If you’re ready to break into the world of PPC campaigns to build brand awareness, attract leads and drive sales, Facebook Ads is one of the best platforms to start with.
Facebook, after all, is the world’s third-most-visited site with a monthly active user count of 2.38 billion. Their ad system has exceptional targeting, letting you get incredibly specific; if you want to target a young parent who loves anime and works as a software engineer, you can do that.
This is important, because the biggest benefit of this ad platform is that it allows you to show ads to users even if they’ve never heard of you, thus generating interest and demand where there was none before.
The demand generation, however, can be a little tricky. Since you’re introducing your brand, product and/or service to users who have never heard of you, they’re typically not going to be ready to purchase right away. That’s where ad funnels come in.
In this post, we’re going to take a look at how you can set up ad funnels for optimal success – and we'll go over a few templates for what this might look like, too.
What Is a Facebook Ad Funnel?
Facebook Ad funnels are a system of ad campaigns designed to work together to take users from point A to point Z in the buyer’s journey. This starting point can be discover and it can end in a purchase, but that doesn’t necessarily have to be the case.
Most ad funnels start with a general audience and use retargeting campaigns to deliver increasingly segmented ad campaigns to increasingly warm audiences. The idea is to give users the information they need depending on their stage in the buyer’s journey to help them get closer to taking your desired action, whether that’s to sign up for a free webinar, attend an event, make a purchase or just get in touch for a consultation.
Why Facebook Ad Funnels Are Essential for all Advertisers
Ad funnels sound complicated, and since a single Facebook Ad can start to add up in terms of cost, it’s no surprise that plenty of advertisers strongly dislike the idea of needing multiple ads to get a single result.
But think about it from a user’s perspective. You see an ad from a laundry detergent company that you’ve never heard of that promises to be effective. Big deal, right? You already have a detergent that works just fine, even though your workout clothes do get a little funky sometimes. You just need baking soda washes, right?
So you don’t convert. When you see a series of ads, however, that are designed to capture and then keep your interest while delivering more relevant information and overcoming more objections and finally hitting you with a discount code, it’s a different story.
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So What Does This Look Like?
Let’s look at the following ad funnel as an example from Rockin’ Green Laundry Soap.
This is the first ad in the mix. It starts strong by reminding users that athleisure-wear is expensive and needs to be cared for properly, and that includes getting it truly clean while being gentle. They use a video campaign to show how gross our workout clothes really are and how effective their detergent is at getting it clean. It catches your interest and something that alarming is hard to forget.
The first time I saw this ad, I actually grabbed all my workout clothes – clean or otherwise – and stuck them on a soak and wash cycle:
Next, you see an ad like this. Simple and likely retargeted based off of views of the first video. They use a comparison video here to really demonstrate value again:
Then comes the more salesly offer, which was likely retargeted from the second video campaign. In order to entice purchases from warm audiences, they offer a discount code and finish with a clear CTA:
I converted after seeing an ad similar to this, taking advantage of that coupon code. About two months later, I saw an ad similar to the one below. The campaign didn’t end after the first purchase; they retargeted users who had already purchased with a new campaign several months later reminding them to purchase again:
This funnel was designed to take cold-as-ice audiences, get them toasty warm, and not only urge them to convert once, but on a continual basis moving forward. This is a smart strategy; retaining clients is much cheaper than constantly acquiring new ones.
These campaigns that go a step further to re-engage after the purchase are also typically really profitable, especially considering that you have about a 60-70% likelihood of selling to an existing customer but only a 5-20% chance of selling to a new one:
Why You Need Segmentation
Before we start looking at different structures for ad funnels that you can use, it’s important to talk about audience segmentation.
Segmented campaigns are typically the key to success on Facebook Ads. The more relevant your ad campaigns are to a specific audience, the more likely they are to take interest and (hopefully) convert.
On the night of the Game of Thrones premiere, I must have seen three different ads from three different food delivery companies with puns like “Winter is coming…and so is delivery!” These ads will obviously resonate more with Game of Thrones fans, and probably wouldn’t be as effective to anyone outside of that audience.
Most ad funnels start with some segmented audiences and go from there. The Rockin' Green campaign I saw, for example, was clearly targeting women who are interested in active activities; it’s why they mention “leggings” and “sports bras” instead of just “workout clothes.”
You can segment your audience by interest, demographic, behavior or their current relationship with your brand. You can also use lookalike audiences based off of high-value custom audiences. I’ve even seen marketers use “interested in” targeting to show ads to people who follow key influencers, and then mention the influencer in the ad to get attention and build trust.
