How Facebook advertising solves an age-old marketing dilemma

Posted by ImageWorks Creative Team July 09, 2019

The very big advertising problem

A fundamental problem with many advertising platforms, like radio and TV, is that the message they deliver often reaches the wrong audience, or reaches the audience at the wrong time.

Honestly, even a well-meaning businessperson could be using modern advertising platforms and still be making this mistake.

What constitutes “the wrong time”? Well, you can base that on where a customer is in their customer lifecycle. If you know what this is, you can go ahead and skip this next section.

The customer lifecycle (or journey)

In 2000, marketers Jim Stern and Matt Cutler came up with the five steps in the customer lifecycle, which mapped out the steps that a customer takes to make a purchase.

They are:

  • Reach
  • Acquisition
  • Conversion
  • Retention
  • Loyalty

It is now so widespread that you can’t really meet a marketing professional who doesn’t know it.

There are many different models based off of it, and here is a chart of one model from Alexa:

Most customers will start from Awareness, and ideally, end at Advocacy. Normally, a customer will have gone through all the steps before heading to a new step.

For example, a customer can’t purchase a product without first being aware that it exists. They also can’t evaluate the product if they haven’t engaged with the product in some way to understand what it does.

It’s rare that a customer skips steps, and that’s one of the reasons why marketers hold this model up as a way to understand customers better.

Anyways, back to the advertising problem.

Back to the problem

Many people will advertise to an audience at the wrong stage in their journey.

For example, an advertisement for a new prescription medicine will promote the benefits of the medicine, along with customer testimonials about how the medicine changed their life. Sounds good, right? But there’s a big problem.

Many in the audience don’t have any illness that this new medicine could solve.

These viewers have no need to even enter the awareness stage of the cycle, and the ad is pushing them to the evaluation stage.

There are some in the audience who this advertisement is great for, or maybe for someone they know. However, for those who have no use for such an ad, advertising dollars are wasted. For many, this ad is lost on them completely.

As advertisers, this is the exact situation we try to avoid. If you deliver ads to the wrong audience at the wrong time, they won’t engage with it, and all you’ve done is waste money.

Facebook advertising, when done correctly, ensures that this situation never happens.

“The Facebook advertising platform allows you to strategically organize all 5 stages of the customer lifecycle by building testable custom audiences, retargeting dynamic content to people who engage with specific content on your website and ultimately promote and grow your brand for an exceedingly underpriced cost that will rise drastically over the next 10 years.”

-Luke Miller, Marketing Strategies, Imageworks Creative


How Facebook is the antithesis of wasted ad spend

How? Facebook advertising enables you, the business owner, to target the right users at the right time, so each dollar spent is not wasted on customers who don’t care.

Not only does Facebook allow you to target the right audience, it isn't as invasive or annoying as other platforms.

On TV, radio, and other media channels like Youtube, ads take time away from the user’s main experience, whether that’s watching a  football game, or listening to their favorite country station. Most of the time, the user wants nothing to do with your ad.

If they could skip it, they would.

Ads on Facebook, when done right, are considered part of the viewing experience.

An engaging video about different sofa styles when you’re on the hunt for new furniture can be seen as part of the different content varieties a user views on Facebook, despite being an ad.

Here’s a great example of an ad that appeared on my feed just the other day (Background info: I’m helping my sister look for a part-time job and had been doing some research on DoorDash):

Note how it looks just like a normal post (of course, besides the “Sponsored” in the top left corner).

It has all the same reaction buttons, commenting, and sharing options as a regular Facebook post.

Not just that, I was pleasantly surprised to see this ad, as it reminded me to tell my sister about DoorDash.

Since I had visited their website before, it’s likely that this was a form of remarketing.

This is just one example of many, but look how DoorDash effectively used Facebook advertising to deliver the right ad to me when I needed it.

I didn’t feel like it intruded on my time on Facebook, in fact, I was glad that it showed up to remind me about it.

This is why Facebook is different. It essentially solves that age-old advertising dilemma, and bridges the gap between a business and a consumer who needs their product.

You need to be advertising on Facebook

You might have heard that Facebook is dead, or not popular, but that is simply not true. 

According to a Statista report from April 2019, Facebook is still the most popular social network worldwide, with over 2.3 billion active users per month, with the US making up 10% at 170 million active users.

We’ll explain this in greater detail in the next section, but again, the dominant targeting power of Facebook is another reason to be advertising there.

Facebook collects data about users given by the users themselves, and you can use this data to target customers by location, age, interests, demographics, education, occupation, and more until you have filtered down your ideal audience group. 

The insane targeting abilities of Facebook ads

Let’s say you want to sell a modern sofa to married couples between the ages of 32-42 with children under the age of 8 in Northern Virginia, with a combined income of $80,000 or above, with jobs in real estate and finance, who are 2nd time homebuyers, and also happen to have an anniversary coming up.
If you think this is incredibly targeted, just know that Facebook has the ability to be even more specific than this!

