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How to Use Facebook Ads to Boost Traffic to Your New Website

What does a new website need more than anything? What does it need to start fulfilling its purpose for your business?

Traffic. Fresh, delicious traffic.

But with over a billion websites on the internet today, getting traffic to come to yours in particular isn’t all that easy.

So just give up. Your website is already buried. Ciao.

Okay, now that it’s just you and me, we can get down to business. Social media is now the pinnacle of online communication – chatrooms and forums were all precursors to what we see today, right? Websites like Facebook and Twitter are where the online population hangs out and exchanges content, so it seems reasonable that putting a link to your website there is the best option to beckon some traffic to you.

But how do you reach the people who will want to visit your site? How do you build momentum and start actually generating leads? It’s hard enough to increase your social media followers, let alone get fans who’ll click through to your site.

With a little help from Facebook’s advertising function, you can tap into the most populous social network (1.8 billion users, last time I checked), pick out the individuals most likely to care about your brand and guarantee they’ll see your stuff. Do it right and your traffic will grow – increasing your leads, bolstering awareness and giving you a greater chance of profit.

So, if you’re just getting started, here’s what you need to know. First…

Do you have:

A Facebook Page?

If you don’t – make one.

A website?

Come on now…

Analytics installed on your website?

Install Google Analytics on your site so you can track that traffic.

A budget?

Advertising costs, but do it right, and you’ll make more in return.

A good copywriter?

Nobody feels confident in a brand that knows they’re shit, rather than knows their shit.

Good quality images (sourced or created)?

Nobody wants to look at tacky images on their newsfeed unless its a meme.


Have you written any non-sales related content for your site?

There’s a lot to say about the benefit of creating content for your business. To really drive a robust conversion rate, you need to beckon your leads to you; going straight for their jugular (i.e. their wallet) just isn’t that convincing.

After all, consumers are awash with choice online, why should they purchase from you, stranger?

Content that people can enjoy without a transaction (beyond giving their attention) is alluring for both parties. While the consumer enjoys information and entertainment, the brand gets engagement, increased reach (particularly if the content is shared) and is viewed positively in association with the valuable material.

Because the internet is a content-driven network, the brands we engage with and often end up buying from are those that appears to offer the most valuable content. Create valuable content and you’ll inevitably be seen as a valuable brand, worthy of business.

So, think about what your ideal customer is attracted to clicking (and willing to pay attention to) when browsing the web and write some content to align with that (a blog post is the common form). This will be used as the destination for your initial ads. Don’t bother trying to push a transaction, focus purely on creating something that your target market will go “Oooh, interesting!” and click on.

Do you know which campaign objective to use?

There are many objectives you can choose from for your Facebook advertising. If your website is new, choosing from the ‘conversion’ section of objectives is likely premature. Your first Facebook ad campaign should focus on clicks to your website, and for a good quality blog post (or other non-sales content) to be the destination. This conforms to the conventional model of content consumption on social media, which in scientific terms goes like:

  1. Browsing personal newsfeed
  2. Seeing something that looks entertaining/informative
  3. Clicking on link, deriving value
  4. Brand is associated with that value.

If you’re a little insecure about your number of page likes, don’t worry. Quality likes (not just those given perfunctorily by random profiles) will come from people who have viewed your website and like (actually like) what you’re about, so focus on building traffic first. This traffic you can then remarket to for later campaigns, including page likes and conversions.

What kind of audience will you create?

If you haven’t got any customer data already, you’re going to have to create a Core Audience. Facebook’s Core Audience requires no previous data files and allows you to target based on location, demographic, interests and behaviour. Given the sort of information people share on Facebook, it’s a powerful feature, however you’ll need to have done some research first.

Before you get started crafting an audience, first install Facebook’s tracking pixel on your website so you can track and measure the traffic you receive from your adverts. With the Facebook pixel, you can target the traffic of your website for new campaigns.

Anyway, the audience you create should be based on confident research exploring your target market. Tools like Facebook’s Audience Insights can help with this, as well as competitor research.

Your custom audience should ideally be less than 1 million and more than 100,000 people strong, although it will vary depending on your industry.

We recommend narrowing your audience (so an individual ‘must also match’ a further data point) to get a sturdy profile built up. Keep it broad enough to give options later down the road, but narrow enough to get a clear character of who you’re after.

How good will your advert be?

Your image isn’t allowed to be shit

The main location where your advert is viewed will be your audience’s desktop or mobile newsfeed. It’ll be nestled in with other content that appeals to them, so your content needs to meet their quality expectations. An individual in your target audience will have a personalised algorithm from Facebook that influences the content they see. Your goal is to make your advert look like an ordinary inhabitant of that newsfeed, tailored to their preferences.

As the image (or video) is the most visible element of your advert, you need to make sure it meets user expectations. The above image from Norlan is a good example. (BTW, I fell into Norlan Glass’s advertising campaign via a lookalike audience, which is odd as I prefer to drink the sweat of cheetahs).

Anyway, why is it good? One, it’s high quality, but that’s a given. How it really excels is its pairing with the copy. “Introducing the one glass for your every whisky” is a bold statement, one that whisky enthusiasts will raise eyebrows of intrigue and scepticism at. The image should give them an insight into the veracity of this statement, surely? Nope, the photo reveals very little about how this glass can claim to be the one for every whisky, but it doesn’t matter, because it looks good.

