to use the information that way, but if you export GA data around the landing page traffic is coming in from (or build audiences in GA based on url contains x placement) you'll be able to see which ad placements are bringing in the best users. FINALLY we have a way to validate in GA if that audience network traffic is actually doing anything, this is a game changer people. Let's get excited about it.

How To Decrease Your CPCs in Facebook Ads

If you’re using Facebook ads to drive traffic, and have a limited budget, you really can’t afford to spend a $2+ per click. Especially if you’re just figuring out your audience. Here’s what I recommend doing to bring costs down.

Step 1. If you’re using a link click, or awareness, campaign you are making a mistake! If at all possible run a Conversion campaign, this will have Facebook optimizing your ad delivery to those most likely to take action AND will use CPM bidding (cost per thousand impressions). If you need help setting this up email me at brett@brett-middleton.com

Step 2. Create a video ad, or animated ad that allows you to enter your ad as a video. If you don’t have the time or ability to record a video ad, use a series of images in a gif maker (like gif maker, or giphy.com). Or, my personal favorite, if you take photos on your iPhone try out an app like Typomatic to create animated ads from your phone.

If you start using the right objectives/bid methods and test out video or animated ads you will see a decrease in CPC, stretching your budget even further. You’re welcome!

Weird Facebook Advertising Tactics

Are you curious about how Facebook Advertising can be used in weird ways to promote your business? If you're struggling to find the right method to advertise your business, sometimes you have to think outside the box. I did exactly that in my most recent post on Medium, give it a read!

I dive into what it looks like to target someone before they are in your target audience using video, and create the possibility to target them the moment their status changes from "No thanks" to "This is exactly what I need!". Using Video ads in Facebook we can retarget someone just for viewing our ad, and keep them in our audience for up to 6 months. This means that if we want to target someone as soon as they get married to deliver our ads for the perfect delayed honeymoon, we serve video ads to Engaged users in Facebook, and create an audience of video viewers. We then create a follow up campaign  to hit them at the perfect moment to create a selling opportunity. Check it out!

Should I Work With A Digital Agency?

That is a great question. Unfortunately I can't really answer whether YOU should work with an agency, but I can give you some good general guidelines. The problem with most agencies is that they want to keep you around as long as possible, makes sense doesn't it? Oddly we are considering an exit clause that incentives us to hit your goals sooner so you can move on to bigger and better things, still working that over internally. But, that's not why you're here. The reality of your growth trajectory is that there is a timeline for how this should work. You're about to get some great information we have acquired over the years.

  1. Just starting your marketing - Handle it internally
    1. Read articles and how-to's build your first AdWords campaign and start testing, or have Gary the intern do it.
  2. Spending $1,000-$2,000 per month
    1. If Gary hasn't gotten better by now it may be time to hire a freelancer or very small agency that charges you a percentage of spend, or low minimum rate. Large agencies will not work with a client this small, and hourly rate agencies will end up charging you a somewhat unreasonable % of spend at this point. Although, we would too, it's hard to effectively manage this much spend.
  3. Spending $2,000-$19,000 per month
    1. Ok, now we are talking. You're officially large enough to be a great client for an agency to work with and you're spending enough to really get great results. You're still not quite hiring a full-time person.
  4. Spending $20,000-$30,000 per month
    1. Yes, there is very little difference between $19k & $20k, thanks a lot. But at this point you'd likely be paying an agency 10%-15% of $20,000-$30,000 and investing roughly half of what a full-time junior advertiser would cost you. It's time to at least consider a hire, talk to your agency about consulting relationships and training your hire. We will actually even help you make the hire like we are a recruiting firm, which is pretty cool.

Most business will not reach an advertising investment beyond this, but if you do you will often need to consider a hybrid model of having a Full-Time Senior (3-6 years) Ad Manager AND an agency that assists in strategy development and execution. Once you are investing significantly in digital advertising you will likely find that agencies that can deliver with the speed you are looking for are few and far between. Nobody will know your company better than your own team, working with an agency as a trusted partner can become the best model when you reach the upper echelons of advertising. If you have any questions about hiring agencies or growth and the fun problems that come along with it...get in touch!

How To Use Facebook Advertising To Compliment AdWords

If your business has been slow to adopt spending outside of paid search (probably AdWords, but it's ok if you use Bing Ads too) you likely feel like you're behind; but changing your strategy and investing in something that may not feel directly relevant to your business is hard to do. The context we reach our audience in feels important, but the reality is that social media advertising has now reached what print, TV, and radio were. Advertising in Facebook is simply reaching your audience where they are. Also, if you haven't been doing it you probably aren't aware of the amazing targeting Facebook gives us as advertisers. Let's walk through some examples.

The Financial Planner

Your a wealth management firm that works primarily with those approaching retirement and seeking a better understanding of their investments and a sense of security. When you take out a napkin and pen in a meeting you describe your audience as 50-60 year old professional with $1-$3 Million in assets living within a 50 mile radius of your office. Did you know that Facebook has financial targeting capabilities? 56 year old Mary is ready to evaluate her options, performs a search, and clicks on your competitors search listing because they're at the top. Had  you been serving ads in Facebook, or a similar channel, and sparked her interest before she had the intent to search for a firm you would have won.

The Tech Startup

Looking for funding is exhausting, finding customers and standing out among your competitors? Even more so. With a minimal investment into Facebook & Instagram advertising you can not only create a pretty complex retargeting funnel that uses events such as signing up for your demo, starting a trial, or visiting your contact us page to determine the right ad to show...but you can create an efficient prospecting machine. Your target audience is the millennial marketer looking for increased efficiency from their ad campaigns, your reporting tool is the solution to transparency. Showing them a video ad with a reach and frequency campaign (for increased reach and awareness by selecting the # of impressions per user), and creating an audience for video views then targeting them on desktop we find the exact path you need to start converting traffic.

How Does This Work With AdWords?

If you're worried about pulling back on your AdWords budget, don't do that. You shouldn't sacrifice your core advertising spend to pursue an experiment, plan your foray into Facebook as best as you can and monitor results. Starting advertising in channels like Facebook will often lead to increased search volume (and consequently ad spend), plan for this; watch for spikes in search traffic to your site that indicate your Facebook campaigns are working even more than Facebook says they are. Also, being that you're a direct-response marketer using Google Analytics and a last-click attribution system, drop us a line to talk about the proper way to use UTM's so you know which Facebook ad actually drove a sale or lead.