Purchase behavior targeting:

Not only can we target specific demographics, but also Purchase Behavior. This means you can target consumers based on online subscriptions, whether they tend to purchase health and beauty products, sports merchandise, or clothing, and more. You can even narrow down behavior to people actively searching for new modern sofas. 


To get a little look at just the Purchase Behavior options, look at this great tree-chart from LeadSync:

Using this criteria that you can set in your ad campaign settings, you can create ads to serve people where they are at in their customer journey.

For example, you can take pictures of modern sofas you have in stock (or even better, a great video of them) and put them right in front of the audience we specified.

Of course, we may not want to target to an audience as specific as the one we mentioned above, but you get the point.

We can then place call-to-actions to follow your page and visit your website.

And just like that, someone who may have been looking at sofas from other furniture stores is brought to your website, where you can convert them to buy from you.

Not only can you do this to promote your products, but also your email sign-up list, discounts, and offers, depending on where the customer is at in their purchasing journey.

To find out what is most effective, you can create different Ad Sets and A/B test them against each other.

Facebook will track the winners, build more audience data from them, and you can create even more ads that are even more highly effective.

This is Facebook targeting in a nutshell.

How to use Facebook to target your customers at the right time

Like customer journeys, Facebook ads should be created based on the path a customer takes to a purchase.

We’ll show you an abbreviated below one based off the model we talked about above.

90% of marketers on Facebook don’t use the platform correctly.

Users don’t like invasion of privacy, which is why you cannot always skip to the “conversion” stage of the ad funnel, even if your product or service is something you are already looking for.

You have to become a part of their personal community first. As we mentioned earlier, people are primarily on Facebook and Instagram to connect with their friends and view updates from their favorite pages.

By going in for the ask right away, you are taking time away from their main experience.

Even if its only 2-3 seconds, people will remember your brand more for spamming then the quality and relevance of your product or service if you skip to the 3rd stage of the ad funnel.

People who are on social media are there to pursue their interests or connect with their friends, not searching for something specific like on Google.

Because of this, you need to use different strategies for…

Step 1: Building Awareness & Trust

One way advertisers do this is through engaging targeted communities with content.

For example, you can promote a useful blog post, say, “30 Basic Furniture Essentials to Fill Your New Home” and target that to people who have recently bought a new home.

Step 2: Consideration/Evaluation

That first campaign built up awareness for your brand, and now we can send a second campaign to the people who engaged with the first one.

We can narrow it further to target people who are on that list combined with the list of people who have recently visited our website.

We’ll include an offer in this second campaign.

Maybe it’ll be:

  • a guide on indoor house remodeling
  • a 10% off coupon
  • something else to grab the visitor’s attention again

If they volunteer their information, say, their email for a newsletter sign-up, we can market to them through other channels as well.

Step 3: Conversion

Now that we’ve grabbed their attention and they’ve considered the product a little longer, we can promote our products.

You can target those customers who have gone through the consideration stage with an ad for a specific sofa model and a limited time deal, and watch customers click through and purchase that product (This is called remarketing)!

See how much more effective this?

Unlike that prescription medicine ad on TV, you’ve strategically placed the right content in front of the consumer at the right time, so they are much more likely to convert.

To sum,

  1. Let customers know you exist
  2. Give them a reason to consider your product
  3. Watch as they buy your product-and remarket to those who don’t.

How much does it cost?

Ah, the dreaded answer to this question: it depends! It depends on a lot of factors, but you have a lot of control over how much you spend on campaigns.

Here’s an example of cost breakdown that might explain things a little bit better:

Let’s say:

-Product Price: $500

-Want to Sell: 20 units

-Current Conversion Rate: 2%

So to make $10,000 of of 20 store visits and sales, based of a 2% conversion rate, we need about 1,000 clicks.

We need to figure out how much 1,000 clicks costs for us. Facebook can set the bid to optimize for clicks automatically, or we can manually set the bid at an average cost per click at something like $1 (Facebook’s 2019 Average CPC is $1.72).

1.72 * 1,000 = $1,720

So this campaign would end up costing us about $1,720 for $10,000 in revenue!

Not bad, eh?

We’re big fans of Facebook advertising. It's powerful and underpriced.

The cost of entry for marketers and businesses has never been cheaper nor backed by an unprecedented amount of user data that allows advertisers to pinpoint and test against multiple targeted audiences.

However, Facebook’s undervalued attention and price won’t last forever.

You should take advantage of it while it is still a steal.

How do I get started?

If you want to get started with Facebook ads, you can get started now.

However, for most busy business owners, we don’t recommend you learn all of the workings of Facebook advertising yourself.

There are better uses of your time, and not to mention, the money spent on the learning curve is often wasted through improper targeting and budgeting.

We recommend that you work with a marketing agency with experience in Facebook advertising and know how to work with a variety of different businesses.

Of course, we're a little biased, but we are ImageWorks Creative, a digital marketing agency in Northern Virginia has a great marketing track record and has wonderful Facebook Ad specialists who can help you achieve your business goals.

We’ve been able to do a lot for our clients, so if you think you’d like some help setting up Facebook campaigns for your business, contact us through our contact form right here, or call us at (703) 782-8990!

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