How to use Facebook advertising to generate low-cost leads

As the co-founder of a small content marketing agency, I currently spend a lot of my time trying to land new clients. I use many different tools and platforms to reach prospects both organically (for free) and using paid advertising.

Up to now the most effective paid channel for generating leads has been Facebook. More specifically Facebook Messages campaigns. Facebook is constantly creating new products within its ad platform, and Messages Campaigns is one of their newer releases.

Although Facebook is largely considered a very effective advertising platform for b2c companies, we’ve discovered that it can also produce exemplary results for b2b marketers as well. In this post we’ll walk you through the steps involved in creating and managing a Facebook Messages Campaign for leads.

Campaign Setup

The first step is to go ahead and create a new campaign in Facebook ads. After you’ve clicked “create ad” you’ll be prompted to select your marketing objective. This is where you’ll select “Messages”.

Configuring your ad set

You’ll then be prompted to name your campaign. Once you’ve given your campaign a name, you’ll then move onto the “ad set” set section where you’ll have to choose the message destination, define the target audience, placement and set the overall campaign budget.

For the message destination you have a choice between Facebook Messenger and Whatsapp (Remember Whatsapp is owned by Facebook). Although you have the option to have your ad displayed across many different formats on Facebook, choosing your message destination will ultimately define where you’ll be communicating with the leads as they come in.

We advise choosing Facebook Messenger for the sake of platform cohesion. For the record we have not tested Whatsapp so cannot comment on its performance as a messaging channel on such a campaign.

From there you’ll need to setup up your audience targeting. This is arguably the most important step in creating your ad campaign. You need to ensure that your campaign is setup to target a relevant and well defined audience. We set our campaign to target people working at small and medium size businesses who are interested in and understand the value of content marketing and content creation.

Once you’ve setup your audience you’ll want to check it against the audience size barometer on the right. You’ll need to make sure the needle sits within the green zone as best practice.

For the Messages campaign you won’t need to edit the placement section as Facebook has all the key placements (where your ad will appear) optimised by default. You will however need to choose on which devices your ads appear.

As over 70% of Facebook traffic is now derived from mobile devices, it isn’t really an option to leave mobile out (historically desktop in the online advertising world has always garnered better conversion rates).

What we do advise is only targeting mobile users that are on a wifi connection. This is because mobile network connections can be volatile, often resulting is a disruptive ad experience for the user.

Finally in the “ad set” section you’ll be asked to set your budget and schedule for the ad. This is is how you would like the campaign to spend it’s budget (amount and pacing) and differs from the budget you set at the campaign level, which is the overarching (parent) budget for the entire campaign.

Creating the ad

The final section entails setting up your ad — creating the ad copy and image/video for your ad. There is no “silver bullet” or winning formula to creating an ad, but there is of course a whole raft of tips, tricks and advice on how to create an ad that will deliver your campaign the best results possible.

This subject area warrants an entirely new article due to its depth and breadth, so instead I would advise looking at Espresso’s post on the best Facebook Messenger ads.

Here is an example of an ad we recently ran which was able to garner a cost per message of under $8.

This ad has worked well for us for three reasons. Firstly, it makes use of emojis, and love them or loathe them, it’s been proven they drive uplift on Facebook ads. Secondly, we are able to clearly address our target audience and convey our value proposition above the fold of the ad (before the text of the ad is truncated). Thirdly, we made use of a clear call to action — “Request a sample”.

The final step is getting your Messages Campaign automated message thread configured. This is the message the user will receive as soon as they click on “Send Message” from your ad. There are a plethora of different formats one can use depending on your campaign objectives.

Our goal was to open up a conversation with a user, so we chose to use what is known as a “Quick Reply”. The “Quick Reply” presents one button on the message thread saying “I’d like to learn more”. After they clicked on this button, we proceeded to open up a conversation with them regarding their content needs.

We’ve been running Facebook Messages ads since November 2018 and have seen very strong results from them in comparison to other Facebook advertising products. One of the reasons for this is that Facebook is looking for every opportunity to keep users on their platform.

Messages Campaigns do just this, and so Facebook will most likely give preference to these campaigns ahead of campaigns that direct users off the platform.

Co-founder of content marketing agency, Contentellect. They create high quality, search-optimized content for SME’s.