More than half of the 324.5 million people in the United States use Facebook—eMarketer estimates that 171.4 million Americans will use the social network at least monthly in 2017. And if that number sounds big, keep in mind that about 85 percent of Facebook users actually live outside of the United States and Canada; the social network has a total of 1.86 billion monthly active users worldwide.
With that kind of reach, it’s no surprise that 4 million businesses now advertise on Facebook, and there are Facebook ad formats for every business goal. Today, we’ll focus on Facebook lead ads, and explore how companies are using this mobile-friendly type of advertising to their advantage.
Bonus: Download a free guide that teaches you how to turn Facebook traffic into sales in four simple steps using Hootsuite.
What are Facebook lead ads?
So, what are lead ads? They’re an ad format that allows potential customers to take the first step to connect with your business in a low-commitment, low-barrier way by signing up to receive information, a digital offer like a newsletter or coupon, or even a real-world experience like a product demonstration or a test drive.
When users click or tap on your lead ad, they are taken to a form that’s already populated with contact information from their Facebook profile, so it can be completed with as few as two clicks or taps, and little to no typing. That’s especially important for the network’s 1.15 billion mobile daily active users, since filling out forms on a smartphone takes almost 40 percent longer than doing so on a desktop.
You can then download the contacts from your lead ads campaign for your sales team, or connect them to your CRM or mail program.
How to create a Facebook lead ad
Here’s how to set up Facebook lead ads, step by step.
Step 1: Read and accept the specific lead generation terms and conditions
Open Ads Manager and choose the marketing objective Lead generation under Consideration.
Under Page, choose the Facebook Business Page you want to collect leads for. You will need to review the terms and conditions for lead ads for each page you want to promote. Read them carefully, as they contain specific details about how you can use the information in the leads you collect, and your privacy responsibilities. Once you understand the terms, click I Agree to Terms and Conditions.
Step 2: Choose your audience, placement, budget, and schedule
Scroll down to select your parameters for each of these categories. Keep an eye on the meter on the right of the page that shows your estimated daily reach. Keep in mind that you cannot choose an audience younger than 18 for lead ads.
When choosing your ad schedule, make sure not to run ads that require follow-up at times when your sales team is usually very busy or when your office is closed.
When you’re happy with your selections, click Continue.
Step 3: Create your ad
Choose your ad format (carousel, single image, single video, or slideshow), and add your images.
Scroll down to enter your headline and text. Make sure to clearly describe your offer with a valuable benefit, so viewers will be motivated to share their information. Then, enter the text for your call-to-action button or stick with the default “Sign up.”
If you use the Facebook pixel to track your Facebook ads and how people interact with your site, click Advanced Options to add it.
Scroll down to create an optional welcome screen for your ad. The welcome screen is a great place to explain your offer and let viewers know when and how you’ll contact them after they sign up.
Step 4: Choose what information to collect
Click Questions to select which types of information you would like to collect from the people who click on your Facebook lead ads. Ask only for what you really need, since asking for too much information can cause viewers to abandon the signup process.
Step 5: Complete your ad
Make sure you are happy with the preview of your form, then click Finish if your ad is complete, or Save if you want to come back to make changes later.
When you’re ready for your ad to go live, click Place Order.
7 brands making good use of Facebook lead ads
Let’s look at some Facebook lead ad example campaigns and how they’re working to help brands connect with customers.
1. Baked NYC: Targeting leads near and far
New York-based bakery café Baked NYC ran a lead ad campaign with two different goals for two different audiences.
First, they wanted to build their email list. They used Facebook’s ad targeting to create an audience of people who had shown an interest in baking, excluding people who had already liked their Facebook Page (since those existing fans would not represent new leads). The copy on the welcome screen explained exactly what benefits users would get from signing up: “the coolest recipes, the most up to date info about classes and events, and special offers and discounts.”
The campaign saw a 68 percent increase in leads and a 30 percent decrease in the cost to acquire a lead.
Relevant Facebook users within a one-mile radius of the Baked locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn saw a different kind of lead ad: a pre-order offer for Thanksgiving pies. That campaign led to a 40 percent increase in pie sales for Thanksgiving 2016.
2. Miami Dolphins: Invitations to an offline event
The Miami Dolphins’ marketing team recognized that the opening of the football team’s new stadium was a great opportunity to create excitement about the team and boost season ticket sales. They created lookalike audiences modeled on their current season ticket holders, and presented those users with lead ads offering an invitation to tour the new stadium.
Once users signed up, a Miami Dolphins membership representative contacted them to confirm the date and details of their tour. That initial phone contact and the tour itself both provided opportunities to engage with fans, build excitement, and, ultimately, sell tickets. The campaign generated 4,600 leads, which led to more than 200 season ticket sales.
3. Managed by Q: Recruiting new talent
Office management company Managed by Q was growing quickly and needed an influx of new employees to continue to scale up. Targeting people looking for new careers in specific zip codes where they needed more staff, they used Facebook lead ads as mini-job applications. Potential new employees could complete the short application form, some of which was pre-populated, without leaving Facebook.
The recruitment campaign resulted in three times more qualified prospective employees than any other channel and a 70 percent decrease in the company’s cost per lead.
4. theSkimm: Keyboard-free subscription
When a newsletter is your business model, subscribers are the name of the game, so lead ads are a natural fit. Email newsletter theSkimm used friends-of-friends and lookalike audience targeting to reach its core audience of busy, professional women aged 22 to 40.
With a pre-populated form, users could tap through the entire subscription process without ever having to touch the keyboard, an important convenience factor for busy women browsing their smartphones on the go.
The Facebook lead ads featured testimonials from existing subscribers to prove the value of the newsletter and included a context card to provide more details. The campaign saw lead quality increase by 22 percent, with a cost per acquisition of $1-2.
5. Cisco WebEx: Eliminating mobile landing pages
Recognizing the need to target mobile browsers, but not wanting to invest in creating a series of mobile-optimized landing pages for its website, Cisco WebEx created Facebook lead ads that allowed users to sign up for a product demo without ever leaving Facebook.
Monitoring the ad’s performance during the campaign, the Cisco WebEx team found that including too many questions in the form reduced conversions and increased cost per lead, so they fine-tuned the form to make sure they were asking only for the most important details.
The campaign had a three times conversion rate, and a 75 percent lower cost per conversion than link ads on Facebook.
6. BMW UK: Replacing legacy web forms
High-end automaker BMW wanted to make it easy for potential buyers to sign up for a test drive online—but the sign-up forms on its website took too long to complete, making them especially clunky for mobile browsers. Using pre-populated forms and a few simple questions with drop-down or radio button response options, the company used Facebook lead ads to start the test-drive sign-up process with a few taps.
When users submitted their lead form, they were redirected to the BMW website to choose a dealership for their test drive. The campaign saw a 2.8 times increase in the number of leads, with a 56 percent reduction in the cost per lead.
7. Marketo: A creative call-to-action button
Every good lead campaign requires a good offer. For its Facebook lead ads, Marketo offered potential leads a free eBook.
Rather than using the default “Sign up” call-to-action button, Marketo set the button to say “Download,” making it very clear that the user was just a few taps away from accessing that juicy content right on their device.