Having your Facebook business Page resemble a ghost town sucks, doesn’t it?
So when it comes to generating a buzz on your Facebook Page, there is palpable pressure and stress to get more Facebook Likes.
Yet, nowadays you can get more Facebook Likes pretty easily, even on tight budgets! We’ve tested 5 of the most effective ways to get more Facebook Likes with advertising in a real world scenario and, in this post, we’ll analyze how you can use each one of them to grow your Facebook Page.
Does it make sense to spend money for Facebook Likes? And what’s a Like anyway?
First of all, let me say it clearly, Likes are not just numbers. If your overall goal is just to brag about the number of fans you have on your Page, you should probably not even waste your time having a Facebook Page.
Likes are real users who are interested in your brand, who expressed an interest in your company with a click, and who may become customers or brand advocates. Your goal as a social marketer is to engage them with high quality content that provides real value and increase their loyalty to your brand.
Likes are just a vanity metric. What really matters are the users behind those Likes. What you want is 1,000 Likes from highly engaged users that will buy your products and share your brand rather than 1,000,000 Likes from users who barely know your name.
One of the most frequent objection to investing money to get more Likes is that Facebook organic reach is constantly declining, so those new fans will never get to see the content shared on the page, making them less valuable.
From my point of view, it’s still extremely important to grow a highly targeted, engaged fan base and spend money to get more Facebook Likes. Here’s why:
- While organic reach decreased for some brands, it didn’t for others. As long as you share great content, you’ll reach valuable audiences.
- 62% of millennials research products on Facebook before buying. A great Facebook Page with engaged customers will make you look trustworthy.
- A Facebook Page is not just to acquire new customers, it can also be an effective way to deliver great customer support (which will convert more new users into customers).
- Promoting content through Facebook Ads to engaged Page fans is cheaper and more effective than promoting to total strangers
- Even if every single Facebook Page post reaches only a small percentage of your fans, a well executed editorial calendar will allow you to reach most of them over time
If you’re now convinced that it makes sense for your business to acquire new, targeted Likes, you’ll be happy to know that we tested with our own money 5 of the most effective way to target users with Advertising to get more Facebook Likes. And after a week of tests, the results are in!
1) Targeting Interests
This is likely the most common way to advertise on Facebook, create your ads’ design and target it to people that have interests related to your product or industry.
The tough part here is to understand which Interests your customers have. Sometime this is extremely simple, sometime it can be tricky. The most simple way to discover relevant interests is to use Facebook Graph Search. Performing a simple search like “Pages liked by people who like “MYPAGE” will provide many useful suggestions.
Another powerful way to find related interests is to use the recently released Audience Insights tool. It allows you to analyze common patterns among an audience. You can, for instance, analyze job titles, education, common likes of your Facebook fans or any other audience like people with a specific interest or part of a custom audience. Here’s what you’ll get by analyzing users who like Jon Loomer:
Using the standard precise interests targeting you’ll reach any user that likes at least one of the pages/interests you selected.
This strategy allows you to reach a very broad audience and can be extremely effective as our data proved. The only downside is that you could be targeting some Facebook Pages that bought fake Likes thus targeting thousands of fake users. In the best case scenario you’ll only waste some money displaying ads to bots. In the worst case those bots could click “Like” on your ads and become your fans.
2) Targeting Interests intersection
Facebook recently released a new, extremely interesting way to target precise interests. Instead of targeting anyone who has any of the interests you picked, you can now target only those users that have all the interests listed, basically applying an AND logic instead of an OR one.
Here’s an example:
In the first example we’re targeting people that like either Nike or Adidas and we’re potentially reaching 17,800,000 users. In the second example we’re targeting only those users that like both Nike and Adidas with a much lower (but more focused) reach of 5,200,000 users.
This method of targeting the intersection of multiple interests can be extremely useful to target only users that are really interested in your product/market. Unluckily, to make it work correctly, the interests you’re using will need to have a very large number of Likes;otherwise the intersection will be too small.
In our test we had to use only two interests (Jon Loomer & Hootsuite) as adding a third one would have zeroed our potential reach. Still, also with two interests the reach was pretty small and likely increased the cost per Like.
Also, keep in mind that interests intersection is not available right now neither in the Ads Manager or Power Editor. You’ll have to use a third party Facebook Ads Manager like AdEspresso.
3) Customers’ Custom Audience
This tactic has a more limited reach but is extremely effective to populate your Page with highly engaged users. All you have to do is create a Custom Audience by uploading to Facebook the emails of all your customers, leads or newsletter subscribers and targeting them with advertising to have them like your page.
The upside is that these users already know your brand so they’re very likely to like your page and engage with the content shared in the future. The downside is that you’re not acquiring new customers but only existing ones.
Overall, targeting your customers through Custom Audiences to get more Facebook Likes is highly suggested , especially if you have a business with a lot of repeated purchases.
4) Customers’ Lookalike Audience
We just saw targeting existing customers through Custom Audiences is very effective but has a low reach and doesn’t lead to new customers. Luckily there’s more you can do with Custom Audiences: you can create Lookalike Audiences!
