We know that Facebook ads are awesome for getting a very specific kind of person to learn about your product, building a brand relationship, and generating leads.
But Facebook’s not just an advertising platform, and your Facebook ads don’t have to just be about advertising.
Here’s what I mean: with the incredible targeting mechanism Facebook gives you, you can use ads to do so much more than just sell a product. Because you have such specific control over reach, you can use them to find the perfect new hire. You can get your company’s name in TechCrunch. You can even land that investor you’ve been dreaming about.
Here’s nine ways to “hack” your Facebook ads to produce incredible results across all areas of your business.
1. Re-Activate Your Base
Users who’ve churned out stop using your app or visiting your site, but they don’t stop going on Facebook. Build an ad campaign to advertise a new feature or a special discount, to tempt them into giving your product another shot.
Users churn out for different reasons—they might have used your product for weeks or months and decided to try a competitor, or they were frustrated by an early pain point and never fully set up their account.
You can use these differences and the metrics around them to build custom website audiences for use on Facebook. Then, you can build campaigns that will target the individual context behind every churn. For instance, if a user churned because you were missing a particular feature, you know that’s a user you want to target later with a new feature announcement.
To start, create a custom audience from your Facebook ads dashboard. You have several options for how to go about it—often, you will already have a list of customers that you want to reach out.
Even if you’re not collecting that kind of data yet, though, you can select “Custom Audience from your Website” to use an AdEspresso remarketing pixel that embeds on your site. This pixel will track the movement of users across your site so that you can target them by the particular URLs and paths that they follow when they enter and exit.
Here, we specifically target those users who visited a product page but didn’t end up navigating to the check-out: a great audience to hit with a sale announcement.
For the complete guide on this powerful technique, read our complete guide to retargeting your website’s visitors with Facebook advertising.
2. Validate An MVP
You’ve got a great idea for a new side business that you think could go viral and turn into a massive lead generating machine. Or maybe you’re pursuing your first venture: either way, you’ll want to start off with a minimum viable product, or an MVP.
Instead of swinging for the fences and debuting a fully completed product, store, or business, roll out the most simple, functional prototype you can to see if it’s worth your time and effort to build out a full version. Then, use Facebook ads to put it in front of potential customers—you could, for instance, drive your exact buyer persona (20-25, NYC, runs an SMB, interested in: “AI tech”) to a landing page where you can capture emails and gauge interest in your product.
Get your targeting as narrow as possible by targeting interest groups like “technology early adopters” and then create an ad campaign that drives home your MVP’s value proposition.
3. Build A Super-Segmented Email List
Lead magnets—eBooks, webinars, reports—are awesome ways to generate leads, capturing emails to build your list and build your brand.
But adding specific targeting to your lead generation campaign can super-charge them, allowing you to capture more emails as well as automatically segment your list by buyer persona.
There are 2 great ways to do this:
- 1 lead magnet, multiple ads, multiple targets: In this case you could use a single eBook, but use different adverts targeted towards different buyer personas.
- Multiple magnets, multiple ads, multiple targets: If you have a lot of different content that you can convert into magnets, you can use each magnet to target a different persona.
A good AdEspresso example of the first way is two ads for the same free trial. The first presents the product as a tool to “save time & money” managing ads:
This ad is aimed towards media agencies, and targets their main concerns—wasting the time and money of their customers. Whereas this ad, advertising exactly the same trial, is targeted towards startups:
Startups want to grow their business fast, so this is the main value proposition of this ad. In both these cases, AdEspresso is marketing its free trial, but the same concept holds true for lead magnets and lead generation.
From these signups (or lead generations), you then have two email lists pre-segmented along your buyer persona lines. These can then be used in 2 separate email campaigns using targeting email platforms such as Customer.io.
Using the power of Facebook ad targeting alongside great lead magnets can help you tailor different messages to different groups, and build separate email lists for separate buyer personas.
4. Promote Your Company At Industry Events
At the beginning of 2007, Twitter was an ambiguous product with few users and a purpose that wasn’t clear even to its creators. But that all changed after South by Southwest. When the event rolled around, the founders set up two plasma screen TVs in hallways with lots of foot traffic, set up a live feed of tweets about the event, and encouraged everyone—panelists, bloggers, spekaers—to contribute. Suddenly, overall tweet volume tripled, Twitter walked away with the Web Award prize, and nothing was ever the same.
The core mechanism by which Twitter’s growth hack worked—clever placement and localization—is something Facebook ads excel at.
If you know that potential early adopters of your product will be converging on one location for a conference or a meet-up, for instance, you can specifically advertise to those people with a combination of interest and location targeting.
If you were to run this ad, it would only be received by those traveling in the 11213 zip code in the United States who work in the Construction & Extraction industry. If you wanted to drum up some excitement for a speech you’re going to give, or a panel that you’re on, there would be no better way to get your message in front of those attendees then with a Facebook ad.
