Facebook advertising has undergone a dramatic transformation in recent years. What was once primarily an engagement and affinity-based platform for advertisers, has been transformed into a hybrid of branding, plus highly targeted direct-response ad solutions that offer real performance opportunities for all types of advertisers. One group that can particularly benefit from the new generation of Facebook ad solution is direct-response marketers.

At one time direct-response advertisers may have felt left out of the Facebook ad game. Early in Facebook’s ad history large CPG brands seemed to dominate much of the industry and media conversation around Facebook advertising. That’s no longer the case.

Now, Facebook has made an earnest effort to introduce sophisticated ad targeting solutions that appeal directly to direct-response advertisers.

The question remains though, are direct-response advertisers ready to take advantage of Facebook’s new performance-based ad solutions? Here are three strategies marketers can use to improve performance when using Facebook for a direct-response ad campaign:

Use Better Creative

This is perhaps the simplest way marketers can improve the performance of their direct-response Facebook campaigns. That’s because Facebook is increasingly placing a higher value in the form of increased News Feed exposure, to timeline posts and ads that utilise higher-quality creative. Facebook noted in a recent blog post that it is decreasing the exposure it gives to brands’ text-based posts in favor of image-based posts. Instead, it urges marketers to use the link-share button rather than sharing an embedded link in order to display larger images in their wall posts. 

Understand the Facebook user experience funnel

Facebook offers several advanced ad targeting solutions. One of the most useful and beneficial from an ROI standpoint is the Custom Audiences tool. Facebook recently expanded its Custom Audiences service to include retargeting off a pixel for both websites and mobile apps. Direct-response and performance marketers should use Custom Audiences to tailor their Facebook audience targeting towards users that have reached each stage of the sales funnel. Create specific offers based on the particular buyer stage certain users have reached and target those users via Custom Audiences. For instance, a travel website could use Custom Audiences to reach a group of people – say, people that searched for flights on your website but never made a reservation – with a targeted message in their News Feed: “Come back for 10% off your next flight reservation.”

Start Using Unpublished Page Post Link Ads

These are large-form Newsfeed ad units that appear similar Facebook to page content. The difference is that the content is not published to the page; it is specifically engineered for advertising purposes. Most of the area of the ad unit, including the large image, is entirely clickable through to a landing-page URL, making it perfect for customer acquisition. The ad unit also includes Facebook’s standard functionality for page content (like, share and comment), offering a secondary engagement value.

Compatible with all available bidding models, including cost-per-action (CPA), Unpublished Page Post Link Ads are an ideal ad format for direct response marketers. They can form the basis of a smart, strategic mix of Facebook page engagement and customer acquisition, helping improve the long-term ROI of your Facebook campaign.

The days of Facebook being only an affinity or engagement platform for advertisers are, thankfully, coming to an end. Facebook now offers advertisers a growing set of ad solutions that will help them generate real, measurable business results. By implementing these direct response-friendly ad types, Facebook advertisers will start to realise the full customer acquisition potential of the world’s largest social network.