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How to Use Facebook Carousel Ads to Dramatically Lower CPC

If you’re going to splash some cash on social ads, Facebook is the place to do it.

The power of the platform is well-documented, especially given that 93% of marketers are already on board with Facebook ads. Meanwhile, the ability to drill down and target hyper-specific audiences through display ads and Facebook remarketing is second-to-none versus other social networks.

That said, there’s always the issue of the price tag when it comes to social advertising.

“But Facebook ads are expensive.”

And hey, you’re not necessarily wrong.

Pricing out your Facebook ads can quickly add up for those unfamiliar with the platform’s many features and functionalities. So if you’re interested in keeping your budget in check and your cost-per-click (CPC) down, are you stuck?

Not at all. In fact, we’ve broken down one of Facebook’s most effective forms of advertising to guarantee you get the most bang for your buck.

Enter the era of Facebook carousel ads.

What Are Facebook Carousel Ads?

Facebook carousel ads are an ad format that allows you to combine 3-5 ads into a single scrollable ad unit.

You’ve probably seen carousel ads pop up in your newsfeed but perhaps you didn’t know them by name. Spend about five seconds scrolling through your Facebook and chances are you’ll run into something like this from Warby Parker:

Facebook carousel ad from Warby Parker

Ta-da. That’s a carousel ad.

Facebook rolled out carousel ads in 2015, so these types of campaigns are still relatively young. Even so, Facebook carousel ads boast some impressive stats in terms of clicks and conversions. In fact, Facebook themselves claim that these types of ads drive a 30% to 50% lower cost-per-conversion and a 20% to 30% cost-per-click versus single image ads.

Impressive, right?

On the surface, Facebook carousel ads seem pretty straightforward. So what’s all the hype about, then? What elements of these ads cause them to perform so well? For starters:

  • They’re visual: Carousel ads provide marketers with multiple opportunities to catch the eye of scrollers by showing off multiple products or images versus a single static photo.
  • They’re interactive: Even something as subtle as clicking an arrow means your prospects spend more time engaging with your brand and its imagery.
  • They’re fun: Okay, calling any type of ad “fun” might sound a bit corny, but many brands truly manage to get creative with their Facebook carousel ads. Here’s an awesome example from Mazda Canada:
Mazda Canada animated Facebook carousel ad

Who Are Facebook Carousel Ads Meant For?

Carousel ads are fair game for just about any type of marketing campaign or industry, but bear in mind that not all industries are created equal in terms of Facebook ad performance.

According to a 2017 Wordstream study, the average CTR across all Facebook ads is 0.90% while the average CPC is $1.72. The top-performing industries such apparel, retail, fitness and beauty also represent industries that dominate carousel ads. That’s probably why brands such as H&M run so many carousels:

H&M Facebook carousel ad

However, that doesn’t mean you can’t leverage Facebook carousel ads if you aren’t part of these particular industries. Remember: carousel ads are simply a piece of Facebook’s advertising platform at large. Any brand can run them as long as you’re familiar with the platform’s best practices.

Generally speaking, Facebook carousel ads are likely a good fit for marketers that meet any of the following criteria:

  • You have a visually striking product or brand identity (bold fashion pieces, sleek electronics, loud colors, etc.)
  • You sell a variety of different products that you want to show off versus honing in on a single promotion
  • You’ve never run ads on Facebook before and want to start with something simple

That last point is arguably the most important. Whereas there is a much higher time commitment and room for error when it comes to running, say, video ads on Facebook, carousel ads can be set up in a snap.

If you have photos, a few lines of copy and a product to sell, you’re good to go with Facebook carousel ads. The important piece of the puzzle is simply having something to promote that catches the eyes of prospects within their newsfeeds.

But before we can get to that, we need to delve into the setup process.

How to Setup a Facebook Carousel Ad

Alright, so let’s say you’re sold on Facebook carousel ads and you’re ready to set up your own. What does the process look like?

At first glance, Facebook’s ad creator can be daunting to say the least. Let’s break down the setup process step-by-step.

As the case with any ad, start at the Ads Manager. You’ll need to select the objective of your ad, whether it be traffic, lead generation or store visits:

How to set up Facebook carousel ads

Next, create the audience for your ad or choose from an existing one if you’ve run an ad before. For the purpose of this example, we’ll use a fictional audience (and budget) just to get things moving.

Making an audience for a carousel ad

Now, here’s where you actually get to choose which type of ad you’re looking to run. Simply select “Carousel” as noted below:

Facebook ad types

Then, you’ll be introduced to a preview of your ad based on the type of carousel placement you’ve specified (in this case, Desktop News Feed). Here you can experiment with imagery, copy and any other aspects of your Facebook carousel ads:

Setting up a Facebook carousel ad

Again, the setup process is fairly straightforward. There are also more advanced options such as Facebook pixel tracking for retargeted ads and lead opt-in forms. Facebook also has their own list of specifications for optimized carousel ads, noting that:

  • Images should be a square 600 by 600 pixels
  • You’re limited to 90 characters of text for your ad “post” (think: the “status” copy)
  • You’re also limited to 40 characters for headlines (bolded copy that appears under your images) and 20 characters for ad descriptions (optional copy beneath your headlines). See all the character counts for Facebook ads here.

