Facebook Ad Autopsy

When most people think of testing results for Facebook Ads, they think in terms of boosting click-throughs — getting higher response rate by using the right picture and saying the right things.  But that’s an incomplete picture.

Don’t get me wrong: boosting CTR IS a good thing, but your goal should be to optimize the total process, at each stage of the client acquisition funnel, not just to widen the mouth of a leaky funnel.  And it’s at the stage of compound benefits where testing really delivers. When you combine higher CTR with higher CPI with higher average order value, now you’re not just getting more clicks, you’re getting them more cheaply and making more money off of each one.

So let’s take a look at a typical Facebook Ad and see how this is done:

So how could this ad be improved? Frankly, this is a situation where testing an text-based image would make sense, as you could take the offer-based headline and crank up the font size and color to achieve visual prominence and quick relevancy.  This is an ad targeted to photographers, so the simple offer should be enough to grab attention.

Of course, in doing this, you’d then have to change the headline to something else, and the best bet is probably to show a specific, mind-blowing price to substantiate and concretize the 40% off claim.  So you might end up with something like this:

But if you wanted to stick with an image, the idea would be to convey that same info with the image through context and contextual clues.  In other words, why not use a 3-dimensional image of a print held by a person, in order to give a size reference and to make it clear that you’re selling photographic prints?

The current image doesn’t convey any of that, and instead just looks like your typical image of cute girls used to grab attention.  But this is an ad that is already targeted to photographers and could easily be segmented by male and female photographers.  So how about an image along the lines of this:

Now, that’s not an ideal photo as the wood-grained background is a bit too busy, but it easily demonstrates the techniques in question: dramatize the product and show relative size.  So which ad variant would work best?  I don’t know but they’re well worth testing.

And again, the testing of the ad itself is where most Facebook advertisers stop.  And the problem is that any gains one got from boosting this ad’s CTR would likely be wasted due to its post-click conversion process.

Why?  Take a look at all the clicks needed just to get to the advertised offering!

Click #1 takes you here:

So, not great, but not horrible, so far.  The click doesn’t take me directly to the page featuring the discount on prints, but there are at least too call-outs for the the 40% off discount on prints and they are reasonably high-visibility call-outs and that.  So clicking on the most prominent call-out for 40% off gets you to here:

Second Click

OK, again, this isn’t truly horrible as there is a clear continued “scent trail” for the 40% off prints offer, but why am I now 2 clicks into this and STILL not on the page to see prices?  So let’s see what’s behind click #3:

Click 3

OK. So I’m FINALLY on the page for the actual offer from the Facebook Ad and all of the pricing info is effectively bellow the fold and, even worse, all of the indications of an actual discount are WAY below the fold because the prices are listed out by size of print and the large print-size discounts don’t start until you’ve scrolled two full screen-lengths down.  Here’s what you see initially:

Do you see why this is bad? For three clicks we’ve been waiting to get to the point were we can see the price savings/discounts on prints, and now that we’ve gotten here, there doesn’t seem to be any way to access the discount — there are just prices.  It’s not until you scroll two full screen lengths down that you finally start to see the discounts:

Best guess is that a HUGE majority of the people who click the ad never got to this third page, and if they did get to it, they never scrolled down far enough to see the discounts they were looking for.  So why in the world wound’t you want to create a campaign specific landing page that takes people to this information off of the first click?

But ultimately, this isn’t about Nations PhotoLab and their Facebook advertising — it’s about you and your Facebook Advertising.  Are you just testing ad results or are you optimizing the entire process?