5. Get Your Customers Thinking About Referrals
Referred customers are some of the best customers a company can have because they’re:
- less likely to churn
- more likely to have a higher lifetime value
- more likely to have a higher net promotor score
- up to 5x more likely to refer other customers
But getting your customers to refer in the first place can be a challenge.
Except on Facebook. As your audience is already in a place where their friends are and where they are used to sharing, referrals are more natural on Facebook. By using retargeting to your current customers with an ad specifically geared towards referring a friend you can plant this seed in their minds when then are already socially connected.
Here Blink Fitness uses a video ad targeted at its current customers with the aim of getting them to refer-a-friend:
To run the referral program you can use SaaS platforms such as Extole, a refer-a-friend system, to make it easy for you and your customers.
6. Hack The Press Into Covering You
Press coverage can make or break a business. But PR firms are expensive. One way you can try to “hack” some press coverage for your business is by using targeted Facebook ads.
Let’s say you’ve been trying to get TechCrunch on board to cover your app’s launch but haven’t been able to get a response from anyone there. You decide to try a more organic, indirect approach, and you target those 1) who are in TechCrunch’s SF zip code, 2) who’ve listed TechCrunch as an employer, and 3) who are on Facebook during their workday:
1) The Dogpatch, Potrero Hill, and SoMa zip code that you want to target
2) Those who have listed TechCrunch as an employer (you could skip 1 and just do this, but many people switch jobs and don’t update their Facebook profiles, and this makes it more likely you’ll reach just the right people)
3) This makes sure that your ad is only going to run from 9am to 6pm PST, which hits your target audience while they’re in front of their computers looking for the next big thing in tech.
7. Hire Better People
AngelList, Craigslist, Indeed: there are lots of places to look for your next hire, but if you’ve spent any amount of time combing through applications and trying to find that perfect person you’ve probably noticed it’s not easy to find people with the specific skills you need.
Facebook ads present a great opportunity here. Let’s say you’re a high end bakery, and part of your big value proposition is that you’re offering higher salaries than anyone else in your area.
You can target at specific income groups, select for those experienced in baking, then tailor your ad directly to the idea that a talented baker making $X has this great opportunity to be making $X+5,000.
Maybe you’re looking to recruit the top young graduates in a particular field: simply combine your chosen industry with a filter that will only show the ad to alumni of particular schools.
And Facebook ads are also the best way to lure great but passive candidates away from other companies in your area. Put up a Facebook ad that’s targeted towards employees of particular firms, and you can reach all those possible hires who aren’t browsing sites like Craigslist and Indeed, because they’re not “actively” looking for new work.
8. Deep Link Into Your App
If you’re advertising an app with just a general ad and a “Download” call-to-action, then you are losing out on the power of deep-linking. Deep links are where you link to a specific page or point within your app from outside. You can link to certain content, a referral page, or personalized onboarding. Some apps have seen over a 100% increase in 30-day retention using deep links.
There are 3 types of deep link:
- Traditional—you can link directly to content within your app, but only if the user already has your app installed.
- Deferred—you can link to content, even if the user doesn’t have your app installed. They will first be sent to the appropriate app store, then to the correct content once they’ve installed the app.
- Contextual—the same as deferred, but you get additional user data, such as where the original link was clicked.
Mobile analytics company Amplitude strongly suggests you use contextual links for your app ads. This is because you can gather so much extra information about your ad campaign through these links, as well as about your previous and new users.
By targeting your deep links you can show the extra value of your app to your audience.
For instance, you can show personalized content in your ad, such as interest in San Francisco. The person will then download your app and, via the deep link, will be directed to the precise content for them rather than to the landing page.
9. Target Just One Person
This might not be the best strategy to boost your business, but this story does show you the power of Facebook targeting. One marketer managed to target ads to just his roommate. By using a custom audience list with one email, his roommate’s, he could target personalized ads that he used to prank him out with intensely personal knowledge of his habits.
One thing he knew about his roommate was something that only a handful of people in the world knew: that despite his favorite hobby of sword swallowing, he struggled miserably at swallowing his pills in the morning. With this in mind, he knew that he could produce an ad that would seriously get his attention.
(Source: My Social Sherpa)
There is a serious side to this kind of niche marketing though. If you are dealing with B2B SaaS, then there will often be just one or two key stakeholders that can influence the buying decision for your product. Targeting directly and specifically to them and their needs and issues can be a great way to get your message precisely to them. Just make sure that they see this as hyper-personalization, and not targeting, which can put them off—you don’t want a potential investor thinking you’re some creep.
Hacking Facebook Ads
The possibilities of Facebook ends are really only as endless as your imagination. At heart, they’re just about picking precise demographics, locations, and kinds of people that you want to deliver a message to, and nothing makes that exclusively useful to advertising.
We’d love to hear what you think—how have you used Facebook ads to do the unexpected?