Part II-D: The Business (continued)
We've reached the 3rd branch of Facebook campaign objectives...and quite possibly the most overused, misunderstood, and money wasting branch...Conversions. If you ask any small business what the primary purpose and goal is for the next quarter, next year, hell...even the lifetime of the business...you'll most likely get an answer that involves profit and making money. There could be a thousand other goals, but without the ability to make sales, a company is dead. Sales are the financial force that drive all other elements of a business. When you brush all of the mission statements, purposes, good will, and charity fluff out of the way...the bottom line is what always matters to a business. That being said, it is understandable that a Conversion option is the most targeted for users who are not too familiar with the Facebook algorithm.
As an owner of several small businesses, I cannot argue with the sales logic. I also cannot blame for owners looking to dive into Facebook marketing to be immediately attracted to a Conversion campaign. But as we break down this 3rd branch, you will see how the other elements outlined in Part II thus far are crucial for Conversions to be effective. You will also see how neglecting those elements and jumping right into Conversions is comparable to playing the lottery...you may hit, but the chances are, you're just handing your money over to a young punk stuffing it into his cash register! (Yeah, Zuckerberg...that's you!)
Conversion campaign objectives are broken into three sub-categories: Conversions, Catalog Sales and Store Traffic. The focus is quite obvious...sales...but unless your target market is impulse buyers...the sale itself requires many prerequisite campaign types. I urge you to think of your own Facebook experiences when figuring a plan for your business. When you are scrolling through your feeds, do you even notice all of the ads? Do you tend to notice them after a few times of catching a logo out of the corner of your eye? Are you even curious to see more after a simple subconscious recognition? Similar to most answers in my arbitrary in-post questions...may vary. But if you walk through the questions in a rhetorical frame of mind, you will notice that the objective of all things Facebook is no different than the way marketing has been executed for decades. Final example before jumping into the meat and potatoes of this post...I promise.
Think back to pre-internet days...if possible. You're watching the game, and a commercial comes on TV about a new brand of potato chips. You may not even be paying attention to the details of the commercial, but you do realize it is about chips. The next morning on your way to work, you pass by a city bus that has an ad on the side with the same bag of chips...again, you're not sold on anything...you're just aware that this ad is about chips. Later in the day, you take the newspaper to your 'office' and come across yet another ad about the chips. At this point you start to think to yourself...wow, these guys really want to push this brand. Again...not sold, just aware...more aware in fact. Finally, your wife asks you to pick up some crap at the store on the way home from work. You walk through the aisles looking for any indication that the crap is there...when you come across an end-cap display showcasing the new brand of chips. All signals in your head are firing...not because you want it...but because you recognize it. If you're not sold yet...you're damn close. If anything, only for the curiosity factor. To end the story...you buy the chips, forget about the crap you went to the store for in the first place...and get MORE crap from your wife once you get home. So what's the moral of this very relatable story? All actions pre-conversion were a pretext to the subconscious decision to ultimately buy...and without those actions...the likelihood of conversion would have been significantly less.
Conversion objectives show your ads to people most likely to take valuable actions, like making a purchase or adding payment info, on your website, app or in Messenger. (Facebook's words...not mine). If you've read any legal contract ever...you can tell that Facebook's legal team has their fingerprints all over this one. Why? Because telling businesses that if you choose THIS option will lead to sales is false leading and ensues liability. While wordy and over-explanatory, the definition is accurate. The algorithm is designed to showcase your ads to users who have historically taken action in online purchases or have begun the purchase process (ie. Add to Cart). A users decision to purchase is based a variety of factors, needs, wants or impulse desires. The Conversion tool is designed to be the final step for navigating the traffic to a point of purchase and thus satisfying that very urge. The mistake most businesses make is, they try to use Conversion tools to educate and inform users of their brand AND try to convert. This grave mistake could make the entire campaign fail without a single conversion. However, if utilized correctly, a Conversion campaign can yield very promising results...but sometimes it takes time. We've all gone through the process of inputting all data into a sales funnel and right before clicking the 'purchase' button, we pause. Sometimes that pause is for a few minutes, sometimes for days or even weeks. While we may be 100% sold on the need for that item, we haven't yet been convinced to seal the deal. So what happens when a user purchases the item weeks after engaging with the campaign post? For analytical purposes, you always want to know how the return on your marketing campaigns have yielded...so will Facebook still calculate the conversions that occur after the initial engagement? Yes...and why you ask...the pixel. Once again giving credit where credit is due, this line of code is a businesses best friend. Any conversions that occur due to an engagement with a Facebook campaign are tracked and reported using the pixel...powerful! To wrap up this sub-category, Conversions campaigns push for the sale. Unless you feel lucky about your products ability to be sold on an impulse, this selection works best in conjunction with prerequisite campaigns.
So far in this entire series, we've defined Facebook as a digital diary, public square, data collection giant and search engine. Adding 'marketplace' to the mix is only the next logical step. Catalog Sales use your target audience to show people ads with items from your catalog. I realize we haven't properly defined what 'target audience' is yet...that'll be explained within the next few posts. To be brief, it is an audience that you define to be your target customer...based on endless variables. Back to the Catalog Sales...if you have an ecommerce business or simply sell products through online channels, you can expand your reach by importing those items to the Facebook Marketplace. In most cases, the algorithm ties into your current ecomm platform and pulls the data directly...thus making the setup quite easy. The concept is to replicate the product images, descriptions, and links to that of your off-site ecomm platform. The data input aligns with the data input on the Facebook platform and makes it more likely to target users that meet specific criteria. The wider availability of your products across multiple marketplaces also triggers higher search results within search engines. I wouldn't recommend relying on this platform as your primary sales funnel, but it does have great benefits as a complementary portal.
Of all marketing campaigns Facebook offers, Store Traffic campaign results are analytically difficult to measure. There are tools that can help, but it requires more input from the users or some sort of a measuring tool that proves how the user ended up to your store in person. Store Traffic campaigns show your ad to people most likely to visit your physical stores when they're near them. The last part of that definition is the most intriguing. Facebook has the ability to lock into a user's location setting on their mobile device and showcases ads specific to Store Traffic campaigns running in that given area. (Big brother-ish). While the audience on these ads are very thin, and in today's age of Covid...may be even thinner...there are creative tools that marketers can use to help justify the results of this campaign type. The 'check-in' tool has been something that many physical businesses have relied on to measure traffic from Facebook. Tagging the location in photos or posts also helps. Regardless of the analytical reports...the results are obvious due to the person actually being in the store. That itself should showcase the 'win'. Unless your business is heavily reliant on in-person traffic, this should be one of the least considered and invested campaign types.