I believe many of you know and have used Facebook ads for SaaS. Some, however, are trying to use this strategy for the first time. And both cases have a thing or two to grab from this article, so stay with me.
Many years ago when I was starting out with digital marketing, my friend and I took on the responsibility to promote his father’s restaurant. Enthusiastically, we shot some photos and a basic description and ran the ad. That’s the simple part of Facebook. The thing is that Facebook makes it so easy to run the ads. However, to really make use of it’s beneficial powers, you have to go deep, and think hard upon your strategy.
Long story short, inexperienced as we were, we didn’t take the time to run a facebook split test that would give us an idea about the options. We just went straight in and promoted while totally ignoring the audience and testing phase.
As you might’ve guessed, the campaign was a big failure and fortunately we didn’t spend much on it. But as in every failure, there should be a lesson and here is my first. Fast forward a few years, some great clients and millions of dollars of ad spend and here I am.

If you are going to believe one thing in this article, then believe me when I say this.
If you really want to benefit from Facebook’’s power, never approach Facebook ads without a clear cut strategy.
Of course you might know Facebook A/B testing, but there are many things you don’t know about Facebook Ads that will surprise you.
And that’s why I wrote this piece to help you avoid mistakes and create strategies to best utilize facebook ads for your SaaS.

1. Use Facebook ads for Lead Generation

The first mistake marketers and other SaaS owners make is that they perceive Facebook Ads as a way of immediate sales. It might even work sometimes for e-commerce & tangible products but you will be disappointed if you think that you can sell your SaaS immediately by running a Facebook Ad.
The buying cycle is totally different when it comes to SaaS and therefore you need to approach it in a structured manner.
One strategy that will get to you results effectively is Lead Generation. Understand this as a generation of interest of the potential customer. And after you have their attention, you start promoting your service based on the audience’s behaviour.
Why is this strategy effective?
A 2018 Social Media Marketing Industry Report found that 67% of marketers consider Facebook as the most important social media platform for lead generation.

According to Jumplead, nurtured leads produce a 20% increase in sales opportunities and businesses who nurture leads make 50% more sales at a cost 33% less than non-nurtured prospects.
More of that, Lead Generation:

  • Cost Effective – It’s easier to take someone’s email than to take their credit card information.
  • Builds Loyalty – You’d rather buy from someone you’ve been in touch with for some time than from someone who you just got exposed to.

How do you start with lead generation?

  • Create a lead magnet – A lead magnet is something valuable you offer in exchange for visitor’s email and other data. It could be an E-book, free trial, etc..
  • Design the Landing Page – A Landing page is the webpage the visitor comes to after clicking an advertisement. The goal of the page is to showcase your offering and get them to leave their information.
  • Promote it through Facebook Ad – Lead Generation option – Facebook has an option specifically for Lead Generation purposes. Choose that option and run your ad.
  • Nurture Your Leads – Through email marketing and retargeting ads, educate your audience with other valuable information with the ultimate goal of turning them into a paying client.

If you’re not using this strategy, you should definitely try it because it’s a proven tactic and comes highly recommended by our team of experts.

2. Save some budget for Brand Awareness Campaigns

hat are Brand Awareness campaigns exactly? Well these campaigns are slightly different. The name is self explanatory and you might even have used them in the past.

Brand Awareness campaigns are a more recent addition to Facebook. They’re designed to help advertisers find audiences that are more likely to recall the brand in the future. (Only Facebook knows what this truly means… but it works in some cases)
I think the reason a bunch of advertisers ignore these ads is because they don’t generate immediate sales. However, their importance to your long term strategy is undeniable. And we’ll tell you why.
Your awareness campaigns have one and only one job: to generate custom audiences as quickly as possible.
In other words, they don’t sell. They lead people into your Facebook Marketing Funnel faster. And that all starts with a site visit or simple page engagement.
And that’s the main advantage of a Brand awareness campaign. As soon as you have people on your funnel, you can filter them and have far better targeting options for your other campaigns.

3. Leverage the POWER of the Facebook Pixel with your ads

Facebook Pixel is a tool used for tracking a user’s behavior across Facebook and other websites, apps and online properties. The purpose of tracking users is to be able to understand them and then target them with personalized content. All SaaS companies who utilizeFacebook Ads have this feature but not many are using the full power it offers to your overall Social Media Strategy.

