I’m sure you know this already:
Running Facebook ads only looks simple.
In practice however there’s much more to it than the nitty-gritty of ad design, selecting the right audience and testing what ad copy works best.
For one, you need to have a very good idea about whom you’re targeting. You should develop an actual buyer persona to identify characteristics of the people you want to reach.
But that still often isn’t enough….
Knowing your audience is great. But it’s knowing why they’d click on your ad is what makes all the difference.
And combining both can turn your ads into irresistible click machines.
I’ve already showed you how to create a buyer persona to improve ads targeting. Today I’m going to discuss the drivers behind Facebook user’s behavior and how you could use them to engage more people with your ads.
Why People Use the Web
Before we talk about the social network, let’s see how people use the Internet in general.
And you know:
There are actually only two reasons why they do.
- To find a solution to a particular problem and…
- To be entertained.
What’s more, the net has become such integral part of our lives that some people don’t even realize they’re actually using it.
In 2012 Roger Hudgson conducted a usability test to research a website’s accessibility among users with limited access to computers. In the follow up report he states:
“All participants for the 2012 review were recruited on the basis that they had used the internet before, but several maintained they had never used the web even though as one commented, “… but I use Facebook all the time to keep in touch.” For most of the others, web use, other than Facebook, was restricted to finding specific information (almost exclusively) via Google or visiting one or two other regular sites, usually to obtain sporting results.”
Typical online activities
A typical American uses the web mostly for communication, sending or reading emails, finding information via search engines, getting the news and similar activities (source).
(See the full image here)
And according to the latest data from Adweek, around 28% of user’s time online is spent on social networking.
Which brings us back to Facebook.
Why do people use Facebook?
In 2012, Ashwini Nadkarni and Stefan G. Hofmann from the Boston University conducted a research that uncovered two primary needs for using the social network:
- The need to belong,
- The need for self-presentation.
The research also discovered that the most common characteristics of Facebook’s frequent users tend to:
- Be extrovert,
- Have a low self-esteem,
- Show high levels of neuroticism and narcissism, and
- Have low levels of self-worth.
Other research only resulted in similar findings.
This research from University of Georgia for instance discovered an association between narcissism and Facebook use. This was especially true in relation to profile and photos users uploaded to the site.
Also, researchers observed that people showing high levels of narcissism and those with low self-esteem tend to spend the most time on the social network, more than an hour per day (source).
Another study revealed that users being exposed to information presented in one’s Facebook profile show an increase in perceived self-esteem.
As the researchers conclude:
“[…] Becoming self-aware by viewing one’s own Facebook profile enhances self-esteem rather than diminishes it. Participants that updated their profiles and viewed their own profiles during the experiment also reported greater self-esteem [..]”
Based on these and many other findings it seems that Facebook users are mainly narcissi looking to build up their self-image.
You can use these personality traits when planning and designing your ads.
And it’s actually super simple:
Help Users Create Or Enhance Their Self-Image
Users will be more likely to like your Page, share information about your product or comment on the content you promote if it helps them enhance their perceived status:
- If they consider that doing so will present them in a more favorable-light, for instance.
- Help show their association with a known cause or brand.
- Help show their good taste or good choice of content they read.
Here’s how to do it:
Since part of a typical user’s behavior on Facebook is constructing a personality, they are more likely to respond to those ads that help them confirm their persona.
Use Page Post Link (aka Newsfeed) ads to target specific buyer persona with highly relevant ads that include humor or touch upon issues they have strong feelings about.
Run a series of Post Page Photo ads presenting images your target audience might feel strong about.
When considering audiences to target with a Page Like ad, take not only the basic characteristics into account but consider who they aspire to be too. This might mean using different custom audiences as a base for lookalike audiences.
Or targeting different interests.
All in all, it could help you reach completely new people you wouldn’t normally engage.
This will help you increase the engagement with your brand and raise its awareness among potential customers.
Why this strategy works:
According to Statista, the most common daily Facebook activities involve:
- Linking content,
- Content consumption,
- Commenting on photo or post, and
- Logging in to check for any new updates from friends.
The first point on the list comes as no surprise. Since people use Facebook for self-presentation, it’s only natural that they’re going to use the simplest way to do it – by liking or commenting on content that helps them raise their status.
But how do people decide what content to like or comment on?
I’m sure you’ve noticed:
Funny and non-controversial Facebook updates have the highest engagement.
But any update that requires a user to make a stand or reveal their true opinions will almost always achieve a much lower engagement level.
That’s easy to explain though:
Since one of the main drivers of Facebook users’ is increasing self-esteem and the view how they’d like to be perceived by others, the decision what to like, share or comment on is based on one question:
“What will others think of me if I share this?”
And thus, when creating your ad, be it working on a design or targeting, ask yourself:
Would these people be interested and comfortable liking this?
Would this help them to be perceived as funny, helpful, or well informed?
But what if your aim is sales not brand awareness or page likes but sales?
This strategy is more useful for ads aiming to help you build brand awareness, engagement or reach new audiences.
But it might not be as useful for sales.
If that’s your goal though, nothing’s lost. There are plenty of other mind tricks you could use to increase your ads conversions.