Creating a Lookalike audience out of your customers will allow you to target your Facebook Ads to people who are extremely similar to your customers. No need to find interests, age ranges or other patterns. Facebook will handle everything for you, analyzing your customers for common patterns and returning a list of new users very similar to them.
When using this tactic, remember: Facebook needs a good amount of data to run its algorithms and find relevant common patterns. I’d suggest you to use this targeting only once you have at lest 5,000/10,000 customers or newsletter subscribers in your Custom Audience and always optimize your Lookalike Audience for similarity rather than reach.
5) Facebook Page Lookalike
Finally, the last tactic we studied today still involves Lookalike audiences, but with a different twist – using a recently introduced feature.
While in the past you could only create a Lookalikes of a Custom Audience, today you can create Lookalike audiences also from a Facebook Conversion Pixel or from your Facebook Page’s fan. This can be extremely useful if you don’t have many customers but already invested time in creating a lively community on Facebook.
The same rules seen before apply here. Don’t use this strategy if your Page doesn’t have at least 5,000/10,000 likes, or the Lookalike won’t be reliable. Remember the more likes you have, the better Facebook will find similar people so if this tactic is not working for you currently, you may want to try it again a year from now when you’ll have a higher number of Likes.
Testing all 5 ways to get more Likes in the real world
Of course we don’t like giving out advice without first testing ourselves. So we created 5 campaigns to get more Facebook Likes for AdEspresso’s Facebook page and check which one performed better.
The experiment’s rules were pretty simple. We used the same design for all the five campaigns, in each campaign we created a split test on the Placement (with AdEspresso of course) creating three AdSets, one for each placement. We tried to spend around $100 for each campaign but due to the smaller reach of the Custom Audience and Interests intersection campaigns, those two ended up spending a little less.
Of course in all campaigns we excluded from the targeting anyone who was already fan of AdEspresso. This is very important, we don’t want to waste money displaying advertising to people that already liked our Facebook page.
Ok, here’s the data:
|Campaign||Spent||Reach||Likes||Cost per Like|
|Customers Custom Audience||$81.28||2,267||83||$0.979|
And if you prefer something more visual, here are the 5 campaigns in visualized AdEspresso’s campaign comparison page:
Wow, I have to say there are some unexpected results here. But before we analyze them, please remember, this is a small scale $500 experiment in our very specific niche market. The results may be totally different for you so… Assume nothing, Test everything!
Let’s analyze the data and try to get some useful learning from this small experiment:
- While I think that interests intersection (targeting people that have all of the interests targeted) have a huge potential, the interests you target needs to be BIG. Ours were pretty small (20/60k people each) and resulted in low reach and high prices.
- Same applies to Custom Audience, most of our customers had already liked our page and the reach of the campaign was too small. Overall to get more Facebook Likes at a reasonable price you need a pretty big reach.
- Plain old precise interests targeting + oCPM is still extremely effective to drive likes to your page
- Lookalike Audiences, both from Page fan and Customers’ Custom Audience work well. Likely the larger the seed audience is the more effective they are. Our Page Lookalike performed better than the Customers’ Lookalike, likely because Facebook had more users to find Lookalike patterns.
- What we didn’t expect: Our Custom Audience campaign had the best CTR of the five and the lowest Cost per click, we expected that… however those clicks converted into Likes very poorly. I honestly don’t have an explanation for that and we’d probably need more data to draw conclusions.
A final consideration on Facebook advertising bidding. If your goal is to get more Likes, oCPM optimized for Likes is the best way to go. After a single day of training we immediately started to see the benefits of Facebook oCPM optimization. This is the cost trend that we saw across all our campaigns:
Bonus Tip: Facebook Ads Placement: Where should you advertise?
While researching on these 5 tactics to get more Facebook Likes for your page, we also took a chance to run a split test on the ads’ placements to understand which one performs better for Likes.
The experiment’s results were not really consistent across all 5 campaigns, yet they’re interesting to analyze. Here’s how each placement performed in our test campaign:
|Placement||Spent||Impressions||Likes||Cost per Like||Like Rate|
|Desktop Right Column||$132.44||33,730||170||$0.77||0.50%|
The Right Column placement really surprised us in terms of performances but we have to say it didn’t deliver constantly among all the campaigns. Overall Right Hand Column ads placement was really effective for campaigns with a big reach. On campaign with a smaller reach like the Custom Audience and Interests intersection campaigns, it performed poorly and was not able to spend the allocated budget.
The clear winner to get more Facebook Likes is instead the Mobile Newsfeed. We’ve said this before, social ads on mobiles performs really well and constantly deliver Likes and engagement at a very cheap price.
To double-check our results we analyzed a larger dataset of many recent like acquisition campaigns running on AdEspresso for a grand total of more than $200,000 of advertising. The data did confirm that mobile is king when it comes to Likes:
|Placement||Cost per Like||Like Rate|
|Desktop Right Column||$0.33||0.04%|
In this dataset, while the Right Column generated a 2x amount of impressions for a cost that was 1/10th of the mobile ads, it failed to convert all that exposure in Likes, turning out much more expensive than the other placements in terms of Cost per Like
Overall, to get more Likes, I’d suggest that you surely go with the mobile placement and maybe run a split test on Newsfeed Desktop Vs. Right Column to see what works better for you.