While there are quite a few variables to any given carousel ad, they’re elementary as far as most paid ads go.

But how can you predict whether or not your Facebook carousel ad will actually perform? If you’re on the hunt to make every click count, it’s crucial to understand how to optimize your Facebook ads for clicks, conversions and engagement.

The 6 Do’s the Don’ts for Fine-Tuning Your Facebook Carousel Ads

Outlined below are six best practices and pitfalls to consider when crafting your ads.

1. Do: Pick Thematic Photos

Ideally, the photos for your carousel should be related in some way, shape or form. Perhaps they show off a similar series of products, tell a story or represent individual pieces of a larger photo. Here’s one of Facebook’s favorite examples of a multiple-image layout:

Savage Race carousel ad

2. Don’t: Pick Photos at Random

Simply put, carousel ads aren’t an excuse to post random photos related to your business. A series of unrelated photos won’t do much but confuse viewers and result in money down the drain.

3. Do: Mind Your Color Scheme

Colors definitely count if you’re trying to catch the attention of someone randomly scrolling through their Facebook feed. Although you don’t necessarily have to gravitate towards loud or bright colors, doing so will certainly draw more eyeballs to your ads. Check out this colorful carousel from Harley Davidson for inspiration:

Harley Davidson carousel ad

4. Don’t: Run an Ad Without a Goal in Mind

If you don’t have a distinct goal in mind prior to running your ad, you’re essentially flying blind. Not only do you run the risk of your ad not making sense, but you also defeat the whole purpose of running ads in the first place. For example, you might be looking to:

  • Build buzz and attention around a new product launch
  • Encourage more subscribers to your email list
  • Generate leads from a discount or promotion

Any of these options are prime for carousel ads, as long as you know what your goal is prior to getting started.

5. Do: Pay Attention to Your Copy

You certainly have to be economical with your copy given Facebook’s character limits, but look at these limitations as more incentive to make every word count. Try to avoid generic “Click here!” copy and opt for something more in line with your brand’s messaging.

Check out how Pura Vida Bracelets emphasizes a helping hand in their title copy while also promoting free shipping in their headlines:

Pura Vida carousel ad

6. Don’t: Present Yourself as a Salesperson

Don’t squander your ads by going way too heavy on the sales pitch. Just because you’re running a sales-based ad doesn’t give you license to be heavy-handed. Those who aren’t familiar with your brand may mistake you for a spammer if all they see is “BUY NOW!” or “EPIC SALE!”

So much of the beauty of Facebook carousel ads is that you have all the freedom in the world. As these types of campaigns are relatively young, marketers have plenty of freedom and room to experiment. As long as you stick to the best practices outlined above, you’re golden.

How Do You Feel About Facebook Carousel Ads?

Whether you’re looking to spend money on social ads for the first time or simply step up your paid ad game of Facebook, carousel ads are ideal for those looking to keep their CPC down. Cheap to run while remarkably effective in terms of engagement and ROI: what more could a marketer ask for?

Any Facebook carousel ads catch your eye lately? Do you prefer carousel ads to the other types of paid social marketing out there today? Let us know in the comments below!

This post How to Use Facebook Carousel Ads to Dramatically Lower CPC originally appeared on Sprout Social.

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About Daniel Rodgers

A lot of news that you will not see in the paper. A lot of technology that is coming out that will not see in the paper.

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Interactive Content Marketing: Why B2B Marketers Should Take Their Content from Boring to Bold

Why B2B Marketers Should Consider Interactive Content

Why B2B Marketers Should Consider Interactive Content

Show of hands, B2B marketers: How many of you know which Hogwarts house you belong in? Or which Disney princess best represents your personality and relationship ambitions?

via GIPHY

Don’t be shy. I’m a Gryffindor wizard through and through—and apparently, I’m more of a Jasmine than an Ariel. And I know all this thanks to the rise of interactive content.

From quirky quizzes to ROI calculators to guided eBooks, interactive content is a rising content marketing star. BuzzFeed is perhaps the most prolific example, creating dozens of quizzes each week that are making their way into social feeds and search results. (And almost all users reportedly finish them).

But why should B2B marketers consider adding interactive content to their mix?

Because B2B is often pegged as bland and boring. And in a crowded content market, not to mention the fact that buyers' content preferences are turning increasingly visual, interactive content is the next evolution.

But if that doesn't convince you, read on for a few more reasons why its time for B2B to embrace interactive content.

#1 – Interactive content is more engaging than static content—for the long-term.