Facebook Pixel works by dropping a cookie that tracks visitors on your website so you can reach out to them later, in what’s known as “retargeting”.
What can the deepest secrets of pixels bring to your SaaS Facebook ads strategy?
Remarketing power – We’ll cover this in more detail in the next step

  • Build Custom Audiences – You can use Facebook Pixel to create your own SaaS audiences based on their actions they took on your website and then retarget them with ads. For example, you can create a list of people who already filled a registration form. Or send a follow up blog to people who read your first blog!
  • Create Lookalike Audiences – Now based on the people who interacted with your ad or other website features, you can create audiences that look like them.
  • Optimize your ads – This is one of the most important features. The Facebook pixel is SMART. Not really the pixel though, but the data it gathers, fed into the Facebook ads algorithm can make very smart assumptions. In layman terms, the pixel gathers the data, and uses that data to make automated optimization decisions which are likely to increase the effectiveness of your advertising.
  • Track ROI – The Facebook pixel can help you track which ads, which campaigns and which strategies result in purchases and further help you optimize, as well as track the return on investment on your advertising.

4. Use Facebook Retargeting ads for Your SaaS

In the last point we briefly discussed the importance of the Facebook pixel. And now, as we move on to retargeting, it’s good to mention that this is probably the biggest advantage of the Facebook Pixel & the whole platform.
The logic is simple.
By tracking behavior you see how people interact with your ad or your website and based on that behavior you can target them again with more personalized ads. According to Hubspot, 56% of marketers believe that personalized content is key to marketing success.
What I’ve done in my beginnings and what I see people do way too often is this. They start a Facebook Ad, it works to a certain degree, and then they pause until they need to restart again.
That is so Wrong on so many levels.
What these people do with this approach is that they see only one metric – Conversions, while ignoring loads of other information coming from Facebook Pixel. So, they throw out all this information that would be used for highly effective Retargeting Ads as well as personalized ads in the future.
To learn more about how to create Retargeting Ads go to Facebook For Business.
And for people who already know a thing or two about how they work, here are some of the best practices you can use when retargeting for your SaaS Facebook Ad:

  • Select specific audiences – Retargeting lets you pick people based on their behavior and then surprise them with your ad at the right time and with the right message. For example, for retargeting cart abandoners, marketers use click to messenger ads.
  • Retarget people who like your page – Yes this is a great feature as well. These people have already shown some interest in your page so they are potentially your best audience.
  • Retarget people who left the purchase in the last step – These are people who came close to becoming paying customers. They took the next step to add the product to their cart, but they didn’t purchase it. A remarketed ad can drive them back to your business’s page to complete the transaction.  Make irresistible offers and discounts for this audience.
  • Exclude People from your Ads – You might want to leave out some people when you do retargeting. An example would be people who already bought the product.
  • Offers, Offers, and Offers – You don’t want to retarget someone who abandoned the purchase in the last step with the exact same service price. There is a reason they left. So what’s the point even offering them the same thing they’ve already rejected?

5. Always have an eye at your SaaS competitors

You do not need to re-invent the wheel.. Of course it helps to be all creative and unique, but you there’s much to be learned from others. One way is to watch what other SaaS businesses are doing with their Facebook ads and adapt the same strategies. And make them even better.
There are so many SaaS companies using Facebook ads and you can definitely look at them to extract the winning strategies they are using.
One challenge is that you will not always be able to see what other SaaS competitors  are doing with Facebook Ads. But the good news is that there are tools and tricks that’ll help you do just that.
My favorite tools are:
Facebook Ad Library– Due to recent privacy concerns, Facebook has now made all “LIVE” ads publicly available. Simply follow the link, type in your competitor’s Facebook page name and see all the ads they are running by GEO.
AdEspresso’s Ads Examples – This tool is also free and allows you to track the best Facebook Ads samples from 25 industries. You can always find inspiration finding ads that’ll help you get the idea.

PowerAdSpy – Suited for SaaS companies who are getting serious about their spying strategy.  It allows you to see a competitor ad’s target audience age, interests, and geography. If you own a Shopify store and are interested to see what your Shopify competitors are up to, PowerAdSpy has a massive database.

Costs $49/month
Don’t take this last strategy as a tendency to be a Copy Cat. I hate being the person who can’t create something of my own and jump at the first opportunity to steal it. However, this is not the case. By looking at what your competition is doing, you’re actually taking a step further and conducting valuable research. Research that will pave the path to success much quicker.

Key Takeaways

Facebook is huge in terms of user base and even more so in terms of marketing impact. SaaS companies should see this social network as a great opportunity to get in contact with potential users. Couple that with advanced targeting, machine learning and the best bang for buck when it comes to advertising, Facebook is a behemoth.
By adapting proven strategies explained below, you’ll surely have a more clear approach while avoiding the kind of mistakes I made when I first ran my Facebook campaigns.