Is this Hundred Year Old Marketing Technique About to Become the Next Big Thing in Facebook Advertising?

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If your Facebook ad results have been a bit “meh” lately, it might NOT be your audience targeting.  And you could be wrong in blaming your overall ad strategy for your disappointing ROI.

Trouble is, most Facebook Ad Strategists lean heavily on tactics and targeting to get results by “hacking the algorithm”.  By doing so, they miss a fundamental piece of the conversion puzzle.

In many ways, Facebook’s laser-like targeting and conversion reporting is to blame for their oversight.  Facebook advertisers have been spoiled by their ability to follow prospects around the internet.  The powerful algorithm has allowed marketers to simply keep showing up and asking for the sale until their prospects finally relent and hand over their credit card.

With upcoming changes to data privacy, all that’s about to change.  Media buyers and ad strategists are FREAKING OUT.

With the flip of a switch (scheduled for early spring 2021), Apple is about to steal many advertisers’ online superpower.  The advertisers that win will be the ones who evolve with the algo and ramp up their creative game.

To win at Facebook, online advertisers will need to dig deep into their creative toolkits and revert back to the roots of direct marketing.  Brace yourself.  Because we’re about to witness a digital creative revolution, driven by a massive step backwards in our access to customer data.  

It’s why the agency where I work has invested a buttload of cash into growing their creative team.  It’s allowed them to place intense focus on high impact imagery, compelling video scripts AND killer ad copy.

Gone are the days of winning sales through ultra-granular audience insights.  What’s necessary now is what the agency is calling ‘Deep Dive’ Facebook Ads. 

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1) What is a Deep Dive Facebook Ad?

Deep Dive Facebook Ads are ads written using a similar copywriting approach to traditional long form sales letters i.e. those really really long sales pages that can feel like they go on for HoOoOOoUUuRs.  

It’s a method that’s been largely ignored by Facebook advertisers (until Apple announced its plans to take away all the data).  That’s because there was never any justification for the time required to create Deep Dive Facebook Ads.

If you can hit your KPIs without putting in the extra effort, why bother investing more time and energy to produce your copy and creative?  Makes sense.  No one wants to waste precious resources when their ads are breaking-even or profitable on the front end.

But what happens when your results start to nosedive? 

That’s when you need to change your approach, and take inspiration from long form copywriters who deep dive all their ads.

2) What makes a Deep Dive Ad different? 

When we deep dive ads at the agency, we kick off the process with a period of intense research.  This requires around 20 hours of hard labour before we write a single word of copy or create any images.  

During that time, we sift through customer feedback, review conversations in relevant online forums, conduct in-depth competitor analysis and product analysis.  Then, we study sources of empirical data to back up our findings.

Now, that might sound like a lot of work for 3 lines of ad copy…

…but when the advertising landscape changes, this level of insight is going to have a huge impact on your ability to convert cold traffic.  This will be the difference between ads that crush it and ads that eat up your entire marketing budget with zero return.

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3) Why bother?

Often, business owners make assumptions about their target market.  In many cases, these assumptions can be false (or lacking in depth).

The deep dive process is designed to remove bias from your advertising process so you can create high-converting ads based entirely on the facts in your marketplace…instead of the hunch most Facebook advertisers work with right now.

The deep dive process gives you data-backed insights into:

  • Who your prospects are, including sub-sections of the market you might not be aware of
  • The tangible outcomes your market is hoping to achieve 
  • The emotional drivers that will motivate them to buy
  • The key product features, most likely to appeal to your market

These insights are what should dictate 100% of the messaging in your ads.

Each of these elements will be fundamental to successful Facebook ad creative once the data-blocking changes come in.  Without deep dive research, you’re just guessing at what messages will resonate with your market, which turns Facebook advertising into little more than a game of chance.

Test Test Test

In 1923, Claude Hopkins wrote a book called Scientific Advertising.  He revolutionised advertising by turning it into a science, instead of an act of voodoo magic.  

His advice, which still makes sense today, was to test the profitability of every aspect of your advertising on a small audience before going big.

Which brings us onto the next step in Deep Dive Facebook Ads:

Audience testing – I’m not talking about Facebook ads manager audience testing here.  I’m talking about testing different messaging that appeals to different subsets of your market.

During the deep dive process, we usually identify 3-5 different avatars we could potentially target through Facebook ads.

Depending on your budget, you may want to test just 2 avatars against each other to see which one is most likely to buy your product from Facebook ads.  If you have more budget, you can go after all 5.

We write unique ad copy for each avatar, specifically designed to appeal to that particular section of the market only.  

Studying the results – At the end of the first test run, we look at the results to see if one or more avatars is more profitable than the rest.

Creative testing –  Once we have the winning avatar(s), we test different hooks, images, CTAs, and headlines to achieve the highest possible conversion rate for that particular avatar.

Dialling up the creative – Over time, it will become clear which creative is winning the race to maximum conversions.  Often, we take the copy from the winning ad and translate it to video for an extra conversion boost.

This entire process can take months to roll out for an individual product offering.  It’s A LOT of work, requiring hours of research and creative juice to get it right.  The truth is, many smaller online businesses will lack the budget to go through every step in the deep dive process.

But, regardless of your budget, the research stage is about to become unavoidable.

If you take anything away at the end of this blog, it should be this:  half-hearted ad copy is dead.  The data will not be there to save you from the perils of weak messaging.  Research your market deeper and wider than your competitors. Be relentless.  Be obsessive.

Because in the post-data advertising landscape, your creative will be all you’ve got.

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