Interactive content may seem a little gimmicky for some marketers—especially those in the B2B space. But the vast majority of marketers who use interactive content agree that it not only grabs attention, but can also hold that attention beyond that initial view.

In fact, according to the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and Ion Interactive 2017 Interactive Content Study:

  • 87% of marketers agree that interactive content grabs the attention of the reader more effectively than static content
  • 77% of marketers agree that interactive content has reusable value, resulting in repeat visitors and multiple exposures
  • 73% of marketers agree that interactive content, when combined with other more traditional content marketing tactics, enhances message retention among their audiences.

So, if you’re aiming for awareness, engagement, and attention, interactive content holds incredible potential. But I’d also add that this is only true if you deliver quality, relevant content in an interactive format.

As my colleague Josh Nite points out: “[Interactive content is] absolutely designed to grab attention. But if your content provides value—if it’s worth paying attention to—interactive elements can help you bring in an audience.”

[bctt tweet="#InteractiveContent is absolutely designed to grab attention. But if your content provides value—if it’s worth paying attention to—interactive elements can help you bring in an audience. - @NiteWrites" username="toprank"]

#2 – Interactive content can differentiate you from your competitors.

Content has always been a foundational element of B2B marketing. Buyers don’t make hard and fast decisions. Instead, they do their research, weigh their options, and have multiple engagements with sales reps before they sign on the dotted line. Interactive content can help you make an impression and stand out in a crowed, competitive content landscape.

In addition, according to the aforementioned report, just 46% of marketers report using interactive content right now—which was flat year-over-year. And if history is any indicator, I’d wager that interactive content adoption among B2B marketers is far lower since the industry is typically slower to adopt new tactics.

But that won’t always be the case. Harnessing the opportunity right now has the potential to differentiate your B2B brand from the competition early on, showcasing your commitment to innovation.

For example, Prophix, a leading provider of corporate performance management (CPM) software solutions in the FP&A industry, wanted to drive awareness in a unique way around its report on the evolution of financial planning and analysis, as well as its solutions.

By repurposing its original research and adding influencer perspectives, we created an interactive quiz to help empower their audience to "crush" their jobs to succeed now and into the future.

Prophix Crush It Interactive Quiz

This anchor asset, which was promoted using a supporting mix of blog content, social amplification, email, and more, saw a view rate 6-times higher than the benchmark for a similar resource. In addition, the page where it lived garnered 3-times the average share rate. This unique approach to interactive influencer content made Prophix stand out from the competition and deliver a great resource that performed.

#3 – Interactive tools can provide you with exclusive data and analytics.

Savvy marketers are driven by data insights. And many of the interactive content tools you’d leverage for an asset come with their own analytics dashboards, allowing you to get near real-time data on how your audience is interacting and absorbing your content.

For example, Ceros, an interactive content software that simplifies the creation process, provides all the basic KPIs such as visitors, opens, and pageviews, as well as engagement metrics like time spent and interaction clicks. But they also track inbound referrals, social shares, video plays, and outbound link clicks.

Oh, and that data is viewable in its Analytics Dashboard within second of it happening.

Ceros Interactive Content Tool

While traditional analytics platforms and the data within them is invaluable, from my perspective, this more niche data can help uncover some insights that can help you refine your asset on the fly or consider how to improve other content types moving forward.

#4 – Interactive content can drive results at every stage of the funnel.

From educating buyers to creating customer loyalty, interactive content can serve a purpose (and drive results) at every stage of the funnel. Interactive content users report using the tactic for lead generation, lead nurturing, customer retention, and the list goes on.

And interactive is especially powerful, when combined with other tried-and-true content marketing tactics.

To help promote the Influencer Marketing 2.0 report based on research conducted by Traackr, Altimeter Group and TopRank Marketing, we partnered with interactive content platform Ceros to produce an Influence 2.0 interactive infographic.

Influence 2.0

The infographic was promoted via blog posts, social channels, email, and through the influencers that contributed. With calls to action embedded within the interactive infographic, this content succeeded at attracting over 1,700 prospective customers to download the full report with a 43% conversion rate.

What Opportunity Does Interactive Content Hold for Your B2B Brand?

Interactive content is here to stay. But the real opportunity doesn’t lay in the interactivity itself. The real value creation is in the excitement or connection that you can make with your audience, as well as the potential to hold their attention for long enough to engrain your message or inspire action.

[bctt tweet="The real opportunity with #interactivecontent doesn’t lay in the interactivity itself. The real value creation is in the excitement or connection that you can make with your audience. - @CaitlinMBurgess" username="toprank"]

So, B2B marketers. If you’re ready to break away from boring and drive better engagement, interactive content deserves your consideration.

How can you leverage interactive content? Check out our post featuring five ways of making marketing magic with interactive content.

The post Interactive Content Marketing: Why B2B Marketers Should Take Their Content from Boring to Bold appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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