At Think Digital, our team has worked Facebook ads with dozens of clients. We have seen just about every ad objective: event responses, page likes, social engagement, lead generation, sale conversions, and more. In the world of Facebook ads, the two most common objectives are sales conversions and lead generation. Between those two, our team has seen one rise above the other in terms of profitable results. Which one do you think it is?
First, let’s take a look at the difference between the two.
Direct sales ads are the most obvious ads you can think of, ads that encourage a purchase from the consumer.
“Cool down this summer with a McFlurry!”
“Subscribe to our razor service and stop wasting money at the store!”
“Come see the newest superhero movie because we promise it isn’t the same as all the rest that have been made the past 15 years!”
Most of the time with Facebook ads, they advertise an online product that consumers can click to buy immediately (potentially even right on Facebook). Regardless of objective, it is drastically more effective to advertise for immediate action like this rather than delayed action.
The best case scenario for this objective is that users like what they see and end up giving you money in exchange for your product/service. Depending on your expenses, price, and ad spend, this could end up bringing you a great ROI.
Lead generation ads work to grow your list of potential customers.
“Subscribe to our weekly email for promos and giveaways!”
“Get our free guide to maintaining the quality of your vinyl records!”
“Set up a free call to discuss the best way to file your taxes.”
Don’t be confused, these ads aren’t just companies begging for email addresses. 9 times out of 10 these ads offer something of real value in exchange for an email address or a future sales discussion. (Side note: if you are the 1 out of 10 running ads simply begging for email addresses, we call that donating to the Facebook fund. For the sake of your business, cut it out!).
The best case scenario for this objective is that users like what they see and end up giving you their contact information. With this information, it is up to you to nurture them to a place of trust for your brand. After building credibility with them, they are much more likely to purchase your product/service.
So, which one is better?
You might hear differently from other folks, but our team has no doubt which objective is more effective in building your business: lead generation. The reason?
One of the greatest parts of Facebook ads is that they can reach users all over the world that otherwise would never hear of your brand. In the digital marketing world, users that have never heard of you are called cold traffic. Cold traffic is unlikely to dive right in and make a purchase before they trust your brand.
Therefore, it is often ineffective to run Facebook ads to cold traffic and try to get high-priced purchases. Users don’t trust you enough yet and are just going to scroll by. BUT, if you offer something of value (an e-book, promo code, free guide, meeting/call) in exchange for an email address…that’s a risk they are willing to take.
So when are direct sales ads effective? Sales come from consumers who know your brand. So run sales ads to people on your email list, users who have visited your site in the past few weeks, or users near your physical stores if you have any. These folks know your brand already and are more likely to make a purchase than cold traffic.
But at the end of the day, Facebook ads are best for one thing and one thing only: lead generation.