Startups · Entrepreneurship

Any tips on how to use Facebook ads?

Satvinder Singh Web and Graphic Designer at Designer ios

September 11th, 2016

Most of the folks I know in the startup space are heavy on spending on ads. Especially if you are in edtech or SaaS. Do you have any tips on how to make the most for your buck?

Jason Gibb Real Estate, Director & Business Development, MBA, CMA

September 11th, 2016

To get most for your buck make sure you have an expert do the proper keyword research, build and test your campaigns, AB test and analysis of the data with daily monitoring, testing images and tweaking campaigns. Proper keywords research and building campaigns requires someone that understands the product and the customer you are targeting. Ultimately you want peoples Attention and Interest to click so must speak their language and have relevant content to the ad or they will bounce.

Gary Jurman Screen Printing Industry (30 yrs)

September 11th, 2016

Jason gave a lot of good advice. All of that is true, and each concept is a rabbit hole in itself. I'll add to it that Facebook has the ability to target demographics and people with specific interests. I have found that quite valuable. I am going to warn you: if you don't do this right, you can blow tons of money with no return. You must be able to track your ads and figure out which targeted groups, interests, or keywords are bringing sales. If you can't track your ads, you will waste barrels of money. The reason why is that only a small percentage of your advertising target trials will work, and you need keep running the ones that do and kill the ones that don't. Then you try a new set of ads, and rinse and repeat. Oh... and as far as I can tell, buying CPM is a rip-off.

Scott Bundren Marketing Director at 3 Cents Media

September 11th, 2016

Facebook advertising is an art and a be honest, to some extent it is a black art, that you learn from the FB gurus camped deep in the mountains conducting their strange rites and invoking the blessings of the pantheon of deities amongst whom rule chiefly Zuck the hooded one and the mysterious Facebook AI wizards.

This is not an area of inquiry to be approached lightly.  The non-believers think there is nothing here, they couldn't be more wrong.  Those who have played with the fire and been burned are afraid to tread here again, this is understandable.

I would suggest you seek out someone who has walked through the fire that is FB ads and survived, one who has at least managed to turn some lead into gold.

Don't trust mainstream advice much.  Understand the difference between brand and direct response marketing.  Think in terms of a complete marketing funnel including social media presence, email marketing, re-marketing, customer lifetime value.  Be metric driven from the first moment.  You need to split-test and optimize continuously, this is not a child's game.  The basic sequence is probably:  ad --> landing page --> main page with call to action --> regular email follow-ups and re-marketing as needed.  Bonus points for creating specially tailored campaigns to each of your target groups.


Paul Loeb Founder, DropTrack

September 11th, 2016

What are you selling? To be honest, I don't think Facebook ads are a very good investment for SaaS businesses - unless there is a very specific demographic that you are targeting. I've had much better success with Google ads; where you can reach people who are actively searching for a product like yours.

Nicholas Head Founder at AdSwirl Inc.

September 12th, 2016

Don't do FB ads at your current stage. I experimented with them, and even with detailed targeting my SaaS offer mostly received clicks/engagement from obviously fake accounts--accounts from fast food workers and homeless people, etc. There are some interesting theories about the clicks you get from these types of profiles, mostly tied to click banks. I ran a campaign for a free app install, no charge at all, and over 1,000 people clicked my ad to go to the App Store download/install page, but no one actually installed it. This further confirms the shady-ness of FB ads. I hear that their Lookalike audience tool is actually effective where you load in emails from existing clients and it finds similar people to target. I also think it is effective for retargeting people who have visited your site, signed up, but not purchased yet. There's a way to load in your email list to target these people as well. So these approaches for later in the sales cycle once you guys have an established email list might be effective, but please avoid when looking for cold leads, as my experience shows it's not effective.

Marc Schulman Educational Entrepreneur Reporter

September 11th, 2016

I am yet to see any real benefit of any Facebook campaign I have run.  I have done a number of the over the years. I have received a great deal of engagement but none of that has turned into sales

Jason Kiefer CEO at Pixoto, CFO at Sugarwish etc

September 11th, 2016

As a startup you don't have time or money for branding campaigns.  If your ad campaigns don't yield immediate positive ROI try something else until you find something that works.

Following this logic Facebook can be fantastic or a complete waste of time and money. If you have a fairly high value for each new client and your clients have a very high overlap with a very specific interest group then you may be in luck. Make sure your campaigns are all focused on website clicks (CPM and CPA campaigns do not work on FB in my experience). Then make sure you can track those campaigns all the way through to conversion.  Do this by using using a utm builder for your urls:

I love for landing pages. One of the best SAAS I have ever used.

As you build a record of conversions - lookalike audiences are also a great way of targeting. 

Don't trust the facebook pixel for conversions.  Use it only as a guide. Google analytics, mixpanel or kissmetrics are all much more accurate.

Katherine Chalmers B2B software marketing executive

September 11th, 2016

I find it most helpful for driving cold traffic to good, targeted content. Once they are pixels, you can continue inexpensively offering value until prospects are ready to share their email address and enter the nurturing funnel. I've heard that flash sales for low-priced products can also work well, but that's not part of our strategy so I have not yet tried it myself.

Michael King Sales and Operations Management

September 11th, 2016

Yup. Y u uyyy u5yyyy yy

Kelly Kuhn-Wallace Tech startup consultant, founder coach.

September 12th, 2016

Make sure that Facebook is good place to find customers in your segment. Then read everything on Jon Loomer's website. Then join the paid group and try to keep up. (Haven't had the opportunity yet but on my wish list!) Or just hire a pro. This space is like adwords's  easy to go through a ton of cash fast.