You can get creative with this and really use the audience segments you’re optimizing for to guide your Facebook Ad copy. This will increase relevance for audiences who see the first ad in the funnel, giving you more people to work with for the rest of the campaign.
2 Examples of Facebook Ad Funnels You Can Use
The structure and strategy behind an ad funnel on Facebook will obviously be important and, as you can tell from the post, there are so many different options for how to build a funnel and what you want it to accomplish.
The sky is the limit here, but to get you started, let’s take a look at the following two different ad funnel templates that you can customize for your business.
Note that each of these are simply meant to be templates to show you what these funnels would look like and how to implement them. You can adjust the strategies and layout entirely as needed – that’s what makes them templates!
The Advanced Video Funnel
Video funnels are a personal favorite. They work by showing a general appeal ad campaign to a cold audience. Then you create a new campaign based off an audience who watched a certain amount of the video, either in time or percentage. I like to target users who watched at least 50% of the initial video. You can then do the same thing with a second video, like Rockin' Green did, or follow it up with other high-engaging options like carousel ads.
Here’s an example of how this would play out:
- Use a video focusing on brand storytelling to explain why your company was founded and what makes it different.
- Retarget users who watched at least 50% of the first video, and show them a second video of the product in use and how versatile/valuable it is.
- Retarget users who watched at least 75% of the previous video and show them a carousel ad either featuring different products or highlighting different benefits of the same product. Run multiple ad campaigns at this level to show users different versions of these ads.
- Run a retargeting campaign based on site activity, showing people the products they’re interested in and offering a 10% discount, free shipping and/or free returns.
The Landing Page Lead-to-Sales B2B Funnel
Some businesses offer several distinct products or services, and audiences for each one may not necessarily overlap much. My own business is a good example; the person who wants me to ghostwrite a book isn’t someone who wants me to write their PPC campaigns.
When this is the case, driving generic cold traffic to your site and then immediately following up with segmented retargeting based on what they express interest in is the way to go. Using lead ads is a good choice to slowly nudge users towards conversion and allow you to work with them one-on-one.
This is an ad funnel that I’ve used for my B2B writing business, but that (again) can easily be adapted depending on what you need. Keep in mind that high-value services typically require more nurturing to get to conversion:
- Start with an ad campaign appealing to cold audiences using lookalike audiences based on current high-value customers. Keep the audience similarity as high as possible while maintaining high numbers. Show them a carousel ad featuring different products or services, and use the main ad copy to explain your business’s USP.
- Retarget users based on the individual landing pages they end up on. For example, I have a separate page for content marketing, a separate page for PPC services, and so on. Show them a campaign explaining the value of this service with a lead ad that’s designed to gather their information. Ideally, consider offering a lead magnet like an e-book or free consultation.
- Retarget based on users who filled out that lead form, showing them the benefits of working with you. Use CTAs to get in touch or for them to send you a message with any questions they might have.
- Run a third campaign with another lead magnet or offer to those who opened the form but didn’t convert. This can help you increase people moving through the funnel. Once they do, send them to ad three.
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Facebook Ad Funnel Best Practices
Facebook Ads are so versatile that it’s hard to put a finger on definitive, universal best practices that would apply to each one. That being said, the following almost always hold true:
- Start with a niche, but don’t get too niche. If your starting audience is too small, you’ll have a hard time getting enough users to move all the way through the funnel to be worth it. Funnels are a little like dating, and it’s definitely a numbers game, so just niche down enough to keep it relevant but no smaller than that.
- A/B test it. Split testing is everything in the PPC world, and that goes for ad funnels. Make sure you’re keeping an eye on which funnels are working and potential drop-off points in the funnel. This can help clue you in about where things are going awry and how to adjust accordingly.
- Include multiple ad campaigns at every touch point. Use different copy, different images and even different strategies at every stage of the digital sales funnel. This will not only help you see what’s effective, but appeal to as many members in the ad funnel as possible. Not everyone will have the same pain point or respond to the same appeal, after all, so casting a wide net will benefit you immensely.
When someone sees your ad campaign on a Google search ad, if they see what they like then there’s a decent chance they’ll convert quickly. It’s sometimes hard for advertisers who are new to Facebook to adapt to the fact that this just isn’t true on Facebook. Because users aren’t searching for products or services like yours at the time, it will take some convincing to get them to decide they need to purchase.
Funnels are a necessary solution, and they’re the most effective way to take a cold audience all the way from point A to point Z. In many cases, it will be best to have multiple funnels established so that you can appeal to different segments of your audience and hit them with campaigns that will resonate with them at any given point.