Choosing an artistic, aesthetically pleasing image, rather than an illustrative one that reveals its function, nourishes that sense of curiosity (and scepticism), feeding it only an enigmatic and positively stylish visual cue. This, as you can see by the number of comments, is a healthy recipe for engagement: no doubt whisky lovers are discussing how the glass might have been ‘calibrated with magnets’ and has ‘been imbued with space-age proportional design’. The attractive image feeds the imagination, but doesn’t limit it with definitions.

Remember: Facebook doesn’t like too much text in ad images. If you can, avoid it all together.

Keep your text chatty and compelling

The advert copy also needs to be written relative to the other material it’ll be surrounded by in the newsfeed. As an individual’s newsfeed is mainly populated by content that’s shared by friends, the tone is colloquial, familiar. So you’ve got to perform a balancing act. On the one hand, you want to meet the informal tone of what people come on Facebook to see (anything too aberrant and the user experience will be disrupted), while being novel and persuasive enough to win the attention of the user.

A good example of persuasive copy can be seen here, by Heinz UK. The use of short, snappy sentences shows an awareness of how mercurial a Facebook user’s attention is – don’t delay their gratification with garrulous exposition. Use of colloquial terms like ‘secret weapon’ and the oh-so-internet superlative ‘best’ that often precedes click-baity article titles places this ad firmly in the realm of shareable content, which is exactly where Heinz would want it.

Do you know your advert’s key performance indicators (KPIs)?

Once your advert is running, you can’t just let it run its course without supervision. That’d be like grilling chips and not turning them, which we all know gets you an express ticket to being shit. So what parts of the performance should you be keeping an eye on?

Well, as your objective is getting clicks to your website, the number of clicks you’re getting is going to be a good indicator of how well you’re doing (duh). Clicks can be divided into more telling metrics however. On your Adverts Manager dashboard for your campaign select ‘performance and clicks’.

Here’s a breakdown of what to keep your eye on, and what numbers you should be aiming for.

  1. Frequency: This is the average number of times each person sees your ad. If this number is high, it means that individuals have seen your ad more than a few times. The higher the number, the higher the risk of pissing off your audience because by this point, they’d have clicked if they were interested. If you’ve got a big audience, it’s unlikely you’ll have to worry about frequency getting too high; a smaller audience will require you to keep your eye on it. A frequency between 1-2 is fine. 4+ is hitting murky waters and anything near 10 you’ve hit saturation.
  2. Cost per click/CPC: The cost per click is an integral metric for marketers. It’s what it says on the tin – it’s how much you’re paying for people to click your link, so it’s effectively how much you’re paying for each morsel of traffic via ads (amount spent divided by link clicks). Note that Facebook divides clicks (all) and clicks (link). Clicks (all) measures non-link clicks as well, such as users liking your page or commenting on the advert. If traffic is your goal, focus on link clicks. £0.50 a click should be your quality threshold. Anything below this and you’re doing well (if it’s below £0.20, you’re really nailing it), if it’s above, then something needs changing. If you’re surpassing £1 a click persistently, stop and rethink.
  3. Amount spent: How much of your budget you’ve spent.
  4. Relevance Score: This is Facebook’s measurement of how relevant your advert is to your audience. It’s based on things like negative feedback (if people hide your advert), and how well your ad is performing in other metrics. You want to be aiming for a 6 minimum.
  5. Link Clicks: Literally how many people have clicked your advert link. As mentioned, this is purely clicks on your link, rather than clicks on the advert, such as a like. How successful this number appears is dependent on how much you’ve spent and in what time frame.
  6. Click-through rate/CTR: Your advert’s CTR is a percentage showing you how many clicks you’ve received compared to how many times the advert has been viewed. A general threshold quality threshold is 2%. If your ads have a 2% CTR, you’re doing well, anything above that is excellent.

(More on Facebook’s key metrics.)

Audiences are complex, be willing to learn from mistakes

If your first campaign soars, well done. If it doesn’t do too well, you still deserve a well done, but only if you take stock of why it didn’t perform as well as you wanted it. Often, your audience will be defined online in ways you didn’t expect.

One of our clients’ campaigns exemplified this. A 3D printer retailer, we wanted to target people to buy one of the discounted products. With only limited customer and audience data to go from, we decided to include an experimental ‘core audience’ campaign. Facebook allowed us to target all sorts of 3D-printing related interests – sounds good right? Nope, it did kinda shit.

How did we fix it? We did some qualitative research across the web, profiling online users who were interested in burgeoning technologies but weren’t an obvious 3D printing enthusiast.

Our logic was that a discounted, lower-price+high-value product would appeal specifically for entry-level users – those who weren’t already invested in the industry, but revealed a latent desire in their current interests. A separate core audience, targeting people interested in modelling, architecture, the tech industry etc. was created, which had great success. It’s not always straightforward to find your perfect audience so testing multiple is important to identifying who’s in your squad.

So basically

Facebook ads done properly will get your brand in front of an audience that cares about what you do. It isn’t always easy but it is achievable; the above information will help you.



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Nat Rubyan-Ling

Author: Nat Rubyan-Ling

Nat is compellingly unpersuasive in his writing unless he's been fed, in which case he turns into a walking literature academic. Which he was. A keen observer of online culture, you'll find him making odd statements about the existential malaise that memes signify.

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