Over the past year, Facebook lead ads have become one of the hottest advertising tools available to marketers. Facebook’s most recent addition to its advertising offerings makes participation nearly effortless for consumers and gives businesses a simple way to advertise on a social platform used by record numbers of consumers (active users approaching two billion a month).
Why Facebook Lead Ads?
Facebook’s lead ads give marketers the chance to infiltrate a user’s feed in a non-obtrusive manner. The new option allows marketers to place ads right in the user’s line of sight, — like shiny cars in a showroom — and Facebook has taken that logic to the next level.
How Are Lead Ads Different?
Facebook knows it’s all about experience. And the social giant wants its users to experience the majority of their online life inside its walls and feeds. So, unlike a traditional web ad that presents users with an image, text and outside URL directing them away from their feed, lead ads keep it all inside.
A user clicks a button on a lead ad — button options include “Learn More,” “Get Quote,” “Shop Now,” etc. — and is taken to a form but not removed from his or her Facebook news feed, so the user’s Facebook session isn’t interrupted. Facebook also knows most people don’t enjoy filling out long forms, so these forms are auto-filled with the user’s saved information, such as name, email address and so on.
With some of the extra legwork taken care of, a user is more likely to answer custom questions on the form. The forms allow up to three custom questions — which can drive intelligent data gathering about an audience. Once all of the questions and fields have been completed, the user clicks “submit” and has the option to visit a URL of the marketer’s choosing or return to that cat video they were about click in their news feed.
Perfect for Business
Lead ads create continuity for the user and efficiency for the marketer. They are easy to assemble and run, and they don’t require landing pages. They can also significantly reduce the cost per lead. In our own experience, we’ve seen cost-per-lead figures reduced by as much as 80 percent. The ads can also be tailored to various goals: email acquisition, contest entries, quote inquiries, etc.
Coupled with high-quality advertising standards such as strong messaging, bold imagery and clear direction, these ads can drive results quickly. Also, with lead ads’ functionality recently being expanded for inclusion on desktop, a marketer’s budget doesn’t have to be split between mobile and desktop initiatives.
Even more recently, Facebook added video and carousel capabilities to lead ads, further expanding the possibilities for how lead ads can be used.
Still in the Early Stages
Even with lead ads seeing industry-wide success, including at The Brandon Agency, there are still some limitations to what these types of ads can do. The ads can certainly drive leads in droves, however, because of the simplicity of the method, some marketers may find that while the quantity of their leads goes up, the quality may waver a bit. Lead quality can be improved over time as you begin to collect more data on your audiences.
Another possible challenge with running lead ads is the way in which the leads are processed. Currently, Facebook has not included any kind of CRM integration with these lead submissions. So, unlike email addresses that are collected through a landing page and automatically get added to a database (like MailChimp or Salesforce), these leads are collected inside Facebook and have to be downloaded manually through a user page’s “Publishing Tools” tab. This requires a little extra work and memory muscle — if you don’t remember to pull the leads and process them, they could just sit there unattended to. Our Facebook Business Partner has informed us that several CRM platforms are under consideration for integration, so that may be a feature that is added later in the year.
Even given the limitations and challenges that running lead ads presents, we’ve been more than convinced of their success. Just last month for one of our clients, we captured more than six times their previous Facebook leads a month, jumping from an average of 70 a month to well over 300, while decreasing their cost per lead by more than 75 percent. Once the client processes those leads through their sales funnel, we’ll have a better understanding of the quality of the leads. Regardless, lead ads have become a staple offering to all of our existing and new social-media clients.