Annoying your ad audience is never a good idea – it alienates them, hurts your campaign effectiveness, and costs you money. Fortunately, Facebook has done a lot of research into improving the ad experience for customers. When a user hides a specific ad, they are presented with (presumably the top) 3 reasons to choose from. Here are the top 3 reasons your audience hates your Facebook ads, and what you can do about it.
1. Your ads are irrelevant
Facebook users are savvy and smart. Despite complaints around privacy, they DO expect to be targeted by advertisers for ads that are relevant to their lives. As a Facebook user, when I see an irrelevant ad, I sometimes throw my arms up in exasperation and think “how could anyone consider me a viable customer for XYZ?” My respect for the advertiser’s brand immediately sinks.
I’ve previously written about how crucial ad targeting is – even more so than ad creatives. The problem with irrelevant ads is largely one of targeting. Yes, you could rewrite the copy to make it seem more relevant. But simply target the right audience and your ads will immediately seem entirely relevant.
Some quick solutions:
- Know your target audience. This is marketing basics, and yet in my experience, many companies struggle with understanding their target customers. Map out your key buyer personas, their interests, demographics, habits – and target them accordingly using Facebook’s great targeting features.
- With bottom of the funnel campaigns designed to directly promote products and drive sales, restrict your ad audience. You can get away with promoting brand awareness campaigns to a broad audience. But for campaigns with a sales objective, be restrictive. Target those who have interacted with your previous content, who are on your CRM, who have visited your site, or who have abandoned their baskets.
2. Your target audience are already customers
I am often annoyed when I’m being asked to buy something that I have already bought. Do not target your customers unless you’re reminding them to make another purchase, or to buy something else, or to undertake some other non-purchase actions like a referral.
This problem is also one of targeting. Good targeting is not just about whom you include, it’s about whom you choose to exclude.
How do you exclude customers fro your audience?
- My recommendation is to create a “custom audience” audience in Facebook of your existing customers, and then excluding this audience from your ad campaigns. This can be done by either manually uploading a customer list to Facebook, or using the Marketing API (talk to your developer) to automatically push data from your CRM to Facebook. Facebook matches your customer data with its user database. From experience, Facebook matches about 50-80% of your customers depending on the quality and amount of customer information you provide.
- An alternative, which can also be used in conjunction with the above, is to match customers with online activity on your site. For example, you could target those who have visited your online basket but who have not visited the payment thank you page. Audiences defined in this way will only be valid for up to 180 days, so make sure that the inclusion (e.g. visiting online basket) and exclusion (e.g. have not visited payment thank you page) criteria are both time-limited. Otherwise customers who meet a new trigger criteria a year from now may not still meet an expired exclusion criteria, and will still end up seeing ads.
3. Your ads are repetitive and inducing ad fatigue
Unlike the previous two, this problem is no longer one of targeting, but of campaign delivery and creatives.
It must be said that repetition is a time-tested advertising technique that helps your brand be top of mind amongst consumers. In fact, the “Rule of 7” is often mentioned traditionally in marketing circles. Whilst completely arbitrary and likely to vary across cases, the Rule states that a person needs to hear a message at least 7 times before taking action to buy the product or service.
It is also true that customers can get irritated by highly repetitive ads. They may become numb to your message, or worse become repulsed by it.
So how can you balance the need for repetition with keeping things fresh?
- If you are running time-limited campaigns (e.g. a half-year campaign to promote a new flagship product), stagger your ads. Run each ad creative for a few weeks at a time, but replace old creatives with new creatives at the end of their respective lives. This allows you to repeat your message across ads, but in a different way each time.
- For long-running campaigns not limited by time (e.g. campaigns that may run for years), there’s a little trick I like to use. Facebook has frequency caps governing the maximum times your ads will be shown to any one person. This cap changes regularly, but at time of writing, a person won’t see ads from a single Page or app more than once every 2 hours in their Facebook News Feed. A similar rule is in place for Instagram. But for a campaign running for years, even seeing an ad no more than once every 2 hours is still too often. Bring on ad scheduling. By restricting your ads to be delivered say only on Wednesdays (or any other days or times of your choice), you reduce weekly ad frequency right away. Simple!